Intuit, Avisena Collaborate on Health Care Online Bill Payment Portal

Health care software vendor Avisena is adding Intuit Health's online bill payment and doctor/patient communication tools to its medical billing applications.

Avisena, a practice-management software company, has announced it will integrate Intuit Health's patient portal into its existing medical billing software to allow patients to pay their bills online and communicate electronically with their doctors. With Avisena's software geared toward the provider's workflow, the Intuit portal will add a way for patients to pay their bills.

Intuit Health is a division of Intuit, maker of the popular Quicken and TurboTax personal finance programs. Intuit formed the division when it bought patient-to-physician provider Medfusion in 2010 and merged it with its Quicken Health Group. More than 4 million patients and 44,300 providers nationwide use Intuit Health's patient portal, according to the company.

Avisena aims to help physician practices collect payments, and by adding the online bill payment features of Intuit's patient portal, it will make the process more convenient for patients as well, according to Joseph Radigan, CEO of Avisena.

"The more significant piece for us includes the ability for a patient to make a payment online," Radigan told eWEEK. "It's growing in significance because over the last several years there's been a trend toward more patient responsibility-higher copays, higher coinsurance levels, not as many covered services, so the patient is responsible for all of that."

In addition, Avisena's practice-management software integrates patient billing with EHRs (electronic health records).

The combined Avisena and Intuit software will be able to identify the patients responsible for charges and allow them to review their bills. Through the patient portal, doctors can also refill prescriptions and share lab results with patients.

With the ability to message doctors electronically, patients can reduce the amount of phone calls to their office, Radigan noted. A recent Intuit Health study recently revealed that 73 percent of patients would use a secure online portal to communicate with their physician.

New features Intuit brings to the Avisena software also include virtual card swipe and the ability to create budget payment plans. Meanwhile, An Ask a Biller feature allows patients to send questions about their account in an unstructured format and keep a record of written requests.

With patients able to update their personal information through the Intuit portal, paperwork on clipboards can be reduced, Radigan suggested. "With the portal, they can go online at anytime," he said. "It makes it a lot easier to keep up with the demographic information."

Based in Miami, Avisena will initially roll out the expanded software to 50 health care practices in the Southeast in states such as Florida and Georgia. "Our focus has been to really try to get a foothold in a more concentrated area than spread ourselves across too many states," Radigan said.

"Avisena is one of the premier revenue cycle management, patient reimbursement and medical billing software companies in the Southeast," Steve Malik, president and general manager of Intuit Health, said in a statement. "Helping patients understand their medical bills and offering the convenience of online bill payment can drastically reduce a practice's outstanding accounts receivables, bad debt expenses and the number of patient bills going to collection."

Avisena and Intuit announced their software partnership on Aug. 4. By working with Intuit, health care practices that use Avisena's software will be able to increase collections and lower costs, Malik added.

"We spent too much time chasing our patients for payments during work hours," Gina Delmont, chief operating officer at The Orthopedic Clinic Association in Phoenix, said in a statement. "Intuit Health's online bill-payment solution dramatically improved our collections."

With the portal allowing patients to interact with staff electronically, the office was able to improve its workflow and revenue, Delmont added.