Dr. Bill makes mobile billing on the go easy

By Rosie Lombardi

Steve LionaisMost doctors work shifts at multiple locations. Billing is a major headache because they typically track their billings on paper when they’re off-site, and then spend hours inputting them into their EMR or billing systems. A new mobile app called Dr. Bill can eliminate this chore by capturing billings on the go. “If you integrate it into your daily work flow, it only takes a minute per patient to bill as you do your rounds – and that bit of time lets you take control of your own billings,” says Dr. Bill’s CEO and co-founder Steve Lionais (pictured).

“Dr. Bill can save doctors about 10 hours per month and helps them earn up to 25 percent more by capturing overlooked or lost billings,” adds Lionais.

Developed by Vancouver-based Grouse Software Labs two years ago, Dr. Bill is already being used by about 800 doctors in British Columbia. “About a dozen of our users are also investors in our company, and they’re helping to fund our recent expansion into Ontario and now the rest of Canada,” he says.

Dr. Bill is very easy to use, he says. “You just go on your phone, take a picture of the patient’s information, log whatever it is that you just did, tap a couple buttons, and you’re done.”

The app can be customized upfront to set defaults and set up recurring billing codes. “Doctors pick a specialty when they first sign up, and then Dr. Bill selects all the relevant codes for that area. You can ‘favourite’ the codes you use more frequently so they show up right away instead of offering a long list.

And the more you use the app, the more history you have for duplicating claims and billing even faster.”

Dr. Bill is also available as a web app that syncs with the mobile app, so doctors can review everything they’ve submitted on their laptop or desktop systems when they’re back at their computers.

On the privacy front, all patient data is encrypted and stored in the cloud via Grouse’s servers in Canada, and not on the mobile device. “So if you lose your phone, the data is all available on our end.”

Dr. Bill offers three tiers of service. For medical practitioners who don’t have a high volume of billing, such as surgeons and psychiatrists, there’s a flat rate of $30 per month. “In this offering, doctors can use all the features offered by the app, but they manage all their billings and rejections themselves.”

There’s a mid-tier service for doctors with an average volume of billings, and a premium tier for doctors with high volumes or those that are completely new to billing. Dr. Bill charges 2 and 3 percent of billings that are paid out under each plan respectively, which Lionais says is much lower than the 5 to 10 percent rate typically charged by human billing agents who are sometimes hired to handle paper billings on a doctor’s behalf.

“As in the flat rate tier, doctors submit their billings themselves, but we help manage their claims and any issues, like the wrong code being used or an error with the patient’s information. Our team goes in and fixes that for you, and we try to act as the interface between the government and yourself. We’ll go to bat for you to the Ministry of Health. Normally, doctors have to do this sort of thing themselves, faxing documents to back up their claims, and it’s annoying and time-consuming.”

Although the app makes life easier for doctors, there were nevertheless some challenges to overcome when Dr. Bill was first launched two years ago, says Lionais.

“The hardest part for us was getting doctors to understand the value of doing your billings yourself on your phone while you’re working. It’s a workflow change that people have to get comfortable with, because they’re used to doing it on paper and later typing it into their EMR or giving it to someone else to manage,” he says, adding that many hospitals and clinics are cutting back on admin support.

Adoption of Dr. Bill in B.C. has grown steadily via word of mouth. “Doctors have a lot of colleagues using Dr. Bill, and everyone’s getting to the point where they see it makes sense to change their workflow.”

Now that Grouse Software has received funding from its users and launched Dr. Bill in Ontario, they are planning to be live in Alberta next month, and then the rest of Canada by the end of 2017.

The company is also working with EMR vendors to integrate Dr. Bill into their systems. “We’re not competing with EMR systems to manage billings. We want to be the best billing solution that can also fit nicely into their systems.”

For more information and to start a free trial, visit https://www.dr-bill.ca/