Web-based billing creates safety net
ATLANTA - Considering all the major casualties that occur during a natural disaster, lost data doesn't seem important. But to independent HME providers, billing data is the lifeblood of the operation--without it, they're out of commission.
That's why proponents of Web-based billing systems are pointing to Hurricane Katrina as the perfect example of why having an off-site server is a vital link to business survival. Even if all physical components of a business are destroyed, the Web-based system remains intact, retaining patient records and continues billing in the interim.
"All kinds of providers lost everything--a big-time interruption in business," said Mike Mallaro, CEO for Waterloo, Iowa-based VGM and Associates. "That's a major reason to give Web-based systems consideration."
A Web-based system, with remote storage sites and automated billing sequences, is a virtual safety net for businesses, said Dave Cormack, CEO of Brightree.com.
"The system continues to operate even if a company must shut down," he said. "We have their patient records, physician records, insurance records and complete physical inventory records stored safely and securely. We also update Medicare pricing every month."
To protect subscribers' data, Brightree stores all records in a bomb-proof center in Atlanta and backs up data hourly. Each night, the data is shipped to another secure location in Miami.
Fastrack Healthcare Systems also offers ASP. President Spencer Kay said it's just more convenient for customers of the Plainview, N.Y.-based company.
"You don't have to do all the admin work you would normally do with a system," said Kay. "We do all the backups and we take care of all the security issues.
One provider who is relieved to have a Web-based system is Jody Compretta, CEO of Patient's Choice in Bay St. Louis, Miss.--ground zero for Katrina.
"So far, so good," said Compretta, whose office got wiped out by the storm. "Because my system was Internet-based, I was assured my data was safe."
Cormack said his company "is working overtime" to ensure that Compretta's billing continues and that all charges are being waived until the business is up and running again.
"Dave called me right after the storm and has been doing everything he can to help," Compretta said.