Sponsored by ZOLL Data Systems
By Michael Healy for EMS1 BrandFocus
It is 2:30 a.m. and your crew has been on shift for 14 hours when the dispatch report comes over the radio: “53-year-old male – unwitnessed cardiac arrest – CPR being performed on-scene by bystanders,” and your crew is nearest to the call.
The EMS team receiving that cardiac arrest dispatch should not have to be concerned with how their electronic patient care report (ePCR), during and after the call, translates to the billing department of your agency. They should be focused on delivering the best possible encounters for patients.
Many EMS agencies find duplication, inefficiency and redundancy in workflow as patient data flows from an EMS crew’s electronic patient care report in the field, through to the billing department, and finally as a bill to the patient. Medics in the field are busy treating patients, and documenting medications, therapies, hardware and resources used to create a full patient care record. That information then has to be transferred to the billing department to collect monies owed from the patient’s insurance and the patient or family responsible for the remainder. This process is often not a clean set of steps and can lead to duplication of work for your agency.
When there are inefficiencies in charting software, medics cannot quickly and accurately document the care provided. When the documentation is not complete and accurate, your agency’s billing department may be unable to code services or bill properly, leading to duplicate or incomplete bills being sent to patients and their families. This can all lead to a decrease in patient satisfaction despite a fire or ambulance crew doing their best to provide care in the field.
Automate data sharing to improve charting and billing
ZOLL Data Systems aims to standardize, automate and consolidate the experience for crews and billing departments using their cloud-based ePCR and billing systems. ZOLL Data Systems’ ePCR solution, ZOLL emsCharts, guides medics through the patient information to collect at the scene and integrates with your CAD and ZOLL Billing products to import essential health, demographic and insurance data from across your healthcare ecosystem.
ZOLL Billing allows billing departments to process claims quickly and automate workflows, tailored to agency needs. The intersectionality of these two solutions when used together provides a streamlined, integrated experience that will increase your agency’s efficiency and revenue while saving time and reducing errors.
ZOLL emsCharts is an ePCR solution that uses cloud technology, meaning it is available on any agency device, from anywhere, anytime. The software can capture data directly from defibrillators and monitors, as well as other equipment, and if an internet connection is unavailable, it simply stores the information until an internet connection becomes available. Medics can then transmit the data any time after completing transfer of care at the destination facility.
By charting on the go, medics are better able to capture the most accurate information in real time, reducing the need to go back and try and recall all the details of a call hours or days later. This reduces documentation errors and the need to rework charts after the fact, which means the billing department receives better data.
ZOLL Billing then automatically receives and begins processing that patient’s information. Although the software will work with any third-party ePCR, when used in conjunction with ZOLL emsCharts, ZOLL Billing has the ability to pull patient data seamlessly from the ePCR for a cleaner billing experience.
Fill in gaps in patient information with ZOLL AR Boost
For added accuracy, ZOLL Billing includes integrated ZOLL AR Boost accounts receivable optimization technology to deliver accurate, actionable data during patient discovery. When the cardiac arrest call comes in, medics – let alone the patients they are serving – are not thinking about trying to find a Medicare or insurance card. With ZOLL AR Boost technology, once the ePCR is complete and transmitted, ZOLL Billing quickly gets to work matching the provided information to the patient’s correct demographic and insurance information.
With the ability to convert accurate data directly from ZOLL emsCharts, ZOLL Billing can add complete, accurate patient demographics and discover hidden, billable coverage for the patient.
“The integrated ZOLL AR Boost tools work to fill in critical data gaps, such as the patient’s date of birth, address and Social Security number or Medicare number. It will also find billable coverage that may not have been provided at the time of service,” said Matt Moriarty, director of product marketing at ZOLL Data Systems. “ZOLL Billing is integrated with ZOLL emsCharts so that it can pull that information from the actual patient care record automatically.”
Solution integration is an important capability made possible by shared, behind-the-scenes architecture that enables those applications to seamlessly access and share data, eliminating the need for someone in the billing department to manually pull it from the ePCR.
When your billing system can talk to your ePCR, the way ZOLL Billing and ZOLL emsCharts can, your providers can quickly make updates, even after the trip, that are shared with the billing department. That leads to creating clean claims that go out faster and are reimbursed sooner, reducing denials and improving time to cash. How well your ePCR is able to communicate with your billing system will drive financial outcomes. Without a system featuring a shared architecture, a chart may get bounced back to a medic hours, days or even weeks after the call has been completed. Additional delays follow when the billing department receives the denial and must attempt to code the chart so it can be billed properly.
Reduce waste, increase revenue
Adapting to a quickly changing world requires adapting to changing technologies. Time, resources and money may be spread thin as a result of having to keeping up with medication changes, national and local protocol changes or new hardware. Few resources are left over for addressing technology gaps.
ZOLL emsCharts and ZOLL Billing offer a combined solution to consider when reviewing technology upgrades for any EMS agency. The shared, cloud-based architecture means greater efficiencies for your agency. It also means that all software updates, feature enhancements and patching are handled behind the scenes, automatically. Your agency’s IT burden is greatly reduced, leaving them free to focus on higher-value activities, such as analysis and reporting. What’s more, stringent compliance and data security is built into the solution, powered by AWS infrastructure.
ZOLL Data Systems continues to roll out new features and capabilities to customers on a monthly basis. Targeted for release in 2022, their cloud-based dispatch solution, ZOLL Dispatch, will also be integrated with their ePCR and billing solutions for an end-to-end EMS software solution that shares information from dispatch to discharge, starting the moment the 911 call is received.
Visit ZOLL Data Systems for more information.
About the Author
Mike Healy, NREMT-P, from Portland, Oregon, is a nationally certified paramedic. He holds an associate’s degree in Paramedicine from Oregon Health & Science University and a bachelor’s degree in Human Physiology from the University of Oregon. He spent his years in the field working ALS transport ambulance. He currently teaches all levels of EMT recertification courses at https://emt-ce.com and is a systems administrator at a federally qualified health center.