“Invoice right, get paid right” with Healthcode’s ePractice

Published: Monday, 26 October 2015 11:58

Pete CrutchleyPete Crutchley of Medical Healthcare Management helped one of his consultant clients generate £130,000 in one year by switching from paper billing to an efficient electronic system.

Medical Healthcare Management (MHM) specialises in medical billing within the private health sector. The company uses Healthcode’s ePractice system to send up to 50 invoices each day to private medical insurers (PMIs) on behalf of consultants, helping them to maximise their income and turn around their practice.

Pete Crutchley established MHM in 2010 and describes it as ‘an accidental business’. An expert in business process and cash flow management in the engineering sector, Pete had decided not to relocate with his previous company. Before he could make his next move however, a mutual friend asked him to help a consultant who was struggling to make any money in his private medical practice.

He explains: “The doctor concerned thought the answer to his problem was to see more patients. As a result he was working 80-90 hour weeks but unfortunately this was mistaking movement for action. When we reviewed his business, it was clear that the real issue was that he wasn’t invoicing for all this work.”

The project to re-engineer the doctor’s practice billing process led Pete to spot a gap in the market and grew through word of mouth. He reflects: “I love working with doctors because they are such interesting people. However, many enter private practice with an NHS mindset where they expect to get paid automatically. I encourage them to think about it in simple business terms: ultimately, if you don’t invoice properly, you won’t get paid.”

Pete is in no doubt that Healthcode’s ePractice system is the best way to create and securely submit invoices to PMIs which are ready for payment. Once logged-in, he can select the consultant from his list of clients and input the invoice details, checking the patient’s insurance policy number on the system to avoid delays.

ePractice system automatically checks submitted invoices against the relevant insurer’s rules to ensure that all the necessary information has been entered. If the system detects that information is missing or incorrect, it prompts the user to take action. Meanwhile bills which are correct and complete are validated and presented to the insurer ready for payment processing.

Healthcode’s online billing system has already been universally adopted by hospital providers because it enables them to operate more efficiently, an advantage that Pete emphasises to his consultant clients. He explains: “Whether they are turning over £2,000 per month or £10,000 per day, e-billing is a great way to strip cost out of a business. Five years ago, I estimated it was costing my business £12,000 per year to produce invoices manually for my clients and at that stage I was only sending out about 12 invoices each day. That prompted me to look for an alternative and when I read about Healthcode’s e-billing service, the benefits seemed so obvious that I gave them a call and signed up. When I timed myself recently, I was able to submit 63 invoices in just 57 minutes using Healthcode’s ePractice system! From one consultant client, I now have the capacity to bill for more than 20.”

“As well as being quick, the system is convenient as I can bill from any device with an internet connection and it’s reassuring that I can log onto the system later for confirmation that the invoices have been received by the relevant insurer.”

In Pete’s experience, the private medical sector has become more commercially-oriented in recent years and he predicts that e-billing will soon become the norm for insured patients. He comments: “Insurance companies are not the ‘enemy’ – they want to pay and they will pay promptly if invoiced correctly. For example, a consultant treated a patient on 3 September; I invoiced Bupa on the 4 September and the consultant’s bill was settled by 23 September. In another case, I raised £388,665 worth of e-bills for my client during August and 90% had been paid by end of the month.”

He adds: “Whatever your business, failure is inevitable unless cashflow must be the priority and that requires an effective invoicing process. If you use ePractice for this essential back office function, you can transform your business and I’d recommend it to every consultant who is establishing their private practice.

“Remember my first client, the consultant who was struggling to make any money to pay the bills? After implementing e-billing using Healthcode, we cleared the billing backlog and generated £130,000 additional income in one year and that consultant has since paid off his mortgage!”