U.Va. Doctor Streamlines Medical Billing, Improves Patient Care

Nov. 29, 2007 — University of Virginia family physician Scott Strayer and his company, PocketMed, have just released updated software that further streamlines medical billing, allowing physicians to capture lost revenue while keeping their focus on patient care.

Medical billing has traditionally been a lengthy, tedious process: doctors handwrite codes for medical services rendered to patients on little pieces of paper that have to be collected, interpreted and computed by office billing staff before they can be sent on to insurance companies for reimbursement.

The many steps of this process leave much room for error. Practitioners may forget to write something down, bits of paper get lost, handwriting may be illegible and procedures may be improperly coded. Research has shown that the typical doctor loses nearly $128,000 each year due to inefficient billing procedures. And these billing challenges take valuable time away from patient care.

Strayer, a U.Va. faculty member, envisioned a solution to these problems in hand-held device technology. He founded PocketMed in 1999, and has since been dedicated to improving physician practice through innovative mobile technology and translating guidelines to the point-of-care.

In October, PocketMed released PocketBilling 4.0, a new version of their handheld, point-of-care charge capture software used by thousands of physicians nationwide to enhance billing efficiency and accuracy. PocketBilling 4.0 features an improved interface that is more intuitive and user-friendly and gives physicians the ability to e-mail patient information directly to office staff.

"This major upgrade to the software has been in development for over two years," Strayer said. "Physicians can now ask us to integrate PocketBilling 4.0 with their hospital IT systems or practice management systems, or they can outsource billing directly from their handhelds. In addition, a new coding tool was added that simplifies the process of selecting the right codes for patient care."

The PocketBilling software upgrade was based on user feedback, which PocketMed takes very seriously. Even before they reach market, all of PocketMed's applications receive design input and are carefully tested by practitioners throughout the country and at several major medical institutions to ensure usability and the highest level of functionality.

Since joining the U.Va. Department of Family Medicine in 2001, Strayer has received over $500,000 from such diverse sources as the National Cancer Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support his research efforts, which also include a handheld smoking cessation tool that is available to all physicians from the National Cancer Institute at www.smokefree.gov/hp-hcsit.html.

Strayer is recognized as an expert in handheld device technology and has won numerous awards for his work, including being named a finalist in 2001 for the Microsoft Physician of the Year. PocketMed was among three finalists for the Rocket Award at this year’s Virginia Piedmont Technology Council and Charlottesville Venture Group’s ninth annual Tech Awards.

PocketMed is a new member of the University of Virginia T100 Alumni Mentoring Program, an organization of alumni business experts that advise faculty inventors working toward commercialization. The mentors working with PocketMed are experts in product development, marketing and financing and will be helping the company to define its markets and develop operational strategies.

PocketBilling 4.0 is available for immediate download at www.pocketmed.com.