The new mobile tools boosting efficiency for health practitioners

Australian patients have embraced mobile technology and, when practitioners do the same, all signs are that practice efficiency will increase. Jonathan Davey, Executive General Manager, Digital & Innovation at NAB, discusses the new technology making it possible.

Patients want to use their smartphones to control their healthcare. Here’s how to provide the service they expect – and make your own life easier.

Most Australians own a smartphone – according to Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey 2016, the figure is as high as 84 per cent. And every generation of mobile phones is more powerful than the last. This combination of capability and availability is changing the way we live our lives, the way we interact with our service providers and, increasingly, our attitude to healthcare.

“The first big shift was from face-to-face transactions to the online environment,” says Jonathan Davey, Executive General Manager, Digital & Innovation at NAB.

“Now there’s a move from online to mobile-based channels.

“For example, over the past three years we’ve seen the number of people using online banking services increase by 50 per cent, and 70 per of those who go online are using mobile services. If we extrapolate this to medical and allied health practitioners, there are many, many patients who want to use their smartphone for everything from making an appointment to paying for the service.”

Patients seeking greater control

Today’s tech-savvy consumers expect to have more control over their healthcare.

According to Roy Morgan Research, more than one in six people who visit a doctor also use the internet to search for health and medical information before or after their appointment. Technology has also created the expectation of transparency across every aspect of treatment, and technology companies are responding with apps that allow patients to rate everything from cost and time-keeping to the skills of service providers.

“Technology has certainly opened the door to these changes but I think transformation is being pulled by changing consumer preferences rather than pushed by capability,” says Davey.

“It’s vital that both medical and allied health practitioners have the tools they need to keep pace with demand. As a bank, we’re focused on providing financial services to provide the support they need in this rapidly-changing environment.”

Next-generation HICAPS – an example

One example of NAB’s innovation is HICAPS Mobile, which builds on the billing solution that first revolutionised health claims back in 1998.

“Before HICAPS, patients had to pay for a healthcare service in full, and only then take the receipt to their private health fund for a rebate,” says Davey. “HICAPS gave them the option of swiping their health fund membership card and paying only the gap between the cost of the service and the amount the health fund would reimburse.”

“Now HICAPS Mobile is making the payment process even simpler, as well as providing a new range of services for both patient and practitioner.”

What’s new with the mobile version?

  • Searching Patients can use the HICAPS Mobile app to locate a preferred practitioner by name or geographical location, see how much a particular service will cost, and how much their private health fund will reimburse
  • Booking If they’re satisfied with the quote they can make a booking on their smartphone
  • Payment After the appointment, the practitioner sends a payment request and, as the app is linked to a credit or debit card, the patient can authorise payment from their phone

“From a practitioner’s perspective, HICAPS Mobile allows you to provide a level of service your patients will appreciate and that many are coming to expect,” says Davey. “You don’t need to lease a HICAPS terminal so it can cut costs or put an electronic claiming solution within your reach. And, if you bank with NAB, payments go into your account on the same day. It can also reduce the amount of time spent on administration in your practice.”

Exploring digital’s role in boosting health business

Davey is currently speaking at a series of events around Australia about NAB’s commitment to using innovation to help practitioners manage their business more effectively.

“Along with HICAPS Mobile we recently launched the NAB eHealth Hub, an online site that brings together all our specialist information, tips, calculators and products,” he says.

“There are offers, advice and services for every stage of a practitioner’s career from buying a practice to selling the business, along with information on topics from insurance, superannuation and tax to loans. For example, we now have lending products to support growth and expansion that can have funds in a practitioner’s account within 24 hours of an online application.

“Like their patients, practitioners can operate in a more efficient and streamlined way when they have easy online access to the tools they need.”

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