A company whose focus is on simplifying how patients find the right doctors for their needs and to make appointments now says its has the first mobile-health app that also integrates Medicare provider and payment data.
In time, the company, BetterDoctor.com, may add a payment function to its app, most likely through a partnership with a firm that specializes in the nuances of health care payments, Ari Tulla, the company’s co-founder and CEO, tells PYMNTS.com.
Health care payments are a complicated issue when looking at the various aspects involved, such as physicians, their practices and patients, he said. Moreover, there’s also the adjudication aspects involving insurers, plus determining co-pay amounts and where individuals might be at any particular time in paying down their deductible.
But for now, Tulla said, BetterDoctor.com will focus on offering what it does best, which is helping patients find the right doctor. With its latest improvements, Tulla said the company essentially has created a “Rosetta Stone” for health care in that it can help patients understand doctors better through the behaviors behind their activities.
By integrating the Medicare procedure and pricing data, BetterDoctor.com says it will help consumers make more informed decisions by providing comparing data on the most common procedures conducted by more than 800,000 providers that received payments in 2012 from Medicare Part B, which covers doctor visits, tests and other treatments.
The app also helps patients find the right doctor based on its comprehensive list of more than 1 million doctors searchable by specialty, insurance, location and condition or procedure.
On June 13, BetterDoctor.com announced it has begun making it it possible for patients for the first time to search Medicare procedure and pricing data so they can view the procedures that individual doctors conducted in 2012 based on their Medicare claims. Individuals looking for an orthopedist for a knee replacement, for example, can see where a doctor did 77 knee replacements in 2012 as opposed to someone that did only a few similar operations.
Users of the BetterDoctor app also now may view Medicare’s doctor-to-doctor referral data, enabling people searching for new doctors to choose ones that other doctors trust. “That’s a good indicator of quality because doctors don’t refer patients randomly,” Tulla said in the PYMNTS.com interview.
Tulla said he started the company about three years ago and spent about 18 months building the database. The website launched about a year and half ago, and the iPhone app was added about a year ago, he said.
The website and mobile apps have helped over 10 million Americans find a better doctor, the company says.