Simplee, the healthcare billing engagement company, has taken its online medical wallet platform mobile, by releasing a free app for iOS and a mobile-friendly version of their website for other smartphone operating systems.
Simplee users have been requesting a mobile interface -- and even accessing the web version from their mobile devices -- for some time, Chief Marketing Officer John Adractas told MobiHealthNews.
"We felt the pull, and we see this very much as something central to Simplee's strategy," he said. "But it's not something that you do lightly, managing the pieces, and patient health information."
Part of the reason for the timing -- the Simplee web platform launched in 2011 -- is that the new mobile app integrates directly with SimpleePAY, the provider billing platform the company launched earlier this year.
The mobile app syncs with the website in realtime, although the app also supports mobile-only users. From the app, patients can see a detailed breakdown of medical bills, how much their insurance covers, and how much they're responsible for paying. Patients can also check their deductible status or see how much money they have left in a health savings account (HSA).
Sometimes, Adractas says, having this kind of information at the hospital can actually affect treatment decisions: patients who have a monthly cap on their deductible might want to wait until the start of the month to schedule a surgery or procedure, or do it sooner if they have a lot of money left. Finally, patients can actually pay their medical bills directly from the app, using credit, debit, or via their HSA.
"How can it be that you can pick a doctor, have them provide all these services, trust them with all your medical care, and at the moment they send you a bill, the trust breaks down?" said Adractas. "People pick apart and question that bill. And then you can go down the street to a restaurant, get a fairly large bill and you don't even think about it."
But the real advantage of having bill information at the point of care is an emotional advantage, according to Simplee. Design Director Evelyn Wang, who has also used a prototype of the app to manage her own family's healthcare, said it quickly became an essential tool.
"I don't even look at printed EOBs [Explanation of Benefit forms], the first thing I look at is Simplee. It's a confidence thing. I don't feel like I'm paying for something that's wrong or I'm going to overpay," she said. "It's putting the information in my hands so I can make better decisions and feel comfortable with what I'm doing. I know they're my bills and I'm not stuck in this pile of papers."