InstaMed app takes patients' medical bill payments mobile

By Jonah Comstock
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InstaMed Go The InstaMed Go iPad app.

Electronic medical payment network InstaMed has launched a mobile app called InstaMed Go. The mobile app will allow providers who use InstaMed to collect payments at the bedside or anywhere in the hospital.

"InstaMed Go is our application for healthcare providers, and really what we've done is we've taken everything they could do on our desktop application and delivered it in a mobile, touch-optimized format," Chief Technology Officer Chris Seib told MobiHealthNews.

Debby Essex, Director of Admissions at Aspen Valley Hospital, which uses InstaMed for payments, talked in a press release about the different uses of the new app.

“The ability to use InstaMed Go with our mobile devices has helped us to significantly increase front office collections by accepting payments at all patient interaction points,” she said. “Instead of asking a patient to go to another desk to pay, our staff can collect payments using iPads during bedside discharge. Since patients have more places and opportunities to pay, we are collecting more payments during patient visits and ensuring the patient responsibility is paid. The ability to access payment information and reporting tools from my iPad is also wonderful because I’m constantly traveling between our various locations. Regardless of where I am, I can check our balance for the day or access real-time reports.”

InstaMed was founded in 2004. Its software suite allows providers to take their billing online, so patients can pay their healthcare bills through one online portal on their insurer's website. The payments are secure and HIPAA-compliant, and the company is currently working with more than 1,500 hospitals, 60,000 practices or clinics, and 3,000 payers. According to the company's website, InstaMed processes more than $10 billion in healthcare payments each year. UnitedHealthcare is working with InstaMed on its new myEasyBook offering. Since its founding, the company has raised $53.6 million according to Crunchbase.

Seib said that even though this is the company's first mobile app, InstaMed's existing software tools, for patients, providers, and payers, can all be accessed on mobile devices via the mobile web -- in fact 10 percent of consumer health payments via InstaMed happen on a mobile device. As a result, the company chose to take its time building a native app.

"As we launch InstaMed Go, our app for healthcare providers, it's extremely fully featured," he said. "Healthcare providers have access to everything they can do in the desktop application. We really took our time on the technology side to get it right, versus rushing to market with an app so we can say we have an app, but only supporting a subset of use cases."

Right now the app is only for iOS devices. Seib said the company will build it out for other platforms when there is sufficient demand. Currently, he said, the demand is overwhelmingly for iOS, with Windows devices in a distant second.

InstaMed may or may not launch a payment app directly to patients, Seib said, since they seem to be doing well with the combination of mobile web and using partner apps, which employ InstaMed via an API. The difference for providers, he said, is that they use the technology often and consistently enough that it makes sense to have it right on their device.

"What's great about that is we're definitely seeing a huge shift in the service environment to tablets where healthcare providers and staff are going to the patient even within that setting," he said. "By enabling our apps to be there on a mobile or tablet device, you can do the business side there too, if you so choose, so we're definitely seeing that as a use case."

But Seib hopes the app will provide a mobile payment options for new kinds of healthcare businesses, in the same way that mobile payments have enabled apps outside the medical space to thrive.

"Where the power really is, is you're seeing a lot more unique business models come up within healthcare where you're talking about home healthcare services or where a nurse practitioner comes to you," he said. "We're seeing a lot more of healthcare going where the consumer is, and the mobile application really allows the full power of our solutions to be there in any setting. We expect that to continue to grow dramatically."

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