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Clearwater entrepreneur develops medical software that cuts errors, speeds up payments

Margie Manning

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PracticeForces, a Clearwater medical services firm, has launched a new cloud-based technology tool to make physician billing faster and more accurate.

HL7 Bridge is software-as-a-service that digitally delivers the patient data collected by hospitals to the practice management systems in doctors’ offices in real time.

The technology — primarily designed for surgeons and other doctors who frequently work in a hospital setting — replaces the paper copies of patient records that doctors often get from hospitals, and manually enter into their own systems.

It improves accuracy, speeds up payments to doctors and saves hospitals money, said Darin George, vice president of business development for PracticeForces.

Kunal Jain

HL7 Bridge currently is offered by PracticeForces, which provides medical billing, coding, revenue cycle management and practice management consulting. Kunal Jain, co-founder and president of PracticeForces and founder of HL7 Bridge, plans to spin HL7 Bridge out as a separate company.

Jain came up with the idea after a physician he knows took home a copy of patient records that was accidently put into the wash. The doctor couldn’t restore the information and missed out on billing $3,000.

PracticeForces introduced the idea during a 2018 Techstars Startup Weekend pitch session and the company has been testing it with clients in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties for the past year, George said.

Historically with paper documents it’s taken 30 to 60 days after a physician treats a patient to get paid.

“We take that down to 20 days or less, in some cases five or six days,” George said. “We speed up the revenue cycle. There’s more accurate information on the patient. The hospital uses less paper and the staff can be more productive.”

HL7 stands for Health Level 7, a set of international standards for the transfer of clinical and administrative data between software applications used by healthcare providers. HL7 is the manner in which data is transferred, but the challenge has been deciphering and reading the data. The PracticeForces technology solved that issue — that’s why it has “bridge” in its name, George said.

HL7 Bridge has an application programming interface with AdvancedMD software, used nationwide by 50,000 healthcare providers, and HL7 Bridge expects to partner with other networks in the coming weeks.

Currently, more than 50 healthcare providers connected with BayCare Health System, AdventHealth and HCA in the Tampa Bay area use the cloud-based HL7 Bridge service, and that number is expected to grow to 9,000 physicians locally.

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