International computerised billing speeds hospital claims

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The Independent Online
EVER wondered why it takes so long to deal with your health insurance claim? So has BUPA. As a result it is introducing a computerised billing service that cuts claim-processing time from more than a week to just two days. All the company's 29 hospitals in the United Kingdom are linked to the system, which will cover the 150,000 claims made each year.

The system, Electronic Data Interchange, takes the required information from the treating hospital's computing system and sends it to the United States. Here it is put in the correct form before being returned to the hospital for processing.

It is based on a product developed in the United States by Health Communication Services, which operates the US side of the BUPA service.

Not only is the processing speeded up dramatically, the accuracy of the information is improved. And the hospitals, as well as the patients, benefit because they can see, on a daily basis, the progress of all claims submitted.

BUPA is so confident of the appeal of the concept that Datahealth, the company set up to operate the service for its three million subscribers, will offer it to other insurers and hospitals.

Charles Waudby, Datahealth managing director, said: 'Hospitals have long had a problem getting claim forms filled in properly - adding time, administrative costs and frustration. This system is a vast improvement.'

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