Patient portal software vendor Medfusion is expanding its product portfolio as it positions for the era of consumerism as most patients have a smartphone or other portable computing device.

The mobile business, integrated with dozens of electronic health records systems and with 60,000 physician users and 10.7 million registered patients, isn’t going away, says CEO Vern Davenport, it’s simply being augmented.

The healthcare information technology market has entered its third wave, Davenport contends. It started with automation of financial and administrative data, moved into automation of clinical data, and now has entered consumerism with patients having more personal responsibility for payment and wanting more information. Like millions of consumers, Davenport manages all his travel plans and documents on a smartphone, and he’s among those who want to do the same with their healthcare information.

Medfusion Pay, a new product that integrates with practice management and other financial systems, enables consumers to receive notification of an office visit, validate their demographics and insurance coverage, place a credit card on file, receive co-pay and deductible information, and make payments in advance of the visit or at the time of service via the phone. So, pre-check, check-in and post processing “all originate from the consumer back into the healthcare system,” he says.

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The problem with portals is that patient use is not consistent, Davenport says. Some provider organizations have nearly 100 percent of patients on the portal while others have very low engagement. Across the industry, there are about five to eight percent of patient portal users, while the average for Medfusion is 17 to 22 percent.

And, a portal user doesn’t know what to pay without going into the portal. That means accessing the portal, remembering the username and password if not a regular user, and then paying online. Patients still have that option, but now also can manage their payments via the phone.

Another new product, called Medfusion Plus, is a mobile app designed to pull a patient’s continuity of care document from the EHR of one or more physicians and put it in a centralized location. Most EHRs have a patient portal. But Davenport’s three physicians use disparate EHRs. “Each of them has a small slice of my data, but none of it comes together,” he says. “The only place my data comes together is with me.” Using the app, patients also can send physicians updates as they receive them from the EHRs holding their information.

Testing of Medfusion Plus is underway with general availability expected early in the third quarter. About 40 beta sites will start in June for Medfusion Pay with general availability expected in August.

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