Telemedicine service platforms mostly consist of a central integrator who bundles medical and nonmedical services from different providers. It is a big challenge to evaluate such a business model. This has to be done by calculating the individual components of the business model especially the revenue model and cost structure model. A modern,
comprehensive billing and accounting system can cover these vital building blocks of a telemedicine platform’s business model.
Evaluation of telemedicine services
The aim of modern telemedicine projects is to develop technologically innovative infrastructure that enables healthcare systems to offer modular and individual services, which is essential for remote care services. This high level of integration raises the requirements for the transparency of costs; for the consumers as well as for the
participating service providers.
Telemedicine also means an increasing number of participants and consequently increasing challenges to future financing and payment systems in health environments, especially for “connected hospitals”. It is necessary to connect earning models from the different health care markets, and consolidate medical, as well as non-medical – but still health related – services.
The implementation of billing and accounting platforms for medical services in complex health organizations requires the conceptual design and development of an integrated, automated billing of comprehensive services. This includes billing for all external contractual relations, as well as all partial services within the internal relationships of
hospitals. In accordance to the experience of other industries (e.g. the telecommunications industry) an automated and therefore cost-efficient accounting is a must for an economical composition of reimbursement processes. Additionally only this allows evaluating integrated telemedicine services in a very efficient way.
Through the telemedicine platform the billing system allows an automatic collection of services and supports convergent charging for complex earning and payment models. It therefore allows the billing of hybrid service offerings provided within diverse cooperation business models. The flexible configuration of the comprehensive billing and accounting solution offers the possibility to charge virtually any unit. The system engine is the functional survey, the central part of the clearing engine. It is possible to handle large numbers of transactions in real-time, which allows the billing system to offer an immediate feedback. The transaction value calculation is based on a high performance mapping. This mapping uses the details of the incoming events, the identification of e.g. a patient’s card, the codes of the patient’s disease and the identification of the applied treatment and/or medications. Every mapping results in journal entries with bookings on at least two accounts (credit and debit) to exactly document such a transaction. With a normal medical treatment ticket, for example, one of the operator’s accounts will receive a credit entry, while one of the patient’s accounts will receive a debit entry. Our billing system allows an unlimited number of such double-entry bookings to be performed for one single event to smoothly account for more complex business processes, e.g. bonus points gathered due to that event. To keep track of the billing and accounting transactions in real-time an integrated Management Information System provides special accounts with aggregated bookings. These comprehensive accounts can represent different billing structures to analyze alternative business models simultaneously.