Billing – Slave Mode

This topic outlines how a billing application could work side-by-side next to GNUmed.

Every billing software should be able to create a file which contains, for all patients in the billing program database, an export format containing, in a consistent way

lastname(s) firstname(s) date of birth sex / gender chart number health insurance personal identifier health insurance company addressLine1 addressLine2 city province or state country postal or zip phone number1 phone number2 date of last service/billing

We have this in British Columbia (BC) Canada by consequence of medical negotiation. Similar arrangements may exist in other jurisdictions. Doctor in this system can leave the old program and move to the new one and import all their patients with at least basic information. Unpaid billings would need to be created in the new system. The above information does not solve the problem of multiple insurers but mostly suffices when any one patient deals mostly with one insurance company. You could always ask for a second file containing one-to-multiple insurance numbers per patient.

In BC, we did not require the billing softwares to make such a file for single patients. But I found a vendor who was willing to add - a button to a couple of patient screens (the list screen, and the active patient screen) - two fields to their program configuration setup screen.

The way this works is:

- if a value for a path and filename are entered in the first field of configuration, the program displays to the user (inside the patient list selector, and inside the screen of a single activated patient) the button "Link" which has a keyboard shortcut "Alt-L". At the present time no other customers did ask for this, so they will not see it until they want it.

- if the user clicks this button or the keyboard equivalent, a small file is created which contains the above information only for this current patient. - if the user did also complete the second configuration field with a (Windows) .BAT file, the billing program will then run the .BAT file.

GNUmed has the ability to import (create) a new patient from the information, if they did not already exist. I did not yet check if GNUmed can update the address and phone etc information when the date of birth and name already matched an existing patient. The best way would be to add in GNUmed these now-new values and to make them active, and to make the old GNUmed values inactive, but not delete them.

As part of the above, GNUmed would also make this patient the active patient in GNUmed.

How would GNUmed know how to do this (which is called "slave mode")?

1) it needs a file created in which the formula of the billing export file is matched to where the information is kept in GNUmed - some such files already exist for some programs, but I do not know about Turbomed - I know GNUmed is already able to find existing patients through this method - I do not know if GNUmed is able to create new patients or add to their info through this method

2) we must provide the biiling program a suitable .BAT file which will say to GNUmed "hey, wake up, I have a patient that I want you to activate, creating or updating them if necessary". We have this file for Linux and if we do not have it yet for Windows maybe it is very achievable to get it done.
Topic revision: 14 Sep 2009, JamesBusser
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