by: Surinder Yadav
Developed by the American Medical Association for physicians, the CPT E/M QuickRef app helps you determine the appropriate CPT Evaluation and Management (E/M) codes to use for billing.
This app works both on the iPhone and the iPad.
Indeed, the CPT app is a useful reference that could potentially be instrumental in your billing operations.
For a practicing hospitalist such as myself, I think it could be the basic building block for the future of electronic billing. See below for the full review on the merits and problems that were discovered with this app.
In its current form, the CPT app is limited to providing references. Although, it does allow some flexibility in its ability to email information that you save, which may help track your own personal billing. It is comprehensive in providing all the right elements for accurate billing.
For example, picking the consultation services heading will bring you into a window with the appropriate available codes. Clicking on the chevron for the appropriate code will lead you to a window outlining the essential elements that must be satisfied in order for you to bill that code.
This is key, since as a physician it is hard to keep all these data elements in your mind all of the time. I kind of know I should be doing a full review of systems and the exam must be comprehensive in order to bill a 99233 for daily inpatient services. However, sometimes it is nice just to verify what critically fulfills those elements. This is what the CPT shines at. It allows the busy clinician the ability to accurately check to make sure the correct billing for appropriate services is occurring.
In fact, this app does go one step further and actually allows you to put qualifiers that help highlight which codes apply depending on the work you did. One neat feature is the time applied to your services – which is always a gray area for me. Seeing it in black and white with qualifiers is helpful to me and I suspect will be for you as well.
The CPT app provides references for not just inpatient services but also fulfills outpatient reference needs. It covers all other service elements including the emergency department, home services, nursing facility services, office visits and the list goes on…basically covering all the essential services.
The save feature is a nice function in the app yet its purpose is somewhat limited. I would have preferred the ability to add notes to the saved files with the particular ability to add acronyms or some personal codes that provide some identification for personal use.
The AMA does list a disclaimer indicating that no patient identifiers should be used. However, sending one code at a time via email with initials or something of that nature is cumbersome and rather inefficient. I would not want to sift through 16 emails and individual codes if I was using it as a record for my billing. I don’t think that is what the intent or purpose was when the AMA created this app, though being able to send multiple codes at the same time would be a nice feature to add in the future.
- Free in iTunes
- Easy to use
- Great quick reference
- Needs to have electronic billing capability–integration with hospital electronic health record (obviously, this might be asking too much from a stand alone app)
- The app is great reference material for those that may just be starting out in their careers or have trouble remembering appropriate codes and their essential elements
- The CPT app is comprehensive and is helpful in ensuring your billing is accurate and helps to avoid audits.