Digital insurance – Mobile scanning decreases the error rate in the forwarding of medical bills

November 16, 2020

Apps for members of public and private health insurance providers are now an integral part of everyday life in Germany as many insurance clients rely on them for various services. Nevertheless, numerous mobile apps are still lacking essential functions that guarantee a completely digital workflow for all administrative tasks. Especially regarding medical bills, and thus majorly in the private health insurance sector, there is still plenty of room for optimization in 2020. eA and eP codes (type: Data Matrix) are found on around 10% of all private medical invoices. However, not every insurance company offers its clients the option of scanning and forwarding those invoices via a mobile app. 

Regarding the 90% of invoices that do not contain DataMatrix barcode, users choose between sending them through mail or submitting them digitally as a photo. Both options are time-consuming and error-prone. Scanning functions enable insurers to increase their efficiency at reduced costs. 

Why do only 10% of German medical bills contain eA and eP codes?

Everyone working in the German healthcare sector is familiar with the telematics infrastructure, or TI for short. This describes the planned digital health network in Germany. All players in the health care sector, such as doctors, hospitals, or midwives, are to be digitally linked to each other, enabling secure, cross-system exchange. 

Thus, the E-health law obliges physicians to use digital technology and expand its application areas to ensure complete networking. This is achieved via connectors similar to a DSL router with a significantly higher security level. A connector is linked to the practice's stationary card terminals and the practice management system (PVS). 

The law does not include regulations regarding electronic medical invoices or the forwarding of invoice data via a Data Matrix Reader. The range of physicians currently using this technology is correspondingly narrow. 

What are eA and eP codes?

Before we talk about possible mobile workflows and their advantages for customer loyalty and user-friendliness, let's take a quick look at the critical data on eA and eP codes:

How can private health insurance companies win over customers?

According to stern, in 2019, every 6th insurance client was struggling with protracted processing times. Complex bureaucratic processes are a burden in many peoples' daily lives, and customers try to limit this effort as much as possible. Thus, they are looking for the most convenient services in all areas of life. Large German health insurers have therefore started offering free mobile applications that cover various services. As digitalization has progressed, the number of apps with an implemented barcode scanner or a document scanner has increased accordingly. However, not all private insurers have switched to digital workflows, and thousands of patients are still plagued by tedious paperwork they have to submit through cumbersome channels. This, of course, reduces customer satisfaction. Therefore, it is difficult for smaller or highly established companies, in particular, to survive in this competitive environment without adapting to digital change. The new generation of adults has grown up in the digital age and therefore expects to access all services digitally at any given time. Most young people spend several hours a day on their smartphones and are consequently inclined to choose their insurers based on the available services. To secure this generation’s interest and loyalty, insurers must use every opportunity to offer their customers a wide range of digital services. Anyone who steps out of the digitalization wave now will lose future customers to the competition. 

📌  If you would like to read more about Generation Z, we recommend our blog post on this topic.

How does submitting a medical bill via app work?

One question that might arise now is: Which smartphone is required to use the service app with its integrated barcode scanning tool? And the answer is simple: The Scanbot Barcode Scanner SDK can be used on any contemporary smartphone with a back camera. 

As you can see, a Data Matrix scanner for medical bills implemented in your company's app lays the foundation for fast and uncomplicated reimbursement of treatment costs.

What are the advantages of a Scanner SDK when compared to conventional methods? 

Traditional methods, such as photographing the invoice for digital transfer, or postal forwarding, are time-consuming and laborious for patients and staff. Photos can be of low quality and thus be useless for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in the head office. Documents sent by mail cause unnecessary costs and a time delay of at least one day. Additionally, the risk of the documents getting lost or damaged during the postal delivery has to be considered. All these factors slow down the workflow significantly.

As only a minority of German physicians is currently using Data Matrix codes, an alternative for transferring conventional invoices is essential. This use case can be covered with a Document Scanner SDK, easily integrated into the insurance service app. The user interface guides your customers to the perfect scanning position. Image-enhancing filters ensure a clear, sharp scan result while the Deep Binarization Filter optically smoothes out creases in the document. The automatic cropping and automatic rotation features create a comfortable user experience. These processes ensure that every scan has the quality needed for text recognition (OCR) in the backend. Manual corrections and entries are thus no longer required.

On-Device Intelligence enables compliance with the highest data protection standards 

The most powerful argument against digitization is data protection and reoccurring safety issue. Particularly in the health insurance sector, personal data security is an essential factor in integrating digital solutions. But how can sensitive information be digitalized securely? The Scanbot SDK processes all data exclusively on the end user's device to prevent external attacks. No data is transferred to third party servers. Instead, you can have all information processed on your company's internal servers, for example, utilizing OCR. 

We understand that digitization may seem like a minefield in times of data abuse and hacking scandals, as well as security concerns, especially in German medical institutions. We at Scanbot have created all the prerequisites to protect your customers’ data from external attacks and data leaks through our on-device solutions. 


📌 If you want to learn more about this topic, please have a look at our Blog Post about data protection. In case you want to see our functionalities in action, please download our free Demo App.

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Max Stratmann

Chief Sales Officer

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