SOURCE: SmartMedicalConsumer

January 31, 2007 08:00 ET

SmartMedicalConsumer Introduces Web Service for Medical Expense Management

Service Helps Consumers Detect Billing Errors, Discover Facts and Patterns in Billing Statements and Better Understand Their Medical Expenses

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 31, 2007 -- To address the growing demand for consumer-centric health care management, SmartMedicalConsumer today announced a unique new Web service dedicated to empowering consumers to better manage their medical expenses at www.smartmedicalconsumer.com.

Managing medical expenses can be a daunting task for consumers, who often have several healthcare providers and insurance plans to maintain. While understanding even one medical bill can be a challenge, patients typically end up juggling multiple statements, which increases the confusion. Billing mistakes made by providers or insurance companies complicate things more, and often go undetected by the consumer who ends up overpaying. While healthcare providers and insurance companies have extensive resources at hand to maximize revenues gained from providing services to consumers, unfortunately consumers have not had comparable resources to minimize their spending. With rising healthcare costs, it is critical for consumers to have a clearer picture of their personal medical spending and related information.

SmartMedicalConsumer provides users with unique capabilities that make it easier to manage their healthcare expenses, including automatic detection of provider billing errors, insurance coverage anomalies and user overpayments, which could save users thousands of dollars.

SmartMedicalConsumer is led by Dr. Banu Ozden, PhD, an expert in database and Internet systems. Dr. Ozden, previously the Director of Computing Systems Research at Bell Laboratories, is currently on leave from the faculty of the University of Southern California. After her own exasperating experience managing medical bills, she designed the technology platform for SmartMedicalConsumer to support the growing number of consumers who deal with medical billing problems, but until now haven't had the tools and social resources for vetting the information.

"SmartMedicalConsumer fulfills a consumer need that existing software solutions can't meet," said Dr. Ozden. "Current medical expense management products enable users to track their healthcare bills, but they do not solve the core problem, which is detecting the billing mistakes. Users are still left to determine whether providers charged them the right amount, whether their insurance paid appropriately and whether their payments are allocated correctly, which can be overwhelming. Consumers need tools to analyze the data beyond simple reports and methods for automating data entry. Our patent-pending technology platform is designed to arm consumers, putting them on the same playing field as the healthcare providers and insurers."

SmartMedicalConsumer differs in its philosophy and its architecture from existing consumer healthcare expense management software products, such as Intuit's Quicken and Revolution Health's SimoHealth. While it shares with these products the goal of tracking consumers' medical expenses, SmartMedicalConsumer is unique in its ability to automatically detect medical billing and insurance coverage errors. The service warns users of billing mistakes, insurance coverage anomalies and incorrectly allocated payments and, based on patterns discovered in the data, increases error detection over time. Its user interface is designed to simplify automatic data entry. Also, because SmartMedicalConsumer is a web service, rather than a software product to be downloaded to a user's computer, it eliminates many headaches for the user and provides numerous efficiencies including the speed and convenience of introducing new features.

SmartMedicalConsumer's Web services are easy to use. Users can tag their billing information with the keywords of their choice to organize, recall and calculate it in a flexible manner. SmartMedicalConsumer also offers a service to store documents received from healthcare providers, insurance agencies, pre-tax accounts and others. And, the site provides users a community of medical billing experts devoted to answering user questions.

In addition to the services showcased in this release, SmartMedicalConsumer soon plans to offer other capabilities based on its patent pending technology, including a novel fact discovery and search service that will be available to any Web user who needs information regarding healthcare expenses.

Founded in 2005, SmartMedicalConsumer has already been successfully tested by patients from the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Today's announcement marks the first time that the SmartMedicalConsumer services are available for a preview release to the public.

About SmartMedicalConsumer

SmartMedicalConsumer provides an easy way for consumers to manage, maintain and analyze medical expenses, empowering them to enjoy greater peace of mind about their healthcare spending. SmartMedicalConsumer's unique patent-pending technology platform helps users easily track bills, expenses, payments, insurance claims and reimbursements. The service automatically detects billing errors to save users time and money, and provides the information users need to understand their medical statements. Founded by Dr. Banu Ozden, PhD, an expert in database and Internet systems, SmartMedicalConsumer is based in New York City. The company is privately held.

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