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Audio recording physician exams

A way to prevent and detect fraud

Here’s a simple way to help prevent health care fraud. Patients, with their doctors’ consent, can audio record doctor visits with their smartphones. Audio recordings can verify bills submitted for health care services. And medical providers can upload and store audio files in patients’ electronic medical records to help ensure the veracity of physicians’ diagnoses and interventions.

Mabel Filldenshod, 67, a recently retired executive, is playing golf with some buddies. She’s on the fourth hole when she begins to have heart palpitations. She plays for another 15 minutes, but her heart is still thumping fast. So, one of her friends drives her to Filldenshod’s doctor. Dr. Flornusher runs an EKG, doesn’t find any problems with Filldenshod’s heart and proclaims her to be in fine health. Good news for Filldenshod but even better news for Dr. Flornusher.

After Filldenshod leaves, Dr. Flornusher bills Medicare for the EKG but also reports the visit as an appointment for a heart patient, which Filldenshod isn’t, but brings in more money for the doctor. That’s called upcoding, and it’s illegal.

Now, if Filldenshod had entered the examination room, pulled out her smartphone and told Dr. Flornusher she wanted to audio record their meeting for later clarification, Dr. Flornusher would’ve remained an honest man (at least this once), and he wouldn’t have ripped off taxpayers for some extra cash. This fictitious case represents one possible method for helping prevent some health care fraud — at least between medical workers and their patients during examinations.


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