Part 2: Leveraging Automation to Reap RCM Benefits
This is part 2 of our 3-part series on how healthcare organizations can improve their revenue cycle management (RCM) processes by leveraging automation. Part 1 reviews the numerous challenges to RCM and explains why automation is the ideal solution. This part explores the benefits of automated RCM, and part 3 offers some examples and use cases.
There’s no question that there are many challenges facing revenue cycle management. The key to overcoming them is implementing the right automation technology to support the unique needs of each healthcare organization.
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Driving Efficiency within Revenue Cycle Management through Automation
Automated RCM Benefits for a Measurable ROI
Many of the common RCM problems healthcare organizations deal with can be alleviated — if not outright solved — by integrating automation technologies.
But first, a quick review of the different types of automation.
A spectrum of automation types can be used to drive efficiency. As a result, measurable RCM benefits depend largely on the level of automation the organization can implement. Automation tasks range from basic data input to more comprehensive data-driven decision-making supported by advanced algorithms and decision tree processing.
- Robotic processing automation (RPA) uses software bots to complete routine, repetitive, and predictable tasks that humans tend to find the most tedious. RPA technology can be programmed to handle rules-based interactions that mimic predictable human behaviors.
- Intelligent automation (IA) combines simpler automation technologies, like RPA, with more advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. This combo empowers IA to go beyond the straightforward, repetitive tasks of RPA to tackle more complex work that requires reasoning and analysis, enabling end-to-end business process automation.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology that displays intelligence in the form of self-learning. In practice, that means that AI can go beyond the specific tasks it’s programmed to do and perform analysis on the data it’s given.
- Machine learning (ML) is a technology that helps enable AI. ML uses large amounts of data and algorithms to gain insights beyond what was used to program the technology. Machine learning allows computers to learn from experience via interaction with data.
Now, back to those RCM automation benefits:
Automation offloads the most frustrating yet critical parts of the RCM process, simplifying the workflow and making processes more efficient for measurable RCM benefits. When revenue processes seamlessly, backlogs can’t slow down the billing team. Bills go out faster, and payments come in sooner. Automation can reduce cycle time by 80% and improve efficiency by 30% to 40%.
Prevent Burnout and Work to Top of Professional Licenses
Administrative investment is one of the most significant costs associated with RCM. Bringing automation into the process removes much of the unpleasant and demotivating aspects of revenue work. It can optimize existing talent through better workflows because it frees employees to focus on work that requires human problem-solving and strategic thinking. Implementing automation also reduces employee workload, saving the organization money that would otherwise be spent on new hires.
Reduce Errors and Cost of Rework
People are smart, but compared to machines, we are still more prone to errors when doing specific tasks; particularly tedious, complex work like medical billing. Attempting to fix those errors adds to the time employees spend on frustrating tasks.
On average, employees spend 17 minutes on the phone for each claim denied.
Removing many of the denied claims from the RCM process decreases the time it takes to get paid significantly. This equates to employees spending less time on the phone with insurance companies trying to fix preventable mistakes.
Improve the Patient Experience and Boost Employee Satisfaction
Every healthcare organization has to care about the bottom line to stay in business. The benefits RCM brings via more efficient and accurate processes improve patient and employee experiences as well.
Speeding up the billing cycle helps patients complete their part faster: no more surprise bills that arrive months after an appointment or procedure. This is particularly important since the No Surprises Act was launched. Automation delivers the potential to reduce unexpected billing that 44% of patients say they’ve experienced.
Streamline and Optimize Critical RCM Processes
The key to leveraging automation effectively and reaping RCM benefits lies in finding the right partner to support the implementation process. SDLC Partners has over 15 years of healthcare experience, giving us the expertise needed to support all types of organizations.
We leverage advanced technologies, including automation, to streamline operations, improve patient experiences, and optimize processes.
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