The healthcare industry is laden with administrative processes, and many of these can be manual, paper-based, time-consuming and prone to errors. A simple visit to your doctor, a submission of a referral to a specialist, or scheduling a procedure will trigger a flurry of paperwork to be completed, and that’s only the beginning of the process.
Manual processes are dependent on having a well-trained and experienced staff of people working around the clock to ensure this process runs smoothly. However, even that is not a guarantee of success.
The sheer volume of patients and procedures combined with the number of forms that need to be completed, compounded by the staffing crisis in healthcare has caused healthcare facilities to fall behind. This often results in referrals not being followed up on, stacks of forms waiting to be entered into the system, clinicians taking work home with them to be completed after hours, delays in submission of services to insurance for payment, denial of payment due to errors in coding, and incorrect invoicing of patients.
The net results are usually an overburdened staff, an increase in operational expenses and a loss of revenue to the facility.
There is a choice that healthcare organizations need to make:
- Continue down the path with the manual, time-consuming processes
- Transform these manual processes into automated, streamlined digital processes
As a provider, which would you pick?
We suggest the digital route. Why?
- Because automation tools can increase the amount of work a team can complete by as much as 35% to 50%.
- Staff can work faster, cutting data processing times by 30% to 50%.
- Common savings from these efficiency improvements can fall between 25% and 50%, resulting in higher profitability.
Peeking behind the healthcare curtain
Consider the intricacies of a healthcare provider’s administrative responsibilities and what is being done EVERY DAY for EVERY PATIENT. If the goal is to reduce costs, improve accuracy and staff efficiency, this can often be accomplished through automation. Here are a few examples of the processes that can be improved.
|Referral Process||Check bed and doctor availability and respond to patients quickly, resulting in a boost in admission rates.|
|Patient Scheduling||Schedule appointments according to diagnosis and doctor availability.|
|Insurance Eligibility||Obtain approvals prior to or during patient admission to confirm patient coverage.|
|Insurance Claims||File a claim and audit to ensure no claims are overlooked to minimize denial rates.|
|Patient Discharge||Ensure compliance with discharge instructions.|
|Payment Delays||Reduce delays by calculating the bill amount, what’s been paid by insurance, and notifying the patient through an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) for expedited payment.|
|Accounts Payable||Process invoices; scan pricing and availability of products commonly used in a healthcare facility.|
In addition to cost reduction, improving the accuracy of the information and worker efficiency, some other benefits workflow automation tools can provide include:
- Reduce compliance risk
- Enhance security
- Improve the quality of care
- Boost morale
- Enhance the patient experience
- Drive interoperability between disparate systems
The push for automation can start at the top of the organization or rise from the departments that are being challenged with these processes. Over time, with workflow automation that helps to accelerate time-consuming tasks, the provider sees the benefit – the real ROI from improving the inefficiencies and streamlining for speed.
It is why process automation has become a hot topic for healthcare providers (check out our recent Tech Tuesday on interoperability in healthcare to learn more!). Covid-19 opened the door to needing more digitization and the replacement of the hands-on processes because there were fewer hands available. That philosophy has carried through and healthcare providers are recognizing the need for back-office help to simply stay ahead. Intelligent Information Management (IIM) solutions provide the tools to make digital transformation a reality for healthcare providers.
The Konica Minolta IIM practice centers on intelligence to enable healthcare providers to realize the benefits of digitization and automation for cost, time, and labour savings. Learn more here.