This blog was written in collaboration with Rainer Ribback, Chief Operating Officer at BP3 Global.
Change has been ubiquitous and competition fierce in the healthcare industry throughout the past decade. To gain a competitive edge, providers – from hospital systems, to physician groups, to private practices – are focusing on improving operational efficiencies and enhancing the patient and customer experience. This need to adapt and improve has only intensified in the past two years with the onset of a pandemic.
One way to empower your organization to adapt and accomplish the necessary change is to standardize and automate processes. Process automation in healthcare can help providers meet the ever-increasing scale and complexity of administration and patient needs.
There are a number of opportunities in healthcare to automate important tasks, workflows, or decisions. New developments in software are making these opportunities more accessible than ever, and the new software capabilities complement and enhance existing applications and infrastructure.
Gaining Operational Efficiencies
We’re in the age of a digital workforce, one where a software robot can not only automatically ingest documents for routing and processing, but it can also automatically identify and handle discrepancies or exceptions, such as payment validation or payment appeals.
Physician groups and other providers are often plagued by these claims appeals which are often triggered by payment delays or outright denials. The administrative cost to a provider to follow up with insurance companies over and over can be staggering. Additionally, the delayed revenue caused by a lengthy, manual appeals process will hinder operational cash flow. However, automating the appeals process with software can alleviate the burden significantly.
For example, in one physician group, 1st and 2nd level claims appeals (600,000 appeals per month) have been automated, eliminating the need to follow up manually, thus creating substantial efficiencies in the practice.
These efficiencies also improve employee morale and retention because they remove the monotony and frustration of doing mundane, repetitive tasks. For example, BP3, a leading process automation company out of Austin, helped a practice automate data verification and benefits eligibility, resulting in the unburdening of office staff so they could focus on improving other areas of the practice. This automation elevated employee productivity and allowed them to focus on the patient and customer experience.
Enhancing the Patient and Customer Experience
Through the use of automation tools, a digital workforce to augment the staff in the patient setting is being used to help create a more robust, efficient, and personalized patient experience. These enhancements don’t require additional staff, and all sorts of patient, payor, or vendor interactions can be automated in a lightweight, and straightforward manner.
For example, a dialysis provider has leveraged automation to standardize and optimize treatment protocols. This automation has helped the provider manage risks and also standardize an elevated level of care, which has been made consistent across 2,500 clinics!
Additionally, what if the positive patient experience can be combined with a positive customer experience? Almost every patient or patient guardian will become a business customer who needs to schedule appointments, view timely examination results, and pay bills.
The root of a positive customer experience hinges on the customer knowing what to expect and the business meeting those expectations – consistency is key. A more positive customer experience can be fueled by standardized and automated processes, resulting in the patient taking the next step to share experiences with others and generating more patients and revenue for the provider.
Why Automation in Healthcare is the Next Step
Process automation eliminates manual effort around important, but repetitive tasks, while improving coordination across tasks, systems, and patients. By delegating the work to software, rework and errors are reduced substantially, if not eliminated altogether. Service levels can be maintained, and even enhanced, because the software scales with the growth of the practice.
Standardizing and automating processes maximizes efficiency, lowers costs, and allows leadership to gauge operational effectiveness through key performance indicators. Standardizing processes also allows customers to have a similar experience across a provider organization, thus improving customer satisfaction. By layering automation onto these processes, a higher level of patient experience and patient satisfaction can be achieved.