Healthcare is one of the world's largest industries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals faced tremendous pressure on bed availability, lab testing, and overall patient care. Never was the need for optimized administrative procedures and shortened billing cycles in healthcare so keenly felt. Hospitals with automated billing and digitized patient records dealt with the surge more effectively. Digitization optimized their staff's efficiency and kept the focus on their core competency—patient care.
The complexities of healthcare billing cycles
A hospital's revenue cycle begins the moment a patient walks in. Pre-registration formalities involve documentation. The process is highly document-intensive, starting from a patient's personal information to medical test reports and insurance policy details. Validating insurance details is critical at this stage as it establishes financial responsibility for the hospital visit and subsequent treatment. As the patient arrives for an appointment and treatment begins, bill generation starts. Then come lab tests, medical imaging procedures, surgical procedures, and follow-up appointments with the clinician.
There are bills generated at each step. A billing executive or coder categorizes the nature of the treatment according to ICD-10 codes. Finally, the billing department prepares a superbill with ICD and CPT codes and sends it to the patient's insurance company. The patient's insurance policy determines what portion of the charges are covered by insurance and the amount the patient must pay.
Insurance companies then check for HIPPA and OIG compliances. Preparation and checking of claim forms involve further documentation, leaving ample space for manual errors—and even scams. According to HBMA (Healthcare Billing & Management Association), up to 70% of healthcare customers have experienced fraud due to a misleading ad or internet opportunity for medical claims processing.
The final phase of the healthcare revenue cycle is bill payment or revenue collection. Sending out timely, accurate medical bills and then following up with patients and third-party insurance providers is one of the most crucial aspects of this revenue cycle. Once payment is complete, the hospital must add this information to the patient's medical records. Claim denials or late claim payouts mess with the length of the hospital's revenue cycle. Patients sometimes delay large bill payments till they arrange for sufficient funds, putting a strain on the revenue cycle.
The importance of healthcare revenue cycle management (RCM)
Hospitals must manage their revenue cycle efficiently. Wasting time on payment follow-ups ultimately hampers patient care. Many healthcare organizations still use manual workflows or outdated technology systems, resulting in a loss of time and money.
Billing errors or issues alone account for up to 20% to 30% of lost revenue. Old and inefficient technology systems result in US hospitals absorbing at least $8.3 billion annually.
Using best practices in RCM quickly resolves issues and builds a steady revenue stream for healthcare providers.
The solution is to transform workflows, digitize documents and processes, and leverage automation to manage repetitive, time-consuming tasks. Automation streamlines RCM and controls the revenue cycle's length. Therefore, document scanning and digitization support services become incredibly critical for efficient and error-free healthcare services delivery.
Making a case for document digitization in healthcare billing
The cost of healthcare is rising prohibitively. Hospitals are under immense pressure to reduce operating costs while improving service levels and patient outcomes. According to a recent Black Book survey, the average hospital will need to reduce its costs by 24% by 2022, to break even.
Faced with financial and market pressures, healthcare organizations now want to digitize processes for an efficient, robust revenue cycle.
Technology frees up time for employees to focus on more complex, high-value tasks, shorten the revenue cycle, and make operations easier to scale in high-demand scenarios like the COVID-19 pandemic. Digitization improves the healthcare provider's financial health.
Medical records digitization & management services for healthcare
MES offers healthcare providers a range of document scanning, document management, and business process improvement solutions to manage the RCM timeline more efficiently. We take the responsibility of information capture while maintaining patient information confidentiality.
We convert your paper-based documents into digital image formats that can be electronically stored, retrieved, tracked, and managed from any computer or mobile device.
Our business processing services take the administrative paperwork burden away from your internal teams and optimize operating costs for the organization. Most large hospitals now outsource their medical records management as they face unsustainable cost structures. Outsource the entire document management to us and make a smooth transition to paper-free operations!
Besides taking a manual load off the office staff, electronic storage frees up expensive physical office space. Secure digital storage fulfils mandatory compliances too. The burden on the office staff comes down further with the automation of billing processes.
Digitization offers too many benefits in healthcare to ignore
For healthcare providers, irrespective of scale—from small clinics, prominent ambulatory care centers, or full-fledged hospitals, healthcare records digitization offers significant benefits.
Efficient digital systems and workflows improve the overall operational standards of your facility. The interval between patient registration and payment receipt by the hospital reduces significantly. Digitization eliminates manual administrative tasks and streamlines billing processes and patient records maintenance. Your staff's focus will move to all-important patient care. Lowered costs and raised efficiency translate into higher financial returns. Most importantly, it frees operations and functional teams to interact with senior management and clinical specialists to raise the customer satisfaction quotient of healthcare services and provide a superior customer experience.
MES offers you an integrated document scanning and management system which brings information to your fingertips. Filing, storing, retrieving, and securing critical documents is streamlined, and billing cycles begin to shrink.
We have been in the document scanning and document management industry since 1971 and have converted over a billion images. Today, we scan more than ten million documents every month.
Talk to MES, your digitization partner, for a free quote on service to improve revenue cycle management and enhance patient experience!