Profitability is declining among medical practices. This is mainly attributed to declining revenues, rising costs, and declining reimbursement rates. However, improving the billing and collections processes can significantly increase the bottom line and cash flow for medical practices. Unfortunately, most medical practices are not geared to be effective billing and collection agencies and external companies can charge up to $5 per claim. For a practice billing five patients per day, this can run over $76,000 per year! Fortunately, new technologies like RPA can help medical practices automate collection processes at one-third of the cost of external billing and collection agencies.
So, what is RPA and how can it help? RPA stands for robotic process automation. It’s a software bot (hence the robotic part) that conducts routine tasks (hence the process part) automatically (hence the automation part). Using RPA, work is completed automatically, faster, and with fewer errors. RPA applied at any of the steps in the medical billing process can expedite payments and increase revenue.
One of the biggest challenges in medical billing is timeliness. The longer a practice waits to send invoices for services rendered, the lower the chance of being paid for those services. It is recommended that billing begins when a patient makes their first appointment, but many medical practices don’t have these processes optimized to start billing at a patient’s first appointment. Robotic Process Automation can be set up to capture new patient appointments and automatically transition them into the various systems needed to initiate invoicing.
In addition to starting the billing process earlier, RPA can reduce the decline rate of claims made. By automatically matching ICD-10 codes with covered treatments and coverage amounts, medical practices can be sure to submit bills properly the first time, reducing error rates and payment timing.
Lastly, automating payment posting can expedite recovery of co-pay or deductible fees. Automatically processing payments from insurance companies to various systems can keep patient records current and give visibility to patients who have an outstanding balance. Notifying staff of this information quickly can allow them to capture outstanding balances in follow up appointments, expediting payment and reducing invoicing expenses.
As pressures increase from rising costs and declining reimbursement rates, optimizing billing and collection processes can improve the bottom line and cash flow for medical practices. New technologies like Robotic Process Automation enable medical professionals to optimize these processes in house and without the additional expenses of outsourcing or software overhaul. Not only can RPA make these processes faster and with fewer errors, resources currently supporting these efforts will have more time to focus on patients or more complex business problems.