There is a massive ROI when it comes to automating revenue cycle processes. It saves time and removes the element of human error. The benefits far outweigh the costs, yet we see many practices who continue to manually perform most of their revenue cycle functions. The difficulty many practices face is simply finding what areas in the revenue cycle can be automated.
The Goal of Automation
Automation is the process of implementing technology that can perform tasks quickly and efficiently, removing the need for human input. Simply put, it removes the need to manually perform certain tasks and automatically does them for you.
What are the functions that you perform in large quantities every day? These are the things that are ripe for automation. You can build rules, and the technology will take over for you. There are hours that your coders and billers spend on certain tasks that can be saved. This allows you to reallocate work in your revenue cycle, and the whole process becomes more productive. It is a win-win situation.
Steps to Identify Automation Opportunities
If you are looking to more fully automate your revenue cycle, take a look at these steps. This will walk you through the process of identifying and automating your revenue cycle.
1. Start with high-volume, repetitive tasks
Gather your coders and billers together, and brainstorm which tasks they are doing most often. Create a list of the changes that they are making most frequently. A lot of times these changes are based on different insurance requirements. Whatever they are, collect as many of these high-volume tasks as you can think of.
2. Ask yourself if this is an “always” situation
Once you have gathered your list, ask yourself if each item is an “always” situation. The way that automation works is that once you build a rule, it will always perform that rule. If there are any exceptions, it does not count as an “always” situation. Narrow down your list based on this requirement.
3. Build custom rules using automation software
Now that you have your list, it is time to automate! If you don’t already have an automated charge capture and code scrubbing software, this is where you need to purchase it.
When investing in automation software, flexibility is extremely important. You need to make sure that the software you invest in allows you to build as many custom rules and edits as you need. If you can’t automate based on the specific needs of your practice, then that software is not worth your time. Try our Epass products for complete freedom to automate as much as you need. We even work with you to identify more opportunities, to ensure that you are achieving your revenue cycle goals.
4. Use analytics to search for missed opportunities
After you have implemented automation in your revenue cycle, analytics is an important step to check your progress and see how much automation is helping. You may find that there are certain rules you need to adjust. Analytics will also help identify even more opportunities for automation. Find out which changes your coders make the most often according to your analytics report, and go back through steps 2-3.
If you don’t have access to this type of in-depth analytics, check out our analytics services here. We use analytics with our clients to help them continually improve their revenue cycle efficiency and accuracy.
5. Continually review and update
Automation is a marathon, not a sprint. The results may take time, and trial and error, to achieve. With payer rules continually changing, you will also need to regularly review your automated rules and keep them current. Don’t grow weary of keeping up with your automation process – like anything, it takes patient persistence to get it right.
If you are looking for more ways to improve your revenue cycle, check out this free revenue cycle calculator. Find out the impact that automation could truly have by calculating the productivity of your coding staff.
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