Why Your Practice Should Eliminate Paper from the Revenue Cycle
“According to a Harvard University economist, the total savings of switching to electronic medical billing is estimated at approximately $32 billion annually.”
“86% of consumers receive paper medical bills, 88% of providers report receiving paper checks and Explanation of Payment (EOPs) from one or more of their payers, and 85% of providers prefer ERA/EFT payments.”
“On average, providers lose $40,000 for every 100 claims that are reworked.”
Did reading these statistics make you stop and think, “How much am I really losing to manual and paper-based processes?” The healthcare industry is notorious for inefficient and costly revenue cycle processes, and paper is one of the main culprits. It creates inefficiencies everywhere – from payer reimbursement to patient collections. If your practice still relies on paper for many of your RCM processes, you’re already behind. The time to make the move to automation is now, and here’s why.
Electronic Claims Processing
Nearly a third of providers in the US are still using manual claims processes. Considering that providers spend anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes per claim on manual tasks including fax and mail, there’s a lot of time and money lost. To put it into perspective, medical providers could save at least $1.1 million labor hours per week be transitioning to full electronic claims processing. There are many advantages to making the move from paper to electronic claims processing.
Claims Scrubber Software
Medical claims scrubber software with built in automation for electronic claims scrubbing can completely transform staff productivity. Imagine a workflow in which billers aren’t spending hours sifting through claims. Claim scrubbing improves validity and accuracy, allowing staff to catch mistakes and make quick corrections before submission. Your practice is reimbursed faster while staff saves hours of time wasted on resubmission and tracking appeals.
Think about the cost of paper, envelopes, stamps and office supplies needed to manually submit claims. Not to mention the costs associated with inaccurate denied claims. Now compare it to the cost of submitting electronic claims. Physicians Professional Management Corp (PPMC), and ImagineSoftware client, experienced inefficiencies in their outdated, manual claims processes before making the move to automated medical billing. Mariya Hebert, IT Manager at PPMC, shared, “Some of the challenges we faced with our last software vendor was lack of automation. Everything was manual – no electronic remits, no electronic claims files. Everything was paper, paper, paper. Now, we send out claims electronically and we receive payments electronically for the bulk of our payors. We also receive a lot of our patient payments electronically versus before when we didn’t have that option. We’ve gained a lot of efficiencies.”
Tracking status of paper claims makes it nearly impossible to predict where it will fall in your revenue cycle. With electronic claim submission, you can check claim status and know exactly where your claims are in the system. Even better, you can create reporting that is valuable to all stakeholders on timing of reimbursement.
Electronic Patient Collections
This should be an obvious one, but a large portion of practices still use paper statements for patient collections. Not only is snail mail an inefficient way to collect, it’s also costly. Are you keeping track of how much you’re spending on envelopes, paper and stamps? It’s probably more than you think.
The need for electronic patient collections is amplified by the fact that the tech-reliant millennial generation is becoming a major payer. Take it from Max Tselevich, CEO of The Doctor who told Rev Cycle Intelligence, “Sending a paper statement to a millennial or leaving a voicemail is about as useless as a hamburger driving a vehicle.” The truth is that many providers would rather not give up a small percentage for merchant processing to offer patient’s an easier way to pay. What they’re not taking into consideration is the cost savings associated with paper products and efforts to collect from those patients.
At the end of the day, the move to electronic statements is happening, and if your practice wants to be competitive, you will need to consider leaving paper statements behind and upgrading to an electronic form of patient collections.
Patients are seeking more convenient, electronic patient collection methods. Mailing or calling in to pay a medical bill is frustrating and at times confusing for patients, so it’s your job as a provider to step up to meet those needs. An online payment portal like ImaginePay™ allows patients to set up automatic payments, which reduces their anxiety and the amount of paper mail coming to them. “Our patients love ImaginePay™,” said Melanie Gross, Revenue Cycle Director at Akumin. “We don’t receive nearly as many calls on how to pay medical bills and it has definitely increased our cash flow.”
For patients that need assistance paying for their medical bills, payment plans are another way to improve patient satisfaction while eliminated paper-associated collection costs. A payment plan will not only improve your rate of obtaining patient payments, it will also give your patients more control over handling their medical bills.
Make the Move
The world of healthcare as it relates to revenue cycle management is a challenging environment. It is constantly changing as new technologies emerge and patients hold higher expectations on what their experience should look like. Recognize the signal for change and make the move to more automation. Your bottom line will thank you for it.