I remember when I was in school, if we stepped out of line, a punishment typically dished out was to transcribe the phonebook onto an A4 page. This would go on for however long detention was. It was an effective deterrent with months passing before the next infraction and the entire process would be repeated with students doubly resolved not to repeat the same infraction. The Simpsons opening credits have made the punishment iconic with Bart writing lines on a chalkboard.

The lesson here is clear – transcribing or rewriting text is long and exhausting work. And yet, this is the fate of so many of our colleagues in claims departments. Current approaches mean the staff must take information existing in another document or system and transcribe it onto another form. It has been noted, “it is quite disappointing to peer inside the operations of any large organization and sees how little of their time knowledge workers spend on higher-order thinking tasks.” Claim creation is an incredibly important part of revenue cycle management in hospital and there is great complexity involved across the process, but attention is diverted away from this and towards the repetitive tasks that must be completed.

The question is how to start an automation project. There are three places to start.

Data is the key

elefonica has said you can’t start automating without usable data. For hospitals, usable data is a tricky thing, as I mentioned in previous posts. However, this isn’t an invitation to stop, rather it is the starting with the fundamental challenge – how do I liberate the data I have to unglue the strategic priority I am stuck on?  

Start smart

The reality is there are lots of tasks that could be automated or semi-automated. If you added all of these up, you may get to a gigantic project of automation. We recommend adopting an agile-type mindset – plan, iterate, measure success and repeat. Once success has happened, from both an implementation and business perspective, the desire for the project will grow.

Having a project purpose

How I see automation working for hospital billing is the same as I see it for whole hospitals. It is about “endowing people with greater capacities and having them work symbiotically with technology.” We don’t see it as a cost-saving exercise, rather it frees people from low-value tasks and focuses them on the high-value tasks of the claiming team – reducing age debt and ensuring full payment for services rendered.

The benefits of automation are well-documented, but we see the key benefit linked to the project purpose. By freeing claims teams from the drudgery that can be involved in claim creation, we free people to think beyond the next line on the form and focus on the higher ordinate goal of getting paid.

Hospitals are losing 6-9% of their revenue due to leakages in the billing process. MedoSync stops these leakages by creating the invoice in real-time and ensures hospitals get paid in full.