Medical billing automation and coding have been a gift of technology for medical professionals and industry. With the help of AI-enabled billing and coding software, professionals can now save up a lot of time and reduce the chances of errors among many other significant benefits. However, medical billing and coding must go through many changes as the medical healthcare industry keeps growing. AI technologies like machine learning and natural language processing make it simple to process and interpret accurately and take very little time. Healthcare is not unexposed to the concept of digitization, continually adopting technologies to improve patient outcomes. However, in place of the EHR movement, the healthcare industry has continued to subject itself to manual billing and coding software systems weakened by miscalculations and faulty error-checking processes.
Over half of medical bills are mishandled, skewing costs in both directions and resulting in billions of dollars in improper payments. For a long time, there was no way to change the billing and coding infrastructure, and where there are manual processes, there are inevitable errors.
With a growing number of patients being treated, the number of billing errors increases dramatically. Handling this influx of data requires a sorting and organizational intelligence with processing power that far surpasses that of human resources.
Recently, healthcare establishments have been combating the billing deficit with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) software. When applied to billing and coding, sophisticated AI technology can contextualize unstructured data, compartmentalize EHR data and connect relevant information. AI analyzes data, giving meaning to the data using advanced algorithms that become increasingly intuitive over time. With experience, humans become more influential and efficient in their roles.
Most importantly, AI automates repetitive analyses and procedures, which has led to substantial reductions in operational costs for industries across the board. In other words, we are replacing human intelligence with artificial intelligence, and doing so at an ever-increasing rate.
Healthcare has finally caught onto the AI movement, applying the technology to pinpoint data within EHR databases and extract the relevant information for billing purposes. With AI, we can build resilient and scalable medical coding software.
Benefits and role of AI in medical coding and billing
- The help of automation in the coding process reduces the dependability of a high number of professionals. Automation processes give a saving advantage in terms of the number of resources that needed to be hired for coding.
- Ensures accurate patient statements and improves the cash flow. Generating and receiving bills, recording and backtracking statements of the patient helps in the treatment process to work smoothly and accurately.
- Reduction in the standard working hours of administration which positively affects the quality of work in other areas. With mechanical tools and technology at hand, it saves up a lot of quality of administrative staff and hence positively affects their productivity.
- Detecting and removing any errors by matching EHR data with appropriate medical codes and with the help of system integration. This process leaves no further space for errors and helps in getting assured and clear results.
- Better customer support and reduced customer queries or disputes related to patient statements to lower operating costs. Negotiations or disputes about operating costs can be avoided.
- Instantaneous pre-authorization – One of the most unique aspects of AI and its ability to make predictions and conclusions.
- Decreases the operational costs related to repetitive analysis and manual billing procedures.
- Resolving unstructured data and extracting required information from various EHR’s within the organization makes it easier to produce integrated patient statements. It streamlines the payment process and encourages patients to pay their bills on time.
- NLP (Natural language processing) translates physician’s notes into billable medical notes effectively.
- Performing real-time audits to eliminate the chances of discovering errors too late in the process which would cost time and money.
AI-driven technologies have the capability to self-improve as they perform more tasks. The system will become more sophisticated over time and continue to narrow margins of error. Not to mention, more accurate and efficient billing will improve the patient experience by ensuring that patients are not overcharged and providing them with access to their medical information in an organized and consolidated format.
Artificial Intelligence’s Impact on the Healthcare Industry
- Virtual physicians – Being able to seek medical consultations and medications virtually has taken the medical facilitation convenience to a new height. It is especially helpful in cases of emergency, during lockdowns, and in any other cause where the patient cannot reach doctors in person.
- Patients’ treatment is customized as per their medical history – Due to the digitalization of all medical data and patients’ history, it helps medicals medical professionals in diagnosing and prescribing treatment without any confusion and delays.
- Medicines are identified based on disease – Identification and search of medications has also automatically become easier with the help of technology and research tools available.
- Candidate identification for clinical trials – Detailed data and history of participants in clinical trials is accessible and used for future references by scientists and professionals for trials with the help of AI.
- Disease identification and diagnosis – Naturally, with proper information and test results, identification of diseases, treatment processes, and multiple options of treating one disease is one of the most significant contributions of AI.
- Wearable health monitors – Health monitoring machines that are small and wearable help track patients’ heartbeat rate, blood pressure, etc, and the automatically recorded changes can help analyze the patient’s condition.
- Prediction of epidemic outbreaks – With the assistance and use of research and comparative studies by various international and national level health organizations we can analyze, predict and understand any epidemic outbreaks and find ways of staying safe from them. All this is enhanced and achieved with the help of AI.
- Automated routine activities – Daily check-ups, routine tests, and overall clinical operations have become simpler and are run more efficiently.
- Surgical Robots – The small size and flexibility of the robotic instruments make this easier to accomplish precision and safety during surgery. It helps surgeons get a more enhanced view and clarity of the operating area of the body along with the ability to identify and make smaller incisions and cut while performing surgery among other benefits.
Promising Future of Medical Billing
The upcoming changes look promising and transformative for medical billing.
1. EHR Adoption – Physicians all over the world are expected to adapt to electronic health record systems. s. Widespread EHR adoption also means the simplification and expedition of payment cycles and coding becoming easier.
2. Cloud-based medical billing – Cloud-based medical billing is seen as a welcome solution as it helps in storing and accessing data electronically at any time and anywhere. It’s important to acquire the technology from a trusted and reputable partner to avoid any security concerns.
3. RCM Outsourcing – Many healthcare practices since 2019 have opted for outsourcing services rather them doing them in-house. It cuts down on cost and helps reduce the staff’s burden and resources.
Factors Affecting Medical Coding
- Health system mergers – Physicians and hospitals continue to consolidate into health systems for various reasons (finances and regulation burden, mainly).
- Value-based payment – The methods and systems of reimbursement of medical practitioners has changed. To stem rising costs of healthcare, payment is being tied to performance — that is, the ability of a physician to provide a patient with better care (care that improves the patient’s outcome) at a lower cost.
- Patient-centered care – With the cost of health insurance skyrocketing, healthcare is becoming consumer-driven. This is making the overall patient experience more important, and that demand falls to the entire practice, from the initial contact to claims payment.
Most billing companies in the US are aware of the advantages of outsourcing Medical Billing Services to India and have begun utilizing it as a tool for acquiring broad business benefits and business efficiency. Hiring medical billing experts from India saves costs and also boosts their bottom line. One of the best parts about outsourcing is that you don’t need to buy the billing software or any of the latest equipment or even deal with any expensive software upgrade. The costs are mostly reduced as you don’t need to own a complete billing system.
The future seems to favor Medical Billing. We’ve come a long way already, moving from the arduous nature of hand-written medical ledgers to automated medical billing software that makes every aspect of this critical task simpler. Practitioners and Patients are in a better position right now than they were just a decade ago. Additionally, the surge in demand for outsourcing medical billing services has also resulted in Billing and coding becoming way more convenient than they’ve ever been. The scope of improvements, changes, and new technology is always increasing and revolutionizing the world of medical sciences and improving the quality of healthcare and lives of patients.