Leveraging Automation to Ease Challenges for ASCs – Part 2

John Carmelite, VP of IT, Intalere

By John Carmelite, Vice President, Enterprise Applications, Intalere

In our last post, we introduced the concept of automation for surgery centers and discussed adoption and how automation is helping to transform healthcare. Here we look specifically at the value automation can bring, including some successful use cases, and preview the next frontier in intelligent automation – chatbots.

What Value Can RPA Bring to Organizations?

In general, ASCs and any healthcare facility facing rising costs for patient and provider, siloed processes, numerous standard procedures across different suppliers and payers, increased staff needs and low value work taking up too much staff time, can use robotic process automation (RPA).

The implementation of RPA initiatives provides an opportunity to redirect staff to more high value efforts, as well as shorten the revenue cycle and drive additional cash flow. For administrative staff, that means more time for complex tasks, improved accuracy, and better compliance and risk management. For clinical staff, it can be about more time to focus on patient care and delivery, and for the facility itself, it can ultimately mean improved operating margins and lower costs.

But let’s look more specifically at use cases in several different areas of your operations where automation can be of value, especially in dealing with some of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supply Chain:

  • New vendor setup.
  • PO entry.
  • Backorder notification.

Revenue Cycle:

  • Patient registration.
  • Prior authorization.
  • Denials management.

Administrative Use:

  • Employee onboarding.
  • License verification.

The following are examples of what successes automation can bring in some of the above areas:

  • Automation of cash posting processes reduced posting errors from 10% to 0.
  • Establishment of an auto-replenishment system resulted in savings in the emergency department of $2 per patient.
  • The automation of insurance claim denials reduced the revenue cycle for denials by 6-8 weeks and brought a 9-month ROI.
  • Automation of supplier contract connections denials brings an 83% reduction in time to denials first response and 33% increase in number of denials reviewed.

What’s also important to understand about automation projects is the relative ease of implementing these solutions. They can often be deployed in 6 weeks and organizations can see ROI typically in 6-8 months.

The Next Frontier – Chatbots

Beyond RPA, the next frontier for healthcare looks to be chatbots.

At this point, you have probably interacted with some sort of chatbot online, most likely in a customer service setting. These kinds of chatbots historically have been developed as a guide with set answers to pre-canned questions much like a choose your own adventure book. These types of chatbots have been effective front entry points for patients for scheduling, billing and other activities. Other chatbots are commonly used for simple symptom analysis following established protocols and directed care options tailored to specific provider facilities.

The technology in this area is rapidly evolving with healthcare chatbots continually getting better at closely imitating human communication though natural language processing and machine learning. We have built chatbots that are very interactive, able to understand natural language, return specific answers to questions and provide additional directed information to help internal staff find answers quickly about contracts, inventory, pricing and other common information. 

In summary, no matter where you are in your journey regarding technology and automation, or the size and scope of your healthcare organization, providers are using automation more and more to deliver care and solve problems.

Intelligent Automation can transform organizations – bringing both operational efficiencies and driving bottom line impact. RPA is rapidly being adopted across healthcare organizations including ASCs with strong supply chain and revenue cycle use cases, and now is the time to begin exploring how it can help you and your patients.

We Can Help

Intalere, the healthcare industry leader in delivering solutions designed for improved financial, operational and clinical health for our partners, has a robust Intelligent Automation practice that can design, develop and support tailored RPA solutions. As a provider-owned organization, Intalere is committed to helping healthcare organizations with impactful solutions like RPA delivered in cost conscious and creative ways to help mitigate the financial uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Check out our Financial Solutions for Surgery Centers Webinar Series, highlighting resources and proven solutions in areas including automation, strategic procurement, physician preference items and commercial payment solutions. These sessions include Leveraging Automation to Ease COVID-19 Challenges for ASCs, where I discuss how organizations can leverage automation to ease COVID-19 challenges around billing and coding, patient financial responsibility, denials management and staffing.

Please reach out to us to see how we can help. Contact Customer Service at 877-711-5600 or customerservice@intalere.com or your Intalere representative.

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