Recent headlines for healthcare artificial intelligence (AI) applications have been mainly in the domain of medical imaging. Radiology AI applications reduce the time radiologists spend on manual tasks. This includes time spent sorting through medical images, identifying critical findings and compiling data for real-time clinical reporting. Given the substantial benefits on the clinical side, industry experts believe AI’s next move will be into the hospital business offices.
This trend is driven by the opportunity to address major patient dissatisfiers of poor communication about costs, from the patient’s estimated out-of-pocket cost to the patient’s final bill. In short, patients are wary of dealing with the business office by phone. They don’t want to wait on hold, or wait for a callback. And most hospital administrators can attest that their team has better things to do than deal with upset patients.
Deploying AI to Improve Revenue Cycle Outcomes
A 2019 article in Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) notes that 75% of healthcare leaders want to implement AI strategies. Of particular interest, 43% report their “first area of focus” will involve automating business processes to reduce costs.
HFMA shared strategies for incorporating AI to improve the revenue cycle, which include:
– Replace manual tasks with automation so staff can work on higher-value functions. Healthcare providers could save upwards of $10 billion by automating certain revenue cycle functions, according to some estimates. Traditionally, health systems rely on manual claims management and payment reconciliation functions, which are subject to errors.
– Leverage AI to prevent denials. Denials not only stress patients, they also cost health systems money. On average, nearly 10% of claims are initially denied by health insurers. Each denial adds $118 to administrative costs for the health system.
Other Advantages for the Business Office
AI spending in healthcare is expected to increase by about 50% by 2023 and for good reason. Some 56% of U.S. healthcare and life sciences business leaders report that AI initiatives have delivered more value than expected.
Patientco – recently named Best in KLAS for patient financial engagement platforms – understands the true value of advanced data analytics and AI, especially as it relates to the revenue cycle.
With an integrated platform such as Patientco, healthcare organizations can use data and AI to personalize each patient’s financial care in a scalable way. For example, health systems that use AI can easily encourage patients who have large bill balances to sign up for payment plans with messaging on their bills. Or, they can use AI to influence a patient with a smaller balance to pay in full with a prompt payment discount.
AI allows health systems to predict the best ways to drive patient engagement, proactively meet patients’ preferences and give patients an easy way to manage their current and future expenses with tailored payment options. This results in a better, more personalized financial experience that delivers meaningful financial results for health systems.