Human beings continually search for better, easier ways to get things done – in the field of healthcare and elsewhere. We’ve been advancing the concept of medical technology since the first x-ray was recognized as a useful diagnostic tool. From the simple electronic blood pressure cuffs now found in almost any grocery store to complex robotic arms used by skilled surgeons, we continue to see an explosion in medical automation.
And the upsurge isn’t limited to clinically-focused technology. It also encompasses software and systems that streamline front- and back-end operations, improving both patient flow and revenue cycle management.
In fact, technology plays an important role throughout the value chain. Earlier this year, an article in Healthcare Finance News noted that “the renewal of information management business models” would be a primary payer trend this year—with “business intelligence technology…the number one investment category.”
For those of us working in healthcare IT, automation to help improve business functions such as patient flow, claims processing and health record management is vitally important.
If you look around, you already see pioneers venturing into new medical workflow automation territory. Consider, for instance, the continuing drive to promote standardized machine-readable patient insurance ID cards. Or eligibility solutions that let you know at the click of a button—and prior to rendering a service—essential details about a patient’s insurance coverage, benefit ceilings, co-pays, etc.
At the same time, other practices employ the benefits of electronic workflow management and tasking functionality to streamline claims processing. Indeed, automation can help move practices toward any number of business efficiencies in this arena – from speedier filing, to submission of cleaner claims, to reduced denials and faster payments.
It’s not science fiction: automation technology aids not only the diagnostic and therapeutic side of medicine, but the business side of medicine as well. In this growing age of technology – particularly now, with increased focus on HIT – healthcare must consider the breadth of available solutions in order to ensure they are adopting the tools to achieve the full complement of medical group objectives – encompassing both better clinical practices and better business practices.