Medical billing and coding are assuredly some of the most integral jobs in medical practices. That’s because the billers and coders are assigned to codify and manage both the medical and billing information of countless patients. One simple mistake could not only be expensive but also harmful to the health of your patients.
The question of whether to outsource medical billing operations or Automate Medical Billing weighs heavily. The right answer differs from practice to practice based on factors like age of the business, size of the local labor market, and state of practice finances, among other considerations.
Both options have become more feasible nowadays, with self-improving software and highly-skilled workers becoming more common globally. Either one may seem more or less suitable to your practice, and they each offer their distinctive advantages.
However, in the initial stages of the decision-making process, let’s take look at outsourced medical billing and automated medical billing, and study that which may be better for your practice.
Automated Medical Billing
The world is rapidly becoming more and more autonomous, with robots and Artificial Intelligence apparently around the corner, it’s no wonder that automation is transforming the healthcare industry.
There are two aspects of automated medical billing which make it a valuable consideration:
- instant comprehensive reports
- less data entry
Instant Comprehensive Reports
The most time-consuming part of the biller and coder’s job is to assemble and collect data for comprehensive reports. While modern software already allows for reports to be made, it can still take time and need thorough checking before delivering it to be analyzed.
Comprehensive report generation is a built-in process of automated medical billing. All the information put into the automated system can be rendered into accurate reports at a moment’s notice.
Less Data Entry
Data entry is understandably a time-consuming process. Typing information into a document or program on the computer requires a strong ability to focus, as the task itself is boring and repetitive, and there is enough chance to make mistakes. Data entry in medical billing and coding is no different, so automating that part of the process can save valuable time.
Automated medical billing allows billers and coders to assign this basic data entry to software that can ascertain the required information from the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and add it to the system without errors.
While these two factors may have sold you on the idea, there is one thought about automated systems which is the lack of human judgment.
Unlike computers, humans have an innate ability to view situations holistically. When it comes to something that needs to be as precise as billing and coding, nothing defeats having human judgment. While automated systems can save a lot of time with easier work, it seems that’s as far as they can get right now.
Maybe in the coming years with development in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, we will finally be able to fully trust our computers with such sensitive information. Till then, automated medical billing software may only be useful for data entry and generating reports.
Outsourced Medical Billing
Outsourced medical billing typically relies on external individuals or entities to do all billing and coding work. Outsourcing your medical billing is when your practice lets a dedicated third-party code and bill your procedures. By trusting a medical billing company with your information, you can depend on the professional expertise of their staff to find the most extensive and efficient way of processing your coding and billing so physicians can concentrate on other areas of improvement. The main advantage of it however is not to hire a full-time staff member for the job.
There are two features of outsourced medical billing which make it better than automated medical billing for doing your billing and coding:
- experienced professionals
- less staff to manage
Less Staff to Manage
It takes a lot of time to manage and train staff from scratch and ensure that they are working according to your requirement. The medical billing and coding world is not so unfamiliar to this, with many billers and coders only needing to do a short course to get the job. This results in handling individuals who may not be so passionate about the work they’re doing, or those who require years of experience in a practice to become good.
Another frequent problem with keeping staff members is to have them busy, as there can be pauses in the billing and coding process, so often they take on other administrative roles they may not be habitual to. Outsourcing the work means you can only hire the staff you are required to work with.
Most providers of outsourced medical billing utilize people who have been in the industry for years, and simply don’t want to be working in individual practices anymore. Hence not only can you hope for a high level of work, but also liability and responsibility.
Until automated medical billing utilizes the above-mentioned technologies which may make it functional, outsourced medical billing and coding seem to be the best way. Outsourcing medical billing provides a far more controlled and sustainable approach to revenue cycle management. But while considering outsourcing medical billing, you have to make sure that it is the right choice for your practice.
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