Bots to the Rescue: Maximizing Efficiencies in Your Direct Practice with RPA Technology
Even smaller medical practices can see significant benefits from adopting Robotic Process Automation (RPA), technology that performs repetitive tasks. Brian Cafferty, VP of RPA Development at Kareo, has spent 20 years in automation. He explains how RPA is an easy way to streamline billing and improve cash flow in any practice.
What is RPA?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a fancy name for software scripts (bots) that replace repetitive tasks. It’s been around a long time but is now becoming common everywhere, especially in reducing manual data entry. The benefits lie in saving staff time, cutting down on errors, trimming the revenue cycle, and improving the bottom line.
How is RPA used in medical practices?
The main areas where medical practices experience data entry issues are during intake and billing. Larger practices may have clinics or practitioners on different electronic medical record (EMR) systems and turn to RPA to deliver data in a standardized format. Practices of any size can use RPA to ease day-to-day tasks, particularly chasing down unapplied payments and managing electronic remittance advice (ERA) processing. Users report a 200% improvement in claims processing speed and a 50% boost in revenue per clinical encounter.
Why would smaller healthcare practices want RPA?
The two areas mentioned above, unapplied payments and ERA processing, can be pain points for practices of all kinds, whether they do their billing in-house or use an outside vendor. This makes them ideal candidates for RPA solutions. Let’s look at each one separately.
Kareo’s Unapplied Payments Posting Bot
When patients make a copay, most billing software assigns the funds to an “unapplied” category rather than posting to outstanding balances. Each requires a manual adjustment. Some copays need four or five different codes, making for an arduous process.
Kareo designed a bot to resolve the problem. Its Unapplied Payment Posting bot uses RPA technology to determine where funds should be applied. The bot is customized to the needs of each unique practice. It updates the patient’s outstanding balance, matching dates of service with payments received. This keeps accounts receivable up to date. The bot provides a daily summary of applied payments, eliminating the need for end-of-month reconciliation. Staff members are freed from frustrating chores and can spend more time on patient-focused activities. Patients are happier, too, because they spend less time questioning confusing statements.
Kareo’s Automated ERA Processing
Posting incoming ERAs is one of the more tedious parts of processing insurance claims. The tiniest error can result in a rejection, delaying cash flow. Although most ERAs are fairly routine, some require attention from your staff. Why use a valuable human to sort between the two when a bot could do it for you?
Kareo’s Automated ERA Processing bot reads every line of the ERA, right down to the CAS code, looking for conditions that may need special handling. It searches based on rules set by the individual practice. Standard ERAs are processed right away. Any that might need a review are flagged by the bot for inspection. Built-in consistency means that more claims pass on the first submission.
Is Kareo’s RPA technology hard (or expensive) to implement?
It’s surprisingly easy. Early RPA applications often required an in-house IT person, or other expert to do special coding. Kareo, on the other hand, understands the basic rules of RPA technology and designed RPA bots that integrate seamlessly with its clinical and billing software – for any size of practice. Nominal set-up and monthly fees result in a return on investment from Day One.
Connie Wax, founder and president of Medical Claims Solutions, was one of the Kareo clients whose input was instrumental in creating the Unapplied Payment application. “The bot paid for itself almost the moment we installed it,” she says.
Important RPA Webinar
Kareo is hosting a free live webinar, “Robotic Process Automation: Two Ways to Bring It Into Your Direct Practice Today” Wednesday, June 29, 2022 at 10:00 am PT / 1:00 pm ET featuring Brian Cafferty. Participants will have a chance to ask him questions about the practicality of RPA in individual practices. Reserve your spot NOW.
To find out more about Kareo’s RPA solutions, go to:
Kareo's RPA Overview Webpage
Automated Unapplied Payment Posting Data Sheet
Automated ERA Processing Data Sheet
Smarter Automation for Simpler Workflow Data Sheet