How to Drive Better Profits and Efficiencies with Robotic Process Automation

Although we often associate the term “robotics'' with space missions or warehouse operations, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology is already transforming the inner workings of healthcare. RPA solutions are streamlining billing companies and larger independent practices -- improving efficiencies, reducing costs, supporting growth, and boosting the bottom line.


Robotic Process Automation (RPA) 101


The idea behind RPA is a simple one. Use software to replace manual tasks that are repetitive and rule based. These include routine processes like data entry, HR onboarding or time sheet management; supply chain tasks like procurement, inventory tracking and order processing; or customer service auto replies to common queries. In other words, RPA robots (“bots”) are working behind the scenes everywhere in our daily lives, relieving people of the more tedious and mundane aspects of work. We often take their efficiencies for granted.


What are bots?


The robots (“bots”) used in RPA are not physical entities. They are software scripts that work almost like invisible humans. You’re rarely aware of them. But you rely on them every time you purchase online, check your bank balance, or do practically anything with a computer.


Benefits of RPA


RPA provides a diverse set of benefits. ·
  • Accuracy – Because bots do tasks the same way each and every time, they eliminate errors that arise from human fatigue, lack of concentration, boredom, incompetence or simple mistakes.
  • Efficiency – Bots work without supervision. Once programmed, they require little or no human intervention. They are typically many times faster than a human. They work 24/7 and don’t need to go home at night. 
  • Time savings – Bots radically reduce the need for data entry and clerical staff members. By permitting seamless data sharing, they trim time spent in information conversions, transfers, and communication. Less time on busywork means more time for patient care and research.
  • Cost savings – Because they trim staffing needs, reduce errors, and improve turnaround time, RPA bots pay for themselves many times over.
  • Increased Profitability - Get paid faster as your data is automatically validated to ensure a clean claims rate, helping you increase first-pass claim rates and decrease reimbursement times.


RPA in healthcare


Despite remarkable advances in technology, many operational areas in healthcare still operate with manual or stand-alone systems. Why? Some billing companies and practices prefer their tried-and-true processes and staff members. Others may not even know that Robotic Process Automation is available to them to help them run their business.

RPA now offers solutions for larger medical practices and billing companies seeking to streamline their processes. For example, RPA can be used to automate almost any repetitive clerical task including data input, EHR postings, payment tracking, insurance claim administration, and converting data to a usable format for transactions and analysis.


Is RPA a canned solution?


The “bots” utilize rules defined by each organization and practice for consistent, accurate, and fast processing. Typically, they will be customized to a client’s unique needs. Why is RPA important in healthcare? Medicine is increasingly becoming bogged down by documentation, whether for patient records, insurance payments, regulatory compliance, or organizational management. Physicians report that paperwork is one of their worst headaches, contributing to a sharp rise in professional burnout. RPA helps free up practitioners and their staff to use their time more productively.

Similarly, medical billing grows more complicated each year. Not only can various insurers require information in different formats, but data itself arrives in system-specific configurations, depending on the EHR used by a practice. Compliance requirements change frequently, creating confusion. RPA bots resolve these and other related issues since they can be programmed whenever conditions change. They can standardize data for seamless and accurate information downloads.


Bots can then be used to manipulate that data into actionable information, for smarter practice management.


Perhaps the greatest impact of RPA in healthcare lies in improving accuracy and efficiency. When clerical errors are eliminated, claims go through faster, which improves a practice’s cash flow. When highly skilled professionals waste less time on paperwork, they can treat more patients – which improves both revenue and job satisfaction. And when billing companies are able to accept data from diverse systems, they can expand their client base, using economies of scale to boost profitability. All of these can help to rein in overall costs and improve the bottom line.


Does Kareo offer an RPA solution?


Yes. Kareo now offers Robotic Process Automation solutions that integrate seamlessly with Kareo’s EHR and billing solutions. These solutions are fully supported by the Kareo team and align with Kareo’s standard of ease-of-use and cost-effectiveness. Kareo’s RPA offering is currently made up of four core products.

When bundled together, customers see even greater returns.
  • Smart Connector for HL7 & Patient Data transfers patient demographics and financial data from external systems into Kareo’s billing platform to maintain a consistent and accurate flow of data, reducing manual entry.
  • Automated Clinical Note Creation migrates clinic notes for each patient encounter from one EHR into Kareo Clinic, for a full view of each patient’s history.
  • Automated ERA Processing streamlines ERA submissions (and resubmissions) based on rules set by the user’s organization.
  • Automated Unapplied Payments tracks when insurance payments are posted, calculates the associated patient responsibility, and automatically applies patient payments.


Want to learn more?


Kareo’s RPA technology solution empowers medical practices and billing companies to streamline revenue cycle management workflows to reap important financial returns. For more information, contact your Kareo representative or visit us here. For a high level overview of the RPA technology, download our 4 Big Benefits of Robotic Automation in Billing infographic here. 

About the Author

Alesa Lightbourne is a prize-winning author, professor and former dean of an international business school. As a freelance writer, her clients have included Fortune...

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