Artificial Intelligence is Creating Significant Efficiencies in Healthcare Administration

Apr 10, 2024 at 02:00 pm by steve

By Georgina Perry, CPA, CMPE


When you consider technology’s role in healthcare, you might think of clinical advancements like surgical robotics or wearable devices. Less widely known is the technology working behind the scenes to improve the efficiency and outcomes on the administrative side of the industry.

Technology and computers received a big push in healthcare administration in the early 2000's with the Meaningful Use incentive and the availability of affordable accounting software like QuickBooks. Meaningful Use offered providers a financial incentive to utilize electronic medical records to create and collect healthcare data, which forced administrators to examine how the new EMR would communicate with their existing billing software. QuickBooks allowed medical practices to prepare their own bookkeeping in real time and prepare reports based on current data with just a few clicks.  

Recently, much of the technology conversation is around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the healthcare industry is no different. AI can be described as the application of machine learning algorithms used to imitate human thinking. As with the implementation of EMRs and QuickBooks, some jobs were eliminated, but new jobs and roles were created, as well. Let's examine some of the administrative areas of healthcare that continue to benefit from advancements in technology. 

One area that has evolved with recent technology is patient scheduling. Many practices have already implemented a chatbot to aid patients with online appointment scheduling, as well as to answer frequently asked questions. A chatbot is a program that simulates human conversation with an end user. The chatbot may ask the user a few standard questions to find the next available opening on the schedule, or route the patient to the correct staff for further assistance. Some chatbots are equipped with AI to respond in a more personal way and have access to more patient and practice data to make decisions about what questions to ask the user in order to assist them in scheduling an appointment that both fits the practice's parameters as well as the patients preferences. Technology like chatbots with or without AI are designed to automate the scheduling process to ultimately remove the human involved in scheduling. 

Medical billing automated electronic claims filing and electronic payment posting long ago. Automating those once-manual processes freed up billing staff to spend more time on working rejections and other issues. Medical billing technology that involves AI is trained to review coding, payment patterns, and history to predict the order in which claims should be worked by billing staff according to the likelihood payment will be made. AI is also responsible for the suggested coding provided based on the software's assessment of the documentation and information input by the clinical staff. Suggested coding allows for efficient and correct coding to be reviewed and approved by trained medical coding staff without them having to start at square one with every claim and code. By allowing the software to take over the mundane tasks involved in the medical billing process, the staff are now free to focus on the data that is available to monitor patterns, issues and updates.  

Medical transcription processes have changed dramatically as a result of advances in technology in healthcare administration, having evolved from the provider dictating into a recorder and a transcriptionist typing the notes on a typewriter to software that records voice to text on your phone and AI guiding the text to the correct part of the note. What used to require two people and multiple days now can be completed by the provider in a matter of minutes with specific software. 

Healthcare will continue to evolve as new technology is developed. The technology is pushing changes within practices to happen faster and faster. How can medical practices keep pace? Be ready to reexamine your processes frequently as there might be a more efficient way to do things today. Stay up to date with new or improved capabilities of the software you already have. You might not need to spend a lot of money to have access to the latest developments. Create a community of sharing with your professional peers. Learn from each other’s experience and technology.

Georgina Perry, CPA, CMPE serves as the Director of Physician Services at Carr, Riggs & Ingram.

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