Medical billing and coding are undoubtedly some of the most integral jobs in medical practices, for nurses and doctors. That’s because the billers and coders are tasked with codifying and managing 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 dear patients. A question which would have seemed luxurious to the pioneers of medical billing and coding, is which is better: outsourced medical billing or automated medical billing? Both options have become more viable nowadays, with self-improving software and highly-skilled workers becoming more common worldwide. Either one may seem more or less suitable to your practice, and they each offer their own unique advantages.
Here’s a look at outsourced medical billing and automated medical billing, and a consideration into which may be better for your practice.
The world is quickly becoming more and more autonomous, with robots and Artificial Intelligence seemingly around the corner, it’s no surprise that automation is revolutionizing the healthcare industry.
There are two aspects of automated medical billing which make it a valuable consideration: less data entry, and instant comprehensive reports.
Data entry, the physical act of typing information into a document or program on the computer, is understandably a time-consuming process. It also requires a strong ability to focus, as the task itself is monotonous and repetitive, and there is ample opportunity to make mistakes. Data entry in medical billing and coding is no different, so automating that part of the process can save precious time.
Automated medical billing allows billers and coders to assign this basic data entry to software which is able to ascertain the required information from the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and add it to the system without errors.
Another time-consuming part of the biller and coders job is gathering and collating data for comprehensive reports. While modern software already allows for reports to be made, it can still take time and require thorough checking before handing over to be reviewed.
With automated medical billing, generating comprehensive reports is built into the process. All the information put into the automated system can be rendered into accurate reports in a moment’s notice.
While these two aspects may have sold you on the idea, there is one consideration about automated systems which is an age-old problem: the lack of human judgement.
Unlike computers, we have an intrinsic ability to view situations holistically, and to see through the data sets to the actual meaning beyond it all. When it comes to something that needs to be as accurate as billing and coding, nothing beats having human judgement. While automated systems can save a lot of time with easier work, it seems that’s as far as they can get right now.
Perhaps in the coming years with advancements in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning we will finally be able to completely trust our computers with such sensitive information. Until then, automated medical billing software may only be useful for data entry and generating reports.
Not completely unlike the classic job itself, outsourced medical billing typically relies on external individuals or entities to do all billing and coding work. The main advantage of it though, is not having to hire a full-time staff member for the job.
There are two aspects of outsourced medical billing which make it better than in-house staff doing your billing and coding: less staff to manage, and experienced professionals.
Anyone who has ever had to manage staff knows that it comes with a lot of time and work to bring them up to scratch, and ensure they’re doing what they need to be doing. The medical billing and coding world is no stranger 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 actually become good.
Another common problem with these staff members is keeping them busy, as there can be lulls in billing and coding, so often they take on other administrative roles they may not be accustomed to.
Outsourcing this work means you can only hire the staff you want and need 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. This means not only can you expect a high level of work, but also accountability and responsibility.
Until automated medical billing utilizes the aforementioned technologies which may make it functional, outsourced medical billing and coding seems to be the best way to go.