How AI in Medical Billing and Coding Is Transforming The Industry
As the owner of a small medical practice, the importance of your medical billing/medical coding process won’t be lost on you. It goes without saying that this process is the backbone of healthcare organizations and has a direct impact on your revenue cycle management, whether you’re ensuring coding accuracy or submitting your claims without any errors.
However, as your medical coders will know all too well, conventional data entry and coding methods aren’t without their own set of challenges.
Fortunately, though, we’re entering an era where Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are gaining more widespread adoption across all industries, with traditional medical billing being no exception.
So, throughout this article, we’ll be exploring some of the ways automated medical coding tools are making a difference in how healthcare providers handle the administrative side of running a practice. From automating some of the more mundane tasks your billing and coding team faces to generally improving efficiency, there’s a lot of potential for growth here in the coming years. Let’s get started!
Understanding The Traditional Challenges
As mentioned, human coders face plenty of hurdles in their job, but what stands out as some of the most significant issues?
The Time-consuming Nature of Manual Data Entry & Coding Processes
Traditionally, medical billing and coding have always heavily relied on manual data entry where every single detail has to be, rather painstakingly, recorded and coded. Naturally, this becomes a fairly laborious process that consumes a significant amount of time for a medical coder meaning there’s more time spent away from patient care.
In addition, the sheer amount of patient data and medical codes your staff has to go through only adds to the overall complexity of the job, leaving room for errors.
Human Errors and Their Impact On Revenue
Following on from the previous point, manual billing and coding are inherently prone to human errors that can impact your practice’s cash flow. Unfortunately, even if it’s just a small mistake, like a misplaced code or an incorrect diagnosis, you know how brutal insurance companies can be with their denials.
As a result, you can expect claim denials and delayed reimbursements, which ultimately lead to decreased revenue. Not only do these coding errors impact your finances, but the reputation of your practice can take a knock, too.
The Role Of Artificial Intelligence Medical Billing and Coding
However, medical coding automation/computer assisted coding has massive potential to alleviate some of these burdens for your practice in the future. Let’s take a look at some of these solutions:
Automating Data Entry and Coding
Generally speaking, one of the primary advantages of AI in the medical industry is its ability to automate some of the more repetitive and time-consuming tasks you face on a daily basis.
For instance, AI-powered systems can extract relevant data from a patient’s medical record, match their diagnoses with the appropriate codes, and then generate accurate bills for you – all with remarkable speed and precision.
You don’t have to eliminate manual data entry entirely, but AI can certainly streamline this entire process which ultimately saves time.
Improving Accuracy and Efficiency
AI uses fairly sophisticated machine learning algorithms that can analyze any dataset you provide it with so patterns can be identified.
By learning from some of your historical data, these AI systems can become more and more adept at accurately coding things like medical procedures and diagnoses, which ensures proper reimbursement for your practice.
Embracing The Future Cautiously
Still, although this is an exciting field with bundles of potential, AI implementation in healthcare isn’t without its own set of limitations – namely that the technology is still in its infancy stage. If you’re looking to adopt AI for your medical practice in the future, it’s paramount to do so with caution, which means seeking expert guidance.
PMN, for instance, brings 20+ years of coding expertise to the table, meaning they’ve seen all sorts of trends come and go over the years.
If your practice decides to collaborate with a third-party medical billing company like PMN, you’ll actually be able to leverage the benefits of AI technology without some of the common hindrances that come with its implementation and management.
As a result, you’re left with a highly efficient combination of both expertise in medical coding and billing and a thorough understanding of the cutting-edge tools (like AI and NLP) that are revolutionizing the industry. This allows them to provide tailored solutions for your practice rather than having to navigate this space in the dark independently.
If you wish to hear more about the services provided by PMN and how they can integrate with your medical practice, don’t hesitate to contact one of their staff members by calling (949) 215-5055. Furthermore, you can book an appointment for an in-person consultation at their office in Laguna Hills, Orange County, California!
Will AI Replace My Staff Members?
Absolutely not. AI technology is simply designed to augment and support your current staff members, not replace them. While AI can automate tasks like data entry and coding, human expertise is still essential for complex coding scenarios, not to mention things like patient interactions. AI does, however, free up your staff members’ time which lets them focus on higher-value activities like practice management.
Are There Any Risks With AI Technology?
Like most technology, AI comes with a few inherent risks – things like biases within the AI algorithms and the complexity of integration. Still, partnering with experienced professionals at the forefront of this kind of technology can go a long way in mitigating some of these risks and ultimately ensuring a smooth implementation process.