The last few years have proven that innovation is the driving force within the healthcare industry in the United States. Even though there have been moments of uncertainty as the pandemic recovery process continues, it has also provided an essential foundation for new technologies to take center stage faster than ever before.
Machine learning, AI capabilities, and natural language processing have been accelerated this past year in response to the pandemic and have shown what is possible in healthcare moving forward as the industry continues to transform. The opportunities are proving to be endless when it comes to implementing technology that expands access to care, promotes healthy lifestyle choices, and eases the administrative burdens within the healthcare industry.
Adoption of Innovative Healthcare Approaches Increases Access to Care
Innovative healthcare approaches have numerous benefits, but the convenience and increased access to healthcare is one that can make a lasting impact in the health outcomes of many, especially those who live in rural or underdeveloped areas. According to Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, about 60 million people, nearly one in five Americans, live in rural areas and depend on their local hospitals for medical care. More than 70 of those hospitals have ended all services since 2011. With medical facilities closing their doors for various reasons, investing in innovative approaches and properly implementing the new processes are more important than ever before to ensure that those who are in need of care receive it in a timely manner.
With the increase of consumer-based, smart medical devices, more health data is able to be collected. By utilizing AI, machine learning, and natural language processing, medical experts can provide better outcomes in a telehealth environment. Being able to remotely track a patient’s health, screen symptoms, and streamline the collection process of medical information allows patients and their providers to have a better understanding of their immediate health needs by exploring the data that is collected. This data also allows for providers to speak with their patients proactively about future treatments or lifestyle changes that can improve their health.
Healthcare apps and other wearable fitness devices have become extremely popular and have only advanced since their initial introduction in the early 2000s. According to research from Insider Intelligence, more than 80% of consumers are willing to wear fitness technology. However, these are more than a trendy thing to implement into your daily routine or wardrobe. These devices not only have the capability to help individuals be proactive about their lifestyle choices, but the data that is collected can be used to determine what type of care an individual may need before they ever step foot into a provider’s office.
With the use of smartphones, many now have access to devices with health-based sensors that can collect important data about their health and lifestyle choices. Whether it is a daily steps tracker or an app that tracks your heartbeat throughout the day, there are a number of data collection points that can be used to get a unique insight on population health needs. Beyond reviewing health records to help providers identify chronically sick individuals who may find themselves at risk for a serious health effect, AI can help providers take a more comprehensive approach toward disease management, efficiently coordinate care plans with the patient, and assist them to better manage and comply with their treatment protocols.
Healthcare Administrative Tasks Become More Efficient
Advancements in technology not only have a positive impact on how healthcare is administered, but also on how medical information is processed from an administrative perspective. One area that continues to be explored by the healthcare industry is International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Medical coding plays an essential role in medical billing and can have a negative impact on healthcare administrative costs if not executed quickly and accurately.
Classifying ICD-10 codes is extremely complex, time consuming, and still heavily relies on individuals reviewing a large amount of written material. However, a 2021 published study reviewed how automating ICD-10 codes using natural language processing techniques increased the documentation speed from 20-40 minutes to 30 seconds.
Accurate medical documentation is a critical aspect of billing within the revenue cycle process in the healthcare industry. Providers use these detailed medical records to validate their reimbursements to payers when a conflict with a claim has been issued. If a procedure or treatment is not properly documented in the medical record by a provider or their hospital staff, the health organization could face a denied claim. When records contain inaccurate information or are incomplete, an immense amount of time, resources, and money must go into correcting the flaws within the document. When this issue is happening on a grand scale, the stress put on the revenue cycle process can have major consequences for the provider’s bottom line.
By ensuring that documentation is correct before it is sent to the payer, the flow of the revenue cycle can go uninterrupted and healthcare administration costs can be kept at a minimum. Healthcare administration costs make up more than 30% of all medical bills, keeping that number low impacts not just the healthcare organization, but also those who are being billed for the treatment they received.
Lowering Administrative Costs with an Innovative Approach
At Signature Performance, we want to inspire new possibilities within the healthcare industry, bridge the gap in communication efforts between payers and providers, and build interoperability between systems so data can be used in a highly efficient, meaningful way for a better outcome in the healthcare ecosystem. If a process or technology that is meant to make a workflow design more efficient is not executed or supported well by the proper expertise, the adoption and success rate by the healthcare organization is usually low. Revenue-based challenges and the fragmentation between entities also typically continues, if not gets worse and can have a negative impact on the patient experience and outcome.
Instead of physicians and medical staff working for technology, a focus has been on making technology work better for the healthcare industry. When important healthcare data can be utilized in a meaningful way, it ensures that the patient experience and outcome are not only positive, but it also allows healthcare systems to hone in and deliver the type of care that they see as most needed in the communities they serve.
Innovation today is the catalyst that builds the Signature Performance of tomorrow. We build ideas and opportunities into industry disrupting solutions and services. Our team moves the meter on administrative costs by seamlessly aligning, inspiring, and supporting each team to achieve our vision. Every day, our team channels our passion for our mission in a way that allows us to solve some of the most complex challenges facing the healthcare industry. We believe the healthcare industry in the United States deserves only the best, and that sentiment is what motivates our dedicated team to do our very best each and every day.