The healthcare industry has always embraced technology in order to offer better patient care and medical treatment.
In fact, technology has played a crucial role in elevating the quality of healthcare services, but it was primarily restricted to the clinical areas of medical treatment.
Back in the days, the focus was mostly on upgrading medical processes of treatment by using new and advanced techniques. Similar advancement can be seen in the areas of laparoscopic surgery.
However, since the enactment of HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and accountability Act) in 1996, it became mandatory for medical practitioners to use technology for administrative and management functions as well.
This resulted in the use of software for medical billing that has become a standard of the health care industry today.
It all began with the transition of the U.S. Healthcare from paper to electronic information systems in 2009 through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act that was passed by the Congress. It mandated the use of Electronic Health Records by all hospitals and physicians by 2014.
Doctors have benefited immensely from this transition. They can retrieve all patient related information just by pressing a button. Patient history is revealed in a click and better treatment is provided.
The medical billing process has enabled doctors to run their business more efficiently. Revenues have increased as claims are filed more accurately and reimbursements are made faster.
This has boosted cash flow that is the lifeline of business. Incidents of rejections and denials get reduced, and complete reports are available that highlight the accounts receivables.
Practicing doctors have now become efficient businessmen too by using the electronic medical billing process.
Implementing the System
But how do doctors make use of the new technology? And how should they go about choosing one? Do they create an in-house facility to implement it or should they outsource it?
The electronic billing process is like a mini enterprise system that has to be run and managed by trained people. Doctors have the following options of implementing it:
• Get well trained on the software to implement it, and devote considerable time to manage it.
• Even if they want to do it in-house, they have to hire specialized staff to manage it.
• There are several companies that offer medical billing services to doctors and physicians at affordable rates.
Outsourcing the billing services to a medical billing company is often a better option as doctors are able to concentrate in their core area of competence to deliver better healthcare.
Moreover, the medical billing process has a direct interface with the legalities of the healthcare system. Driving the system requires knowledge about compliance with the laws that keep changing frequently.
Like the introduction of ICD-10 coding in October 2015, which is a far more complicated system that needs special knowledge and expertise to implement. Overall, it is a specialized job that can be handled best by experts.