4 Tips for Automating Time-Consuming Medical Billing Tasks

By Kayla Matthews, HealthIT writer and technology enthusiast, Tech Blog
Twitter: @ProductiBytes

Medical billing is a necessary part of the profession, but it can be tedious and time-consuming, taking up time that could be otherwise spent assisting patients or maintaining your practice.

New advances in health technology have made it easier to automate parts of medical billing tasks. What new technologies can you adapt to help automate your medical billing?

1. Automatic Medical Billing
Inputting the information for each patient, first into their electronic health record and then again into the form to be sent to your biller, is one of the most time-consuming aspects of medical billing. Even if you’re just copying and pasting information, it’s still a step you don’t need to take. Automatic medical billing, especially when tied directly to the patient’s EHR, can remove that extra step entirely. Take one step — updating the patient’s records — and integrate that with an automatic billing program.

You’re effectively removing yourself as the middleman in this case and allowing your system to work directly with the billers.

2. Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage (ABN)
We all know that working with insurance companies can be a nightmare at times. There are procedures that are never covered by insurance, and procedures that might be covered but end up being denied, creating a giant mess in the billing department. This is where the Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage comes in. Also known as an ABN, this is a form that simply informs the patient of their responsibility to pay for a procedure if it is not covered by insurance.

ABN forms are updated every three years, so it’s important to make sure your forms are in line with current regulations. To avoid billing problems, make sure patients sign an ABN if they’re aren’t covered, whether that is due to a lack of insurance or simply because their specific procedure isn’t covered by their insurance plan. This makes billing and collections much simpler.

3. Online or Mobile Payment Options
Sending a check or paying in the office can be a massive inconvenience for patients, especially if their bill isn’t generated on the same day as their appointment. This is why many practices have started adopting online or even mobile payment options. For someone who lives on their cellphone, it’s much more convenient to be able to pay with a mobile application.

This also helps eliminate the extra step of having to deposit patient checks and wait for them to clear if the patients pay your office directly. It is essential to make sure these payment programs are secure, since they tie back to private patient health information. If you use the same sort of encryption that online stores do, you can be assured that your patient information and payments will be protected.

4. Automated Eligibility Verification
Determining insurance eligibility has always been a time-consuming process — first, you have to collect the patient’s information, then you have to contact the insurance company and often your biller as well to ensure the patient is eligible. If the insurance company is taking a lot of calls on that particular day, you could spend minutes or hours on the phone waiting for someone to pick up on the other end.

In the information age, many insurance companies and medical practices are switching to automatic eligibility verification. This removes all the steps except the first one. Once you’ve collected the patient information, you simply input the data into the verification system and the rest of the work is done for you. It eliminates the majority of the legwork that normally comes with eligibility verification.

Medical billing will always be a part of running a medical practice — getting paid is what enables you to keep the doors open and help your patients. With new technology, it doesn’t have to be a chore that takes up a good portion of your time anymore.