The administrative burden in post-acute care is in desperate need of fixing and there is one proven solution that is doing it. Post-acute care providers are commencing their adoption and deployment of this solution, en-masse, with a razor sharp focus on reducing employee churn, making existing teams more efficient and reducing overall costs of operations. The adoption of this technology led solution has nearly tripled in the last year alone, but let’s look at what has played the catalyst of this change.
Processes such as Eligibility Verification and Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) form the engine of post-acute care operations. However, these processes have turned highly inefficient and unsustainable to the stability and growth of providers, due to high-volume administrative work. Teams are still forced to spend hours manually completing tasks like claim submissions and authorizations. Gradually, overworked employees burn out and resign. Replacing these churned employees is an ordeal that demands investments in hours and costs. According to a survey by R1, 90% of respondents are facing a labor shortage in their RCM teams, and 50% of their RCM roles continue to be vacant. On the other hand, since so much time goes into completing administrative work manually, operational costs have increased significantly.
The tried-and-tested methods of hiring and outsourcing can no longer match the breadth and complexity of this challenge. The solution is to change the way administrative work gets done, not hiring more hands or offloading it to other hands.
Organizations are adopting a technology driven method of solving this problem: Automation.
What once started out as business process management in the 90s, is today an advanced amalgamation of technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation, Natural Language Processing and more. Automation might be new to post-acute care, but it demonstrates the ability to alleviate the burden from teams and manage complex repetitive tasks. Automation uses software bots that are trained using business logic to interact with existing digital systems and perform sequences of actions like a human would. These actions include clicking on screens, inputting data, downloading and uploading forms and a wide range of actions that involve hundreds of repetitive clicks.
Do the last few words ring a bell? That’s because every key administrative process from verifications to denial management consists of sequences of clicks and form-fills. This is what teams in post-acute care have to contend with every day, and this is also what automation does best. What automation brings to the table are the last pieces of the winning formula: Accuracy, Consistency, Timeliness and Efficiency.
Why exactly is automation the better solution?
In post-acute care, recruiting is a prolonged process, often lasting months. During such periods of time, organizations struggle to function at maximum capacity. They are forced to limit new admissions, thus losing revenue. Due to limited operational strength, administrative processes suffer delays, which in turn upsets revenue from existing accounts.
But the story doesn’t end with recruiting. If one were to also add in the costs of hiring, training and attrition, it would be a different story altogether. This is where automation makes a difference. Today, a provider can get started with automation within the span of a few weeks. Automation helps organizations save on operational overheads such as hiring and training costs, without compromising their processes. In fact, automation improves execution speed, since it can run for any length of time.
So is automation a replacement for administrative teams? Absolutely not. When automation takes over repetitive tasks, teams have room to work on critical business problems. Their work is more engaging and they become productive without being overworked. Automation has a positive effect on employee satisfaction, the toughest variable in the staffing shortage.
In the early days, post-acute care organizations spent months (even years) trying to get automation right. As with any new technology, the initial cost of building and deploying an automation solution was high. However, the ecosystem has made significant strides today. Organizations like Element5 offer pre-built workflows delivered in a SaaS model that allow teams to automate specific tasks and pay based on their needs. More importantly, pre-built workflows integrate with existing systems seamlessly, require no maintenance or overhead costs and can be deployed rapidly to ensure teams witness value from Day 1.
Automation isn’t a mere fad. It has already become the technology of choice for leading providers, helping them streamline and scale their operations while simultaneously reducing operational expenditure. In short, automation is transforming administrative teams into levers of growth for organizations in post-acute care.
The future of work has arrived.
If you’d like to know more reasons to automate, this ebook can help you get started.