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Attachments and the Electronic Submission Process: Automating for Efficiency

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Technology is changing the way that we do so much in our lives, both at home and at work – and the same is true at the doctor’s office. The healthcare industry is well on its way to completely digitizing its business processes in much the same way that any other industry embraces technology to improve efficiency. More and more providers are moving to electronic patient medical records, electronic charting, electronic documentation, and of course, electronic submission of medical claims and attachments – an area which has seen substantial growth in recent years.

A 2006 study revealed that processing an electronic submission of a medical insurance claim costs on average $2.90, compared to $6.63 for manually processing a paper claim. So it isn’t surprising that many insurers are now requiring this method for submitting claims, as a way to both save time and save money. However, even with this standard practice, a great deal of insurance claim documentation in the form of attachments is still being submitted manually. Paper-based, manual processing can slow down the reimbursement cycle time considerably. This paper block in the electronic process prevents the whole procedure from being automated and thus decreases efficiency.

However, an increasingly popular solution is to add the element of electronic attachments to the electronic submission process. By digitizing every element of medical claim documentation and supporting documentation, claim filing can become completely automated and therefore much more efficient. Experience has shown that billing managers dramatically improve collection efforts simply by using technology to improve their reimbursement cycles. Implementing an infrastructure for paperless document management and attachments in turn results in faster and simpler coding and billing, reduced overhead, and improved client service.

One way to realize these benefits is with MEA’s FastAttach®, a Windows-based application compatible with all practice management systems, able to be used by any HIPAA-compliant claims clearinghouse. FastAttach® allows your billers to scan documents, import files, or print capture images already in your system and send them with electronic submission, saving time and money routinely spent on follow-up calls and mailings. By facilitating the electronic claim, FastAttach® alleviates the hassle of submitting supporting documentation, resulting in fewer claim denials and measurable improvements with your revenue cycle.

Though attachments are ultimately only a small piece of the claims process, applicable in perhaps 10% of claims, they can have a proportionately large impact on the speed of reimbursement. We may have reached a new era in the healthcare industry with respect to the positive impact of technology. Claim filing is easier than ever before – but in order to receive the full benefit of electronic submission, attachments have to be part of that digital picture as well.