When it comes to healthcare, increased efficiency is key. Waiting for health insurance reimbursement can not only be stressful, but the longer it takes for a claim to be processed, the more resources it consumes from both providers and payors. The process from claim to reimbursement has a number of steps – but the good news is, new technology has provided ways to cut out some of these steps to streamline the process. Electronic attachments are one such technology, and among their other benefits, their use may also eliminate some of the need for document imaging.
Consider all of the paper that traditionally fills a healthcare billing office: not just records, but also bills, purchase orders, and supporting documentation. As healthcare providers move toward the digitization of their business practices, many have been hiring document imaging companies to scan documents into digital format. Even though the individual practice of how to scan a document is not a complicated one, the sheer volume of paper has led to this being a potentially costly venture.
On top of the initial investment of digitizing past paper documents, providers often continue to pay for document imaging of claim documentation for insurance claims. In fact, without an electronic attachment solution, documents to be attached to claims may have to go back and forth between being scanned and printed, if they must also be sent manually to insurers – and possibly then scanned on the payor side as well.
An electronic attachment clearinghouse can eliminate some of this burden by ensuring that there is a central repository of attachments that both providers and payors can access from a computer. Any document imaging must only be done once – or not at all in many cases with electronic patient medical records and electronic charting becoming the norm among healthcare providers.
Eliminating any step in the claim adjudication workflow can be an improvement in a potentially lengthy process, and electronic submission of attachments has proven to have benefits for both providers and payors. For example, the savings in time, paper, and postage alone can result in increased ROI, and experiences has shown that without as much paper to wade through, an insurance reviewer can process more claims in a single day, leading to quicker time to reimbursement.
Even though attachments are only applicable in about 10% of claims, they are known to have a significant effect on the speed of reimbursement; MEA|NEA’s clients have reported reducing their outstanding receivables by 10 to 14 days after implementing the attachment solution FastAttach™. Additionally, FastAttach™ works with any document imaging system that might already be in place. Whether eliminating steps or supplementing the current process to make it more efficient, electronic attachments work to streamline the claims workflow from all sides.