Digitize & Automate Accounts Payable: Strategies for Secondary Care Homes During the Pandemic

The world faced an unprecedented crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years. Even now, businesses continue to reel under its after-effects. Perhaps no other industry was under as much stress during this time as healthcare.

COVID-19: Healthcare industry affected at several levels

The coronavirus was an altogether new, daunting challenge for the medical fraternity. It also stretched healthcare administrative systems, owing to their dependence on paper-ridden processes and created operational bottlenecks. Stricter hygiene norms, additional bed capacity requirements, and healthcare staff falling ill themselves also slowed down medical insurance claims and approvals. 

Secondary healthcare units like nursing homes, assisted living facilities and long-term care homes struggled to deal with staff shortages, regulatory compliances imposed by health authorities, and the stress of preventing infection outbreaks. Some secondary care institutions coped better than others. The differentiating factor? The degree of digitization they had implemented in their systems. 

Secondary care: Survival at stake 

The survival of nursing homes and long-term care facilities is intricately related to their cash flow, credit ratings, and supplier relationships. Their ability to deliver quality patient care is linked to their financial health.

Any disruptions in cash flow or problems with accounting and finance pose serious challenges to service continuity. Back-office processes like accounts payable (AP) come into the picture here. A poorly managed AP process leads to payment delays, which can negatively affect vendor relationships and disrupt timely deliveries to nursing homes. You need strong vendor relationships to maintain a healthy credit line. When AP teams are overwhelmed with paper invoices, unprocessed medical insurance forms and delayed medical reports, their survival is at stake. 

One of the most important responsibilities of the AP team is the maintenance of vendor relationships through timely and responsible payment cycles. Digitization and AP automation streamline payment cycles to keep the cash flow in place while ensuring vendor satisfaction and excellence in patient care.

Medical records digitization: End the battle with paper 

Nursing home back-offices deal with volumes of paperwork: patient information forms, medical charts, insurance claim forms, and treatment authorization forms. Filing, retrieving and managing clinical and billing-related documents on an ongoing basis puts a tremendous load on administrative staff. During the pandemic, staff shortages, coupled with a heavy load on medical testing and reporting, posed organizational challenges. 

Digitizing medical charts and patient records brings significant benefits. 

It saves precious time at every step and ensures much higher accuracy than manual systems. The administrative team does not need to spend time poring over documents looking for errors. Better medical record-keeping means faster processing.

DRS offers medical document scanning services and electronic cloud-based document management software, dramatically increasing your medical office's efficiency. 

Clinical, billing, insurance and privacy documents are automatically organized, tagged and archived with minimal human intervention. That means every digital document can be located in seconds and never get lost.

Our secure, hosted solution provides rapid scanning, classifying, management, storage, and easy retrieval—making billing and medical information quickly accessible to administrative teams whenever they need it. 

Digitizing medical charts and AP automation has many benefits:

1. Faster processing of insurance claims and reimbursements

The AP (Accounts Payable) team is responsible for making timely payments, monitoring cash flow, and maintaining credit ratings besides other tasks. To do all this, they spend a lot of time and effort in cross-referencing documents like purchase orders and insurance claim documents. AP automation solutions give them instant access to medical and billing records, enabling faster processing. Experienced DMS providers integrate digitized medical records with back-end ERP systems, so AP teams can reduce delays in liaising with different departments. That, in turn, leads to faster processing of invoices, treatment authorization plans, and coordination with medical insurance claims teams. They can also avail of early payment discounts that manual systems tend to miss out on for want of time.

DRS provides healthcare providers with an accounts payable solution to eliminate over 50% of labour costs while accelerating the time required to process an invoice from weeks to days. We customize our AP invoice processing platform to every client's requirements.

2. Ease out medico-legal compliances

Modern-day nursing homes and secondary healthcare providers have many compliance concerns. While upholding HIPPA norms, they must also ensure the upkeep of records to comply with medico-legal requirements. During medical negligence proceedings, healthcare providers have a much better chance of a good defence if the chain of custody of records is unbroken, accurate, and secure. Digitization reduces manual intervention down to a bare minimum. Since disputes often involve invoice amount discrepancies or allegations of inadequate quality of patient care, automation in AP processes also allows the institution more factual evidence of tendered care. During the pandemic, health authorities introduced mandatory status reports from healthcare providers in an attempt to keep infection rates in control. Providers who had digitized medical records found it much easier to comply with these regulations.

In summary:

Patient care can reach its full potential only with a combination of committed practitioners, appropriate infrastructure, and perhaps most importantly, accurate record-keeping. Scanning of medical charts and automation of back-office processes like AP help secondary healthcare providers maintain top-notch patient care delivery standards. 

Today, most healthcare providers acknowledge the importance of digitization. Implementing a long-term digital strategy at scale needs collaboration with an experienced services provider. 

DRS Imaging is one of the oldest and largest providers of imaging and document management services. Our medical scanning and AP automation solutions can help secondary healthcare providers to reduce labour costs, keep accurate medico-legal records, and save on expensive document storage space.

Talk to us today to discuss the ideal digitization and AP automation for your secondary care practice! We are just a phone call away.