By Jeff Nieman
What are healthcare leaders doing today to decrease costs and drive revenue? The top trend we are seeing is the use of robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) to become more efficient by reducing human touches which in turn lowers administrative costs.
Unfortunately, some of the most innovative RPA and AI solutions in the market today are offered by young, small companies concentrated solely on this narrow tech-focused vertical, and those early stage companies might not be around for long.
On the other end of the RCM spectrum, most larger revenue cycle companies are slow and cautious about entering the RPA and AI space due to a lack of expertise and inability to truly integrate these solutions into a broader RCM program, whether that program is managed in-house or outsourced in whole or in part.
Those of us at Meduit who spend a lot of time in the market talking with large healthcare providers hear them say that they want to maintain control over the entire spectrum of the revenue cycle. They are seeking RCM vendors who can deliver multiple solutions – including RPA and AI – under a single contract/management structure. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to completely outsource, but they want RCM partners that have broad expertise and the flexibility to integrate across RCM capabilities.
So where should healthcare providers look for help if they want to tap into the advantages of robotics and AI within the context of an overarching RCM program? Here are some quick tips to consider:
- Starting more broadly, look for RCM solutions that take a partnership approach to determine together which processes the provider does best and which capabilities should be outsourced where they might lack the technology, scale or process expertise.
- Ensure that your potential AI/robotics partner has the proven capabilities, experience and financial stability to deliver, while still bringing an innovative, can-do energy to meeting your needs with new and creative technology-driven solutions that work within the context of overall RCM.
- Look for the RCM partner’s ability to provide a series of collaborative technology-powered process hand-offs to ensure that your overall revenue cycle outcomes improve dramatically without you losing control of your own revenue cycle.
- All of the above has to be delivered without losing site of the importance of the patient as the center of everything we do, and that no amount of AI can or should replace that focus. We know from working closing with our clients that supportive and positive patient engagement continues to be a major focus for our clients with a need for more real-time feedback from patients to be able to manage the experience across their entire journey with the healthcare provider.
At Meduit, we fully believe in the AI and robotics trends, but it’s got to be done within the context of a broader, integrated RCM strategy and capability. We started seeing this fundamental transformation in the marketplace a while ago and began to focus on R&D as well as acquisitions to gain size, scale and the ability to launch multiple integrated solutions in a successful build-and-buy combination strategy that we have taken to market for hospitals, health systems and larger provider groups.