The UN’s 2019 data shows that the current average life expectancy is around 73 years worldwide, a sharp increase from the pre-industrial age when 30 years was the norm in the poor parts of the world.
The massive difference in life expectancy has resulted from the relentless pursuits of the medical community, be it doctors and nurses at the forefront of treatment or researchers toiling away to develop the next cure.
It is also partly the result of administrative policies that have made medical data recording accuracy the centerpiece of functioning. Professional medical data entry service providers in the modern era handle this significant task.
This is because the demands placed on medical professionals across the spectrum of the healthcare industry are vast and complex. And it comes with strict deadlines, as the patient’s life depends on it.
Besides the patient’s well-being, the sustenance of the healthcare facility also depends on accurate medical coding and billing since successful insurance claims and compliance rely on it. However, accuracy and timely provision of medical data is just a couple of the advantages your medical institution will experience once you outsource the process.
The Advantages of Outsourcing Medical Data Entry Services
#1. Reduction in Coding Errors
According to a PubMed report from 1985, of the 20,260 medical data items reviewed in five Veterans Administration hospitals, 4360 (22%) were incorrect.
Coding errors accounted for 65% of these problematic medical data items. Such high error rates necessitate healthcare data entry outsourcing providers to step in and correct the situation.
Although the modern era has introduced digital coding methods and more streamlined coding practices, the chances of medical coding errors still have to be overcome.
This can be attributed to the increased pressure and stress on medical staff to treat patients and record medical procedures simultaneously with the highest degree of accuracy.
However, with the introduction of dedicated coding personnel, the exhaustive pressure and stress that healthcare professionals feel can be sorted. The coder focuses on recording the procedure details, while the medical staff tending to the patient can focus on their primary job.
Any error that may have crept into the existing documents will be eliminated by the medical data entry outsourcing professional when they review it.
The result is a reliable medical code document that ensures appropriate and adequate treatment for the patient in the present and future and a lack of ambiguity regarding what they should do for those treating the patient.
#2. Reduced Billing Errors
Medical insurance is a complex business with many clauses about what kind of ailment gets treated where, how many copays are present, and other such minutiae. Therefore, healthcare centers like hospitals and clinics submitting claims rely on billing details being on point for easy, quick, and hassle-free claim processing.
However, the reality is far from this ideal, with billing errors affecting patient treatment and healthcare center management adversely. The percentage of erroneous medical bills is staggering: a USA Today article from 2012 reports that nearly 30%-40% of all medical bills contain errors.
This alarming statistic is a clarion call for healthcare centers to outsource medical data entry functions to dedicated agencies.
The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) in 2021 found that 90% of denied claims could have been avoided if correct medical billing data entry had been conducted. Using dedicated professionals for the task will go a long way in ensuring that the number falls drastically.
This is because they are experts who are solely into performing this specific task and are aware of the common errors that can occur.
They will use their vast experience to preempt billing errors from occurring and correct those that have accidentally occurred during their thorough reviews.
They keep themselves up to date about regulatory compliance and the clauses of various insurance providers. This lets them complete the job quickly without introducing related document errors.
Thus, the billing professional from your medical data entry outsourcing agency brings down the adverse consequences of false billing, improving efficiency and the number of successful claims.
#3. Better Compliance
The healthcare industry is one of the most regulated industries, requiring compliance with multiple standards and rules simultaneously. The top of the chart is HIPAA and regional and international standards.
Neglecting even one guideline could have severe consequences for a patient and the reputation of the healthcare center. Compliance-related issues primarily occur due to errors in medical coding and billing.
Despite ICD-10 providing the necessary framework, needs may vary according to payers. Upcoding and down coding problems are other problematic occurrences that severely affect the quality of a document.
Several problems can occur due to inexperienced staff or the heat of the moment. Medical data entry service agencies offer a one-stop solution to all such problems.
The agency’s personnel are aware of the latest developments in the medical regulatory space. Thus, they can incorporate these rules into their work instantaneously.
It prevents compliance issues from a lack of knowledge of medical laws and regulations changes. They can also function as support staff during internal and external compliance audits.
They can devise compliance-ready frameworks for coding and billing so that when medical personnel has to enter coding and billing information, there is little room for compliance breaches.
The agency professional can help you cross-check the insurance company’s clauses and inform you if they are not compliant or involve fraud.
#4. Lower Legal Liabilities
Functioning in the healthcare industry means having a high chance of facing a lawsuit due to mistakes that might have occurred. One of the lesser-known benefits of healthcare data entry outsourcing is the reduction in such cases from the patients’ and vendors’/suppliers’ side.
With lower chances of compliance issues, it is less likely that your healthcare center will be taken to court by regulatory agencies.
With severe and frequent errors in coding, patient care will go smoothly, resulting in the healthcare facility not being dragged to court. You won’t be a victim of insurance fraud that could see you answering legal authorities, especially with no fault of your own.
With data entry service professionals checking your compliance with building and external service providers, you won’t have to go to court over breaches of contract terms concerning building safety standards, data security standards, etc.
Thus, medical data entry outsourcing saves your medical institution from needlessly wasting valuable resources on fighting lawsuits while protecting your brand’s reputation.
#5. Improved Financial Management
When hundreds to thousands of patients are treated in various ways at a center, managing their payments can be a real challenge.
Add to that payments to be made to staff employed at the center and other fees like supplier/vendor charges, and you can have a financial mishap in no time.
There can also be delays in insurance claim processing or outright rejection that you have to deal with. Remember, there’s tax compliance to be concerned about too, which will go out of order once your financial flow cannot be tracked effectively.
You can avoid financial mismanagement if you outsource medical data entry to a dedicated service provider. Ensuring that your center’s billing information is accurate, the agency’s experts reduce claim delays, fraud, and rejections.
Faster claim processing helps you easily track your income and anticipate the fulfillment of due payments more accurately. The professional can work with your auditor/accountant to correctly process your tax dues so that you will avoid being under or overpaying them, not delaying or not paying them at all.
The data entry professional’s expertise with regulations related to finances for compliance purposes comes in handy. With their accurate medical coding, you will order only a few drugs and other vital medical items for treatment purposes.
This helps keep your balance sheet from going off balance and leaving you with sticker shock when you open your wallet for them. And as mentioned earlier, this accuracy in medical coding and billing ensured by your medical data entry services provider keeps you from losing money due to lawsuits, thus removing the accounting issues such events bring to your healthcare facility.
Reliable coding also keeps relevant documents data-secure, ensuring patient privacy and the lack of financial problems that could arise on that front.
#6. Better Data and Database Management
Did you know that the healthcare industry is one of the most significant contributors to Big Data? Yes, the healthcare industry generated 30% of the world’s data in 2018 and is expected to increase that contribution to 36% by 2025. And where there’s enterprise data, there’s a need for data management.
Considering the volume, you will have to do much of it too. Medical coding and billing data make up much of that healthcare data pool as they are exhaustive, involving a lot of noting down of detail.
Healthcare data entry outsourcing is the only way to keep up with all that data management. The accuracy provided by the outsourcing agency’s experts is crucial to keeping applicable data management processes on the fast track.
The lack of errors means functions like data cleansing need to be clarified when coding and billing documents are used before archiving. Data validation will also happen smoothly for insurance purposes, as all pertinent requirements will have been adhered to while creating the final draft.
Same with data standardization, as the coding and billing experts always work with all applicable standards. With data management functions getting a boost in all their aspects, your healthcare center’s database management becomes easy.
The accuracy of standards infused into documents by medical data entry experts helps place them under the correct categories for convenient search and retrieval. There is less chance of documents getting misplaced and lost.
Thus, when you outsource data entry to a reliable agency, your entire data management practice gets an overhaul for the better, along with your database.
#7. Improved Metric Monitoring
KPIs are the benchmark setters for all types of businesses, and one involved with healthcare will have many. As detailed in the last section, this sector is a data guzzler and a generator in equal parts.
So, the KPI count will be proportionately high, making monitoring them a real challenge. And besides monitoring, the collected data must be analyzed to generate essential reports vital to the business’s decision-making process.
When medical coding documents correctly contain all the necessary information, you can quickly note the various data points in them—ditto with billing documents. Aspects like the ratio of successful claims and total no. of submitted claims, the claim rejection ratio, and the average claim approval time can be determined without confusion.
Your medical data entry service professional will ensure that such information is filled in and work with your data analytics team to help you get the best KPI reports.
#8. Quicker Business Scaling
A healthcare center is also a business that thrives and expands like its counterparts in other industries. However, the challenges faced by a healthcare business owner are manifold due to stringent compliance requirements.
Yet, you may be forced to scale your business quickly if your current patient beds are insufficient. Space, equipment, staff, finances, etc., will consume much of your time during the scaling phase, leaving you with little for dealing with issues caused by poor medical data entry practices.
If they are present, your scaling plans will hit a rough road. But with a dedicated healthcare data entry outsourcing partner, you can look forward to not hitting such snags.
The accurate and quick documentation processes they established ensure you have everything in order in this aspect of your business. This provides stability to go ahead with your expansion plans.
The agency will possess plenty of medical data entry experts who can be added to your project immediately. So, you can handle medical coding and billing delays due to the added workload.
One of the consequences of a medical center’s outsourcing is the demand to expand the number of insurance networks it belongs to. It is necessary as the likelihood of a patient getting admitted who doesn’t have your medical center within their insurance provider’s network increases with scaling.
Outsource medical data entry, and you won’t have issues expanding the list of insurance companies your healthcare facility is associated with. The accuracy and reliability of these agencies during medical billing reassure the insurance company about getting good business from your end.
It incentivizes them to quickly bring you under their fold and sign a favorable contract. This creates a positive feedback loop: people won’t have to worry about out-of-network issues arising. This makes them prefer your healthcare services over others, creating further demand for you to scale.
Another bonus is the unambiguous bookkeeping resulting from excellent billing data entry. Having your financial data in order makes it easy to determine your expansion bandwidth.
It helps you execute your scaling plan more efficiently and prevent overexpansion or under-expansion that could result in financial troubles.
#9. Skilled Medical Professionals
Medical data entry outsourcing has more than just direct benefits related to coding and billing. It determines how well other aspects of your facility function, particularly the staffing aspect.
In the healthcare sector, you want the best personnel your money can get. With appropriate outsourcing of medical coding and billing, your healthcare center gets to have such high-quality professionals.
Medical professionals always have a lot on their hands. They have to shuffle between multiple tasks quickly every time they tend to patients. This leaves them with little time for associated tasks like coding.
Your support staff will also have their hands complete with administrative work, leaving them little time to focus on verifying medical billing documents.
If your staff is asked to take on the additional, exhaustive responsibilities of coding and billing, then you are guaranteed to experience high workplace dissatisfaction and attrition rates.
Outsource medical data entry to professionals, and you alleviate this responsibility for your medical and administrative support staff. This means they can focus on their core functions, improving their state of mind and opinion toward your facility.
The better care received makes patients spread the word in the market, bringing in more patients. This combination creates a strong positive impression on quality healthcare professionals looking to join a reputed facility.
Thus, with outsourcing, you improve the overall quality of the people working for you and, by extension, the quality of patient care. This factor creates a positive work culture and helps retain high-quality staff; you don’t have to constantly worry about replacing staff.
#10. Reduces Overall Costs
One reason that attracts businesses to outsourcing is its associated cost benefits. The healthcare industry is no different, hiring external agencies to render their medical data entry services inexpensively.
The exhaustive nature of medical coding and billing, coupled with the complexity, makes the professionals working there demand high salaries. Hiring in-house teams of dedicated personnel mean cutting more funds out of your profit margins.
Outsource the job, and you won’t have to bother with those high costs. The outsourcing agency’s considerable staff strength and possible off-shore bases in developing countries mean you get the cost-reduction benefits of economies of scale and currency exchange values.
Many of these agencies also work remotely, meaning you save on aspects like office space, equipment, and associated software.
The accuracy provided by medical data entry outsourcing agents also prevents insurance fraud and other insurance-related issues. You save costs by not having to pay fines and lawyers to get you out of the legal battles you may be thrust into involuntarily.
The accurate coding provided also has similar effects, preventing you from having to pay out lawful liabilities-related money to patients and lawyers.
By ensuring that all of your medical coding and billing documents are fully compliant with prevailing regulations and standards, you avoid the unnecessary expenses that come with circumventing them.
You won’t have to deal with regulatory authorities, be it healthcare or tax-related, chasing you with fines payments.
The reduced workload and stress of in-house staff, brought about by outsourcing professionals, reduce attrition rates and improve productivity. Thus, healthcare data entry outsourcing prevents you from shelling out more money to hire the high-quality professionals you need frequently, which can be significant.
Altogether, outsourcing saves you ample cash by cutting your costs and losses, adding to your profit margins.
The healthcare industry is constantly in flux, adding new treatments to present and emerging health issues. Thus, the demand for accurate, reliable, quick, and cost-effective medical data entry services will only increase.
Hire an outsourcing agency that can deliver medical coding and billing results in line with those characteristics, and your healthcare facility will face such a future.
You can confidently focus on your core functions to build your business and deliver the kind of care your patients expect from your end while getting rewarded with high profits.