The Healthcare system is one of the fundamental components of society and necessary for the timely provision of health care facilities and services to patients. The Health system is defined not only as delivering vital medical services but also in resource generation and financing. The health care system includes hospitals, clinics, and other medical institutions where main purpose is to provide, maintain, and promote health among the local population.
Healthcare providers play a pivotal part in providing various medical services that include identifying, diagnosing, treating, and managing numerous acute and chronic diseases. The citizens have the right to proper health care facilities, but the health care providers such as doctors, surgeons, nurses, and lab technicians also need to be justly compensated for their services.
Why Medical Billing is Significant:
The big hospitals and even small medical practices work daily to treat patients and save lives. They must develop certain guidelines and policies that can help them to stay financially stable. Medical billing is one of the essential processes that ensure proper management of the healthcare revenue cycle that involves the clinical and administrative functions regarding claims processing, and payments collection.
Without a proper hospital billing system software, accurate and appropriate claims processing cannot be done, and the healthcare organizations cannot function properly. Hospitals face difficulty in managing the finances, which includes compensation to the medical staff, cost of medical equipment and supplies, and payment of overheads. The issues in proper financial management will directly impact the quality of services delivered to patients.
The healthcare revenue cycle starts when a patient makes an appointment for a particular medical purpose, and the cycle ends when treatment has been done, claims have been processed, and patient payments have been collected. The administrative staff is responsible for managing the scheduling, insurance coverage verification, and establishing a patient account.
Medical billing is a process where medical bills are prepared and submitted to the insurance companies, and the hospital staff can be reimbursed for the services rendered to the patients. Medical coding is another crucial step in claim processing, where a coder ascertains the type of treatment given to the patient and then assign a particular code so correct reimbursement can be made, and there is no claims rejection or denial.
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The Growing Trend of Integrating Software Solution:
The healthcare system is getting extensive with growing number of chronic patients. And in times of global pandemic such as the Coronavirus, the healthcare system needs all the resources and solutions to sustain and fulfill the requirement of the growing medical needs of the population. The medical practices depend heavily on the financial fund from insurance providers and other healthcare programs. The insurance companies, on the other hand, make money by charging individuals who have purchased specific insurance plans and coverages.
We live in a fast-moving world where there is the influence of digital technology in nearly every field, whether it is manufacturing, automotive, communication, education, finance, and medical. The medical billing and coding procedure can be very time consuming and challenging task if done manually.
Just think for a minute to the amount of paperwork involved in a hospital or clinic if dozens of patients come to seek medical attention and care. A proper diagnosis, treatment, or planned surgery leads to sufficient paperwork and documentation that needs to be processed and tracked efficiently. The information includes the type of disease identified, the procedure recommended, the given treatment, and the medical supplies or equipment used, all the data is processed and forwarded to the insurance provider.
The technological progress has led to advanced medical billing and healthcare coding software that has removed the manual documentation and automated the entire claim processing system, which has streamlined the flow of the revenue cycle. The medical billing software is a computer application designed and developed to automate billing and coding processes to improve the rate of reimbursement, simplify the revenue cycle, and sustain the financial health of the medical practice.
Why the need for Medical Billing Software:
Medical billing involves the process of sending the claims to insurance companies and then tracking the progress to ensure payment is done on time. Medical coding is a critical process where a qualified person reads over the clinical documentation and assigns particular codes from hundreds of different codes depending on the diagnosis and treatment given to the patient.
For example, there are different codes for treating a broken arm and for treating a respiratory disease.
International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes are important codes found on patient’s paperwork and mentions the summary of visits, medical charts, hospital records, and bills. The ICD codes ensure that proper care is given, and the patients are charged justly for medical services they received.
When a doctor or hospital staff submits a bill for processing, each medical procedure is put under the correct CPT (Common Procedural Technology) code, which is then compared with ICT code; if the ICT and CPT code does not match, then claim and payment is rejected.
There are numerous diseases and each has particular code and for efficient claim processing, there is a need for sophisticated and specially designed medical billing and coding software. Medical billing is time-consuming, and it is also challenging for the medical practice to find and train personnel to perform proper billing as claims not properly processed are rejected and impact the revenue cycle.
Best medical billing companies in USA use automated software that speeds up the entire filing and documentation process. The main purpose of medical billing software is to authenticate each claim and code, and remove the errors before submission to the insurance providers.
The software also has features such as to validate the insurance coverage and eligibility of the patient. Knowing about the patient’s insurance plan helps the hospital staff to better plan the claim and get due payments for the services.
The medical software also helps with ‘Superbills,’ which can be personalized according to a specific doctor practicing in the hospital or clinic. The superbill contains many specific details such as
- Name of patient
- Name of physician or doctor
- Name of insurance provider
- The medical procedure that is performed; and
- The codes used for diagnosis and treatment
The information on the superbill is delivered to the medical biller, who then puts the information into the billing software. The biller ensures that the claim complies with the required format and codes.
The Tips that Medical Practices should follow:
The medical consultation software
- Ensure that the updated billing information is shown on the website and can be accessed by the patient
- The methods of payment should also be listed for the convenience of patients
- The terms and policies regarding billing must be defined and displayed on walls and noticeboards.
- The billing and coding software must be updated regularly so that errors are removed, and there is no delay in claim processing that can impact the flow of revenue cycle
- Make sure information about the patient is correctly entered without any typographical errors to avoid delays in claim processing
One of the key things for medical practices to consider is that medical billing software programs are according to industry standards and can easily integrate with existing management systems. The staff should also get proper training on how to operate the software. There are many billing companies that not only develop software but provide training sessions through live webinars and even conduct workshops
The Advantages of Using Medical Billing Software
The medical software not only integrates with the hospital management system but can also be integrated with the website of the medical practice. The advantages of implementing medical coding software are
- The claims are processed and submitted accurately without any errors
- The payments are timely tracked and updated
- The software can easily integrate with the existing management system
- Easy to learn and operate the software
- Value-added features such as analytics tools to enhance the visibility of operations
- Improvement in payment collections and reimbursement cycle
- Reduce workload from staff and also the risk of rejected claims
- The dashboard can conveniently be customized according to the needs of medical practice
- Scheduling of key medical tasks such as patient appointments, treatment, and follow up is easily managed
- The ICD codes are already programmed and can easily be selected to improve claim accuracy
- Cloud-based service which means the system can be accessed remotely
The price of the billing software depends on two types of plans, which are ‘Pre-Provider’ and ‘Pre-Encounter.’ If a medical practice deals with a high volume of patients, then ‘Pre-Provider’ is best, and ‘Pre-Encounter’ is suited for practices with few patients such as chiropractic and physical therapy. The cost also depends if value-added features such as Reporting, Scheduling, and Analytics tools are selected or not.
The medical coding systems software has become imperative in times, such as the one we are facing amid the Covid-19 pandemic where medical practices are overburdened and understaffed. The software helps in processing the bills mush faster, and the staff can be utilized in performing other vital tasks and caring for the patients.
The billing software is secured and keeps the patients, and medical practices record confidential and safe from any data hacks and misuse. The software should be updated on a timely basis to ensure appropriate security and functionality.
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With advanced medical billing software solutions, medical practitioners do not have to spend hours on paperwork and deliver more personalized health care services to the patients. On a regular day, many patients may come that may have insurance coverage from different providers, but billing software can streamline the workflow and improve efficiency.