We’ve paired this article with our guide to understanding the benefits of implementing a HIPAA compliant accounts payable solution. Learn more about how DocuPhase’s AP automation solution helps payables departments in healthcare organizations streamline manual processes while upholding the same level of compliance as the rest of your organization.
In a rapidly evolving world of medical breakthroughs and technological advancements, the healthcare sector has continually embraced innovation.
Yet, in the midst of this dynamic landscape, one crucial aspect remains relatively underutilized: business process automation, particularly within the accounts payable (AP) department.
According to a report by InstaMed, 78% of providers are still utilizing paper billing and manual processes, even though 67% of consumers would prefer digital payment and statement options.
Finance departments have a direct impact on the success of the healthcare organization they serve, as accountants in the medical industry who leverage AP automation can save time and reduce costs associated with payment processes, thereby empowering their facilities to focus more time and money on the care of their patients.
Let's explore how AP automation improves back office processes in healthcare accounting, bringing benefits to the entire organization.
Increase Billing Secuity, Accuracy & Timeliness
Paper-based payments have been around since the inception of healthcare systems, and they’re still prevalent in today's digital age.
However, paper-based transactions come with a host of drawbacks that can affect the entire healthcare system.
One of the biggest problems with paper-based payments is that they’re more prone to errors. In general, people are more likely to make mistakes when manually entering data, leading to incorrect billing, coding, and other mistakes that can delay payments.
These errors can also lead to overbilling or underbilling, which can be challenging to rectify.
Paper-based payments are also slow and inefficient. When healthcare providers must send paper statements via post to their patients, the billing cycle can take days or even weeks, which often leads to delayed payments.
Such delays can be particularly problematic for small healthcare providers who rely on timely payments to keep their businesses running.
Lastly, paper-based transactions are not secure. Billing statements can be easily lost, tampered with, or stolen, leading to fraud, security breaches, and significant financial losses for healthcare providers.
A paper-based billing system burdens healthcare providers with extra time and resources. In contrast, AP automation platforms with integrated security features enable facilities to safeguard their personally identifiable information (PII). AP automation solutions for healthcare providers must also ensure their own compliance with HIPAA, providing finance teams in the medical sector with top-tier data security.
To learn more about HIPAA compliance in accounts payable, download our guide.
AP automation can increase efficiency and productivity by automating manual data entry and processing tasks, freeing up time to focus on more impactful work like analyzing financial data, identifying cost-saving opportunities, and providing valuable insights to other departments within the organization.
Avoid Supply Chain Issues
One of the biggest benefits of invoice automation is avoiding supply chain disruptions caused by past-due payments.
According to PYMNTS.com, AP departments can spend up to 50% of their time collecting invoices and paying suppliers.
With so much wasted time in the billing cycle, late payments are an inevitability–and when payments are delayed, it can lead to inventory shortages that directly impact patient care.
Patients may face postponed medical procedures, extended wait periods, and limited access to essential treatments. Challenges surrounding resource allocation, facility upkeep, or staff recruitment can also contribute to an overall decrease in the quality of healthcare services your organization is able to offer.
Timely payments are crucial to maintaining a consistent inventory of medical equipment and supplies. With accounting software that automates invoice validation, GL coding, approval processes, and payment remittance, invoices can be processed and paid on time every time, minimizing the risk of delayed or missed payments. This ensures that hospitals and healthcare facilities have the necessary supplies and strong vendor relationships to provide quality care to their patients.
Reduce Processing Costs
Few industries leverage paper and manual processes quite like healthcare. From paper forms for patient check-in to mailed medical bills and explanations of benefits (EOB), medical facilities have traditionally relied on paper to exchange data with their patients, suppliers, and other external parties like insurance companies.
But organizations that opt to digitize their payables can yield a cost reduction of up to $3 per transaction by eliminating the postage, supplies, and labor associated with paper-based processes.
For mid to large-sized healthcare providers, these cost savings can add up quickly.
AP automation also reduces the need for physical storage space for paper documents. With more office space available, healthcare facilities can repurpose former storage rooms into additional offices dedicated to patient care.
Eliminating paper isn't the only way that business process automation can help healthcare organizations save. Facilities that leverage automation throughout the procure-to-pay process are more likely to qualify for supplier discounts for early payments, allowing them to capture additional funds which can be directed toward patient care initiatives.
What’s more, accounting teams armed with AP automation tools can contribute to strategic decision-making within healthcare facilities. By analyzing data, identifying trends, and forecasting financial patterns, they can provide valuable insights to hospital administrators and stakeholders.
By eliminating unnecessary expenses and leveraging accounting automation solutions to capture additional savings, healthcare organizations can optimize their budgets and reallocate funds toward patient care initiatives like investments in facility upgrades, new technology, and additional staff.
Ready to Make an Impact With AP Automation?
AP automation can yield significant benefits for healthcare organizations. By streamlining financial operations and reducing errors, providers can spend less time worrying about supply shortages and budgetary constraints and can direct their focus toward quality patient care.
As technology continues to develop, we can expect to see even more advancements in accounting automation for healthcare, which will further empower providers to improve patient experiences.
If you’re ready to learn more about how DocuPhase’s HIPAA compliant accounting solutions can help you drive these results within your organization, schedule a demo with our team of automation experts today.