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Autonomous Coding: Improving the Patient Financial Experience

By AGS Health

September 26, 2023

When healthcare providers consider health information management and the tools that enhance medical coding operations, they often overlook how these processes impact patients' financial experience. Although most aspects of the medical coding process have only an indirect connection to the overall patient experience, the speed, accuracy, and thoroughness of your coding processes ultimately determine the speed and accuracy of billing for a patient's visit. As such, medical coding technologies built on artificial intelligence (AI), such as autonomous coding, are vital in expediting the coding and billing processes.

In this article, we will explore how autonomous coding can improve the patient financial experience.

The Impact of Autonomous Coding on Patients

Autonomous coding software leverages a variety of AI technologies, including natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML), to analyze medical documentation and automatically assign appropriate codes, eliminating the need for time-consuming and error-prone manual processing. Many leading healthcare organizations are discovering how these capabilities can have a demonstrable impact on the patient financial experience, such as:

  • Streamlined Claims Processing

    Many organizations are using AI technologies to automate the claims processing workflow. By integrating autonomous coding software into their health information management (HIM) workflows, they can accelerate the coding process, reduce claim denials, and expedite reimbursements. This not only enhances revenue cycle efficiency but helps prevent delayed billing to patients.

  • Fewer Medical Billing Errors

    Medical coding guidelines and regulations are updated frequently, increasing the likelihood of human error in manual coding processes. With autonomous coding, these updates can be integrated into workflows immediately without the need for extensive training and education. This capability mitigates human error and eliminates the need for additional auditing and rework that are commonly conducted following code set updates under manual coding procedures.

    Accurate and detailed clinical documentation is also crucial for quality patient care and proper billing and reimbursement. When analyzing clinical documentation, autonomous coding technology can assist provider organizations in uncovering missing or incomplete information based on poor confidence scores. This can help prevent patients from being improperly billed for treatments they did not receive. However, it’s important to note that autonomous coding should not be viewed as a replacement or alternative for clinical documentation improvement (CDI) software . In fact, pairing these technologies together will deliver optimal results across CDI and coding workflows.

  • Reduced Administrative Burdens on Providers

    Autonomous coding provides remarkable efficiency that minimizes administrative complications and enhances the overall efficacy of medical billing. Consequently, doctors and other clinical staff can allocate additional time and resources toward prioritizing patient care. Ultimately, these outcomes translate into expedited diagnoses and reduced waiting periods, facilitating an improved patient experience.

Conclusion

While an improved patient financial experience may not be the first benefit that comes to mind when considering medical coding operations, it’s important to consider these factors when assessing the potential benefits of autonomous coding. The ability to streamline coding processes, reduce errors, and mitigate administrative burdens on clinical staff can help you ensure that patients continue to have positive impressions of your organization even after their date of service.

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AGS Health

Author

AGS Health is more than a revenue cycle management company—we’re a strategic partner for growth. Our distinctive methodology blends award-winning services with intelligent automation and high-touch customer support to deliver peak end-to-end revenue cycle performance and an empowering patient financial experience.

We employ a team of 12,000 highly trained and college-educated RCM experts who directly support more than 150 customers spanning a variety of care settings and specialties, including nearly 50% of the 20 most prominent U.S. hospitals and 40% of the nation’s 10 largest health systems. Our thoughtfully crafted RCM solutions deliver measurable revenue growth and retention, enabling customers to achieve the revenue to realize their vision.

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