How Remote Healthcare Administration May Spark a New Digital Norm

April 14, 2020
Jim Dougherty
Jim Dougherty

What clearinghouses and RCM staff need to know going remote.

As the nation continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, Madaket wants to express its deep gratitude to the dedicated professionals on the front lines of patient care. These individuals and organizations are facing a herculean task: caring for others while putting their own health at risk.

The burden of healthcare administration should be the least of the providers’ worries during this time. Yet, it is essential to keep on track, especially during a pandemic that causes increased care services. Many other healthcare professionals, like practice managers, billing staff, clearinghouses, and payers, are working tirelessly behind the scenes to support providers by performing credentialing, enrollment, and many more administrative duties.

As third-party, outsourced administrative partners, clearinghouses, and RCM vendors, in particular, help providers ensure quality patient care remains the top priority, while they keep financial operations of practices and hospitals afloat.

However, as workforces across the nation settle into remote operations to help flatten the coronavirus curve, clearinghouses and RCM vendors are likely going to see-if they haven’t already-interruptions to workflow. Many of these organizations are stuck navigating the bureaucratic and largely paper-based systems of data exchange between payers and providers. More than 80% of attachments shared between payers and providers are still traveling via snail mail or fax.

With paper shuffling and manual work among “the usual” way of doing business, it will be tough for organizations to maintain a normal routine. A typical work environment for many staff handling administrative paperwork includes file cabinets, fax machines, and stacks of forms. Now that they’re at home, the usual ways of working have to change.

The solution is digitization and automation. Digital technology, including automation, has been available as an option in healthcare for years, but now, it’s a necessity to keep organizations running smoothly. Even before COVID-19 rose to the forefront of healthcare, CMS Administrator, Seema Verma, said that the agency had been eyeing automation to improve efficiency in administrative transactions.

The rest of the healthcare industry must follow suit and embrace a new normal. While going remote was not by choice, the time is now for providers, payers, and clearinghouses to standardize, automate, and digitize their processes to help remove unnecessary waste that has no place in the business of healthcare. We encourage clearinghouses and RCM partners to use this opportunity to set themselves up for success now, and in the future, by embracing and investing in digital solutions.

Who knows? Our new digital normal might not be so bad after all.

Jim Dougherty is an entrepreneur and innovator, specializing in disrupting manual administrative processes by introducing new automation in healthcare and finance. At Madaket, Dougherty leads the team toward its goal of automating healthcare’s hidden administrative transactions for frictionless payer-provider relationships.