The economic boom of the 1990s ushered in an era of new-age technology. Everything was suddenly becoming electronic and medical billing was not untouched by the new age. What was once dominated by people of astounding mathematical skills soon became the niche of medical billing software programs.
A small glimpse of the medical billing technology timeline –
Over the last 16 years, medical assistants have strived to convert hard copies of all medical documents including pathological tests, diagnosis, procedures, cost, bills, and insurance claims into kilobytes of data to be stored in CDs and hard disk drives. With the transition from ICD 9 to a more stringent and somewhat complicated ICD 10 coding in October 2015, many medical billers saw their jobs taken by billing software programs. This perfectly explains why people are getting to know about Anesthesia Service and similar professional medical billing companies.
Medical billing technology opened doors for better economization, better curation of patient data and consolidation of patient data from time immemorial. The advancement of medical billing technology ensures that no information ever slips through the cracks. Using the advanced tech doctors are now able to send bills out to their patients and stay on the same page with the insurance companies, in real-time. So rooms filled with large iron cabinets containing thousands of well-fed patient files were soon converted to dainty LCD monitors and sleek hard drives that simply did not make mistakes!
The evolution of medical billing services over the years has slackened the workload on the doctors, nurses and medical assistants considerably. Since everything is updated in real-time, the chances of a slip happening is next to nil. All patient data is now archived in a common cloud that can be accessed any time in the future by using a patient handle (it can be someone’s full name and/or social security number).
Medical billing: in-house vs. outsourcing the services
Today, many organizations prefer handling their own billing by using the latest billing technology. And then there are others, the larger ones who prefer hiring a billing expert. In-house billing has its own advantage and charm. All the information stays within a close-knit group. But for bigger organizations who handle more patients and more insurance claims, opting for outsourcing is a viable option. It saves time, lessens work hours of the medical staff and takes care of the software update and operations part as well.
The ones who prefer to do it themselves have sound reasons as well.
- Most of the paper invoices cost above 2 USD a pop. Switching to a complete electronic system saves a whopping lot
- It streamlines the commerce between providers and payers (insurance companies and government)
- Recent available software take care of claim checks, free schedules, patient reminders and inclusion of medical policies
- It allows medical professionals to select applicable codes from a drop-down list
The roles of medical coders and medical billers have undergone a massive overhaul in the last two decades holding hands of the electronic revolution. The main need for medical coders in medical organizations is for auditing purposes. When the doctors are making their code choices as per ICD-10, the medical coders should be there to ensure that the doctors make no mistakes in selecting the right codes. In case, any organization thinks that medical coding experts are superfluous, they should at least train their staff to use the latest software correctly to avoid any confusion and discrepancy.
What are some of the most commonly used medical billing and coding software used by professionals?
- Medisoft – this is one of the few 360-degree billing and coding software used by multitudes of leading hospitals, health organizations as well as billing services.
- Ingenix – this is used by professionals to cut down the medical expense, recognize saving opportunities and prepare the bills for insurance claims.
- Lytec – a very popular billing software used by the likes of Anesthesia service. Lytec has multiple features including alerting medical authorities about lump sum claims and realization.
Why is medical coding considered complicated?
Medical coding is considered complicated and time-consuming since its main aim is to assign alphanumeric codes to diseases and their treatments. The work has been made a lot easier by the innovation of coding and billing tools, but as mentioned before, operating the same require professional finesse.
The unavoidable hurdle –
Now, the problem is a very evident one. The sudden transition to a complete electronic mode found quite a few doctors and medical assistants in a tizzy. The new software and technology are neither very easy to learn nor very easy to operate without proper training. So what are most of the doctors doing?
- Many doctors, medical billers and medical assistants are getting formal training for implementing the software
- Many organizations are bypassing the hassle and hire experts who are already friendly with the software
The companies that are offering their services to physicians and doctors only specialize in billing and coding. They dedicate their resources to gain trained staffs and experts who can conduct the new medical billing procedure as per requirement.
So here’s a message for all medical billers and billing experts out there – learn the art of medical collection. Or very soon you will find yourself replaced by some bot that does not need weekends off. The massive wave of technology has already trespassed into the jobs of at least a hundred medical assistants and medical coders. And for the doctors, if you think you have the time to teach yourself how to manage and operate new software all you will need is a functioning computer to get your billing business in order! We do not discriminate between in-house or outsourced billing as long as the job is done right.