Industries are rapidly choosing to incorporate emerging technologies in their business operations. The healthcare BPO sector is no exception. Recent innovations such as artificial intelligence, cloud communications, machine learning, and natural language processing have brought a seismic shift in how healthcare business process outsourcing services are executed, delivered, and managed.
In this article, we will know how emerging technologies are reshaping the landscape of healthcare BPO and, consequently, the entire healthcare ecosystem. But before that, let’s familiarize ourselves with the tasks usually performed by healthcare BPO service providers.
- Medical data entry
- Payroll management
- Medical billing
- Data collection and analysis
- Medical invoice processing
- Insurance claim processing
- Administrative tasks
- Finance and accounting solutions
- Medical records indexing
These tasks were traditionally manual, labor-intensive, and error-prone. But, with the advent of technologies like AI, the same tasks can now be completed in less time, with heightened accuracy, and at a considerably reduced cost.
The role of AI in healthcare BPO
The adoption of AI and automation by healthcare BPO service providers has resulted in efficient, accurate, and swift service delivery, benefiting both medical care providers and patients.
AI-powered medical coding
Traditionally, medical coding relied on manual interpretation, which was prone to errors and time-consuming. By using Natural Language Processing (NLP) to precisely translate medical jargon into standardized codes, AI has completely altered the procedure. The result- accelerated medical coding process and reduced margins of error.
AI-driven coding solutions are a powerful ally in managing the ever-increasing volume of healthcare data. Some tools can effortlessly handle the intricacies of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and other medical documents, allowing for a seamless and error-free coding process. Moreover, these AI tools can be adapted to new coding guidelines and updates, ensuring compliance with the latest industry standards.
Efficient claims processing
A single insurance claim usually requires the processing of several documents, both digital and paper-based. Moreover, there are various tasks involved in claims processing such as claims classification, document verification, and payment processing. Performing these tasks manually demands a significant investment of time and resources.
Advanced AI tools can streamline the claims processing workflow by automating the routine tasks of capturing, collecting, analyzing, and validating data. Using technologies like Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and NLP, AI systems can extract relevant information from documents swiftly and accurately. This significantly reduces the processing times and chances of errors that can occur during manual data entry.
Healthcare BPO service providers are flooded with medical documents that need to be processed within a strict timeline and with the utmost accuracy. Using AI tools for automating repetitive and mundane tasks has proved to be beneficial in handling vast volumes of sensitive medical information.
Benefits of AI-driven data management
- Accelerated data extraction: AI-powered data extraction tools can scrape critical information from unstructured data, ensuring that healthcare providers have timely access to accurate patient histories, test results, and treatment plans.
- Efficient data classification and categorization: AI algorithms can automatically categorize and tag medical records, ensuring that each piece of information is appropriately filed for easy retrieval.
- Enhanced data security: AI-powered data management solutions can be programmed to adhere to stringent data privacy regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
Streamline administrative tasks
One of the primary contributions of AI in healthcare BPO is the automation of administrative tasks. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are being deployed to handle appointment scheduling, patient inquiries, and even patient follow-ups and surveys. This reduces the workload on healthcare professionals and also provides patients with 24/7 access to their medical records.
How AI enhances the efficiency of healthcare administrative tasks
- Virtual assistants for patient communication: AI-powered chatbots can handle routine patient inquiries, freeing up administrative staff for more complex tasks.
- Inventory management and procurement: AI-driven systems can optimize inventory levels by forecasting demand patterns, ensuring that medical supplies are always available when needed.
- Integration with existing systems: AI-enabled tech platforms seamlessly integrate with existing Healthcare Management Systems (HMS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms, ensuring a cohesive workflow.
Proficient accounting and finance
In healthcare, tasks related to accounting and finance are the most outsourced because it’s repetitive, sensitive, and non-clinical. Medical BPO companies usually need to employ significant manpower and resources to manage critical operations like manually recording transactions, sorting and reconciling accounts, and generating financial reports for analysis.
Using AI, a significant portion of these tasks can now be automated.
- Automated data entry and reconciliation
- Real-time transaction categorization and processing
- AI-powered financial reports
- Automated report creation with customizable parameters
Accuracy concerns in AI-enabled healthcare BPO solutions
While AI has demonstrated remarkable proficiency in tasks like medical coding, claims processing, and data extraction, it is not infallible. AI models rely heavily on the quality and comprehensiveness of the data they are trained on.
Healthcare BPO strives for accuracy and precision in all the services it offers to best serve hospitals, clinics, and other medical institutions. In the healthcare sector, relying solely on AI-based tools can result in deviations and inaccuracies that can have serious consequences.
For example: Misinterpreted medical codes or erroneous claims processing could lead to billing discrepancies and adversely impact patient care services.
What’s the way forward?
In healthcare BPO, human professionals possess a depth of knowledge that goes beyond what algorithms can currently comprehend. They have the ability to discern subtle nuances, exercise judgment in complex cases, and handle exceptional scenarios that AI may struggle with. For instance, in medical coding, a human coder can understand the full clinical context, whereas an AI model might interpret data in a more literal sense.
The optimal approach, therefore, is to view AI as a powerful tool that augments human capabilities rather than replaces them entirely. Integrating a “human-in-the-loop” strategy ensures a checks-and-balances system where AI handles routine, rule-based tasks, while human experts provide oversight, validation, and intervention when needed.
The Bottom Line
The impact of emerging technologies in the healthcare BPO sector is immense. Using technologies like AI, machine learning, cloud communication, and others has changed the entire healthcare process outsourcing workflow. Now you can get more done in less time. It’s high time medical professionals opt for healthcare BPO service providers that have integrated AI into their processes to improve operational efficiency.