In an industry that is rapidly moving to digital, from physical tools such as digital imaging to cloud solutions that support scheduling, it’s surprising that many practices continue to operate using manual processes. Not only is technology more accessible than ever, it shapes patient perceptions. Those not keeping up run the risk of becoming irrelevant.
There is a misconception among some dentists that adopting new technology is more expensive than using existing manual methods, and many have concerns about implementation and training time. However, when considering the competition’s digital transformation strategy, increasing patient expectations, and growing regulations on data protection, you owe it to your practice to shift some operations to digital.
Implementing electronic claim processes is an easy way to begin your digital transformation journey. Electronic claim processes include claim submissions, attachments, and encrypted email. The benefits are significant, but the learning curve is not. These solutions do not have to be expensive, so your practice will immediately see a healthier bottom line. Plus, electronic claim technology saves staff time, meaning everyone is equipped to provide a better patient experience. The bonus is you’ll be equipped to get paid faster. Sounds like a win-win, right? It absolutely is!
Read on to explore what electronic claim processes technology is, the cost savings it can provide, and some of its other advantages for your practice.
What is electronic claim processes technology?
An electronc claim processing solution facilitates the submission of a dental claim and follows it all the way through acceptance and payment. However, not all solutions are created equal.
Claims attachment technology that is integrated with eClaims processing allows instant visibility into required attachments and real-time status updates. Electronic claim submissions help practices reduce postage and fax charges, as well as administrative costs associated with manually managing claim attachments. Some solutions transmit all necessary attachments reliably and securely within the same system, which eliminates lost attachments that delay reimbursement and decreases administrative time spent tracking claims and payments. eClaims processing is a revenue cycle management solution that improves cash flow by materially speeding up reimbursement for offices.
Throughout this process and anytime communication with patients, providers, or payers is required, an encrypted email service that works with your email program helps ensure communications compliance. This allows the office to share protected health information (PHI) securely.
How much will my practice save?
Claim submissions, attachments, and encrypted email technology are available with no hidden fees or charges per claim submission. Some bundled solutions are available for under $80 per month. The benefits of a bundled approach include working with a single vendor for customer service and a seamless experience using integrated solutions. Electronic claim processes that work together help support your revenue cycle management.
The average paper attachment processed per claim cost is $10.81 with all factors, such as staffing resources, considered.1 If the average practice processes 5,000 claims per year, the practice could be looking at a total cost of approximately $54,000 a year submitting manually. The savings can be astronomical for a practice, but the benefits do not end there.
What are the other benefits?
There are many benefits to adopting electronic claim processes into your practice. Here are the highlights.
Time—By moving away from manual, paper-based, or less automated digital processes, your staff will free up time to focus on other tasks, such as researching industry trends, new marketing opportunities, and of course, providing better patient service.
Visibility—In a 2018 study, dentists said that on average, between 10%–50% of claims required some type of supporting documentation or claim attachment in order to be adjudicated by insurance payers.2 Electronic claim technology allows dentists to understand any attachment requirements before submitting a claim, almost entirely eliminating a missing attachment as a reason for a rejected claim. This is particularly beneficial on high-dollar claims that require additional documentation versus standard services such as cleanings.
Tracking—Tracking each claim within the system helps your office immediately identify the status of an individual claim. If a claim shows as rejected, this can mean a piece of information is incorrect and needs to be updated.
Decreased risk—Using paper and the mail to submit claims is not simply time consuming and bad for the environment. It opens up dentists to human error, lost or unreceived communications, additional paperwork, issues with faulty or lagging mail service, and a potential data breach. When it comes to patient communication, encrypted email can help ensure your practice communicates in a more compliant manner.
Improved communication—With electronic claim processes technology working for you, your end-to-end communications are more secure, more accurate, and highly trackable. This benefits everyone involved in your revenue cycle, and results in faster claim processing and reimbursement from payers and improved treatment acceptance and payment from your patients.
Receive payments faster—With electronic transmission and retrieval of requested records, you can receive documentation and images within minutes versus days, which results in improved cash flow. Many practices that use technology to support their claim submissions and attachments are paid within two weeks. The 2018 study also found that 34% of dentists using an electronic claim attachment solution received reimbursement for claims requiring supporting documentation in less than two weeks.2 In some cases, offices are being reimbursed by top payers as quickly as within two business days when filing electronically and when direct deposit information is on file.
Work from anywhere—Cloud-based technology allows you and your staff to work remotely. This can be extremely beneficial should there be unforeseen circumstances that result in staff members working from home. Business can continue without significant connectivity issues to a server or limited system access. Claims can be submitted and encrypted email communication with customers, payers, and providers is uninterrupted.
Minimal business disruption
Today’s electronic claim processes technology options are user-friendly and require minimal setup. Email encryption solutions often allow you to continue using your existing email address and email platform, making it easy for your practice to get up and running with minimal training.
Increased support from technology vendors makes the transition seamless, particularly if you’re a customer of one vendor that provides all of your electronic claim technology needs.
Technology is becoming part of many dental practices’ everyday operations. The benefits are plentiful, and digital solutions satisfy the increasing demands from patients. When considering the future of your practice, keep in mind that your competition may already have a comprehensive digital transformation strategy.
If your practice is still printing and mailing dental claims to payers, and then spending hours tracking down status updates, additional documentation, and payments, remember that there is an easier and more cost-effective way. With electronic claim processes, your practice can realize quick, substantial benefits that can be a game changer for your practice.
1. Benton L. Electronic claim attachments: Why are dental offices still lagging behind? DentistryIQ. August 25, 2016. https://www.dentistryiq.com/practice-management/financial/article/16352238/electronic-claim-attachments-why-are-dental-offices-still-lagging-behind
2. Fast-Attach alleviates insurance headaches related to supporting documentation. NEA-Fast. https://nea-fast.com/about-nea/survey/
LINDY BENTON is CEO and president of Vyne, a provider of health-care communications, electronic attachment, and health information exchange solutions to the hospital, dental practice, and payer markets. Benton’s 30-year career includes roles at Digital Equipment Corporation, The Sage Group, and Cerner Corporation. She has been recognized as one of the “Most powerful women in healthcare IT” by Health Data Management, and as a “Woman to watch in healthcare IT” by Becker’s Hospital Review.