In recent years, ambulatory surgical centers (ASC) have been seeing some significant changes- both in their workflow and patient experiences. On the one hand, ASCs are experiencing increased demand from the patient side. On the other hand, RCM medical billing has become increasingly challenging for them as well. Electronic health records (EHR) play a crucial role in the RCM medical billing process. However, few ASCs have transitioned to EHR systems from a paper-based manual workflow. According to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA), only about 20% ASCs have adopted EHR in their daily workflows.

Experts believe that making the switch to EHR will benefit the ASCs regarding their collections percentage and ease of billing. In the last ten to twelve years, the EHR adoption in physicians’ offices has almost doubled to 86%, with the several financial incentives in place. Though EHR is not mandatory for ASCs, the benefits that come with it could significantly change their RCM medical billing progress in a few months. Know why EHR adoption is crucial to improving revenue cycle management for ambulatory surgical centers.

Compliance and Data Measures

ASCs, like other medical organizations, need to adhere to rules and regulations put forth by federal and state regulatory authorities to avoid penalties. With data accumulation, storage, and analysis being the focal points of business administration in recent years, ASCs should adopt systems that can give them accurate data points without hindering their usual workflow. EHR could be a great partner in achieving this goal.

  • Medicare-certified ASCs need to focus on quality measure reporting as mandated by the CMS in its Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality Reporting (ASCQR) program. Inability to submit the required data can result in penalization of Medicare payments. The EHR pathway keeps track of the necessary data points. It saves ASCs the time to collect the data manually and, at the same time, improves the quality and accuracy of data.
  • Documentation consistency is often compromised in manual systems. The medical records maintenance pattern and the terminologies used become inconsistent with increased dependence on the set of terms used by a diverse pool of members in the team. This variability trend can often lead to wrongful interpretation and subsequent loss of revenue in RCM medical billing. There is a pre-established technical vocabulary with an EHR system, adding consistency to all patients’ records. The automation tools also help in document completion on time.
  • Compliance checks during the surveyor visits like the CMS require ASCs to be up-to-date with rules and regulations. However, most facilities with manual workflows are not equipped enough to keep up with the changes promptly, so there might be some gaps in compliance. Issues with staying behind on schedule can lead to denied or underpaid bills. With EHR in ASCs, the vendors will update the system to accommodate the new rules so that you do not suffer any gap in compliance.

Related: 5 Things to know about Ambulatory Surgical Billing Services

Improve your Revenue Flow

Taking the proper steps to improve the RCM medical billing workflow will lead to ease of operations, excellent clean claim rates, and, therefore, an increased flow of revenue. EHR adoption in ASCs is one of the most important factors that could drive this change and growth.

  • ASCs with manual tracking systems lack the advantage of a power-packed data analysis that could improve business processes by several times. With EHR adoption in ASCs, the management teams can analyze the generated data points and compare them with the historical data to build a plan for the company.
  • Business plans backed by data analytics and statistical models have more meaningful insights into what could work best for the organization than a trial and error method. EHR ensures that healthcare organizations have refined data to store and analyze, thus improving business process efficiency.
  • ASCs struggle to reduce their overhead costs without compromising patient care and experience. With EHR adoption, ASCs could save up a lot on paper file storage and additional security costs. Cloud storage of documents keeps everything in one place, thus cutting down the unnecessary time to retrieve hard copies.
  • Staff efficiency is the most critical factor boosting your organization’s productivity. With the time saved from doing redundant jobs, you can assign some essential decision-making processes to your team. It will increase their efficiency on the one hand and reduce the error rates for the repetitive work.

Operational Excellence

EHRs are bound to improve your business practices and lower your costs. But at the same time, they can improve operational excellence for ASCs, making a particular healthcare facility stand out among several others.

  • Operation room efficiency gets a tremendous boost from EHR adoption in ASCs. Several advanced EHR systems are equipped enough to capture the required data from the operation room like surgical and anesthesia monitors and automatically update the same on the existing file of the patient.
  • Multi-specialty ASCs can benefit from EHR systems capable of preparing separate charts for the patients according to the area of specialty. ASCs with upgraded systems automatically attract the right talent to their organization. All these factors cumulatively affect the RCM medical billing for the ASC.
  • Cloud storage is another feature that helps physicians improve their workflow. They can access the files anywhere, anytime, safely, without manual intervention. The ease of use of EHR systems in a physician’s tight schedule helps them get more time out for administrative work like RCM medical billing.
  • Ensuring a good patient experience is an important goal for any healthcare organization. It also indirectly affects the revenue flow in the ASC. With EHR, ASCs will be able to refer to patient records with greater accuracy and much less time. It improves the patient experience in many ways, leading to better testimonials. All these efforts together improve the revenue flow of the organization.

We hope this blog helped you understand how EHR adoption for ambulatory surgical centers could improve their RCM medical billing workflow. Please reach out to us in the comment section below in case of any queries. Subscribe to our blog for more such updates on medical billing and healthcare financial management services. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.