The medical billing process in the healthcare industry is a heavy-duty job that involves a plethora of complex data on medical records, patient information, insurance claims, etc. All of these processes involve a mountain of paperwork and complexities for healthcare professionals and staff. Errors in medical billing management can cause devastating consequences for the healthcare organization and adversely affect overall profitability.
Owing to the difficulties associated with the healthcare billing system, in 1991, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) was introduced into the healthcare system. This development was intended to address the billing challenges health facilities face, improve workflow processes, and reduce overall expenses. Consequently, in 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was established toward secure EDI billing. HIPAA compliance is a means to secure health data from breaches and maintain privacy.
Why EDI is Essential Today?
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) billing is an electronic billing method that uses advanced technology toward sharing data and other related information with standard protocols. Medical EDI is considered the most efficient and reliable means for electronic data exchange relevant to medical claims processing and other billing communication. The privacy of electronic health records is maintained through medical records management, and communication is limited to taking place only between healthcare entities. EDI medical billing software offers healthcare provider solutions designed to provide dynamic solutions that address billing pain points concerning claims, reimbursements, eligibility, and inquiry. Healthcare organizations stand to gain a considerable edge by adopting custom healthcare solutions and healthcare automation with EDI in medical billing.
EDI Billing and HIPAA
HIPAA is the recognized and authorized protocol that supports the submission and processing of insurance claims. It works as a security blanket for the exchange of health data among different healthcare entities. The establishment of HIPAA eradicated discrepancies in billing communication and created universal compliance for secure data processing and transmission.
The details of HIPAA are as follows:
- The HIPAA Privacy Rule — To protect patient information
- The HIPAA Security Rule — To protect patient data security
- The HIPAA Enforcement Rule — To set guidelines for HIPAA violations
The Workings of EDI Electronic Billing
EDI Mapping: Incorporating mapping in the EDI billing software offers the mapping process to standard EDI documents, along with HIPAA compliance, toward the healthcare billing process. All regular billing records are transferred into EDI formats through cloud computing in healthcare. Turning regular health and billing data into EDI formats ensures the security of sensitive data since these formats are not directly readable. The mapping process seamlessly moves the documents between multiple healthcare entities through integrated healthcare systems.
B2B Transfer: Transmission of EDI billing files, according to HIPAA rules, is undertaken in an encrypted fashion. These comprehensively secure files are then exchanged between parties through a Managed File Transfer (MFT) platform. Under the EDI system, files are transferred through healthcare interoperability and healthcare analytics solutions on this MFT platform. Healthcare providers can send these files to payers, insurance agencies, and pharmacies, and vice versa. Several secure networks for electronic data interchange in healthcare, such as AS2, SFTP, MLLP, etc.
Testing and Validation: Next in line in the EDI system is the validation of the relevant documents. This step requires rigorous testing of EDI in healthcare. Healthcare data is usually sensitive data, and therefore, the testing and validation of data at every level are crucial in EDI healthcare. There are multiple verification steps involved in the testing and validation phase of electronic documents. Every step should be incorporated within the EDI solutions. Just as clinical data analysis uses health data for meaningful purposes, EDI solutions are designed to use medical data for billing purposes.
Integration: Integrated EDI systems use these encrypted documents for multiple billing purposes through integrated care management. Once the healthcare recipients receive the documents, they are translated into usable business formats for various purposes, such as insurance verifications, accounting, healthcare administration, etc. Like how health data is applied toward mHealth and population health management, integrated EDI systems can use data to financial requirements.
Advantages of Electronic Data Interchange Software:
1. Added Efficiency: Electronic data solutions, much like patient engagement solutions, rely on advanced technological features to offer automated processes in billing. There is little room for manual error with secure and precise data exchange, and billing workflows are seamlessly processed. Regular testing and validation, along with compliance protocols, regulates smooth billing and ensures timely completion. Thus, the whole medical billing process is undertaken with optimum efficiency. Finally, ensuring that the solutions are on a cloud-based platform means that data loss is no longer a concern. Agility and accessibility of data is critical accomplishment within this domain. With enhanced efficiency in medical billing practices, the healthcare organization can immediately expect higher profitability.
2. Added Accuracy: Medical billing is a highly cumbersome process. When undertaken manually, it is prone to increased errors that bring in significant repercussions. The overall process of medical claims involves back and forth between the customer and insurance companies and is quite cumbersome. Paper-based processes and a general lack of technology innovation have hampered the process of claims management. There are volumes of data available, but the lack of structure makes this data unusable. An automated electronic data interchange system offers first-rate billing management software through a reliable and secure platform that connects insurance payers, health providers, and patients. It can be created to provide multi-access channels, instant claims checks, and validation in a fully automated and paperless environment.
3. Added Savings: Returned claims with errors, denied claims, rejected bills, incorrect coding, and insufficient data are just a few of the many woes faced by medical billers. Almost 30% of medical bills are prone to medical billing errors. As medical billing and coding errors increase in frequency, patient experience is diminished, profits are adversely affected, and the overall revenue cycle for healthcare is shunted. Efficiently adhering to EDI in healthcare processes and procedures can evade these outcomes through accurate claims management offered through medical billing software. An automated medical billing may be the answer to your healthcare billing and coding needs for increased savings. When systems are prone to human error, the wisest option is to deploy medical billing software embedded with ICD-10 coding solutions and one that is HIPAA compliant.
4. Added Security: Another trigger for medical billing errors is inaccurate and insufficient data collection and usage. Common medical billing mistakes occur when patient information is not collected comprehensively, and clinical procedures are not filed timely and accurately. Medical billing solutions can offer comprehensive data collection services for holistic data within a medical billing software. Electronic data interchange in medical billing can drastically reduce security breaches by collecting patient data and encrypting it towards medical billing codes. Finally, accurate and complete data erase the possibilities of duplicate claims, further delaying payment processing. Automated information filling, such as social security numbers, demographic codes, etc., can speed up the medical billing process and procedures.
5. Added Standardization: Integration of EDI in healthcare, with other practice management solutions, amalgamates all services related to patient experience, administrative, clinical, and electronic billing. When healthcare providers deploy multiple and separate systems in the organization that cannot function in tandem, the result is common electronic billing mistakes. EHR should not be limited to administrative tasks and clinical processes but rather be integrated and even into the medical billing software. When medical billing solutions can pull out information from one standard system or platform, the possibilities of improper medical billing are diminished significantly. Information collected right from the stage of appointment scheduling up until the endpoint of bill generation keeps medical care functioning efficiently.
Keeping in mind the points mentioned above, it is most advisable to adopt an advanced EDI billing software with automated features when it comes to medical billing. This will ensure that medical billing mistakes, coding errors, incorrect information, and cash flow delays are explicitly avoided. Medical bills are double-checked before being submitted to insurance carriers, and there is no duplication of data entry. Fewer denied and rejected claims, reduced workload for staff, fewer pending claims, increased overall profits, and higher patient satisfaction are all attainable factors with the right kind of EDI billing software.