Clinics Are Still Slow to Adopt AI – Here’s Why They Shouldn’t Be

by Khalid Al-Maskari

There’s a popular saying in that no one ever got fired from choosing IBM, and the same applies to legacy Electronic Health Record software. Although the same EHR systems have dominated the market for decades, these tools are a primary reason why practices have been slow to adapt to changes in technology. Some of these solutions rely on software back ends that haven’t been updated since the ’90s, and they’re hindering patient care and slowing down the revenue cycle. 

Addressing Risk Aversion 

Clinics choose to keep using outdated systems largely because of risk-aversion, but these legacy systems can pose more significant risks than most clinicians may realize. As it relates to patient health, the following example illustrates this point well. The Hospitalist reported a patient was given 38 times his recommended dose of medication in 2013, simply because that’s what the EHR told his doctors to do. Faulty EHR information isn’t unheard of with legacy systems. Poor user interfaces, coupled with little to no compatibility with other healthcare software systems, are typically the reasons for inaccurate EHR data. Incorrect data is also a primary contributor to poor Revenue Cycle Management (RCM). In addition, many of the administrative tasks that have burdened healthcare professionals for years are due to antiquated EHR workflows and designs that haven’t been updated to take advantage of newer technologies. 

When it comes to RCM, clinics risk major slowdowns in the payment process by failing to adopt a modern RCM tool. By having inefficient technology, they experience a higher volume of claim denials, which inhibits the revenue cycle and directly impacts cash flow. According to Change Healthcare, failed claims cost clinics roughly $31.50 each, or $30,000 per year. These figures demonstrate flaws in the RCM system, but AI can help address them.

The AI Difference

Artificial Intelligence is being heavily discussed in all industries, but it’s arguably most important for healthcare providers. Patient well-being is largely dependent on the clinic’s technology, and by having an EHR that prioritizes automation, user-friendliness and interoperability, clinics can start to see results in all phases of the patient life cycle. 

This is especially true for RCM because the revenue process is a major stress point for both patients and providers alike. Patients are expected to pay more out-of-pocket costs than ever while hospitals and clinics are seeing little to no improvement in their revenue models. When revenue doesn’t cycle through the system, everyone, including patients, administrative staff and providers, suffer. It’s no easy task to process thousands of claims, but there’s still no excuse for failing to do it properly. When patients’ physical, mental and financial well-being is at stake, clinics can’t risk making errors.

Fortunately, AI is a breakthrough technology for addressing common setbacks in the revenue cycle, and it gives providers the peace of mind that revenue data is being processed correctly. With AI, it doesn’t matter if a clinic is processing 10 claims or a million claims — each one is filed correctly, with no missing, incomplete or incorrect data that lead to denials and a slower revenue cycle. 

Correct claims processing is absolutely key, as more than one-quarter of healthcare spending is just administrative waste, according to data from JAMA Network. Poor RCM costs U.S. healthcare organizations between $760 billion and $935 billion per year, or double the amount spent on healthcare waste in Canada. Additionally, doctors are spending up to 20 hours per week on various administrative tasks as opposed to patient care, and spending almost half of their day outside the exam room. With the U.S. spending more time and money on healthcare than any other country worldwide, it’s time AI becomes the new normal to help alleviate these issues.   

Having an AI-powered EHR is becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity. Health care practices shouldn’t fear AI — they should embrace it for best results.

Khalid Al-Maskari is CEO of Health Information Management Systems (HiMS), a company that offers Axiom Electronic Health Record (EHR) software that harnesses the power of technology to create value for integrated healthcare providers.

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