Boston Software Systems Interview with Brad Cox, Director of Patient Accounting, Northwestern Medicine

When a provider contacts a payer to check a claim status, it takes an average of 14 minutes and costs the provider $7.12. By the time a claim reaches a denied status, the provider has lost at least two weeks. Considering that the time between claims submission and payment can be as long as four weeks, these delays are costly.

Our SVP, Matt Hawkins, invited Brad Cox, Director of Patient Accounting at Northwestern Medicine, to discuss his experience with Boston WorkStation. The following is the first of a video series surrounding the use case of RPA in the revenue cycle: the challenges, benefits, and what RPA can do to improve the connected workforce.

Matt: What RPA Project Have You Found to be the Most Impactful to the Organization?

Brad: The initial automations showed us significant financial return. The initial claims status checks revealed a 330% ROI within the first year, which will grow into perpetuity. We were able to offset 17 full-time employees (FTEs) worth of work on an annual basis. That did not mean reducing our workforce by 17 people, we were able to double in size during this time. If I had not had these automations, I would have had to employ a manager, a team lead, a supervisor, desk space, computers, and associated equipment. As our growth continues, our savings will continue to grow. Overall, the work we’ve done with your team has offset in excess of 25 FTEs. That’s just part of what we’ve been able to accomplish in the RPA space.

Matt: What Impact has RPA Had for You and the Organization During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Brad: It was March 13th, 2020 when we received the directive to get everyone home within the next two weeks. At that moment, we had what I like to refer to as a hybrid workforce, one that included some people who had worked from home previously, while others who had never worked from home. What we were forced to initiate was basically a fire sale. Everyone came in, grabbed everything off their desks, and we said, “we don’t care where you’re able to work, just work from home.” It took us about three days to transition our team. This meant getting the necessary equipment set up in the office, dealing with children, and allowing our staff to take care of life during a pandemic, while they worked. While this transition was going on, the more front-end processes like claims status checks were still functioning, because of RPA. When we were able to get back to what we called our ‘new normal,’ all of the initial work like getting denials posted and making sure our claims were being received by the payer, was taken care of by our automations. We were very fortunate that this work took care of itself.

Automating tasks in the revenue cycle allowed Brad Cox and the team at Northwestern Medicine to reduce manual data input and oversight, and spend their time on higher-value tasks. According to a recent PwC CFO Pulse Survey, nearly one-third of CFOs are looking toward tech-driven products and services to meet ongoing business demands. By adding RPA to the front-end processes like claims status checks, Northwestern Medicine is confident that they can not only meet these ongoing demands, but thrive. And they’ve proven this, by exceeding their revenue targets for seven years in a row.

Why Boston Software Systems?

Tune into this interview or the entire series with Brad Cox and Matt Hawkins, as they discuss the value of healthcare-specific RPA. If you’d like to know more about how automation can add value in the revenue cycle, let’s chat. With most of our solutions deployed in <30 days, savings are right around the corner.

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