CMS Requires COVID-19 Vaccines for Healthcare Staff by January 4th

The Biden Administration is requiring all staff who work at healthcare facilities to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 4th, 2022. This emergency order, issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in an effort to protect those healthcare workers and staff on the front lines of the pandemic, is currently on hold at the time of this post, though the news is rapidly changing. “Ensuring patient safety and protection from COVID-19 has been the focus of our efforts in combating the pandemic and the constantly evolving challenges we’re seeing,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.

The vaccine mandate does not pertain to outpatient physician offices, but does include the following facilities and locations of care:

  • Ambulatory Surgical Centers
  • Hospice Facilities
  • Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities
  • Hospitals including: Acute Care Hospitals, Psychiatric Hospitals, Hospital Swing Beds, Long Term Care Hospitals, Children’s Hospitals, Transplant Centers, Cancer Hospitals, and Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Long Term Care (LTC) Facilities, Including Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) and Nursing Facilities (NFs), as well as facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities
  • Home Health Agencies & Comprehensive Outpatient Rehab Facilities
  • Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs)
  • Clinics, Rehabilitation Agencies, and Public Health Agencies Outpatient Physical Therapy And Speech-Language Pathology Services and Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs)
  • Home Infusion Therapy (HIT) Suppliers
  • Rural Health Clinics (RHCS) & (FQHS)
  • End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Facilities

Most states have separate licensing requirements for healthcare staff and providers in physician offices, as well as staff in smaller healthcare entities that are not subject to vaccination requirements. Based on current CDC guidance, individuals are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 fourteen (14) days after receipt of either a single-dose vaccine, or the second dose of a two-dose primary vaccination series. Adherence to these regulations presents yet another round of paperwork and manual data checking by facilities and administrative staff who are already overwhelmed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Can Automation Help Improve Efficiencies?

In the face of mounting pressures, health systems should consider identifying strategies to enhance revenue, reduce costs, and improve efficiency without an increased “human” toll. Automation does this by helping clinicians and administrative staff maintain “business as usual” without the overwhelming data burden, or an increased amount of physical data manipulation. A few of the ways RPA has helped healthcare during the pandemic include:

  • Sorting through volumes of data to find the right patient lists for COVID-19 vaccines
  • Scheduling patients for vaccine appointments, lab tests, & results
  • Registering lot numbers, vaccinations, and PPE
  • Speeding HRSA revenue cycle claims for uninsured patient reimbursement
  • Improving the onboarding process for Human Resources
  • Automating clinical staff credentialing
  • Connecting the dots between disparate data silos
  • Maintaining ongoing revenue cycle management efficiencies

CMS has broad statutory authority to establish health and safety regulations, which includes the authority to establish these vaccination requirements. At a time when the new variant has been identified and is spreading across the globe, it is more imperative than ever to maintain vaccine diligence and protect the most vulnerable patient populations. Automation is the right partner to improve this process and reduce the impact on hospital and health system staff.

How Long Does it Take to Get Started?

At Boston Software Systems, we care about the hospitals and health systems struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. We have reduced the time and roadblocks associated with onboarding and can usually kick-off a project within days, not weeks or months. We have 30+ years of successful projects under our belt. KLAS gave Boston Software Systems solid A’s in company culture, loyalty, operations, and value. Give us a call. We’ve worked with all EHR vendors and applications, and are available on site or in the cloud. We are here to support healthcare workers during the continued COVID-19 crisis, bringing greater efficiency and productivity to an already overwhelmed healthcare system.

The Great Resignation Affects Healthcare

A record-high of 4.4 million people, or 3% of workers, quit their jobs in September according to the Labor Department’s latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey. Hires and total separations were at 6.5 million and 6.2 million, respectively. Automation tools have proven successful for healthcare organizations looking to alleviate administrative burdens, mitigate turnovers, speed new hire onboarding, and ensure ongoing facility operations despite resignation challenges like the ones below.

1 in 5 Healthcare Workers Quit Their Jobs During the Pandemic

A new special report from Morning Consult explores how healthcare workers have fared during the COVID-19 pandemic and how they view the future of the medical field. This highlighted the following healthcare statistics:

  • 18% of healthcare workers have quit their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, while another 12% have been laid off
  • 31% of healthcare workers considered leaving
  • 79% of healthcare professionals said the work shortage has affected them and their place of work

This mass exodus — driven largely by the pandemic, insufficient pay, and burnout — has implications for the entire healthcare system, both in the current situation as we struggle to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and in the future as the country continues to age.

The Current Turmoil Isn’t Likely To Subside Any Time Soon

Nurses are stressed and exhausted. The country’s biggest nurses union, National Nurses United, projects that by 2030 there will be seven states with a registered nursing shortage. In the latest American Nurses Foundation (ANF) poll of 9,572 nurses, 75% said in the past 14 days they felt stressed while 62% said they felt overwhelmed. Invest time in taking better care of your employees. Provide greater resources, acknowledge the toll of the pandemic, be more flexible with #WFH, and provide additional paid time off (PTO). Employees are looking for dependable benefits, higher wages, and greater healthcare access.

Burnout Results from Too Much Time in the EHR

In multiple surveys and studies, physicians of all specialties consistently cite the time and energy they must devote to filling out forms and wrangling with additional administrative tasks in the EHR, at the top of their list of grievances. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges and presented additional issues for all healthcare workers. According to an article in the Advisory Board, healthcare employers must address the underlying structural challenges contributing to the great resignation to slow down the massive turnover rate.

A Few of the Ways RPA Has Helped Healthcare During the Pandemic

According to a report by McKinsey, almost half the activities people are paid almost $16 trillion in wages to do in the global economy have the potential to be automated. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has helped mitigate further disruption by enabling hospitals, health systems, and providers to stay connected across teams and systems, and maintain stability during times of uncertainty. A few of the ways in which automation has helped healthcare workers reduce time, increase connectivity, and eliminate manual tasks:

  • Sort through volumes of data to find the right patient lists for COVID-19 vaccine distribution
  • Schedule patients for vaccine appointments, lab tests, & results
  • Register lot numbers, vials and PPE, and maintain inventories
  • Update patient charts and medical records
  • Speed HRSA revenue cycle claims for uninsured patient reimbursements
  • Speed “dollars in the door” through faster claims management

The Role Of Communication In Employee Retention

The long and the short of it is that employees may not feel heard and/or valued. For this reason, hospitals and healthcare systems have an opportunity for meaningful discussions with employees about job responsibilities, pay, and working conditions. Set up a dialogue and find out what you can do to change the trajectory. Make sure that people are being given the platform to discuss grievances and open up the dialogue on mental health issues. Healthcare is a demanding field and staff are more prone to burnout, especially with the added pressure of working through the pandemic (and PTSD). By incorporating more digital health tools like RPA, hospitals and health systems can reduce the toll on people, the most valuable asset of any business.

Why Boston Software Systems

Automation offers public health a boost by reducing the need for manual processes and improving the sharing of information despite data silos. At Boston Software Systems, we have 30+ years of successful projects under our belt. KLAS gave Boston Software Systems solid A’s in company culture, loyalty, operations, and value. We keep our promises and state our truths as to what our services can and cannot accomplish. Our RPA initiatives optimize healthcare efficiencies and reduce the barriers to productivity, supporting people over paperwork. Give us 30 minutes. We’ll let you know what can “go live” in < 30 days.

Customer Service = Everything

The support you offer your customers – before and after they use your products or services – is what helps them to have an enjoyable, usable, and long-term experience with you. It’s more than just providing answers, it’s an important part of the promise you make as a brand, and the top priority in creating loyal customers.

At Boston Software Systems, we listen carefully to our customers’ needs and concerns. Beyond listening, we do everything to ensure maximum usability, efficiency, and support, by reaching out after every interaction to see if we solved the issue, how we did, and what we can do in the future to improve. So what exactly constitutes great customer support?

Support is Highly Customer Centric

In the “Best of KLAS 2021” RPA category, we scored 5 stars in people, product, and process. Having a consistent approach, knowledgeable team, fast response times, and reliable results have made a difference to our customers for 30 years, with 100% US-based service and support. Our customers love support directly from the source, not through consultants or resellers. They get to talk to the actual people who build and develop the software, so if there is something that doesn’t meet their needs, it’s often added or improved upon within a matter of weeks.

KLAS gave Boston Software Systems solid A’s in company culture, loyalty, operations, and value, uncovering the following insights:

  • 100% of Boston WorkStation customers report Boston Software Systems keeps their promises.
  • 100% of Boston WorkStation customers report that Boston Software Systems is part of their long-term plans.
  • 100% of Boston WorkStation customers report that they would purchase from Boston Software Systems again.

Gather Feedback at Every Opportunity

We provide a survey after each support call or session and ask our customers to rate their support experience on a scale of 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (holy cow that was awesome!). Here’s a sample of the feedback we receive every day:

  • Awesome. Your excellent customer service is the main reason I champion BWS when budget cuts put our service contract in the cross-hairs. It’s a definite value for the money.
  • I would like to send kudos to Shawn Yeaton. This is not the first time he helped me and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last. He seems very knowledgeable and ready to help with anything. I am very grateful.
  • Holy cow. Support went above and beyond, not only to address the specific question at hand, but also to provide several tips to help me become more proficient at creating automations.

Customer service is the direct connection between our customers and our business. According to HubSpot, “customer service represents your brand image, mission, and values. 96% of customers say customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand.”

Happy Customers Refer Others

Good customer service is personalized, competent, convenient, and proactive. The Nielsen Global Survey of Trust in Advertising survey stated that, “84% of customers trust referrals from people they know.” Recommendations from reliable people is the most credible form of advertising. It’s not in the seed money, it’s not in the funding, it’s all in the trust of customers to “do what you say,” “keep your promises,” and “provide dependable support” at every juncture, that is why Boston WorkStation receives 5-star reviews.

According to the industry site Indeed, there are seven characteristics of customer service strength:

  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Communication skills
  • Patience
  • Active listening skills
  • Fast response time
  • Positive attitude

Why Boston WorkStation Customers are Loyal

At Boston Software Systems, we built and retained a loyal customer base by treating our customers well, and giving them a reason to do business with us again (and again). We ensure our customers feel valued and appreciated from the initial demo to the ongoing support after the sale. It’s not words, fancy phrases, a huge branded bus, or venture funding. It’s integrity. That’s our calling card. Talk is cheap, so we back it up with action by keeping our promises. We remain true to the level of service our clients have come to expect for over 30 years. We’ve worked with all EHR vendors and applications. Boston WorkStation is available on site or in the AWS cloud.

Is RPA the Future of Revenue Sustainability?

2020 was a difficult year for hospitals. Losses due to the pandemic were projected to be at least $323.1 billion in the US. In addition, over three dozen hospitals closed their doors due to fluctuating volumes. And it’s not just hospitals that have been affected. Providers of all kinds — from primary care physicians and specialists, to dentists, chiropractors, and clinics — all have experienced sharp declines in patient volumes.

Of the 3,500 physicians surveyed by the American Medical Association (AMA) last summer, 81% reported that revenue was lower than pre-pandemic levels, with an average decline in revenue of 32%. While hospital and health system executives are pursuing a range of strategies to enable long-term success, revenue cycle integrity tops the list of priorities for the third straight year. One “bot” can save countless hours of repetitive tasks, resulting in greater organizational efficiency, increased productivity, increased revenue, and overall employee satisfaction.

RPA Holds Enormous Potential For The Healthcare Revenue Cycle

RPA holds enormous potential for the healthcare revenue cycle. RPA mimics the actions of revenue cycle staff during insurance verification, prior authorization, claims management, follow-up, and account reconciliation, eliminating human error and providing greater productivity from the revenue cycle department. Relying on a manual process to improve healthcare inefficiencies just isn’t an effective use of time or people. Automation solves productivity drains in the revenue cycle by checking for errors, completing manual tasks, addressing quality control gaps, working across multiple systems, and reducing the cost to collect.

RPA Supports Revenue Cycle Integrity

Healthcare organizations can automate entire end-to-end processes with greater accuracy and speed, letting humans manage only exceptions. RPA ensures revenue integrity by reducing or eliminating errors and completing work at as much as eight times faster than that of a human worker. With a cost of less than one-fifth the salary of a human employee, it only makes financial sense to employ “bots” to support a human workforce. RPA decreases providers’ cycle times, working 24/7 without breaks, improves accuracy, and increases employee morale by automating tedious, manual tasks.

Revenue Cycle Automation is perfectly suited for:

  • Benefit and Eligibility Checks
  • Prior Authorization Management
  • Claims / Denials Management
  • Vendor Contract Management / Contractual Analysis
  • Collections / Payment Processing / Write-offs / Adjustments

RPA Balances Time and Resources

One out of every five dollars of revenue cycle management expenses are attributed to denials-related issues and to top it off, 67% of denials are recoverable while 90% of denials are preventable, according to Becker’s Hospital Review. Becker’s analysis found registration and eligibility to be the leading causes (one in four) for denied claims, followed by missing or invalid documentation (14.6 percent). RPA enables the healthcare industry to better balance time and resources, by shifting the focus from an operational emphasis to a business emphasis. RPA does the job of human employees in a fraction of the time, eliminating the risk of errors. RPA can reduce an administrative burden by as much as 85%, and can easily be scaled up or down as needed.

CIOs Plan to Double Down on Software Bots

CIOs began turning to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to keep business and service levels afloat during the crisis, allowing healthcare organizations to maintain pre-crisis productivity levels despite challenging work environments and reduced staffing. By automating one area of the revenue cycle, namely claims management tasks, Northwestern Medicine was able to transition to a work from home (WFH) environment without jeopardizing “dollars in the door.” In an interview with Brad Cox, Director of Patient Accounts at Northwestern, Matt Hawkins, SVP at Boston Software Systems, asked, “what impact has RPA had for you and the organization?” “We had two weeks to transition everyone to a WFH environment, many of whom had never worked remotely in their entire career. While the heavy lifting was going on (computers, desks, connectivity), automation took care of everything else.”

Where Do We Go From Here?

About one-third of hospitals and health systems do not use revenue cycle automation, according to a recent survey by AKASA. Adding RPA automation allows revenue cycle teams to concentrate on higher priority tasks like creating relationships with payers, diving into denial resolutions, and just getting stuff done in a WFH environment. At Boston Software Systems, we have implemented literally hundreds of revenue cycle RPA projects, which continue to run every day in hospitals, provider organizations, and partner technologies around the globe. Boston WorkStation is highly respected and reviewed, with 100% of customers stating they would purchase again. Give us a call. We won’t take up much of your time. With most solutions “live” in < 30 days, savings (and greater efficiencies) are right around the corner.

5 Benefits of Process Automation In Healthcare

What is Process Automation?

Process automation, also known as digital transformation, is the technology-enabled automation of complex business processes. It accelerates the accuracy and speed of tasks by routing information to the right person, at the right time, through user-defined rules and actions. When processes are automated, they require less human involvement which translates to greater productivity and efficiency. In this post, we will dive into the details of the most common reasons to incorporate process automation in healthcare, and the benefits process automation can bring to the healthcare ecosystem.

Benefit 1: Reduce Errors

In order for your organization to maximize efficiency and productivity, reducing errors is imperative to healthcare. Take, for example, the area of benefits and eligibility checks. Often, eligibility checks require a human to manually transfer data from one system to another system. Whenever manual data processes are used, there is a risk of error by wrong keying, a slip of the hand, or human error. Data from the MGMA states that 90% of denials are preventable. Boston WorkStation, the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) platform from Boston Software Systems, reduces errors by offloading these tasks to automation, where they are executed without mistakes, and at a fraction of the time and cost of manual data input.

Benefit 2: Manage Workloads

No industry has been hit harder by COVID-19 than healthcare. The mental and physical toll and accompanying staffing shortages are affecting healthcare professionals across the globe. By streamlining many of the tedious processes, Boston WorkStation orchestrates connectivity to other applications and performs tedious back-office tasks on its own, freeing up clinical time for meaningful patient interactions. By removing laborious aspects of the daily workload, process automation empowers people, giving people back their time and creating a better work balance. Use cases in healthcare span coding, doctor-to-patient communication channels, auto-replies and reminders, claims management, centralized EHR data collection, and supply and inventory tracking.

Benefit 3: Claims Management

Claims management is an ongoing area of frustration for healthcare administrative staff. With automation, the revenue cycle staff works 24/7, quickly producing accurate claims that reduce denials and resubmissions, reduce days in AR, and speed “dollars in the door.” The human team spends their time only on exceptions. Boston WorkStation is the only healthcare specific RPA solution that runs successfully in hundreds of applications, hospitals, and partner technologies every day, addressing processes like claims status checks, missing information and errors, or the need for additional documentation. As hospitals and provider organizations continue to improve financial stability in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, automating the revenue cycle is truly a game changer.

Benefit 4: Human Resources

In healthcare, staffing deficiencies can literally mean life or death. According to a study done by Prudential, “90% of hospital executives believe that in the next 10 years they will experience a deficiency of specialists, generalists, physicians, nurses, and other clinicians, which will hamper their ability to deliver high-quality care.” An immense amount of resources, time, and money are often devoted to onboarding. Complicating the process is the necessity to merge information from disparate systems, forms, and websites. Process automation can update thousands of records in a matter of minutes, log into web applications, fill in forms, and pull information from multiple vendor systems. The credentialing process can be managed much more efficiently and effectively, without a burden on the administrative staff.

Benefit 5: Access to Data-Driven Insights

When data resides in multiple disparate systems, it’s difficult to make decisions based on the entire health record. Adding automation to operations and workflows makes healthcare delivery faster, more efficient, and improves the ability to uncover meaningful, actionable information at the point of care. Hospitals and healthcare providers can achieve greater levels of operational efficiency during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, while bringing a concerted focus to improved patient care.

Choose the Right Partner

The customer experience has always been first and foremost at Boston Software Systems. It’s why we ranked so high in the “Best of KLAS 2021” customer satisfaction category.

“Unlike a lot of the other vendors that are magically entering the space, Boston Software actually knows healthcare. They absolutely do what they say they will do.”

Boston WorkStation was given high scores in overall product quality and driving tangible outcomes. The product “works as promoted, and delivers a ‘money’s worth’ return on investment, with quality of training, support, and ease of use driving the value add.” Spend 30 minutes to find out what can go live in < 30 days.

Why Business Process Automation Is Essential For The Healthcare Sector

Business process automation has proven to be imperative for the healthcare ecosystem, improving business functions, speeding data migrations, and empowering human teams by streamlining repetitive, tedious tasks.

What Does Business Process Automation Look Like in Healthcare?

The goal of automation is not to replace healthcare staff, but rather to augment the human workforce and enable employees to focus on higher-value, more strategic work. There’s no other industry where this is more advantageous than in healthcare. Automation can’t replace doctors and nurses. What it can do is reduce the number of manual, tedious processes that people are burning themselves out with and turn those tasks over to robots. When looking for good areas to apply automation in your healthcare environment, look for standardized, repeatable processes. Identify the processes that, if automated, would make an employee’s job easier. Once the processes are identified, automate them in the order of which will drive the greatest value for the healthcare organization.

What is the Difference Between RPA and BPA?

With Robotic Process Automation (RPA), organizations can automate mundane rules-based business processes, enabling users to devote more time to higher-value work. RPA is commonly used in healthcare automation, where human tasks like submitting forms, reviewing data, and managing work queues are replaced by bots. Business Process Automation (BPA) addresses the overall end-to-end process. BPA can automate an organization’s workflows to improve efficiency. BPA focuses on the entire organization, rather than one automation. Both work hand in hand. RPA hands individual tasks over to software robots to streamline and automate while BPA takes an entire business process and automates it from start to finish.

How Do They Fit Together?

The one thing that both BPA and RPA have in common: The letter “P” for process. At their core, both BPA and RPA exist to improve how healthcare operates. Even though they are somewhat different, they complement each other. RPA can actually extend and enhance BPA’s essential purpose, connecting siloed systems, data, and people, while RPA executes specific rules-based automation tasks in the workflows. With both RPA and BPA, human error is eliminated when tasks are automated, greatly improving the accuracy of healthcare processes. Using automation in healthcare allows hospitals and provider organizations to reduce the need for on-site, manual labor while improving and simplifying the individual steps that make up multiple processes.

Why Are Both Beneficial?

More than a year and a half into the pandemic, COVID-19 continues to undermine performance improvement efforts at U.S. hospitals and health systems, highlighting a need for transformative operational changes, according to Kaufman Hall’s 2021 Healthcare Performance Improvement Report. The impact of process automation on operational efficiency, alignment, and revenue is indisputable, and the 1st year ROI is over 300% in most cases. The pandemic brought with it potentially permanent changes to the healthcare workforce. More than half of respondents (52%) stated the pandemic has driven their organization to adopt new processes, positions, or departments that will be continued moving forward. With leaner staff, more WFH options, and the great resignation, automation brings a level of stability, performance, and productivity that can weather these storms while continuing to support revenue objectives.

Choose the Right Partner

Boston Software Systems has been ensuring healthcare automation projects remain on track and within budget for 30 years. We have a depth of experience working across a wide-range of healthcare applications, as experts on improving usability in hospitals, health systems, provider organizations, and technology solutions.

With over 95% of our healthcare automation projects being completed in under 60 days, savings are right around the corner.

Contact us, to learn more about the benefits of automation for your organization: 866.653.5105 or visit us at: www.bostonsoftwaresystems.com

Connecting the Dots in Revenue Cycle Management

Healthcare revenue cycle is the heartbeat of hospitals, provider organizations, and health systems. The revenue cycle processes, tracks, and collects for services rendered to patients. As medical billing becomes more complex, and rules and regulations keep constantly shifting, it is no longer just a simple business office transaction. The revenue cycle touches everything from schedules and registrations to patient responsibility, claims status, denial management, and collections. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made it more difficult as providers and payers continue to face unique value-based care challenges. For providers, COVID-19 caused a shift from volume to outcomes. For patients, telehealth caused a shift in how care was delivered and how the value of a telehealth visit was assessed.

When there are issues in the revenue cycle, the trickle down effect causes issues with providers, staff, and patients. Upwards of 14% of the estimated $3 trillion in claims submitted by hospitals last year were initially denied, according to a new analysis by Change Healthcare. Denial rework costs providers roughly $118.00 per claim, according to an article in Becker’s Hospital Review. The following are the most common reasons for denials:

  • 25% of denied claims are missing documentation.
  • 3.5% of claims are denied due to untimely filing.
  • 48% of rejections and denials go un-appealed or unworked, mainly because the cost to re-work a claim is not worth the remittance.

Automation is a Game Changer in the Revenue Cycle

There are a lot of fancy words and phrases floating around right now about the benefits of AI in the revenue cycle. It’s not AI that improves revenue cycle queues and reduces the time spent on tedious tasks. It’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Boston WorkStation is the only healthcare specific RPA solution that runs successfully in hundreds of applications, hospitals, and partner technologies every day, addressing processes like claims status checks, missing information and errors, or the need for additional documentation. As hospitals and provider organizations continue to improve financial stability in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, automating the revenue cycle is truly a game changer.

The Balance Between Time and Resources

About 90% of claim denials are preventable, and effective prevention of claim denial can result in more than $5 million in additional revenue for an average hospital, according to Becker’s Hospital Review. Becker’s analysis found registration and eligibility to be the leading causes (one in four) for denied claims, followed by missing or invalid documentation (14.6 percent). These areas are perfect examples of where to use RPA bots. RPA enables the healthcare industry to better balance time and resources, by shifting the focus from an operational emphasis to a business emphasis. RPA does the job of human employees in a fraction of the time, eliminating the risk of errors. RPA can reduce the administrative burden by as much as 85%. It can work around the clock, with no days off, and can easily be scaled up or down as needed. When we pass these tasks to a robot team, it empowers people. It’s a win/win for everyone involved.

Claims Management Tasks

Revenue cycle departments can have as many as 20 disparate data silos to navigate depending on the task. They still rely on manual data input from human workers, who navigate through the steps in payment processing. Automation removes this manual data burden, adding flexibility and adaptability. A recent example revolves around HRSA uninsured patient claims for COVID-19. The manual, lengthy process of researching coverage and entering data in multiple portals is replaced with automation, freeing up your most valuable resource (people) and recovering millions of dollars in claims in a matter of weeks. Leveraging RPA ensures that claims can be filed and payments posted, updating patient accounts with no administrative burden on people, which allows them to focus on higher priority tasks like ensuring claims are collected and paid at the highest reimbursable amount. This reduces days in AR and provides a stronger financial standing for any healthcare organization.

By reducing the number of days that claims remain unresolved, RPA helps providers and health systems improve clean claims rates and ensure faster settlement and “dollars in the door.”

Choose the Right Partner

There are a lot of companies out there who profess to help streamline revenue cycle tasks. With a solid “A” ranking in the “Best of KLAS 2021” RPA category, Boston Software Systems has a demonstrated history of positive revenue cycle performance, and a 30-year track record of successful partnerships in the healthcare technology space. Boost revenue, increase productivity, and eliminate an administrative burden on your human staff, with Boston Software Systems’ revenue cycle management solution. Boston WorkStation can be implemented quickly, usually in < 30 days, and can bring a well-documented (average 350%) ROI to the revenue cycle, within the 1st year. Give us a call. Spend 30 minutes to find out what can “go live” in < 30 days.

Streamlining the Process for Relief Funds

The Biden-Harris Administration made $25.5 billion in new funding available for healthcare providers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. HHS announced availability of the funding, which includes:

  • $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) resources for providers who serve rural Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Medicare patients
  • An additional $17 billion for Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 for a broad range of providers who can document losses and expenses associated with the pandemic

Unspent Funds and Reconsiderations

The Washington Post made public a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, that reads, tens of billions of dollars in pandemic aid for hospitals and nursing homes not distributed. The following remains unspent:

  • $44 billion from a Provider Relief Fund (PRF) created last year
  • $8.5 billion Congress allotted in March for American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding in rural areas

In addition, providers who believe their PRF Phase 3 payment was not calculated correctly have an opportunity to request a reconsideration of Phase 3 funding. There is also Phase 4 payment availability. The Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) has opened the portal for healthcare providers to apply for part of the billions in relief funds.

There are Deadlines

Time is running out on some of the deadlines to apply and use the funds. $25.5 billion in Provider Relief Fund & American Rescue Plan rural funding is now available but applications must be submitted by October 26, 2021. According to HHS, providers who received more than $10,000 in aggregate funds from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) between April 10, 2020 and June 30, 2020, have until the end of the month to use the funds.

To complicate things a bit more, HHS extended the deadline to use the funds for providers who received at least $10,000 in total after June 30, 2020. If providers received the funds between July 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 they have until the end of the year to use the funds, while providers who received the funds between January 1, 2021 to June 20, 2021 have until June 30, 2022.

There is Oversight and Enforcement of Use

Providers receiving payments from the Provider Relief Fund must comply with the terms and conditions and applicable legal requirements.

This is where automation shines, by incorporating and streamlining the rules-based process and relieving the administrative burden on providers, hospitals, and health systems. Automation allows the hospital and/or provider organization to review the patient information, ensure all of the information being added is accurate and complete, and submits the required data via the HRSA web portals.

Automation Eliminates Up To 20 Time-Consuming, Manual Steps Including:

  • Review patient information for coverage and eligibility in the EHR
  • Captures the necessary information for claims submission
  • Navigates to multiple web portals
  • Applies for the Temporary ID
  • Sends documentation and/or notes back to the EHR
  • Ensures timely filing and submits claims for payment

Automation eliminates these time-consuming and manual steps between the EHR, payer authorization portals, and the HRSA program portals. Automation ensures accuracy, which is an important factor of the HRSA and HHS programs. If a claim is submitted with a potential error, the claim is returned to the provider, delaying the reimbursement process and creating the need to repeat the claims processing steps.

How to Streamline the Process and What to Expect

Don’t leave money on the table. At Boston Software Systems we can implement a process quickly, so that you can take advantage of every reimbursement that you are entitled to receive.

  • Save hundreds of hours of manual data entry
  • Send notes and information to the EHR
  • Speed HRSA claims for reimbursement
  • Eliminate overwhelming administrative burden on staff

Why Boston Software Systems?

Give us a call. We have worked with multiple client hospitals on the COVID-19 claims reimbursement process. KLAS reviewed and customer validated, we can have this process deployed quickly and without disruption to people or existing infrastructure.

Automation Helps Hospitals Survive Narrowing Margins During the Pandemic

Due to the complexity of the pandemic, more than a third of US hospitals are estimated to maintain negative operating margins through the end of 2021 as overall expenses continue to be higher than pre-pandemic levels, according to a recent report prepared by Kaufman, Hall & Associates.

In the face of mounting pressures, health systems should consider identifying strategies to enhance revenue, reduce costs, and improve efficiency without an increased “human” toll.

Boston WorkStation has been healthcare’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA) standard, optimizing processes in hospitals, provider organizations, and partner technologies for 30 years. Here are a few of the most in- demand projects for increased revenue and productivity:

EMR / EHR Data Migration
Whether using our automated migration platform to automate your daily workflow and tasks, or for loading data from your legacy EHR/HIS system into your new installation of Epic, Cerner, Paragon, Soarian, athenaHealth, eClinicalWorks, or MEDITECH, Boston WorkStation ensures your clinicians and administrative staff can eliminate manual data entry tasks, and reduce the roadblocks to interoperability.

“We used Boston WorkStation to eliminate the very time consuming and costly process of manually entering data from and to disparate sources. Our workflow automation processes do exactly what we need them to do and with the added bonus of proper error checking.”

Revenue Cycle Processes
Relying on a manual process to improve healthcare inefficiencies just isn’t an effective use of time or people. Automation solves productivity drains in the revenue cycle by checking for errors, completing manual tasks, addressing quality control gaps, and reducing the cost to collect.

“We have reduced our work by 66%. We doubled in size, with twice as many providers, yet we are working a third of the volume we had before adding automation.”

The beauty in applying automation to the revenue cycle is that it supports the needs of teams and departments without disrupting the larger system infrastructure. By understanding where the gaps are, and where the greatest need for human capital is being spent, it’s easy to determine the areas of greatest return.

Vaccine Distribution / Scheduling / Reimbursement
Robotic Process Automation has helped mitigate further disruption by enabling hospitals, health systems, and providers to stay connected across teams and systems and maintain stability during times of uncertainty.

A few of the ways RPA has helped healthcare during the pandemic include:

  • Sorting through volumes of data to find the right patient lists for COVID-19 vaccines
  • Schedule patients for vaccine appointments, lab tests, & results
  • Register lot numbers, vials, and PPE
  • Speed HRSA revenue cycle claims for uninsured patient reimbursement

HR Onboarding Processes
The onboarding process is often a coordinated dance between the finance department and the IT department. There is a ton of paperwork involved, from the cross-verification of demographic details for each candidate to issuing a welcoming letter, setting up passwords, scheduling training, and inputting information in multiple databases. RPA can automate the entire process, making it easier to accomplish more with a reduced staff. When the decision is made to hire a candidate, the “bot” can send a welcome message along with policy documents, passwords, and forms.

Provider Credentialing
The hospital credentialing process, or tracing, tracking, and verifying the credentials of physicians and nurses, is an arduous one, and involves capturing information from a large variety of media sources, and extracting data points from a number of files. It is bulky and time-consuming and must be repeated every two years. Manual credentialing verification requires the support of a dedicated credentialing team. Boston WorkStation customers have streamlined the process, through the use of automation. The benefits include faster turnaround times, decreased costs, and improved accuracy. With the healthcare landscape rapidly changing in a post-COVID-19 era, automating the credentialing process drives agility and quality assurance while mitigating possible risks.

The magnitude of losses hospitals will face is likely to continue through the end of 2021. According to a report by McKinsey, almost half the activities people are paid almost $16 trillion in wages to do in the global economy have the potential to be automated. As we learn to live in a post-COVID-19 world, RPA will continue to help hospitals and provider organizations add a layer of efficiency, and reduce the challenges of connecting care.

Why Boston Software Systems?

Digital transformation is a team sport and all of our project leads are immersed in healthcare workflows. That makes a difference to our customers, who give us “straight A’s” in terms of people, process, and product. Our implementations are fast, usually in < 30 days, and all of our support is US-based. You have a lot of choices in RPA vendors and solutions. When the path is unclear, you’ll want a team you can count on. We’re here and ready to assist.

Getting Started With RPA: Have a Plan

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one of the best tools for automating repetitive tasks, but in order to gain the greatest benefit from an RPA initiative you must plan thoroughly, deploy correctly, and know exactly how to align the project with your existing infrastructure.

It’s All About The Change

Change management is one of the most important aspects of a successful RPA deployment. Aligning people, product, and process is a crucial ingredient for ongoing success. One of the most important factors is executive buy-in. You can’t expect others to rally behind an RPA initiative without a shared vision for what can be achieved. Communicate, listen, and respond to questions about the process and create realistic expectations about timelines, project success, and scalability. According to CIO magazine, “skilled change management teams embrace the organization’s emotional energy. They use company stories, language, and behavior to emphasize those parts of the current culture that are aligned with the planned change.” A successful RPA initiative depends on a “people first” mindset.

Identify and Qualify RPA Opportunities

When undertaking an RPA initiative, it’s easy to want to “boil the ocean,” but if you use RPA as a broader strategic tool you’ll realize a faster and greater ROI, which can then be applied to additional areas in the organization. Begin with one manageable area in which to apply automation. While a cost and resource-based use case is always the number one priority, there are a number of questions that should be addressed before beginning. These include:

  • Who are the key stakeholders and what are their expectations?
  • Which processes are best suited for automation?
  • What resources will be needed for the project?
  • How do we measure success?
  • What does maintenance include?
  • When should we scale to additional areas?

By building the best business case before deployment, the right processes will be automated, guaranteeing a quick win and ongoing success. Choose areas with well-documented, well-defined workflows. Many teams look for the “low hanging fruit” in areas that require a great deal of manual data input, like EHR data migrations, revenue cycle management tasks, laboratory processes, and vaccine testing and distribution.

Choose the Right RPA Vendor

The relationship between people and technology will increase in the future and RPA is one of the best tools to support this change. In preparing for the best outcomes, it’s imperative to include the right RPA vendor. There are a lot of choices in the market today. Key considerations when choosing an RPA vendor include:

  • The vendor’s key area of focus (we are solely focused on healthcare).
  • The number of successful RPA projects in the focus area.
  • The flexibility of the company in allowing customers to manage their own automations, including flexible licensing agreements.
  • On-premise and cloud or a hybrid implementation approach.
  • Customer insights on support and maintenance queues, level of support, and time needed to resolve potential roadblocks.

Choose an RPA vendor with a platform that focuses on the business processes you are attempting to automate. There are many RPA vendors who apply a “broad swath” of experience to many verticals, like manufacturing, finance, banking, and healthcare. In healthcare RPA projects, it is important to choose a healthcare-centric vendor. They have encountered every possible situation and workflow, and understand the critical alignment between people, process, and product. There are unique challenges faced by clinicians and staff who have the burden of managing healthcare financials across all applications. Most importantly, read their customer insights. Customer experience is a key indicator of future success.

Why Boston Software Systems?

The benefits that come with the integration of RPA within the healthcare sector cannot be overemphasized. Boston Software Systems has a singular focus, healthcare, and has remained true to that focus for over 30 years. Our project managers have healthcare backgrounds and experience, which allows us to improve outcomes and accelerate results. We’ve worked with every EHR vendor, which means we are familiar with every nuance or integration issue, and can quickly assess any roadblocks.

Digital transformation is a team sport and all of our project leads are immersed in healthcare workflows. That makes a difference to our customers, who give us “straight A’s” in terms of people, process, and product. Our implementations are fast, usually in < 30 days, and all of our support is US-based. You have a lot of choices in RPA vendors and solutions. When the path is unclear, you’ll want a team you can count on to lead the way.