2024 Kodiak Revenue Circle: Revenue cycle automation & AI

| 2/6/2024
Healthcare Revenue Circle

Healthcare revenue cycle leaders from across the country tackled the technology question at a recent Kodiak Revenue Circle event.

Routine tasks can be turned over to machines and technology thanks to automation. When adding generative artificial intelligence (AI) to the mix, people can step away while technology learns structures and patterns to create new information. If there’s any routine healthcare task best suited for the work of automation and generative AI, it’s the healthcare revenue cycle.

Revenue cycle automation was among the hot topics discussed at the Kodiak Revenue Circle conference held Jan. 15-16, 2024, in Scottsdale, Arizona. The invitation-only event brought together healthcare revenue cycle leaders from 15 hospitals and health systems across the country. Asked to rank the most important topics to discuss at the event, participants named automation third behind only payor behaviors and patient denials.

The group’s interest in revenue cycle automation and the potential of using generative AI to automate the revenue cycle is echoed in several recent healthcare industry surveys on use cases.

Physicians say AI can automate key revenue cycle functions

The American Medical Association released a November 2023 report that detailed a survey to gauge provider sentiments about the use of AI. Of 1,081 practicing physicians, the respondents were almost evenly split between “tech adopters” (525) and “tech averse” (556).

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of the providers surveyed agreed there is “definite” or “some” advantage to the use of AI in their practice. The biggest opportunity for AI is a reduction of “administrative burdens through automation,” cited by 56% of the respondents.

Of particular interest to revenue cycle leaders:

  • 43% said they were “very” or “somewhat” familiar with AI being used for documentation of billing codes, medical charts, or visit notes.
  • 30% said they were “very” or “somewhat” familiar with AI being used to automate insurance preauthorization requests.
  • 74% said AI would be “highly” or “somewhat” relevant to them if used for documentation of billing codes, medical charts, or visit notes.
  • 69% said AI would be “highly” or “somewhat” relevant to them if used to automate insurance preauthorization requests.
  • 54% said they were enthusiastic about using AI for documentation of billing codes, medical charts, or visit notes.
  • 48% said they were enthusiastic about using AI to automate insurance preauthorization requests.
  • 42% said they plan to adopt AI to automate insurance preauthorization requests within the next two to five years.
  • 39% said they plan to adopt AI for documentation of billing codes, medical charts, or visit notes within the next two to five years.

Execs cite revenue cycle management as a top AI use case

In December 2023, KLAS Research published its first report to focus on generative AI. The report lists the results of a survey of 66 healthcare executives from hospitals, health systems, ambulatory clinics, home health and hospice services, and other provider organizations.

Of the surveyed executives, 18 said that their organizations are already using a generative AI solution, and 38 indicated it is “highly likely” or “likely” their organizations will be buying or implementing a generative AI solution within the next year.

Why? When asked about the biggest opportunity in healthcare for generative AI, 64% of respondents cited improving operational efficiency.

Of interest to revenue cycle leaders, three of the top four operational efficiency use cases cited by the executives who responded related to revenue cycle performance:

  • Clinical documentation
  • Workflow automation
  • Revenue cycle management and coding

Using AI for EHR optimization would boost revenue cycle performance

Revenue cycle management was also central to the findings of a survey conducted by Healthcare IT Leaders. For the report released in November 2023, the health IT consulting company asked an undisclosed number of healthcare CIOs and health IT leader members of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives about their planned use of AI. Sixty-six percent of the respondents said they were “very” or “somewhat” confident in the accuracy and reliability of AI-powered technologies in healthcare.

Despite that confidence, only 3% of the respondents said their organizations have fully integrated AI into their operations. Meanwhile, 33% said they have partially integrated AI into their workflows, and another 23% said they have AI pilot projects underway.

When asked what functions are priorities for these organizations in adopting AI, 42% said revenue cycle management is a priority. That was second only to electronic health record (EHR) optimization, cited by 47% of the respondents. EHR optimization is also foundational to revenue cycle performance.

Medical practices seek AI for revenue cycle-related administrative tasks

EHR optimization was highly ranked as a use for AI technology in a survey of more than 1,000 physicians for Medscape’s 2023 report.

When asked how their medical practices would consider using AI, 76% said EHR optimization, which ranked fourth after performing administrative tasks like prior authorization and billing (79%), staff scheduling (78%), and patient scheduling (78%).

Consumers list improving access through AI as a top priority

Consumers, too, are looking to generative AI to improve their experiences within the healthcare revenue cycle. In November 2023, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions released a report in which 53% of the respondents said generative AI has potential to improve access and reduce patient wait times. The report is based on a survey of 2,014 U.S. adults age 18 or older.

Of the respondents who said they already are using generative AI, 15% said they are using it to help them understand medical and health insurance language and terminology. Better access and informed patients are foundational to improved revenue cycle performance.

Taken together, the results of these industry surveys point to a desire at all levels to use generative AI to automate the healthcare revenue cycle.

If generative AI is part of your revenue cycle plans, contact the revenue cycle automation specialists at Kodiak to discuss the potential at your hospital, health system, or medical practice.

You also can learn more about the potential of using this technology to drive your revenue cycle performance at this year’s Kodiak Solutions Healthcare Virtual Symposium to be held on March 13, 2024. Register today.

2024 Kodiak Solutions Healthcare Virtual Symposium, March 13, 2024

Let’s talk about your plans to use smart technology to automate and improve your revenue cycle performance.

Eric Boggs
Eric J. Boggs
Vice President, Revenue Cycle, Kodiak Solutions