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COVID-19 Testing and Self-Pay Billing

Until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, the most viable solution to get a handle on the extent of the disease is conducting accurate testing. But with over 330 million people in the U.S., testing everyone is nearly impossible. In fact, testing just 30% of the population would require 3 million tests to be performed daily for a solid month. Unfortunately, the infrastructure is not in place today to be able to process that many tests efficiently.

There is hope. Today, we are building out the infrastructure to support the increase in testing --but it takes time and challenges abound. The tests need to be administered (requiring staff and physical locations for conducting the testing) and you must capture and process the demographic and insurance information for each patient.

While labs may have the infrastructure to handle the processing of the specimen, gathering the patient information and insurance information can be a daunting process. Imagine a lab that previously processed 1500 accessions a month, must now be able to process 100,000 accessions a day. While the lab testing itself might be done autonomously, being able to bill for all of those tests within their current business structure is nearly impossible.

As a result, labs are being forced to embrace technology that can help them streamline their operations. Robotic process automation (RPA), a term rarely used before COVID, is now becoming commonplace in the industry as labs embrace technology that allows them to be profitable, while also expanding at a previously unsustainable rate.

But what is robotic process automation and how it can help a lab streamline their operations? A typical lab will take a specimen in and enter information either electronically or manually into the LIS (lab information system). Assuming it takes, on average, about two minutes to enter the information into the system, if you are processing 100,000 sessions a day that will equate to 200,000 minutes or approximately 3350 person-hours. An average workday is eight hours, so it would take about 418 employees to process all of this information. With RPA, you can cut that processing time down to an average of just 15 seconds, allowing you to process that same amount of information with about 50 people, realizing a significant savings. Additionally, RPA can increase the accuracy of your processing – saving your organization time and money. If you have not embraced RPA yet, now is a good time to implement this game-changing technology to help you tackle your ever-expanding self-pay problem.


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