Big data is playing a crucial role in the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of countries, such as Singapore, have used data analytics and AI to improve contact tracing to quell outbreaks.
However, big data can be even more important at the localized level. A growing number of hospitals have discovered invaluable data analytics applications as they struggle to keep up with COVID-19 cases. One of the biggest applications of big data involves hospital coding practices.
Data Analytics is Critical for Hospital Coding
In the era of COVID-19, the need for sufficient medical service provision and accurate hospital coding has never been so high. At the time of this writing, there have been over 20 million recorded cases of COVID-19 around the world and over 745,000 deaths. According to the WHO, roughly one in five patients who are infected by the virus will experience severe difficulty breathing and will require hospital care. In addition to the dire physical health effects, the pandemic has caused a widespread worsening of mental health issues among global citizens. In short, the varied effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are hard enough already. When healthcare systems and medical billing companies fail to effectively execute their duties, the added consequences place undue stress and hardship on patients and compromise the financial standing of implicated entities.
This is one of the reasons that data analytics has become so crucial. Big data is necessary for contact tracing, identifying risk factors and forecasting the need for future services.
When it comes to medical billing and hospital coding, accuracy is essential. AIMS Education has talked about the ways that big data ties in with hospital coding.
Mistakes in these areas can cause additional undue hardship on patients who are already suffering enough in these unprecedented times. It can hinder patient safety because the swapping of even just two numbers in a code can significantly affect a diagnosis. Similarly, improper coding can reduce a patient’s level of satisfaction with a hospital or clinic. If they face financial issues as a result of the hospital or clinic’s coding error, they’ll be much less likely to return.
Depending on the scale of such errors, it can also be incredibly costly and complex to fix them. For instance, improper coding has cost the Medicare program over $267 million due to inadequate oversight of patients discharged from hospital. Of the tens of thousands of cases that were found to be at risk of overpayment, the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) analyzed a subsample of 150 cases. Of these, only three were paid properly while the other 147 had some form of overpayment, which was attributed to improperly coded discharges or conditional codes that were added in situations that did not require them.
Clearly, when hospital coding and billing processes aren’t carried out in an accurate and efficient manner, all of the parties involved can suffer. Of course, prioritizing accuracy and data security is often no easy feat. With the proliferation of technology, Big Data’s role in hospital management is becoming more pronounced, which is presenting a unique set of challenges in protecting hospital data and ensuring accuracy across billing procedures. This is why it’s particularly advisable to seek out the services of a reputable hospital billing company.
Consider Fortis Medical Billing Services, for instance, a company known for its extremely professional and experienced staff. Given the complexity of hospital billing services and the medical knowledge required, Fortis employs seasoned experts across various sectors, including physicians, auditors, and compliance experts formerly employed by the FBI.
Clearly, sufficient medical provision in hospitals and accurate billing processes are integral in formulating an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Again, this is no easy feat; hospitals require extensive staff management, policy revision, and thorough decision management to operate effectively and bill patients appropriately. In recruiting a professional medical billing company to assist in these coding and billing procedures, hospitals can greatly enhance their contribution to combating COVID-19.
Hospital Coding Depends on Data Analytics During the Pandemic
Healthcare providers can’t afford to make any mistakes during the pandemic. Fortunately, big data is making their job easier. They are using new data analytics models to enhance their hospital coding practices during this crisis.