Charge capture is critical for the financial success of hospitals and health systems, but as important as it is, it's not a frequent agenda item among healthcare executives, according to a new survey of revenue cycle leaders.
Charge capture is a process used by doctors and other healthcare providers so they get paid for their services. In its simplest form, charge capture is the process whereby doctors record information on their services, which is then sent out to different payers and insurance companies for reimbursement.
The Ingenious Med survey found that a full 78 percent of respondents characterize charge capture as "essential" to their organization's success. Twenty-one percent characterize it as useful, and 1 percent say it's optional.
Despite this, leadership teams at 40 percent of organizations talk about charge capture once a month or less. One-third discuss it weekly, while 18 percent discuss it twice a month, 8 percent discuss it daily, and 2 percent never discuss it at all.
Electronic health record solutions are the default, but they're not well-liked.
Most healthcare organizations, 84 percent, rely at least partly on their EHR systems for charge capture. Half use it exclusively as their charge capture solution. Just over a quarter, 28 percent, use electronic, standalone solutions as part of their charge capture mix, while 27 percent use paper charge capture.
When asked how likely they are to recommend their current charge capture solution, using the Net Promoter Score methodology, only 10 percent of respondents are promoters. More than half are detractors.
While doctors are held slightly more responsible for charge capture than coders, coders spend significant time tracking down the information they need from doctors, results show. Forty percent say the doctor and the coder should be equally responsible for accurately capturing charges. Nineteen percent believe the responsibility rests more on the coder than the doctor, while 31 percent say the doctor should be held more responsible than the coder.
Some 6 percent say the doctor should be exclusively responsible, while 4 percent say the coder should be exclusively responsible.
WHAT ELSE YOU SHOULD KNOW
In descending order, respondents' most significant charge capture challenges include missing charges; charge lag; general inefficiency; integration with EHR or other technologies; coding errors; adoption adherence; and compliance.
Almost a third say their charges are captured within 24 hours of service. A quarter say it takes 1-2 days, 35 percent say it takes 3-7 days, 6 percent say it takes more than a week, and 2 percent say charges are captured in less than an hour.
Thirty-three percent report that the time between charge capture and bill submission is 1-3 days. Forty-one percent say it takes 4-7 days, 24 percent say it takes 1-4 weeks, and 2 percent say it takes more than four weeks.
In June, Jeff Hurst, senior vice president of revenue cycle management and president of RevWorks at Cerner, told Healthcare Finance News the next generation of revenue cycle management would be supported by artificial intelligence to empower the proactive self-sufficiency of consumers and staff efficiency for providers.
As part of that picture, AI will likely be positioned to improve the charge capture picture, as well as those of registration, scheduling, and billing and collections.