Widespread adoption of electronic business transactions in healthcare continues to grow but a significant opportunity for $9.4 billion in annual savings remains, according to the 2016 CAQH Index®, released earlier this month. Conducting resource-intensive manual transactions costs U.S. health plans and healthcare providers as much as $11 more per transaction and on average $6 more than when conducted electronically. Millions of these transactions are exchanged daily.
The fourth annual CAQH Index measures adoption, costs and, for the first time, provider labor time associated with the most common administrative transactions conducted between health plans and providers. These include verifying a patient’s insurance coverage, sending and receiving payment, inquiring about the status of a claim and obtaining prior authorization for care.
New findings show that medical providers could save at least 1.1 million labor hours per week by transitioning to fully electronic transactions. Providers now spend 8 minutes on average, and up to 30 minutes on manual tasks, which include making phone calls, sending faxes and mailing correspondence. Prior authorization offers providers the greatest time savings potential if conducted electronically, reducing the time per transaction from 20 to 6 minutes and the cost from $7.50 to $1.89.