June 08, 2011

With the growing concern over healthcare costs, and the increased workload everyone who works in the industry has experienced since the health reform bill became law, it is now more crucial than ever for insurance providers to find ways to increase efficiency while adding value and controlling costs for their policyholders. Amid the numerous issues affecting the healthcare industry, one of the simplest and most powerful ways to add value, control costs and improve efficiency within a health payer organization is through data report automation. Report automation is a simple addition to any payer organization that can reap huge benefits. Report automation software is straightforward to learn and deploy so that current workflows are not disrupted, but rather are enhanced so that administrative tasks do not monopolize valuable company man-hours and resources.

Automated reports can handle routine -- as well as more customized -- data sets of virtually any size and scope. Once set up, reports are automatically generated and distributed to all necessary end-users, replacing the cumbersome process of compiling detailed reports and sending them out to all relevant parties manually on a report-by-report basis. Reports ranging from claims, enrollments, and high-cost claimants to more complex analyses of financial, cost and utilization data can all be easily automated and scheduled using software solutions that are either already on the market or coming soon. Many of these tools can automate a payer’s most crucial and common data reports in a streamlined and customizable way. Automated reports ensure compliance with health data privacy and security regulations while also providing a clearer view into key datasets.

The saved time and money associated with automated reports can be passed onto policyholders and free up personnel to focus more on more value-added services for the policyholder. Valuable informatics and analytic staff can spend more time on their core job functions of evaluating and analyzing data rather than having to manually compile reports on an ad hoc basis.

Every insurance provider -- and every one of their policyholders -- has different needs, yet some reports are universal. Tracking out of pocket costs, for example, or targeting high-cost claimants. Deploying an automated system that generates reports on a set schedule lets information be gathered and disseminated based on parameters set by the user easily and with regularity. Data automation provides the insurer with the most relevant and useful information in a timely manner.

Report automation will not make very many headlines in the healthcare debate, but it is a tangible way to reduce costs. Report automation also shows that health insurance IT does not need to be an elaborate, abstract concept, but can be very straightforward for health insurance providers. Data automation software is available now, and it can help save companies time and money so they can better serve the needs of their policyholders.

Automation is no longer the missing or overlooked part of the data puzzle. Solutions are now available that help providers garner more relevant information for their clients in a faster, more efficient and more accurate way. The benefits for insurance companies to convert to automated data reporting can be tremendous.

About the Author: Denise Zeman is senior VP and chief administrative officer at Health Data Management Solutions (HDMS). Denise has over twenty years management and consulting experience in the health care and group benefits consulting industry.