Autonomous coding enjoys a high level of trust among healthcare finance professionals who use or plan to use the technology, with 45 percent indicating it often works well and 16 percent placing complete trust in it. Yet despite its emergence as a powerful tool for streamlining and improving error-prone manual coding processes, autonomous coding suffers from an awareness problem, with 52 percent saying they do not know what it is.
Those are the findings of a new survey from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) on behalf of AGS Health, a leading provider of tech-enabled revenue cycle management (RCM) solutions and strategic growth partner to healthcare providers across the U.S. More than 450 healthcare finance professionals were surveyed during the 2023 HFMA Annual Conference on their knowledge of and value expectations for autonomous coding, including 60 percent that use or plan to use autonomous coding.
More than half (52%) of respondents said they don’t know what autonomous coding is and 30 percent either did not or were unsure if it could be trusted.
“Despite high expectations around its potential to increase coder productivity and coding accuracy, reduction in denials, missed charges and low-risk scores, and accelerated provider decision-making, autonomous coding suffers from a knowledge gap that must be closed if we are to see broader adoption,” said Thomas Thatapudi, CIO of AGS Health. “Until we can fully educate finance leadership on the potential autonomous coding holds for improving the healthcare revenue cycle, we are unlikely to see an acceleration in use cases for AI-powered technology which includes autonomous coding.”
Among the key benefits of autonomous coding is its ability to eliminate the potential for human errors that result in missed reimbursement opportunities, backlogs, delays, and claims errors, and its ability to push accuracy levels to near perfect percentages. All of which can be achieved in near real time with the right integration pipelines. Autonomous coding is also faster than its human counterparts – it can complete charts in seconds – yet it also understands what it does not know, flagging it for human review.
Despite fewer than half of respondents saying they fully understand autonomous coding, survey results nonetheless indicated that finance professionals are very aware of its potential:
- Nearly 67 percent believed it would accelerate the revenue cycle
- 63 percent said it would improve coding accuracy
- More than 59 percent indicated it would reduce the need for human intervention
- Nearly 56 percent said it would lower overall costs to the healthcare provider
- More than 48 percent responded that it would optimize coding for the greatest reimbursement
- Just over 23 percent said it would improve patient satisfaction
- More than 22 percent said it would improve patient care
“Autonomous coding is a rapidly maturing solution for many of the most significant pain points plaguing the healthcare revenue cycle, and we are already seeing its impact with productivity increasing by 20-35% on average,” said Emily Bonham, Senior Vice President of Product Management for AGS Health. “However, pushing its adoption past the tipping point requires closing the knowledge gap among healthcare finance leaders on what to expect from autonomous coding as well as how to design, deploy, and optimize a solution that works best for their organization’s needs.”
Click here to read more about the survey.
Click here to learn more about autonomous coding solutions from AGS Health.