How to Streamline Healthcare AP Departments with Document Automation

Due to the fundamental need for better workflow, the healthcare industry has adopted new technology to improve their accounts payable (AP) administration tasks. Document automation is revolutionizing the healthcare industry by helping accounts payable departments easily access important financial information, streamline communication with financial executives, and minimize office administration costs.

What is AP document automation?

AP document automation refers to technology that is used to streamline and automate accounts payable processes. It helps to remove manual tasks while providing better visibility and control over important financial data.

In the healthcare industry, organizations use a combination of hardware, software and business systems that work together to reduce or eliminate manual tasks, including:

  • Electronic invoice delivery
  • Document management
  • Workflow automation
  • Advanced analytical tools

By relieving the burden of manual data entry, stare-and-compare matching, and other routine and repetitive activities, document automation helps staff function in more productive and value-added activities.

What are the benefits of AP document automation in healthcare?

AP document automation is one of the best technologies available today that increases efficiency and overall productivity in the healthcare industry. There are four main ways that document automation makes a difference.

Accelerate productivity

Document automation systems help healthcare AP departments accelerate productivity by centrally capturing and routing invoices automatically. Invoices are indexed, classified, matched and directly transferred into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, which eliminates the need for double data entry. These systems save time by having employees avoid menial tasks while allowing stakeholders to access order and payment information without delay.

Increase profitability

Document automation allows healthcare administrators to take advantage of early-pay discount incentives with greater predictability. Since all invoices, audit trails and notes are stored in one database, invoices are processed more quickly. The result is that AP departments have access to all records they need to pay promptly, capture more discounts, and eliminate late payment penalties.

Build better customer relationships

Healthcare organizations depend on their vendors to keep things running with a wide array of often high-importance products and services. Document automation helps ensure vendor satisfaction by managing and processing accounts payable faster and with more accuracy.

Predict financial outcomes

Document automation helps provides greater visibility into the day-to-day workflow. Since all the related content is stored, searched, and accessed from one centralized location, AP departments have a more complete and immediate view of the entire business process. Administrators can quickly identify demands and constraints, analyze processing performance over time, and eliminate invoice processing bottlenecks.

What are the best practices for document automation?

Although there are several different technologies available, not every AP department requires the same solution. By incorporating the best practices, administrators can capitalize on immediate savings and efficiencies while avoiding the unneeded difficulties involved in over-complicated systems.

Initiating AP processes electronically

Rather than receiving paper invoices and manually scanning them into the system, AP departments can have vendors and suppliers submit invoices electronically. One fundamental benefit of this approach is that these electronic files have better quality than scanned documents, and this improvement in quality leads to fewer errors.

Create a plan to manage your content

While scanning hardware captures document images, document automation software allows AP departments to enter basic information about each document. By organizing keyword data, or selecting data from preconfigured dropdown lists, users electronically file the scanned documents. Administrators can keep their data organized by using basic parameters, such as titles, PO numbers, or brief descriptions.

Establish Intelligent Data Capture (IDC)

IDC scans data from document images, allowing AP departments to review information in different ways. Key bits of data like PO number, amount or date, are digitally captured and populated in a variety of index fields. Other advances at this stage include the use of barcodes, which can be interpreted quickly and reveal a more extensive set of data.

While incorporating automation is beneficial for AP departments, it’s not an overnight process. The biggest hurdle that any organization faces regarding document automation is change management, and it’s important to consider how much change the organization can endure.

Digital transformation is a key factor when it comes to information management in the Healthcare industry. Being smarter with your information will result in a more streamlined process and a greater impact on your staff and patients.

As an industry veteran, Jeff has been in the imaging and content management space for over 25 years. Jeff comes to DRS from DocuWare where he served in an East Coast Senior Sales Director position, where he managed a team of eight regional sales directors. Prior to his position as East Coast Director, Jeff was a Regional Sales Director and grew his region over 400% in five years.