Applying AI, Automation to the Healthcare Revenue Cycle

Applying AI, Automation to the Healthcare Revenue Cycle

Inefficiencies in the healthcare revenue cycle represent opportunities to apply Artificial intelligence and automation when approached thoughtfully.

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and intelligent automation, in general, are changing the face of modern business, and this is as true in the world of healthcare as anywhere else. You may have at least a general understanding of how intelligent automation can benefit your healthcare business, but identifying the best use cases and defining a pragmatic action plan can be difficult.

Here are steps to assist healthcare professionals in identifying and implementing the best use cases for artificial intelligence within the revenue cycle processes of their organization.

1. IDENTIFY USEFUL TYPES OF INTELLIGENT AUTOMATION

The first step in getting started with automation is understanding the technologies available to you at a high level. There are two core types of intelligent automation available: AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

AI learns and iterates as it goes by completing repetitive, high-volume, error-prone tasks while collecting intelligence on this work along the way. This approach allows the technology to ultimately identify and address larger, more complex, opportunities for automation. The goal of AI is to mimic human intelligence using computers, enabling them to solve complex problems quickly and to scale.

On the other hand, RPA simply takes a set of inputs and produces an output based on a predefined set of rules. RPA doesn’t “learn”— it reacts the same way every time. RPA can complete the same types of repetitive, high-volume, error-prone tasks while collecting simple metrics for reporting.

Regardless of the technology, the objective of intelligent automation in healthcare, or any other industry, is the same. Take repetitive, high-volume tasks that are done in a similar way every time and offload them to software, freeing up human capital to focus on more important tasks.

Human capital is often reduced to the number of hours human employees spend completing their work, but that view has to be expanded to truly see the impact intelligent automation can have on your organization. At the surface, using automation to replace repetitive tasks humans complete can save money — bots don’t require benefits or vacation time — and reduce errors because typos don’t exist in their world. But at a deeper level, automation can free up your human employees to focus on more complex skills, like customer service, patient advocacy, and empathy.

There are several forms of intelligent automation that offer a multitude of capabilities, but humans possess infinite intelligent skills. When you’re able to apply your staff’s skills to the most important parts of your business rather than to the processes that automation can conduct, that is when you truly see the value intelligent automation can bring to your healthcare organization.

2. UNDERSTAND THE APPLICATION OF INTELLIGENT AUTOMATION

With an understanding of AI and RPA, you can start to see where their applications lie. Rule-based business processes (e.g., insurance verification, data recording) are prime candidates for RPA. More complex judgment-based processes (e.g., eligibility checks that require a review of electronic health records) can benefit from the application of AI.

Categorizing your revenue cycle processes can help set the tone as you continue to brainstorm precise processes to automate and what that implementation should look like. Keeping that constant throughout your brainstorming helps solidify your choices.

3. BRAINSTORM TO IDENTIFY PROCESSES TO AUTOMATE

The next step is brainstorming, identifying specific processes in your business that can benefit. As you begin to approach specific use cases for intelligent automation within your healthcare organization, it is important to consider the impact automation can have and the speed with which these tasks can be completed with automation versus how they are done now.

There are several common places impact and speed can be targeted within the revenue cycle, and account updates are usually a great place to start. These kinds of updates are usually a massive undertaking and can touch many or all of your organization’s patient accounts, and are tedious tasks that have to be done correctly.

Impact is immediately recognizable as automation is much faster than humans, reduces errors to negligible numbers, and can prevent costly errors down the line, saving your organization money. In this kind of automation, speed and impact are intertwined.

4. APPLY PROBLEM AND SOLUTION-ORIENTED APPROACHES

To identify specific processes to offload to intelligent automation, you can use either a problem or solution-oriented approach.

The problem-oriented approach looks to identify bottlenecks and areas where employees spend the bulk of their time performing repetitive tasks. The solution-oriented approach looks to optimize workflows and makes sense when there are no clear bottlenecks. This approach identifies where key performance indicators (KPIs) can be positively impacted by implementing intelligent automation. Whichever approach you take at this stage, remember that every moving piece in a healthcare business has multiple high-volume administrative processes. Intelligent automation does not have to be limited to one department or team — everyone can reap the benefits directly by improving their daily work, or indirectly by experiencing the positive impacts of these improvements in other tangent workflows and cycles.

A NOTE ABOUT DIY OR AI-AS-A-SERVICE

Once you have identified where AI should be applied, you have to consider how you’ll get it implemented. Building an automation solution requires a team of highly skilled developers, project managers, and automation engineers. The DIY approach can make sense, but for many, the upfront costs and lack of technical knowledge create barriers. Partnering with an AIaaS provider makes the benefits of intelligent automation more easily accessible to businesses of all sizes and allows you to focus on core business competencies, instead of development.

Want to get started?

To take the first steps toward automation at your organization, download this free guide. You’ll learn how to identify the right processes for automation, and start to build the case for AI and automation.

How a Digital Workforce Will Save Healthcare

How a Digital Workforce Will Save Healthcare

Enterprises have been digitizing data and processes furiously over the past few decades, and these efforts have unlocked a pantheon of capabilities to offer new products and better experiences, and healthcare is no exception. Partially driven by government mandates and subsidies, healthcare systematically bought large electronic medical record systems (EMRs and EHRs) and other systems to bring them into the digital era. Unfortunately, this tidal wave of adoption, although extraordinarily valuable, had negative side effects as well: 


The digitization of healthcare created silos. Database fortresses were built at every organization. They weren’t built to share. They weren’t built to interoperate – not between software systems and certainly not between organizations. No connection to insurers. No connection to other providers and until recently, almost no connection to patients. 

Instead, healthcare employees have taken on the job of the data router, shifting hours spent from being in front of patients, to being in front of computers, shepherding patient data into the right fields. This administrative burden is driving skyrocketing costs, rising attrition and a backlog of work in an industry already suffering from razor thin margins. Healthcare can’t continue to operate like this – there must be a solution to rescue nearly a trillion dollars of administrative costs and reallocate these precious resources to the delivery of care, the creation of new drugs and therapies, and the research to eradicate diseases.


The answer is an AI-powered digital workforce.

Today, most healthcare executives are familiar with robotic process automation, or RPA – it’s used to automate common workflows or business practices like patient scheduling, supply chain management, claims management, and more. That’s because many of the time-consuming, manual processes that make up healthcare administration are simple, rule-based and high volume – the perfect candidate processes for automation. But for many organizations looking to deploy artificial intelligence, RPA alone will not allow them to realize the full benefits of AI – a digital workforce is required.


A digital workforce goes beyond traditional RPA in 3 very important ways:
  1. A digital workforce has deep learning
  2. Gets smarter over time & adjusts work 
  3. Interacts with human management

Not all automations a digital employee does can be performed by a human – in many cases, a digital employee uses deep learning techniques to accomplish far more complex tasks

Although a digital employee depends on RPA as a building block of their capabilities, they leverage other advanced technologies to handle more complex tasks that RPA can’t accomplish alone. For instance, while RPA can quickly and accurately process large volumes of data, Olive, the first AI-powered digital employee built for healthcare, leverages some degree of artificial cognition on top of an automation, allowing her to make decisions or take action with cognitive “thinking” involved.

The processes involved in deep learning are similar to that of data mining and predictive modeling – this is how a digital employee gets smarter over time. Leveraging deep learning techniques provides better and faster information that improves efficiency, capacity, and reduces costs by providing insights into bottlenecks – and the reason behind these bottlenecks – identifying systemic, recurring issues and making adjustments or recommendations to solve them. 

A digital workforce can learn, adapt to change their work based on new intelligence.

Most of the value of a digital worker is created after a bot is deployed – that’s because, much like a human employee, if a bot is doing the same thing on day 100 of employment as it was on day 1, a huge opportunity is lost. Through predictive analytics, deep learning, and a continual stream of insights, a digital employee gets smarter over time, providing lasting value.

Olive turns insights into actionable intelligence, identifying potential problems from a mile away, so organizations are learning about solutions before they even learn about the problem. By consuming large amounts of historical data already in your system, Olive finds trends and data anomalies in your workflows and learns to respond the same way a human would – only smarter, faster, and more accurately – making continual improvements to provide better, more meaningful data and insight as she learns. And by pairing a digital employee with key hospital administrators, they can streamline and improve the management of data-heavy tasks like insurance eligibility checks or patient scheduling, using data to uncover and resolve recurring issues.


A digital employee interacts with managers to provide business intelligence and recommendations on improved ways to handle tasks, so they continue to generate value after deployment.
 

Olive works with human managers to determine the best way to communicate actionable insights, and that intelligence gives organizations a ‘Decision Advantage’ over where and how they apply their resources towards current workflow improvements or new candidate processes for automation. 

For instance, at one health system, Olive was hired to automate claim status checks. But unlike a traditional RPA bot, as soon as Olive was live she started collecting data that became actionable insights – like dollar amounts associated with denials – to communicate back to her manager for process improvement opportunities. Based on these learnings, her manager recommended that she focus on a specific subset of denials, which lead to another key discovery: millions of dollars of denials stemmed from a specific drug denial due to missing prior authorizations and medical necessity. This insight allowed the hospital to target a specific department in their organization where this recurring issue could be resolved. This “always on” analysis of information allows a digital employee to proactively offer new solutions for workflow improvements as she gets smarter over time.

A digital employee has Global Awareness and can connect disparate sets of information

Lastly, “global awareness” is another important concept that’s core to a digital employee – the understanding or awareness of information across multiple networks, systems, databases, or contexts. Interoperability is a consistent and growing challenge facing healthcare and the ability for our digital employees to transcend those silos opens up great opportunity. One example is quickly identifying a portal outage and alerting managers before a failure, as well as other organizations where Olives are employed. In the future, it could mean knowing a particular patient’s identity across multiple doctors’ offices or hospitals – even across different systems globally. This identification and matching of people is monumentally important to building the interoperability our industry so desperately needs.


That’s why we built Olive: to work side-by-side with healthcare employees with access to a limitless amount of data. 

As AI becomes more advanced – using applications humans have already developed to organize and interpret larger datasets than a human ever could – the opportunity to build and scale a digital workforce is greater than ever before. And at Olive, we think healthcare employees should handle the functions that are uniquely suited to humans, not the job of data entry clerk or data router. Olive can perform these tasks much more accurately and efficiently, working to resolve recurring issues over time and allowing human employees to focus on higher-value initiatives.

 

Working alongside healthcare employees, Olive is trained to think and make complex decisions that are driven by data. She never misses a day of work. She never makes unprogrammed mistakes. And every Olive learns collectively, like a network, so that healthcare organizations never have to solve the same problem twice. 

We’re making healthcare more efficient, more affordable, and more human with a growing digital workforce, so humans finally have the time, energy, and bandwidth to focus on what matters most: the patient experience. Just think of all the time digital employees will give back to our human employees – clinicians, providers, administrators, payers, and more. And with every organization that employs a digital employee, our ability to carve millions of dollars out of the cost of healthcare will become closer to reality.

If you want to learn more about Olive, contact us to schedule a demo.

 

Employing an AI-Powered Digital Employee: A Health System’s & Vendor’s Perspective

Employing an AI-Powered Digital Employee: A Health System’s & Vendor’s Perspective

On May 21, Becker’s Hospital Review hosted a webinar, Employing an AI-Powered Digital Employee: A Health System’s & Vendor’s Perspective, sponsored by Olive: a technology company who delivers AI-powered digital employees to healthcare organizations. The webinar was led by Susan Whitecotton, Vice President of Patient Financial Services at MedStar Health, and Braden Lambros, Executive Director of AI Transformation at Olive.

During the session, MedStar shared their story of employing Olive’s digital workforce. Both speakers gave their perspectives and insights on:

  1. How AI can address hospital’s biggest challenges
  2. The differentiators of a digital workforce
  3. Effective ways to lead an AI transformation program within your organization
  4. How to navigate the vendor selection process
  5. The outcomes of hiring a digital workforce

Here are the top five questions answered during the webinar.

How do I determine if AI and automation is right for my organization?

A host of internal challenges, industry challenges and pressing needs are constantly putting pressure on hospitals to do more with less, all while improving performance. For MedStar, those challenges led the organization to pursue cutting edge technologies to support their revenue cycle transformation. Like many health systems, some specific issues the organization faced included:

  • Separate financial systems versus their clinicals
  • Registration accuracy
  • Staffing / Turnover / Training
  • Frequent payer changes that have led to financial performance issues
  • Pressing needs that bubbled back up to the revenue cycle

As the team at MedStar investigated solutions, AI and automation emerged as an ideal fit to concur many of the repetitive, rule-based and error prone processes that were driving critical revenue cycle functions.

What is a digital workforce?

 A digital workforce, or digital employee is enabled by combining automation and artificial intelligence technologies in tandem to automate error prone, inefficient tasks. When hiring a digital employee it’s often easiest to think of the technologies as you would a human counterpart. Robotic Process Automation handles many of the tasks that hands would tackle, logging into and out of systems and entering data manually. Computer Vision is leveraged as the eyes, reading, scanning and recognizing critical items on a page — transcribing documents and images that are critical to standard business processes in a health system. While Machine Learning is defined as a digital employee’s ability to make contextual decisions about and within processes, truly mimicking human decision making.

How should I go about leading an AI and automation initiative within my hospital?

According to Susan, pulling together the right people, having the right conversations and aligning on the right execution model are essential for leading a successful program. She advised those considering leading their own AI initiative to:

  • Get the right stakeholders involved early
  • Have a project champion
  • Create a staffing augmentation strategy and communication plan
  • Call on internal teams to contribute to the discovery process
  • Lean into an agile execution model

What criteria should I consider when seeking an AI and automation partner?

When engaging in vendor partnership selection, Susan advised beginning with the end in mind. By doing proper research and understanding her KPIs before seeking a vendor, MedStar was aligned on critical indicators of success and set clear expectations on how success would be measured. By conducting site visits and reference calls with other health systems already benefiting from AI and automation, the team was able to validate their vendor criteria.

Vendors were evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Had a process and approach to achieve required results
  • Had deep experience in the revenue cycle (someone who spoke a hospital’s language)
  • Had an understanding of healthcare’s unique security challenges
  • Would go beyond being a vendor; they would be a true partner

“We went through a formal selection process and found that Olive not only brought the revenue cycle expertise, but more importantly, they brought innovation and talent with an enthusiastic team that blended very well with our culture. This was very important to introduce change and deliver a successful outcome,” Susan said.

How do I determine where to begin?

As a vendor partner, Olive often is asked, “Where do I get started?”. It can seem daunting, and that’s where you should rely on your vendor to guide you. Braden explained prioritization should be aligned with processes that will deliver quick wins with big impacts.  By tackling those challenges first, your organization can build quick success, establish internal buy-in needed across teams to continue to tackle more complex process challenges. It’s best to start by listing business process that are repetitive, high-volume, rule-based and often prone to human error.

Ideal candidates for automation will meet each of those criteria. Your vendor will then determine which automations can be built and deployed quickly (30-60-90 days from the time work begins) and support your team in defining prioritization against business results, such as increased efficiency or accuracy.

 What outcomes are expected when hiring a digital workforce?

Strategically planned programs with thorough scoping, strong communication (internal and external) and clear key performance indicators, organizations produce quick wins that demonstrate immediate process improvements, along with long-term economic impacts that help achieve desired financial results.

For Susan and her team, in six months since initial go-live, Olive’s digital workforce has:

  • Logged 1,300 hours of productive work
  • Completed more than 23 million actions
  • Delivered cost savings of more than 50 percent compared to prior processes.

Two other quick wins for MedStar were in the Electronic Insurance Eligibility Verification process and ERA remittance posting. In Eligibility Verification, Olive was live in 22 days, and now completes the process 5 to 7 times faster than a human employee could. And in ERA remittance posting, Olive has taken over 90% of the process, allowing staff to shift focus to other important tasks. Hiring a digital workforce also allowed previously untouched work to be addressed. In patient status transfers, limited resources meant Susan’s team was only able to manage inpatient to outpatient charge capture corrections (leaving outpatient to inpatient unaddressed). Olive now runs both processes (more than 1,100 charge corrections per day), giving the organization the opportunity to realize more revenue.

“[Employing a digital workforce] has been an exciting journey thus far. Our team has been excited to learn new things and we’re really looking forward to seeing a significant impact in the long run,” said Susan.

With many phases of their revenue cycle transformation still to come, MedStar’s digital workforce and the process efficiencies and financial impacts that come with it has just begun.

Want to learn more about how Olive is transforming this health system with AI? Catch the entire webinar here.

5 Innovations Moving Care Out Of The Hospital

5 Innovations Moving Care Out Of The Hospital

For years now, care has continued to shift out of the hospital to various, lower cost sites of care. A recent study even projected a 2% decline in inpatient discharges over the next 10 years while they forecast 15% growth in outpatient volumes.¹  Surgery centers, hospital outpatient departments, telemedicine, walk-in clinics, and home health care all continue to grow, driven by consumers’ demand for convenience, advancing technologies, and health systems and payers’ need to lower costs. 

At Olive, this shift in care is especially exciting as it will help improve the quality and quantity of life for many Americans across the country. Alongside technologies like artificial intelligence, process automation, and other emerging technologies, these advances help make care more affordable and accessible to all. 

Let’s look at some of the new innovations that are helping healthcare providers care for patients out of the hospital:

 

Improved Surgical Techniques

While it’s not a new innovation, continued surgical and anesthesia improvements have allowed more procedures to move from inpatient to outpatient settings. Surgeries that once required long hospital recoveries are now able to be done in Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC), office-based surgical practices, and Hospital Outpatient Departments (HOPD). 

Examples of surgeries that have been able to transition to out of home facilities are spine fusions and disc replacements, total joint replacements, retina procedures and more. Even cardiovascular procedures are beginning to move out of the hospital.

A study performed by the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association found that Medicare would save over $2.4 billion per year if half the eligible surgical procedures shifted to the ASC setting (as opposed to taking place in a HOPD).² And with the ongoing success of these surgeries in other settings, CMS has begun removing procedures from its in-patient only list, such as knee replacements, which will help speed up the shift to other sites of care.

Telemedicine Appointments

Remote doctor visits, commonly known as telemedicine, have increased tremendously in recent years, but there’s still room for continued growth. Telemedicine’s potential is largely due to improved communication technologies. Studies show that 77% of U.S. adults now have a smartphone. And with more access, higher-resolution video capabilities, and better security, doctors are able to have meaningful conversations and evaluations via video. This innovation is particularly important in rural areas where patients often have to drive hours to be seen by a provider.

While still mostly used for common illnesses such as pink eye, rashes, or an ear infection, telemedicine also has the potential to reduce readmissions, especially when combined with other technologies such as remote patient monitoring.

 

Remote Patient Monitoring

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a key piece of technology that will help telemedicine reach its full potential. RPM uses at-home sensors or tests to remotely transmit health data to healthcare professionals, where it is reviewed to detect potential health problems. 

RPM is especially important for managing chronic conditions, which affect six in ten American adults.4 Due to the high number and costs of visits required to monitor these patients, many routinely miss appointments and do not do schedule proper follow-up care. With RPM, these patients can be monitored more regularly without the burden of having as many in-person visits. The data can also identify potential problems so intervention can occur sooner, improving outcomes.

RPM is already being used for people with diabetes, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, pacemakers, and women with hypertension during pregnancy. But with new developments in consumer wearables and wireless technology, the possibilities of RPM will surely expand.

Remote Lab Tests

We’ve already seen direct-to-consumer sites like 23andMe and EverlyWell begin offering genetic testing and panels for thyroid, hormones, and food sensitivities. These companies send a testing box requiring the consumer to send back blood, saliva, or urine that is then analyzed at the company lab. 

Although these aren’t in the same category as actual health care at the moment, they are a glimpse into what could be possible in the future, as companies have proven that there is a demand for at-home testing options. They have also paved the way for improved testing by making consumers more comfortable with the idea of having lab work done at home. Currently, telemedicine companies are looking to add lab services to their offerings, for example an at-home test kit for strep throat or UTIs.

In the meantime, home health care patients are already benefiting from more sophisticated remote lab testing. For example, LabCorp’s Lab-in-a-Box and Lab-in-an-Envelope offerings allow home health care providers to collect blood samples for a variety of tests at the patient’s home and send to LabCorp via FedEx.

 

At-Home Care

There has also been a growing interest in more at-home primary care, especially for patients with severe chronic conditions who have trouble leaving the home. These patients are often the highest users of healthcare services, but their limited mobility makes it difficult to see a doctor regularly. Instead, they often resort to using ambulances and emergency rooms to access care. Because of these factors, this patient group has extremely high rates of hospitalization and hospital readmission.

Similarly to telemedicine, primary care house calls for those with chronic conditions could help manage these conditions better and preemptively identify problems sooner, leading to lower rates of hospitalization. It’s a shift towards prevention-based care instead of intervention, and so far, the numbers appear to support this approach. In the Independence at Home Project, 17 practices providing home-based primary care all saw reduced ER visits, hospitalizations, and 30-day readmissions during the five-year project period.5

There are also companies looking to bring urgent-care type services to the home, such as Heal. Their app enables physician house calls for conditions commonly treated at the emergency department or urgent care, such as sprains and ear infections. On another front, Mercy Care and Philips have teamed up for a pilot study with seniors that can provide home health care for urgent care using the Lifeline medical alert system. The program is trying to reduce readmissions and improve patient quality of life. As programs and companies such as these continue to emerge, it seems likely that more and more care will take place at home.

The Future Potential

It’s exciting to see innovations happening in the medical field, especially in the other sites of care. And as the industry as a whole moves to value-based care and preventive medicine, these fields become increasingly more important to connecting the entire continuum of care. We’ve already seen hospitals building, acquiring, and partnering with ASCs, outpatient facilities, and home health providers, which leads to an interesting question about the future: how can all of these points of care help integrate care for the patient and the providers to improve care?

Connecting health at home to the hospital and every other point of care in between is a huge opportunity for consumers and providers alike – it would improve engagement, cost, and outcomes. As patient care continues to move to a broader set of care sites, the need for interoperability will increase, as well – an area where many emerging technologies like operational AI will have an enormous impact. Together, AI and the data provided by home health providers and remote patient monitoring devices could hold the key to unlocking health and wellness insights that will improve care for everyone.

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.sg2.com/health-care-intelligenceblog/2017/05/sg2-2017-impact-change-forecast-finding-growth/
  2. https://ankura.com/insights/healthcare-outlook-2017-ambulatory-surgery-centers/
  3. https://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/mobile/
  4. https://www.rand.org/pubs/tools/TL221.html
  5. https://www.iahnow.org/
Olive Adds Clinc’s Conversational AI to Digital Healthcare Employee

Olive Adds Clinc’s Conversational AI to Digital Healthcare Employee

Combined technologies unlock conversational applications for an artificial intelligence solution that is uniquely positioned to improve patient satisfaction, boost efficiency, and reduce burnout and costs.

COLUMBUS OH, June 24, 2019 — While new technologies continue to transform the healthcare industry in unprecedented ways, administrative functions still burden the healthcare industry with 1 in every 3 dollars spent on administration. Olive, the company that introduced healthcare’s first digital employee, has joined forces with Clinc, another trailblazer in Artificial Intelligence (AI), to free up time and resources by adding conversational AI capabilities to its existing technology. The combined offering allows Olive’s digital healthcare employee to bring hospitals and health systems broader applications across revenue cycle, supply chain and other financial and operational departments.

This union expands the versatility of Olive by unlocking a broader range of capabilities like, vocal cognition to further help organizations eliminate bottlenecks, simplify administration, keep costs in check and ultimately improve the experience for patients.

Olive’s existing technology has put the digital healthcare employee to work on back-office functions spanning repetitive, time-consuming, and error-prone administrative tasks like claims processing, prior authorization statusing, and extracting patient data from EHRs. Working with Clinc, Olive will add vocal cognition to her current skill set to deliver a balanced mix of AI capabilities including RPA, CV, ML, and NLP/U to propel new opportunities for optimization and end-to-end automation for the AI-powered digital employee. This represents a pivotal milestone in the advancement of human and machine interaction in healthcare.

With these amplified capabilities, Olive is poised to create major improvements in healthcare, for example:

      • Comprehensive automations – Adding conversational AI to Olive’s skill set means that Olive can trigger and complete additional actions and connect steps in the information process that would have required human intervention before. For example, when a diagnosis code is incorrect or missing information on a claim, Olive will find the right data through a dialogue with patients, physicians and nurses.
      • Customer services in call centers –  Clinc brings its ability to take on high call volumes, understand freeform speech, maintain context, and simultaneously parse out inquiries and commands. This will be a breakthrough in areas like patient scheduling.

“This added technology helps us expand our breadth of AI by adding cognitive conversation to Olive’s capabilities,” said Sean Lane, CEO of Olive. “I envision Olive seamlessly interacting with patients and employees and bringing elevated comprehension into data analysis. We’re excited to be entering a new chapter in building a faster, more efficient, more effective healthcare system — the possibilities are endless.”

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of Clinc’s record $52M in its Series B funding round led by investors from Insights Partners, DFJ Growth, Drive Capital and Hyde Park Venture Partners. Drive Capital has also led previous funding rounds for Olive, and made their first investment in the organization in 2013. To date, Clinc has applied natural language understanding technology to a myriad of industries, including the financial, automotive, and food service sectors, but its latest round of funding is earmarked for expanding to new markets including healthcare.

“Healthcare impacts everyone in life-changing ways, and it is also a sector uniquely positioned to benefit from advances in efficiency and interoperability, enabled by AI,” said Jason Mars, CEO of Clinc. “We are advancing a powerful combination of task automation and voice-enabled interaction services that will help healthcare employees and patients to better understand, access and navigate the healthcare experience.”

“By bringing together two complementary, AI based technologies, the Clinc and Olive collaboration is poised to supercharge our digital workforce’s automation capabilities and shift the paradigm for how administrative work in healthcare is done,” added Lane.

To learn more about Olive and Clinc, visit www.oliveai.com and www.clinc.com.

About Olive

Olive is deploying the first digital workforce built specifically for healthcare, automating healthcare’s most robotic processes, so human employees don’t have to. Olive delivers healthcare organizations improved efficiency and speed while reducing costly administrative errors. Using the systems an organization already has in place, Olive operates as a digital employee intelligently routing information and data between systems automating repetitive, high-volume tasks and workflows, providing true interoperability. Olive is proud to partner with over 50 healthcare organizations made up of nearly 350 facilities in over 35 states across the country, ranging from some of the nation’s top health systems to small regional hospitals.  

About Clinc

Clinc is the leading global provider of conversational artificial intelligence technologies for companies like USAA, İşbank, Barclays and others. Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the company was founded in 2015 by world-class AI and systems research professor at the University of Michigan. Utilizing the world’s most sophisticated natural language processing engine and the most advanced scientific discoveries in AI research, Clinc’s AI emulates human intelligence and is able to understand unstructured, unconstrained speech, and can interpret not only semantics and intent, but the underlying meaning of user queries.  Learn more at clinc.com.

Industry Insights from a Revenue Cycle Leader: Healthcare Tech Today and Tomorrow

Industry Insights from a Revenue Cycle Leader: Healthcare Tech Today and Tomorrow

As part of a new interview series with Healthcare Leaders across the country, the Olive team had the chance to interview healthcare consultant, Six Sigma Black Belt and Revenue Cycle expert April Langford about the biggest challenges facing healthcare today. Previous to starting AML Consulting, her own revenue cycle consulting firm, April was the VP of Finance at UPMC, a leading integrated healthcare delivery system. In addition to AML Consulting, she currently is co-founder and CEO of revcyclematch.com, an online platform that connects providers to their future business partners. revcyclematch.com reimagined Revenue Cycle management partnerships with a new platform that makes tedious marketing and client acquisition practices obsolete.

What are the biggest challenges you see leaders in Revenue Cycle facing?

Today, there are so many new regulations Revenue Cycle leaders have to react to, increasing federal, state and payer requirements, and the shift to value-based care has also come into play. The movement to value based care is more closely aligning the clinical and financial world in healthcare.

This expansion of Revenue Cycle into quality of care is interesting – Revenue Cycle leaders now find themselves responsible for health information management and care management, expanding their scope of management.

What role do you see technology playing in solving these challenges now, and five years from now?

As health systems grow and continue to accumulate multiple EMR, EHR and other disparate software, technology has to play a growing role in interfacing and connecting those systems so that organizations can operate as one integrated health system. Interoperability is important for the institution and the quality of care for consumers. At each point along the Revenue Cycle today, there are new technologies emerging to solve any given issue. Defining, selecting and implementing new systems is paramount to a smooth-running revenue cycle.

In 5 years, I foresee technology playing an even bigger role across the continuum of care. Being able to tie patient data together so that physicians and care-givers have a holistic view of a patient will increase the quality of care. What will the implications to billing be? Contracting and billing for value-based care will bring about increased complexities and new technologies to be able to manage billing and collections to ensure proper payment.


How does the shift to value-based care impact revenue cycle?

This has been an ongoing conversation, and as the shift to value-based care continues, it’s becoming more imperative for healthcare systems to master the evolving value-based payment and delivery models. It’s an evolution and it’s still rather new so organizations are just starting to model how to get there. Working to improve reimbursements, focusing on patient care and looking outside of the industry for innovative strategies to implement are a few areas where I see people focusing as the industry shifts to value-based care. Navigating that shift is one of the biggest challenges facing healthcare organizations today.

At Olive, we talk a lot about the concept of ShiftWork (shifting the mundane work currently done by employees to technology, so people can focus on work that requires a human touch) and how it will impact the current staff at health organizations. What higher-value activities do you see employees taking on as burdensome tasks are handed off to technology?

Honestly, it always seems like there is more work to do in the healthcare industry – often times even more work then there are people to complete the tasks. At many hospitals, there are a significant amount of open positions to fill at any given time.

I think the best approach to shifting work successfully is to talk to the employee first, because I’ve learned that if you understand what a person likes to do, it’s generally what they’re good at, as well. And when you have the focus to re-allocate employees time to more meaningful work, it gives them opportunities to grow and learn, ultimately helping them be more fulfilled.

Tell us about a person who mentored, inspired or impacted you during your career.

I have so many! I would say early on at UPMC, Don Riefner hired me not once, but twice, across different areas of the healthcare industry, so he spent many years influencing the trajectory of my career. And he was a great boss, extremely smart and thoughtful, never micro-managed and was always a calm voice of reason.

Can you share a piece of advice that someone gave you over the course of your career?

I’ve gotten a lot of great advice over the years, but the previous CFO and COO at UPMC was a great mentor and taught me something that always served me well. He taught me that I needed to be able to answer the who, what, when, where, and how before he accepted a recommendation. I needed to be 8 levels deep to achieve expertise. That’s always stayed with me as a truly valuable piece of career advice.

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