Providers Increasing Adoption of AI-Fueled Clinical Documentation Technology

The use of computer-assistant coding has been percolating along for a while now but hasn’t taken over the healthcare industry. However, it could find a much more extensive place in the industry in coming years as AI becomes more widely accepted within healthcare organizations, a new survey suggests.

According to Black Book Research, which conducted the survey, the clinical documentation tech market should hit $5.2 billion by 2022, up from $3.2 billion at the end of fiscal 2018. That represents a 10.2% compound annual growth rate.

The survey, which connected with 3,300 coding and health records professionals, found that 44% of respondents already use AI in some form and that 88% of C-suite officers surveyed expected to see wide AI implementation within the next five years.  Black Book also found that 93% of healthcare professionals were optimistic that AI technology will be able to streamline document creation.

Of respondents who were using computer-assisted coding, complex denials dropped 21% on average among responding hospitals over the past 2 years. In real terms, the volume of hospital charges denied by payers fell from $250 million in 2016 to $198 million in 2018. Also, coder productivity for Q3 2019 climbed 55% in hospitals with more than 200 beds as compared with Q3 2017.

Eighty-three percent of hospital financial officers said that one of their most pressing reasons for adopting clinical documentation improvement technology is to improve their case-mix index.

They seem to be meeting that goal so far. Driven by AI-enhanced clinical documentation tools, the average case-mix overall improved $1.6 million on average in 128 hospitals with between 150 and 400 beds from Q3 2018 to Q3 2019, respondents said.  In addition, 90% of hospitals said they saw quality improvements and an increase in their case mix index within six months of clinical documentation technology implementation.

What’s more, 89% of hospitals surveyed reported cutting transcription costs in half or more within one year of implementing end-to-end coding, clinical documentation and transcription software, and 93% of providers saw operational improvement.

Not surprisingly, given these results, 88% of those polled reported being eager to roll out more sophisticated clinical documentation improvement tools fueled by AI.

These new platforms, Black Book said, embed AI-driven clinical intelligence within both clinician and clinical documentation workflows. Their job is to analyze EHR notes and clinical data to identify gaps and deficiencies before the notes are even saved to the EHR, Black Book said.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.