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The Benefits of Touchless Invoice Processing in Healthcare Accounts Payable

Key takeaways:

  • Increased labor costs and labor availability in healthcare continue to create challenges in 2023-2024.
  • Healthcare organizations should look to prioritize technology solutions that automate workflows to achieve greater efficiencies, boost productivity and generate cost savings.
  • One area not to be overlooked is accounts payable where using data insights to inform strategies and the latest tech to reduce the number of manually touched invoices can yield positive results.

Digital transformation is ramping up in the healthcare industry, especially in the finance department where manual, paper-based accounts payable (AP) processes have long been standard business practice. According to a recent survey of healthcare CEOs, 50 percent say they plan to invest in digital AP improvements.

Invoice processing and other core AP activities are ripe for digitization. New automation technologies can improve workflows, which in turn will help to extend labor resources, reduce burnout and turnover, and enable operational and cost efficiencies – all important considerations in today’s reality of scarce talent and shrinking margins.

Automation enables AP departments to go ‘touchless’ when it comes to the processing of invoices. Touchless invoice processing helps eliminate the need for manual data entry or the physical handling of paper documents. At a high level, here’s how the process works:

  • An invoice is captured in a cloud-based AP platform where data is extracted and cleansed without any human intervention.
  • Once cleansed, the data is seamlessly integrated into the healthcare organization’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system where payment can be scheduled and executed.

The experts behind Remitra®, Premier’s AP automation platform, have taken the benefits of touchless invoicing processing to the next level. Providing robust reporting and analytics capabilities, healthcare organizations can now tap into their rich data for even greater performance improvement in the finance back office.

What’s fueling the AP level up? Remitra® Provider Intelligence Dashboards.

Using Remitra® Provider Intelligence Dashboards, a healthcare organization can track and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as straight-through or touchless rate, invoice cycle times and approval bottlenecks – all of which affect how quickly and accurately invoices are processed, suppliers are paid, and critical products are received for patient care.

Snapshot of Sample Remitra® Provider Intelligence Dashboard

Armed with these insights, the organization can then create a strategy to improve their straight-through rate, which represents the number of invoices that are sent directly to the ERP without any human intervention.

As an example, one health system dug into the data provided by the Remitra® Provider Intelligence Dashboards and realized that, on average, their AP staff manually processed 1,200 invoices per month. Working in partnership with the Remitra® Customer Success team, the health system was able to utilize the intel provided by the dashboards to reduce the number of manually processed invoices by more than 400 per month – decreasing their manually touched invoices by 36 percent in just one year.

The teams continue to work together to reduce the number of human touches and the health system is realizing efficiencies that would have otherwise been missed.

Touchless invoice processing coupled with the visibility and intel provided by the Remitra® Provider Intelligence Dashboards can help unlock a range of benefits in the finance department.

An Optimized AP Labor Force

The higher the straight-through rate, the more efficient the invoice processing system is, which saves time; reduces the amount of tedious, manual work; and frees up AP staff to focus on more value-add activities (e.g., sourcing new prompt-pay discounts and other financial incentives from suppliers and rebates from credit card processors).

Enhanced Supplier Relationships

An inefficient invoice processing system can result in delayed or late payments, causing strained relationships with suppliers and healthcare organizations to potentially lose out on prompt-pay discounts and the timely delivery of supplies. According to one survey, 59 percent of suppliers that had been paid late reduced or halted discounts, and 62 percent withheld goods or services that were ordered until invoices were paid.

More Balanced Workloads

Another survey points to increased workloads and longer hours due to inefficient manual processes as catalysts for employee burnout. Insights provided by the Remitra® Provider Intelligence Dashboards, such as how many invoices a staff member is touching and the time spent on processing them, can alert managers to workload imbalances well in advance and provide them with an opportunity to seek solutions that increase the straight-through rate before burnout takes its toll.

Other potential benefits of the Remitra® Provider Intelligence Dashboards include:

  • Real-time financial intelligence.
  • Reduced AP costs.
  • Fewer processing errors.
  • A more rewarding work environment.

Future-Forward, Data-Driven AP Automation Capabilities

Premier is focused on finding solutions for healthcare organizations across the U.S. that address staffing shortfalls and improve employee productivity and well-being. Our Remitra® Managed Accounts Payable solution suite – featuring touchless invoice processing bolstered by the Remitra® Provider Intelligence Dashboards – is one of them.

Backed by the PINC AI™ technology and consulting suite and Premier industry-leading supply chain solutions, Remitra® is digitizing back-office functions from contracting all the way through to payment to help:

  • Mitigate workforce challenges.
  • Reduce waste.
  • Enable efficiencies that generate cost and savings opportunities.

Ready to level up your healthcare organization’s digital transformation strategy with AP automation? Get started with Remitra®.

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