In March 2021, West Virginia University (WVU) Medicine announced its ambitious journey to solve some of the biggest administrative challenges for health systems across the country. By focusing on robotic process automation, an “AI workforce” of sorts, the organization is looking to minimize the time its people are spending on administrative and repetitive tasks that could be handled by technological solutions.
The journey has been so successful that the organization was highlighted by Becker’s Hospital Review, which presented a case for changing to adopt artificial intelligence and automation, along with highlighting how the successful partnership between the business and IT acted as the key driver for the initiative’s success.
WVU Medicine was able to add the digital equivalent of forty-eight full-time employees, which integrated with its electronic health records to manage repetitive task claims. This increased the organization’s daily claims status checks from four hundred to nearly thirty thousand per day.
This exponential uptick allowed WVU employees to put more focus on patient experience and revenue duties for the organization. Accounts/receivables net days decreased from sixty-five to fewer than fifty after the AI bots clocked in.
“Automation taking over claims work not only has improved efficiency and revenue but also has improved humans’ work because they’re not doing tedious jobs anymore,” Vice President and Assistant CIO Ilo Romero told technology partner Olive. “AI will revolutionize medicine and the delivery of care, and I believe robotic process automation will enable health systems to stay competitive in the market.”
Along with Romero, the project was overseen internally by Assistant Vice President of Revenue Cycle Leah Klinke, who has been with WVU since 2007. In her current post, Klinke is responsible for driving revenue and optimization strategies across the sixteen-hospital health system.
When American Healthcare Leader spoke with Klinke in 2018, she highlighted having helped transition the company through a rebuilding of the billing department, as well as connecting a tangled web of divisions that needed to get on the same page.
Leah Klinke continues working to reimagine and redefine the responsibilities within the revenue organization with a goal of maintaining as many meaningful jobs as possible. West Virginia is often held up as an example of a place where jobs are lacking, due to the reliance on coal and manufacturing jobs that no longer exist.
The AVP doesn’t want her organization to be a contributor to that reputation. Both the reduction of repetitive tasks thanks to automation efforts and retirement of employees has actually led Leah Kinke to have to actively seek out more talent, with a focus on those with more technological expertise.
Partnerships remain key to helping redefine roles and create more meaningful work for Klinke’s people. RevSpring, a patient engagement and payment application company, has been a partner of WVU’s revenue team for the last ten years. RevSpring is able to digitally manage communications for patient bills while also utilizing data points to access the priority of the billing prior to sending out any communications.
The progressive investment in technologies that allow employees to focus on higher-level work is a comfortable focus for Klinke, who says that she enjoys leveraging technology to make work better. While this creates the need for more specialized skills on her teams, it also makes for an easier integration of new employees, whose skill sets are readymade for the new roles they’ve taken on.
As Leah Klinke continues to rise in the organization, she says she’s learned to lean on her team for strategy work as she focuses on broader initiatives and moving her whole organization forward. The transition from strategist to coach has been incremental, and Klinke’s continuing success seems to indicate her evolution will continue.
RevSpring proudly partners with WVU Medicine to elevate their patient experience. RevSpring leads the market in patient engagement and payment solutions, backed by behavior analysis, propensity-to-pay scoring, contextual messaging, and user-experience best practices. Using data analytics to tailor engagement from pre-service to post-service, RevSpring improves the patient experience and outcomes for providers and patients.