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Artificial intelligence and other advances could soon make tasks like prior authorization and visit documentation easier.

Fam Pract Manag. 2022;29(4):5-8

This content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosures: no relevant financial relationships.

Editor's note: When specific software products are mentioned in this article, they should be considered examples, not endorsements. FPM requested pricing information for products for which it was not publicly available online. If no information appears in this article, it is because the vendor either didn't respond or declined to provide specifics. Several vendors said their prices vary based on how many clinicians a practice has, what EHR system the practice uses, what features are included, and other factors.

technology

Administrative burden is one of the top sources of career dissatisfaction among doctors, with 58% reporting that bureaucratic tasks are their top cause of burnout.1 Delegating more tasks to the health care team can help,2 but finding qualified staff members was hard even before the pandemic and labor shortages are only projected to get worse in the near future.3

Fortunately, non-human help is on the way. Software programs that use artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and other forms of digital automation are poised to make several administrative tasks easier for physicians, giving them more time to focus on patients. Some of these programs can help decrease the time required to review the chart and document encounters. Others can ease prior authorization or calculate patient risk scores.

The following are five tasks that tech may soon help physicians complete more quickly and easily.

KEY POINTS

  • Administrative burdens are a top source of physician burnout and career dissatisfaction.

  • Software programs that are already on the market or coming to market can help relieve some of these burdens without practices having to hire more staff.

  • Tasks technology can relieve include calculating patient risk scores, documenting visits, conducting pre-visit planning, completing prior authorizations, and managing direct primary care memberships.

1. PATIENT RISK SCORE CALCULATION

As more payers move to value-based care, the need for physicians to have an accurate picture of each patient's health risks is growing.4 Comprehensive risk stratification includes both objective data and the physician's subjective assessment,5 but technology should be able to help with the objective side, especially now that most patients' health records are digitized.

Tech-savvy EHR users may already be able to mine the data in their patient records and develop algorithms that calculate patient risk with less clinician oversight.6 But new tools are being developed to do that for physicians who aren't expert EHR users.

Several programs on the market or coming to market can help find diagnoses buried in patient records and convert them into hierarchical condition category (HCC) codes, resulting in higher risk scores. Examples include RCx Rules, Navina, and ForeSee Medical. Several of these programs can be integrated with common EHR platforms.

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