The Future of AI & Accounting in the Healthcare Industry

Updated on April 20, 2024
artificial intelligence in healthcare

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming operations within the healthcare industry, with 94% of healthcare companies using AI and machine learning in some capacity and 32% of healthcare leaders citing AI as the top industry focus of 2023. While solutions that optimize patient care and diagnostics have been at the forefront of AI innovation in the industry, there is more potential in AI solutions that optimize business operations and financial management.

With staffing shortages plaguing healthcare companies in the U.S., 73% report that finding qualified finance professionals has been a major challenge. Of the companies experiencing staffing shortages within these functions, the majority have experienced significant challenges in payer reimbursements, patient collections, billing, and claim accuracy – all of which can have major implications on a healthcare organization’s financial health and reputation.

Even more, staffing shortages are at an all-time high within the accounting profession, specifically, with U.S. companies being short 340,000 accountants. AI has emerged as a powerful solution to this challenge, becoming a powerful ally for burnt-out accountants and finance professionals. With the ability to process vast amounts of data and identify patterns and anomalies, AI is reshaping the way financial data is processed and analyzed, boosting efficiency within this function across industries. As healthcare companies seek to optimize their financial processes and attract qualified talent to perform finance and accounting functions, AI has emerged as a game-changing solution.

How AI Streamlines Accounting & Financial Management in Healthcare

Leveraging AI for accounting functions offers numerous benefits in the healthcare industry, specifically, all of which demonstrate the transformative impact AI is having on businesses today:

  • Task Automation: In healthcare, AI tools for accounting can automate repetitive tasks like invoice processing, insurance and patient payment processing, financial record-keeping, data entry, and other general bookkeeping tasks. Manual tasks like these are typically time-consuming and prone to human error. By automating these tasks, accountants can focus on more strategic work that requires human intuition, judgment, and expertise, such as patient-centric issues where a human component is crucial to patients’ happiness and the business’s reputation.
  • Security & Fraud Detection: Healthcare businesses are at a high risk of cybersecurity incidents, due to technological dependence, sensitive data and vulnerability to disruptions. In 2023, an average of 364,571 healthcare records were breached every day. In addition to patient data breaches, financial data and fraud also pose a significant threat – one that AI tools are built to address in industries outside of healthcare, as they can detect suspicious activity, potential fraud, and other anomalies quickly. Even more, AI tools are designed to learn and improve as they process new data, equipping them to detect fraud attempts that are becoming more sophisticated every day.
  • Data Analysis: Many AI tools can process large amounts of data and identify any trends or errors in real time. During especially busy times, like flu season, expedited data analysis is necessary to process a higher volume of payments. While contextual decision-making still requires a human component, AI tools can comb through data at a higher speed and identify any areas that require an in-depth review. This removes the need for employees to sort through the data and identify patterns manually, freeing up time to make data-driven decisions that lead to better accuracy in financial forecasts.
  • Compliance & Regulatory Adherence: Both the healthcare and financial regulatory landscapes are constantly evolving; and maintaining compliance with changing regulations is a common challenge for businesses. AI can help accountants maintain compliance by monitoring transactions, highlighting discrepancies, calculating tax liabilities, and automating regulatory reporting. This reduces the risk of non-compliance, the consequences of which include potential legal repercussions and fines.

Implementing AI Into Accounting & Finance Functions

When implementing any new technology, business leaders must acknowledge that their staff can only effectively use it with the proper training. This is just as crucial when implementing AI technologies, if not more, as it is completely new to the majority of workers. AI can become an integral component of accounting and finance functions as long as staff members are trained to use and apply the technology ethically and effectively. 

By embracing AI technologies, accountants can harness the full potential of AI to improve efficiency, accuracy, security, and regulatory compliance. In doing so, they contribute to the financial integrity and operational efficiency of healthcare organizations, ultimately benefiting both the experience of its patients and its bottom line.

Andrew Larson
Andrew Larson
Chief Technology Officer at FinQuery

Andrew Larson is chief technology officer of FinQuery (formerly LeaseQuery). He brings over 20 years of experience building software across banking, finance, insurance, e-commerce, aviation, stock and energy trading, weather, and warehouse logistics.