Background: The use of electronic charge vouchers in anesthesia practice is limited, and the effects on practice management are unreported. The authors hypothesized that the new billing technology would improve the effectiveness of the billing interface and enhance financial practice management measures.
Methods: A custom application was created to extract billing elements from the anesthesia information management system. The application incorporates business rules to determine whether individual cases have all required elements for a complete and compliant bill. The metrics of charge lag and days in accounts receivable were assessed before and after the implementation of the electronic charge voucher system.
Results: The average charge lag decreased by 7.3 days after full implementation. The total days in accounts receivable, controlling for fee schedule changes and credit balances, decreased by 10.1 days after implementation, representing a one-time revenue gain equivalent to 3.0% of total annual receipts. There are additional ongoing cost savings related to reduction of personnel and expenses related to paper charge voucher handling.
Conclusions: Anesthesia information management systems yield financial and operational benefits by speeding up the revenue cycle and by reducing direct costs and compliance risks related to the billing and collection processes. The observed reductions in charge lag and days in accounts receivable may be of benefit in calculating the return on investment that is attributable to the adoption of anesthesia information management systems and electronic charge transmission.