Input management - 3 critical factors for entirely digital document processing using a smartphone

November 25, 2020

How insurance companies and health insurers can benefit from digital processes within input management

Documents and data - two things that members of input management teams are dealing with every day. Invoices make up the majority of documents handled by insurance companies.  Whether private- or statutory health insurance - in the DACH region, most large companies use complex input management systems. These systems’ goal is to classify and evaluate the submitted documents’ subject and allocate them to the appropriate follow-up processes. If documents cannot be classified and the allocation fails, processing-delays occur, which leads to increased costs and reduced customer satisfaction.

Document submission processes are complicated, especially in large companies. In addition to that, they tend to be costly, as they require a high amount of time and effort. As more documents have to be processed and classified through various input channels,  increasingly complex processes emerge, causing stagnation to become more expensive.

What does Input Management mean?

Input management systems contain various tools to guarantee a fast, accurate, and error-free processing of incoming mail. A distinction is made between solutions that deal with capturing documents from incoming mail, the classification of these documents, or the processing of data and documents. This automation aims to prepare and process data in a structured manner and then transfer it to downstream systems, such as an ERP system.

The tools used to capture data are often outdated, very expensive, and maintenance-intensive scanning systems. Here, hardware scanners capture and classify the information, which slows down document processing many times over.

Subsequently, the classification tools are responsible for extracting the data from the documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software in a structured manner. Structured data in this context are key-value pairs, such as the key “Surname” with the value "Doe.” This allows the submitted documents to be assigned and allocated to a follow-up process. This process can be either fully automated or carried out by a clerk.

The processing of the recognized data then follows the classification. The data is usually structured, often also authenticated, and then either processed automatically or assigned to an administrator’s respective subsequent process. Depending on the procedure, these post-process mechanisms are correspondingly complex, e.g., the verification of the claim and the repayment upon submission of an invoice or a simple example in digital archiving, e.g., the submission of a sick note.

Would you like to optimize your input management to save costs and increase efficiency?

To increase digital processing accuracy, it is essential to automate the technologies in both the front and back end. In particular, poorly digitized documents - for example, simple smartphone photos where the document has not been cropped out, with the background is still visible - make it impossible to achieve complete automation. Technologies like OCR require flawlessly digitized documents as they extract text from the digital document pixel by pixel. Suppose a systematic loss of quality is already noticeable in the front end. In that case, further processing with high-quality results can not be achieved, even with the most advanced machine learning or AI technologies, and the workflow is slowed down considerably.

Modern scanning solutions such as the Scanbot SDK, which can be used on any smartphone via your company’s mobile app, create optimal results for further processing using text recognition (OCR). Through many years of experience working with a wide variety of input management systems of the largest private and statutory health insurance companies in the DACH region, we have learned that each system requires different formats for the respective document classes to achieve optimal results. To create a successful document processing workflow, three factors must be covered by a Scanner SDK :

  1. Our machine learning algorithm has been optimized for edge detection and image optimization. It promises flawlessly digitized documents - from almost all mobile devices and regardless of the end-user’s age or mobile affinity. Our user interface has been designed to be easy to understand and easy to customize. It is adaptable to every use case and can be fully integrated into the existing app with any company’s CI.
  2. Furthermore, we offer a variety of different filters. Depending on the input management’s needs, binarized or black and white filtered documents can be required instead of high-res color scans.
  3. Regarding the export file format, through our cooperation with customers such as AOK, Debeka, or AXA, we have also learned that there is rarely a "one format fits it all" case. The output format is usually the decisive factor for successful further processing in the back end. By introducing TIFF as an alternative to PDFs as the export format, we have achieved a 15% higher recognition rate.

What does input management have to do with customer experience?

Once problems arise in any of the steps mentioned above, e.g., due to poorly digitized documents or incorrect classification, long delays in the business process occur until the documents and inquiries are forwarded to the responsible employee. This results in long waiting times for the insured. Including the time-consuming process of sending documents in paper form, simple process inquiries, such as the reimbursement of an invoice, take weeks.

Particularly in the age of digitization and considering the high expectations of insurance clients,  this can become a crucial competitive disadvantage. Especially for the increasingly important target group of digital natives, efficiency and automated processes are of utmost importance and represent a significant increase in value.

The German Insurance Industry Association speaks of strong growth in fully automated end-to-end document processing. Still, the amount of companies using this technology currently only ranges between 8 and 22%, depending on the sector. The trend is pointing in the right direction, but the costs of manual processing by clerks are still immense, as around 80% of the submitted documents still have to be processed manually.

Therefore, it is essential to find new, innovative solutions for fully automated digital document management now, not only to maintain and increase operational efficiency but also to ensure the insured’s loyalty.

Did we spark your interest? Then check out our overview of the Scanbot SDK in the insurance sector here and find out more about our cutting-edge functionalities. Would you prefer to test our advanced scanning features immediately and experience the benefits first hand? Please feel free to download our free demo app.

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