WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Healthcare reform standards for electronic funds transfers and how health providers determine a patient's eligibility will save billions, officials say.
Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said the funds transfer standards, required by the Affordable Care Act, will reduce administrative costs for doctors and hospitals, private health plans, states and other government health plans, by as much as $4.5 billion off in the next 10 years.
In addition, Sebelius said the standards build upon regulations published this year that set industry-wide standards for how health providers use computers to determine a patient's eligibility for health coverage and check on the status of a health claim.
Together the new computer systems, which should help eliminate inefficient manual processes are expected to projected to save the healthcare industry more than $16 billion during the next 10 years.
"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, healthcare professionals will spend less time filling out paperwork and more time focusing on delivering the best care for patients," Sebelius said in a statement.
A study published in the journal Health Affairs in 2010 found U.S. physicians spend nearly 12 percent of every dollar they receive from patients to cover the costs of filling out forms and performing complex administrative tasks, Sibelius said.
The study found simplifying the systems could save 4 hours per week of professional time per physician and 5 hours of support staff time every week -- time that could be better spent on patient care.