Optimizing medical claims: The need for performance indicators

In July and August of 2009, Accenture conducted interviews with 30 senior claims executives at major property and casual firms in the United States. These executives are either the head of claims or the equivalent. Our objective was to identify key issues related to the processing, adjustment and analysis of medical-related claims.

Results of the study

In March, I discussed the results of these interviews in an article for Claims Magazine titled “Optimizing Medical Claim Processing.”

Our survey revealed wide variations in the number of adjusters employed at each firm, and in the number of claims managed by each adjuster. Generally, more senior adjusters deal with more complex or high-severity injury claims, with these claims also reviewed by a supervisor.

Some interesting statistics emerged from the study. Notably, of the insurers that we interviewed, 43 percent of them have targets above $500 million. However, 79 percent of insurers believe that their medical records processing is not fully optimized.

Challenges in medical claims processing

When asked about specific challenges in their industry, insurance executives cited:

  • Difficult in accessing medical information.
  • Lack of skill among adjusters.
  • Lack of key performance indicators.
  • Lack of standard, consistent rules to evaluate claims.
  • Difficulty of identifying complex and high-severity injury claims.

In fact, half of insurers mentioned that a lack of key performance indicators is the most important challenge they face.

Developing key performance indicators

In developing key performance indicators for medical claim processing, it is important to have a holistic view of all processes. This includes re-aligning technology investment to streamline processes and to take advantage of the extensive information found in medical records. While most carriers see the value in technology investment, many fall short in thinking about how to acquire and handle medical information. By adopting a more holistic view of medical history and available data, insurers can reduce cycle times, improve efficiency and achieve high performance.

Next week, I will discuss the need for structured data in medical claim processing: how it can streamline existing processes and provide valuable analytics for future projections.

Do you have key performance indicators in your organization, and do they present an accurate measurement of performance? Do they account for an end-to-end, holistic view of your process?

Michael Costonis

About Michael Costonis

Michael Costonis is executive director of Accenture’s Insurance practice for North America. He is responsible for setting the overall vision and strategy for the practice, as well as pursuing new client relationships.

Costonis has twenty years experience developing, managing and deploying large scale technology systems, business processes, and strategies for some of the world’s leading insurers, including property & casualty, life, and multi-line insurance companies. In his career with Accenture, he has worked with more than 50 leading insurance clients in 14 countries around the world.

In addition to his role as North America industry executive director, Costonis is the lead for Accenture’s global claims services. In that role, he oversees claims strategies, assets, capabilities, and sales development. He also has led Accenture’s Insurance Solutions practice in North America, where he was responsible for driving growth for Accenture’s asset-based business in Insurance, including claims, underwriting, and policy administration.

Costonis has authored several articles in leading insurance trade publications, and has been quoted in The New York Times, Bloomberg News, Reuters News, Best’s Review, Insurance & Technology, InformationWeek, National Underwriter, Technology Decisions, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He has spoken at several leading industry conferences in the U.S. and internationally.

Costonis received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA). He is based in Philadelphia.

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