Tackling Huge Legal Bills Starts with The Humble Invoice

September 21, 2021 Celia Degge

By digitising legal invoice review, complex organisations like the NHS can identify and eliminate legal spend leakage, save time, and deliver improved outcomes through enhanced data insight.

The numbers are indisputably large. In 2019 and 2020, NHS England reported a spend of almost £2.5 billion in damage payments and associated legal costs.

And legal costs continue to rise for both claimants and the NHS. It’s little surprise, therefore, that the Department of Health described the rise in costs as “unsustainable.”

No one disputes that in its efforts to deliver the safest healthcare system in the world, the NHS must also be ready to pay compensation where it is due. Nevertheless, these costs present an unbearable pressure on NHS budgets, especially in the context of COVID-19 and the unprecedented burden that combatting the virus has placed on the health service. Whether amid the current crisis or post-pandemic, cost pressures such as these imperil operational delivery and everyone’s access to healthcare. So, we ask these questions:

  1. Can this unsustainable trend in rising costs be controlled?
  2. Is  there a way to improve efficiency and consistency to the legal invoice review process?
  3. Can we do this while also providing greater transparency to legal spend and better inform strategic decision-making?

The answer to all of the above is yes. At Conduent, we help organisations take control of their legal expenses and we can do the same for the NHS.

Chronic overpayment is not unique to NHS

Organisations overpay law firms by up to 10% each year due to undetected errors, according to industry estimates.

At first sight, the structure of the NHS may not encourage comparison with other organisations, especially those in the private sector. The NHS in England, for example, is made up of 223 hospital trusts, 200 clinical commissioning groups, and 8,000 GP practices. It employs over one million people and counts every citizen as under its care. Few organisations can match it for complexity, workforce, and reach.

That said, many of the issues that the NHS is wrestling with will find an echo elsewhere. This is particularly true of large public and private sector firms faced with inconsistent or variable legal billing guidelines and intricate, cumbersome invoices. These organisations typically become overwhelmed by the influx of data. As a result, overpayments skyrocket.

The solution to chronic overpayment

Conduent’s Legal Invoice Analytics (LIA) Solutions seek to address the above-outlined challenges. Its benefits come in two parts:

  1. Automating the billing process. By automating our clients’ billing processes, we help organisations significantly reduce overpayments while adding a layer of governance and ensuring equitable, transparent, and consistent treatment for all law firms.
  2. Applying sophisticated analytics. By layering analytics over the data contained in the invoices and integrating supplemental data, organisations unlock even more value from invoice review activities.

Let’s take look at how we do each in more detail.

Automating the billing process.

An effective tool for legal invoice processing and spend management automates the review process by creating bespoke business rules based on an organisation’s specific billing guidelines. These rules are applied at both an invoice- and line-item-level. The results? Saved time with the ability to either auto-approve compliant line items or auto-deny non-compliant line items, and significant cost savings through the avoidance of overpayment.

Applying sophisticated analytics

Beyond automation lie the analytics. These provide legal operations and litigation authorities such as NHS Resolution with the business intelligence to make better strategic decisions. The invoice data can be analysed on its own or it can be integrated with non-invoice, case-level data (even better). This data might include claim category (type of injury, clinical negligence, medical errors, missed or delayed diagnosis, surgical errors, employment-based, and so on), region, case outcome, and resolution award amount.

With those non-invoice data points in mind, organisations can build a full picture of performance, spend, and costs. For example, cost-effective legal provision relies not only on lower hourly rates but also on outcomes. Conduent’s Legal Invoice Analytics — and access to our in-house data scientists and legal experts — gets to the heart of these hidden insights, pinpointing inefficiencies and highlighting effective legal partners.

With the right business intelligence in place all large organisations — including the NHS — can begin to make better sense of their legal spend. And all can begin to save money that is better off directed elsewhere.

 

About Conduent Legal Invoice Analytics

Conduent’s Legal Invoice Analytics (LIA), an advanced eBilling platform, automates the review of legal invoices delivering speed, accuracy, compliance and intelligent insights throughout the process. Drawing upon 19 years of experience, we offer our clients a powerful combination of technology and professional workforce experts to help transform legal firm invoicing into real business value. Our expert team of more than 200 trained legal professionals supports our technology-enabled processes by addressing any project activities that require human intervention.

To learn how Conduent Legal Invoice Analytics can help your organization improve its legal business performance, reduce expense and generate greater ROI, visit our website and request a demo.

About the Author

Celia Degge

Celia Degge is Senior Business Development Manager, Legal, Compliance and Analytics at Conduent.

More Content by Celia Degge
Previous Article
How Contact Centers Can Make Data More Actionable
How Contact Centers Can Make Data More Actionable

Contact centers should track data that correlates to agent performance, customer profiles and business insi...

Next Article
Making Progress to Expand Employment Opportunities for the Visually Impaired
Making Progress to Expand Employment Opportunities for the Visually Impaired

Conduent trainers were recognized by the SC Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities ...