Automated medical claims and payment processes could cuts the costs of health care in the United States, according to a study by PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

The survey found 90% of hospital executives and 86% of insurance executives think that making the claims payment system more efficient would help slow the rising cost of health care, according to PNC, Pittsburgh, which provides electronic processing systems to the health care industry.

Among hospital executives, 90% said savings resulting from automation would be used to provide better patient care.

The study also found:

o91% of hospital executives said they must resubmit claims one or more times before they are paid. 20% said they must resubmit claims over 6 times.

oHospital executives estimated 5% of all claims are never paid.

oInsurance executives estimate they need to go back to the health care providers an average of 6 times for information needed to pay a claim.

The study was based on telephone interviews of 150 executives from U.S. hospitals, health systems and insurance organizations in January and February 2006.