Tactics to improve productivity in the healthcare revenue cycle management process

One thing healthcare executives are focused on is improving the revenue cycle process. In this guest post, Shawn Yates, director of product management for a company that develops a variety of information systems for providers, offers tactics which can help improve efficiency of patient account representatives and address shrinking reimbursement rates.

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By now, every healthcare administrator knows that improving their revenue cycle process is vitally important. However, solutions that mitigate these obstacles preventing improvement are hard to come by.

Currently, the most concerning issues executives are facing include shrinking profit margins and higher patient enrollment in high deductible health plans (HDHP), as well as changes in the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.

Other concerning statistics include:

  1. The average out of pocket cost for patients has risen to $1,813, even though only 61% of Americans have the means to pay a $1,000 emergency bill.
  2. There was a 9.2% increase in HDHP enrollment in 2017, and
  3. America’s uninsured population increased by 700,000 in 2017.

These obstacles have created a system full of provider financial challenges. Luckily, there are tactics which can help improve efficiency from patient account representatives which in turn helps to address rising patient self-pay accounts, shrinking reimbursement rates, and higher demands from patients and governing agencies regarding the revenue cycle process.

Four tactics

Check out these four tactics and how they can make a significant difference.

1. Exception-based workflows

One of the most effective ways to optimize efficiency is to codify business rules and establish consistency and enforcement, followed with built out workflows. This high-level automation reduces the number of basic tasks employees encounter which helps free up their time to focus on more strategic initiatives rather than micro-level processes. By utilizing this tactic, revenue cycle scalability and productivity will improve which helps increase net revenue, as well as reduces full-time equivalent costs.

2. Improve account rep communication

Some account reps perform at a higher level than others, that’s no surprise. However, when evaluating performance, it’s vital to look at the quality of work performed and not just overall workload. A great way to ensure this is happening is by creating custom QA templates to meet the needs of every unique business.

A perfect example, with easy implementation, is attaching recorded calls to accounts to evaluate a rep’s communication with their clients. Once these initial steps are taken, scorecards can be used to further expand on the QA technology and also create a more effective workflow for teams.

3. Time management tracking systems

Gaining insight into how account reps are spending their time is one of the best ways to increase productivity. Luckily, time management tracking solutions provide executives with this exact capability in the form of a direct report showing how much time reps spend at their desk, or away from their workspace. These findings help develop cost-saving strategies by clearly defining the necessary hours needed to manage an account properly.

There’s also more intelligent software available which will set goals regarding accounts, individuals or teams, while simultaneously eliminating unneeded minutes. With time management software, patient accounting leaders will find themselves more informed on where to pay attention when managing staff.

4. Recognize effective performance

The last tactic that can be especially helpful is to recognize account reps’ performance. Many of these reps possess a naturally competitive nature and offering a visual representation of where their performance stands is a great way to encourage even better results.

For example, communicate incentives that can be earned by top performers and set realistic expectations. Then lay out graphics which show where individuals are performing among the rest of their team. This model will give executives an edge in a standard reporting model.

The perfect combination of technology and strategy is what’s needed to truly optimize healthcare revenue cycle management. If properly completed, this should build out automated workflows to help push accounts seamlessly through their lifecycle, as well as meet executive and administrator goal, and set performance standards.

Shawn Yates serves as director of product management for Ontario Systems, a company that develops a variety of information systems for providers

 


Source: Healthcare Business & Technology, http://www.healthcarebusinesstech.com