from Mark SpinnerPresident and Chief Executive Officer, AccessOne
Twitter: @myaccessone

As hospitals face growing bad debts and labor shortages in the revenue cycle, leading organizations are exploring new ways to increase patients’ financial commitment and efficiency.

One in four health organizations reported rising levels of bad debt and uncompensated care, and research from financial leaders in healthcare found. Meanwhile, a third of organizations say they have faced challenges with staff productivity challenges, whether due to staffing problems or difficulties in adapting to remote work patterns. negative impact on health revenue cycle operations.

In this environment, the right combination of operational support can be vital to ensuring sustainable performance gains. Here are three ways in which hospital revenue cycle teams use redesign of the process to stimulate higher collections, reduce pressure on provider resources, and improve patients’ financial experiences.

1. Leaning on more stable self-service options. Think about the ways in which traditional payment systems add friction to a patient’s financial experience. When statements are sent by mail, do patients need to find their checkbook and stamp to send payment by mail? Do I need to call a support center to provide my credit card number over the phone? If payment via the e-portal is an option, do patients need their account number to access the portal and continue with the payment? Any obstacle in this process not only increases the frustration of patients, but also delays payment, stifling cash flow.

That is why more and more health organizations are applying the technologies and payment mechanisms used for retail purchases to pay for health care. This ensures that both the communication and collection channels are designed for the world in the first place in smartphones. It also relieves pressure on customer service teams and helps eliminate paper-based costs. At a time when four out of 10 smartphone users have relied on contactless payment at least once, self-care options that anticipate patients’ needs and meet them where they are, promote positive experiences and results.

2. Investing in automated customer support. Today, two-thirds of healthcare organizations use artificial intelligence (AI) automation, including machine learning, to optimize revenue cycle operations. survey among health finance professionals found. Three of the most important areas in which revenue cycle teams implement automation include: posting adjustments (61%), invoicing edits (52%), and request status (48%). In these areas automation provides strong savings opportunities for health systems, while reducing the administrative burden for employees in the revenue cycle.

But at a time when four out of 10 CFOs say their organization is investing to improve the patient experience, automation can also be a powerful lever to personalize the patient’s financial experience. For example, automation powered by artificial intelligence can help provide customized estimates that break down users’ care costs before the point of care. Chat features could help answer consumers’ questions after the insurance has paid its share, so that people feel confident that the amount due is correct, increasing the likelihood of payment. And automation can encourage consumers to take the next steps in payment, from paying bills to requesting financial aid to creating a payment plan.

3. Providing account management in the hands of patients. The ability of patients to manage their accounts independently through a single platform can have a dramatic impact on the efficiency of the revenue cycle. It allows patients to combine bills into one payment, communicate their need for funding to patients in a private environment, and register independently in patient payment plans. With proper technical support, it can also eliminate the need for patients to enter their data manually by pre-filling in EHR data forms. This contributes to a smoother financial experience for the patient, while protecting data integrity and ultimately revenue integrity.

An innovative approach taken by Atrium Health allows users to enroll themselves in patient funding through their MyChart account. With Secure Login, patients click on the tab to review patient funding options, review their pre-filled accuracy application, and click “Submit.” All patients are eligible for funding, regardless of income level. At Atrium Health, this emphasis on process redesign has helped move one-third of self-paying bills to digital self-service. It also saves 186 FTE hours for every 3700 charges.

Technological approach to the efficiency of the revenue cycle

Three of the four CFOs in healthcare expect revenue growth in 2022, while consumers are planning procedures that have been delayed due to the pandemic, a recent study shows. Financial gains will depend in part on the extent to which revenue cycle teams can successfully manage the corresponding increase in claims. Now is the time to consider process improvements and support for technologies that increase efficiency, remove administrative pressure from revenue cycle teams, and optimize the patient’s financial experience.

3 Ways to Boost Revenue Cycle Efficiency with Process Redesign

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