Last month, the consulting company Navigant published insights titled “5 Pain Points for Revenue Cycle Executives”, based on a survey of Hospital Revenue Cycle Executives conducted in partnership with the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and prepared by professionals with direct experience working with healthcare professionals in executive and revenue cycle leadership.
As reported via Yahoo Finance, the five identified pain points were:
- Optimizing the return on the Electronic Health Record system (EHR) investment
- Enhancing Patient Engagement
- Improving Clinical Integration
- Managing Cost and Scale, including through robotic process automation and the forging of innovative partnerships
- Rebalancing Health System Revenues, as one would with an investment portfolio – rationally and strategically
At first glance, one could see that these are five unique pain points. But, a deeper dive would help you realize that there is a common element that ties all these pain points together: data and interoperability. Previously, the OrboNation blog touched upon the subject when it comes to EHRs and how healthcare standards supports interoperability.
Additionally, Healthcare IT Analytics recently wrote an article showcasing a data driven approach to the rising costs of healthcare and patient care wait times. With Emergency Departments becoming increasingly overcrowded and expensive, the urgent care route is a way for patients to receive care in low-acuity situations and save some money.
Health IT Analytics reports that, while the average wait time in the emergency room can be up to four hours and cost over $1,000, door-to-door time in urgent care settings averages about one hour and costs around $150.
Effective tracking of these metrics means timely and cost-efficient care for patients. Health IT Analytics goes on to describe one facility’s approach:
Total Access Urgent Care (TAUC), a St. Louis-based urgent care system is using data analytic strategies to decrease their door-to-door time and improve their patient satisfaction.
“We have always been a data-driven organization. One of the things that we rely on heavily is having both a broad and granular picture to base every single aspect of our company around,” Steve McGovern associate director at TAUC told HealthITAnalytics.com.
“Analytics help us handle everything from revenue cycle to our front desk staffing and scheduling,” McGovern said. “We get quick snapshots of the health of each facility, of all our providers and how they’re performing. It’s crucial that we have that granular data so we can address a situation before it even stumbles into something more.”
Being able to efficiently post EOB data also makes the difference within revenue cycle:
“This directly impacts the patients’ experience because they’re not waiting to get an explanation of benefits back from their insurance company for two or three months,” he explained. “We can pretty much guarantee that they’re going to get a bill from us or explanation of benefits from their insurance company in 30 days or less. Developing strategies to improve our revenue cycle is also developing strategies to help our patients.”
Hospitals, healthcare providers, revenue cycle servicers, and technology vendors need to focus on data quality and its interoperability. The healthcare industry is flooded with paper — especially in revenue cycle, where the electronification of paper remittances and correspondence letters will not only streamline the billing and payment posting process, but allow data to flow to multiple systems to cut costs, ultimately improving patient experience.
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