Revenue cycle management has been a central concern for healthcare organizations over the past few years. Predictions for 2019 suggest that patients will continue the trend of paying a higher percentage of their overall healthcare costs out-of-pocket. Therefore, many industry experts believe that treating the patient as a consumer will play a big role in encouraging prompt payments and improving patient satisfaction.
Many organizations are making improvements to the way that they view their customer service with regard to revenue cycle management. It’s a fine balancing act between adopting new technologies, traditional RCM strategies, and building great communication with the patient.
Tips to Improve Your Revenue Cycle Management in 2019 and Beyond
There is no doubt that the trend of higher patient payment responsibilities will continue. This means that your organization’s revenue cycle management strategy will be even more important in the coming years. Here are a few tips to boost your revenue cycle management in 2019:
- Improve Claims Process and Reduce Denials. If you don’t have a clear picture of how efficient your process is for submitting and getting claims approved, it should be on top of your list in the coming year. Insurance company policies are increasingly confusing for patients to navigate. Many organizations are also seeing increased denials from payers. Often these denials can be attributed to human error or lack of proper documentation. If this hasn’t been on your list of processes to track, you should take the opportunity to analyze data on denials. This can help you pinpoint and eliminate existing issues.
- Keep an In-House Expert On Regulatory Changes. With the politics of healthcare volatile and the constant addition of new regulatory changes, it’s important to keep your hand on the pulse of different compliance issues. Designating a staff member or multiple staff members to take the lead in staying informed on new changes will allow your organization time to adjust protocols as they are required. This applies to federal and local changes, as well as any compliance concerns with specific payers.
- Add Technology to Improve Workflow. The latest buzz word in the tech field is artificial intelligence (AI). Your organization might decide to utilize some AI methods to help serve patients while improving workflow for employers. Other suggestions might include updating your EHR, improving your web portal, or adding a credit card on file systems to improve patient payment cycles. No matter how cutting-edge your IT department is now, there will always be new improvements to consider for adoption. If your current system is more than adequate, it still makes sense to assess your protocols and research new programs to make sure that you’re running efficiently.
- Transparency in Financial Counseling. Financial counseling is increasingly important for patients because they often need to budget for their healthcare responsibilities. Patient billing should be simplified to make it as easy to understand as possible. Staff members should also be available to discuss any issues with patients and offer payment options when applicable. Patients need to know exactly what their bill will include before it’s incurred, making it extremely important to understand their insurance coverage and pre-verify any services.
- Follow Up By Patient Preference. Patients often have preferred methods to pay bills and maintain contact with your organization. This might include using a web portal or receiving notifications by text, phone call, or email. Some might prefer an app, so they can view all of their information on their phone securely. While you may not offer all of these options, it is important to give patients a choice so that they’re most comfortable with communication methods going forward.
A great deal of your revenue cycle management success can be a matter of good customer service. Patients increasingly view shopping for healthcare in the same way they view making any large purchase. Offering them the best care with the most comprehensive financial information increases your