5 ways healthcare organizations can generate more revenue

When faced with financial pressures, healthcare organizations often react by focusing on reducing expenses via cost-cutting or halting discretionary spending. However, this approach can delay financial improvement because it overlooks revenue-generating opportunities.

In a Jan. 26 webinar, sponsored by CHG Healthcare and hosted by Becker's Hospital Review, four industry experts discussed strategies to ensure providers aren't leaving money on the table. Topics included how to effectively use locum tenens, increase return on investments with quality staffing and how to mitigate clinician burnout and improve patient retention. The panelists discussed how all of the strategies improve the bottom line. 

The panelists were:

  • Melinda Giese, senior vice president of enterprise client solutions, CHG Healthcare
  • Thomas Lanvers, vice president of enterprise business development, CHG Healthcare
  • Cindy Slagle, vice president of enterprise accounts, CHG Healthcare
  • Patty Riskind, head of global healthcare, Qualtrics

Five key strategies to boost revenue discussed in the webinar:

1. Increase ROI by reducing days to fill an open position. Providers and physicians are the revenue generators for hospitals and health systems. Without them, organizations lose out on revenue, Mr. Lanvers said. One healthcare client of CHG reduced its time to fill primary care positions and specialty care positions by 30 days, resulting in eight-figures of revenue for the health system, Mr. Lanvers said. 

2. Use locum tenens, but ensure a process is in place to efficiently bill for them. Using locum tenens to supplement staff or fill a position quickly can be profitable and a valuable addition to healthcare organizations, Mr. Lanvers said. Locum tenens can provide flexibility and ensure hospitals can flex staffing levels up or down based on volume. However, it is imperative that hospitals have a process in place to effectively bill and maximize reimbursement from these providers. "If you do not have a process in place currently with your revenue cycle team on the locum tenen providers you bring into your hospital — get one," Mr. Lanvers said. "The sooner you get one, the sooner you can ensure you are not leaving money on the table and you are maximizing the revenue you and your health system can collect."

3. Address clinician burnout to avoid turnover, disengagement, revenue loss. Clinician burnout can quickly become very costly for organizations, as it has been tied to errors, increased turnover, lower patient satisfaction and fewer referrals, Ms. Slagle said. As a result, healthcare organizations across the U.S. should place a higher priority on clinician well-being and engagement. "If not made a priority, it can become the Achilles' heel," Ms. Slagle said. "With a concerted effort and consistent focus, provider engagement can quickly domino into supplying many valuable contributions to a healthy organization."

4. Physician quality has a direct effect on hospital margins and patient satisfaction. Physician quality involves several factors, including clinical competence, culture fit and bedside manner, Ms. Giese said. As a result, hospitals should ensure they have a definition of what a quality physician looks like for their organization before they hire locum tenens or more permanent physicians. "Patient experience is one of the focal points of measuring hospital quality … and physician quality has its daily impact on not just patient experience, but on hospitals' bottom lines." 

5. Work to foster a long-term relationship with patients. One great experience can lead to a decadeslong connection between the patient and health system, Ms. Riskind said. While the first year of the relationship may not result in a ton of revenue for the health system, 10 to 20 years down the road it could equate to millions of dollars, Ms. Riskind explained. "Patient loyalty has a direct impact on long-term profitability of healthcare systems," Ms. Riskind said.

To learn more about CHG Healthcare, how to properly bill for locum tenens or how to generate more revenue using the tips above, listen to the full webinar here

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