Orlando Health's Michelle Taverna Farrell on Epic transition, employee education and team success

Michelle Taverna Farrell knows what it's like to keep patient expectations and organizational goals at the forefront of the revenue cycle.

Ms. Farrell, who serves as assistant vice president for revenue management at Orlando (Fla.) Health, is responsible for patient access, clinical documentation improvement, health information management, revenue management applications and other revenue cycle areas.

Before taking on her current role, she held various positions within the system's patient financial services department. 

Becker's Hospital Review recently caught up with Ms. Farrell to discuss her proudest moment as a revenue cycle leader, how her organization is addressing revenue cycle challenges and the advice she would pass along to other hospital revenue cycle leaders.

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: What is your proudest moment as a revenue cycle leader?

Michelle Taverna Farrell: My proudest moment being a revenue cycle leader is and will always be the success of our team. Revenue cycle management is consistently under pressure to meet the needs of ongoing industry and governmental requirements that change regularly. The best teams are strong and nimble enough to navigate these changes and remain successful. I am proud to say that the Orlando Health team has delivered strong cash performance for the last several consecutive years. Our focus has been to maintain an educated, engaged and empowered workforce across our revenue cycle that is prepared to meet the increasingly complex environment.

Q: What is the greatest revenue cycle challenge you face?

MTF: Ensuring we have our people, process and technology all in line to meet the requirements of our patients and healthcare organization.

Q: How is Orlando Health working to address that challenge?

MTF: In terms of an educated workforce, we have become an enterprise HFMA [Healthcare Financial Management Association] organization and a growing number of our team members are seeking certifications that help to provide the foundation of revenue cycle management knowledge. We are great supporters of industry associations to ensure we keep ourselves most current. Orlando Health has been named a top place to work and offers a competitive support package for our team members to ensure they are balanced and engaged. We are also happy to have embarked in our EHR replacement project, which we endearingly call Ellie. This enterprise effort has the entire organization engaged and looking forward to improved and efficient workflows.

Q: Orlando Health is transitioning to a new Epic EHR. How will this implementation affect the revenue cycle? 

MTF: We currently have several EMR and revenue cycle billing and registration systems. We are a complex organization to navigate. With our transition to Epic, we know that we will gain tremendous efficiencies leveraging one clinical and revenue system. Our revenue cycle team is closely involved with the build and design of our iteration of Epic. Our focus is to move to best practice functions to optimize our patient and team member experience. The team is very excited to be getting the tools we need to manage our system.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other hospital revenue cycle leaders?

MTF: There are many that come to mind, but if I were to pick one, it would be to make sure you have the right team in place. There is no system or technology that can substitute for an engaged workforce. 


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