RCM tip of the day: Don't forget about the front-end

Revenue cycle management is traditionally thought of as a back-end operation, but there are numerous front-end opportunities to improve the process.

Joel French, CEO of SCI Solutions: When it comes to their revenue cycle strategy, many providers and health systems focus disproportionally on the back end — collections and billing — while missing big opportunities on the front end to boost their bottom line and gain market share. Front-end revenue cycle strategies are the critical pivot point to support the health system's reimbursement strategy, which is more important than ever as the industry moves toward value-based care.

Savvy health systems are developing new strategies to leverage and enhance the front-end revenue cycle, beginning with a sound patient access experience — which is where communication with patients begins, where scheduling and insurance verification occurs and where the patient payment process starts. Prioritizing the front end of the revenue cycle requires the use of technologies to streamline and maximize resource utilization across multiple locations and departments to increase collections and reduce denials by ensuring medical necessity is met, insurance eligibility is verified and authorizations and referrals are obtained prior to the scheduled appointment.

A comprehensive front-end revenue cycle strategy, built around a smooth patient access experience, is an opportunity for health systems to out-position, out-deliver and out-last competitors to differentiate themselves on service — as well as ensure revenue streams back into their network.

If you would like to share your RCM best practices, please email Carrie Pallardy at cpallardy@beckershealthcare.com to be featured in the "RCM tip of the day" series.

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