Using innovation to improve the revenue cycle: 3 experts weigh in

As patients hold more financial responsibility for their care, it is crucial hospitals and health systems consider innovative approaches to improve the revenue cycle. But this can be challenging amid operating pressures such as complex payment models and dwindling reimbursement.

During the Becker's Hospital Review 4th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference, panelists discussed where to start when seeking revenue cycle improvement; examples of innovation; and resources for a more consumer-friendly revenue cycle experience for patients.

Three takeaways:

1. Beginning the journey. Hospitals and health systems seeking innovative approaches to revenue cycle improvement should start by analyzing operations and opportunities for improvement, according to Jeff Rosenfeld, manager of strategic innovation and project management at Tahoe Forest Hospital District in Truckee, Calif. "Identify the business need and ensure it aligns with your enterprise strategy before you identify a potential solution," he said. "Otherwise, there's the propensity to back a problem into a solution that just seems fancy." He also recommended identifying criteria for success.

2. Financial innovations or advancements. Hospitals and health systems are doing innovative things when it comes to patient payments technologies and payment options. Efforts include providing unique ways for patients to pay medical bills, such as through portals, over the phone and with devices, as well as providing multiple payment options and consolidating billing statements, said Amy Rinard, vice president of specialty healthcare at CommerceHealthcare.

Additionally, Tahoe Forest Hospital District is taking a unique approach to innovation with its Tahoe Institute for Rural Health Research. Created in 2009, the institute aims to develop "disruptive technologies" that improve healthcare affordability and quality. The center specifically focuses on reducing healthcare costs at organizations in rural areas. One current institute project is developing a portable blood count monitoring device for patients to use at home or in a clinician's office, according to Mr. Rosenfeld.

3. Consumerism in the revenue cycle. Resources for a more consumer-friendly revenue cycle should revolve around customer service and personalization, according to Chris Ritchie, strategic account executive at Olive. He said patients are gaining knowledge and expect more out of their healthcare experience due to advancements in other industries. He encouraged healthcare organizations to consider how they can leverage technology to reposition current staff to roles that require more of a human touch and give staff more time to provide the personalized care and experience patients desire.

 

More articles on healthcare finance: 

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How providers can analyze data to boost finances

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