Rush CIO Dr. Shafiq Rab on using AI to optimize revenue cycle: 'Nobody has all the solutions'

Building relationships both with external partners and across your entire healthcare organization is the most valuable strategy for using IT to transform revenue cycle operations, according to Shafiq Rab, MD, CIO of Rush University Medical Center.

Dr. Rab, also a senior vice president of the Chicago-based center, spoke about the difficulties facing revenue cycle and IT teams, and ways to address them, during a keynote address Oct. 10 at the Becker's Hospital Review Health IT + RCM conference in Chicago. The top revenue cycle challenges he listed stem from pre-authorizations, patient balances and patient education.

Solutions include hiring a revenue cycle "guru" to spearhead optimization efforts, ensuring concurrent identification of PSIs and HACs, and prioritizing productivity. Additionally, all too often, revenue cycle teams are working off reports that offer only incremental changes and are largely redundant. "You need to get alerts that are true actionable insights, things that you can actually act upon," Dr. Rab said.

He explained, "This isn't about revenue cycle; it's not about AI or machine learning. It's about actionable insights: the right information at the right time for the right person in the right format at the right time, so that your time is not wasted."

Key to achieving this level of information — "your salvation," according to Dr. Rab — is a combination of technology and relationships that span the IT, revenue cycle, finance and business operations teams. "Nobody has all the solutions; everybody has to participate," he said. "It is not an easy job. Every member of your team is as important as the leaders are."

He continued, "We are all in it together. We live together, we die together, we survive together, we succeed together. It's one enemy, one fight, one victory — boo-yah."

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