The pressure to deliver top-tier patient care with 1 vice president

A healthcare leader discusses how technology is positively affecting healthcare patients.

Niobis Queiro serves as the senior vice president of revenue cycle management at Boston-based Tufts Medicine. 

Ms. Queiro will serve on the panel "Healthcare in Crisis: Revenue Cycle Lessons for the Future From the C-Suite" at Becker's 7th Annual Health IT + Digital Health + RCM Annual Meeting: The Future of Business and Clinical Technologies. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place Oct. 4-7 in Chicago. 

To learn more and register, click here.

Question: What are you most excited about right now?

Niobis Querio: I am most excited about automation and machine learning. Healthcare leaders are well aware of the enormous pressures on staff to deliver top-tier patient care while undergoing constant workforce changes. They also know that supporting these staff with an automation program is a top priority. As we look at our new normal, we must adapt like other industries to become efficient and have our people be critical thinkers and problem solvers. The predictable should be automated, and billing should be as automatic as many of our standard duties. Denials come with patterns and trends that we have been trying to track for ages. Still, technology is now capable not only of identifying the why but of preventing, executing the response when needed and providing predictable analysis. We must engage the tools to come to the table with payers as equals. The technology is there; we just need to be brave enough to test, adapt and grow.

Q: What challenges do you anticipate over the next two years?  

NQ: I anticipate workforce depletion. Healthcare has never been competitive in relation to the pay scale of our revenue cycle team members. We also have high expectations with little training and resources delivered. This is a recipe for disengagement and difficulty in attracting a competent workforce. When the average starting hourly rate for a registrar in Massachusetts is around $20 an hour, but you need to earn $36.24 an hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment, you have to question how are we supporting the viability of our staff and why are we creating our own high turnover rate? We state that this profession has defined career paths, but we are not behaving as such. We need to pay appropriately, get our team members educated and certified, and reach out to students early as they make decisions for their future and spark interest. We need to walk the talk. Let's make revenue cycle management a known professional path.

Q: Where are the best opportunities for disruption in healthcare today?

NQ: The best way to be disruptive in healthcare today is to bridge the gap between the clinical and revenue cycles. We have the technology to demystify how the two support each other, so we must provide information so clinical caregivers can understand the why and the how. We have information that gives us what the payer and regulations are accepting why isn't it upfront and visible to our clinical providers during the care process — addressing this gap, address clean claims, denial reduction, patient satisfaction and quality measures. Also, we need to exchange data in real time and stop reacting to the payer and regulatory requirements, from the point of request to care and documentation to selecting a treatment plan and medication. We must stop pointing fingers and fighting amongst ourselves and start joining forces to revolutionize our care delivery model to include financial solvency.

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