Becker's 10th Annual Meeting Speaker Series: 3 Questions with Gerilynn Sevenikar, Vice President of Revenue Cycle for Sharp Healthcare

Gerilynn Sevenikar serves as Vice President of Revenue Cycle for Sharp Healthcare. 

On April 2nd, Gerilynn will speak at Becker's Hospital Review 10th Annual Meeting. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place April 1-4, 2019 in Chicago.

To learn more about the conference and Gerilynn's session, click here.

Question: What do innovators/entrepreneurs from outside healthcare need to better understand about hospital and health system leaders?

Gerilynn Sevenikar: Healthcare operations are lean, leaders routinely taking on more than they have the manpower to accomplish because they have a strong desire to improve all areas of healthcare- clinical, administrative, and financial. You will find these leaders, when faced with a complexity, can readily problem solve and usually think creatively. They are bogged down by compliance with regulations that in some cases have outlived their purpose and are routinely trying to work with skeletal resources compounded by the messaging that margins are shrinking. At the end of the day, each of these leaders have the care of their patients, members, and employees at the forefront of each decision. As non-traditional healthcare companies enter the market, we may see accelerated innovation in some of the administrative components of healthcare …. And certainly an increase in “self serve” options.

Q: What one strategic initiative will demand the most of your time and energy in 2019?

GS: There is never just 1. Seriously no one ever has just 1 initiative that demands most of their time….

Building a Revenue Integrity plan that protects the net revenue for our organization with rules/AI/ML as far upstream in the patient accounting process as reasonable. Layered with controls for missed opportunities concurrent with care delivery and reimbursement followed by safety nets that identify and secure revenue that may have been missed. We need to efficiently identify and secure any and all net revenue due for services rendered. It is a margin imperative. Also looking at how to redefine our payer relationship from friction to friendly J - I will save this for another day.

Patients have a choice and we want our organization to be the first choice for consumers in San Diego. This year our division is focusing on the financial journey for our patients, partnering with our experience design team and looking for ways to personalize/brand/and differentiate our experience. Finding the balance that will attract the “digital natives” who are technology centric in nearly all communications and our “silver tsunami” generation who prefer personal conversations and mailbox mail. Perfecting this transition in a way that is respectful, elegant, and meaningful to our patients is the center of our revenue cycle financial journey collaborative. We strive to be personal (allow for preferences custom to the individual), transparent (readily make information available), simple (where ever possible – simplify for the patient…from scheduling to paying a bill), and thoughtful (kind and prepared).

Engaging the best and the brightest to choose to work for Sharp. We are a highly competitive region with 5 major healthcare systems in the San Diego area, all other things being equal – we want the best and the brightest to want to work for Sharp. One of our engagement strategies in revenue cycle has been focused on defining gold standard workflows, attaching real time productivity metrics to them, and inserting elements of “game play” like points, leveling up, competition, leaderboards, etc. This has not only motivated the team, but it satisfies our “digital natives” acute need for real-time feedback and love of instant recognition. We have already found improved productivity and engagement in the areas deployed – something as simple as knowing when an employee has had their “best day” is something leadership never knew in the past (neither did the employee for that matter) and now we celebrate the accomplishments of each team member. By the end of the year we will have introduced our “gamified analytics” to 200 employees.

Q: Healthcare takes a lot of heat for not innovating quickly. What's your take on this?

GS: It’s true. The R&D required for innovation is outside the financial means for most healthcare organizations that are struggling with margin compression. If a decision needs to be made on investing in improving payer relationships with innovative software that facilitates decision making for authorizations or investing in new technology that improves the health of our patients – the dollar will most certainly go to the new technology for the patient. In the administrative areas of healthcare we have been highly dependent on R&D happening in other industries (banking, hotel, etc) and transferring the technology to healthcare once proven, hence why we tend to be the last ones to the party when it comes to new technology.

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