While tech offerings can help automate your revenue cycle, they can also potentially cause inaccuracies and more administrative headaches. Here are five strategies for people and tech to work together harmoniously and maximize productivity.
1.) Define roles clearly.
What will the revenue cycle technology handle, and what will people take on? For example, revenue cycle technology does a stellar job at completing repetitive, mundane tasks such as patient eligibility verification or call routing. It can also guide productive call center conversations through decision tree workflows. In addition, it can prioritize work queues for maximum financial impact and provide data analytics capabilities to monitor key performance indicators in real time.
All of these things and more enable revenue cycle staff to spend maximum time interacting directly with patients, enhancing the patient financial experience, and identifying opportunities for operational best practices (e.g., how to reduce aging accounts receivable). In essence, technology enables people to work at tasks that require more complexity and nuanced communication (e.g., helping patients understand their medical bills or the annual healthcare deductible reset).
The best way to define roles is to ensure updated job descriptions. Organizations should revisit these descriptions each time they deploy new technology to ensure the descriptions reflect how roles have changed or evolved. Don’t forget to ask employees for input. People using the technology most frequently are often best suited to provide the most accurate recap of workflows, responsibilities, and necessary skillsets.
2.) Explain the rationale behind leveraging technology.
Here’s a big misnomer: It’s not to replace people. Although staffing reductions may occur in certain areas of revenue cycle management due to streamlined processes, the reality is that technology actually creates new and different roles that present exciting opportunities for personal and professional growth. In fact, the World Economic Forum predicts that automation will actually result in a net increase of 58 million jobs. In the world of revenue cycle management, for example, this might mean new roles in patient financial counseling, medical coding and billing validators and auditors, and much more. To promote harmony, organizations can promote this mantra: Humans and technology are more powerful together than either can be on their own. Framing the revenue cycle technology in terms of staff empowerment can make a big difference in terms of harmonious co-existence
3.) Involve people every step of the way.
Technology isn’t something that happens to people. This attitude implies people have no choice in the matter. Instead, technology is something that happens with people, meaning people play a role in its selection, deployment, and refinement. For example, some organizations may opt to identify one or more super users who can test the revenue cycle technology to see what works and what doesn’t. A pilot program is also another option. What do people like and dislike? Be sure you’re choosing a revenue cycle solution that promotes recruitment and retention—not one that sparks turnover.
4.) Create and leverage an ongoing feedback loop.
Even the best revenue cycle technology isn’t foolproof. That’s why organizations need people and procedures in place to identify and address errors expeditiously. For example, maybe staff are advised to submit a ‘ticket’ to the help desk or flag errors directly within the system itself every time they see a medical coding error or omission. Having proactive oversight can help your technology resources run smoothly and prevent small problems from snowballing into larger, time-consuming issues.
5.) Provide training and resources.
Perhaps the most effective way to ensure harmony between people and technology is by providing high-quality training and easily accessible resources such as an FAQ guide or high-level summary. Training and resources reduce frustration and increase the likelihood that people will want to use the technology on a daily basis. Don’t forget to provide ongoing training whenever there are upgrades or enhancements. Proactive training for future workforce readiness is also helpful. How ready is the workforce to perform the work of the future alongside technology? Where are the skill gaps, and what will the organization do to close them?
There’s no doubt that technology will continue to revolutionize revenue cycle management. The sooner organizations identify ways to promote collaboration between people and technology, the sooner they’ll be able to truly maximize productivity. There’s no time like the present to come up with a game plan and stick to it.
Founded in 1999, Global Healthcare Resource has been a leader in revenue cycle management solutions and proudly employs 6,000+ HIPAA compliant coders, billing professionals and patient call center agents. Global operates as an extension of your office to improve productivity and increase ROI.