Using technology and outsourcing to address the revenue cycle labor shortage
Revenue cycle labor shortages are currently one of the most pressing issues across industries. Take any industry – restaurants, hospitals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing – and you’ll find that this is perhaps the most pressing issue for operations managers.
In healthcare, the labor shortage extends beyond clinical roles and into administrative functions. Front office service, billers, coders, accounts receivable, denial management, and physician credentialing specialists are scarce.
The hospital staffing shortage is exacerbating problems that were already exacerbated by the pandemic. We’ve seen declining reimbursements over the years, necessitating revenue cycle operations to deliver the best financial outcomes, which necessitates deep healthcare and reimbursement process expertise.
Hospitals and healthcare systems are losing employees due to resignations and terminations, despite the fact that expert revenue cycle team members are already in short supply and the mandate to get all employees vaccinated for COVID-19. Many hospitals are on the verge of closing due to a lack of clinical and non-clinical staff; in fact, many rural facilities have already closed. Furthermore, the scarcity has resulted in a talent war, which has resulted in higher salaries and operating costs.
In this blog, we will look at some of the revenue cycle strategies that CFOs are using.
IT infrastructure hosted in the cloud
With the requirement to operate remotely, IT leaders are tasked with making mission-critical EHR and RCM platforms available at all times and from any location. Most physician practices are increasing their use of SaaS-based EMR/RCM solutions.
Automation of processes
The use of machine learning, AI, and RPA technologies in both clinical and non-clinical revenue cycle solutions is allowing revenue cycle leaders to combat the staffing shortage to some extent. Technology and automation can automate routine, repeatable, labor-intensive tasks and reduce manual labor. For example, claims status automation and portal adoption reduce call center workloads. People can focus on higher-value activities and have higher job satisfaction when they are freed from mundane tasks.
Rigor in Operations
While all revenue cycle leaders talk about managing tighter operations, few have invested time and money in implementing workflow systems that allow them to measure, monitor, and manage each employee’s productivity. Improving transactional productivity will result in financial gains in the short term.
Outsourcing, which provides access to trained, certified labor across the country, is perhaps the most popular strategy that organizations are considering. Offshoring credentialing services also provides the advantage of lower cost structures. With the outsourcing and offshoring market nearly two decades old, you can find service providers who have invested in process expertise and technology to assist you in gaining access to best-of-breed practices.
Optimizing collection costs necessitates the simultaneous implementation of pervasive change strategies.
Leaders must ask the following questions throughout the revenue cycle operations:
- What is it possible to automate?
- What technologies should you invest in: workflow automation, analytics, or front-end technology?
- Where will you get the funds to invest in cutting-edge technology?
- Is this function required to be performed on-site, or can it be outsourced?
While you can address revenue cycle issues in the short term, medical billing services leaders must implement long-term solutions.