Live from HIMSS18: Viva la rev cycle revolution!

the healthcare revenue cycle revolution

Revenue cycle professionals from around the world, with responsibilities ranging from front-end access to HIM and coding to back-end billing and claims, packed this year’s Revenue Cycle Solutions Summit. The event drew a standing-room-only crowd. What a difference a year makes.

Throughout each presentation, the call for healthcare organizations to transform the ways they’re interacting with patients, from start to finish, grew louder, eventually becoming a rallying cry for revolutionizing the revenue cycle.

It’s a revolution whose time has come. With the shift from volume to value-based care, healthcare organizations must become more patient-centric – which means the impersonal, transactional nature of the revenue cycle has to end. And, as today’s healthcare consumers are shopping for healthcare in a way they’ve never had to before, patient satisfaction now offers a competitive advantage.

You’ve only got one chance at a first impression

Making a good first impression starts with pre-scheduling and continues with that first visit.

“Handing me a clipboard with a bunch of forms that have been copied five times, are no longer legible and that ask me for the same information I’ve already provided isn’t a great start,” said Mike Bernard, Hyland Healthcare Manager. “If I can order food in the Houston airport from a tablet, why can’t I use one when I’m sitting in the emergency room with my kid?”

Clipboards are for coaches.

– Mike Bernard, Hyland Healthcare Manager

The billing experience is the first and the last – and perhaps the most lasting – impression an organization makes. A poor billing experience has the ability to negatively impact, if not outright ruin, a patient’s experience. Patients who are satisfied with their billing experience are five times more likely to say that they’re satisfied with their overall experience – reaffirming that a patient’s clinical and administrative experiences are merely two sides of the same coin.

Patients are the new payers

Patients now pay approximately one-third of their healthcare costs, compared to just 10 percent in 2002. And, healthcare, as an industry, is at a disadvantage in that there hasn’t been much transparency around cost as it relates to value.

We’ve been hesitant to talk about cost, let alone provide estimates for procedures. It’s not without reason – between the varying amounts of co-insurance and deductibles, even ballpark estimates present risks. For years, consumers have paid a set amount for a service, as determined by their insurer, without really knowing the value of that service, so part of this revenue cycle revolution is education – not only about costs but also about the value of those services.

Revenue cycle leaders must begin to make change happen – and to do so effectively, they must embrace the consumer’s perspective, asking themselves, “How would I want to be treated?”

After all, we are all healthcare consumers – and if the CFO of a large health system can’t understand the bill he receives for his daughter’s treatment, how can we expect the average healthcare consumer to understand it? This revolution is also one of empathy.

Every revolution needs a solid foundation

However, as a technology vendor, I was struck by one fundamental realization about how stacked the deck is for healthcare organizations to accomplish all of this massive, transformative change to revenue cycle management: This revolution has to begin with infrastructure.

Before healthcare organizations can empower their employees, they must first offload all of the tasks that don’t require empathy. Save that energy and time for the tasks that do – patient relations, financial counseling, billing collection. Healthcare organizations also have to put the information their staff and clinician need in front of them, easily accessible from within the systems they use every day.

The consumer landscape has changed – one needs only to look at the impact that the “Amazon experience” has had on purchasing habits. Now, you can either blame Millennials, who want everything to be digital and self-service, or, you can take their lead. Not only do Millennials have the most purchasing power today, but they’ll be making the majority of healthcare decisions by 2020 and will comprise 75 percent of the workforce in 2025.

Change is already here. Viva la revolution!

Julie Fogel

Julie Fogel

Julie Fogel joined Hyland in 2011. A member of the content marketing team, this SCUBA-diving, rock-n-rolling, baseball-loving storyteller currently covers healthcare. She also frequently appears in or provides voice talent for Hyland-produced videos.

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