Collecting patient payments is a challenge for most of the healthcare organizations we talk to. Often we find that their financial policies, initially built to make patient payment collection possible, are actually keeping patients from making payments on their balances. These financial policies are usually built with a one-size-fits-all mentality, and that approach fails to address the diverse needs of a diverse patient population. 

Even though all your patients may share similar traits, they are not part of a homogenous group. Creating a patient financial policy that responds to the distinct groups in your patient population is a great place to start improving your patient payments. 

Who are your Patients Financially? 

What’s the best way to segment your diverse patient population? 

We recommend starting with ability to pay. Several distinct groups emerge when you examine your patient population through this lens, and each group has different needs with regard to financial policy. By considering these groups, you can create a workable patient financialy policy that addresses the unique needs of your patients when it comes to collecting payment. 

Creating policies that adapt to all groups will also help avoid confusing exceptions to rules and create a process that is both clear to staff and fair to patients. 

The Easy Pay Group 

The first group to examine is the Easy Pay Group. These patients have the ability and desire to pay. All they really need is simple access to your organization’s preferred method of payment and they will make their payments. 

Removing all barriers to making payments and providing simple, easily accessibly ways to pay will increase payments collected from this group. 

How to make patient payments easier for this group: Make use of balance resolution tools 

The Challenged Pay Group 

The second group is the Challenged Pay Group. These patients want to make their payments, but they have limited means to pay and making their payments can be challenging. While these patients will benefit from balance resolution tools, they are often not enough to ensure prompt payment. This group will usually complete their payments before the intervention of a third party collection agency, though some patients might be in serious financial distress. 

How to make patient payments easier for this group: Intervene early 

The Inability to Pay Group 

This group simply does not have the means to pay for most or all of their portion of healthcare costs. Leading with compassion is the key to success for collecting patient payments from this group. Whether patients are in the group through situations beyond their control or through their own actions, consideration and a clear policy lead to the highest success. 

How to make patient payments easier for thie group” Lead with compassion and have a well developed financial plan 

The Refuse to Pay Group 

The final group is hopefully the smallest. Typically, those that fall into the Refusal to Pay Group fall into one of two scenarios. Some are manipulative, and those might respond to third party collections, especially if the bill is large. Others in the group might perceive that they have been mistreated during their care, and these patients require careful consideration because heavy handed collection techniques could cause additional complaints. 

How to make patient payments easier for this group: Engage a collection agency and attorneys if needed 

Understanding and segmenting your patient population’s financial identity is crucial for improving payment collections at your organization. By moving away from a one-size-fits-all policy and instead leading with empathy and tailoring your approach to the distinct financial needs of your patients, you can create a more effective and compassionate payment collection process. Looking for guidance on processes and payment types? Download our free guide “Making Patient Payments Easier” to learn more!

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As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
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image

Title

As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing

Collecting Patient Payments – What is your Patient Population’s Financial Identity? 

Collecting patient payments is a challenge for most of the healthcare organizations we talk to. Often we find that their financial policies, initially built to make patient payment collection possible, are actually keeping patients from making payments on their balances. These financial policies are usually built with a one-size-fits-all mentality, and that approach fails to address the diverse needs of a diverse patient population. 

Even though all your patients may share similar traits, they are not part of a homogenous group. Creating a patient financial policy that responds to the distinct groups in your patient population is a great place to start improving your patient payments. 

Who are your Patients Financially? 

What’s the best way to segment your diverse patient population? 

We recommend starting with ability to pay. Several distinct groups emerge when you examine your patient population through this lens, and each group has different needs with regard to financial policy. By considering these groups, you can create a workable patient financialy policy that addresses the unique needs of your patients when it comes to collecting payment. 

Creating policies that adapt to all groups will also help avoid confusing exceptions to rules and create a process that is both clear to staff and fair to patients. 

The Easy Pay Group 

The first group to examine is the Easy Pay Group. These patients have the ability and desire to pay. All they really need is simple access to your organization’s preferred method of payment and they will make their payments. 

Removing all barriers to making payments and providing simple, easily accessibly ways to pay will increase payments collected from this group. 

How to make patient payments easier for this group: Make use of balance resolution tools 

  • Place a payment button on your website 
  • Offer automated payment plan options 
  • Be able to accept as many different payment types as possible 

The Challenged Pay Group 

The second group is the Challenged Pay Group. These patients want to make their payments, but they have limited means to pay and making their payments can be challenging. While these patients will benefit from balance resolution tools, they are often not enough to ensure prompt payment. This group will usually complete their payments before the intervention of a third party collection agency, though some patients might be in serious financial distress. 

How to make patient payments easier for this group: Intervene early 

  • Ensure balance resolution tools are accessible 
  • Have interventions and payment options available at time of service 
  • Be willing to coax and nudge with compassion 

The Inability to Pay Group 

This group simply does not have the means to pay for most or all of their portion of healthcare costs. Leading with compassion is the key to success for collecting patient payments from this group. Whether patients are in the group through situations beyond their control or through their own actions, consideration and a clear policy lead to the highest success. 

How to make patient payments easier for thie group” Lead with compassion and have a well developed financial plan 

  • Address the group at the beginning of care rather than months or years post treatment 
  • Be kind and considerate when discussing financials 
  • Develop clear policies outlining discounted rates for this group 

The Refuse to Pay Group 

The final group is hopefully the smallest. Typically, those that fall into the Refusal to Pay Group fall into one of two scenarios. Some are manipulative, and those might respond to third party collections, especially if the bill is large. Others in the group might perceive that they have been mistreated during their care, and these patients require careful consideration because heavy handed collection techniques could cause additional complaints. 

How to make patient payments easier for this group: Engage a collection agency and attorneys if needed 

  • Engage a collection agency 
  • Run credit scores to determine cost effective actions 
  • Consult with a healthcare attorney if collection agency methods fail 

Understanding and segmenting your patient population’s financial identity is crucial for improving payment collections at your organization. By moving away from a one-size-fits-all policy and instead leading with empathy and tailoring your approach to the distinct financial needs of your patients, you can create a more effective and compassionate payment collection process. Looking for guidance on processes and payment types? Download our free guide “Making Patient Payments Easier” to learn more!

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Title

As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing
image

Title

As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing

Bringing Your Mission Statement into Daily Operations: A Guide for FQHCs 

Mission statements are the heart and soul of Federally Qualified Health Centers. They define the purpose and direction of the organization. Integrating your mission statement into daily operations can transform how your FQHC functions and serves its community and unite your staff like never before. This may require a cultural shift for your team, but the effort will increase your impact and connect your team to your community in new ways. Here’s how to make it happen! 

Understanding your Mission Statement 

Your mission statement is the guiding star of your FQHC. It captures your core values and goals. Understanding what your mission means in practical terms is the first step toward making it a living part of your daily operations.  

  • Define what your mission statement means in practical terms. Your mission statement has been carefully crafted by experts, leaders, and board members. But what does it actually mean? Step one is to translate the abstract values and goals of your mission into specific, actionable items that can be integrated into daily operations. This helps staff at all levels understand how their roles contribute to your overall mission. 
  • Break down its key components. Identify the core elements of your mission statement and relate them to concrete actions. For example, if your mission emphasizes community health, ensure that all initiatives and programs are community-focused. This helps your organization stay mission focused as you grow and expand your programs and services. 
  • Discuss how these components align with your daily activities. Regularly review your operations to ensure they reflect the mission statement. If your mission centers around equitable care for all, is your scheduling system accommodating to different work schedules or transportation needs? If your mission focuses on serving a particular population, do you provide important paperwork in a language they can read? Examine your key components regularly and make sure they’re reflected in the day-to-day activities of your organization. This continuous alignment helps maintain focus on the core objectives and values of your FQHC. 

Aligning Leadership and Staff 

For the mission to thrive, everyone needs to be on board. Leadership plays a crucial role in setting the tone. Aligning your leadership and staff is essential for building a cohesive and motivated workforce. 

  • Leaders should embody the mission in their actions and decisions. Leadership behavior should reflect the mission statement, reinforcing its importance and relevance. This can inspire and motivate staff to follow suit. Make sure your leadership team and all board members know the mission statement and understand how it guides your organization. 
  •  Create training programs to educate staff about the mission. Regular training sessions help staff understand and internalize your mission. These programs should explain how their unique roles contribute to achieving the organization’s long-term goals. Include the mission statement and its connection to specific positions during employee onboarding as well, so each new team member joins with an understanding of your FQHCs goals and culture. 
  • Ensure regular communication from leadership about the mission’s importance. Frequent, clear communication from leaders about the mission helps keep it top-of-mind for all employees. This can include meetings, newsletters, and other forms of communication. Take these opportunities to highlight how recent initiatives and projects align with your mission, share success stories that show your mission in action, and provide updates on progress towards any of your goals. Leadership can also take the time to celebrate staff achievements and recognize their contributions towards your mission. 

Incorporating Mission into Patient Care 

Your mission should shine through in every patient interaction. Patient-centered care is essential. Ensuring that every touchpoint with patients reflects your mission can significantly enhance their experience and trust in your services. 

  • Develop practices that put patients first. Implement protocols and procedures that prioritize patient needs and experiences. This could include personalized care plans and patient feedback mechanisms. Giving your patients easy, quick ways to submit feedback, both positive and negative, helps continuously refine your care practices. It also encompasses your payment structure and payment methods. Check out our guide on making patient payments easier for more ideas. 
  •  Train staff. Staff should be equipped with the skills and knowledge to deliver care that aligns with the mission. Regular training and role-playing scenarios can be effective tools to get your staff on the same page. 

Operational Practices Reflecting the Mission 

Your workflow and processes should align with your mission. This ensures consistency and integrity. By embedding mission-driven practices into your operations, you create a coherent and focused organization that is true to your values. 

  • Design workflows that support your mission. Review and adjust workflows to ensure they are mission-driven. This could mean streamlining processes to focus more on patient care and less on administrative tasks, or adjusting your paperwork process to eliminate multiple forms that feel repetitive. Utilizing technology to move your patient information safely and securely from one department to another can help provide a seamless experience for your patients, which is a great idea if your mission focuses on a people-first approach or serves populations that may struggle with literacy.  
  • Utilize technology to streamline and support mission-driven practices. Speaking of technology, it’s a great tool to help center your workflows and operations around your mission. Adopt technology solutions that enhance efficiency and allow staff to focus more on patient-centered care. For example, automated appointment reminders are a great tool to help eliminate tedious tasks from your staff to-do lists and give them more time to focus on patient care. If your mission is focused on removing barriers to healthcare, adopting telehealth and adjusting processes around intake procedures can help your mission take center stage in workflows.  

Community Engagement and Outreach 

For most mission-based healthcare organizations, engaging with your community is a vital part of your mission. Outreach programs can help. By actively participating in community development and addressing social determinants of health, FQHCs can significantly impact public health outcomes. 

  • Involve the community in mission-driven activities. Host community events, health fairs, and educational workshops based on the programs and services that you provide. These activities not only promote health but also strengthen community ties and trust. 
  • Develop outreach programs that reflect your values. Create programs aimed at addressing the specific health needs of your community. Think about your unique mission and how you can creatively offer new programs that address the issues you and your team are trying to solve. If you focus on healthcare accessibility, think about adding a mobile clinic. If your mission is based on improving healthcare outcomes for a location or specific population, providing workshops on nutrition education using resources and grocery stores your community has access to could be a great way to reach out. And don’t forget the power of digital resources and social media! Offering these educational outreach programs online in addition to in-person can connect a wider audience with your mission and reach even more community members. 
  • Partner with other organizations to advance shared goals. You have developed your awesome outreach programs, and now you want to increase your audience and reach your community. Collaborating with local schools, non-profits, and other healthcare providers can enhance your reach and impact. 

Monitoring and Evaluating Impact 

To keep your mission alive and thriving, you need to measure its impact regularly. Set clear metrics and adjust as needed. Regular monitoring and evaluation ensure that your efforts are effective and aligned with your mission. And remember, a mission-driven culture is always evolving. Encourage continuous improvement. 

  • Define metrics to measure mission integration. Establish specific, measurable indicators of success that matter to your organization and your mission. These could include patient satisfaction scores, health outcomes, and community engagement levels, but talk to your stakeholders and leadership to figure out what mission success looks like to them. And once you have these metrics, don’t just run the reports. Really use the data! Use these metrics to regularly evaluate your progress and be prepared to make changes to strategies and practices as needed to stay on track. 
  • Highlight success stories and case studies to show progress. Share examples of how your mission has positively impacted the community. These can be individual stories, or successfully completed programs. Turning your data into stories and showing the impact your organization creates not only demonstrates success but also motivates staff and stakeholders. 
  • Promote a culture of ongoing learning and development. Encourage staff to pursue professional development opportunities. This keeps them engaged and informed about best practices. And hold regular internal training sessions for staff to help them stay aligned with your mission. 
  • Adapt the mission statement when necessary to stay relevant. Communities are dynamic, and healthcare is constantly evolving. Your mission should evolve as well. Periodically review and update your mission statement to reflect changes in community needs and organizational goals. 

Integrating your mission statement into daily operations is key to a thriving FQHC. By aligning leadership and staff, focusing on patient care, refining operational practices, engaging with the community, and committing to continuous improvement, you can create a mission-driven organization. Your mission matters – embracing your mission into your operations in practical ways unites and motivates your team, enhances your service quality and strengthens your community impact! 

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Title

As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing
image

Title

As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing

Technology trends in Revenue Cycle Management

Technology has changed rapidly in the last five years, and workplace tech is no exception. The revenue cycle management industry in particular has experienced immense growth and change, and keeping up with the newest and most useful pieces of RCM tech and trends is a constantly moving target. Let’s explore some of the top tech trends impacting RCM this year. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

AI is revolutionizing RCM by improving efficiency and accuracy. It helps automate routine tasks like coding, billing, and claims processing. AI can analyze large volumes of data to identify patterns and predict issues, helping with financial forecasting. This predictive power helps in reducing denials and improving cash flow. Moreover, AI-powered chatbots enhance patient engagement by providing quick answers to billing inquiries and other frequently asked questions, saving valuable staff time. There are also healthcare organizations exploring AR generated authorization letters, medical appeals and post-procedural instructions for patients.  

AI has lots of potential uses, but many healthcare organizations are hesitant to embrace it. Larger healthcare organizations that have their own data managers and IT teams may be able to dedicate the staff time and budget to adopt AI technology, but smaller or more rural healthcare centers may struggle to keep up. Analyzing your own capacity for adopting AI into workflows is an important first step to taking full advantage of this new technology. Look for ways AI can integrate into your repetitive daily tasks and consider the time and money that would need to be dedicated to implement an AI process. Exploring this new RCM technology has the potential to greatly improve overall collections and move time-consuming, repetitive tasks off the desks of your skilled staff, giving them more time to focus on big picture planning and providing the best patient care possible. 

Automation 

Automation streamlines RCM processes, reducing manual work and errors. According to some reports, one-third of prior authorizations are completed manually, and two-thirds of hospitals haven’t automated any part of their denials management processes. Using technology to automate key parts of your RCM workflow can eliminate some of these time-consuming tasks, which not only reduces manual errors, but also creates an improved work environment for your team.  

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) handles repetitive tasks such as data entry, appointment scheduling, and patient follow-ups. This technology not only saves time but also ensures consistency and compliance. By automating these tasks, staff can focus on more strategic activities, improving overall productivity and allowing both providers and administrative staff to focus on patient care.  

Automation can also help address staffing issues. According to one survey, 80% of billing departments surveyed reported a turnover rate of 11 – 40%, significantly higher than the national average of 3.8%. Additionally, this survey found that 70% of respondents believed that staff shortages exacerbated their denial rates. Utilizing automation to streamline your workflows not only leads to fewer errors and less rejected claims, but it also helps reduce your staff workloads, helping your staff be more efficient without burning out. This tech has the potential to improve the wellbeing of your staff, decrease turnover, and increase the amount of revenue you collect overall. 

An important note on AI and Automation: Any tool must be vetted carefully before you adopt it to ensure that it complies with HIPAA regulations and protects the privacy of your patients. Your security and the security of your patients should be one of your top priorities as a healthcare organization! 

Value-Based Medicine 

While it is definitely more of a model than technology, Value-based medicine is changing the landscape of healthcare, especially in the FQHC world. It is shifting the focus from quantity to quality of care. This model rewards healthcare providers for positive patient outcomes rather than the number of services provided.  

For RCM, this means new ways of billing and reimbursement. Providers must track and report quality metrics accurately. Technology solutions that integrate clinical and financial data are essential to succeed in this model. Think critically about the journey your patients go on once they begin an interaction with your organization and look for ways to make that journey smoother and more engaging. A positive patient experience means they are more likely to be involved in their own healthcare decisions and they are more likely to engage with your organization when it is time to gather some of the vital outcome data. Make sure you have the needed tech to produce simple, easy to read billing statements and to communicate with your patients int he way they want to be communicated with (text, phone, email, snail mail). 

Telehealth’s Influence 

Telehealth has become a staple in healthcare delivery, and its influence on RCM is significant. Telehealth services require specific billing codes and reimbursement rules, and your RCM team should be prepared to address these virtual encounters. Technology platforms that support telehealth must seamlessly integrate with RCM systems. This integration ensures accurate billing and compliance with regulations. Telehealth also expands access to care, potentially increasing patient volume and revenue, and provides patients with quality care and convenience. While this technology isn’t exactly new, it has become a preference for many patients, and embracing this care-delivery method is almost a requirement in 2024! 

Blockchain 

Blockchain technology has been a topic of conversation for several years now, and it offers a secure way to manage patient data and financial transactions, which can help keep patient data sage throughout the revenue cycle. Its decentralized nature ensures data integrity and transparency. In RCM, blockchain can streamline claims processing by providing a single source of truth. This reduces disputes and speeds up reimbursements. Additionally, blockchain enhances data security, protecting against fraud and cyber threats. There can be a significant financial cost to startup this technology, but a conversation with your IT technicians will help you understand how and where this new technology fits into your revenue cycle. 

In 2024, technology is driving significant changes in revenue cycle management. AI and automation are improving efficiency and reducing errors. Value-based medicine is changing billing practices to focus on patient outcomes. Telehealth is expanding access to care and influencing RCM processes. Blockchain is enhancing data security and streamlining transactions. By embracing these tech trends, your organization can optimize your RCM and improve financial health while providing the best patient care possible. Staying updated with these technologies is crucial for success in today’s healthcare landscape, and identifying the technology that fits your unique needs means you can grow your programs and services by working smarter, not just harder. 

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Title

As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing
image

Title

As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing

Building Healthy Communities: Integrating Healthcare Programs to Address Environmental and Social Sustainability  

Healthcare organizations, especially Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) have a unique role in promoting community well-being. FQHCs were founded as part of the civil rights movement, and their missions focus around creating healthy communities across all demographics, and especially for underserved populations.  

But every organization in the healthcare space has an impact on their community. Beyond providing medical care, they can impact environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Integrating these areas into your healthcare programs not only benefits the community but also strengthens your organization’s mission and values. 

The Intersection of Healthcare and Environmental Sustainability  

Healthcare facilities provide invaluable services to their communities, but they also generate substantial waste and consume significant energy. By becoming more aware of the environmental impact your health center is creating, you can focus on improving your environmental sustainability. Here are a few ideas to help reduce your environmental footprint: 

  • Implement Green Practices: Adopt energy-efficient technologies, reduce waste, and encourage recycling. This may sound like a huge change, but simple steps like using LED lighting, installing energy-efficient HVAC systems when it’s time for an update, and implementing internal recycling programs can make a big difference. Start small and open up the conversation to your team – ask them what environmental issues matter the most to them and what ideas they have to make a difference. You may find key team members that are willing to take the lead in implementing some of these green practices internally. 
  • Sustainable Procurement: Source supplies from environmentally responsible vendors. Choose products with minimal packaging, reusable options, and opt for ones made from sustainable materials. 
  • Green Building Design: This isn’t an option for every healthcare organization, but if you’re running a capital campaign to construct a new facility, consider including green initiatives into your funding and requests. Whether constructing new facilities or renovating existing ones, opt for green building standards. LEED certification, for example, ensures that buildings are environmentally friendly and resource efficient. Even if you’re not doing a complete rebuild or remodel, consider environmentally friendly options as you do regular repairs and updates. Things like replacing old windows with recycled glass and incorporating low water use fixtures are great ways to make an impact! 

Promoting Social Responsibility at your Health Center 

FQHCs are founded on the idea of addressing inequities in healthcare, and all healthcare organizations are dedicated to improving health outcomes for their patients, regardless of demographic and socioeconomic status. Addressing social determinants of health with your programs and partnerships can increase your reach beyond the doors of your healthcare organization and into the daily life of your patients. 

  • Community Outreach Programs: Develop programs that target underserved populations. Mobile clinics, health fairs, and educational workshops can bring healthcare services to those who need them most. Looking into adding a mobile unit to your healthcare organization? Check out our webinar on Mobile Unit Billing for best practices. 
  • Partnerships with Local Organizations: Create opportunities to collaborate with schools, non-profits, and local businesses in your community. These partnerships can address issues like food insecurity, housing, and education, which are critical to overall health. They can also connect your organization with community leaders that understand the programs and services that will create the most impact. 
  • Employee Volunteerism: Encourage staff to volunteer in the community. This not only benefits the community but also boosts employee morale and engagement and fosters teamwork. Build regular volunteer days into your annual calendar, and ask your employees what causes they would most like to get involved in. 

Building Community Beyond Health Outcomes 

Healthcare organizations can take an active role in shaping their communities by supporting initiatives that promote sustainable development and social equity. The primary focus of your organization is the health of your community and your programs and services, but finding ways to support holistic health beyond your inpatient services and specialties can result in long-term positive outcomes for the neighborhoods you serve. 

  • Support Local Agriculture: Partner with local farms to provide fresh, healthy food options for patients and staff. This can be in break rooms, lobby snacks, or even a food pantry if that fits into your mission. Providing local food supports the local economy and promotes healthier eating habits. 
  • Invest in Public Health Infrastructure: Advocate for and invest in community infrastructure, such as parks, bike lanes, and public transportation. These investments promote physical activity and reduce pollution. The goal is not to distract you and your team from their main mission, but instead to look for causes you can openly advocate for in-person or on social media. Finding a cause you can rally behind shows your patients that you are invested in your community’s wellbeing. 
  • Education and Advocacy: Educate the community about the importance of social responsibility. Host events, create educational materials, and use your platform to advocate for policies that promote a healthy environment, healthcare accessibility and social equity. 

Healthcare organizations have a profound responsibility to their communities. By integrating environmental sustainability and social responsibility into their healthcare programs, they can build healthier, more resilient communities. Exploring ways that these initiatives fit into your mission builds connection with your community and helps you and your team address health outcomes from the big picture, which moves your mission forward and creates a healthier future for the people you serve. 

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Title

As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing
image

Title

As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing

FQHC Financial Pitfalls: Getting Bogged Down in Processes 

Managing a financially efficient healthcare organization is a massive task, and that task gets even more complicated when you enter the realm of FQHCs. Financial health is crucial for sustaining operations, growing vital programs and services, reinvesting in your staff, and delivering quality care to underserved communities.  

The term “financial health” encompasses the entire finance picture of your organization, from assets and operating efficiency to custom reports like your balance sheet and income statement. Getting a clear picture of where your healthcare center is currently, as well as implementing changes that help you achieve financial health and stability takes time and hard work. However, amidst the complexity of managing healthcare finances, organizations can easily get bogged down in unnecessary processes that detract from their bottom line.  

FQHCs in particular can fall victim to this, with staff that often wear multiple hats, Board Members that may not understand the intricacies of FQHC finances, and leadership that feels the pressure of managing every detail financially.  

In this post, we’re exploring a couple key metrics that help paint the picture of your financial health, plus a couple metrics that can drain your time and resources without telling you very much. Now, each FQHC is unique (that’s why we’re so invested in collaborating and customizing services for our clients) so this is by no means an exhaustive list, but more of a starting point. The goal is to help you and your team take a critical look at what you’re spending time tracking and explore the metrics that really make an impact on your organization. 

Key Metrics for Assessing Financial Health 

When evaluating the financial health of your FQHC, there are two pivotal metrics that are truly essential benchmarks for gauging overall performance. These metrics provide valuable insights into your organization’s fiscal standing and operational efficiency – how much money is coming in, and how efficiently your healthcare center is running. Keeping an eye on these key metrics will give you a clear picture of your current financial situation and help you make informed decisions to drive sustainable growth and success. 

  1. Net Revenue per Visit: One of the most telling metrics for assessing financial health is net revenue per visit. This metric measures how much revenue is generated per patient visit, providing insight into your organization’s revenue-generating efficiency. By tracking net revenue per visit over time, you can plan for the future, identifying trends and gathering data that helps your team make informed decisions to optimize revenue streams based on solid numbers. 
  1. Days in Accounts Receivable (AR): Another critical metric is the number of days it takes to collect payment for services rendered. This metric reflects your organization’s effectiveness in managing cash flow and can help identify major pain points in your revenue cycle. A lower number of days in AR indicates prompt payment collection and efficient revenue cycle management, contributing to overall financial stability. Seeing your days in AR creeping up steadily? You’re not alone! Effective AR management is one of the biggest challenges facing FQHCs, which is what makes this particular metric so important to track. Monitoring this metric regularly will help you and your team maximize your revenue, see what revenue is being left on the table, and determine where your staff needs to focus the most. Check out our AR Cleanup guide for some tips to master your own AR. 

Pitfalls of Focusing on Unnecessary Details 

In the pursuit of financial health, it’s important for FQHCs to maintain a balance between tracking important numbers and not getting lost in the weeds of processes and unnecessary tasks. While key metrics provide valuable insight into your overall performance, getting too focused on minor details can divert resources and attention away from more critical tasks and make the big picture fuzzy. FQHC leaders need to take a critical eye to their current reporting and financial processes to figure out the difference between essential tasks that help you make informed, forward-thinking decisions, and those that just create an inefficient system. By putting your staff time and energy into what counts and making your processes more efficient, your team can optimize their resources and ensure sustainable growth. These are two of the processes we see repeatedly that end up costing more than they contribute. 

  1. Excessive Documentation Requirements: FQHCs often face stringent documentation requirements imposed by regulatory bodies and payers. While documentation is necessary for compliance and billing purposes, excessive demands can overwhelm staff and detract from patient care. Fulfilling all of the documentation required to remain compliant is essential, and to save time and staff bandwidth, try to eliminate as much extra internal-only paperwork as possible. Think about ways you can reuse the forms required for compliance to aid in internal processes instead of creating new forms for internal use and duplicating work. Spending excessive time on documentation may not significantly impact financial health, but it can lead to burnout and inefficiency. 
  1. Micro-Managing Small Expenses: To control costs, some FQHCs may fall into the trap of micro-managing small expenses. While it’s important to be prudent with spending, obsessing over minor expenses can lead to wasted time and resources. Instead of scrutinizing every penny, try to prioritize your attention and address larger financial issues that have a more substantial impact on the bottom line. 

The Importance of Streamlining Processes 

Operational efficiency is the name of the game, and the smoother your workflows, the more time you have to focus on your mission. There is definitely a place for detailed financials, but when it comes to day-to-day decision making, focusing on a few key metrics that paint the big picture saves time and still gives you the flexibility and freedom to make informed decisions for your programs, services and staff. By implementing efficient workflows and leveraging technology solutions, you can reduce administrative burdens and free up valuable resources to focus on delivering high-quality care to your patients. 

  1. Automate Routine Tasks: Identify routine administrative tasks, such as data entry, invoice processing, and billing, that can be automated using software solutions. Save your monthly reports as templates so they can be run with one click and consider automating appointment reminders and patient communication to improve efficiency and reduce no-show rates. Most EHRs have some billing functionalities that can streamline billing processes and reduce manual errors. Familiarize yourself with your EHR abilities and start using the features that will benefit your team. 
  1. Outsource Revenue Cycle Management or AR Cleanup: If you find that your team is overwhelmed and unable to focus on your mission, it might be time to consider outsourcing. You can outsource your full revenue cycle management, which allows you to redistribute valuable staff to departments that focus on programs and services, or you can outsource just your AR cleanup. Outsourcing gets you access to an expert team that understands your unique billing requirements, and advanced technology solutions for efficient claims processing and denial management. Outsourcing RCM or AR cleanup can alleviate the administrative burden on internal staff, accelerate revenue collection, and reduce the time and resources spent on resolving billing issues. Additionally, outsourcing allows you to benefit from the latest industry best practices and technology innovations without the need for significant upfront investments. Not sure if this solution is right for your organization? Take a look at our free guide “Are you ready for RCM?” to explore your options! 
  1. Implement Electronic Payment Systems: Transitioning to electronic payment systems can expedite payment processing and reduce the administrative burden associated with manual payment collection and reconciliation. Offer patients multiple payment options, including online portals, mobile payment apps, and automated recurring payments, to enhance convenience and encourage timely payments. This will not only improve your patient satisfaction and make their payments easier, but it will also streamline your revenue cycle management and improve cash flow forecasting. 

In the dynamic world of healthcare finance, it’s crucial for FQHCs to stay proactive in managing their finances. By keeping an eye on important metrics like net revenue per visit and days in AR, while steering clear of unnecessary paperwork, tedious and inefficient processes and procedures, and excessive penny-pinching, you can set your team up for success in the long run. Streamlining processes and focusing on efficiency will not only boost your financial health, but also elevate the quality of care you provide to your community. 

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As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
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Title

As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing

Cultivating a Positive Work Culture in Healthcare: Strategies for Leadership Success 

Have you ever been asked to describe the company culture by an interviewee? This question is popping up more and more as new generations enter leadership positions in healthcare. For modern healthcare workers, both in the administrative and provider circles, company culture is incredibly important, and creating a positive culture at your healthcare organization can be the key to attracting top talent, keeping your valuable staff, and providing the best patient care possible. Fostering a positive work culture is crucial for organizational success and employee well-being. Let’s explore key elements that contribute to a positive work culture in healthcare settings, and how leaders can create a supportive and collaborative work environment. 

1. Cultivating a Culture of Wellness 

Promoting employee wellness is essential for maintaining a positive work culture in healthcare and preventing burnout for your team. A team that is mentally, physically and emotionally healthy and resilient will be the best equipped to keep others in their community healthy as well. Here are some strategies to consider: 

  • Implement wellness programs that focus on physical, mental, and emotional well-being, such as mindfulness sessions, fitness challenges, and nutrition workshops. Survey your team to see which types of programs they are most interested in and invest in those. 
  • Provide access to resources for stress management and resilience training to support healthcare professionals in coping with the demands of their roles. This isn’t limited to just therapy or in-person training. There are a lot of great apps and premium online resources that can help with stress management too! Consider sponsoring subscriptions to apps like Calm, Balance, Headspace, Breathe, and others your employee team is interested in. 
  • Encourage work/life balance by offering flexible scheduling options, remote work opportunities, and paid time off for self-care activities. In a busy healthcare workplace, flexibility and balance aren’t always easy, but meeting with other leaders to see what you can realistically offer as a company can create a big impact. Source ideas from your employee team as well to see what benefits and opportunities would mean the most to them and keep collecting feedback as you implement these initiatives to make sure that they are helping create balance, and not adding to workplace stress. Check out this blog from our archives for even more workplace wellness ideas! 

2. Fostering Teamwork and Collaboration 

Effective teamwork is fundamental to delivering high-quality patient care and building a positive work culture. Consider the following approaches: 

  • Encourage interdisciplinary collaboration by fostering open communication and mutual respect among healthcare team members. This can start by establishing appropriate channels for communication. Let all employees know what avenues there are for reaching out to other departments, including email, internal instant messaging, and any other tools your organization uses. Employees should know how and when to use each of these communication tools, as well as how and when to submit feedback, both positive and negative, to leadership.  
  • Facilitate team-building activities and workshops to strengthen relationships and promote a sense of camaraderie among staff. These can take many forms, from regular staff lunches to special workshops during regular office hours, and even retreats or appreciation dinners outside of work. Start small and figure out what works best for your team, but make sure these events happen regularly and become part of the company workflow. 
  • Recognize and celebrate team achievements to reinforce a culture of teamwork and collaboration. Consider an Employee of the Month program, or a shout-out section in your internal newsletter. 

3. Prioritizing Growth and Development 

Providing opportunities for growth and development is essential for employee engagement and retention. When your team sees you are willing to invest in them, they feel valued and build a strong connection with your organization. These are some of our favorite ideas to support professional growth: 

  • Offer ongoing training and development programs to enhance the skills and competencies of healthcare professionals. These can be hosted internally by members of the team that have professional experience in an area that others do not, or who are certified to teach continuing education seminars. They can also be simple trainings that go over the features of your healthcare center’s software or SOPs – these kinds of trainings may be brief, but they’ll keep your team up to date on processes and procedures, which will help them stay efficient and decrease stress in their daily tasks. Bringing in outside speakers to train your staff in a specialized area is also a great investment in the development of your team. 
  • Provide mentorship and coaching opportunities to support career advancement and personal growth. An internal mentorship can be twofold – promoting growth and development while also increasing collaboration and a spirit of teamwork! Additionally, take advantage of local professional networking and mentoring programs. Many communities have professional groups that meet regularly, volunteer their time, and have programs including mentorship available for members. 
  • Create pathways for career progression within the organization, such as leadership development programs and tuition reimbursement for further education. Communicate to your team that you are invested in their continued professional growth, and if possible, offer to sponsor one or more continuing education session or certification per employee per year. Provide a way for employees to submit ideas for continuing education they are personally interested in. 

4. Leading for Success 

Effective leadership is critical for fostering a positive work culture. Leadership sets the tone for the rest of the team, and your approach as a leader creates a huge impact on the culture of your healthcare organization. Consider exploring the following leadership approaches: 

  • Lead by example by demonstrating integrity, empathy, and transparency in all interactions with staff. Your team will work the way you work! So many of the strategies we have already discussed encompass these qualities, and when you show your team that leadership is invested in the new initiatives as well, the buy-in company-wide will increase and the cultural shift will happen naturally. 
  • Foster a culture of trust and accountability by empowering employees to take ownership of their work and decisions. When your team feels responsible for their projects, not only will they perform better, but their satisfaction at work will increase. This doesn’t mean that you provide them with no support or resources as they tackle large projects. Instead, it’s more about showing your employees that you trust them and their work. Avoid the tendency to micromanage and approve or proof work at every single step of the process. Very few things destroy morale quicker than micro-managing leadership! Encourage employees to work independently and come to you when they need extra support. Check out our blog on leadership in healthcare organizations here for more tips in this area. 
  • Provide regular feedback and recognition to acknowledge employee contributions and reinforce positive behaviors. 

5. Communication Strategies for Collaboration 

Clear and effective communication creates cohesion between the various departments at your healthcare organization. Here are some communication strategies that help shift the culture of your center: 

  • Create open and transparent communication channels, such as regular team meetings, town halls, and feedback sessions. You want your team to know that if they have a concern or question, there will be a set time to discuss it together. These meetings should feel like teamwork, not punishment, and be moderated by a leader that can navigate differing opinions without lashing out. And make sure your employees understand what each of these communication channels are created to accomplish. 
  • Encourage active listening and solicitation of feedback from all team members to ensure that their voices are heard and valued. Providing opportunities for anonymous feedback can be a great way to open up the door to feedback and give your team a chance to share things they love and things they struggle with at your healthcare center. 
  • Utilize technology tools, such as instant messaging platforms and project management software, to facilitate real-time communication and collaboration among staff. Encourage your staff to use these communication tools regularly, especially if you have a remote team. Establish standard operation procedures that outline when to use certain channels, but remain flexible to meet the needs of workers that may need to take a different approach at times. 

Cultivating a positive work culture in healthcare organizations requires a holistic approach that encompasses wellness initiatives, teamwork, opportunities for growth, effective leadership, and communication strategies. Think about the wellness of your team, but don’t ignore the practical side of workplace satisfaction – things like training, useful tools, and feedback. By prioritizing these elements and showing your staff that you are ready to lead by example, you can create an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and empowered to deliver exceptional patient care. 

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As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing
image

Title

As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing

The Role of Healthcare Organizations in Mental Health Advocacy: Breaking the Stigma and Providing Support

As we move through the third decade of the 21st century, and a generation that has come-of-age during a time of constant stress, change, and multiple “unprecedented events” moves into leadership positions, mental health advocacy has emerged as a pivotal focus area. Society is now recognizing the profound impact of mental health on overall well-being, and healthcare leaders have a unique opportunity to champion initiatives that break the stigma surrounding mental illness and provide much-needed support to those in need. Let’s explore the increasing importance of mental health advocacy and discuss how healthcare organizations can play a vital role in promoting mental health awareness and access to care. 

Recognizing the Importance of Mental Health 

In recent years, the importance of mental health has gained widespread recognition. Mental illnesses affect millions of individuals worldwide, impacting their quality of life, relationships, and ability to function in daily life. In the U.S., it is estimated that more than one in five adults live with a mental illness. That’s nearly 57.8 million people in just the United States alone. From depression and anxiety to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, mental health conditions can vary widely in severity and presentation, highlighting the need for comprehensive support and resources. 

The Role of Healthcare Organizations in Advocacy 

Healthcare organizations of all types are at the forefront of advocating for mental health awareness and support within their communities. Even is mental or behavioral health is not a specialty for your healthcare organization, leveraging your expertise and resources, in combination with other healthcare experts in your community can help dismantle barriers, combat stigma, and enhance access to crucial mental health services. But how can you and your team begin to make a difference?  

Breaking the Stigma: 

Healthcare organizations can lead the charge in breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness. By promoting open discussions, providing education about mental health, and sharing stories of recovery, healthcare leaders can help dispel myths and misconceptions, fostering a culture of acceptance and understanding. 

Increasing Access to Services: 

Access to mental health services remains a significant barrier for many individuals. Healthcare organizations can address this challenge by expanding mental health services, integrating behavioral health into primary care settings, and implementing telehealth options to reach underserved populations. 

Promoting Well-Being: 

Beyond treatment, healthcare organizations can focus on promoting overall well-being and resilience. This may include offering wellness programs, stress management resources, and community support networks to help individuals maintain optimal mental health and cope with life’s challenges. 

Initiatives in Mental Health Advocacy 

So you’re bought in – you and your organization understand the importance of mental health advocacy and want to create a culture within your team and your community that encourages open conversations and increased access. How do you do it? Here are some practical ideas we have seen work to promote awareness and resilience in some of the communities our clients serve. 

Anti-Stigma Campaigns: 

Launching anti-stigma campaigns that raise awareness about mental health issues and encourage empathy and understanding towards those affected by mental illness. These don’t have to be incredibly time-intensive, they can be as simple as sharing resources that have already been created, or joining anti-stigma movements that have gained worldwide traction, like the #DoYourShare campaign created by PAHO and WHO. Looking at successful campaigns like that one can help you and your team brainstorm creative ideas that will connect with your community, both online (social media campaigns and webinars) and in-person (community events and open houses). 

Community Outreach Programs: 

Speaking of community events, engaging in community outreach programs that provide education, resources, and support for individuals and families impacted by mental health conditions can make a big impact. Mental Health America recommends things like: 

  • Organizing a community run or walk 
  • Hosting a mental health screening or other educational event at a local venue 
  • Planning an advocacy event or email campaign to local government officials 
  • Organizing a meet and greet with your mental health team, or if mental health isn’t one of the services you provide, teaming up with a local organization that does provide these services and introducing your patients to the available providers 

Check out other free resources from MHA here 

Workplace Mental Health Initiatives: 

Implementing workplace mental health initiatives that prioritize employee well-being, offer mental health resources, and foster a supportive and inclusive work environment will help shift the culture of your organization and the community. We love ideas like: 

  • Flexible work arrangements, if there are positions that can have some work-from-home days 
  • Providing discounts or paying for premium versions of mental health apps like Calm or Balance 
  • Bringing in guest speakers to do organization-wide education seminars on mental health in the workplace 
  • Providing incentives for participation in your workplace initiatives 

Moving Forward: Advocating for Mental Health 

As leaders in the healthcare space, we have the power to drive meaningful change in mental health advocacy. By prioritizing initiatives that reduce stigma, increase access to services, and promote overall well-being, you can make a tangible difference in the lives of the individuals in your communities affected by mental illness. We love working with healthcare organizations nationwide dedicated to breaking down barriers, providing support, and advocating for a world where mental health is valued, understood, and prioritized. Together, we’re moving towards a brighter, healthier future for all. 

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As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing
image

Title

As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
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Telehealth and Revenue Cycle Management: Navigating Financial Challenges in a Digital Era 

Telehealth has revolutionized the way healthcare services are delivered, creating both opportunities and challenges for revenue cycle management. Here at Practice Management, we’ve adapted our billing services to address the rise of telehealth to ensure our clients are maximizing their revenue and providing services that create the biggest impact in their communities. Today, we’re exploring the impact of telehealth on financial processes and sharing our insights into navigating the financial challenges this tool might create for your healthcare organization. 

The Rise of Telehealth: A Game-Changer in Healthcare 

Telehealth, also known as telemedicine, has emerged as a game-changer in the healthcare industry, allowing patients to access medical care remotely via video conferencing, phone calls, and secure messaging platforms. This shift towards virtual care has opened up new possibilities for patients and providers alike, offering convenience, accessibility, and flexibility in healthcare delivery. 

Impact on Revenue Cycle Management 

As telehealth continues to gain traction, its impact on revenue cycle management cannot be understated. The transition to virtual care introduces new complexities in billing, coding, and reimbursement processes, which means you may need to adapt your revenue cycle management strategies to fit these unique needs.  

  1. Billing and Reimbursement: 

Telehealth reimbursement policies vary by payer and jurisdiction, posing challenges for revenue cycle management. It’s essential for your team to stay updated on reimbursement guidelines and properly code telehealth services to ensure accurate billing and timely reimbursement. 

  1. Patient Collections: 

With telehealth, the traditional point-of-service collections model may not be feasible. Providing a convenient, seamless payment process for all patients, including telehealth patients, increases patient satisfaction and ultimately, collections. Adapt your collection strategies to accommodate virtual visits and consider offering online payment options or setting up automated payment plans. 

  1. Documentation and Compliance: 

Proper documentation of telehealth encounters is critical for compliance and reimbursement purposes. Healthcare providers must ensure that telehealth visits are documented accurately and comply with regulatory requirements to avoid compliance issues and revenue loss. This means getting your whole team onboard with accuracy and processes! When everyone, from providers to administrators, understands the importance of documentation and compliance, your telehealth revenue cycle will be streamlined and result in maximum revenue collections. 

Navigating Financial Challenges 

The healthcare organizations we work with are tasked with ensuring financial viability while maintaining high-quality patient care standards. Proactively addressing financial challenges associated with an increase in telehealth will help establish long-term success for your organization. 

  1. Streamline Billing Processes: 

Implement efficient billing processes specifically tailored for telehealth services. Utilize technology solutions that automate billing tasks, streamline claim submission, and facilitate ERA reconciliation. 

  1. Educate Staff and Patients: 

Provide comprehensive training for staff members on telehealth billing and reimbursement protocols. Educate patients on their financial responsibilities for telehealth services, including copayments, deductibles, and insurance coverage. Make sure this education is completed before you launch any new telehealth initiatives and implement continuing education/training updates to encompass any new changes to your processes. Patients should also be educated on their financial responsibilities before they book their first telehealth appointment. 

  1. Monitor Key Performance Indicators: 

Track and analyze key performance indicators related to telehealth revenue cycle management, such as claim denial rates, days in AR, and collection rates. Use these insights to identify areas for improvement and implement targeted strategies. Remember, what KPIs matter to your healthcare organization could be unique to your state, leadership team, and overall goals, so take some time to analyze your data and decide which metrics mean the most to you. 

Embracing Innovation 

In the face of evolving healthcare delivery models, embracing innovation and adaptation in financial processes will help your organization thrive in the digital era. By leveraging technology, educating staff and patients, and monitoring performance metrics, you can navigate the financial challenges associated with telehealth and ensure long-term financial success and increased access to healthcare for your community. 

Overwhelmed? Consider Outsourcing 

If you find yourself wanting to implement a robust telehealth program but feel overwhelmed by the challenges in managing telehealth-related revenue cycles, outsourcing your RCM can offer a viable solution. Outsourcing RCM to experts that understand telehealth billing in your state and for your specialty allows you and your team to offload the complexities of billing, coding, and reimbursement processes associated with telehealth services. This helps your organization gain the expertise, scalability, and efficiency of a stellar billing team that can navigate telehealth-related financial challenges. Outsourcing RCM means your team can focus on delivering high-quality patient care while still ensuring optimal financial performance. 

Telehealth is here to stay, reshaping the landscape of healthcare delivery and presenting new opportunities for revenue cycle management. By proactively addressing financial challenges, embracing innovation, and prioritizing patient care, healthcare organizations can navigate the complexities of telehealth and emerge stronger.  

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As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing
image

Title

As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing

Patient-Centric Revenue Cycle Strategies: Improving Collections and Patient Satisfaction 

Healthcare today involves more than just quality care – it also includes customer service. For the modern patient, satisfaction is a combination of receiving great healthcare and having an easy and intuitive financial experience. We work with healthcare organizations of all shapes and sizes nationwide, and we have seen firsthand the impact of implementing patient-centric revenue cycle strategies. This week, we will delve into how healthcare organizations can prioritize positive patient experiences while optimizing collection processes to maximize revenue without sacrificing patient satisfaction. 

Putting Patients First: Why It Matters 

Gone are the days when revenue cycle management was solely about billing and collections. Today, patient satisfaction is a key metric for the success of your healthcare organization. By focusing on patient-centric strategies, you can enhance trust, loyalty, and overall satisfaction among your patients. 

Understanding Patient-Centric Revenue Cycle Strategies 

We know patient-centric payment options are important, so let’s talk about the building blocks essential to constructing these types of strategies. 

Transparent Pricing: 

Patients appreciate transparency when it comes to healthcare costs. Provide upfront estimates and breakdowns of expenses and allow patients to make informed decisions about their care. 

Flexible Payment Options: 

Offer flexible payment plans and financing options to accommodate patients’ financial circumstances. This not only improves collections but also reduces the financial burden on patients, enhancing their overall experience. 

Clear Communication: 

Communication is key. Keep patients informed about their financial responsibilities, billing processes, and available support resources. Clear, timely communication builds trust and reduces confusion. 

Empowering Patients: 

Empower patients to take control of their healthcare finances. Provide online portals where patients can view and manage their bills, set up payment arrangements, and access financial assistance programs. Easy access to these technologies goes a long way towards helping patients feel in-control of their healthcare. 

Benefits of Patient-Centric Revenue Cycle Strategies 

Improved Patient Satisfaction: 

By prioritizing patient needs and preferences, healthcare organizations can significantly enhance patient satisfaction levels. Patients feel valued and respected when their financial concerns are addressed promptly and transparently. 

Enhanced Collections: 

Patient-centric strategies lead to more successful collections. When patients both understand their financial responsibilities (through clear communication) and have access to flexible payment options and easy ways to pay, they are more likely to fulfill their obligations on time. 

Long-Term Loyalty: 

Positive financial experiences contribute to long-term patient loyalty. Patients are more likely to return to healthcare providers who prioritize their needs and provide a seamless, stress-free billing experience. 

Implementing Patient-Centric Revenue Cycle Strategies 

We have covered the core principles of building a patient-centric revenue cycle and touched on the benefits to your healthcare organization. If you’re on board and ready to change your RCM processes, where do you start? 

Assess Current Processes: 

Start by evaluating your current revenue cycle processes from a patient’s perspective. Walk through the process and think like one of your patients, focusing on enhancing transparency, communication, and flexibility. This will help you identify pain points and areas for improvement.  

Staff Training: 

Train staff members to prioritize patient-centric care throughout the revenue cycle. Emphasize the importance of clear communication, empathy, and problem-solving skills when interacting with patients about financial matters. This training should cover all departments, from front desk and administration to care providers. Training your entire team will help increase buy-in for the new procedures, and ultimately contribute to a cultural shift in your healthcare organization. 

Utilize Technology: 

Leverage technology to streamline billing and payment processes. Implement user-friendly online portals, automated payment reminders, and digital communication tools to enhance the patient experience and improve collections. This will give your patients an easier payment experience, and free up valuable staff time. 

Patient-centric revenue cycle strategies are not just about improving collections and the bottom line — they’re about fostering trust, loyalty, and satisfaction among patients. By prioritizing transparency, flexibility, and clear communication, healthcare organizations can create a financial experience that aligns with their commitment to high-quality patient care and pave the way for a healthcare system where patients feel empowered and valued every step of the way. 

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As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing
image

Title

As we near the end of the year, many of the healthcare organizations we work with are beginning to look forward and plan for 2024. Part of this planning is updating, or even creating, a strategic plan. Strategic planning can be defined as “a process used by organizations to identify their goals, the str
Continue Readiing

Switching Software? Tips for a Successful Software Switch at Your Healthcare Organization 

Technology in the healthcare world has come leaps and bounds in the last decade, and arguably the piece of technology you and your team interact with the most is your EHR system. If you’re considering switching your EHR system, you may feel overwhelmed. Moving to a new system can mean streamlined workflows and enhanced patient care, but the process can also cause lots of disruption to your healthcare organization if the transition isn’t handled smoothly.  

This month, we’re sharing five actionable tips to help you navigate a software switch with ease and keep your healthcare organization running seamlessly through the transition! 

1. Plan Thoroughly: 

Switching EHR systems is not something you can tackle without a solid plan. Before you begin the process of transitioning from one system to the next, make sure you: 

  • Conduct Workflow Audits: Begin by conducting thorough audits of your current workflows to identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement. Engage staff members from various departments to get their unique insights and understand their specific needs. 
  • Develop a Detailed Transition Plan: Based on your audits, create a comprehensive transition plan that outlines the steps, timelines, and responsibilities for each phase of the switch. Assign dedicated project managers to oversee the implementation and ensure adherence to the plan. 

2. Choose the Right System: 

After your audit, you’ll have a better understanding of what your team needs in a new system. Use that information to your advantage! 

  • Perform Vendor Demos: Invite potential EHR vendors to demonstrate their systems to key stakeholders within your organization. Getting input from all your leadership will help them feel like a part of the process and increase their buy in when you roll out the new system. Loop in other staff members as well, to provide feedback on usability, features, and compatibility with your existing systems. 
  • Consider Interoperability: Evaluate the interoperability capabilities of each EHR system to ensure seamless integration with other healthcare IT systems and facilitate data exchange with external partners. This means having conversations with your partners, vendors, and IT department. Making sure that the new EHR you choose plays well with all your current infrastructure will keep the transition running smoothly.  

3. Provide Extensive Training: 

New software means new processes and procedures for your team. Set them up for success: 

  • Offer Hands-on Training Sessions: Organize interactive training sessions where staff members can practice using the new EHR system in a simulated environment or sandbox. Provide opportunities for guided practice and troubleshooting with support personnel who can guide users through basic processes. These trainings can be in-person or virtual using screenshare and video conferencing. Hands-on training can be time-consuming, but putting in the time and work upfront before the switch to help staff feel comfortable in the new system means you’ll be up and running quicker once the new software is in place. 
  • Utilize Online Learning Resources: Supplement in-person training with online learning resources, such as video tutorials, user manuals, and knowledge base articles. Encourage self-paced learning to accommodate different learning styles and schedules. Make sure all staff has access to any kind of resource or training library provided by your new EHR. 

4. Implement Incrementally: 

Rolling out a massive change like a new EHR across your entire organization at the same time might not be a good fit for your healthcare center. If you need to implement this change over a longer period, consider these tactics: 

  • Start with a Pilot Group: Select a pilot group of users to test the new EHR system in a real-world setting. This could mean starting in just one location or one department of your healthcare organization. Gather feedback from your pilot users to identify any issues or areas for improvement before rolling out the system organization-wide. 
  • Phase the Rollout: Gradually roll out the new EHR system department by department or function by function to minimize disruption and allow for focused support and troubleshooting. 

5. Communicate Effectively: 

This final tip is arguably the most important step in any successful software switch. Communicating with your team makes a world of difference! Help your team feel informed and supported through the transition and make sure to: 

  • Provide Regular Updates: Keep staff members informed about the progress of the software switch through regular updates via email, intranet announcements, and staff meetings. Address common concerns and questions proactively. Make sure your updates are communicated clearly and reach all the employees on your team. 
  • Establish Feedback Channels: Create channels for staff members to provide feedback and ask questions throughout the transition process. Consider setting up dedicated communication channels or holding regular feedback sessions to gather input from frontline users. This will help with staff buy-in and help you identify pain points in real time. Once you identify areas that need to be adjusted, you can make those tweaks quickly and protect your staff from frustratingly tedious workloads or administrative burnout. 

Switching software doesn’t have to be a disaster! Approaching the switch with thorough planning, effective communication, and ongoing training will give you a smooth transition and keep your healthcare organization on track towards better technology and growing programs. Remember – you’re not just switching software; you’re embracing growth and technological excellence so you can deliver the highest quality care to your community.