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Good News: Summer’s Here! Better News: School is Still in Session

Think back to when you were 11 or 14 and the final bell for your final class of the year rang: What did you think about at that moment? What did summer mean to you? Long days at the pool, hanging out with friends, vacations at the lake or mountains? At the end of June, are you thinking of those things now? I hope you are, at least some of the time! And while it may be time to change out backpacks for beach bags and reading glasses for sunglasses, your revenue cycle doesn’t have to take a vacation, too!

Consider the current revenue cycle environment: Rising prices, high overhead, tighter margins, payment model shifts and growing patient demands. Optimizing your revenue cycle has never been more challenging—or more crucial for your organization’s success.

As any good teacher will tell you, summer break doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Here are three lessons to tackle—especially while the heat is on. So grab some good sunscreen and apply these key ways to enhance your practice’s revenue cycle management strategies—and build your path to a sunnier financial future.

1. Hydrate. When outdoors, you need plenty of water to help you cope with the sun and stay hydrated. Likewise, the key to revenue cycle fitness starts with ensuring you’re maximizing revenue collected from both patients and payers.

  • Increase patient payments revenue and help patients pay off balances faster by offering more patient-friendly payment options: automated payment plans, online bill payment, electronic statements and the ability to keep a secure credit/debit card on file to pay smaller balances.
  • Increase cash flow and reduce days in AR with payers by reviewing claims management processes to ensure you can locate any claim in the process at any given time. Ensure your claims management solution offers quick and easy editing so staff can make on-the-fly changes and avoid rejections and denials. Ultimately, a strong claims management solution should help you shorten the time it takes to get paid—increasing and accelerating cash flow through fewer rejections, denials and write-offs while lowering administrative costs.

2. Don’t get overheated. In the summer, it’s best to wear light-colored and lightweight clothes, stay out of direct sunlight, and go outside early or late in the day when it is coolest. For your practice, staying cool means finding ways to improve patient satisfaction and staff productivity. One place to start: provide patient estimates.

  • For patients, a cost estimate for the care they’ll receive improves cost transparency, helps them understand their bill and improves their satisfaction with your practice. In fact, our 2018 Patient Payment Check-Up Survey shows patients who receive a cost estimate are more likely to pay their bill faster, return for future care and recommend your practice to a friend.
  • For staff, a strong estimation tool improves productivity and makes it easy to generate and print estimates. It ensures estimates presented to patients are reliable as possible by automating the process for determining patient eligibility.

For more heat-reducing ideas, check out our lessons from the summer vacation packing list to help your staff drive revenue cycle success.

3. Watch the weather report. Checking the daily forecast is the best way to help you plan your day building sandcastles on the beach with your kids or hiking up a mountain to reach that gorgeous view. Similarly, reviewing your reporting dashboards and analytics can fuel better decisions for your revenue cycle. Analytics programs help you keep an eye on key performance indicators (KPIs) such as:

  • What percent of patients are making payments at time of service?
  • How quickly are claims submitted and closed?
  • What are our first-pass and denial rates?
  • What are our total days in AR: 30, 60, 90 or higher?

Ultimately, these financial performance insights will help shine a light on the changes necessary for your workflows—and enable ongoing improvements for your entire revenue cycle process and team.

Make sure you and your revenue cycle both stay healthy this summer! For you, this most likely means a vacation to relax and recharge. For your revenue cycle revenue, this means learning new ways to automate, empower staff, improve the patient experience and expand your financial success. Find more ways to keep “revenue cycle school” in session, whatever the heat, in our white paper: Total Revenue Cycle Management: Pave the Way for a Sound Financial Future.