Revenue cycle improvements are top of mind for most health systems – but how do you make meaningful strides in a fast-paced healthcare environment where everyone is doing the best they can with limited resources? While there are dozens of strategies that can have an impact, one of the top ways to make real, measurable progress starts with alignment of the two teams that play a key role in a hospital or health system’s financial performance. While historically, these two teams – (let’s call them The Clinical Team and The Financial Team) have been far removed from one another, both physically and often philosophically, never before has it been more important to bring together these diverse functions. Not only can neither side see the full picture of what success looks like without one another, their ability to work together can have an impact on more than just finances – but can also have a significant effect on quality and patient care. Here are some top strategies for bringing these two teams together for the greater good:
• Establish a Dyad Leadership Model.
While integration needs to occur at all staff levels, it really should start at the top. By establishing a dyad model for making revenue cycle improvements with one revenue cycle leader and one clinical leader, the two can build the relationship and mutual understanding needed to make measurable progress. In addition to the dyad structure, engaging a physician who is well-respected among both C-suite circles, physician colleagues and clinical teams can help bridge the gap and ensure medical staffs are engaged in improvement efforts as well. The dyad team can work together to set a shared RCM improvement strategy and define what the team’s top priorities will be – and loop in the physician leader as needed for support and buy-in from physicians across the enterprise.
• Break Down Silos.
If there are barriers that make it difficult for RCM team members to reach out to clinicians and vice versa, eliminate them – and fast. With better collaboration comes more accurate coding, claims and billing. Not only does this result in less denials, risk of auditing, and wasted time in rework – but can also result in greater patient satisfaction as it relates to billing, which is an often overlooked (but critical) part of the patient experience.
• Educate, Educate, Educate.
Better mutual understanding makes all the difference in getting teams to change behaviors. Helping RCM leaders as well as coding/billing teams understand the clinical team’s workflows, processes and how they have been trained to document (and why) is a great start. Likewise, educating clinical teams on how their processes and documentation habits can impact the financial performance of the entire system can lead to a shared understanding that will set the stage for continued improvements.
• Narrow Your Focus.
Choose a few key performance indicators (KPIs) to start with – and work together to make progress in these areas. When successes are realized – share them and celebrate broadly with both teams. Help staff members at every level understand the impact of these successes and how their efforts contributed to the improvements. Take these celebrations as an opportunity to keep the team engaged and let them know what is needed (and expected from them) for continued RCM success.
Putting these key strategies into place can help align two disparate functions – and get teams on both sides working toward important common goals. The results they can realize together will help improve not only the revenue cycle, but quality, patient satisfaction – and even staff satisfaction.
GeBBS Healthcare Solutions offers a wide range of revenue cycle management solutions to support your efforts in 2020. To learn more, visit www.gebbs.com or click here to schedule a meeting with an RCM Expert.