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Inefficient revenue cycle technology a headache for physicians

Survey indicates outdated RCM technologies can cause financial hardship

Inefficient revenue cycle management technology is causing headaches for physicians and their business office managers, finds a new survey.

According to the first of eight revenue cycle management studies released by market researcher, Black Book, 72 percent of physician practices, whether in a network, independent or part of a large group or hospital system, expect declining to negative profitability next year because of underutilized or inefficient billing technology.

[See also: 6 tips for lean revenue cycle management]

Eighty-eight percent of business managers believe their revenue cycle technology is so out-of-date it will result in the sale of the practice to a larger physician group or hospital within the next year, or the practice will dissolve.

Black Book’s “Top Physician Practice Management & Revenue Cycle Management: Ambulatory EHR Vendors,” is an analysis of the billing technology needs of physician practices in relation to the replacement electronic health record market. Black Book surveyed over 8,000 respective CFOs, CIOs, administrators and support staff of U.S. hospitals and physician practices between April 2013 and August 2013, said the company in a news release announcing the survey results.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • 86 percent of practice business managers believe their revenue cycle management technology will not be able to accommodate upcoming regulatory requirements or updates, and 100 percent believe their practice’s software is not prepared for participation in accountable care organizations.
  • 87 percent of practices say their billing and collections systems need upgrading.
  • 63 percent of independent practices believe an attempted technology upgrade or implementation was necessary to improve practice value prior to an acquisition.
  • 81 percent of practices acquired in last 12 months had attempted an EHR or upgraded practice management implementation.
  • 98 percent of independent physicians claim that short-sighted IT acquisitions, as part of their practice sell off plans to hospitals and larger clinics, actually devalued their practice's worth.
  • 88 percent of hospitals and 76 percent of large physician groups procuring independent physician practices find there was little/no useful salvageable technology (EHR, PM or RCM) in the acquisition of practice assets.
  • 71 percent of physician practices are considering a combination of new software and outsourcing services to improve their RCM systems, and 89 percent say they would prefer a single-source vendor offering software, outsourcing and consulting options.

The Black Book eight-part series also names the top-ranked vendors in customer satisfaction and client experience among RCM software and outsourcing services providers, as well as RCM transformation consultants.

The No. 1 ranked seamless Ambulatory EHR/practice management/revenue cycle management vendor in the 2013 Black Book user survey was Irvine, Calif.-based Kareo, Inc., which integrates also with several EHRs and over 20,000 users nationally.

The survey also named other top seamless EHR/RCM/PM performers as: Care360/Quest Diagnostics, Care Cloud, athenahealth, eClinicalWorks, Vitera, McKesson, Optum, SimplifyMD, Greenway Medical, Practice Fusion, GE Healthcare, Epic, e-MDs, NextGen, Allscripts, ChartLogic, ADP AdvancedMD and Henry Schein MicroMD.