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Cleveland Clinic's remote revenue cycle program saves money and makes employees more productive

Enabling employees to telecommute and perform patient pre-registration and financial counseling has saved money and improved employee satisfaction.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

Cleveland Clinic Main Campus. Credit:&nbsp;<a href="http://jobs.clevelandclinic.org/main-campus.html" target="_blank">Cleveland Clinic</a>Cleveland Clinic Main Campus. Credit: Cleveland Clinic

The Cleveland Clinic is piggybacking on its own innovative initiatives of enabling remote engagement for patients with scheduling, education and health records by establishing a virtual workflow for revenue cycle staff as well.

Known as Patient First Support Services, remote staff perform certain revenue cycle activities such as pre-registration, scheduling, financial counseling and customer service. 

"What we have done across the revenue cycle is implement a work at home program that transitions our caregivers from our office space to their home. It's something that they had been asking for for years and years that we were able to implement and actually expand upon," Heidi Peris, Director of PreAccess at the Cleveland Clinic. "We provide caregivers with all of the equipment, internet access, technology, as well as all of the tools they need to be successful at home." 

Peris said the work-at-home program saves money because it cuts overhead by reducing the amount of brick-and-mortar space needed by the system for operations. And it also reduced employee turnover and absenteeism.
Even more important than that, however: Enabling them to telecommute enhanced both employee engagement and productivity. 

Peris said in her area alone productivity has increased by 113 percent thanks to the remote program.

"They like it so much that it's hard to get them to come into the office. We do have some mandatory meetings and training sessions so there's some grumblings when they have to leave their pajamas behind," she added. "They really enjoy it."

If there is a downside, it's that some of the staff initially have difficulty adjusting to the lack of constant engagement that comes with the office, so leaders have really had to learn how to manage differently. 

"They miss being able to stand up and look over the top of their cubicle and say can you help with this or just walk over and grab a supervisor," she said. 

Management must strive to keep the communication lines open and support engagement and education. That's something Peris said they are still working on and have developed a new course to help leaders manage a remote workforce.

At the upcoming HIMSS and Healthcare Finance Revenue Cycle Solutions Summit, Heidi Peris will be speaking in the session, "Virtual Patient Access Drives Mobility, Productivity and Engagement," scheduled for 11:15 a.m. March 5 at the Wynn Hotel. Register here

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
Email the writer: beth.sanborn@himssmedia.com

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