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Hospital and health system financial leaders want automation tools for revenue cycle management

When organizations automate their revenue cycle, they can improve their bottom line while freeing up resources to spend on value-enhancing tasks.

Administrator compares paper and screen reportsAdministrator compares paper and screen reports

A majority of chief financial officers and revenue cycle leaders at hospitals and health systems across the U.S. think automation tools should be designed specifically for healthcare revenue cycle management, according to a survey commissioned by Alpha Health.

About 92% of respondents said it was either important or extremely important for automation tools to be built to assist revenue cycle management.

The survey was put together by Alpha Health, which created automation tools for healthcare revenue cycle management. It was conducted through the Healthcare Financial Management Association's Pulse Survey program from mid-May to mid-June of this year. More than 580 CFOs and revenue cycle leaders participated in the survey.

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Regardless of whether the respondent represented a hospital or health system or how much revenue it generated, the majority of respondents feel it is important for automation tools to be designed for revenue cycle management.

WHY IT MATTERS

In a HIMSS20 Digital presentation, speakers cited data indicating that there can be as much as $200 billion in administrative waste in the healthcare system due to inefficient revenue cycle practices.

When organizations automate their revenue cycle processes, they can improve their bottom line while freeing up time and resources to spend on more complicated and value-enhancing tasks, according to a report from FTI Consulting.

Included in the report was a case study where the accounts receivable staff at one organization spent 25% of their day working on tasks that were considered repetitive, structured and standardized. When the organization implemented an automated process, it increased productivity, reduced low-value inputs and opened up time for more meaningful activities and special projects.

THE LARGER TREND

More health systems are adopting digital practices, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a way to cushion their revenues. A recent survey from Black Book found that, while 100% of all CFOs surveyed recognize they will experience a significant revenue decline this fiscal year and will have to adjust spending accordingly, only 12% expect they will need to cut or defer spending on their financial systems' digital transformation.

Eighty-one percent of the CFOs and senior leaders from the Black Book survey said there was an absolute and immediate need for digital transformations for the long-term survival of their organizations.

One recent example of an organization automating their processes was when Health Care Service Corporation, a licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, announced that it had begun working with Epic to build a bidirectional exchange platform to connect payers with providers. The two organizations plan to develop the Payer Platform for a two-way exchange of information between HCSC health plans and providers who use Epic.

ON THE RECORD

"The technology and approaches of the past two decades have failed the financial leaders in healthcare working to ensure the American healthcare dollar goes as far as possible," said Varun Ganapathi, cofounder and CTO of Alpha Health. "Alpha Health is singularly focused on solving the challenges of automating healthcare revenue cycle operations in fundamentally new ways.

"Revenue cycle leaders have been forced to cobble together a patchwork of solutions that often don't integrate with one another and only automate a portion of revenue cycle processes. Other general solutions, such as robotic process automation, are great for simple, discrete tasks, but often fail quickly in the highly complex and dynamic nature of healthcare, leaving hospitals and health systems stuck with a trail of broken bots and blown budgets."

Building a Solid Foundation for Transformation

This month we are following the efforts of entrepreneurs, doctors, investors and executives as they build a solid foundation for healthcare to move through the decade.

Twitter: @HackettMallory
Email the writer: mhackett@himss.org