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The top 9 revenue cycle stories from 2016: It's no longer just about the back-end

Top stories include Houston Methodist lifts margins, and outsourcing rev cycle operations.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

From coding and analytics to outsourcing and workflows, it's been a dynamic year for revenue cycle. The scope of the revenue cycle has expanded, and it's no longer all about the back end; rather, it has morphed into broad approach to hospital and health system finance. And with its own dedicated conference in Boston this semester, it's garnering more attention than ever.

Here are the top nine revenue cycle stories from 2016:

Improving point-of-service collections boosted margins for Houston Methodist

Scott Ulrich has a saying: No margin, no mission.

As director of revenue cycle operations for the faith-based Houston Methodist Hospital System, Ulrich says it takes a strong financial margin to deliver on the hospital's most import reason for being.

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Systems that want to save cash might want to consider outsourcing their revenue cycle operations

Though the cost savings tied to outsourcing revenue cycle operations for large-scale health systems can be attractive, healthcare finance leaders say there are more than a few details to consider before handing over these processes to a vendor.

In fact, transitioning from managing in-house revenue cycle operations to putting that trust in a third-party firm can be downright difficult if handled in haste. Read more.

Times, they are a-changin' -- in revenue cycle

The times are changing – not only in how care is delivered but, equally as important, in the ways hospitals, doctors and healthcare workers will be paid. Read more.

Coding and predictive analytics are stanching midcycle losses

More hospital and health systems are turning their attention to their revenue cycle's mid-cycle operations as cost pressures force providers to shore up areas where systems are losing money. Read more.

Improve patient service and save money? It's all about front-loading the revenue cycle

"Whether you believe it or not, the front desk is the face of your organization."

That's the bottom line for medical practices, said William Augustine, director of revenue cycle for Asante Physician Partners in Medford, Oregon.

Making that bottom line work for your practice may require a reorganization of resources that may not feel natural to your practice, he said, but it is essential to improving up-front patient interactions and revenue cycle function. Read more.

Processing payments for both fee-for-service and value-based approaches results in revenue cycle schizophrenia

Boston-based Partners Healthcare, anchored by renowned academic medical centers Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's, collects about $6 billion in cash a year and processes millions in transactions.

But while the volume of the transactions is not a major challenge, according to vice president, Revenue Cycle Operations Rosemary Sheehan, the work of processing payments for both fee-for-service and value-based arrangements presents a new reality that is wrought with issues. Read more.

The revenue cycle landscape is changing, so be nimble, be quick

Leigh Williams has been the administrator for business systems at the University of Virginia Health system for about a year and a half now, and in that time, the shift from volume to value has accelerated. That requires some adaptability when it comes to managing a system's revenue cycle, and Williams believes she has identified some of the key strategies for achieving financial stability in this new landscape. Read more.

Data capture technology a revenue cycle boon

As revenue cycle leaders look for ways to improve point-of-service collections, many are turning to technology to not only improve collection, but to reduce claim denials and create better patient satisfaction as well. Read more.

To collect revenue, engage patients at point of service, vendors on the back end

Collecting money up front at point of service and on the back end in collections has never been more important to revenue cycle.

Consumers are paying a greater share of their coverage out-of-pocket due to higher deductibles and employers passing on rising costs to their employees.

To make sure providers are successful in getting the revenue their due, two healthcare experts on Tuesday said what their organizations are doing to increase point of service payment and to collect on debt, during the HIMSSRevenue Cycle Solutions Summit in Boston. Read more.

Revenue cycle leaders tout technology, process in streamlining workflows

Two health systems on Wednesday touted a slate of technology-driven initiatives in helping them improve their revenue cycle and their margins, too. Read more.

Twitter: @JELagasse