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Automated workflow

From Paper to Digital: Key Steps to Take in Your Transition to an Automated Workflow

The first step in transitioning to an automated workflow is recognizing the need to move on from manual tasks. But, once you identify the processes you’d like to improve, it can be challenging to find the right fit for your organizational needs.

Take your time in choosing the vendor you’d like to work with. Establish the must-have features you’re looking for and get a demo on the products you’re interested in. Then, create a transition plan to make sure everything goes smoothly when implementing your new processes.
Here are three simple steps to follow for a smooth transition to an automated workflow.

1. Establish a plan for managing old paper records

The information on old paper records has to be added into your new system. Whether patient history is transferred to your new eligibility and claims management software or job applications are stored on your server as you get rid of paper files, one of the main goals of transitioning to an automated workflow is to have as little paper forms left as possible.

However, it’s much easier to scan a few forms than it is to transfer multiple filing cabinets’ worth of information. Depending on the volume of information you have to manage, you may need to spread out your transition plan over a few days, weeks or even months. Regardless of the timeline, having a plan in place will ensure you don’t fall behind, and it will help prevent any loss of information. Be sure to include the proper disposal of paper records in your transition plan as well.

2. Offer thorough training for your new workflow

The purpose of automated workflows is to simplify daily operations across your organization. But, this can’t happen if employees aren’t properly trained on the new systems and processes.

Training needs to be a top priority. The better you can explain the purpose of the transition and offer assistance to staff during this time, the more effective the switch will be. Your team will feel confident in the new technology and more engaged in their work, which could lead to improved retention rates.

Set clear standards about how to handle internal information. Talk through the tools and software you’re implementing as part of your automated workflow. Maybe have an industry expert offer a workshop for your team or schedule a special training for team managers to share. Also consider offering ongoing training after the transition is complete to ensure all team members are using the new workflow at its highest efficiency.

3. Keep up with industry shifts

This step is ongoing. As you continue to grow your business and make your operations more efficient, changes to healthcare regulations and consumer needs will occur. Your workflow should be adaptable to these changes as they’re announced and implemented.

Most of the time, your healthcare IT vendor will make adaptation easy to do. They’ll adjust their software as-needed or inform you about the impact of an industry shift before the change begins. But, it’s best to keep an open line of communication with your vendor and to do your own research on industry trends.

Make it a point to look for new optimization opportunities as well. Transitioning from a paper to digital workflow is only the first step in improving organizational efficiencies. You need to keep building on the tech-savvy tools and processes you already have in place, or are looking to implement, in order to realize the highest benefit of automated work.

outsourcing operations

Outsourcing Operations: 5 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Vendor

You’ve decided it’s time to lighten up your workflow and invest in outsourced processes – now what?

First, you need to clearly identify what pieces of your workflow you want to automate or have a vendor handle for you. Next, you need to establish a plan of when/how you’d like this change to happen. Finally, you need to find the ideal vendor.

Here are five questions to ask a vendor when you begin outsourcing operations.

1. What level of access will my team have to patient information?

This is the most important question to ask. Whether you’re looking to automate parts of your RCM cycle or you’re interested in improving the quality of care your team provides, your team should have access to all the information they need.

It’s hard for billers to manage payments or nurses to understand a patient’s condition if they’re constantly having to dig for the claims and codes they need. The whole point of outsourcing is to simplify your workflow – and that means making sure access to important information becomes more available, not more complicated.

2. Will your company train my team to use your product?

You need training just as much as you need proper access. It’s not every day you change how things are done in your office. Team members will need time to adjust to the change, and they’ll also need someone to guide the way.

Taking on the training yourself leaves practically no room in your schedule to handle other aspects of the business, and you risk missing key details. Bringing the vendor in to walk your team through the process is much easier. It establishes a strong working relationship with whom you’re outsourcing, and it encourages a positive reaction from your team to this new way of doing things.

3. How knowledgeable is your staff about my industry?

It’s one thing to know how a product works and another to understand the industry problem it solves. Make sure the vendor you’re working with has a deep understanding of your business. Their team needs to be highly educated in industry standards and regulations. They should be aware of any major shifts going on and prepared to answer any questions you have about how they affect your outsourced workflow.

4. Do you offer any additional services?

The only thing better than improving one part of your workflow is improving multiple parts. One vendor may be able to do that for you, but you won’t know until you ask.

Chances are, if they can help you create more clean claims, they can also help with resubmitting denied claims. The same goes for vendors who specialize in staff management/training or ways to enhance the patient experience.

5. How are performance reports generated?

The final thing to ask a vendor is how they manage performance reports. Some vendors will offer regular reports for their products. This provides customers the data they need to better understand how a certain tool/service is impacting their organization. Other vendors leave performance reporting up to the consumer. They have a more hands-off approach, which can put a strain on the customer experience.

And ultimately, a negative experience is what these questions aim to avoid. To get the best results possible, you need to find the best vendor to fulfill your business’s needs. Mentioning the points shared above will guide you in the right direction.

RCM

How to Improve Your Revenue Cycle Management Process

How well you manage your revenue cycle has a direct effect on your bottom line and the success of your business as a whole. It doesn’t matter how many patients you’re getting in the door if it’s taking months to receive the expected payments for the services you provide.

But, you shouldn’t have to spend hours each day tracking down the payments you’ve worked hard to earn!

There’s a better way to get things done. Here are a few tips on how to make your revenue cycle management operations much easier and more effective.

1.    Implement automated workflows

Think about all the additional success you’d have if you had more time to spend on training your staff, resubmitting low-value claims (which do add up) or treating more patients every day.

You can’t focus on these things as much as you’d like right now because of all the time you’re investing on eligibility verifications and claims processing. With automated workflows, though, the way you spend your time can significantly increase in value while the effectiveness of your revenue cycle management improves.

Instead of going through claims statuses one by one or waiting on standard mail to get a response from payers, you can access the information your revenue cycle needs with just a few clicks of your mouse. You’d be able to access historical patient data and catch mistakes much easier, too. The result? A faster, more accurate way of managing your revenue cycle.

2.    Understand patient preferences

Automating your revenue cycle doesn’t have to end with you. You can also make it easier for patients to submit payments by giving them advanced options – like paying via credit card online or setting up recurring charges.

Your patients are already familiar with online payments. They use tech-savvy payment methods for their home bills, personal subscriptions and even to buy groceries! Giving them the option to pay in the same manner for their healthcare needs isn’t just smart, it’s practically a must.

3.    Keep up with industry changes

In addition to the fact that advanced payment methods make a lot of sense for modern-day patients, having them available reflects your commitment to providing an exceptional patient experience. It goes hand in hand with the rising importance of value-based care.

You have to do more than diagnose a condition or provide successful treatment these days. You need to consider how selective patients are and provide the attention and availability they want as well as the advanced services they need.

It wouldn’t hurt to have an in-house expert to help you keep up with industry changes. This one set of eyes and ears can be dedicated to tracking things like new payment models or stricter infection prevention requirements while you focus your attention on other aspects of your business.

4.    Collect payments up front

Here’s a revenue cycle management tip you can utilize regardless of changes in the industry or the payment methods you provide: start collecting payments before you render services.

This will cause a major shift in how much money is sitting in accounts receivable for an indefinite period of time versus what can be counted as revenue. Even if you choose to only collect partial payment, that’s an improvement.

5.    Don’t let “lost” payments slip through the cracks

While something is better than nothing, ideally, you should be collecting the full payment that every patient/payer owes. At times, this may come down to re-submitting claims and following up with patients more than once.

Some payments simply have to be tracked down. Still, it’s worth spending the time to get what you’ve billed for rather than letting these amounts slip through the cracks. They can either add up as lost costs or as assets – it just depends on how well you stay on top of what’s owed to you.

In fact, one simple thought applies to all these tips: revenue cycle management doesn’t have to be complicated or slow. But, it can’t be improved until you take the action necessary to make it faster and more accurate. Start making the changes your bottom line needs today.