Revenue Cycle Strategies During a Healthcare Labor Shortage

Revenue Cycle Strategies for Managing Cash Flow During a Healthcare Labor Shortage

Revenue cycle worker alone in a cubicle in a very empty office

If your healthcare organization is struggling to keep cash flowing in this tight labor market, you’re not alone. Front-end revenue cycle staff, back-office specialists, coders, accounts receivable, and denial management experts are all in short supply. At the same time, the pandemic has put tremendous financial and operational pressure on hospitals, requiring revenue cycle teams to operate at peak performance.

Becker’s Hospital Review recently spoke with three revenue cycle leaders who revealed their strategies for navigating the current healthcare labor shortage. We’d like to share a few takeaways:

1. Speed up payments and reduce cost-to-collect with technology and automation

Eliminate time-consuming manual tasks using technology and automation. Lynne Hildreth, former head of Patient Access Director at Moffitt Cancer Center and now VP of Workforce Automation for the Cloudmed Automation Suite, shares a real-world example of this strategy: “One client automated claims status. Once the team could stop checking insurance portals and making follow-up phone calls on claims that were already approved, there was significantly more time for them to invest in more satisfying revenue-generating tasks.”

2. Leverage partnerships to optimize revenue cycle operations

The highest performing organizations work closely with vendor partners to augment core functions, supplement specific specialties, or collaborate on strategic issues. This approach has helped Providence Health & Services optimize revenue cycle operations, as stated by Providence’s Vice President of Revenue Cycle Clinical Revenue Integrity, Elise Myers:

“We’ve relied on vendor partners to improve how we operate and to supplement our team when we can’t hire as quickly as we need to. All of this has helped Providence with cash flow, which has been so essential during the pandemic. We’ve sped up payments, reduced denials, and improved operations with analytics.”

3. Establish a long-term revenue recovery strategy

One of the many lessons learned from the pandemic is how important cash and resourcing capacity are to healthcare organizations. A long-term revenue recovery strategy is key to ensuring you’re capturing and collecting every dollar owed.  Kyle Hicok, Cloudmed’s President and General Manager, recommends: “Organizations must look for ways to accelerate cash, identify revenue leakage, and correct issues upstream to streamline processes. Proactive planning on how to handle staffing is critical to maintaining stable operations. The goal is to add capacity, which tools like automation and artificial intelligence can do, while the team members can take on other core work functions — there’s never a shortage of work in revenue cycle!”

The healthcare labor shortage is not going away anytime soon. However, there are proven strategies to mitigate its impact. Accelerating technology adoption such as automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning can add capacity for more strategic revenue-generating tasks. Solid partnerships and strong safety net solutions to optimize cash flow, stop revenue leakage and streamline processes are also critical. Contact our revenue cycle experts to discuss your unique challenges and how Cloudmed can help you improve financial performance.

Learn more about using automation to strengthen your bottom line

Northwell Health, New York’s largest healthcare provider, discusses how they leverage RPA to increase accuracy and productivity, reduce costs, and strengthen the bottom line at the 2021 Becker’s Annual Meeting.  Check-out the session on-demand: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – What Every Revenue Cycle Leader Needs To Know Now.

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