Today’s revenue cycle landscape is evolving at a rapid pace and many technologies are competing for your attention and your funds. Amid all the noise, it is critical to determine what types of technology your organization should be investing in. Below are the five most pertinent technical questions all revenue cycle leaders should be asking themselves.
- How are you using business intelligence? Business intelligence is aggregated data about your revenue cycle. Looking at trends can tell you where you need to focus to make improvements. First, identify if there is specific information that you want to track about your data. There is a plethora of data at the staff level, carrier level, service area level, and many more. Sometimes it jumps off of the page at you, but more often than not you and your team will have to examine a metric closely to learn how to improve performance. The right technology is key to tracking and reporting these metrics to measure success.
- What do your employees see as your pain points? Data tells us a story. Employees do too – and we should use them as a data gathering point as well. Often times staff members know what needs to be fixed and assume that you do too, though that may not always be the case. If you keep asking them about the issues, they will tell you (emphatically in some cases). Bringing staff into the technology conversation helps them to be open to new technology and embrace the change since they feel like their feedback was a contributing factor in the decision-making process.
- What is your technology budget? Price is a top and bottom line factor when evaluating the technology you are about to invest in. Don’t just set an arbitrary number – consider the cost-benefit of each technology, the initial implementation and ongoing maintenance costs, and the impact on patient outcomes. Ask prospective technology vendors for real use cases from clients currently on the technology. Don’t be afraid to ask for a direct referral from one of their clients – talking to end users in leadership on down will only help add knowledge to your decision-making. Consider both the direct and indirect ROI. A direct ROI would be money recovered directly because of the technology investment. Indirect ROI is your reduced workloads, increased efficiencies, reductions in process errors, and enhancements to the patient experience because of the technology.
- How is your talent management? Part of your technology investment is in business intelligence analysts, developers, programmers, and other Information Technology staff. Take inventory of the skill set and experience of your current team and identify where you may need to bridge gaps or augment your team’s performance with technology. Ask yourself where it makes sense to automate or leverage services in lieu of allocating more full-time resources to your operation’s overhead. Does your current team have the skills and bandwidth necessary to tackle the job? The flexibility and ease of use of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and other current technologies and services available today empower employees to work smarter and be more productive and fulfilled with their work. Eliminating repetitive tasks and processes that are time-consuming, inefficient, and prone to human error will allow you to deploy more talent and time toward what matters most to your organization.
- Consider security– Security is important in everything that we do, but it is particularly crucial in healthcare cybersecurity. Patients have an expectation and a right to privacy, and hospitals make a commitment to fulfilling this expectation for compliance and as an offset of the patient experience. A new (or current) technology vendor should understand this and have a proven track record of being trustworthy stewards of healthcare data. Ask them about their cybersecurity protocols; Any technology you bring in should be able to meet the security standards and goals set by your organization and their employees should be trained in HIPAA protocols.