Patient accounting system conversions can be complex, confusing, and costly, even when they're done "right." The truth is that even the simplest conversion can create huge financial burdens if not executed with care and specific goals in mind. Conversions can involve multiple departments, tight deadlines, training teams, and overcoming a huge learning curve. Save your team time and money on your next conversion by following the tips below.
Start Where You Are
Take a close look at your current system design. Pay special attention to the processes and highlight any inefficiencies or system errors you see. It's important to identify the flaws and gaps in your current system so you know what you're looking for in your new system. Do you want to increase momentum? Decrease account receivable days? Increase patient satisfaction? Answering these questions and pinpointing your goals is pivotal to finding the right system for you.
Budget Wisely and Plan for the Unknown
Many organizations plan extensively for other aspects of a system conversion without giving due consideration to establishing a solid, well-conceived budget for the entire process versus just pieces of it. Not only do you need to budget for all contracts in place, personnel changes, and other known pieces, but you also need to budget for unknown pieces that may come up in the process. Having this buffer will save you from getting stopped in your tracks along the way.
People who work independently and communicate poorly with one another will face challenges and integration gaps. It is important to establish who needs to be in the room when critical decisions are happening. It is better to overcommunicate. The plan should be clear to everyone. Create a welcoming environment for questions and clearly define action steps. Speak to the group as a whole and privately check in with individuals to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Rely on an Expert Partner
There are multiple reasons to hire an expert when going through a conversion. A big reason is time; you can skip the learning curve with an expert because you already have someone who understands what is needed for the conversion to go smoothly. Hiring an expert can minimize confusion, stress, and help you avoid common implementation pitfalls. They can also review your processes and make recommendations to reduce inefficiencies. Experts are up to speed on payer rules and can recommend ways to decrease discharged not final billed cases, increase clean claim rates, and reduce denials. This can help you create new system defaults and steer you in the right direction for managing receivables or workflows.
Supplement Your Staff
Picture this: the market changes, you get busy with implementation, and you lose track of denials. Suddenly your aged A/R is rapidly growing. Before it comes to that, consider outsourcing strategic elements of your accounts receivables to stay on top of collections. Allow your employees to breathe. Having extra hands through a conversion can create a better experience for your patients and employees, reducing turnover and saving money in the long run. Leveraging the services of a partner who offers extended business office solutions helps prevent dips in cash as you transition.
The Bottom Line
While these tips may seem initially outside of your budget, they could be worth their weight in gold by saving you from decreased cash flow, persistent billing issues, frustrating rework, and poor patient experiences. The smoother the transition, the happier the patients, the more satisfied the employees, and the better the outcomes.