Say you’re awake late at night and flipping through the channels only to stumble upon a “miracle cure” that can solve [insert your current problem] in three easy payments of $29.95, plus shipping and handling. We all know by now that if it sounds too be good to be true, it usually is. The same goes for outsourcing your revenue cycle operations.
Outsourcing is not the panacea; it’s never the cure all. You need the right conditions to make it work, and honestly, it’s not the right decision for every organization. Significant analysis and discussion must be centered around how outsourcing would impact your organization as a whole, not just at the bottom line. But if the conditions are right, outsourcing can most certainly help your organization achieve its goals.
To help you see the full picture — the broad strokes on a big canvas — consider whether you land in either of these categories when it comes outsourcing your revenue cycle. If you do, you may want to think again about outsourcing.
...You’re only looking at cost
There is nothing wrong with seeking out cost-cutting measures to run a healthcare organization as efficiently as possible, but it is equally as important to consider the overall value you are receiving. High deductible health plans are here to stay, which makes increased patient pay dollars and consumerism here to stay as well. Collecting every dollar from your A/R inventory is essential to improving your financial position, while from your patient’s perspective, the overall financial experience is most important.
In general, do you want to invest in the resources — technology and people — internally to increase your ability to maximize revenue? Or does it make more sense to outsource and let a firm that specializes in revenue cycle management, and that already has made the investment in the necessary resources, handle your business office? This is especially important when it comes to customer service centers.
...You just need a quick fix for a problem today, not a long term solution
Taking the time to clearly define goals and then plan each step to ensure they are achieved will help make for a successful outsourcing engagement. But it takes time. One must consider the overall value as well as the impact the decision will have on staff and patients.
If the puzzle pieces don’t fall into place after taking a comprehensive look from every angle, you may need a different solution. It’s harder to go back and fix things after the fact versus investing time in the work upfront.
Pay attention to these aspects to help secure success
Just like there are no miracle cures, no initiative within a complex healthcare organization operates in a vacuum. There are key ingredients that must be included in the recipe in order to achieve a successful arrangement when outsourcing. First, executive leadership must be fully committed to the concept of outsourcing, and senior management must stay engaged with the outsourcing partner not only during implementation, but on an ongoing basis to build a strong relationship. This includes support of performance improvement initiatives, education of non-outsourced staff, regular meetings and performance discussions and attention to detail on all aspects of the engagement. As issues are identified, there must be a clear path to resolve them, and any changes to the relationship should be agreed upon by all parties.
The Bottom Line
Trusting an outside firm with the heart of your organization — your patients and your revenue — is a big deal and requires careful thought and analysis. The importance of selecting a partner who will deliver on what is promised and take a thoughtful, relationship-driven approach is the key to achieving revenue cycle excellence. Excellence cannot be achieved in three easy payments of $29.95, nor should it be.