The complexity of the healthcare industry in the United States is unlike anything seen in any other country. American healthcare is a meandering labyrinth of evolving regulations that hospitals must keep up with. In light of this complexity, it can be challenging to navigate all the rules and still stay true to the bottom line – revenues. Hospital revenue cycle management is a multi-layered bureaucracy involving many steps and complicated workflows.
An effective hospital revenue cycle management system is indispensable to ensure quality care. In other words, healthy revenues result in providers not cutting corners and diverting more resources for patient care. This is where hospital revenue cycle management systems or software (RCM) comes into the picture.
Introduction to RCM Software
Hospital revenue cycle management solutions digitize the activities involved in managing revenues from patients. Medical RCM software does so throughout the patients’ care journey – from scheduling appointments to final discharge.
Coordinating, managing, and carrying out multiple workflows from a single consolidated interface boosts labor productivity and efficiency. Additionally, hospital revenue cycle management solutions are integrated into broader information systems, easily fetching the necessary data. As a result, hospital staff that works on revenue cycle management can work faster and better.
While healthcare revenue solutions exist across the globe, their footprint is enormous in the United States, given the nature of its healthcare industry. Since the entire revenue cycle management process must comply with strict regulations, it becomes imperative to get things right. Mistakes in the process can delay payments or lose them entirely.
Why Should Your Healthcare Organization Have an RCM Solution?
In light of regulatory hurdles, healthcare revenue solutions are critical to streamline administrative workflows and help clinicians derive incomes faster.
Effective hospital revenue cycle management solutions ensure that billing errors are avoided, the number of accounts receivables minimized, and the overall administrative overhead is optimal.
Revenue cycle management software at hospitals that are integrated with other health systems accelerates workflows for the staff. These digital platforms eliminate the need for managing physical documentation that goes into all the billing operations. Things that would have otherwise needed files, reports, and paperwork can now be done on a screen. Activities like fetching patient data, charge capture, clinical documentation, and preparing claims can all be done with a few clicks from a hospital revenue cycle management software.
This enables hospitals to do more work with a smaller staff. Additionally, healthcare revenue cycle software also has features for claim scrubbing and claim analytics that helps reduce denials from payers.
The result? Hospitals enjoy significantly higher revenues, which would, in turn, help in improving the quality of care and the overall patient experience. But numerous vendors develop RCM software coupled with custom healthcare software solutions. So how do you select the right medical RCM platform that meets the requirements of your organization? The following are some of the most essential features that any good RCM solution ought to have –
Important Features for Hospital Revenue Cycle Management Systems
1. Cloud Availability
The cloud is well on its way to transforming the software industry. Healthcare cloud computing has been gaining momentum for the better part of the last decade. As opposed to being installed on-premises, cloud-based hospital revenue cycle management software doesn’t require additional hardware investment as storage needs grow. Moreover, investing in a cloud-based solution also avoids expensive servers and saves the trouble of having IT teams, adjusting networking and bandwidth parameters.
Additionally, hospitals can rest assured of business continuity in the event of a catastrophe or data theft. As the information won’t be stored on-premises, their retrieval is fast and convenient.
These benefits, coupled with the advantage of accessing data remotely while on the move, make it paramount for RCM software to be available on the cloud.
2. User-Friendly Interface
This is an important aspect of just about every type of software, including a hospital revenue cycle management platform. An interactive interface would mean that users have an easier time working on the platform and carrying out workflows. Furthermore, if the software is easy to use, it will result in the staff getting accustomed to it faster. As a result, the hospital will have to spend less time and resources training the staff and endure lower losses in employee time.
3. Eligibility Verification
Checking patients’ eligibility has got to be one of the slowest and most tedious jobs in healthcare revenue cycle operations. Before technology solutions, it would’ve involved a long, arduous verification process over a phone call. On the other hand, a revenue cycle management solution can verify claims and fetch information on every patient’s insurance coverage in a few short steps. In addition to this, an effective hospital revenue cycle management system can minimize errors in the entire claims procedure. The result is an accelerated workflow, reduced wait times, and better patient outcomes overall.
4. Claims Tracking
Submitting claims with everything in order is essential for hospitals as well as smaller practices. Mistakes result in a claim being denied and a long wait-time to correct that mistake. Unsurprisingly, this causes a drop in efficiency and hampers revenue streams. A significant advantage of revenue cycle management software within broader integrated healthcare solutions is checking the status of claims in real-time and highlighting errors. As a result, hospital staff can make changes and resubmit denials without having to wait. In other words, revenue cycle systems improve the overall health care management processes and clinical outcomes in the long run.
5. Automating Duties
Solutions for healthcare RCM provide an easy and efficient means of storing and managing billing records. If you’re looking for a hospital revenue cycle management solution, then know that its primary function is to reduce the time between the service and getting paid.
The best way that a healthcare RCM platform can pull it off is by seamless integration with other automated healthcare solutions and patient engagement systems to facilitate smooth electronic data interchange. When this happens, hospitals can automate many tasks and end up saving a considerable amount of time and effort that would’ve otherwise been spent on repetitive activities.
For example, a comprehensive, integrated solution for revenue cycle management for hospitals, as mentioned above, can notify patients of arrear payments and even assess why a claim was denied. Such features save countless hours and enable hospitals to allocate resources better.
6. Claims Analytics
There are numerous reasons why claims might be denied. Filling out claims and submitting them is a tedious process, and when a claim is denied, it leads to unproductive re-work. Medical informatics within revenue cycle management software should be able to predict patients at risk and analyze claims. Tracking claims is a significant part of hospital revenue cycle management. But analyzing them could reveal missed revenues. Healthcare revenue cycle analytics that assesses claims can help you discern valuable patterns in the claims workflow, highlight potential missed payments, underpayments and forecast possible decreases in your bottom line.
7. Ease of Pre-Authorization
Pre-authorization is when a particular service, medication, or procedure is clinically essential by an insurance provider. Perhaps the only time this procedure is side-stepped is during emergencies. If revenue management solutions for healthcare can simplify pre-authorization, it enables doctors to deliver care sooner. As a result, the overall workflow of the hospital improves drastically, which in turn improves the revenues. In addition to helping doctors, faster pre-authorization also helps patients avoid the anxiety of wait times before their procedures begin. In other words, good hospital revenue cycle management entails a streamlined process of pre-authorization.
8. Secure Payment Gateway
An effective revenue cycle management solution must also include a secure, HIPAA-compliant payment gateway. In addition to ensuring data privacy, it cuts costs, saves time, and reduces billing errors while accelerating your reimbursements. Advanced telehealth solutions that integrate revenue cycle management solutions with secure payment gateways proved invaluable during the pandemic. The lockdowns increased virtual consultations and helped many providers improve their bottom-line as their RCMS software-enabled secure payments.
Consequently, it leads experts to recognize the importance of this feature in revenue cycle management for hospitals. So, if you’re on the lookout for good RCMS software, this feature is a must-have.
Interoperability among two or more software solutions means they can exchange and utilize data without hassle. In other words, interoperability ensures that software systems from different companies developed in different languages and varying in data formats and standards would still be able to exchange data and work on it.
Hospital revenue cycle management software would be integrated with existing hospital information systems. As a result, it will enable billers and coders to fetch vital data quickly and carry out billing workflows faster. Large hospitals with many patients and procedures need interoperability for streamlined revenue management activities.
10. Performance Reporting
A healthcare RCM platform with a feature for reporting performance will help hospitals and even smaller clinics to optimize their revenue cycles. The detailed reports will highlight the main reasons for denials and rejections and indicate the most denying payers, least denying payers, and so on. As a result, hospital administrators and providers will know what they do wrong and can take steps to correct the mistakes.
The reporting feature in healthcare revenue cycle management software is an important tool for optimizing revenues. Since reimbursements make up most healthcare revenues, valuable insights about the causes of inefficiencies help administrators make informed decisions.
Benefits Of Using Healthcare Revenue Cycle Management Software
There are many advantages to using healthcare RCM software. Let’s explore them in detail –
1. Improved Patient Experience
An RCM solution at hospitals streamlines all the activities involved in billing and coding. Moreover, there is faster verification of health plans coupled with smoother payment processes. All of these factors make the whole medical experience better for patients. Since medical billing can often get stressful for people, integrated healthcare solutions involving an RCM solution can improve the overall patient experience.
2. Reduced Denials
Denials can cost precious revenues for providers. When a claim is denied, a hospital must embark on an elaborate process of re-coding or challenging the claim. Many hospitals include dedicated staff to deal with this problem. But a hospital revenue cycle management software can significantly reduce the number of denials. By highlighting problems with claims beforehand and the reasons for previous denials, hospitals can take appropriate steps to prevent them in the first place.
3. Higher Revenues
As the name indicates, a hospital revenue cycle management software streamlines and optimizes all the activities surrounding the healthcare revenue cycle. Such a platform offers a single consolidated interface for managing all the workflows. Moreover, it eliminates the necessity for physical documentation and minimizes the number of claim denials. To sum it up, RCM software lowers overhead related to billing workflows and reduces denials. These factors go a long way in increasing revenues for the hospital.
4. Information Security
This is one of the most important benefits of using a hospital revenue cycle management platform. It enables medical organizations to fetch patient information and carry out billing operations securely. A healthcare RCM software at hospitals integrated into existing information systems would facilitate seamless data exchange among other healthcare software. This allows the staff to access patients’ medical histories, document clinical encounters, conduct coding, and finalize claims securely.
A medical RCM platform that facilitates secure data exchange prevents unauthorized access or loss. This helps hospitals comply with HIPAA regulations and avoid liability.
Telehealth is one of the hottest buzzwords in the healthcare industry. It is the use of digital and telecommunication technologies to access and provide medical services. However, a telehealth or remote health monitoring system software needs an integrated revenue cycle solution. Software for hospital revenue cycle management allows medical organizations to provide remote care services and bill for the same without hassle.
This platform, integrated into a hospital information system and telehealth software, will enable hospitals to conduct RCM activities for virtual consultations. In other words, an RCM (revenue cycle management) solution paves the way for hospitals to implement telehealth technologies.
A solution for hospital revenue cycle management has become indispensable for hospitals as well as practices. The nature of US healthcare resulted in complicated workflows around claims, authorizations, and reimbursements. Without a digital platform for the entire hospital revenue cycle management process, clinicians have high costs and sketchy income streams.
In light of this, doctors and hospitals need to know what to look for in RCM software solutions and make informed decisions. A good, reliable software for hospital revenue cycle management goes a long in ironing out the kinks in the entire medical billing process cycle. It helps hospitals get a complete perspective on their revenues and financial situation, eases the billing activities for patients, improves profits for hospitals, and makes the entire lifecycle of revenue cycle management more transparent. Moreover, it also makes things easier for payers since insurance companies can streamline their adjudication processes. To sum it up, healthcare revenue cycle management software is ultimately beneficial for all the stakeholders involved.
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Written by Riken Shah linkedin
Riken's work motto is to help healthcare providers use technological advancements to make healthcare easily accessible to all stakeholders, from providers to patients. Under his leadership and guidance, OSP Labs has successfully developed over 600 customized software solutions for 200+ healthcare clients across continents.