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Industry Insights: What’s on the Mind of RCM Leaders

Amanda Parada
July 27, 2023
RCM industry trends

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Tight budgets. Staff shortages. Automation and AI. Revenue growth. These are just a few of the hot topics facing executives in the revenue cycle management (RCM) industry.

What do RCM leaders think about these topics? How are they spending their budgets? What are their biggest concerns around automation and AI? What are their plans to help with the current workforce shortages? How can they grow revenue?

To find out, we partnered with Becker’s Healthcare on a new eBook to gain insight into these topics and more. Let’s take a look.

Efficient operations

One of the top priorities for RCM leaders is to figure out how to optimize the revenue cycle. In fact, spending on end-to-end revenue cycle optimization is up 17% on average in the post-pandemic period. This trend is expected to continue through 2028.

In addition, 69% of hospital and health system senior financial managers prefer end-to-end revenue cycle solutions that “seamlessly integrate existing infrastructures to provide a standardized enterprise approach to the latest challenges of rising costs, consumerism and patient satisfaction, and the complexities of on-going consolidations of provider systems.”

RCM leaders are also looking to improve employee efficiency to help offset the current labor shortage. In 2023, 95% of providers are expected to purchase new technologies that can improve productivity or reduce labor costs.

Many of these leaders view tech solutions as a way to increase revenue streams. Here’s what some of them said:

  • “We are also seeking to improve our operational efficiency in our existing footprint by leveraging technology and adopting a healthcare-of-the-future framework through commercial innovation. These efforts will allow us to diversify our top-line growth and ensure that we will have the capacity to invest in our tripartite mission of discovery, teaching, and healing.” – Randolph Siwabessy, CFO at UCI Health (Orange, Calif.).
  • “Automation is also being considered as a way to optimize revenue cycle processes and efficiency, thus increasing revenue.” – Katie Barr, RN, MSN, System Vice President and Chief Nursing Informatics Officer at Advocate Health (Charlotte, N.C).
  • “Some of the ways we plan to preserve our financial stability include…improvements with automation using AI to drive outcomes or improving highly manual, inefficient billing processes, technologically-driven automation is being developed to improve our revenue cycle experience and quality of care.” – Rebecca Wiesner, Director of IT Applications at HonorHealth (Scottsdale, Ariz.).

Tech investment

Clearly, these RCM leaders see investment in technology as providing a boost to their efficiency and their revenue, as well as a solution to the current labor shortages. But what types of tools and solutions are they looking for?

It starts with automation. Robotic process automation (RPA) can be used to automate payment reconciliation as well as the transfer of data between EHR and payment systems. Automating these tasks and others can make agents much more efficient. Agents can then focus on more critical tasks that require a human touch, such as compassionately handling patient accounts to ensure payment.

Of course, the most talked about technology today is artificial intelligence (AI).  AI tools can consume vast amounts of data to extract features and identify patterns. This provides a huge opportunity to leverage AI and machine learning (ML). These tools hold the promise to help drive the front-, middle- and back-end units of the revenue cycle forward. They can do so by taking over the mundane and repetitive tasks, allowing staff to work at the top of their skill set on what matters most. It also has the potential to help organizations overcome staffing shortages. And these tools can help organizations quickly adapt to new rules and regulations.

But organizations don’t need to use these technologies separately. In fact, there is a huge opportunity to combine the use of AI in association with RPA. This combination can bring added value to healthcare revenue cycle teams while lowering administrative costs. It can also optimize net revenue and improve the overall patient financial experience. Simply put, ML and AI can digest data and learn through continued performance. Then, these tools can influence the activities conducted by RPA. This opens the door to automating more complex RCM activities.

RCM organizations are also investing in system integration. Mergers and acquisitions are commonplace in the healthcare sector and each hospital has its own EHR, patient engagement solution, and billing system. Organizations must first evaluate each system before integrating them to ensure a successful merger.

More insight

A global pandemic. The rapid adoption of smartphones and devices. The birth of a remote workforce. These are just a few changes facing hospitals and healthcare organizations today. And who knows what new challenges are right around the corner. As such, many RCM leaders are turning to technology to not only address today’s issues, but also to help them prepare for what is to come.

Learning from these leaders and seeing how your peers are tackling today’s challenges can provide organizations with a roadmap to follow. To learn more, read the full eBook, titled “2023 RCM Trends: Top Challenges and How Technology and Automation are Offsetting Them.”

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