In an age where healthcare has intertwined with technology more than ever, Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) automation is garnering substantial attention among health system executives. Recent survey data from the Healthcare Financial Management Association and Eliciting Insights unveils an interesting trend: a significant portion of health system executives are planning to automate multiple RCM or financial functions in the upcoming year.
Derived from the insights of 321 executives surveyed in the second quarter of 2023, this deep dive reveals just how pertinent RCM automation has become for these leaders in the healthcare realm. Below, we elucidate key takeaways from this groundbreaking survey:
1. Automation Priorities in the RCM Landscape
The back-end of RCM has emerged as the predominant area of interest for automation. This indicates a strong inclination towards enhancing the final stages of the revenue cycle, which includes claim submission, payment posting, and account settlements. Following closely, patient access and mid-revenue cycle automation have also been highlighted as crucial priorities.
As health systems pivot towards patient-centric care, it's evident that optimizing the beginning (patient access) and middle (treatment, coding, and billing) of the revenue cycle is imperative to ensuring an optimal patient financial journey.
2. Diverse RCM Solutions on the Horizon
The momentum doesn't stop at the automation itself. An intriguing facet from the survey showcases the scale of investment planned. Almost half of the executives with RCM purchase intentions are leaning towards acquiring not one or two, but a whopping five or more RCM solutions. This demonstrates a profound commitment to overhauling and upgrading the entire RCM ecosystem.
3. Welcoming External Vendors
Traditionally, healthcare institutions have shown a penchant for integrating technologies that align closely with their existing Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems. However, the winds of change are blowing.
An overwhelming 95% of health systems looking to invest in RCM or finance tech are considering partnering with "bolt-on" vendors, even if these entities are outside their current EHR networks. This strategic shift underscores an openness to innovation and a recognition that niche vendors can bring unique value to the RCM process.
4. Outsourcing: A Growing Strategy
Amidst the enthusiasm for automation, a complementary strategy is also gaining traction: outsourcing. As per the executive insights, the top three areas being earmarked for outsourcing are bad debt management, aged accounts receivable, and patients collections or early out. This strategic delegation seems to be a move to leverage external expertise and resources, allowing health systems to focus on their core competencies while ensuring optimal revenue management.
Drawing parallels from past insights by Adonis, it's evident that as healthcare undergoes rapid digitization, the emphasis on efficiency, transparency, and patient experience remains unwavering.
RCM automation, with its myriad potential benefits, resonates with these themes. As health systems venture further into 2024, embracing this transformation could very well dictate their financial health and overall patient satisfaction.
As always, keeping a pulse on these evolving trends will be vital for every stakeholder in the healthcare sector. With a strong trajectory towards automation and a willingness to adapt, the future of RCM looks both promising and dynamic.
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