Guest post by Jennifer Smith, director, Digital Documents, LLC.
Even with electronic decision-support technology and responsive, knowledge-based medical software built into modern electronic health care record (EHR) systems, it is critical for physicians and clinicians to recognize the primary focus is still treating the patient. In an effort to survive escalating costs of care and declining reimbursements, modern health care delivery models shifted from a patient-centric care model toward a financially motivated business model.
With the push toward value-based reimbursements and rigorous quality measurement reporting mandates, hospitals and medical organizations today must balance the need to remain financially solvent with improving patient outcomes and experiences throughout the health care journey.
Business Process Outsourcing: Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) and Value-Based Care
End-to-end RCM in the healthcare industry explores cost per transaction beyond salaries and benefit packages. Administrators examine productivity volumes, idle time, workforce utilization ratios and patient flow as key factors that directly influence revenue potential.
Business process outsourcing (BPO) has gained popularity in recent years as a way for hospitals and practices to control operating costs without compromising patient care or satisfaction levels. It is a win-win proposition for all stakeholders. The RCM software and services market, which includes BPO, now garners more than $12 million, annually. There are many reasons to consider BPO, including streamlining internal efficiency, expediting third-party payer reimbursements, and reducing data entry errors that stifle cash flow and frustrate consumers.
Analytics, Document Management and BPO
Improving document management is critical. Leading technology enables collecting vast amounts of data, data that can be used to improve patient outcomes, and financial performance. However, data is only valuable if it can be rapidly accessed, analyzed, organized and converted into actionable information. Digital Documents, which is a company that provides outsourced document management services, says document processing services essentially convert information to digital assets.
Those assets may translate into higher profit margins. One study showed hospitals that outsourced most of their RCM operations in 2014 saw an average revenue increase of 5 percent to slightly more than 6 percent. Revenue increases are expected to continue to grow over the next few years, especially in the health IT outsourcing area, which according to Reportstack should see an annual compounded growth rate of almost 9 percent through 2019.
A recent McKinsey & Company technology survey reported that the vast majority of corporate technology users don’t leverage technology to its fullest potential. Four out of 10 polled staff members admit they have trouble searching files efficiently. McKinsey also released research details that show searchable electronic files reduce ineffective searching time by 35 percent, saving medical organizations money while improving productivity volumes.
Adopting an Outsourcing Policy that Supports Outcome-Based Care
Outsourcing business processes is a cost-effective solution for many health care organizations. Hospitals partner with billing and coding specialists, imaging and text management services, customer service teams, and external marketing and research firms. BPO adoption is expanding rapidly in the United States; and patients and providers are reaping the benefits, which include: affordable, high-quality care and more accurate, easier to access health records 24/7.