Due to a lack of resources and a shortage of patients, healthcare providers in rural communities encounter unique financial challenges compared to their urban counterparts. Along with revenue cycle management, all hospitals, regardless of size, must stay attentive to patient health and data analytics to monitor their overarching success.
Because they have a smaller patient base, many of whom are uninsured, rural hospitals and providers must be hyperaware of their RCM. Top-performing hospitals, in both urban and rural settings, will upgrade their systems periodically to ensure efficient RCM. Therefore, to ensure financial prosperity and continuity of patient care, healthcare institutions in remote areas should analyze and retune their RCM processes within the new year.
In 2017, nearly 75% of medical facilities nationwide are struggling to manage their revenue cycles, putting RCM prioritization at an all-time high. Their focus on RCM does not elicit that patient health, physician engagement, and acquisitions or recruitment are unimportant. However, a malfunctioning RCM process can cause the entirety of hospital functions to suffer in quality. RCM is helpful for all hospital types, whether they are profiting or financially struggling. Approximately ninety-four percent of financial leaders in profitable hospitals with indicators of long-term viability report that an efficient RCM system is already in place.
RCM is of particular help to those facilities that engage in value-based patient care. The increased efficiency inherent in RCM systems ensures better patient experiences, increased revenue for hospitals, and a more technically literate hospital staff. All of these factors combine to give patients the best service for their money. When patients receive high-quality care from a hospital, retention rates will increase and therefore contribute to a hospital’s revenue cycle.
Since RCM is a continuous process, profitable and struggling hospitals alike are allocating resources in 2018 to upgrading revenue cycle management tools. These RCM tools can optimize hospital systems in multiple ways, through data analytics, dashboards, and business intelligence solutions. RCM solutions can enhance the longevity, efficiency, and maintenance of an institution’s internal functions. Note that solutions deemed beneficial for large urban hospitals may be cumbersome to the services of smaller rural facilities. Hospital administrators should understand the balance between technology and utility, and choose an RCM solution that best fits their single facility’s needs.
Many healthcare organizations are already working to optimize their RCM systems. Eighty-five percent of healthcare organizations plan to reevaluate their processes at the end of the 2017 fiscal year. Some are considering replacing their current systems entirely; however, optimizing an existing system is a more affordable, time-saving alternative than creating and learning a new one. If the existing system is deficient, an organization’s investment in an upgraded system might be beneficial.
Areas For Improvement
Medical billing processes are currently a prime focal area for RCM optimization. Billing procedures are resource intensive, error-prone, and invisible to the consumer, making user-simplification and process efficiency a universal goal. Furthermore, patient satisfaction is immensely dependent on the outcome of medical billing processes, and a positive patient experience is essential to the long-term vitality of a medical institution.
The eReceivables suite of products and solutions is tailored to the needs of rural hospitals hoping to implement RCM processes or improve those that already exist. eReceivables can refine a multitude of components regarding the medical billing processes by using customizable services, from initial billing to claims, follow-ups, appeals, and long-term financing. If a rural hospital needs more RCM guidance, eReceivables also offers additional services, such as clinical risk management and equipment maintenance management. Their extensive range of services can assist a rural hospital in all functional areas, including revenue management, day-to-day operations, long-term maintenance, and administrative management. eReceivables partners with rural hospitals looking to enhance their RCM processes, bottom line, and patient experience.
If rural hospitals optimize their RCM and their internal process at the end of the 2017 year, they will have an edge on their competitors and find it easier to keep pace with future advances in healthcare technology. This optimization should also help hospitals use analytics to determine where they can improve their services and revenue capture, allowing them to function more profitably and efficiently. 2018 is a new opportunity for rural hospitals to commit to more efficient practices and better patient care, because both of these things can always be improved upon, much like the RCM cycle itself.