By Patrick Creagh, Marketing Specialistshutterstock_49056154

At some point in a revenue cycle director’s tenure at most any healthcare facility, he or she will have to confront the insource/outsource decision.In fact, given the increasing number of mergers and acquisitions in healthcare this year, many will confront this decision more than once.

As always, context is king when choosing to insource or outsource various functions of the revenue cycle- or both, as it is less of a decision than a spectrum of options to choose from. A small private practice may find it advantageous to outsource all RCM operations, a large system may choose to partner with an extended business office at day 120, and some providers may manage their entire revenue cycle in-house.

Given the right volume and workflow efficiency, insourcing lowers cost to collect while maintaining the most control over patient payment processing. The good news is that technology has eliminated most of the obstacles to a successful insourcing strategy. Here are 3 specific reasons why technology has made bringing revenue cycle in house easier than ever:

  1. Consolidated Payment Channels Eliminate Manual Reconciliation

One of the most time-consuming parts of the patient revenue cycle process is manually consolidating and posting payments back into the HIS/PM system. If a patient makes payments on more than one channel (for example, in person and online), then it can take days before that patient can confirm whether or not the payment was received and processed. During that time, the lag may accidentally cause the hospital to mail out an incorrect invoice wasting money, paper, and time while causing patient dissatisfaction. Cloud software enables consolidating payment channels on one platform to eliminate the manual process of adding up payments from POS, online, lockbox, etc, all while remembering which payment came from where.

  1. Automation Allows You to Manage By Exception

With automatic payment channel consolidation, your business office becomes free to focus on the accounts themselves, and to prioritize accounts that need the most attention. The right payments platform enables you to sort and view accounts by age and amount owed to identify priority accounts for collection. . Address changes and returned mail can be processed automatically, saving hours of sorting, scanning, and manual data entry. Billing questions can be asked and answered via secure message within the platform. Focusing on patient billing issues over process issues results in faster payments and happier patients.

  1. Technology Allows Unparalleled Visibility and Control

Perhaps most importantly, a consolidated payments platform allows revenue cycle directors to evaluate KPIs on a daily basis and drill down into individual accounts and payment channels for immediate actionable insights.  For the first time, decision-makers can look at how, when, where, and why patients pay their bills. Reporting is always on-demand. They can make more effective staffing decisions based on point-of-service payments data, staffing up during busy hours and vice versa. This autonomy allows for greater visibility and control than depending on an outsourced service.

When given the opportunity, patients are increasingly switching to online and self-service payment methods to resolve their accounts which requires healthcare facilities to offer even more payment channels. However, by using the right payments platform, offering these channels while decreasing the work to reconcile them is a reality. Suddenly, insourcing the patient revenue cycle is easier than ever.