Between managing an HIS and multiple payment channels, along with the associated vendors, improving revenue cycle results may seem like a complex endeavor. After all, where should you start? To begin, consider evaluating the integrations of your payments infrastructure with your HIS. You may be surprised to find that better integrations could solve many of your challenges, leading to better revenue cycle results.

Watch for these three signs to see if better integrations could improve your revenue cycle results:

1) Revenue cycle staff spends hours reconciling patient payments.

Your Health System likely accepts patient payments through different channels, including at the point-of-service and via a patient portal. However, to serve the rest of your patients, other payment methods are needed. These may include checks, automated phone, web, mobile and possibly even payment plans or financing options.

Offering these channels typically involves multiple vendors. This also means that your revenue cycle staff must reconcile each payment from every channel and for every location. Then, they must manually post those patient payments back to the HIS. Additionally, each channel and vendor requires a separate workflow to manage. As a result, revenue cycle staff spends several hours each day just on reconciliation.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be like this. Instead, you should integrate all patient payment functions into a single healthcare-specific payments platform designed to complement your existing HIS. With every payment in one place, reconciling payments happens automatically because each payment is already tagged with the relevant transaction data. Automating manual, labor-intensive processes like reconciliation and posting will free up time for revenue cycle staff to focus on what really matters: helping patients.

2) You cannot accurately correlate financial communications to completed payments.

Siloed revenue cycle solutions make it difficult to understand how a Health System’s financial communications impact patient payments. Volumes of patient payment data hold valuable insights and an integrated system will unlock those insights. This can reveal intel like this statistic from Patientco’s Data Team, which reports that sending eBill reminders increases patient payments by 29 percent.  

In short, integrating payment and communication tools under one system will show how patient engagement translates to payment dollars. This supports continuous improvement of patient payment performance and ultimately, boosts revenue cycle results.

3) Patient interactions with revenue cycle staff take longer than a few minutes.

Earlier in this blog, we mentioned how each payment channel and vendor means a separate workflow to manage. This can make it harder for revenue cycle staff to serve patients and answer their questions. With disparate patient payment solutions, viewing up-to-date balances and statements is difficult. Furthermore, sorting through the various tools and workflows to locate a patient’s account takes time. This is frustrating to both staff and the patient.

Assess the length of each patient interaction at the point-of-service and on the phone. If settling charges or answering a simple question takes several minutes, your payment infrastructure may need to be more tightly integrated.

If your Health System is looking to improve its revenue cycle results, do not overlook the importance of an integrated payments platform. Think about it this way – before smartphones, you left the house with your cash, cards, cell phone, a map or GPS and perhaps a small notebook. Today, you can just carry your smartphone. An integrated payments platform is like that smartphone. All of the features are easier to access and use through one system. This will empower a more positive experience for your revenue cycle staff and your patients.

For more tips on revenue cycle strategies, check out our latest piece by our CEO, Bird Blitch in HFMA.