News Feature | October 31, 2013

Experts Give Advice On Replacing RCM Technology

Source: Health IT Outcomes
Greg Bengel

By Greg Bengel, contributing writer


In a recent article, two providers give actionable information on what providers can be doing to begin replacing their old RCM technology

Just last week, Health IT Outcomes reported that the need to upgrade RCM technology has caused demand for RCM consultants to rise. However, it has also been widely reported that this need to upgrade RCM technology keeps getting pushed on the backburner. According to a Black Book survey, about two-thirds of the hospitals who said in 2012 that they were going to replace or upgrade their RCM systems within 24 months have not yet actually made any plans to begin doing so. According to Black Book, even while 88 percent of CFOs believe they need to replace their RCM systems, 28 percent of CFOs had not begun doing so, citing other, more pressing priorities as the thing standing in their way.

Becker’s Hospital Review recently released an article that provides real advice to providers who are ready to think seriously about replacing their RCM technology. “Rather than overshadowing revenue cycle management system upgrades,” the article summarizes Kathy Keenan, delivery director of CTG Health Solutions, “these other priorities, such as the transition to ICD-10 and the implementation of electronic health records should motivate hospital and health system CFOs to revamp their revenue cycle management process to increase efficiency.”

The article gives four pieces of advice for hospital CFOs who want to replace RCM systems, courtesy of Keenan and Money Atwal, CFO and CIO of Honolulu-based Hawaii Health Systems Corporation's East Hawaii Region.

  1. “Examine the current management system:” Rather than just overhauling completely, providers should examine their current system first. A complete overhaul may not be truly necessary, says the article. First, look for what the system is doing well, and try to eliminate waste.
  2. “Test and plan each process:” Keenan is quoted in the article, saying, “The theory is just plan, plan, test, test,” and also that “If you don’t understand the way the work feeds to the different areas, you don’t understand how your system works.” Keenan also recommends testing general mapping from the old system to the new system, and live testing with payers to ensure correct remittances.
  3. “Educate your staff, but not too soon:” First, teach staff members to use the application. Second, bring patents and staff up to speed on the new workflows. Third, explain to clinical staff “why certain documentation parameters are required and why the new process is important for the practitioners and the organization as a whole.” However, the article warns, don’t train workers long before implementation.
  4. “Align financial and clinical workflows:” The article says it is crucial to take both clinical workflows and charge capture workflows into account. According to Atwal, “You have to look at the nursing workflows and physician workflows and have them brought into the organizational goal that you're trying to strive for.”