Hayes' Healthcare Blog

Sondra Akrin

Recent Posts

9 Questions to Ask When Winding Down Your Accounts Receivable During an IT Transition

Posted by Sondra Akrin on June 7, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Demands continue to hammer healthcare organizations in today’s ever-changing environment:

  • Increase patient engagement.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Meet new requirements of value-based care.
  • Comply with the Affordable Care Act (or the American Health Care Act or whatever new plan emerges from the ongoing congressional battle over healthcare.)

Organizations scrambling to meet these demands have become increasingly reliant on their IT systems. Practice management (PM) systems form the foundation of an organization’s business and many are coming to realize that the systems they have in place can’t get the job done. A number of older systems are slow, difficult to use and can’t keep up with the demands of a modern revenue cycle. The need for automation, data analysis and detailed reporting often requires the implementation of a new PM system.

While this may solve the needs of the future, it creates a ton of problems in the present. IT system transitions, though often necessary, are complex and affect nearly every aspect of an organization. One of the most critical aspects of a PM system transition involves the handling of accounts receivable (A/R).

Here are several key questions to ask as you prepare to wind down your A/R during a transition.

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Topics: healthcare IT, healthcare revenue cycle, A/R management, Legacy System

What’s the Key to an Effective IT Transition? Governance and Strategy

Posted by Sondra Akrin on May 3, 2017 at 9:00 AM

As of 2015, one out of every five providers was looking at replacing its EHR system.[1] That is less than prior years when there was widespread dissatisfaction with healthcare IT systems but dissatisfaction isn’t the only reason organizations transition to a different IT system. Growth and the need for a more comprehensive solution is another reason, but even more common is a forced change because of an acquisition or merger.

Consolidation in the healthcare industry continues at a rapid rate, and one of the most difficult tasks with every merger is reconciling the IT infrastructure. In most cases that means the acquired group will be transitioning to the IT system of the acquiring organization. Chances are you will face an IT transition as some point in the future so you need to be prepared.

Going through the transition of a Practice Management (PM) or clinical (EHR/EMR) IT system can be a challenging and difficult experience. The best way to avoid the many pitfalls is to develop a detailed plan before the project even begins.

At the top of your list should be the two most critical elements of the planning process: establishing your governance structure and outlining your strategy.

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Topics: healthcare IT project management

4 Ways to Meet the Growing Revenue Cycle Personnel Skills Gap

Posted by Sondra Akrin on December 14, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Eight out of ten hospitals under 100 beds are engaging in Revenue Cycle Management outsourcing because of lack of skilled staff.[1] The graying of the baby boomer generation and the resulting retirements is putting a personnel strain on all businesses and the healthcare industry is no exception.

Healthcare organizations are being hit particularly hard in regard to physicians and nurses, but they are also seeing a lack of trained personnel in unseen, under appreciated but critical areas. One particular skills gap involves revenue cycle management personnel, a workforce that operates in large part behind the scenes but one that is crucial to optimizing a healthcare organization’s revenue stream.

Filling revenue cycle roles can be difficult because historically these jobs haven’t been valued as much as other positions in the organization. That’s a major mistake and failing to change that attitude can lead to serious negative financial impacts.

From the beginning of the cycle where front end staff checks in patients to the back end business office where A/R representatives, payment posters, cash control representatives and customer service representatives toil in relative anonymity, the process relies on dedicated, trained personnel, operating at peak performance.

Individuals in these roles must understand a multitude of payer requirements and recognize the interrelationship of every step in the cycle. They have to know the process thoroughly and understand their customers intimately. Finding and retaining staff for these positions should be a high priority for any organization.

Unfortunately that’s not always the case. Many organizations underestimate the complexity of these jobs and the skillset required to carry them out effectively. Here are four things to consider to attract and retain the right people to keep your revenue cycle flowing smoothly.

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Topics: training, healthcare revenue cycle improvement

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