In today’s dynamic healthcare environment, it is more common than not to rely on an outside resource during times of change. Whether it’s organizational restructuring, system implementations or staffing deficits due to illness or family emergencies, you have likely needed to outsource. Speaking as a healthcare consultant, when I start a project there is an expectation to immediately pick up where someone left off. Not only are you looking for a seamless transition, consultants want to make it as easy as possible jump in and help during a transition. So what is the best way to get your resources up to speed? In a word – documentation.
It’s easy to think of this hand off as running a relay race and the time comes to pass the baton to the next person. The runner wants to be able to hand it off properly and the person receiving the baton has to be ready. If the hand off is not done correctly, they could lose the race, or in this case, slow down workflows, risk insufficient revenue collection, or experience an unsuccessful implementation. If your staff is the first runner and your independent expert your second, then documentation is your baton. Documentation can take all sorts of forms; anything from meeting minutes to communicative emails to gathering workflow information from other departments.
Inaccurate or incomplete documentation wastes organizational time and money. For example, think of the time it takes a coder to contact a physician to clarify documentation. If this staff member leaves and is part of your revenue cycle, it is costlier yet to send an inaccurate bill out the door to be denied or only partially paid. By ensuring your knowledge transfer is complete and accurate, your staff will be able to spend more time on other necessary tasks and your organization won’t feel the consequences from a less-than-ideal documentation process. On the front side of things, correct documentation and knowledge transfer will not only allow patients to receive better and more thorough care, but you improve the likelihood that your invoices are reimbursed, your workflows are fluid, and your resources are optimized.