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How to overcome RCM Staffing Challenges through Automation

Explore how automation revolutionizes the Revenue Cycle Management landscape, empowering your team to conquer challenges and achieve peak efficiency

Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) is a critical component of the healthcare industry. It includes the processes of managing patient revenue, billing, and coding. Thus, the RCM departments are responsible for the financial health of the organization. Hospitals and healthcare organizations must maintain accuracy and timeliness in all aspects of patient care—from registration to billing and insurance follow-up—to avoid problems with cash flow. Yet, the healthcare sector is experiencing acute staffing shortages because there aren’t enough people available for these jobs. Lack of staffing in this domain influences the organization’s bottom line and patient experience.  

Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) Staffing  

A recent MGMA Stat poll shows that around 75% of medical practice leaders ranked staffing as their biggest problem.  In addition to record-high turnover rates, recruiters frequently struggle to find qualified applicants for open positions. Revenue cycle management staffing issues became even more overwhelming during continuous pandemic-related difficulties like quarantines, missed work owing to school closings, and vaccine mandate resistance. Medical companies tried to utilize their existing billing and coding personnel to the fullest extent possible. 

Staffing shortages in RCM occur because of the growing demand for RCM services. Moreover, the complexity of billing and coding increases with the ever-changing regulations, which adds to the burden of the staff. RCM shortages can have a significant impact on the operations and financial performance of healthcare organizations. Insufficient staffing leads to increased workloads, extended turnaround times and decreased productivity. With limited resources, tasks such as claims processing, denial management, and payment posting maybe delayed or overlooked, resulting in revenue leakage and potential financial losses. Moreover, understaffed RCM departments often struggle to keep up with changing regulations and compliance requirements, leading to a higher risk of errors, claim denials, and revenue cycle inefficiencies.  

The poll highlighted the issue related to RCM staffing in the healthcare sector.  According to MGMA, 76% of practices reported altering their procedures to address staff shortages in the previous year.  

How to Overcome Staffing Challenges 

This raises an important question: how can companies overcome Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) staffing difficulties? Medical companies can make the most use of their staff’s time and energy by utilizing technology to eliminate manual work and allow them to concentrate on only the most important activities. 

  1. AI- driven RCM solutions 

The impact of automation in healthcare is huge. It takes significant work from the revenue cycle and completes it in no time. Technologies such as RPA, AI, machine learning, and other automated systems are addressing the issues related to revenue cycle staffing. That is why healthcare organizations are investing heavily in these technologies in the recent years.  

Integrating automated solutions into your practice not only automates repetitive tasks, frees up your time so you can focus on delivering value-based care, but it also helps optimize process designs, employing only the best practices into critical tasks. Systems built on these technologies can continuously learn from data and autonomously perform advanced Revenue Cycle Management processes.  

  1. Using a Single Comprehensive RCM Solution 

Many RCM vendors are used by healthcare institutions, leading to data silos, serious interoperability problems, and workflow problems. Health systems are choosing a single, enterprise-wide RCM platform to boost worker effectiveness and analytics. Even though it is still early on, 18% of revenue cycle leaders said their company will invest in an end-to-end revenue management platform over the course of the following year. 

  1. Leverage Technology to your Benefit 

Integrating technology into your RCM cycle can also help with turnover challenges. Necessary billing and coding information is either stored on spreadsheets, sticky notes, or probably in someone’s mind. Relying on such outdated methods results in potential loss of data. By utilizing Revenue Cycle Management software, revenue cycle personnels can rest assured that the data remains secure and organized. 

  1. Outsourcing 

One of the best strategies to tackle RCM challenges is outsourcing revenue cycle management (RCM) services to skilled resources. Healthcare outsourcing companies specialize in providing high-quality resources that enhance productivity and improve performance. It can help organizations reduce the overall cost of RCM and improve margins. 

Role of Automation in Revenue Cycle Management 

Automation plays a crucial role in streamlining and optimizing Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) processes in healthcare organizations. It involves the use of technology and software to automate manual and repetitive tasks, allowing for increased efficiency, accuracy, and cost savings. Automation can be applied to various RCM functions, including patient registration, insurance verification, claims processing, payment posting, denial management and reporting.  

There are numerous benefits of automating RCM: 

  • Enhanced Operational Efficiency: With the help of automation, the need for manual work is decreased. Tasks like manual data entry and repetitive administrative work is automated, reducing the time and effort required for RCM processes. This leads to faster turnaround times, improved productivity and increased patient outcomes. 
  • Increased Accuracy: Manual data entry is prone to errors, which can result in claim denials, delays and revenue loss. Automation minimizes human error by ensuring consistent and accurate data capture, reducing the risk of billing and coding errors. 
  • Improved Revenue Cycle: By accelerating the RCM workflow and reducing bottlenecks, automation facilitates faster claim submission and reimbursements. This improves cashflow and enhances revenue performance.  
  • Cost savings: Automation reduces the need for extensive manual labour, thereby lowering staffing costs. It also minimizes the expenses associated with denials and delayed reimbursements, reducing operational costs.  

Choosing the Right Provider 

According to a study, the healthcare outsourcing market is expected to grow by $1.6 billion from 2022 to 2026. Thus, outsourcers must deliver a solution that includes tools that enhance performance, increase patient engagement and automate all processes. Using these tools help you increase staff productivity, reduce redundancies, and allow providers to focus their time and energy on providing care to patients. This results in higher yield of revenue.  

Conclusion 

In the recent years, the healthcare industry is experiencing a shortage in staffing, especially in RCM offices. Automation offers a potential solution to this issue. By implementing automation tools, organizations can increase efficiency, reduce errors, and free up staff to focus on more complex tasks.

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