Last month I was invited to host a webinar, along with our Director of Revenue Cycle Services, Jessica Nelson, to educate our listeners on the benefits that outsourcing their revenue cycle can bring to their ambulatory surgery center (ASC), and how best to go about it. Making the choice to outsource your billing is not always easy, but it certainly can be advantageous. A professional revenue cycle team will provide your facility with expertise, dependable coverage, industry benchmarks, customized reporting, staffing, and the human touch needed when dealing with all aspects of the revenue cycle. The right billing company will provide you with consistent updates and information to put your mind at ease so that you can focus on what really matters, delivering the best patient care.
After many years spent in the revenue cycle services industry, I am here to share with you my top 10 tips for success when deciding to outsource your revenue cycle.
- Acknowledge Your Business Need or Opportunity
Take a step back and look at how your billing department is running as a whole. Is it performing to the best of its ability, or is there room for improvement? Could your patient collection amounts increase with the right expertise? If your facility is new, do you want to explore the idea of putting your revenue cycle services into the hands of professionals from the start? These are the questions you need to be asking yourself in order to decide if there is a business need to outsource your billing.
- Do Your Due Diligence
Do your research when deciding on the right billing service provider. It is important to remember that whoever you choose will ultimately become a partner to your ASC, and you want to work with the right team. Do they have the latest and most complete industry knowledge? This includes revenue cycle processes, knowledge of the software your ASC is using, coding compliance, and more. Make sure they have a proven track record of providing results that enhance business operations, and that they offer service-level agreements that focus on key performance indicators.
- There are no Thoughtless Questions
As I say with most things in life, never be afraid to ask questions! There is no such thing as a thoughtless or stupid question, especially when it comes to choosing your billing service provider. Your due diligence phase allows you the opportunity to see how the billing company will interact with your facility and gives you some insight as to what it will be like to partner with them. So please, ask away.
- Decide, Divide, and Conquer
There are a number of tasks that will need to be completed if and when you decide to make the transition to outsource your billing, so my advice to you is to decide what those tasks are, divide them up and assign them to key staff members at your ASC, and conquer them all with teamwork!
- Frequent Communication – Both Ways
Once you have made the decision and the transition is underway, it is vital to the success of both teams that a frequent communication precedent be put in place during the onboarding process. We recommend a cadence of at least once a week calls for status updates, with daily email check-ins as necessary. Use whatever communication mediums you find the most convenient and remember that those communications should flow both ways.
- Set Goals, Measure and Monitor Success
So, the decision has been made, the transition is complete, and you are now working with your chosen vendor. Now is the time for your ASC to sit down and decide how best to monitor and measure the success of the billing service provider. Set goals from the beginning. Decide on what your key performance indicators will be. These will be specific to your facility. What makes the most sense for you?
- Establish Routine Meetings, At Least Monthly
It is important to remember that even after the transition is complete and your ASC and the billing vendor are well underway and finding success, that you continue to hold routine meetings and that both parties stay involved. This will provide an opportunity to maintain that close working relationship and allow the vendor to walk your team through the monthly numbers, check in on those key performance indicators, and update your goals to avoid complacency.
- Real-time Web Application for Communication
Surgical Information Systems offers a real-time web application to our clients that allows us to communicate with them easily throughout any point during the day. This communication tool helps us to stay on track by requesting missing items needed to code and keeps a record of our communications to place-hold where we leave off on our work for the following day. When evaluating vendors, ask about what communication tools they have at their disposal to increase productivity.
9. Benchmark Performance Routinely
Use the knowledge and insight provided by your chosen billing service provider and make a habit to routinely benchmark your performance against others in the industry. You can also use external tools such as
Becker’s Benchmarking to track your success.
- Celebrate Success
Often forgotten, this is one of the most important steps in outsourcing your revenue cycle. You have put in hard work, met your goals, and are improving the financial health of your ASC, so please do not forget to celebrate those successes. You earned it!
To listen to our presentation in its entirety, click here for an on-demand download of the recording.