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Creating a positive patient financial experience is vitally important in the changing healthcare landscape, not only for patient satisfaction, but also for an effective revenue cycle.

 

In the months to come, HFMA will roll out new initiatives intended to create transparency and build bridges of communication among providers, payers, and patients. It’s my belief that these initiatives—like HFMA’s MAP initiative—will also prove to be tools that help promote revenue cycle success.

One of these new initiatives is a task force on price transparency, which is creating guidelines that will enable providers to improve transparency while making pricing systems more rational. Another initiative focuses on medical debt collection, identifying a common set of practices providers should follow. And the Patient Financial Interactions initiative—which has just completed its “input stage,” collecting public feedback—stands ready to bring new consistency and clarity to patient financial communication. I believe that each initiative will improve not only the interactions between healthcare organizations and patients on financial matters, but also the overall revenue cycle function for healthcare organizations across the country.

Providers have always encountered difficulties when tracking and comparing revenue cycle performance. Improving transparency across the board will enable providers to more easily access and compare revenue cycle information, identify the most meaningful measures of performance, and manage all aspects of the revenue cycle. 

Likewise, the adoption of improved processes for debt collection that create a better overall patient experience can produce superior financial results for every party involved. Shifting to a system in which collections procedures are clear, established, and agreed-to ahead of time can allow providers to eliminate many hurdles and streamline their collections efforts. By first addressing the root issues that now persist, providers will be freed to pursue collections and appropriate reimbursement. 

When HFMA launched its MAP initiative in 2011, it successfully enabled industry leaders to measure and compare revenue cycle performance and to apply evidence-based strategies for improvement. Like the MAP initiative, our new initiatives for 2013 were created with extensive input from HFMA members. Also like the MAP initiative, these new initiatives will support revenue integrity and proactively drive better bottom line results.

Collaboration and communication are key to improving revenue cycle functions. By moving providers toward a more transparent way of doing business, we will stay ahead of industry changes while increasing our own access to the information that we need to operate more efficiently. With the changes afoot in today’s healthcare environment, we can’t afford to wait. Thanks to what we have learned and are learning, we will be able to innovate and improve at a level never before seen. I am excited to see the results, and I’m confident we’ll get there—Whatever It Takes!

Publication Date: Sunday, September 01, 2013

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