Strategic partnership: The key to improved patient experience and revenue cycle outcomes
In this Business Profile, Kristen Saponaro, chief client officer at Savista (formerly nThrive’s Services Division), reviews the benefits of outsourcing revenue cycle management services.
Your company recently separated from nThrive and established itself as a standalone revenue cycle services business with a new brand, Savista. Can you tell us more about the new name?
The name Savista comes from the combination of two words: the French word ‘savoir’ for knowledge and ‘vista’ for vision. We have more than 31 years of deep revenue cycle experience and knowledge, and we also bring forward thinking — a vision for the future of healthcare revenue cycle management — to our clients’ businesses, helping them get from where they are today to where they want to be.
So, was this mainly a name change? Or were there important structural changes as well?
There was a big structural change: We separated nThrive’s technology and services businesses into two completely autonomous companies. Savista is a separate company focused entirely on providing services that support the revenue cycle, including patient engagement, health information management and accounts receivable management. By outsourcing services to us, our clients, who include inpatient and outpatient facilities, can focus on patient care.
How do you help healthcare organizations?
Our vision is clear: to improve the business of healthcare. We partner closely with our clients, becoming a true extension of their teams. The combination of problem-solving, strategic partnering and delivering revenue cycle improvement services enables their success.
Savista is technology-agnostic, so we are able to work within our clients’ systems and have an open conversation about what platforms they should use to support their revenue cycle back end. We help our clients better navigate the challenges they face every day in providing quality clinical care and positive patient experiences, while also generating optimal financial results.
What are some of the biggest challenges for healthcare organizations, and how do your service offerings help address these needs?
We see a variety of pain points across healthcare organizations, including elongated cycle times, revenue leakage, denials, write-offs, eroding margins and subpar patient experiences.
There are three main categories of challenges we see: people, process and technology. On the people side, providers have been struggling to access talent in their communities. Turnover of staff has been high, and it’s been a challenge to identify necessary skill sets and competencies and continually train staff to keep them up to date in accordance with evolving governmental requirements.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought new challenges as well. Many of our clients have been hit with hiring freezes, and, even more recently, vaccine mandates, and they have been looking to partner with vendors like Savista to fill some of their staffing needs.
Looking at process, we have observed poorly defined workflows and see a lot of room for improvement across the revenue cycle. It is our job to take an in-depth look at our client’s business and apply our expertise to help them drive positive change.
On the technology front, some organizations need to optimize their legacy platforms, while others are struggling to manage disparate systems that don’t communicate well with one another. They want to create a holistic, exceptional experience for patients, but their technology may be standing in the way.
Faced with these types of challenges, healthcare organizations are looking for a partner who knows the ins and outs of the revenue cycle and come to us for help with stability and scalability.
What are some key considerations for healthcare leaders when choosing this type of service?
Scalability is important. Our clients want to outsource for a specific need or an area of specialization where they don’t have a known core competency. They look to partner with an outside resource such as Savista that can help them with components of the revenue cycle. They’re looking for a partner who can work within their existing technology system or their patient accounting system; they don’t want to invest more money in bolt-ons.
Also, with the shifting healthcare landscape driven by COVID-19, we’re hearing from more revenue cycle leaders who want to get a better understanding of opportunities for risk mitigation and business outcome improvements. They’re being forced to do more with less, and they have to find new ways to really bolster their operations. Outsourcing areas like patient eligibility and enrollment functions, or medical coding, or self-pay and bad debt, can help.
What services would you particularly like healthcare organizations to know about?
We have a broad portfolio, including patient engagement, health information management, revenue integrity and accounts receivable management. We also have a very special component called the Clinical and Cancer Registry, which helps organizations stay up to date with their oncology credentials and accreditation at the state and federal levels.
Patient engagement is another service I would highlight. In a world focused on healthcare consumerism, how providers are represented in the community to patients and their families is very front and center. We provide streamlined patient touchpoints that help reduce inefficiencies and increase patient satisfaction.
Across our portfolio, we are very flexible in our approach, and our solutions are always driven by the specific needs of the client. We’ll come to the table, share our business intelligence, and then together, we will come up with the right plan and the right experts to help them achieve desired outcomes.
What are the biggest trends in patient engagement?
We’re seeing a different model emerge during the pandemic involving the virtualization of healthcare. Virtual eligibility and enrollment consultations, for example, can help keep patients out of unnecessary visits to a healthcare facility, with benefits for safety and also improved efficiency. It’s a win-win all around for patients and providers.
What advice would you offer to healthcare leaders when choosing among vendors?
Revenue cycle leaders want a business partner that they can trust, and they want to see demonstrated results.
I’d advise selecting a vendor that is best able to leverage data and business intelligence to find opportunities for improvement, bringing proactive, actionable recommendations on an ongoing basis. A partner also needs to be able to scale to meet your needs.
As healthcare organizations integrate your services into their day-to-day operations, what advice would you offer to set themselves up for success?
At the outset, we will define the scope of work and our shared vision of success. We will review key performance indicators and establish a system for monitoring outcomes. So, the key is beginning with the end in mind; knowing where you want your revenue cycle to go or the challenges you need to solve.
I’d also advise healthcare leaders to be willing to try new approaches. As a services organization that leads with a consultative approach, we bring new ideas to the table. We may suggest clients challenge their teams and embrace new workflows. We believe breaking the status quo can allow them to reach potential that they didn’t know was possible.
What resources have you developed to help healthcare providers in these efforts?
We have a lot of activities supporting HFMA’s educational programs at the state, regional and national levels. Subject matter experts from Savista will share their expertise at a number of HFMA programs this year. Following our rebranding, we have a new website where you can find thought leadership materials, blogs, how-to sheets, infographics and other materials. You can also follow us on LinkedIn to stay up to date on Savista news, industry insights and events.
Savista is a prominent provider of healthcare revenue cycle management services. Savista partners with healthcare organizations to problem solve and deliver revenue cycle improvement services that enable their success, support their patients, and nurture their communities. We integrate knowledge and expertise of the revenue cycle to provide financial and operational performance benefits for healthcare organizations of any size. Our global organization of 4,000 colleagues partners with more than 330 US-based healthcare clients, delivering custom solutions to help solve their business challenges. To learn more about Savista and our value-building solutions, please visit SavistaRCM.com.
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