The Virtual Revenue Cycle (and the Metrics You Need to Track to Make it Successful)

 

Whether it’s because of rush hour traffic, costly office space, or employee satisfaction, there is a big push across the industry to allow revenue cycle staff to work from home, especially those in the business office.

But is it a good idea for your organization?

This week’s edition of the HEI Health Knowledge Center is going to explore what leaders must consider when making the move towards allowing revenue cycle staff to work remotely. We’ll discuss the basic infrastructure considerations, how to build engagement in virtual teams, and finally the accountability metrics that become crucial to a successful transition.

The Basics – Physical Workspace Setup

As remote work in healthcare continues to grow in popularity, so does the need to ensure that staff and organizations remain compliant and secure. To safeguard PHI, organizations are required to have a virtual network with controlled access for employees, and for staff working remotely, it requires encrypted computers and a VPN connection to ensure the security of the data.

From an employee standpoint, remote workers should be under written agreements that establish obligations to adhere to administrative, technical, and physical safeguards of data. Organizations should provide their remote employees with encrypted computers and IP phones with access to IT teams for support and ongoing updates.

Organizations must establish workspace and environment policies that define what an acceptable work environment is including minimum internet speeds, appropriate desk configuration, and allowances for office supplies. Most importantly, the policy should also prohibit taking work out of the workspace, to areas such as coffee shops or other public spaces with internet access. Finally, employees must not print information outside the organization’s premise to ensure that there is no inappropriate access to patient data.

 

Intermediate – Engagement

While the thought of having a Virtual Business Office is very appealing to many leaders, it is also fraught with issues and challenges. If staff are going to be working in their pajamas, as the saying goes, there must be clear expectations for performance, quality, and productivity, which we’ll get to in the Advanced section, but also, engagement.

One of the biggest misconceptions about working from home is that it’s often equated to working when you feel like it.  Remember that insurance payers aren’t open at 8pm to resolve a claim, and if people are constantly signing in/out, it’s difficult to build engagement or continuity of operations, which can significantly cause a decrease in performance. HEI Health advocates the setting of fixed work hours until the organization proves the efficacy of the new at-home arrangements, and establishing Virtual Shift Briefings every day to discuss Issues, Problems, and Opportunities.

HEI Health recommends utilizing collaboration tools for real-time engagement. Tools, such as the HEI Health CollabApp, can assist in maintaining employee engagement while offering HIPAA compliant, real-time support services for remote workers, as well as a much needed social component for the work from home role. Additionally, we recommend bringing folks back in the office, twice a month to continue to build skill sets through dedicated training.

 

Advanced – Performance Tracking

One of the arguments for remote work is that people will be more productive if they don’t drain themselves sitting in traffic and can work in a relaxed home atmosphere. While the verdict is still out if this is indeed true, a lot of organizations seem to be willing to experiment.

This means that tracking employee performance is of the highest criticality. However, host systems and patient accounting systems struggle to measure much about the quality of work beyond traditional productivity.

The advanced performance tracking systems needed for effectively monitoring productivity will require performance insights, such as:

  • Percentage of follow-up that was a high-quality touch (i.e. not just statusing an account)
  • Percentage of follow-up over the past month that yielded payment on a single touch
  • The average ROI of that employee’s follow-up activity
  • Percentage of initial denials overturned
  • The frequency of balances written off

Contact us today to learn more about the ScoreLogix remote business office scorecard.

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