Study of top U.S. health systems finds patient billing and revenue cycle management improvement, but multiple challenges ahead

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Study of top U.S. health systems finds patient billing and revenue cycle management improvement, but multiple challenges ahead

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | August 09, 2019 Health IT

Driving adoption of tracking patient-centric metrics: An increasing amount of top health systems are incorporating patient-centric metrics tracking in their RCM strategy, but that is still well behind the tracking of more traditional RCM metrics that focus on their own financial well-being. All health systems track net collection ratios and claims denial rates, but only some are including patient-centric metrics like patient satisfaction (67%), time to bill (58%), self-serve (33%), and bill readability (25%).

Implementing end-to-end RCM technology: Only 41% of top health systems use an end-to-end RCM solution, with 50% using RCM tech for one or more RCM components and 8% not using one at all.

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Bridging disconnect between finance and consumer executives: The study found 80% of health system consumer executives reported patient engagement as a significant barrier to improving patient billing, while 75% of finance executives rated competing priorities as the top barrier.

"It's great to see that the top health systems are prioritizing the patient financial experience, but there is still much room for improvement. Approximately three in 10 Americans have experienced a healthcare bill go to collections, and if the top health systems are still facing challenges, then that indicates that the whole ecosystem has more work to do," said Florian Otto, co-founder and CEO of Cedar. "Overall, the U.S. healthcare system still doesn't offer the same seamless experience that consumers have come to expect in other industries such as retail or banking. This study demonstrates that the recognition is present, but many challenges remain."

The study also revealed that health system executives mainly think in terms of internal operational challenges, as opposed to external issues (policy, regulations or consumer expectations) as the biggest barriers to improving patient billing experiences.

"As consumers continue to demand more convenient and affordable healthcare, leading health systems are increasingly prioritizing optimization strategies underlying the patient financial experience," said Sanjula Jain, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Health Management Academy's Research & Advisory. "Given financial interactions are the first and last touch-points for patients, health systems will benefit from investing in mechanisms that integrate essential functionalities across pre-care, during-care and post-care interactions."

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