If you can picture a healthcare facility as a living body, and its doctors and nurses as the “healing hands” of that body, the office of finance could be seen as the brain responsible for processing financial details. To provide the most effective and efficient level of healthcare, you must have financial systems that are as proficient as the caregivers keeping all documentation in order. Proper healthcare financial management in a facility builds revenue, which supports hiring to handle patient increases and keeps the board informed of the organization’s financial stability, and so the cycle of healthcare life continues.
The United States’ population is aging at a historic rate as the 70+ million baby boomers head into their 70s, and healthcare facilities need to be prepared for, and may even need to work on catching up to, the steady increase in patients and their accompanying financial documentation1. As more patients seek care at your organization, the amount of paperwork will continue to rise coupled with the number of participants in the care cycle (e.g., private or public insurers, doctors, hospitals), and facilities will be able to scale care by moving from manual to digital and into the cloud. However, with an increase in patients, administrative staff,—the facility’s “feet”,— may not have a corresponding rise, leaving the same amount of people to handle this increase without additional resources.
Older patients usually require highly-specialized care, and more of it in general. Here, patients are the “heart” of the facility. And if they are receiving that care in multiple facilities within a system, an office of finance that relies on manual financial processes to keep track of all services rendered, and therefore payments due, has a higher chance of losing supporting documentation.
In addition, incorrectly matching bills to and from both the patient and their insurance, could, in general, slow down the completion of the patients’ healthcare service experience while creating additional stress. Consequently, this inhibits the patient’s and staff’s ability to focus on health services. Moving to the cloud keeps documentation easily accessible and easily updated as care continues. In short, automated healthcare financial management could improve your ability to save lives.
The increase in US facility traffic will be paired with continuing pressure from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), for even with pending new legislation, change will be slow. One of the requirements of the ACA was the conversion of handwritten files to electronic medical records. While an inconvenience, this mandate moves providers in the right direction. After all, even beyond the ACA, healthcare is a complicated system of payees and payors, many of which may even be located around the globe.2
Implementing an efficient, automated reconciliation system will mean faster patient and billing exception handling. When the patient’s data is in the cloud, any prescriptions or specialized care costs can be easily viewed in a connected system. As well, the ACA altered many billing procedures, and an automated reconciliation system could cut down on confusion and lost revenue by keeping all information and transactions in one integrated system. Capturing that lost revenue could mean the difference between saving a life or turning a patient away from the door as healthcare system budgets shrink and patient numbers rise.
With the rise of high-deductible health plans, the burden of healthcare payments has shifted toward patients. Patients now account for 30% of billing revenue on the back end and they are increasingly seeking convenient payment options, such as credit cards3.
Supporting these new payment methods requires extra work with payment reconciliations, such as credit card reconciliation. Automated healthcare financial management allows you to match transactions, complete reconciliations and receive revenue quickly. Just like insurance companies, patients need a quick payment turnaround and easily understood bills, so automation is a win-win for everyone involved.
The healthcare system is a complicated organism with many moving and interconnected parts. With a rising number of patients and payments to process, this system demands the best in technological support. Arm your healthcare facility’s body with automation through healthcare financial management to ensure your office of finance brain can provide the most efficient and effective support to its healing hands.
To learn more about how automating the financial close in healthcare facilities can improve your office of finance, check out our solutions.