Amid the complexities of evolving healthcare regulatory mandates and reimbursement models, one thing is clear: Providers are looking for ways to comply with and maintain financial and quality-of-care expectations. It’s a complex problem with many moving parts that demands introspection, business intelligence and analysis to make informed business decisions. But it’s a problem that every provider must have at the top of the agenda.
While some debate the merits of one solution or another, many providers are turning to a shared services model. This is where an organization consolidates and standardizes revenue cycle operations. Providers can create the model in-house or with an external partner who has the healthcare expertise—such as Parallon—to manage some or all of a company’s business processes.
“Through the use of integrated technology platforms, standardized processes and demonstrated best practices, we can deliver improved net revenue and increased productivity, all while enabling economies of scale and cost savings,” says Steve Gross, CEO, Richmond Shared Services Center, Parallon.
This model makes sense for many, because hospitals are in the business of healing—not maintaining information systems and creating business intelligence from vast, ever-changing volumes of data, day after day. Just as many hospitals realized that it made sense to divest laundry services to an external supplier, they are now seeing the logic in letting someone else provide the means to comply with constant regulatory and reimbursement changes.
“Through the use of integrated technology platforms, standardized processes and demonstrated best practices, we can deliver improved net revenue and increased productivity, all while enabling economies of scale and cost savings.”
—Steve Gross, CEO of Richmond Shared Services Center, Parallon
“Investing in technology and data integrity protocols can be daunting,” Gross says. Few providers possess the people, processes and technology resources needed in today’s environment. A shared services model lends itself to having those resources readily available. The model has been tested and proven, while being continuously refined through best practices.
Gross explains that this is made possible by standardizing the processes seamlessly, where experts can quickly detect payer patterns, close gaps and restore the health of all parts of the revenue cycle. “Health systems’ and hospitals’ revenue cycle teams can work together within the shared model to improve the patient experience, while generating revenue and reducing costs and collection times,” he says.
Achieving these kinds of results isn’t magic. Moving from traditional revenue management to a shared services revenue cycle model takes a lot of work, rigorous self-analysis and significant preparation.
Providers need to ask themselves if they have the resources on hand and, if not, whether they can afford them. “Providers must consider whether the capital is available to integrate systems, consolidate claims data and analyze payment trends,” Gross says.
Do they have the technology in place and the ability to keep that technology current? Can they afford superior talent for such an undertaking? For healthcare organizations with stretched IT resources, collaborating with an experienced outsourcing partner may be the most efficient and cost-
“Parallon has an enormous technological infrastructure and proven team of former hospital operators. We can give providers the resources and scale that they may not currently have,” Gross says. “We help healthcare organizations to focus their efforts on the clinical activities that support their missions, business goals and, most important, their patients.”