The Role of Healthcare IT in Supporting Financial Health of Providers

September 17, 2014 Streamline Health

As part of Streamline Health’s participation in NHIT Week, this is the third in a series of daily blog posts answering the question: What is the value of healthcare IT?

The Role of Healthcare IT in Supporting Financial Health of Providers

Jonathan Cook, Senior Solution Manager, Streamline Health

Within the Healthcare Finance community it is often said: “No Margin, No Mission”, which acknowledges that although many providers bear a non-profit status, the role of healthy financial performance is still important. Without it, the organization cannot carry out its mission of providing high quality clinical care to the community it serves.  In today’s environment of declining reimbursements, high deductible health plans, and increasing strains due to higher volumes on provider resources, financial performance is more important than ever.  Which is why providers need to fully understand and leverage the role of healthcare IT systems to support enhanced revenue cycle and financial performance.

Financial and revenue cycle management solutions play a critical role in supporting the operational efficiency of today’s providers.  For example, workflow software within the Patient Financial Services (PFS) department helps to streamline staff activities and internal processes to ensure that front-line staff work the highest value accounts first. It also helps PFS staff to pool common knowledge and past activities performed on an account so all resources are optimized and aligned in pursuit of timely resolution.  While this might seem simple, it is not. Consider the tens of thousands of accounts the department is responsible for overseeing and following up on, and the multitudes of issues and activities associated with those accounts.

In addition to a solution that supports front line staff, it’s equally important to support the activities of management and leadership.  As front line staff must make decisions on what actions to take at the individual account level, managers and leaders are charged with making decisions on how to structure payor contracts, where to allocate staff, and how to address performance issues causing recurring denials.  In this area, a solution that provides insights and actionable information is invaluable. And in this era of “doing more with less resources”, it’s even more crucial.

Whether on the front-line or leadership level, healthcare IT that enhances the financial performance of providers is just as important as the other systems that directly support care delivery and other core processes.

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