Want to optimize your revenue cycle during times of financial uncertainty? Focus on attracting, retaining top talent

August 30, 2021 Streamline Health

By: Roberta Peters, MS, RHIA
Vice President, Solution Executive, eValuator™
Streamline Health

*Part one of a two-part series*

Today’s revenue cycle managers may be asking themselves this question: How can we ensure revenue integrity during times of financial uncertainty such as what we’re experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic? In some organizations, the answer is straightforward: Keep doing what we’re doing because we’re actually doing a good job. However, in many organizations, the answer is: what we’re currently doing isn’t generating the results we need, so changes are necessary.

Harness top talent to optimize the revenue cycle in times of financial uncertainty

While the specific details of revenue cycle transformation can be daunting, the good news is that healthcare organizations can ensure success by following a people, process, and technology (PPT) framework. By focusing on these three areas, organizations can bring about meaningful improvements in operational and financial performance. For HIM leadership, here’s how they should approach it: First, they attract and retain top talent. Next, they should identify and fix workflow inefficiencies. Finally, they invest in technology to augment staff abilities and provide insights to drive informed operational and strategic decisions.

In this first article of a two-part series, we’ll discuss the ‘people’ element of the PPT framework. Part two will address ‘process’ and ‘technology.’

Importance of retaining top talent in the revenue cycle department

The ‘people’ pillar of the PPT framework is critical because your staff are your organization’s greatest asset. Experienced HIM leaders know that without talented and dedicated medical coders and auditors, organizations couldn’t capture revenue that complies with ever-changing regulations to mitigate risk. They couldn’t avoid costly denials and recoupments. They couldn’t assign accurate codes to ensure accurate quality reporting.  It’s mission critical to attract, develop and retain quality staff.  Turnover is expensive and disruptive to your operations and performance, while holding on to veteran staff ensures you also retain invaluable institutional knowledge as well as professional expertise.

Securing top HIM talent during COVID-19 and beyond

However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become more challenging to attract and retain the best talent. Why? Telecommuting opened up a world of possibilities, inspiring people to look beyond the confines of their local geographic area. Not surprisingly, employers have had to rethink retention strategies. It’s no longer sufficient to simply issue a paycheck and call it a day. Sure, health insurance benefits, 401K matches, and other perks matter, but what are employers doing on a daily basis to improve the actual employee experience? That’s the question every employer should be asking if it intends to attract and retain top talent.

For example, what is the employer doing on a daily basis to develop staff and improve the daily experience? How does it demonstrate its commitment to reducing burnout? How can it ensure that staff have all of the tools and resources necessary to do their jobs effectively and with ease?

Harness top talent to optimize the revenue cycle in times of financial uncertainty

Strategies to attract and retain top talent

If HIM leaders want to effectively address the ‘people’ pillar of the PPT framework, they must take this critical step: Invest in employees’ education and overall well-being. For medical coders and auditors, this means the following:

  • Providing real-time feedback so coders can understand the root cause of coding errors, helping them become more proficient and nimble
  • Developing data-driven, targeted continuing education opportunities to help coders fill knowledge gaps and advance in their careers
  • Pinpointing strengths to boost coder confidence and identify mentorship opportunities
  • Automating workflows and reporting to mitigate auditor burnout and allow them to focus on cognitive tasks that add real value

By investing in employee education and well-being, organizations lay the foundation for revenue cycle transformation. They empower coders and auditors with knowledge. They create a culture where coding errors are viewed as learning opportunities. They capitalize on individual strengths to make the team stronger overall.

A key component of innovative technology is automation, which is an oft misunderstood element. However, most experienced HIM staff understand there’s no reason to be afraid of automation; in fact, they embrace it with the knowledge that it enhances the value that employees bring to the table. Rather than wasting time on manual tasks, staff can focus on more value-added tasks that enhance their sense of contribution.

Importance of technology

A pre-bill coding optimization solution makes all of this possible. More specifically, this technology:

  • Applies more than 3,100 proprietary rules to gauge coding accuracy.
  • Uses custom thresholds to automatically prioritize and route the best cases to ensure auditors are always focused on the highest-impact opportunities.
  • Provides coders with real-time narrative advice and detailed corrections to improve their performance in the short- and long-term
  • Aggregates coder and auditor performance data to identify opportunities for ongoing development


“Let them know that the organization values their contributions, which is why it has invested in technology to support them and help them grow professionally.”

In fact, healthcare organizations can leverage this type of technology as a staff benefit. Reiterate to staff that the technology is primarily designed to ensure revenue integrity but also to help coders and auditors take their careers to the next level. Let them know that the organization values their contributions, which is why it has invested in technology to support them and help them grow professionally. This is the type of investment that people want and need. Remember: True revenue cycle transformation begins with people, and your approach to developing and supporting your team is crucial.

See for Yourself

As more providers are discovering, pre-bill technology is the key to optimizing revenue integrity and financial performance across all service lines. As the leader in solutions to optimize coding accuracy prior to billing, Streamline Health is helping providers establish a new normal that improves their bottom line despite these challenging times. To discover how we can improve coding accuracy and financial performance for your organization, contact Streamline Health today.

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