Blog

5 Trends in Healthcare Delivery and Revenue Cycle Management

By Patrice R. Wolfe

April 19, 2024

The challenges healthcare providers are confronting today are unlike anything we’ve seen before—patient volumes are higher than pre-pandemic levels, and at the same time, there is a shortage of labor resources that are becoming increasingly more expensive. Meanwhile, rising inflation continues to cause frustration. Despite these challenges, a strong sense of optimism and resiliency also exists throughout the healthcare industry.

During our recent inaugural AGS Health Partner Summit, I shared five key insights from the 42nd annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference with our customers that reflect the current top priorities of leadership at large health systems and other healthcare organizations.

  1. Leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to reduce administrative burdens
  2. AI is a transformative technology that has the potential to improve both healthcare delivery and patient experience. The continued automation of routine, time-consuming tasks can reduce errors in revenue cycle management (RCM) and accelerate the time to payment. Another promising area of AI in healthcare RCM is automating mid-cycle medical coding and documentation tasks through autonomous coding,computer-assisted coding (CAC), and computer-assisted clinical documentation improvement (CDI), saving physicians and nurses hours of time.

    The integration of AI is not just about efficiency; it's about revolutionizing the financial backbone of healthcare institutions. Patients often have an excellent clinical experience, but if the back-end financial and administrative side of that experience falls short, it can degrade their opinion of the institution. Organizations that embrace the technological evolution of healthcare RCM will help ensure their financial well-being, as well as the delivery of high-quality, patient-centered care.

  3. Centralizing patient access
  4. Without a doubt, the centralization of patient access is poised to drive operational efficiency, improve patient experiences, and enhance financial outcomes. Centralizing patient access creates opportunities to streamline operations and enhance cohesion, including how scheduling and other activities are provided to patients. Additionally, as technology continues to evolve, centralization will become a strategic imperative for healthcare organizations seeking to adapt to changing industry dynamics and deliver high-quality, cost-effective care in a timely manner.

  5. Targeted approach to mergers and acquisitions (M&A)
  6. While M&A is not new in healthcare, there's a more targeted approach today. Healthcare organizations are seeking high-priority partnerships or acquisition opportunities that allow them to expand into new geographies or add clinical specializations that can help deliver value-based care and improved health outcomes at a lower cost.

  7. Growth in urgent care, ambulatory surgery centers, and radiology services
  8. As demand for outpatient services grows, many healthcare organizations are focusing on the expansion of ambulatory surgery centers and radiology to address patient preferences. Following the onset of COVID-19, there was an increase in the use of ambulatory surgery centers for elective surgeries, and patients valued that convenience. This growth provides a critical opportunity to cost-effectively improve diagnostic capabilities and ensure that patients receive timely and efficient care across diverse healthcare settings.

  9. Closing the gap between revenue and expense
  10. One of the most pressing challenges is finding a way to close the gap between revenue and expense. 2023 was a tough year for most health systems and physician practices due to inflation, workforce shortages, and poor investment performance. As a result, healthcare organizations continue to focus on improving operating margins by cutting costs, using automation, and minimizing the use of expensive labor costs, such as temporary nursing staff. Improvements in processes throughout the revenue cycle are crucial to address this issue and drive healthier margins that enable healthcare organizations to continue to invest in their core mission.

    Considering today’s challenges, it is imperative that we prioritize strategies that ensure healthcare delivery and revenue cycle management remain efficient, effective, and patient-centered. Embracing these trends can enable healthcare providers to improve the quality of care they provide and deliver the best outcomes for their patients.

    MicrosoftTeams image 30

    Wherever you are on your journey, AGS Health can develop an action plan focused on enhancing revenue cycle opportunities that will improve financial performance and operational efficiency. Download our whitepaper, The RCM Maturity Framework: A 4-Stage Journey to Digital Transformation and Operational Excellence, to learn more about how to become a high-performing healthcare organization and watch for more highlights from our Partner Summit in a future post.

Patrice Wolfe -B&W

Patrice R. Wolfe

Author 

With decades of healthcare experience, Patrice joined AGS Health as CEO with an exceptional track record of transforming healthcare payer and technology organizations and helping them make a difference in the communities they serve. Prior to joining AGS Health, Patrice spearheaded Aetna’s healthcare technology business which offered SaaS-based solutions and services. She oversaw the successful sale of one of the Aetna organizations to Health Catalyst in 2018. Additionally, she held key senior executive roles with McKesson (now Change Healthcare) and Truven (now Merative). Patrice holds a B.S. in Biology from Tufts University and an MBA from Yale University’s School of Management.

Related resources