Overcoming Labor Shortages Through Automation and Outsourced Services: Part Two
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Overcoming Labor Shortages Through Automation and Outsourced Services: Part Two

Part Two of this three-part blog series on coding and revenue cycle management staffing challenges takes a high-level look at some of the forces driving the chronic – and worsening – shortage of experienced professionals.

Staff shortages and pandemic-related challenges continue to weigh on coding and revenue cycle management (RCM) teams throughout health-care organizations. These teams also continue to face greater audit scrutiny as oversight efforts expand following the previous dash of virus containment. In other words, RCM teams are between a rock (staffing challenges) and a hard place (increased payer audits).

Addressing staffing challenges is a priority for many health information management (HIM) directors, revenue cycle management (RCM) professionals, and CFOs. However, they must proceed with caution and resist the temptation to fill staffing gaps with just anyone. The complex nature of the current coding and claims management landscape means that succumbing to “warm body syndrome” can make things worse, not better.

Fixing a thinly-staffed, over-worked, or under-qualified revenue cycle management team requires a multi-pronged approach focused on retaining and growing staffing levels while managing against climbing salaries in a highly competitive market.

Consider optimizing the productivity of existing teams and adopting a hybrid approach that blends outsourced services with technology. The right outsourcing partner can help you improve revenue through increased collections and reduce delays and denials. Outsourcing coding means you gain access to an experienced workforce and can prevent dedicating resources to internal training and retraining. (There are a number of other benefits of outsourced coding, explained in depth in our whitepaper.)

While human coders are vital to the success of the revenue cycle, automation can also play a significant role in alleviating staffing challenges and reducing manual processes. Low-skill, repetitive tasks that don’t require critical thinking are excellent candidates prime for automation. For example, comprehensive data analytics software can perform analytics and deliver visibility into organizational metrics.

Clinical documentation improvement software can automate documentation review and queries without spreadsheets. Computer-assisted coding (CAC) accelerates coding decisions, while computer-assisted coding compliance software integrates with RCM workflows to automate auditing tasks.

When used in tandem, outsourced coding and automation technology can lead to fewer wasted internal resources, alleviate staff burnout, and reduce lost revenue.

However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The best approach is taking the time to understand your unique staffing challenges and then determining the right mix of services and solutions to address them.

A partner like AGS Health that takes the time to analyze existing processes can quickly determine the areas ripe for improvement in your organization. By engaging the right partner, you can amplify the successful qualities of your current processes while filling gaps and improving financial outcomes for the entire health system. And, you can easily tweak and adjust services and provide on-demand scalability to meet changing needs.

Part One examined the costly coding and RCM staffing challenges plaguing healthcare organizations today. Part Three will focus on making the right choices and establishing metrics to monitor performance to ensure success.

Download the White Paper

Learn more about the benefits of adopting a hybrid outsourcing/technology-enabled approach, how to leverage AI and back-end RCM process automation, and best practices for selecting an outsourcing and technology partner by downloading the full white paper today.

Download the White Paper

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