Cash flow is essential to the financial well-being of a practice, which means your revenue cycle management (RCM) process is critical—and so is the technology supporting it. Laurie Morgan, partner and senior consultant with Capko & Morgan, recently shared information about opportunities for practices to upgrade their practice management technology in her webinar, Choosing or switching your RCM vendor: avoid pitfalls, maximize upside. If your practice has determined it is time to outsource billing or make the switch to a new RCM vendor, here are 4 tips to help during your selection process.
1. Understand technology and training.
“Planning is key to choosing a new technology platform,” said Morgan.
The system should be user-friendly and easy to learn. Proper training ensures staff are comfortable with the system and can help identify changes in office workflow, so that you’ll get the most benefit from switching. Additionally, it provides the opportunity for the new RCM vendor to get to know you and your staff and learn more about your practice.
2. Have an onboarding plan.
When considering a new RCM provider, it is important to discuss the knowledge needed about your practice and how they plan to obtain it. “Make sure the potential RCM partner has a track record for getting up to speed and a solid plan for working together with you and your staff,” said Morgan.
Morgan said she is frequently asked whether a vendor needs expertise in a specific specialty.
“In my experience, it is not necessary to find a biller with extensive knowledge of a particular specialty,” said Morgan. “It’s not uncommon for RCM professionals to have to learn new specialties. But you do need to make sure they are properly prepared to do so.” She recommends asking prospective vendors how they have gone about learning new specialties in the past, how they team up with practices to ensure nothing is missed, and how long they believe it will take to get up to speed.
3. Ensure excellence in client service.
Morgan advises that client service is often one of the reasons practices look to switch their RCM provider. A practice may feel that their current RCM provider is not responsive, and they want to know how the new RCM provider is going to address that.
“Ensure there is a dedicated contact assigned to your practice who you can call directly and will respond to you quickly so that you can get your needs met,” Morgan advises.
4. Hold each other accountable.
When an issue inevitably arises, you and your staff will want to work together with your RCM vendor. Key questions to ask a potential vendor partner include:
- What reports are provided? Will you be able to run your own reports when you want? And does the system permit custom reporting?
- What is the regular meeting schedule?
- How will you be alerted about new technology opportunities?
- Is a boilerplate service level agreement available for review?
Above all, Morgan reminds practices to be actively involved in the billing process.
“One of the biggest mistakes I see practices make when it comes to outsourcing billing is they expect to set it and forget it,” Morgan said. “Your RCM partner is not going to be able to do their best for you if they can’t count on your help and your involvement in the process. They will need your help and support.”
Tune in to Laurie Morgan’s webinar, Choosing or switching your RCM vendor: avoid pitfalls, maximize upside, and check out previous posts in this series:
Additionally, watch for future updates in our series:
- RCM is a team sport—even when outsourcing billing
- Pitfalls to avoid when moving or switching your RCM solution