Many hospitals are currently asking themselves, “How can we improve our revenue cycle in 2015?”

This topic is also one many C-suite executives are facing in 2015, which is proving to be another year of vast changes. Financial departments will have to stay on top of contract management, as well as planning for shifts in how payments are received.

Today, we’ve put together a list of 5 ways hospitals can reboot their revenue cycles and stay ahead of those changes that impact the bottom line.

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1. Patient Communication

Because many individuals and families are moving to a high-deductible healthcare plan with less co-pays up front, hospitals are seeing a greater lag time between care provided and payment received. It takes time for bills to be sent, followed up on, and balances to be paid by a patient’s check. One way to anticipate this slower payment is by increasing patient communication and clearly defining patient responsibility to repay–and repay on time.

2. Monitor Contracts

It might mean devoting more employee time to the cause, but it’s extremely important that all contracts are monitored to ensure payment is received, claim denials are being managed, and that no revenue streams are falling through the cracks. Proper training and on-going education for billing staff will help catch these slip-ups that allow missed payments to pile up.

3. Estimated Costs

Letting patients know an estimate of what ballpark their suggested care will fall into means patients can better grasp what level of care is within their budgets. So often patients are presented with a bill that is much higher than they may have anticipated, and when unable to pay for their care, they are sent off to collections–which only prolongs the process.

4. Education on ICD-10

Transitioning to the new system means a lot of work–but with proper training, everyone can be on the same page and errors can be reduced. That means everyone from doctors to hourly staff need to be on the same page.

5. More documentation

Making it a priority to document all patient-hospital communication means there can be no gray area–especially when it comes to billing. Record all calls, and include notes each time an interaction happens.

Other Questions About How Hospitals Can Reboot Their Revenue Cycles

However, there are other questions you should be sure to address while thinking about ways hospitals can reboot their revenue cycles.

  • Is your payment policy posted and made clear to each patient before care is provided?
  • Are there automatic systems in place to remind patients of appointments?
  • Is there a process for collecting overdue payments?
  • Do you have a portal for online payment?

If you can answer these questions, you’re on the right track to a stronger revenue cycle.

What would you add to this list? Tweet at us @BHMhealthcare.