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Five questions to consider when selecting a revenue cycle analytics application

* This content was originally published prior to N. Harris Computer Corporation’s 2022 acquisition of the Allscripts Hospital and Large Physician Practice business segment. Our business is now known as Altera Digital Health.

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Making the right technology investments is crucial to the financial health of your practice—and the health of your patients. I’ve seen this proven many times over, having worked in the healthcare revenue cycle management (RCM) space for more than a decade.

Based on this experience, here are five questions to ask yourself and vendors when selecting an RCM analytics application:

Who will use the application and see the analytics reports?

This first question may sound obvious, but many buyers look at what the practice management core reports can produce without knowing or considering what other reports their organization may need. For example, a practice manager might want to drill down into granular accounts receivable (A/R) data, whereas a chief financial officer (CFO) might want consolidated reporting on all divisions to determine which are most profitable. As you assess your technology options, don’t lose sight of the primary users and intended audiences.

What was the platform designed to do?

While any given solution may offer the capabilities you are looking for, asking what an RCM analytics solution was designed to do will help give you insights to make the best purchasing decision. I once worked with a client that bought a multimillion-dollar reporting tool. This organization had sought a solution that would prioritize the claims for A/R follow-up for professional billing claims (or the billing for providers’ services). However, this tool was originally developed for hospital billing, so it prioritized the claims differently than the organization desired. As a result, it fell short of the client’s expectations once implemented. Make sure you know what a system was built to do—that is likely what it will do best.

Does my organization need customization capabilities?

During the sales process, many vendors successfully attract buyers by touting the customization capabilities their solutions offer and the ability to create reports on the fly. However, after implementation, many users find that customization comes at a heavy price. Often, the buyer needs to go through extensive training to learn how to build the reports themselves, or they have to pay the manufacturer or a consultant to build the reports for them. When evaluating an analytics platform, determine if the standard reports are enough to meet the needs of your organization. Otherwise, it may cost you time and resources.

Will the solution reduce demands on my report writers?

Healthcare professionals may see artificial intelligence as an existential threat, but AI—particularly in RCM—can help staff members focus on higher-value tasks requiring human intervention rather than replace people altogether. Some solutions in the market, for instance, enable automated delivery of reports needed on a consistent basis so users don’t have to generate each one manually. Look for those ways a system can reduce workloads to benefit the organization and staff alike.

Does the export functionality meet my organization’s needs?

Lots of solutions can generate a variety of reports, but some do not enable you to export all of them. This leaves users stuck working within an application to get the insights they need. Before making your decision, confirm which file formats a system can export so your team is not limited in how it’s able to leverage reports.

Asking these questions will help you avoid common pitfalls practices face when selecting new IT and get you closer to an application that will enhance your organization’s revenue cycle. Interested in learning about how Allscripts can support your practice’s RCM needs? Visit for more information.

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