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The next financial hurdle in healthcare: Inflation

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As hospitals and health systems continue their financial recoveries after the initial onslaught of COVID-19, another challenge looms in the distance. Consumer inflation rates have soared at a record pace across the globe, with no signs of slowing. In the U.S., overall prices have increased by 8.3% over the past year, according to the Consumer Price Index.

While it’s true that medical care costs increased at a slower rate over the same time period (3.2%), healthcare costs are often tied to contracts that are set in advance. This means hospitals and health systems are at the precipice of massive price increases when these contracts are renewed (often at the end of the calendar year). If consumer prices are any indication, the rise in costs could be historic.

To weather the coming storm, organizations will need to employ a variety of strategies including revenue cycle optimization. Let’s look at a few ways organizations can reevaluate their current revenue cycles.

Does your organization use artificial intelligence or bot technology?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made great strides in development over the past decade. Now capable of automating billing processes and emulating keystrokes, AI can complete tasks that previously took 15 minutes in a matter of seconds. Another bonus: AI can work for you 24/7, seven days a week. The process can become so automated for routine cases that your staff members will get a lot of time back in their days. Time they can use to focus on the special cases that do require human intervention, leading to faster resolutions and faster payments to your organization.  At Altera Digital Health, we are embarking on the bot technology journey within our Sunrise™ Financial Management application and expect to deploy early next year.

AI bots are also capable of learning patterns and trends. For the revenue cycle, this is best used to help your organization recognize what each individual insurance provider would likely deny a submitted claim. Processing denials and submitted appeals is a timely process that affects the overall cash flow.    At Altera, we are using machine learning to examine denials received on claims. Using this data, we will use bots for denial prevention, which will increase the organization’s ability to receive full payment with the first claim submission.

Do you have a trustworthy revenue cycle partner?

Revenue cycle management can be difficult to navigate alone. Finding a partner with the expertise and support to help guide your end-to-end revenue cycle and improve financial performance is critical for success. We offer the Altera Revenue Cycle Center of Excellence (RCCoE), a collaborative and cross-functional service that provides a consultive approach to success in revenue cycle management. Our experts at the RCCoE work with each client to conduct an in-depth analysis of data to identify current trends against benchmarks and help our clients improve revenue cycle.

After the analysis, our experts conduct personalized one-on-one conversations with organizations to ensure an understanding of their findings and discuss plans for improvement moving forward. As these plans are implemented, our revenue cycle dashboards enable the Altera team to monitor progress on a monthly (or even daily) basis. If negative trends begin to emerge, our experts work to understand the root cause and identify potential solutions based on industry best practices.

The combination of insights from AI, consistent monitoring and the knowledge of revenue cycle experts can help your organization optimize the revenue cycle and prepare for the upcoming and current impacts of inflation. At Altera Digital Health, we’re committed to helping our clients make educated decisions about patient care and billing, ultimately leading to better outcomes for patients and organizations. To learn more about our Revenue Cycle Center of Excellence and other financial solutions, go here.

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