HealthWare Systems Blog

4 Steps to Compare Healthcare Revenue Cycle Solutions

Posted on Wed, Mar 11, 2015

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of healthcare revenue cycle solutions on the market today. These technologies are designed to solve everything from insurance verification and registration accuracy, to digital order management and improved patient tracking.

But they won’t all work for your facility, your budget, or your RCM goals. Here’s a quick look at how you can screen potential revenue cycle solutions, bringing only the best candidates to your shortlist—and making the review process that much easier for your colleagues or committees.

1. Start by Networking with Healthcare Peers

Like the rest of America, you probably have a LinkedIn profile. Start using it strategically. Don’t just update your certifications or join relevant professional organizations for posterity’s sake. Instead, become an active participant. Tell people what you’re working on, what you’re reading, and which tools you recommend for specific challenges. In turn, you can ask for opinions from your peers. And although you may get some unsolicited vendor responses, they’re worth a second glance—especially if the salespeople behind them take the time to address your comments individually, with thoughtful and helpful points.

2. Attend Conferences for Patient Access and Healthcare Technology

Are you registered for NAHAM’s 2015 conference in Indianapolis? What about HFMA’s ANI 2015 event in Orlando? We tend to think of conferences as gateways to best practice sessions or panel discussions. But don’t sleep on healthcare conferences for their RCM vendor research potential. If you’re willing to engage beyond a quick intro and an exchange of SWAG, you can actually learn a lot about the companies that operate in your space. Some are clearly personable and genuine. Others are simply focused on the sale. Ultimately, these differences may be the ones that drive your decision.

3. Conduct Online Research

After gathering various recommendations and vendor materials, you’re probably in a good position to do some online research. You’ll have some names and websites in hand, and you can avoid a string of fruitless Google searches (which can be manipulated by companies with the best marketing teams, not necessarily the best products).

When you get to a candidate’s website, you’ll probably be eager to browse product features, benefits, and pricing plans. But don’t forget to ask for a list of existing clients or testimonials.  If any of the names sound familiar, you can reach out to contacts at those facilities and get the inside perspective. (Keep in mind however, the lack of a client list/testimonials may not be indicative of a poor-performing solution. Getting legal clearance to publish client names and logos is sometimes a very tall order.)

You should also make a point to browse the list of healthcare IT systems that have already been integrated with the product. You’ll want to know for example, if the platform has already been linked to your current ADT (admission, discharge, and transfer) system within EPIC, Meditech, CPSI, Cerner, McKesson, etc. If the company has experience interfacing with your IT system, the onboarding process will likely be a lot more efficient and effective.

4. Tour the Product Online

Online demonstrations or product tours are great for getting an initial look inside the platforms you’re considering. Not only can you experience the workflow as it would happen in real-time; you can see the screens and interfaces your employees would see—helping you anticipate training plans or even customization needs.

Most important, online demos can be every bit as productive as live demos, when it comes to developing executive buy-in and building engagement among your various departments. Ask if you can invite multiple stakeholders to the online demo. Chances are, both the vendors and your facility leaders will appreciate the initial walkthrough opportunity, which might save everyone the trouble of an in-person pitch.

Do you agree with these steps for screening healthcare revenue cycle solutions? Which phases would you add or remove? And which have you found to be most effective?