HealthWare Systems Blog

Revenue Cycle Software: The Do’s and Don’ts of HIT Buying

Posted on Tue, Aug 04, 2015

No one would argue that revenue cycle management (RCM) is a top priority among hospitals and health systems. But getting the tools in place to address core RCM functions can become a marathon effort. Thanks to the complexity and evolving nature of today’s healthcare landscape—from healthcare reform to the promise of next generation RCM solutions—many provider organizations are stuck in a holding pattern.

  • What does the ideal RCM solution look like?
  • Do we need to adapt our current workflows, our revenue cycle software, or both?
  • What’s coming on the horizon?

With questions like these, many hospital leaders don’t know where to start. And despite the unprecedented need for better processes, improved cash flow, and stellar patient experiences, RCM buying decisions drag on for months and months…

If you’re in the market for revenue cycle software, our latest guide can make comparison shopping a lot easier. This guide will help you develop a more streamlined buying process for RCM software—including patient trackingpatient encounter/registration, and physician order management solutions. Download it here:

Meanwhile, here are some important do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:

DO Start with a Requirements Document

A requirements document (RD) is a formal, written document, outlining how a proposed piece of software will respond to specific user actions and/or integrated system requests. The process of negotiating, drafting, and finalizing concrete requirements helps to align everyone’s expectations surrounding a new solution.

During the vendor demonstration process, your RD can also function as a script and evaluation tool, keeping vendors on point—for example, not referencing competitor weaknesses. Once a buying decision has been made, the details of your requirements doc can be used to assign project roles, establish an implementation timeline, and support user training plans.

DON’T Exclude Key Users

When nearly 4,000 licensed RNs were surveyed about their input in EHR decisions, a whopping 98 percent reported never being included in their hospitals’ IT decisions. As a result, some 85 percent of the nurses said they “grapple daily with flawed EHR systems.”

These figures are hardly a ringing endorsement for the thousands of digital health records systems put into place. But even more concerning, they suggest nurses’ jobs have become increasingly (unnecessarily) onerous simply because nurse representatives were excluded from important stages in HIT software buying.

How do you know which employees should be consulted before you invest in new technology? Again, our RCM software buying guide can help.

DON’T Prolong Purchase Decisions

Over the past several years, average timelines for enterprise IT purchases are getting longer and longer. This typical purchase process data is not confined to the healthcare sector, but it shows that other large organizations are struggling to shorten IT buy cycles (down to a preferred three months), despite pulling more people onto their buying teams, and consequently taking more than five months to complete a single purchase.

One way to truncate the process is to arm yourself, as the RCM software sponsor, with helpful content (product videos, revenue cycle management case studies or testimonials) from different vendors. Resources like these will help you narrow the field of possible solutions and educate your fellow decision makers in advance of any sales conversations.

What are the biggest questions you have for a healthcare software vendor?  And how efficient is your HIT buying committee?