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[BLOG] Remote RCM Work: Breaking Down Barriers


In our previous blog, we detailed why remote RCM positions make sense, both financially and for practical reasons. Now learn how to remove the invisible barriers to make it happen for your company.

Changing Work Climate

Two major developments in the industry have permanently changed the way revenue cycle management (RCM) departments function. Technology now plays a huge part in the revenue cycle – from registration to the final bill. Information is gathered from multiple sources, mostly cloud-based EMR systems, payer portals, coding programs, clinical documentation improvement software, and billing software. At the same time, skilled revenue cycle management employees that understand the complexities of these systems are in short supply. Without the right RCM team in place, healthcare organizations can’t efficiently prevent and handle denials or analyze systems to maximize revenue and cash flow.

The pandemic encouraged many industries to embrace remote work, especially technology-heavy ones like healthcare RCM. Now that this practice has become more common, clear benefits have been seen using remote workers, like reduced turnover, lowered office overhead, and more efficient work time. Popular online job platforms are seeing more and more searches for remote jobs, and when choosing an offer, job candidates will often favor the remote position.

With all of these proven benefits, why aren’t more organizations embracing and supporting a remote RCM workforce?

Common Misconceptions

Many administrators and managers are hanging on to traditional business models and have some valid concerns about how to effectively lead a remote team. The Washington Post takes a hard look at the state of remote work in 2022, listing many of the paradigm shifts that have accompanied it.

Measuring and Monitoring Performance

While some companies have elected to monitor employees at home by cameras, GPS, and keystroke loggers, the “big brother” effect tends to breed resentment and dissatisfaction, particularly in professional, long-term roles. Instead of focusing on daily productivity standards, managers should evaluate outcomes instead of inputs. RCM employees can easily be assigned target goals that can then be monitored, leaving the “how” up to the team member.

In-person Work is Critical for Collaboration and Innovation

The careful use of communications technology can create the same channels that spark conversations. Slack, virtual meetings, and structured collaboration take the place of office encounters and the water cooler. The Washington Post article even found that these platforms encouraged quieter team members to provide input – the ones who may get drowned out during in-person meetings.

Remote Workers Don’t Work as Hard

Multiple studies of remote workers are finding quite the opposite – in fact, remote workers are logging more hours than their office counterparts. Remote companies have found the need to provide education about work/life boundaries. When work, family, hobbies, and well….life are all in one place, the lines get very blurred and sometimes erased. Defined quit times, eliminating expectations to answer emails and other communications during off-hours, and keeping work and personal devices separate are all good strategies.

In-person Workers Advance more Quickly than Remote Workers

In any healthy workplace culture, remote or not, opportunities for advancement should be given equally, based on quantifiable performance measures. If managers are adapting well and creating a sustainable remote culture, then measuring outputs rather than inputs, communication, and appreciation should all be integral to their decision-making.

Remote Workers are Disconnected from Colleagues

It’s true that communication via Zoom lacks the authenticity and non-verbal nuances of in-person conversations. However, with a friendly culture and onboarding procedures that include opportunities for mentoring and getting to know coworkers, solid relationships can be built. In many cases, the problems with disengagement, or disconnection, would have happened with some employees in person as well. Selecting for company fit and for certain behavioral standards is still the best practice when hiring for remote RPM positions.

Creating Satisfied Remote Workers

Supporting a remote workforce means more than handing him/her a laptop and a phone. As much care and consideration should be given to the remote workforce “environment” as to an in-office one. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will a remote team – or any team, for that matter. It takes strong leaders to adapt their skills to support employees to be their best, and a bit of creativity is thrown in. Not all workers thrive in a remote environment, but many excel. With the advantages that a much larger hiring pool offer, it is possible to amass an RPM team that performs beyond expectations, reduces employee turnover, shortens the revenue cycle, and creates solid organizational value for years to come.