Remote workers are now an important part of the work landscape, and healthcare employers are now discovering the many benefits.
A quick perusal of job sites such as Indeed, Zip Recruiter, and Simply Hired shows thousands of openings in revenue cycle management, billing and coding, collections, and revenue cycle analysis for many types of healthcare entities. Many of these jobs were pushed from centralized office environments to remote positions during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this (mostly) post-pandemic era, these remote jobs seem to be here to stay, as part of the “new normal.”
While not every job can be remote, modern technology has allowed many functions, such as scheduling, pre-registration, insurance verification, pre-authorizations, and financial counseling to be conducted virtually or over the phone. Some processes and some patients will always require a human touch, but for those organizations looking to maximize their efficiency and effectiveness, adding remote RCM staff is a good place to start.
RCM Market and Workforce
In a recent market research report by Mordor Intelligence, the revenue cycle management market in the US was valued at $9.2 billion in 2021 and predicted to grow at a CAGR of 12.26% by 2027. The forces driving this growth include:
- Loss of hospital revenue during the pandemic
- Decreasing CMS reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid
- Increasingly complex revenue cycle and billing processes for all payors
- Increasing claim denials over the past three years
When hospital leaders begin looking for ways to both boost revenue and cut expenses, the revenue cycle invariably falls under the microscope. Every RCM process, from patient registration, pre-authorization, insurance claims management, and the final bill must follow exacting rules or face denials and payment delays. These specialized jobs require advanced skill set that can be hard to find. In fact, all types of healthcare employment – not just doctors and nurses – are in short supply. Job openings are higher than they were pre-pandemic, especially in the health and social assistance job sectors. As of June 2022, healthcare job resignations have increased to 23.8% higher than they had been pre-pandemic.
Healthcare employers are faced with the following challenge when it comes to maximizing their revenue cycle efficiency – finding qualified RCM employees and getting them to stay. (this would be good for a sidebar or callout)
Why is Remote Sometimes Better?
COVID-19 accelerated the work-from-home trend and made Zoom a household name. Remote work has now transitioned from a stop-gap measure to a long-term strategy, with several key benefits. In a traditional setting, RCM departments can only handle what their resources and capacity allow. This means a longer revenue cycle and often more denials and slower cash flow. In times of slim margins and reduced revenue, this creates a pressure cooker for employees – often leading to resignations.
Improved Workplace Safety
Siemens Healthineers looked at the remote work phenomenon in the context of non-patient-facing workers in its Insights series of papers. One benefit that may be overlooked in 2022 and beyond is the increased safety and reduced sick days of remote workers. Protection from infections and better worker health in general benefit employers.
Enhanced efficiency and productivity
Experienced, qualified remote workers can come in and quickly expand capacity, adding additional resources and greater productivity. The employer overhead of maintaining office space and associated infrastructure is greatly reduced, even when supporting IT needs of remote workers. Studies also suggest that quality of work and productivity per hour are enhanced. The flexibility of hours without long commutes allows workers time to attend to needs such as doctor appointments, childcare needs, and family obligations, while still fulfilling work commitments. This arrangement leads to fewer missed days, fewer distractions, and less overall stress.
Employers of remote workers see better employee morale, more successful recruitment, and up to 12% less turnover – clear employer outcomes that make the transition to remote both practical and profitable.
Geographically Diversified Talent
Building the best RCM team is no easy feat – but it can be a bit more accessible when choices are not tied to a geographic region. Technology enables a team to work from multiple time zones, collaborate, learn from each other, and establish teamwork virtually. Work communities that are rather insulated within themselves often advance at a slower rate. Bringing on staff from other locations adds to the organizational knowledge base and advances the skills of everyone.
For more than 71% of employees, the ability to work remotely could be the deciding factor when choosing one employer over another.
Ready to manage your revenue cycle more effectively? Find out how Qodex and the Rise Family of Companies can help you improve the critical processes and technology to get there.