In the past few years, HHC has used LEAN methodologies to improve the revenue cycle process in an effort to reduce complexity and boost collections, Zurack says.
"We have now really hard wired in some of those standard workflows, and they are having an impact on collectability. We're seeing improvements in outpatient collection rates, and we're getting more insurance claims right the first time," she says.
While revenue cycle intricacies vex healthcare finance executives, they know it won't be getting any less complex as the industry moves forward. The best they can hope for is to find strategies for making it more efficient.
Zurack says HHC is in the process of installing a new revenue cycle management system to replace the 25-year-old system that is currently being used. The new system will enable HHC to integrate functions such as the revenue system, patient access, decision support, and scheduling that were formerly managed by separate applications.
"There are a few real improvements that we will get from this," says Zurack. "We will have an enterprise-wide patient master index so when you register in one facility, you are registered everywhere. … It will be great for an accountable care environment."