This is the second blog in a series of three aimed at improving the financial well-being of healthcare provider organizations. In this blog, we will focus on IT-enabled revenue generation strategies, while the first blog addresses expense management. These revenue enhancement actions may take some time to yield results, with some immediate benefits. Others with long-lasting benefits make time more time. The third and final blog will discuss transformative long-term actions. It is crucial to start laying the groundwork for these actions now, regardless of the timeframe involved.
Revenue enhancement requires the involvement of C-suite participants with IT playing an enabling and coordinating role. Success depends upon the culture in the C-suite. Members must be willing to hold themselves and the team accountable – e.g., having shared performance KPIs. The executive team must agree to full, frank, and far-reaching conversations, embrace change, commit resources to provide, maintain, and sustain change, and challenge the status quo. The organization must let go of outdated practices to create a brighter future. Put the sacred cows out to pasture.
Revenue Enhancement – Immediate to 12 Months and Longer
Unlike cutting expenses, the act of committing to generating more revenue can be a morale booster. It provides hope, but hope is not a strategy. The organization must create actionable, achievable plans for a brighter future.
A strong change management approach begins with clear concise communication. Tell people in advance what is going to happen – why, to whom, how, when, and where. Change is easier when you are transparent and candid with all the affected stakeholders.
Here are 11 actions to consider, all of which should be reviewed and prioritized via a strong, inclusive governance process. You must communicate, coordinate, and collaborate effectively – the 3Cs. Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals to foster personal accountability down to the employee level. Most of these actions contribute to at least one, and often more, of the elements of the Quintuple Aim (Quadruple Aim + Equity).
While it is important that CIOs (or whatever title is assigned to the highest-ranking leader of IT services) play a leading role in most of these actions, seek opportunities to partner with others in the C-suite. Whenever possible give your C-suite partners the opportunity to champion these efforts.
- Leverage Existing IT Investments: Review your most frequently used applications and technologies and work with vendors to assess utilization and identify areas for improvement. Enhancing efficiency and expanding utilization can transform vendor relationships into partnerships, potentially at no or low cost. Volunteering to act as a reference site can have favorable financial implications in the form of discounts or credits.
- Capitalize Your IT Intellectual Property (IP): Evaluate the IT solutions your organization has developed and consider selling or licensing them as a source of revenue. This can include IT-based solutions that have broad applicability beyond your organization. Carefully consider selling or licensing your IP to create a one-time or continuing source of revenue.
- Enhance Provider and Staff Experiences: Embrace new technologies like generative AI and ambient listening to automate manual processes. This improves satisfaction and allows for seeing more patients with less effort. Better documentation can lead to higher reimbursements and reduce denied claims.
- Telemedicine: Implement or expand telemedicine technologies to offer virtual consultations and remote patient monitoring (RPM). Telemedicine services can improve efficiency and generate additional revenue. RPM also facilitates early interventions which can save lives and money.
- Improve the Patient Experience: Work with the Chief Experience Officer to streamline processes, reduce wait times, and improve appointment scheduling. Provide convenient access to medical records. Personalize care whenever possible. Satisfied patients and families are more likely to become repeat customers and refer others to your organization.
- Improve Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) Efficiency: Work with the leader of RCM to optimize billing and coding processes, minimize errors, and reduce denied or delayed payments. This can quickly lead to improved cash flow and increased revenue.
- Monetize Your Anonymized Data: Work with your General Counsel to discuss the potential of selling anonymized data, ensuring your contracts protect the sacred trust that patients and families have placed in your organization while allowing your organization to benefit from revenue sharing opportunities.
- Sell IT Services to Smaller Healthcare Entities: Utilize excess IT capacity by offering services to smaller healthcare entities after conducting a thorough financial analysis.
- Focus on Marketing and Branding: Collaborate with the Chief Marketing Officer to strengthen your brand identity, leverage digital marketing techniques, and engage with the community through social media platforms. Effective marketing attracts new patients and enhances revenue streams.
- Close the Digital Divide: Work with your community care champions to do what you can in technologically underserved populations to provide tools and training that bridge the digital divide. Ensure you use older technologies such as land-based telephones in your efforts to manage all phases of care.
Work with faith communities, social services support organizations, and schools at their facilities to educate their members, students, and parents in simple terms about how to address the social determinants of health (SDOH). Meet people where they are. Take a compassionate approach to achieve technology literacy. Early intervention can save expenses. Training patients and families and equipping them with new skills will allow them to know, like, and trust you – prerequisites to needing you. These outreach efforts expand the populations you’re treating.
Develop health and wellness programs to target corporate clients who employ members of these communities. Offer services that are IT enabled such as workplace wellness programs, health screenings, fitness classes, and nutrition consultations. These programs can generate revenue while promoting a healthy community.
- Expand Clinical Research and Trials: Establish information technology connectivity and interoperability with pharmaceutical companies to participate in clinical research studies and trials. This can generate additional revenue, advance medical knowledge, and provide patients and families with access to innovative treatments.
Implementing these actions is challenging, but they offer immediate and long-term benefits. Effective communication, coordination, and collaboration are vital. As an IT leader, it is crucial to understand and represent the perspectives of your C-suite peers, communicate expectations to your employees, and ensure supplier and vendor support. IT plays an enabling role in most of these actions, so lead while channeling the vision of your C-suite peers.
This blog is the 2nd in a series. The first is “From Overhead to Opportunity: Immediate IT Expense Reduction Strategies.”