Several converging trends are continuing to hammer healthcare organizations. Namely: Thin margins are getting thinner, and a tight labor market is getting tighter, while consumer expectations keep growing.
For many of the nation’s largest nonprofit health systems, operating margins have dipped below 1% despite recent rebounds in revenue and patient volumes. At issue are rising expenses, especially for labor. For the first time since 2004, it’s personnel shortages that keep executives awake at night. A Kaufman Hall report highlights the culmination of these pressures: “Since 2019, total expense per adjusted discharged has increased by 20.1%, labor expense per adjusted discharged has increased by 19.1%, and non-labor expense per adjusted discharged has increased 19.9%.”
At the same time, patients increasingly expect a seamless and personalized healthcare experience that mirrors other consumer-oriented aspects of their lives. One industry survey notes that 69% of patients would switch providers for more convenience, and 79% want the ability to use technology to manage their healthcare experience. Yet, in the consumer world, one in three people would abandon a brand — even one they loved — after just one bad experience.
In other words, the stakes are high. Failure to deliver a modern, streamlined patient experience means a costly failure to attract, satisfy, and retain patients. Conversely, success means health systems can generate patient loyalty and growth while also enabling operational efficiency. Indeed, simplifying the patient experience is a winning situation for all involved.
Fortunately, this idea comes as no surprise to companies like R1. Five years ago, R1 understood that healthcare’s operating environment was not only changing dramatically but accelerating. Even then, we recognized optimized processes as inseparable from the consumer experience.
Many successful health systems are already collaborating with technology partners to find the best path to simplifying the patient experience. Leading organizations such as Ascension, Intermountain Healthcare, LifePoint Health, Geisinger and VillageMD have partnered with R1 to eliminate frustration-inducing friction from the revenue cycle. Together, we’ve created and executed against a multi-year strategy to build upon the necessary expertise and best-in-class technologies.
To create a patient-centric experience across the entire journey, our partners are working with us to continuously enhance our comprehensive digital platform that simplifies the entire workflow for patients and providers — from digital order to final bill resolution. They are transforming front-end revenue cycle operations with hard-wired best practices that leverage years of collective experience. And they are generating patient loyalty at each step by using a platform designed to be interoperable with the most sophisticated consumer-facing ecosystems and the most complex EMR environments.
Moreover, we have melded deep consumer and revenue cycle expertise with exceptional technology. That’s why we have invested $500 million to bring SCI Solutions, Tonic Health, and VisitPay to R1. Fundamental to those solutions is the talent that drove their success – from consumer finance to hospitality to user experience to data science. Our commitment is to retain and nurture our experts, while attracting the best talent in the industry.
Watch our on demand webinar, The Frictionless Revenue Cycle and Patient Care Journey — An Ascension Case Study, to learn how they crafted and executed a patient-centric revenue cycle strategy.
Combining this expertise with robust technology into our intelligent patient experience solution, R1 Entri™, our health system partners have achieved some outstanding results. For instance, they have:
Today’s unique challenges make it an exciting time in the healthcare industry. It’s this point in history that will see deep, lasting transformation – for the better for consumers and the providers that serve them. Ongoing collaboration and innovation are the keys to success.
Is your health system working to reduce friction and simplify the patient experience? Check out how Ascension crafted and executed a patient-centric revenue cycle strategy to reduce friction, streamline care journeys, reduce costs and achieve faster reimbursement.
Pat Saxman is a Senior Vice President at R1 RCM.