Becker's Hospital Review: Darwin and the Revenue Cycle

Gary LongNovember 1, 2021

Hand pointing at gears.

In Charles Darwin’s seminal work on evolution, he said “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” I think it’s fair to say that this is being proven true in healthcare now more than ever.


What does it mean to adapt? Webster’s defines it in the following way: “to change (something) so that it functions better or is better suited for a purpose”. With the unprecedented times our industry, and our world, is facing, we are in a situation that necessitates adaptation, perhaps on a bigger scale that we might have once thought. The reimbursement challenges, the shifting role of the patient to the primary payer, the rise in consumerism and the on-going global pandemic have laid bare some significant inefficiencies and friction in today’s revenue cycle process. These circumstances alone could easily lead you to conclude that now is the time to “change something so that it functions better.” Then add to that rising labor costs, outright labor shortages, renewed focus on shifting from volume to value and competition from new and non-traditional players and you have the perfect storm of complex challenges that is forcing hospitals and health systems to adapt like never before.


Incremental change or a piecemeal approach has been the common go-to when thinking about the revenue cycle. But, against this backdrop of market forces, that traditional type of thinking simply won’t move the needle in a meaningful way. The fundamental problems don’t get fixed. In fact, each small transactional fix is likely creating additional friction somewhere else in the revenue cycle process which isn’t helping your organization achieve its goals of lower cost or improved patient experience.


This chaotic environment creates a unique opportunity to think and act more strategically about the revenue cycle as a valuable asset that is worthy of investment. You need to look at the process holistically and problem-solve more systematically in order to future proof your organization for the next inevitable strategic shift.


When contemplating this kind of strategic pivot in thinking it can be invaluable to have an experienced partner by your side who understands your challenges and is financially aligned to your goals and priorities. That is a role we have had the privilege to play for the last seventeen years for dozens of the largest hospitals, health systems and medical groups across the country. Whether addressing functional components of the revenue cycle, working shoulder-to-shoulder with your staff or having full control of your revenue cycle, we have literally seen and done it all.

When you combine our purpose-built integrated technology and automation, best practices, proven methods, domain expertise, our wholly-owned, global scaled delivery model and our financially aligned engagement model you get the ideal formula for moving your organization from surviving to thriving in this challenging environment.


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Author Bio: Gary Long is R1's Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. Gary is responsible for R1’s customer growth initiatives, including sales, marketing, product management, and solution development.

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