While many organizations were figuring out how to go remote during the pandemic, healthcare revenue cycle management teams were pioneering virtual work. Since hospitals had to stay open, revenue cycle teams were some of the first workers to figure out how to make remote work. But even before that, coders were already working remotely. Today, many hospital leaders have leaned into the efficiency and benefits of remote work – but there are still challenges. This article will walk you through some of those challenges, as well as tips on how to step into the future of remote work for your hospital revenue cycle management team.
Challenges in Remote Hospital Revenue Cycle Management
With all of its benefits, remote work has brought multiple challenges .
Healthcare workers and hospital billing services aren’t functioning in a bubble. Just as healthcare was increasing remote work, so were other organizations – meaning that workers not only have options across the country within healthcare as revenue cycle workers, they also have the option of starting entirely new, purely remote careers. The Senior Vice President and Chief Information and Digital Officer of Baystate Health in Massachusetts, says that in just a two-month period, they had employees take new positions in other regions or states who had posted jobs where applicants can work from anywhere.
Keeping Things Sustainable
Sustainability is now a major challenge for hospital leaders who have to support new methods of working and look for ways to move away from methods and processes of work that are no longer needed. This question extends to people also, and figuring out who wants to stay remote and who might be more interested in a hybrid option.
Medical billers, coders, and other revenue cycle staff are working with sensitive patient information. Even when working on-site, healthcare devices were highly vulnerable to hackers and phishing scams. With workers at home, on unsecured networks, potentially using their own devices, this is even more of a concern.
Tips for Remote Work in Hospital Revenue Cycle Management
As you examine your approach to remote work, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of whatever strategy you decide to employ .
Bring the Office Home
By using technology and equipment that replicated your office infrastructure, you’ll have a smoother transition and can possibly avoid multiple security issues. For example, provide your workers with standardized webcams, IP phones, and dual monitors when needed. This can also extend to the ability to record and document things like employee calls and other communication.
Use Virtual Meetings to Stay Personal
This is a delicate balance because many employees do not like being on camera, but it’s an opportunity to replicate the eye contact and visual experience of an in-office meeting. Give employees space and encouragement to turn on cameras and microphones during meetings, taking care not to contribute to “Zoom fatigue” through considerate meeting schedules.
Keep Your Culture Going
You no doubt had a distinct office culture before going remote, and there’s no reason to not continue it as you explore virtual and hybrid work options. Keep holding the same types of meetings and leadership check-ins that you did before going remote. Also, consider options like newsletters that support more traditional in-office experiences like birthdays and employee recognition. You can also consider adding in new options like motivational speakers.
Double Down on Communication
If you weren’t prioritizing communication before going remote, now is an excellent time to step up your approach. Communication is foundational to success in remote work so you might find it useful to continually ask your team to address communication challenges the same way they would if they were in an office together. This means that if they would pick up a phone in an office, they should likely do the same while working remotely. If they’d email, it’s probably the best way to address the situation even in a virtual work environment. Talk with your employees about which communication channels are approved to protect sensitive information and which are best for the way you want your teams to connect.
Get Your Team Going on the Right Tools
Remote work often requires a different approach to project management, which means new project management tools. If your teams aren’t familiar, you might have to put some extra effort into helping them get acclimated and feeling connected to one another. Make sure they’re trained properly on tools like email, phone, chat, and video platforms, but also on any collaboration and project tools that you’re using to manage the remote work and hospital billing services experience.
Use Your Data
If you’re not using data to evaluate the effectiveness of your remote teams, now is a great time to start. From productivity to satisfaction, you should be diving into a data-driven approach to make sure you’re making the best decisions in your remote work strategy.
As you’re rethinking your approach to hospital revenue cycle management and hospital billing services, know that it’s also a good time to consider outsourcing since you’re moving so many pieces of your hospital revenue cycle management puzzle around. We’ve worked with multiple organizations that are leveraging remote work and can help you in your hospital billing and coding strategy as you move forward as well. Contact us to get started.
 L. Dyrda, “The unexpected consequences of remote work: 3 health system CIOs on new challenges and what lies ahead,” Beckers Hospital Review, 22 August 2020. Available: https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/healthcare-information-technology/the-unexpected-consequences-of-remote-work-3-health-system-cios-on-new-challenges-and-what-lies-ahead.html.
 A. W. Pecci, “3 Remote Workforce Strategies from the Revenue Cycle Exchange,” HealthLeaders, 11 May 2021. Available: https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/revenue-cycle/3-remote-workforce-strategies-revenue-cycle-exchange.