Cultivating a well-trained revenue cycle workforce

Over the past year, we have seen a pattern emerge within the revenue cycle community that is inhibiting staff members from performing their duties at the highest level. When speaking with our members, we noticed a lack of consistent training for all staff on the core concepts of basic revenue cycle processes, which is frequently causing increases in downstream costs and staff time necessary to ensure accurate billing and collections.

When staff are not educated on how their actions impact their colleagues throughout the revenue cycle (especially if they have not met or do not interact with those individuals regularly), there can be a gap in understanding about how they can positively and negatively affect the organization as a whole. When onboarding staff, revenue cycle trainers tend to be very system-focused, which means new hires often receive training that emphasizes a single job function, the tools they will use, and the steps they should take to complete day-to-day tasks. However, they are not provided the holistic education necessary to grasp how they fit into a process that expands beyond their workstation.

For example, registrars are not routinely shown how collecting inaccurate patient demographic information contributes to issues in the mid-cycle (e.g., duplicate medical records) or on the back end (e.g., inaccurate coordination of benefits). Mid-cycle staff can remain unaware of the amount of effort one of their errors (e.g., missing a modifier) can add to a back-end staff member’s workload (e.g., researching and appealing a denied claim). Finally, back-end staff could fail to understand how a misstep (e.g., failing to refund a patient overpayment) could create issues for others in the revenue cycle (e.g., a dissatisfied patient interacting with a registrar who attempts to collect a co-pay). When you only focus your training on a specific function, it hinders staff and limits how successful your revenue cycle can be overall because you do not have a single team: You have many small teams, and they are unaware of how they could operate as a cohesive whole.

In speaking with members, we have learned that some organizations have robust, comprehensive training programs in place. New hires can be escorted to various departments to meet leaders and see what their teams do day-to-day. Staff can be cross-trained to fill more than one role. Shared services can be established (especially customer service call centers) to bridge the gaps between the major segments of the revenue cycle.

However, those efforts all take time—and we often hear revenue cycle leaders say they feel their hands are tied in regard to dreaming big and launching a best practice training program. Managers simply do not have the bandwidth to develop big-picture awareness, and they need to get new staff members up and running as quickly as possible.

The answer could be providing your teams with a catalogue of interactive, electronic, on-demand training. What if you could assign them coursework, monitor their progress, and assess how well they understood the material? What if you could encourage ongoing education and even tie that in to a career ladder? How significant could the benefits be—in terms of finances, patient satisfaction, staff engagement—if you had a staff of revenue cycle buffs?

Here’s where HBI can help – Sample a course

You talked; we listened. HBI has developed a content library designed to address this common gap in revenue cycle training. HBI’s courses provide staff with needed insights into why they perform daily functions and how they play a role in the entire revenue cycle. Our training team is extremely nimble, so you can even create customized training curricula using our syndicated library as a foundation. We work with you to ensure our training fits perfectly into your organization’s current initiatives.