Two years ago, the world encountered an unprecedented event triggered by something as minuscule as a virus. The Covid-19 pandemic brought most of the world to an absolute standstill. Most, not all, though. One sector that did not and could not stop but instead got overloaded and took a significant hit was the healthcare sector. The pandemic magnified the challenges that have plagued healthcare professionals and the industry. It also caused one area of the healthcare sector to take quite a hit – healthcare revenue cycle management.
What Are Healthcare Revenue Cycle Management Services?
The healthcare revenue cycle management is a multistep business process that connects a healthcare organization’s clinical and business sides. The healthcare management cycle begins when a patient makes an appointment to see a doctor or medical practitioner and ends when the hospital or clinic gets paid for the services rendered. The cycle involves different steps around identifying, managing, and collecting patient service revenue.
With changing times, healthcare revenue cycle management is increasingly outsourced to professional healthcare BPO services that seamlessly manage the entire revenue cycle for the healthcare organization. These healthcare revenue cycle management services give healthcare professionals a chance to focus on their strengths – the clinical side of things, while the former takes care of the administrative and revenue management side of things.
Impact Of Covid-19 On Healthcare Revenue Cycle Management
The Covid-19 pandemic has heavily tested healthcare organizations everywhere. It has brought along unforeseen challenges that have often become hurdles in delivering adequate patient care to Covid-19 patients and patients who do not have Covid-19 infection yet need healthcare services.
Some significant challenges the industry has faced because of Covid-19 are:
- Canceled appointments and surgeries, causing loss of revenue.
- Increased costs of procuring Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Increased workloads on healthcare professionals.
- Constantly changing protocols and guidelines to manage Covid-19 instances.
- Dwindling staff productivity due to limited resources and changing priorities.
- Denied insurance claims.
- Reduced staff due to the need to implement cost-cutting measures.
- Health risk to healthcare professionals due to constant exposure.
According to the American Health Association (AHA), in 2020 alone, the healthcare centers in the United States incurred losses of over $300 billion.
With such significant challenges coming their way, healthcare organizations need to focus their energies more on dealing with the healthcare crisis while embracing the benefits offered by a globalized world. This can be done by availing of healthcare revenue cycle management services from professional healthcare BPO service providers.
Healthcare Revenue Cycle Challenges Caused by Covid-19
Covid-19 calls for demarking a whole section of the hospital to treat the patients who might require a range of different services based on their symptoms. They could need the services of respiratory, cardiac, and general practitioners, besides needing round-the-clock nursing and support staff. In severe cases, patients also require intensive care in ICUs, which would have to be isolated from the rest of the ICU patients. These are costs that the healthcare organization incurs to ensure they have the required capabilities in line with the laid-out protocols and guidelines to deliver healthcare services in the face of the ongoing pandemic, pressuring the healthcare revenue cycle management services.
Apart from these, there have been exponential costs of procuring personal protective equipment for the staff. The staff themselves have had to isolate themselves, often not being able to go home and pull in extra shifts to cover for their colleagues or to meet the excessive income patient load.
While the costs have been increasing, the revenue side hasn’t exactly picked up to meet the rising costs. A recent estimate by a medical advisory board indicated that a typical 1000-bed hospital space, even with just a moderate surge in Covid-10 cases, saw a loss of approximately 50% of its quarterly revenue. The pandemic has hit the incomes of not just smaller organizations with limited budgets but also of big, prestigious hospitals. A HealthAffairs study has pegged an estimate of $654 billion for direct healthcare costs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Healthcare providers are finding it increasingly difficult to meet their expenses and collect payments, with the increasing presence of high deductible health plans and cost-sharing arrangements.
Interesting Related Article: “The Importance of Healthcare Software Development“