As we enter the last quarter of our Fiscal Year, I wanted to take the opportunity to recognize the outstanding results achieved by the Revenue Cycle staff across our system. For reference, the revenue cycle is the entire life of a patient account from registration, through coding and billing to receipt of payment.
Our key revenue cycle metrics compare very favorably to industry benchmark performance levels, and we have seen several new records set this year. The chart below shows the improvement in one key metric, AR (accounts receivable) Days – essentially the time from a clinical service being provided until it is paid. The reduction of 23.5 days equates to $132 million in accelerated cash collections for our system, and is the result of every area of the revenue cycle working every day to streamline their processes, reduce backlogs and eliminate errors (defects).
Just like in our clinical areas, these improvements are fueled by the non-clinical, revenue cycle staff embracing our efforts to create a workforce of problem-solvers, as they have now collectively implemented over 2,000 ideas through their local idea systems, a number of which have now achieved five-star status. They are also strong users of visual management systems, as the nature of their work lends itself to covering their walls with Metric boards enabling them to easily monitor their performance, track their improvement efforts and adjust their plans as needed. Their ideas regularly contribute to helping to make our health care system the best place to give care and the best place to get care.
These improvements have continued even as the industry converted to an entirely new coding system with the advent of ICD-10 last October. Revenue cycle leaders and staff from all of our entities worked together to successfully meet that challenge, and continue to do so as we prepare for our Epic activation in October 2017.
I know we still have room for improvement, and even better metrics, but the system-wide collaboration, and continued support of our front-line problem solvers through our Idea Systems, bode well for the performance of our revenue cycle going forward, and the support it provides for our clinical mission.
Kudos to the revenue cycle staff members for the great work they are doing!
I would like to share this note received in our Wow! inbox. It is from a family member detailing the kind treatment his wife received while in our emergency department on the University Campus. According to the family member, his wife was admitted because she was feeling light-headed, experiencing shortness of breath and chest pain. The couple believed she had experienced a heart attack, “…for the first time ever I saw fear in her eyes,” her husband shared. The ED worked to get her extremely high blood pressure under control. The note continues:
“At one point a nurse named Renate Teichfuhs came in to check on my wife. She immediately noticed the elevated BP and began comforting my wife by holding her hand and suggesting that she meditate on her “happy places.” Amazingly, I watched as her blood pressure started to drop just from the soothing sound of Renate’s voice amidst all of the beeping, alarms, and other patients in pain. When Renate left the room my wife’s blood pressure would skyrocket again. But on every return visit I watched it drop nearly 30 points by her mere presence. Simply speaking to my wife with care and empathy had more impact in that setting than the medications she was receiving. Later that Friday evening when the hallways started to fill up, I watched Renate go from one patient to another asking if they were warm and reassuring them that everything would be OK. It truly made an otherwise miserable day a very memorable and touching experience. I want to thank Renate for the kindhearted and compassionate care that she gives to our patients. I will always remember her.”
Well done Renate! Your efforts reflect positively on all of us.
Thanks for all your great ideas and for taking great care of our patients and one another,