Revenue cycle management (RCM) is so much more than just a financial process. It is about the procedures that enable your long-term post-acute care (LTPAC) organization to maintain a positive financial picture and, in turn, allow you to focus on day-to-day operations and optimal outcomes. It sounds cliché, but that is why communication is key throughout the RCM process. Poor communication at any point can cause a complete breakdown.
While clear, concise procedures are crucial to a successful RCM process, relationships between those involved – and the communication that builds and nurtures those relationships –are just as important. Each employee must be in the same communicative and collaborative mindset, whether they are in-house or service your organization from the outside.
Naturally, people tend to silo themselves in the workplace. We decide what we need to get done that day and do it between the walls we build. Communication is limited to asking coworkers questions only when we need something from them. Yet, the RCM process cannot be successful if your team works like this. Every department needs to collaborate to create clear lines of communication, especially since when dealing with billing processes.
So, how can you start breaking down those walls and building your communication skills in the RCM process? Consider five tips:
Change your mindset. In order for you to truly change how you work with those involved in your LTPAC’s RCM process, you must first change your mindset. See yourself as an integral part of the process, but also be open to collaboration.
Have confidence in yourself. Be confident and comfortable enough to ask the questions that need to be asked to get the job done. Oftentimes, we do not ask questions because we fear we will sound uninformed. But part of doing your job to the best of your ability is identifying what you know, acknowledging what you don’t know, and getting the information you need.
Learn how to listen. Many of us hear very well, but do not listen. Listening requires giving the speaker your full attention, interpreting what they say and reacting appropriately. This is known as active listening. Active listening creates an environment where people are comfortable enough coming to you with questions and vice versa.
Always be respectful. Respecting all members of the RCM process ensures employees are comfortable communicating across departments and leaving their walls behind. No employee, no matter the level, wants to feel as though they aren’t important.
Choose the right medium. Often, how we choose to communicate is just as important as what we have to say. Person-to-person, telephone and email are the most common forms of communication in the workplace. Person-to-person and telephone usually are the best ways to get your message across the way you would like to, but they are not always the most convenient. Additionally, before hitting send on that email, ask yourself how you think your message will be received. Emails often take on a particular tone – either intended or unintended –and the mood of the recipient can play a part in that, too. Sometimes picking up the phone may prevent unnecessary hiccups in the RCM process.
Whether or not you feel your RCM process could use improvement, taking a step back and checking up on our communication skills is always useful.