I worked in revenue cycle for nearly ten years, and I never once heard the term “RPA,” nor did I even know what that was. When I started at CampTek and began reading numerous articles and case studies, I wondered why I had never heard that term before. Revenue cycle and RPA should go hand in hand because I know firsthand that revenue cycle burnout is real.
I know there can be many reasons why the healthcare system is apprehensive about RPA, and a major one I have heard a lot is “it has worked for years.” It has, but the revenue cycle is ever-changing, and it is imperative to make changes to adapt to that. I recently read an article from Becker’s Hospital Review about the top 10 processes providers said are getting most regularly backlogged, many of which were part of my old job and could benefit from RPA. These processes are time-consuming tasks that one could argue have been working for years. But they have always been time-consuming tasks that anyone in revenue cycle would appreciate assistance with.
As mentioned above, the revenue cycle is ever-changing, and with that comes software changes. As someone who was a part of a billing and medical software change, I know how difficult that can be. There were days when we all wanted to throw the towel in, so hearing about implementing RPA can bring back some bad memories. Implementing RPA is not the same thing; it is something that will only help, and it is not something that should disrupt your workflow.
The revenue cycle is just that; it is a cycle. When you think you finally have time to get to some of these backlogged items, the cycle begins again, and it is time to shift your focus elsewhere. Those backlogged items have been problematic for years. The first thought many have is to hire more people to do that job, which is unrealistic due to finances, burnout, or simply finding staff. RPA should be the first thought that comes to mind; it is realistic, safe, and a cost-effective solution.
Dealing with insurance companies is frustrating, from remembering what insurance company requires on their claims to which website you need to use to even knowing which phone number to call, and this is just one aspect of the entire cycle. It can be frustrating, exhausting, and time-consuming, which ultimately could lead to burnout. The tools are at our fingertips to help, if not prevent this from happening. Now is the time to open the door to RPA, tackle those never-ending backlogs, and to focus on more valuable tasks. The revenue cycle burnout is real, but that needs to change, and RPA is a great place to start.
Written by: Katie Roscia, Executive Assistant