Chris Lanaman, Executive Director of Professional Services

A Simple Billing System Becomes a Juggernaut

When healthcare organizations are adopting a new patient accounting system, they can feel that their simple system has become a “huge overwhelming institution” sending panic into the most stable of hearts within the business office.

A juggernaut is defined as “a large overwhelming force or institution that implies great complexity.” For a business office, switching patient accounting solutions can sometimes fit this description. The projects are more than eight months long (12 to 18 is not uncommon) and involve teams of people from both the client’s business office and the software vendor’s team. The client also has many financial and healthcare regulatory principles to consider during this transition. And to add to the complexity, amazingly, no two business offices operate in the exact same workflow processes. These factors make the transition difficult to navigate.

Cerner® clients have certain expectations when implementing their new Cerner Patient Accounting system:

  • Continuity: The future revenue system must at the very least start out producing an equal amount of revenue to the legacy patient accounting systems. The expectation is the system is going to create or optimize the processes because the legacy system could not. Using a Cerner Millennium clinical system then adding the Cerner Millennium Patient Accounting system should eliminate gaps often found in legacy systems.
  • Legacy policies and features: The future state system must account for all defined business practices or business decisions that the business office has identified in the legacy system. Organizations have made these decisions to stay in business within their market space.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): All organizations fully expect the future state Cerner Millennium Patient Accounting system to produce a higher rate of revenue. They believe that the continuity of systems by the same vendor creates greater visibility into new sources of charges.
  • Patient Accounting: Patient accounting is accounting done in the healthcare industry. The expectation is the learning curve for the current business office personnel will be short and easy to adopt.
    Each of these expectations is obtainable when transitioning to Cerner Millennium Patient Accounting with the following caveats.

Continuity can only be achieved if Cerner fully understands the current state of all workflow processes. Understanding the pros and cons of each workflow is key to developing the new future state workflow desired.

Communicate the policies in the current system and why they are to be built in the future system. Often clients forget why they have certain policies in their current system and forget to include them in the future state which results in different outcomes in the future state.

What the new ROI should look like must be communicated and articulated throughout the entire organization. This helps organizations better understand what to expect in the future state world. Sometimes the expectations are not realistic because the details of how the system will generate the new revenue has not been disseminated to the individuals building the new workflows and opportunities in the future state system. This requires a lot of communication with the middle management of the support and build teams as well as each department leader on what they would like to revenue from.

Investing in time and training for the business office staff to learn the new workflow process with the future state system and be adaptable to improving their workflows is vital for success. Choosing a handful of “Champions” to be involved in the decision-making process during the implementation will increase the likelihood of adoption from the business office staff.

Each organization must oversee the transition from their current billing system to their future billing system. The organization-led project is the only thing that stands between the new billing system being a juggernaut that is hard to manage and impossible to understand versus a new system that exceeds the expectations. Communication, expectations and leadership is the only formula to defeat the juggernaut billing system.

What does Softek® do?

Softek’s mission is to help hospital systems maximize their investment in Oracle Cerner Millennium®. We do this by providing innovative software solutions and consulting services that can achieve more together than either can alone.

At Softek, our team of innovators and software developers brings expertise beyond the ordinary to every client. Our experts are involved with Oracle Cerner Millennium® hospitals throughout the country, consulting clients so they can optimize system performance and revenue integrity.

Softek delivers a full suite of consulting services and software solutions to assess and optimize EMR system performance, including revenue cycle integrity and patient accounting.

Softek was awarded 2020 KLAS Category Leader for Revenue Cycle Optimization.

Let’s talk about how you can get the most out of your Oracle Cerner Millennium® system.