Electronic Health Records (EHR) system conversions affect all healthcare providers, from small practices to the largest hospitals. On average, hospitals must update their systems every 10 years in order to comply with evolving regulatory requirements, improve productivity and/or meet patient demand for better access.
Today’s EHR systems are more than just a database of patient records—they are the nerve center of a healthcare organization, covering every stage of the patient experience from onboarding to care to billing. This makes implementation of a new EHR system arduous and expensive, with hidden costs that can far exceed the sticker price.
- A/R & financial burdens
- Reduced patient experience
- Staff burnout
According to Moody’s, large hospital organizations are at a higher risk for significant financial losses through receivables write-offs, operating losses and lower patient volumes.
While an EHR system conversion will never be easy, providers can significantly reduce the burden by outsourcing their legacy inventory. An outsourcing program, such as RevCycle’s Legacy System Clean-up Program, is designed to expedite the retirement of the legacy EHR system, allowing internal staff to focus all their efforts on learning the new system and managing those accounts.
Here are five reasons to outsource legacy A/R inventory during an EHR system conversion.
1. Eliminate A/R “lag”
In the past, converting to a new EHR system meant taking accounts from the legacy system and moving them directly over into the new one. This rarely worked well as the file formats didn’t match, which affected system integrity. As a result, most major EHR systems, including Epic and Cerner, no longer allow this kind of transfer.
This means that during the transition process, A/R accounts exist in the legacy system during implementation of the new. Providers often rely on internal staff to work the legacy A/R as they try to learn and roll out the new system. Simply put, this is too much for staff to handle. Something has to give, and often it’s the legacy A/R accounts. They are written off or severely delayed, leading to significant losses.
Outsourcing legacy inventory takes this burden off internal staff and helps ensure collections meet or even exceed current performance standards. The legacy inventory is shifted to the outsourced vendor and worked to maintain a steady cash flow.
2. Reduce training costs and maintain productivity
Implementing a new EHR system can take up to a year or more. Everyone in the organization must be trained. EHR implementation isn’t just a matter of learning a new software—it’s a matter of changing many or even all of one’s daily workflows. For some staff members, it’s relearning how to do their entire job.
Needless to say, this isn’t easy. What makes it exponentially more difficult, however, is having to learn the new system while still maintaining and working in the old one. Efficiency and productivity suffer, leading to decreased revenue as fewer patients can be seen.
Outsourcing legacy inventory allows staff to focus solely on learning the new EHR system. Not only does this help stave off productivity drops, it can reduce training costs. With the ability to concentrate on the new system, staff are less likely to need extra follow-up courses and supervised training in order to get and stay up to speed.
3. Prevent staff burnout
The inefficiencies of working in two different systems—combined with training and implementation tasks packed into already overcrowded days—can take a significant toll on your staff. Burnout is a very real possibility, and can lead to decreased productivity, loss of morale, poor patient experience, and even resignations. Staff who have been through a rough EHR conversion before and have “horror stories” will be especially wary. Top performers may feel the effects of the inefficiency most keenly, as they are unable to perform and help patients to their own high standards.
Outsourcing legacy A/R not only reduces their burden in a concrete way, but it has emotional benefits. Knowing that management appreciates the extra work they’re asked to do—as shown by getting them help with the legacy system—can help staff feel more positive about the process. During an EHR conversion where it’s “all hands on deck,” this is invaluable.
4. Maintain patient experience
Burned out staff plus the slowdowns associated with working in a new system is a surefire recipe for poor patient experience. As covered in earlier points, outsourcing can give staff breathing room and help them learn the new system faster and with more confidence, resulting in a better experience for patients.
5. Prevent rollout delays related to running dual systems
The longer the old system persists, the longer the delay before the new system can be fully utilized and show ROI. According to a study by Procedia Computer Science, more than 50% of EHR systems either fail or fail to be properly utilized. Other research shows that Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) projects fail up to 70% of the time when failure is defined as whether a project results in unintended consequences, including project delays and substantial cost overruns.
By outsourcing the legacy system A/R, healthcare organizations decrease their chance of these costly delays and overruns by transitioning internal staff out of the old system faster.
Planning an EHR system conversion? RevCycle can help.
Our Legacy System Clean-Up Program ensures steady A/R cash flow, allows leadership to focus on implementation and training, and expedites the retirement of the old system.
What we will do for you:
- Provide written notification to your patients that we’re servicing the legacy system balances are being serviced by us and all communications should be directed to us
- Provide all statement and letter creation and delivery to your patients
- Handle all customer service including inbound calls and performing necessary outbound calls
- Process all payments related to legacy balances
Send us a message or call 888.576.5290 to schedule a phone consultation at your convenience. We’re happy to discuss solutions for your EHR conversion or any other revenue cycle concern. We look forward to speaking with you!