Editor’s Note: This article is the first in a two-part series by Roberta Schultz. The second installment will be published tomorrow later this week on insidePatientFinance.com.

Congratulations! You’ve finally decided to retire that legacy medical billing system and implement the latest technology.

Converting to a new system will strain your internal resources as you transition off the legacy system and train staff on the new. It’s simple math: You have “x” number of staff that already are working as productively as possible. Adding a new system while at the same time supporting all your existing accounts on your legacy system will require additional resources. For most healthcare providers, that means outsourcing.

Our experience, however, is that most providers who transition to a new billing system wait until it is too late. Budgets for new implementations are usually tight in order to maximize ROI, and there is a tendency to eschew additional resources. Most organizations cannot withstand the strain of transition, and cracks begin to show in the billing cycle. Among the warning signs:

  • A/R days out begins to increase;
  • Denials begin to pile up;
  • Your timely filing adjustments grow;
  • Patient frustration increases;
  • Staff demonstrates signs of burnout, usually by becoming defensive or pointing fingers when things go wrong.

Most providers won’t engage a partner until they are in trouble. But don’t wait to engage an outsourcing partner after you crash; engage a partner at the beginning of the project, and have them on call for when or if you need them.

Contracting with an outsource partner is not only a hedge against risk, it also benefits the entire project as well as complements your overall objectives. With an outsource partner, your staff can focus on what is ahead versus the legacy system in their respective rearview mirror. Instead of splitting their attention between old and new, they can commit fully to training on and learning about the new system.

Begin looking for a conversion partner at least nine to 12 months before your go-live date. The sooner you issue that RFP, the better. Although selecting an outsourcing partner is not as complex as the decision as to which new system to purchase, the ramifications to your ongoing operation can be much greater. Your outsource partner can be the difference between the success or failure of your conversion project.


About Roberta Schultz

Roberta Schultz is a director at ProSource Billing, Inc., a part of the Array Services Group family of companies. Roberta has over 23 years of healthcare Revenue Cycle and A/R management experience which includes managing various revenue cycle projects for multiple healthcare facilities including physician, hospital, and healthcare organizations.

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