Editor's Note: This article previously appeared on the Ontario Systems Blog and is republished here with permission.
All COVID-19 related articles published by insideARM can be found here.
The healthcare industry’s remote A/R workforce is growing fast, as more providers and RCM service providers discover the benefits of this arrangement and build the infrastructure to make it work. According to a 2019 Deloitte survey, 56% of executives surveyed plan to have at least some contact center employees working at home in the next two years.
While this is a positive trend, A/R leaders are struggling to manage their remote agents’ performance. Many are forced to rely on agents’ self-reporting, which can be unreliable and doesn’t lend itself to effective performance management.
If your remote A/R team isn’t firing on all cylinders, you’re still miles away from optimizing your revenue cycle.
What’s the secret to helping remote A/R agents become more effective and engaged in their jobs? How can you make informed decisions about how best to use the talent you have? How can you do all this with ease while scaling your operation?
The answer to all of the above is real-time performance data put to good use.
Remote A/R Agent Performance: The Crucial Data You’re Missing
If you have remote A/R agents, you need real-time visibility into a variety of qualitative and quantitative performance measures including:
- How collectors are using their time (how much time spent on the phone, how much time they spend on hold, number of claims worked per hour, etc.)
- How appropriately and effectively they interact with payers and patients
- Any procedural errors they might be making
- Opportunities they may be missing to follow up on claims or serve patients better
With these data, you can take significant steps to improve productivity, ensure compliance with employer and payer standards, and keep engagement and morale high through timely encouragement and feedback. You can also compare productivity levels to reallocate your resources for the best possible results.
These are the keys to not only cutting days in A/R, but also improving efficiency and creating a more motivated, loyal workforce.
Continuous Performance Management (CPM): What Remote Agents Need to Succeed
Source: HR Technologist
“Traditionally, performance management has been a forward-looking solution based entirely on hindsight. But organizational culture is evolving to one of continuous feedback powered by technology, where managers can foresee problems based on current employee performance and initiate any form of course correction to bring the employee back on track.” – HR Technologist
4 Ways to Use Real-Time Data to Manage Remote A/R Agents
You require certain things of your remote agents to keep the revenue cycle humming. They need certain things from their managers to understand the importance of their role and increase their value to the organization.
If you’re looking to take charge of performance management, energize your team, and improve their results over time, these four capabilities are mission-critical.
Voice and data monitoring
Without detailed, timely information related to every call made and every account worked, it’s tough to assess (let alone improve) remote agents’ performance. Managers should be able to listen in on agents’ calls, whether in progress or recorded, and monitor all account-related activities and updates as they occur.
Every agent and manager should have a dashboard display that streams real-time data including accounts worked per payer call, hold times, call volumes, time spent on the phone, etc. This shared view allows managers to deliver valuable coaching as needed and gives agents the means to self-correct.
Setting daily and monthly performance goals is critical. So is monitoring agents’ progress and knowing when they aren’t making the most of their time or advancing toward their goals. Any signs of declining performance should trigger timely notifications so managers can intervene early and effectively.
Friendly competition is a powerful motivator. It boosts engagement, builds team cohesion, and drives progress. Agents should always know, at a glance, how they rank against the team’s top performers so they can use the data at their disposal to try to improve their standing.
Next Up: Automating QA to Drive Efficiency and Progress
Manual quality assurance (QA) processes have plenty of downsides for A/R leaders and teams. Among the biggest are the time managers must spend mining data and scoring agents (leaving less time for coaching and training) and agents’ perceptions of bias and unfairness.
For providers with remote teams, automation can turn QA into a less burdensome, more valuable performance management tool. In a future post, we’ll explain how automated QA works and why it’s a must-have for the A/R front line.