This blog post is taken from a recent HealthLeaders podcast moderated by HealthLeader’s Revenue Cycle Editor, Amanda Norris. The podcast featured Susan Gurzynski-Wells, MS, RHIA, HealthStream’s Director of Product Management, Leadership and Finance.
Revenue cycle growth and the personal and professional development of your staff might seem somewhat unrelated, but Gurzynski-Wells makes a compelling case that the two are actually highly related. In this podcast, she addresses the importance of investing in your employees and yourself in terms of continuing education as cultivating personal and professional growth is critical to revenue cycle success.
Norris led off with a tough question – how has the “great resignation” affected our leaders’ ability to lead? Gurzynski-Wells acknowledged that the pandemic has changed nearly everything about our lives, but the changes are particularly profound in the workplace where large numbers of employees left jobs to find work that was more in alignment with their values. Gurzynski-Wells observed that “employees left to find meaningful work and that mental health and wellness took on a whole new importance to employees which created a new challenge for leaders.”
Still, with many healthcare organizations facing significant financial difficulties in the wake of what is hopefully the worst of the pandemic, why should these organizations incur the cost of education? Gurzynski-Wells cited a Harvard Business Review study that found that 49% of employees who either changed roles or were promoted were under-performing 18 months into their new roles. So, what is the root cause for such a disappointing metric?
Researchers found that there was very little onboarding of these employees. The issue was compounded by the fact that so many employees were working from home while moving into their new roles. Therefore, they were removed not just from formal onboarding processes, but also the informal relationships that may have been valuable to them in their new roles.
“High turnover, changing resource pools, and the virtual environment have combined to decrease our levels of comfort in managing and training our staff,” said Gurzynski-Wells. She went on to share that she believes education is critical to success in the current business environment. “We need to foster staff competencies, allow and encourage employee growth and development. Leaders also need to offer opportunities to learn, including opportunities to learn beyond current job responsibilities,” said Gurzynski-Wells. She went on to point out that employees want to find meaningful work and that organizations need to provide support both collectively and individually in terms of growth and development.
Next, Norris asked about who can benefit from education. Gurzynski-Wells encouraged healthcare leaders to think beyond the clinical education that is critical in healthcare. Patient safety and great outcomes are important, but “we should also be looking for positive outcomes for our staff and leaders,” said Gurzynski-Wells. She also pointed out that in many organizations revenue staff have been covering positions during staff shortages. Revenue staff likely also want to advance within the organization and encouraging revenue staff to cultivate their leadership skills is a great place to start.
While Gurzynski-Wells acknowledged the vast number of choices in revenue cycle management technology and the importance of that technology in revenue cycle management, she also encouraged leaders to remember that it is really the people that make that technology work for the organization. More importantly, the people make that technology work for patients. “They serve as an early warning system when there are problems with the technology and they are the ones that make patients feel comfortable and heard,” said Gurzynski-Wells.
While investments in technology are essential to revenue cycle management and growth, there are some things that technology simply cannot do. It is unlikely that the organization’s technology can truly understand consumerism in healthcare or the differing needs and expectations of patients. Technology also cannot deliver complex resolutions, participate in contract negotiations or understand the constantly-changing regulatory landscape in healthcare. However, people can do these things making the need for real investment in their education even more apparent.
“Business continuity is built on a well-trained and evolving workforce. Continuity develops from the sharing of institutional knowledge and internal networking which, in turn, cultivates a resilient team which builds connections and supports internal growth,” said Gurzynski-Wells.
HealthStream has partnered with several leaders in the education industry to provide development and education across a wide spectrum of employees. “We have education plans for new, emerging and experienced leaders alike,” said Gurzynski-Wells. The training is personalized and targeted. It is also engaging, using interactive games and engaging videos to help your organization optimize your revenue cycle management and growth.
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