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Safeguarding Through Education Featuring FinThrive

July 1, 2024
July 1, 2024

Your revenue cycle staff may not be the first thing that comes to mind for patient safety, but they are actually essential to improving it.  Education is an integral strategy when developing this indispensable team.

During a recent HealthStream webinar, experts shared best practices to help leaders highlight patient safety with their revenue cycle staff. The webinar was moderated by HealthStream’s Caroline Acree, Director of Marketing for Quality and Compliance and featured presenters:

  • Lisa Walter, Senior Manager, Development, FinThrive
  • Danita Arrowood, RHIT, CCS, CCDS, ACDIS-Approved CDI Educator, Content Developer, FinThrive
  • Susan Gurzynski-Wells, MS, RHIA, Director, Product Management, HealthStream

Introducing FinThrive

FinThrive provides structured, personalized training focusing on the revenue cycle experience. Educational content is available for beginning, intermediate and advanced students, and is customized for all types of learners with visual, auditory, and hands-on content.

FinThrive has a dedicated team of subject matter experts who are engaged in ongoing research to ensure that content is up-to-date in the challenging and constantly evolving world of healthcare finance.

Revenue Cycle Management and Patient Safety

At first glance, patient safety and the revenue cycle do not appear to intersect, but revenue cycle staff can have a meaningful impact on patient safety. While everyone in the organization can have an impact on financial efficacy, it is also true that revenue cycle staff are important to outcomes and patient safety. When those staff are scheduling and registering patients, they are responsible for capturing a significant amount of information that becomes part of the patient record.

Arrowood pointed out that patient financial services staff are frequently in a position to discover the existence of duplicate patient records and provide assistance in merging them. They are also able to identify prescription dose errors, incorrect allergy information, incorrect treatment outcomes, and missing lab and pathology reports, all of which can significantly impact patient care and safety. In addition, patient financial staff can identify incorrect patient demographic information and missing or incorrect social determinants of health. Gurzynski-Wells added that inefficient prior authorizations can create delays and even prevent care for patients.

Using Education as a Means of Reducing Risks Associated with Duplicate Records

These experts urged leaders to improve awareness of these issues with education. Simply becoming aware of the downstream impact of this kind of error can make a difference in staff practice. It is essential to build employee understanding of the fact that everything they do impacts the care and safety of the patient and not just their financial experience.

Managing the Master Patient Index

With medical errors estimated to be the third leading cause of death in the U.S., the importance of correctly identifying patients, identity verifications and the elimination of duplicate records becomes more of a priority. Confirming patient data and changing it as necessary helps to ensure that the Master Patient Index (MPI) is correct. Doing so can also help ensure that no one is able to misappropriate another patient’s identity or insurance information which helps reduce the likelihood of insurance refunds, investigations, audits, and sanctions.

Gurzynski-Wells also pointed out that this is an opportunity to record how a patient self-identifies in terms of their gender identity and sexual orientation. Taking the time to do this can help alleviate LGBTQIA disparities in patient care.

Patients who are misidentified for any reason during the course of care are at risk of fragmented or incorrect care that may compromise their health and safety. Walter also pointed out that it can result in a loss of trust which may compromise their willingness to seek needed care in the future.

Clinical Documentation Practices and Their Impact on Financial Efficacy and Patient Care

Arrowood described Clinical Documentation Integrity (CDI) as a chart review process that supports accurate coding, and data collection which, in turn, supports accurate billing. CDI also helps to ensure that data collected for research purposes is accurate. CDI is essential to administrative data collection that supports a clean claims process. The integrity of the data is critical as it supports clinical outcomes, financial performance, and accuracy of patient status information.

Innovative Education Strategies to Equip Staff to Prevent Patient Safety Issues

Education is essential to ensuring that staff are trained on how to prevent some of the patient safety issues created by poor documentation practices. Walter recommended that organizations work to align policies and procedures with the ever-changing regulatory and payor policies She also encouraged organizations to have great onboarding and training programs and additional resources. In addition, Walter recommended random audits to help keep pace with the rapid change in healthcare.

She also encouraged leaders to help revenue cycle staff understand the “why” behind the processes to prevent errors. It is important to help them understand how their work fits into the big picture. Improved opportunities for learning and growth can also translate into improved staff retention.

Improving revenue staff confidence can help ensure reduced denials and improve patient outcomes and safety. To learn more about how HealthStream and FinThrive can help your organization implement more effective revenue cycle education, reach out to HealthStream today.

 

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