Hospitals are spending more on technology to manage revenue, but most aren’t realizing the benefits

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Despite bigger technology budgets, hospital CFOs aren't fully utilizing new upgrades.

The majority of hospitals are devoting more dollars to technology to support revenue cycle management, but few are realizing the full potential of those systems, and EHRs may be to blame.

Nearly three-quarters of health system chief financial officers and revenue cycle management executives said their technology budget is increasing, according to a survey by Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and Navigant. Nearly a third said their budget was increasing more than 5%.

Revenue integrity, clinical documentation and business analytics were among the top focus areas for healthcare executives, and the majority of priorities outlined by respondents relied on technology.

But 51% of survey respondents said they aren’t getting the most out of those systems because they could not keep up with EHR upgrades or because they were underutilizing the functions that are available. Providers also struggled to track the impact of the technology they were purchasing, with 41% indicating they do not measure a technology’s effectiveness.

“As new technologies are implemented, it is critical to understand and plan for linkages across clinical and financial activities to optimize workflow and reporting in both environments,” Mary Beth Briscoe, CFO of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Hospital and UAB Medicine Clinical Operations said in an announcement. “By adopting a holistic approach to technology evaluation and design, providers should benefit from automation, scale, and process improvement, thus positively impacting quality and financial outcomes.”

Texas-based Wise Health has identified a data-driven approach to revenue cycle management that improved clinical documentation led to an uptick in patient satisfaction.