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By Jay Asser for Health Leaders
Coming off the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, providers are doubling down on software investments and prioritizing revenue cycle management to alleviate macroeconomic challenges, according to a report from Bain & Company and KLAS.
The research finds that 45% of providers accelerated software investment over the past year, with 10% pulling back on spending, to better deal with the current climate consisting of labor shortages, inflation, and organizational changes like mergers and acquisitions and leadership turnover.
Software is a top five strategic priority for nearly 80% of provider organizations and a top three priority for almost 40% as providers seek solutions to increase productivity and automate tasks.
More than 95% of providers expect to make new software investments over the next year, with one-third planning significant new investments. Roughly another third indicate they plan to spend more than usual over the next 12 months due to the challenge of the current environment.
Revenue cycle management is at the top of the list for where those investments will go. Half of providers chose revenue cycle as a top-five priority for investment over the next year, followed by security and privacy (44%), patient intake/flow (44%), clinical systems (40%), and telehealth (36%).
Authors of the report highlight that revenue cycle management software is essential for smaller provider organizations that have to navigate complex payer landscapes and catch up to health systems, as well as for larger health systems that need to continue to make investments in outsourcing and adoption of software modules such as complex claims and artificial intelligence.
“Providers of all types cited RCM as a top priority for the next year, pointing to a broad set of specific priorities, including revenue integrity, charge capture, and complex claims, and underscoring a robust set of RCM needs across the provider ecosystem,” the report states.
While there is no shortage of software solutions on the market, over 50% of providers say they are struggling with the flood of offerings, while a quarter claim their current tech stacks are keeping them too busy to update to new offerings.
In response, 72% of providers plan to look to existing vendors with proven solutions before considering new vendors. Additionally, around 71% plan to look to their electronic medical records for new solutions before looking to others, and 63% are making plans to streamline the number of third-party software solutions in their tech stacks over the next 12 months.