With the quick onset of COVID-19 during the last few months, the healthcare industry has had to become more innovative than ever to accommodate those who find themselves in need of treatment or testing. This uncharted territory has forced providers and payers to pivot on how and where they provide the best care possible. Here are a few key takeaways from our industry leaders at Signature Performance who have been keeping a close eye on how COVID-19 has not only shifted the healthcare industry’s approach, but also how innovation within the industry has affected treatment plans, access to care and the patient experience.
Allen Fredrickson – CEO/President
Positivity | Strategic | Achiever | Competition | Ideation
What are some of the biggest healthcare innovations you have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Over the last few months, the industry of healthcare has shifted in a way that I don’t think anyone could have imagined due the quick onset of the Coronavirus. Despite this uncertain shift within healthcare, the industry is on the forefront of incredible innovation using an all hands on deck approach. Innovation in healthcare has never been on the leading edge like it is right now as we search for a vaccine for COVID-19. Doctors, frontline workers and insurance companies have become even more agile to ensure those who are in need get the treatment and care they deserve. A few of the biggest innovations I have been following over the last few weeks include the expansion of Telehealth benefits and the immense amount of thought leadership around transforming our business processes and workforce models. I find the dedication of our providers, payers and their families inspiring.
Karen Hudgins – Chief Operating Officer
Achiever | Relator | Arranger | Futuristic | Responsibility
What is the biggest impact COVID-19 has had on providers and payers?
The biggest impact that COVID-19 has had on providers is the loss of revenue from elective procedures. Additionally, many of these hospitals and systems never realized the surge in COVID-19 patients, which has exacerbated the revenue losses. In many cases, hospitals and health systems have been operating at less than 50% of capacity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have been forced to reduce labor costs through furloughs, layoffs, and pay reductions. From the payer perspective, health insurers have had to adapt to the change in business processes brought on by the pandemic; specifically, the changes required to accommodate COVID-19 claim and payment processing. These changes were not anticipated when payer contracts were negotiated for the 2020 plan year and will likely impact cash flow. Payers have also been impacted from delays in payment of insurance premiums and policy cancellations. This, coupled with the cost of coverage for COVID-19 patients, will likely have a profound impact on the profitability of the insurance industry.
Lori Hoffart – Vice President of Provider Operations
Strategic | Focus | Futuristic | Belief | Significance
How has COVID-19 impacted Revenue Cycle Management tasks?
During COVID-19, providers have had a chance to take a closer look or revisit particular areas of their RCM process that could benefit from procedural changes. As a provider, when you are busy or have a backlog of work to do, these overhauls may seem like a daunting task. By figuring out how to do more with less during this down time, when the recovery process of COVID-19 is underway, the procedural changes that are implemented now will only enhance efficiency going forward and amply recovery efforts. Some procedural changes that can be made during this time is cross training for payers. This allows for more flexibility when navigating A/R. By putting in this work now, the healthcare industry will get the biggest bang for their buck.
Rick Pane – Chief Financial Officer
Learner | Analytical | Individualization | Achiever | Responsibility
How do you see providers financially navigating during COVID-19?
One of the most significant impacts of the pandemic was the acceleration of Telemedicine from an evolutionary pace to a revolutionary pace. From a payer perspective, reimbursement fee schedules needed to be established and operationalized for claims adjudication. From a provider perspective, there were a host of challenges such as security, IT infrastructure and simply letting patients know this was an option to name just a few. At the same time the providers needed to make these investments, the preclusion from non-essential services combined with the understandable fear on patients’ part to come out of isolation, took a serious toll on providers’ bottom line. Long-term, Telemedicine will provide a great means for expanding access to care. Short-term, based on my experience, providers simply want to see and care for their patients, and it has taken a herculean effort to accomplish this.
Chris Vairo – Chief Revenue Officer
Activator | Achiever | Competition | Focus | Futuristic
Will providers shift their business approach due to COVID-19?
Hospitals have been doing everything they can to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Clinically, they have been responding to the influx of COVID-19 patients and serving our communities. However, this has also required infrastructure and administrative fluctuations. Hospitals have been seeing 30%-50% reduction in revenue due to the elimination of elective procedures. Due to furloughs and layoffs, hospitals are going to have to consider if they want to be in the healthcare administrative business or focus solely on providing care. As elective procedures start back up, this will require hospitals to bring staff back, hire, and retrain the talent needed. Providers will have to figure out if it makes sense for their facility to fully staff considering we may see another influx of COVID-19 impacts.
Mark Mathia – Chief Experience Officer
Strategic | Maximizer | Relator | Activator | Positivity
How will COVID-19 impact the healthcare experience going forward for patients?
Patient care could see a big shift into prioritizing the virtual experience once the recovery process from COVID-19 is underway. One of the biggest changes during the outbreak of COVID-19 is the emphasis on utilizing Telehealth services. Solving for the gaps that exist in a virtual environment will be critical to establishing and supporting a strong patient experience. The patient experience movement gained momentum when the industry made a move toward patient-centered care. In order to hold steady on progress being made by this movement, virtual environments must continue to focus on delivering high-quality care in a way that creates ongoing trusted relationships with their patients. From an administrative services perspective, patients will see the patient experience expanding until the final bill is concluded. This means that the financial experience will also need to adjust to a new normal in helping patients to feel more informed and in control of the billing process. This will result in more robust methods that drive more transparency, more billing accuracy, and improved ways to simplify the understanding of their charges, coverages, and statements.
Signature Performance is Dedicated to Bending the Curve of Healthcare Costs
At Signature Performance, we are dedicated to making a lasting impact in the nexus of healthcare by inhabiting the payer, provider, federal and community sectors. Our unmatched experience on both the payer and provider side of the business allows our team the opportunity to evaluate healthcare industry issues from a variety of perspectives and create custom solutions that get to the core of the problem. We believe the healthcare industry in the United States deserves only the best, and that sentiment is what motivates our dedicated team to do our very best each and every day. It’s our calling to bend the cost of healthcare administration by improving overall quality and minimizing resources.
Stephanie Hyland is the Brand Experience Strategist at Signature Performance Inc., in Omaha, NE. Signature Performance is an industry leader in reducing healthcare administration costs for private and public healthcare sectors. Our unmatched experience in serving both the payer and provider side of healthcare financial management allows us to implement innovative solutions for every administrative demand.