December 11, 2018

Big Data and Hospital Revenue Cycle: What to Look for in 2019

We hear it discussed at every revenue cycle conference and read about it on every blog these days — “big data” has reached maturation and begun to transform the hospital revenue cycle. It’s critical to understand big data’s current state and how we can expect it to evolve in the future.

We’ve taken a look at some of the past happenings at the intersection of revenue cycle and big data and have come up with our predictions for the coming year.

Redefining the Revenue Cycle

At one time, big data was arguably just a tool, but today, it’s changing the revenue cycle itself.

This is thanks to an onslaught of registration issues, millions of transactions, changes in payer rules, and increasingly resource-intensive processes.

Revenue cycle challenges have gotten too big for most manual approaches, leaving many leaders to turn to machine learning and artificial intelligence solutions that transform big data challenges into opportunities.

2019 is set to become one of the first years where big data technology sits at the forefront of the revenue cycle, and everyone from the local CIO to HIMSS thought leaders are getting ready.

A Shift to Small Data

If you needed more proof that we’re reaching big data maturity, the rise of “small data” should help convince you. Brace yourself for analytics solutions that are focused on hospital specialties, most notably in the area of billing discrepancies.

Forbes predicts that by the end of 2019, half of all healthcare companies will have at least some amount of resources dedicated to the access, sharing, and analysis of real-world evidence to leverage across their organizations.

For the revenue cycle, this particularly applies to operational automation around patients and payers. Keep an eye out over the next two to three years for the convergence of AI and analytics that will push us further into mainstream adoption.

New Productivity Tools

With tightening margins and shifting reimbursement, productivity stands to be a major revenue cycle focus in 2019, with some impressive tools coming along with it.

AI has been slow to show fruit on the clinical side, but the revenue cycle — with its repetitive nature and high-volume workflows — is the perfect place for hospital leaders to see real return on their big data dollars.

Right now, leaders are looking for education and understanding around implementation in the AI space and asking key questions regarding vendor selection, resource assessment, and support needs. Expect to see more answers to those questions, especially in the form of reducing errors and curbing inefficient use of employee time as we close out the second decade of this century.

Additionally, look for small data and advanced analytics to be used to raise productivity through gamification and incentivized performance feedback.

Digging Into Consumerism

Last year, the industry fell short of bringing big data analytics to scale. In 2019, expect to see more progress on that front.

Healthcare organizations have invested time and money in identifying their weak spots, and many are now in a position to grow beyond first level implementation of analytics and start answering real consumerization questions, moving from a descriptive approach to predictive and prescriptive.

Expect to see new applications around revenue cycle staples like billing communication, but also newer approaches like integrated merchant services solutions, which can all benefit from a more informed, value-focused, and consumer-centric perspective.

Especially in the age of value-based care, anticipate more emphasis on engagement profiling that mirrors what we see in the retail vertical.

Overall, it’s reasonable to expect big data to become a major player in maintaining a healthier revenue cycle ecosystem, but also in aligning the patient’s financial experience with their needs and goals in other aspects of their healthcare journey.

RevSpring Can Help

RevSpring is a leader in patient communication and payment systems that tailor engagement touch points to maximize revenue opportunities in acute and ambulatory settings. Since 1981, RevSpring has built the industry’s most comprehensive and impactful suite of patient engagement, communications and payment pathways backed by behavior analysis, propensity-to-pay scoring, intelligent design and user experience best practices.

If you’d like to learn more about our comprehensive patient engagement and billing solutions, we’d love to help you. Request a demo to see how we can help your organization meet its goals.