March 5, 2019

How to Objectively Compare Revenue Cycle Vendors and Solutions

Evaluating a major technology purchase is difficult, especially in healthcare. Forty-three percent of hospital purchases are made within six months while 45 percent have a sales cycle of seven to 18 months, often involving many influencers and decision makers.1

With so many voices at the table, each with varied interests and priorities, how can a health system evaluate a solution as far-reaching as revenue cycle and patient engagement?

Basing decisions off of vendor websites, sales materials, and demos alone doesn’t give decision makers consistent methodology for comparison. Each vendor will tout different skillsets, features, bundles, pricing, and marketing language that make it impossible to compare one-to-one.

Every vendor is telling you how they are different, but it’s how they are the same that is the key to a fair evaluation.

When it comes to revenue cycle and patient communication solutions, it’s essential to judge vendors using the same set of criteria. Better yet, gather insights from decision makers and end-users of the same technology in organizations like yours to learn how each vendor performed pre- and post-implementation

Thankfully, there are a few trusted healthcare analysts to guide these important decisions.

Objective Vendor Comparison Criteria: What You Need to Know

One dependable way to ensure an objective vendor comparison is to use the same criteria the analysts use. Analysts do the heavy lifting for you and take the guesswork out of vendor comparisons. If you choose to forgo the analyst route, you can still glean insights from their methodologies.

Black Book Market Research, one of the leading independent and unbiased healthcare technology analysts, recently released their 2018 rankings for Patient Communications & Financial Satisfaction Solutions and Patient Revenue Analytics Solutions.

Each of the reports judged vendor quality in four key areas based on customer satisfaction and feedback from nearly 2,700 individual respondents (ranging from CEOs to clinicians) representing over 200 hospitals, nearly 50 healthcare delivery networks, and almost 1,600 physician practices.

Patient Communications & Financial Satisfaction Solutions — Key Functions

  1. Patient Portal
  2. Payment Communications
  3. Payment Solutions
  4. Analytics

Patient Revenue Analytics Solutions — Key Functions

  1. Reimbursement Optimization
  2. Patient Payment Optimization
  3. Denial & Underpayment Analysis
  4. Value-Based Care Support

Each of the reports used 18 key performance indicators to judge customer satisfaction with each vendor. Below are some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you can use when evaluating your revenue cycle or patient communication technology purchase.

Strategic Alignment Between Patient Payment System Vendor and Provider-Client Goals

The most successful provider-vendor relationships are those between organizations that share common goals, values, and visions for what healthcare should be. Don’t be afraid to press vendors on their philosophies, values, and specific strategies for important initiatives, such as MACRA, MIPS, Accountable Care, and Value-Based Care.


Innovation and change can be scary words in healthcare, especially when it comes to technology implementations that impact many sites, individuals, and patient data. Look for vendors that not only innovate in terms of product development but also in how the products are packaged and delivered to provide maximum value and utility.

How is each vendor going to tailor their solution to work efficiently within your organization?

Client Relationship and Cultural Fit: Trust, Accountability, Ethics, and Transparency

This is something that is developed from early sales calls through late-stage presentations. If your leadership team doesn’t get along well with the vendor or you don’t see eye-to-eye on key issues, it can be a deal breaker.

Seek vendors who respect your views but push back with their expertise, as well as people who show respect and gratitude to everyone in your organization, not just the decision makers. Look for vendors who are open to sharing past successes in detail so you can assess whether they can deliver on their promises.

Deployment and Implementation / Integration and Interfaces / Reliability

Look for a vendor who can deliver everything they promise on time and within budget. Request case studies from organizations similar to yours, and speak with references to ask the tough questions:

Did the vendor deliver on time?

Did they perform without excessive supervision?

Did unexpected obstacles derail the implementation?

Were solutions successfully integrated with existing systems?

Was there any unexpected downtime?

Do all systems interface as expected?

Were all service level agreements met?

Was the vendor team responsive and knowledgeable?

Data Security and Backup Services

Data security issues are more prevalent than ever, and revenue cycle holds much responsibility for protecting patient financial information.

Ensure your vendor has the highest-level compliance, certifications, and technology to deliver secure, redundant revenue cycle solutions that keep your organization and patients safe. Research any past data breaches or information mishandling and ask how the vendor has enhanced its security.

Best of Breed Technology and Process Improvement

Take what you’ve learned so far in evaluating vendors based on the above criteria combined with solution demos and presentations and ask yourself: Which vendor has the technology, leadership, and proven results to take your organization to the next level of revenue cycle efficiency?

With the right comparison criteria, you can confidently and objectively compare vendors to make the right technology decisions for your organization. Learn more about the reports mentioned in this post.


RevSpring Can Help

Integrated payment communication is part of RevSpring’s DNA. We tailor the payment conversation to influence behavior and inspire action. Our segmentation rules and workflows help you become hyper-focused on the patient, understanding their ability to pay and mapping their financial obligations to repayment pathways.

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.