Running a successful community oncology practice requires juggling both a depth and breadth of skills and knowledge.

I vividly remember my days as a practice administrator as some of the most rewarding and challenging of my career. I worked cross-functionally to make sure my teams were set up for success and our patients had top-notch experiences. Looking back, one particularly challenging day stands out to me. We had several last-minute call-outs and had to shuffle staff to cover all patient-facing roles. As a part of that shuffle, I spent my morning covering the front desk and checking in patients because we were so short-staffed. Meanwhile, bills and insurer escalations that I needed to review were piling up on my desk. We were also in the process of constructing several new exam rooms at our clinic, and our contractor was onsite. When it became clear that there was no easy way to fit X-ray machines into our space, I was called in to problem-solve. Juggling this laundry list of to-do’s was all in a day’s work as a practice administrator!

Community oncology practice administrators and leaders know firsthand that running a financially and operationally successful practice is becoming more challenging by the year. The price of drugs is increasing, while margins continue to shrink. The reimbursement landscape is evolving as payer requirements are becoming more complicated to manage. In fact, one study found that obtaining a prior authorization for outpatient breast chemotherapy required 17 process steps, ten decision points and four to five staff for just one prior authorization. It’s no wonder that community oncology practices require on average six staff members to manage prior authorizations alone. On top of that, with the recent entrance of biosimilars to the market, there are new operational and reimbursement unknowns for practices as payers are coming to the table with a range of preferred products. 

Despite these market and operational challenges, we know that providing cancer care in the local and personalized community setting costs about 15 percent less than the same treatment in a hospital setting.

As a former practice administrator, I’ve seen what it takes to keep a practice’s operations running smoothly while having to jump from analyzing monthly collections to changing light bulbs in the waiting room. We’ve seen and heard these challenges firsthand from practices that have expressed they struggle to drive healthy and sustainable financial performance. They’re also uncertain which current solutions, if any, will be worth the investment for their practice.

We share a mutual goal with our customers of keeping oncologists practicing in the community setting, thus enabling a personalized patient experience and more accessible and cost-effective care. To further that goal, in 2017, Flatiron began building our revenue cycle management offering to provide a solution focused on solving these key pain points in close partnership with our customers. 

It takes more than technology to increase revenue.

On top of committing ourselves to OncoEMR®️, our user-centric EHR, we saw and heard practices’ needs for operational, financial and strategic support. We set out to design a revenue cycle offering that merged analytics, tools and human services to give practices a better, more holistic insight into their overall performance. These actionable insights allow us to identify targeted improvement projects that align with our clients’ evolving business goals. When we take on more of the administrative work, clinicians can devote more of their time to treating patients. Each time we work with a new customer to assess their needs, we’re evaluating new areas of investment to drive the most value for community practices.

Two years in, we have built deep relationships with our revenue cycle clients and are proud of their successes, which include increased and faster revenue realization. On average, our clients have seen a 12 percent increase in revenue year over year and a 43 percent decrease in accounts receivable days.

One of our customers, Eastern Connecticut Hematology & Oncology Associates, felt financial pressure in a competitive hospital market and chose to work with us to expand their revenue cycle expertise. To date, they’ve increased practice collections by 10 percent, with a 25 percent drop in accounts receivable aged over 120 days. You can learn more about our partnership in this case study.

We’re continuing to invest in revenue cycle to help community practices thrive.

We’re incredibly excited about the value this service can drive for our community oncology partners. To empower practice teams and drive performance, the Flatiron Revenue Cycle solution provides:

— Core Billing Processes

— Advanced Practice Analytics

— Change Management Support

— Clinical & Business Workflow Optimization

— Revenue Expansion Services

Having doubled the teams supporting our offering over the last year, we’re continuing to invest in the people and technology that drive our revenue cycle service. If you want to learn more about Flatiron Revenue Cycle Management, check out our website for more information. If you submit your contact information, a member of our team will reach out to start the conversation.

Check out the information below if you’re curious about other Flatiron practice management and revenue cycle resources.

OncoCloud 2019, September 20-22 in Austin, TX | We hope we’ll see many of you at OncoCloud 2019, where we’ll share our revenue cycle best practice content featuring industry leaders.

Practice Management Pulse Newsletter | We also encourage you to subscribe to our Practice Management Pulse Newsletter geared for practice managers and business leaders, where we share industry observations, product updates and market musings.

Author(s)
Vice President, Sales & Services
As the vice president of sales and services at Flatiron Health, Gail oversees sales of Flatiron’s OncoCloud and revenue cycle management software and services, and is also responsible for the RCM offering, which is designed to help increase the financial…
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