Even in the best of times, revenue optimization is usually top of mind for most healthcare leaders. And as we continue to pull out of a global pandemic, and struggle with workforce challenges that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic, that concern is likely more pressing than ever. And what’s worse, the healthcare revenue strategies that worked yesterday won’t necessarily still work.
The situation isn’t just difficult but also constantly changing, and it takes real expertise and a bird’s eye view to seize the opportunities needed to maximize revenue today. With that in mind, here are 9 key healthcare revenue strategies that leaders can adopt today, to better ensure their longevity in the months and years to come.
9 Key Healthcare Revenue Strategies
Too often, financial concerns lead healthcare organizations scrambling to cut costs in ways that may not actually be helpful in the long run. While curbing discretionary spending is a fine tactic for short-term frugality, it can work against you in the long term by preventing you from pursuing other healthcare revenue strategies.
Instead of reactionary cuts to your workforce, whether administrative or clinical, or other painful short-term cuts, consider tackling the methods below to shore up revenue with more careful, targeted management of mid-revenue cycle.
#1 Focus on staff retention, not workforce cutbacks
Turnover among clinical staff is a persistent drain on pretty much every facility’s finances. Nurse turnover alone has been estimated to cost hospitals as much as $6.5 million per year on average. And with nurses more in demand than ever, and many leaving their current jobs to work lucrative travel nursing assignments — or leaving the profession altogether — turnover has become an urgent challenge.
Making worker retention an operational priority can help prevent the loss of revenue from training expenses and loss of provider coverage. It’s also a strategy that can boost revenue by promoting better outcomes, with studies showing that healthcare workers who have higher levels of job satisfaction provide better patient care.
> Pro Tip: 5 Tips for Supporting Nurses & Clinical Staff During a Crisis
#2: Invest in a more proactive workforce management
In addition to retaining valuable staff, investing in a more reliable and proactive process for sourcing and recruiting new workers can help protect your facility against unexpected gaps in coverage. And if you invest in a reliable workforce partner with nationwide reserves of workers, you’ll be better prepared to meet a variety of potential needs, from crisis response workers to per diem nurses, and many others.
> Pro Tip: Partner with a Healthcare Workforce Solutions Provider to Maximize ROI
#3: Ensure long relationships by nurturing patient satisfaction & loyalty
Boosting your ability to retain and employ top workers is also an effective way to bolster patient satisfaction and loyalty. And either of those factors — they’re not the same thing — can also help you earn repeat business and referrals at a time when patients are choosier than ever before.
Higher levels of patient satisfaction can also lead to better outcomes, further maximizing revenue by helping organizations reap more reimbursement from CMS’ value-based care rules.
> Pro Tip: 4 Strategies for Improving the Patient Experience
#4: Address the threat of shortages with backup contingency staff
The pandemic has only accelerated the nationwide nursing shortage, which had been building momentum for decades before Covid-19 struck. In addition to contributing to turnover costs, a general shortage of clinical workers could mean cut corners and lapses in standards — both of which can absolutely impact your bottom line.
Making use of contingency staff like travel nurses is a time-honored method of ensuring flexibility and continuity of care all throughout the year. And it’s become even more so since the pandemic made the staffing situation even more volatile. Contingency staffing also provides a way for rural and remote facilities to get access to the professionals they need to function in an efficient, revenue-friendly way.
> Pro Tip: Reliably Source Contingency Workers with a Dedicated Healthcare Staffing Partner
#5: Re-assess the way you bill and manage temporary and contingency staff
Given the complexities and challenges of today’s healthcare workforce, it usually isn’t enough to just find a source for temporary or contingency staff. It’s also crucial to make sure they’re managed in a way that maximizes the value you gain, at every stage of the process, from onboarding through to discharge.
For that reason, more and more healthcare organizations are turning to healthcare managed service providers (MSPs) to more closely and cost effectively manage every aspect of their contingency workforce.
> Pro Tip: Streamline Your Workforce Management with Healthcare MSPs
#6: Rethink your vendor management solutions
From basic administrative tasks to advanced IT and workforce management tasks, many healthcare leaders rely on third-party vendors to fulfill key parts of their operations. But managing them efficiently, and for maximum ROI, can be tough. A vendor management solution meets this challenge by consolidating all of your partners into one cost efficient, easy-to-manage line item.
> Pro Tip: 5 Benefits of Partnering with a Healthcare VMS Provider
#7: Do everything you can to prevent clinician burnout
According to an estimate published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, factors “attributable to burnout” among doctors cost the U.S. more than $4.5 billion. And that figure was from 2019, before high-stress pandemic conditions took years of emotional toll on healthcare workers.
In other words, burnout among clinical staff can take a big toll on revenue — errors, higher turnover and loss of referrals are just a few of the ways. Taking proactive steps to curb burnout and compassion fatigue could not only boost retention, but also have a major positive impact on your bottom line.
> Pro Tip: 7 Ways to Prevent Burnout & Compassion Fatigue
#8: Invest in professional development for your staff
Retaining key staff is one thing. It’s another to actively invest in them, providing the development opportunities they need to grow and to master the skills and specialties that they choose to pursue. Better yet, this doesn’t just ensure a highly proficient clinical staff. It also helps ensure worker job satisfaction, which can translate to higher levels of patient satisfaction, too.
“There are truly few investments we can make in our people that would not have an ROI if we do them sincerely and well,” as Denise Chamberlain of Edward-Elmhurst Health said to HealthLeaders Media’s David Weldon. “We can actually save money by investing in development.”
> Pro Tip: 4 Tips for Nursing Professional Development
#9: Revisit your cybersecurity stance, stat
Healthcare is the hottest target for hackers, offering a more valuable prize in private data than most other industries. Leaders are urged to adopt a “when not if” mentality, which means carving room in the budget now for tougher cybersecurity measures. Given the million of dollars in lost revenue that providers regularly pay out after being compromised, it seems like a smart investment.
> Pro Tip: 4 Urgent Cybersecurity Lessons for Healthcare Leaders
Need Help Implementing Healthcare Revenue Strategies That Work?
For decades, CareerStaff has led the field in healthcare workforce solutions that actually work for the businesses we serve. Whether you represent a hospital or health center, skilled nursing or long-term care facility, or a variety of other care organizations, we’ve got the expertise you need to guide you through the workforce challenges you face today, and those in the years to come.
You can learn more about our workforce solutions here, or get the ball rolling by submitting a staffing request now.