05:05 AM

TransUnion: Hospitals See Point-of-Service Intelligence as Key to Tackling Growing Revenue Cycle Challenges

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Nov 15, 2012) - A TransUnion Healthcare survey of healthcare executives found that hospitals and health systems across the country see point-of-service (POS) technology as a key tool for managing patient payment challenges threatening their bottom lines. Ninety-three percent of executives participating in the survey said their institutions are either using POS technologies or have plans to invest in them. Most executives surveyed believe increased insight into patient payment ability would have a positive impact on patient payment rates (67%) and collection costs (62%).

"Hospitals are facing revenue cycle management challenges that will only get more difficult as health reform progresses," said Milton Silva-Craig, executive vice president of TransUnion Healthcare. "Hospital executives recognize that they can't get ahead of their financial challenges without getting in front of the revenue cycle, and they realize that point-of-service technologies must be part of the solution."

The growing recognition and use of POS technologies comes at a time when bad debt and patient payment collection costs are becoming an increasingly significant financial threat to hospitals and health systems of all types. More than three out of four respondents said their institutions have seen an increase in bad debt over the past three years, and 86% said bad debt now accounts for more than 2% of their total cost of services.

"These types of costs continue to be front and center in the national dialogue over cost control in healthcare," Silva-Craig said. "Such costs are exacerbated by administrative inefficiency and contribute nothing to care delivery."

To manage these challenges, hospitals are increasingly using predictive analytics and technologies to help estimate patient out of pocket responsibilities, forecast payment ability and improve POS collection. Overall, 61% of executives participating in the survey said their institutions already use POS technologies, and 32% said they plan to invest in them.

Predictive analytics are particularly fast-growing solutions. While 31% of respondents said they currently use predictive analytics to help manage their revenue cycle, another 28% reported that they are in the process of rolling out a predictive analytics solution, and an additional 30% said they are considering them to help manage their revenue cycle.

While use of these advanced technology and data solutions is gaining traction, hospital executives cited a number of significant barriers to implementation of increased demographic and data collection at the point of service. The most cited challenges were cost of systems (63%) and increased staff workload (59%); whereas patient dissatisfaction with privacy (34%) and patient dissatisfaction with costs (36%) were cited less often.

"TransUnion's research shows that hospital executives are recognizing the long-term value of putting the right data and technology infrastructure in place early on," Silva-Craig said. "The timing is no coincidence. Those institutions that become smarter about the front-end of their revenue cycle will be better equipped to handle the period of historic change that lies ahead of them."

About the Survey

In conjunction with Oxford Economics, TransUnion's national revenue cycle management survey reviewed responses from 101 hospital and health system executives, just over half of whom are C-level executives. Respondents represent a range of health organizations, including private non-profit, public non-profit and for-profit. The survey analysis looked at the state of revenue cycle management technology in the healthcare industry. Responses were collected in July 2012.

About TransUnion Healthcare

TransUnion Healthcare, a wholly owned subsidiary of credit and information management company TransUnion, empowers providers and payers with instantaneous intelligence by providing data and analytics at the point of need. In the provider market, TransUnion offers a series of data solutions designed to move critical decision making to the front-end of the revenue cycle process. In the payer market, TransUnion offers healthcare analytics and reporting solutions to help payers meet their reporting needs, control costs and improve the overall health of their members. www.transunionhealthcare.com