JESSE FORD, MBA

 
With revenue cycle complexity continuing to grow, there seems to be an endless need to keep staff up to speed and able to put best practices into play. Unfortunately, the vast array of payers, each with their own anomalies in claims responses, use of claims adjustment segment and remark codes and, often, differing terminology on their websites and in correspondence, make it nearly impossible to keep up with defining optimal processes, let alone effectively train staff on them. It’s just as challenging to ensure that staff retain what they learn.

As a revenue cycle services company, Salud Revenue Partners knows our most precious asset is our people. We have embarked upon a quest to have the best trained staff in the industry, so we’ve been researching and analyzing opportunities to improve. We review the quality of staff work to identify additional training needs, and incentivize quality results. Salud has an extensive library of training materials, schedules frequent training sessions, and has ongoing quality reviews followed by immediate feedback and advice.

We also seek feedback from our team, which has uncovered an important finding; even as we dedicate more resources and attention to training, employees may not be satisfied with it. Perhaps our biggest challenge in training and retention is adapting our approaches to engage the four generations in our workforce; traditionalists, baby boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials.

Millennials want just-in-time learning
In the article “Designing Learning for Millennials,” the author, Akanksha Sharma, writes: “While most companies are still clinging to the traditional formal and sporadic talent development practices, they do not resonate with how Millennials prefer to learn today. Millennials choose to learn in new and different ways. For them, formal learning doesn’t contribute much to substantial retention and they expect more informal, just-in-time learning sources to acquire and assimilate knowledge. For them, context is more important than content.”

Other authors echo this message, adding that baby boomers may favor more traditional and static training methods like PowerPoint presentations and handbooks, while younger workers may gravitate towards more interactive, technology-based forms of learning. Others contend that new methods of training, preferred by Millennials, work well for all generations.

Understanding the need for interactive training tools does not solve the challenge of keeping training up to date in a highly dynamic healthcare environment. At Salud, we decided that we needed to create a new approach, and change our culture, through a few guiding principles:

  • Employees need to be personally accountable for their education and career development
  • We must provide tools for employees to learn what they need to know
  • We must continuously maintain the tools

Participatory education
We are transforming our culture to ensure that staff can independently resolve the challenges they face.
As part of our transformation, Salud increased employee involvement in developing their tools. Instead of top-down process improvement, we engage interested staff and gave them permission to spend time on research and problem-solving instead of focusing only on worklists. Our collaborative teams created tools to guide decision-making, but using language and categories that they defined and understood.
We also reinforced structures that ensure staff can communicate what they want, when they want, and the way they want, such as through individual and group meetings, suggestion boxes, and semi-annual staff satisfaction surveys.

By monitoring our environment and adapting to generational differences, we at Salud are more effectively navigating our complex training environment, advancing the skills and satisfaction of our most valuable asset, our staff.

 
Jesse Ford, MBA, is President and CEO of Salud Revenue Partners, Lafayette, Ind., a revenue cycle services and technology company serving the healthcare industry. He can be reached at 765-637-2404 or jford@saludrevenue.com.