Productivity. The mere mention of the word elicits a variety of reactions throughout a business office. How we measure and drive productivity can have a significant impact on metric performance, as well as team morale. Topics such as how to measure multiple actions taken on an account, accounts worked numerous times each day, complex vs. straightforward account populations, and group vs. individual productivity standards are just some of the issues that need to be addressed as part of an effective productivity management tool.
Thankfully, Epic’s Account Activities can help drive productivity performance, improve productivity measurement, and provide a quality component to increase transparency with staff. Below is a breakdown of design considerations to be leveraged when completing an activity code build/enhancement in Epic to further drive productivity performance and reporting.
Epic Activity Code Tip #1 – Determine what to measure.
There are a lot of different ways to measure productivity in a business office including total touches, number of unique accounts, and accounts resolved. Understanding what you want to measure and hold team members accountable for will help drive the design of your activity code build. This will also impact how to best utilize Epic’s standard productivity reporting package. Example questions to ask include:
- Do I want to measure what was done, the current status of the account, or both?
- Do I need separate measurements (dedicated activity codes) for each functional area in the business office?
- How do I want to handle multiple actions taken on an account?
Epic Activity Code Tip #2 – Drive automation to improve quality and productivity.
Activity codes have extensive automation functionality known as Billing actions. These actions can be implemented to drive efficiency and thus improve quality and productivity for staff. Examples of automated functionality include:
- adding billing indicators,
- sending letters or statements,
- routing to workqueues for review,
- outsourcing/insourcing accounts,
- changing an account class, and
- combining accounts.
The more we allow the system to do for us, the higher our overall productivity, and the less chance there are for errors.
Epic Activity Code Tip #3 – Develop canned / smart notation to drive volume.
Leverage default notation and smart text within the activity code to ensure that all relevant data points are addressed while, at the same time, reducing the time required for notation and improving notation consistency across the team. Canned notes provide a template for staff to fill out based on the specific activity code while smart text can automatically pull in specific information such as the date, payor, patient name, etc. These items combine to improve notation quality while simultaneously leading to improved productivity output.
Epic Activity Code Tip #4 – Utilize activity weighting to add a quality component.
Implement activity scores to quantify the difficulty of the action taken by the team. Those activities that are more difficult, such as submitting an appeal, are weighted higher compared to those activities that require less time, such as calling a patient and leaving a message. This score is a default reporting metric within Epic’s standard productivity reporting package and can be used in combination with the number of accounts worked to understand if staff are taking effective steps towards account resolution.
Epic Activity Code Tip #5 – Eliminate the e-mails between departments.
When combined with an effective workqueue design methodology, Epic’s activity codes contain the ability to auto-route accounts between departments for things such as medical records, demographic verification, appeals, etc. Effectively utilizing this functionality can route accounts to the appropriate workqueues in Epic, eliminating the need to send a supplemental e-mail or get up and walk to someone’s desk.
- Understanding what and how you want to measure productivity is a critical first step in activity code development.
- Workflow modifications may be required to effectively implement activity code utilization and productivity reporting.
- Activity weighting and automation are underutilized functionalities at many Epic clients and have opportunity to greatly enhance productivity performance and department quality through error reduction.
- Accurate routing and workqueue rules are critical to ensure that the functionality is aligned with the design structure of your activity codes.
For more information related to Epic optimization or revenue cycle management, please contact Kevin at KBlanchard@PinnacleHCA.com.