By Nicholas Partridge, President; Five Lakes Dental Practice Solutions

Whether you meet in the board room or barroom, having a formal board of directors—or informal advisory board—to provide you strategic advice, guidance, and support can be invaluable.

Critically, your board should be aligned with your practice’s business vision and values. It should also include members with relevant expertise; such as a CPA, attorney, practice-management consultant, and human resources professional or financial advisor.
Now, savvy practices are expanding their advisory boards to include a revenue cycle expert—i.e., a revenue cycle advisor.

What is the Revenue Cycle—And Why Is It So Important?

The revenue cycle encompasses all financial processes used to track episodes of patient care, from initial appointment scheduling to receipt of payment for services rendered—the lifecycle of a patient account.

Practices face a myriad of challenges in the complex and evolving world of dentistry; many of these challenges eat at their business models or business practices—even as they strive to grow amidst dynamic market conditions.

This is why the business of dentistry and your practice’s revenue cycle are more important to your long-term viability than ever.

What Can Having a Revenue Cycle Advisor Do for Me?

Effectively managing your revenue cycle requires a blend of intricate knowledge, precise execution, and ongoing vigilance. A dedicated revenue cycle advisor brings these to the table.

This advisor is a practice’s strategic partner; guiding decisions to carefully manage revenue, cash flow and profitability according to the practice owner’s business goals.

This is so important, I’ll restate it: It’s critical your advisor is aligned with your values and vision.

Help You Make Strategic Business Decisions

Your strategic business decisions should be driven by data from inside and outside your practice. Revenue cycle activities are highly measurable.

A revenue cycle advisor will be able to understand the data that should drive your business decisions and use it to help you make strategic business decisions. Their knowledge and experience understanding market trends enables them to proactively identify potential financial pitfalls and help you make informed decisions to grow your practice.
Deciding to participate in-network, with which plans, and at what reimbursement rates are strategically some of the most important and impactful decisions a dental practice makes. Why? Because your contracting strategy affects five major levers that drive your business:

  • Patient attraction
  • Patient retention
  • Patient conversion
  • Case acceptance
  • Profitability

In other words, your network-contracting strategy is at the core of your revenue cycle. A revenue cycle advisor is steeped in the nuances of contracting and will help you understand how these five levers affect you.

Foster Stronger Relationships with Payers

Negotiating with insurance companies is a critical yet challenging aspect of managing your revenue cycle.

Building and managing healthy relationships with payers is essential; you’ll need payers as partners to help with everything from provider enrollment through patient billing and collections. At the same time, you want to be paid the value of the services you provide.

A revenue cycle advisor brings strong relationships, valuable insight, and negotiation skills to your table that will help you forge better agreements with payers.

Improve Your Practice’s Operational Efficiency

From patient intake and scheduling to billing and collections, the operational aspects of your practice directly impact your revenue cycle.

A revenue cycle advisor can identify inefficiencies in your current processes, recommend improvements, and help you understand how to craft and implement financial policies to ensure optimal practice performance.
By streamlining these processes, your practice can improve cash flow and reduce administrative burdens; as well as enhance patient satisfaction.

Provide Risk Management and Compliance Assistance

In a highly regulated industry, compliance is paramount. A revenue cycle advisor’s knowledge is especially valuable when navigating the complexities of billing, claims management, and payer negotiations.
Having this advisor on your team ensures your practice stays abreast of changes in healthcare laws, payer policies, and coding standards; mitigating risks associated with non-compliance, audits, and of financial penalties.

Be a Catalyst for Growth

Because a revenue cycle advisor can help you optimize your revenue and pave your practice’s road to sustainable growth, you’d be able to confidently invest in the future of your practice.
Your advisor can help you unlock growth opportunities and explore new revenue streams; such as expanding into new services or leveraging technology to enhance patient care and satisfaction.

Empower Your Staff

Beyond strategic guidance, a revenue cycle advisor can provide the training and tools your team needs to manage the revenue cycle efficiently, which will foster a culture of accountability and continuous improvement in your team from front-desk personnel to billing specialists.

Conclusion

As healthcare evolves, the challenges facing dental practices will grow in complexity. Having a revenue cycle advisor on your board of advisors greatly mitigates the daunting task of revenue cycle management and provides you with a strategic advantage, positioning your practice for stability, growth, and long-term success.
The role of a revenue cycle advisor has never been more critical; having a strategic partnership in this focus area can be a game-changer for your practice.

TDA Perks Program-endorsed Five Lakes Dental Practice Solutions can help your practice maximize reimbursements and manage your entire credentialing process. Five Lakes can also help you optimize your revenue and improve your patients’ experience.