The rapid growth of technology is changing nearly every facet of the way we live and work, including the way healthcare is accessed and delivered.
Telehealth is also growing rapidly as more and more healthcare providers discover new ways to connect with coworkers and patients remotely. Healthcare IT facilitates the secure and efficient exchange of data between entities, giving organizations tools to collaborate from any physical location, even from home. The growth of telework and telehealth in the U.S. is resulting on an impact on work-from-home programs in healthcare, and specifically the revenue cycle.
“Technology now allows people to connect anytime, anywhere, to anyone in the world, from almost any device. This is dramatically changing the way people work…”
– Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO, Dell Corporation
Growth of Work from Home in the U.S.
Three out of 5 organizations in the U.S. now offer some form of telecommuting option for employees, according to a recent report from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM).  Telework has grown by 103 percent since 2005, and nearly 4 million people in the U.S. now work from home. Approximately 25 percent of the workforce teleworks at some frequency, and 50 percent holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework. 
Work from Home in the Revenue Cycle
More and more healthcare organizations are following the work from home trend for eligible revenue cycle roles such as scheduling, preregistration, insurance verification, billing and collections. The drivers behind this shift range from employee satisfaction and retention to cost reductions and increased productivity.
In a recent survey of revenue cycle professionals conducted by Vyne, healthcare organizations fell into the following categories in their adoption of telework in the revenue cycle (Figure 1):
- 29%: Innovators/Early adopters (program already in place)
- 36%: Early majority (program in progress)
- 35%: Late majority (considering program)
Respondents said that teleworkers were responsible for the following revenue cycle activities (Figure 2):
- 35%: Authorization/Eligibility
- 35%: Coding
- 25%: Other
- 22%: Pre-registration
- 17%: Scheduling
Respondents said productivity among teleworkers fell at the following percentages:
- 17%: Teleworker productivity at 90-100%
- 42%: Teleworker productivity at 100-105%
- 31%: Teleworker productivity at 105-115%
- 8%: Teleworker productivity at 115-130%
- 2%: Teleworker productivity at 130%+
Implementing a Successful Work from Home Program
Moving a workforce to an at-home environment demands certain considerations, such as a paperless revenue cycle, facility compliance, proper home office environments, secure access, and reliable methods to monitor productivity, compliance and team collaboration.
Factors for success include the following:
- Establishing a paperless revenue cycle process
- Ensuring compliance with hospital procedures and guidelines
- Creating and maintaining proper home office environments and secure remote access
- Monitoring productivity, compliance and team collaboration
- Ensuring employee engagement
- Providing effective training
Learn how Mayo Clinic’s work from home program increased Patient Access productivity from 10 percent to 28 percent.
Leaders track productivity measures such as the number of registrations, pre-registrations/ insurance verifications and estimates performed each hour. Patient Access has observed an increase in productivity from 10 percent up to 28 percent. Mayo Clinic
CHILDREN’S HEALTHCARE OF ATLANTA
Learn how CHOA improved employee satisfaction and productivity by giving staff the option to work from home.
Employee satisfaction has improved due to increased flexibility, cost savings and less time and money spent on a daily commute. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Impact of Work from Home Programs
Up to 90% of the U.S. workforce says they would like to telework at least part time. Most prefer two to three days a week at home to allow for a balance of concentrative work (at home) and collaborative work (at the office).
Having employees work from home results in significant improvements in employee productivity. A recent study of 250 employees by a Stanford University economics professor found that home-based employees worked more than office workers – 9.5 percent longer – and were 13 percent more productive. “They were also judged to be happier, as quitting rates were cut in half.” In addition, employers saved what amounted to $2,000 per employee annually by reducing office space. 
1 SHRM. (2015). 2015 employee benefits: An overview of employee benefit offerings in the United States. Alexandria, VA: Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Documents/2015-Employee-Benefits.pdf
2 American Community Survey (US Census Bureau) conducted by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com (http://globalworkplaceanalytics.com/telecommuting-statistics). Updated January 2016.
3 Global Workplace Analytics: http://globalworkplaceanalytics.com/resources/costs-benefits (long list of stats)
4 The 10th Annual Revenue Cycle Consortium: Learning from leading organizations, PwC, May 5-7, 2015