Continuous Improvement in Healthcare Cost-Cycle: The Case for Ongoing Recovery Audits

By  David Hewitt, Senior VP of Sales

The healthcare industry is constantly evolving and the practice of conducting a one-time AP Recovery Audit may no longer be enough for healthcare organizations to optimize their cost-cycle processes and avoid missed opportunities. Instead, it may be better to adopt a new perspective and consider recovery audits as an ongoing process.

With an ongoing recovery audit, healthcare organizations can avoid missed opportunities for cost-savings and process improvements, as well as the false sense of security that can come with a one-time audit.

Additionally, by shedding light on dark data, improving cost-cycle processes, and enabling continuous improvement, an ongoing recovery audit can help healthcare organizations achieve their financial goals and provide better care to patients.

First let’s talk about why a one-time audit isn’t optimal.

One of the main issues is that AP Recovery Audits are typically historical in nature. This means they are focused on reviewing past transactions and payments, which may be several months or even years old. As a result, any recommendations or insights that come out of the audit may be out of date and should have been applied much earlier. This can lead to missed opportunities for cost-savings and process improvements.

Another downside of viewing an AP Recovery Audit as a one-time event is that it can give healthcare organizations a false sense of security. If an organization conducts a one-time audit and finds a few errors or inefficiencies, it may assume that those issues have been resolved and move on to other priorities. Without ongoing monitoring and analysis of the cost-cycle process, new issues may arise and go undetected for a long time.

Finally, a one-time audit may identify issues, but it may not provide visibility into the root-cause of those issues. An ongoing AP Recovery Audit can help identify the root-cause of issues, which can be addressed in a timely manner to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future.

Now let’s explore the benefit of an ongoing audit.

One of the reasons why an ongoing recovery audit is so important is because of dark data. Gartner defines dark data as “the information assets organizations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use…”An ongoing AP Recovery Audit can help shed some light on that data before it turns permanently dark and give healthcare organizations illuminated visibility into their cost-cycle processes.

By monitoring and analyzing data on an ongoing basis, organizations can identify potential errors and inefficiencies and take real-time action to address them. And that can lead to continuous improvement, which can ultimately benefit patients and the organization’s financial performance.

To really get the most out of an ongoing AP Recovery Audit, it’s important to look at data through the lens of hindsight, insight, and foresight. Hindsight involves looking at historical data to understand what’s happened in the past. Insight involves using data to gain a deeper understanding of current processes and identify opportunities for improvement. Foresight involves using data to predict future outcomes and make proactive decisions.

Final Thoughts

Healthcare organizations must adopt a new perspective on AP Recovery Audits and view them as an ongoing process to optimize cost-cycle processes and avoid missed opportunities. While a one-time audit may provide some insights, it can also lead to a false sense of security and miss potential cost-savings and process improvements.

An ongoing audit, on the other hand, can shed light on dark data, improve cost-cycle processes, and lead to continuous improvement, ultimately benefiting both patients and the organization’s financial performance.

By looking at data through the lens of hindsight, insight, and foresight, healthcare organizations can make proactive decisions and achieve their financial goals while providing high-quality care.