SearchAmerica introduces Collection Performance Advisor
Hospitals faced with the complexities of matching patients with payment plans often maintain a stable of several collection agencies and teams, some in-house and some outsourced. Financial managers are then forced to choose the right agency for each account, while also ensuring that the data is correct.
To make the job easier, SearchAmerica, a Minneapolis-based provider of financial clearing services for healthcare providers, has launched Collection Performance Advisor, an analytics-driven software platform that not only guides each account to the appropriate collection team or agency, but also monitors the performance of all collection resources and analyzes the hospital-wide results.
Collection Performance Advisor, which is now being beta tested in three hospitals, is on display at this week's Healthcare Financial Management Association's ANI 2010 conference in Las Vegas.
“Collection results are often better for hospitals when they outsource completely, but they (hospital financial managers) lose control,” said Dan Johnson, SearchAmerica’s president. “What we’re offering is a product that will carve out a third alternative for hospitals.”
Johnson said hospitals can employ upwards of a dozen collection agencies and teams to handle patient accounts, and often lack the ability to track the performance of each team or compare their collections against their peers. By using Collection Performance Advisor, he said, financial managers can track all patient accounts across the enterprise, matching accounts with the appropriate collection resource and even helping in-house collection teams guide patients toward payment plans.
“It may be that one agency is better at late-stage collections,” Johnson said, so Collection Performance Advisor will assign specific accounts to that agency.
In addition, he said, the analytics software contained in the solution will forecast future collection for the hospital, allowing financial managers to plan 30, 60 and 90 days out and spot potential payment problems before they occur.
“We tell them what their bad debt is going to be in the future, and that’s new for them,” he said. “We can tell them the trends in the collectability of their accounts. Hospitals and clinics don’t do a risk analysis of the patient this early in the process.”
Launched roughly 10 years ago with a focus on front-end collections, SearchAmerica was acquired just last year by Experian, a Dublin, Ireland-based provider of decision-making tools that manage credit risk, fraud prevention and credit reports. According to Johnson, the merger helped create a platform that, with Address Checker and Payment Advisor Suite, give hospitals a complete account management system.
Collection Performance Advisor “is a great back-end tool that works in concert with our front-end tools to create an end-to-end solution,” he said. “At a time when patients are owing you more and more money, it’s important that (hospital financial managers) have the tools to stay on top of this.”