A survey of 8074 sleep technologists from the Board of Polysomnographic Technologists has revealed that there is a significant staff shortage in the sleep medicine services. The shortage is growing and the gaps in revenue cycle management are significant. The worsening scenario of sleep study billing services has contributed to major revenue loss for the centers and reduced the quality of the services simultaneously.

Reasons for Sleep Study Billing Staff Shortage

The possible causes of staff shortage are-

  1. Workplace Burnout: With long hours, emotional tolls and extreme stress levels, sleep study specialists are facing several situations that are causing burnout.
  2. Aging population: The increasing aging population, chronic diseases, and increasing mental health issues all are elevating the patient volumes in sleep study centers. This is increasing the burden of clinical responsibilities on your staff. Furthermore, the intricacies in sleep study billing are posing barrier in the efficient execution of the services.
  3. Difficulty in training and onboarding: The specialized area of sleep study billing requires extensive knowledge and understanding of the coding and billing norms for accurate claim submission. Hence there is a requirement of lengthy training process which can be expensive in the long run.

Strategies to Overcome Staff Shortage

  1. Implement technology: Applying advanced technology to optimize workflow is necessary in the digital era. You can consider implementation of electronic health record and data analytics to streamline your sleep study billing operations. This can help you in data management and gain insights into the key metrics of operations.
  2. Current staff retention: Employee turnover is costly for any practice. Consider effective employee retention strategies to mitigate the risks of staff turnover. Employee recognition programs, flexible working conditions and ownership to responsibilities can reduce staff turnover.
  3. Cross-training: Training employees to perform tasks and responsibilities outside their primary job role can be a great way to manage staff shortage in your sleep study practice. You can implement cross training, so that employees can fill in for other employees in any case of staff shortage.

Final Thoughts

Staff shortage in the healthcare industry is a never-ending problem. Along with the clinical responsibilities, the administrative burden is a major contributing factor to staff burnout. Sleep study billing services require specialized expertise and knowledge regarding coding and billing norms and regulations. Therefore, with a massive staff shortage, handling the effective billing services is a major concern for the providers. In this situation, most of the providers like you are opting for outsourced revenue cycle management services. Outsourcing medical coding and billing relieves the stress of administrative burden and provides your staff with a work-life balance. As the team of a genuine RCM organization has extensive knowledge and expertise regarding every step of billing and coding services, you don’t have to bear the overhead expenses anymore. Additionally, you can leverage the benefits of comprehensive technology within your process which will optimize your sleep practice revenue. Having a reliable RCM partner as an extended operational arm can help your practice grow financially and can ensure quality care simultaneously.