When Allscripts began the process of designing our new Sunrise Financial Manager (SFM), we had the rarest of opportunities…the chance to start over with hindsight.

Our plans included moving SFM to the same technology platform as our clinical solutions. Tapping clinical data as part of the revenue cycle is a smart way to boost cleaner claims and more timely payments.

More exciting was the chance to do something really special with the solution. The move to the new platform meant essentially starting with a blank sheet, sketching out what to carry forward and what to leave behind from the existing solution.

Our goal: to develop a new patient financial system that dynamically addresses the changing health care landscape, now and in the future.

So, we looked to the collective knowledge of the people closest to the realities of managing revenue cycle management, our clients.

Recruiting the team

First, we created a profile of the client input team, making sure to include representatives from various aspects of the health care industry:

  • Multi- and single-facility health care systems
  • Teaching and non-teaching institutions
  • Specialty facility
  • Allscripts Sunrise Financial clients and other financial system users
  • Allscripts Sunrise Clinical clients and other clinical system users
  • Institutional and professional billing environments

Our deliberate approach about who to invite made sure we incorporated the most relevant voices in solution’s development.  It also ensured that relevant health systems could look at this list and see themselves somewhere in that profile.

Unfiltered feedback from beginning to end

Since we began, it’s safe to say the client input team has reviewed every design and piece of software on the path to the final solution.

This committed team combed through all workflows, conceptual designs, and software specs from beginning to end. Feedback often resulted in Allscripts going back to the drawing board, retooling a feature, then reviewing and revising until there agreement was reached.

Initially, the team met monthly, in person at the Allscripts Boston office, and via conference calls and web meetings. As the development progressed, meetings moved to every six weeks and remained a constant component of our development process.

The ultimate users group

I came to think of this approach as the ultimate users group. The team provided key insights during the development of the solution, guiding Allscripts to a revenue cycle management solution that automates more and addresses problems currently unsolved in the industry.

The margins on which health care providers operate are very small; so better cash flow is critical. By leveraging the collective knowledge of key members of the industry, I’m confident we’ve built a patient financial system that automates more of the revenue cycle and increases efficiencies in the business office.

It’s an approach Allscripts will definitely use again to incorporate the right foresight into future releases.

Have you had experience providing feedback on the development of a healthcare solution? Was it a positive experience? Did you see your input in the final solution?

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About the author

As Vice President of Product Management for Revenue Cycle Solutions, Kathleen is responsible for the creation of new revenue cycle solutions that push the envelope around the potential for automation in the revenue cycle and business office. Kathleen has experience in IT from both a hospital and vendor perspective and has been in the Healthcare IT industry for 28 years.

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