Boating and Revenue Cycle Outsourcing: What They Have in Common

As someone with experience in boating and revenue cycle outsourcing, I can’t help but notice some similarities between the two seemingly unrelated activities. How so? Let me illustrate.

The First of the Two Happiest Days

When the pandemic hit, boat sales skyrocketed as people sought out outdoor activities to enjoy while social distancing. Many people experienced the first of the two happiest days of a boater’s life – the day they bought their boat. Boat lots, sales docks, and boat shows faced inventory challenges as people were buying them up like crazy.

Similarly, as hospitals emerge from the pandemic, times are tough, and many are turning to revenue cycle outsourcing for potential cost savings, collections improvements, and headache relief. The announcements of new outsourcing deals are increasing in number and these hospitals are experiencing the first of their two happiest days with outsourcing – getting the deal done.

The Second of the Two Happiest Days

As new boaters got into the sport, many adopted the lifestyle and had a blast. To do so, they had to embrace the partnerships required to keep things afloat and working – contracts for a slip, regular service from a diver, a great crew to wash and wax the boat, and so on. Many others did not forge these partnerships and are having much less fun and experiencing the dismay of not knowing about the boating “lifestyle.” As a result, many of these folks experienced the second happiest day of their boating journey – the day they sold their boat.

In the outsourcing world, few who jumped into the water since the pandemic have opted out, but the industry is rife with examples where earlier adopters have opted out as the experience was not what was expected. Talk to any of the organizations that left an outsourcing deal (and there are many!), and most will tell you that it was equally or even more satisfying than the day they signed the outsourcing deal!

The Lesson(s) Learned

So why do some boaters love the lifestyle, while others relish their sale of the boat? Much has to do with fully understanding what they were getting into and being willing to put in the time to manage the journey. Additionally, part is related to having done the proper diligence on selecting a boat that fit their needs and had a track record for providing a good product.

The above is true for outsourcing – hospitals need to know what they are getting into, be willing to manage the partnership, and choose a reputable partner that will work collaboratively with you on the outsourcing journey.

In conclusion, there are some striking similarities between boating and revenue cycle outsourcing. Both require a willingness to embrace partnerships and manage the journey. In the coming months, I will share some added lessons on what makes for a successful and/or, a more common outcome, an unsuccessful revenue cycle outsourcing partnership. Stay tuned!

About The Author

Pat Wulf has worked in revenue cycle for over 30 years. His experience includes co-developing the business plan and becoming the COO for one of the first “end-to-end” revenue cycle outsourcers.   Since founding Health Care Program Advisors, Pat has consulted for Accretive (now R1) and Optum 360 in their early development and initiating services to their clients.  He has provided advisory service to several clients in both initial negotiation and the termination of their outsourcing agreements and worked with many on enhancing their partnerships with their outsourcer.