From the doctors working with patients to the staff meeting individuals at the front desk, the healthcare industry has been seeing the incredible benefits of new technology firsthand. No longer solely the purview of Silicon Valley, advances such as AI and data analytics tools are helping provide better care and make hospitals and practices more efficient. It’s important to note, though, that it isn’t only the IT department bringing these crucial changes to their organizations. As vice president of revenue cycle and revenue integrity, Bradley Tinnermon has ensured Phoenix-based health system Banner Health can incorporate these tools without having to outsource or lose control of their processes.
Coming out of college, Tinnermon knew he could make an important impact in the healthcare industry. He had family members in administrative positions in healthcare but ultimately opted to cut his teeth in the consulting world. “I had some great conversations with my uncle about the best way to get experience with health systems on the financial side, and I felt I would be able to gain more experience in a short timeframe if I started with a strong consulting firm,” he says. “Rather than learning from a single health system, I could learn from systems across the country seeing different strategies and situations.”
Throughout that time, Tinnermon continued to learn and grow, adding on to the strong base set at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He eventually focused on outsourcing operations for hospitals and physician groups, working closely with health systems and vendors. But though he felt good about the work he was doing to help these organizations, Tinnermon knew he’d eventually want to move into an executive position within a health system instead of consulting on the outside.
After holding vice president-level roles at revenue cycle organizations like Conifer Health Solutions and Optum360, Tinnermon joined Banner Health as vice president of revenue cycle and revenue integrity in 2017. Among the many changes that came with the move, Tinnermon loved the connection it gave him to the community and how his work impacted the patients and families served.
In addition, the new role meant that Tinnermon would have the opportunity to work closely with a new team, fully exercising the leadership skills he’d amassed across his consulting work. While the bottom line of the organization is important, he’s just as focused on developing a positive experience for the employees of Banner Health. “I’m a metric-driven person, but I also enjoy mentoring team members and ensuring they have a genuine career path,” Tinnermon says.
Most important, though, is focusing the team’s work on the connection to the patient and the healthcare mission. “Our teams interact with patients and families that are scared, confused, vulnerable, appreciative, and, at times, upset,” he says. “Our job is to make the financial component of their care as transparent and as easy to understand as possible.”
“Bradley Tinnermon is tireless in supporting Banner’s patients,” says Jeff Podraza, lead attorney at Specialized Healthcare Partners. “Every overturned insurance denial is a win for both the patients and Banner.”
One chief element of ensuring that the patient has the best experience with Banner Health comes through ensuring that every team’s processes are up to date with the best technologies. For Tinnermon, that means utilizing automating workflow robotics and AI-enabled tools to help his team members work more efficiently. In addition, Banner has started to add technology that will help patients interact with the system in more fluid, seamless ways; today.
These tools, he stresses, aren’t being utilized to replace team members, but rather to take over the mundane tasks those team members had to perform and to free them up to do more advanced analysis, evaluation, and human interaction.
Tinnermon and his team come to these developments through a process that they call the “idea factory.” The team brings ideas for evaluation, and then they determine how exactly those ideas would benefit the organization. The team starts by documenting the process or program that would be impacted, what the financial benefit would be, implementation timeframes, and cost, he says.
Then, they determine implementation and operating expenses, including implementation resources, software expenses, project management, and other specialists.” Once they gather that data for the idea factory, they can make an informed decision. Anyone within the organization has the opportunity to present a proposal through the idea factory, and projects are prioritized based on value and resource assessments.
Though he had previously specialized in outsourcing processes for health systems, Tinnermon and Banner have chosen to keep their revenue cycle and financial operations processes in-house. “I know what it takes to deliver those services at scale with a level of efficiency and performance,” Tinnermon says. “So, we focused on methods that would allow us to utilize some of those approaches while retaining complete control of our revenue cycle.” While they do occasionally partner with organizations for outside help, the flexibility that Tinnermon and his team have instilled in the revenue cycle allow Banner to maintain control and adapt quickly.
“Brad and his team are focused on delivering the most innovative, effective revenue cycle possible,” says Sloan Clardy, president, technology solutions at nThrive. “nThrive’s suite of revenue cycle management technology, powered by predictive analytics and machine learning, enable Banner to reduce complexity and better serve its important mission.”
These processes also allow Banner to provide an increased level of transparency to patients. “Patients deserve to have a clear and proactive understanding of their financial responsibility and options related to the services we provide,” Tinnermon says. “You want to make sure you do it in a way that will make your brand more attractive to those that are receiving care, which also makes it more attractive for healthcare providers affiliated with our health systems.”
Tinnermon is proud of the ways in which the organization’s leadership team has invested in Banner Health’s technology that supports the transparent and improved patient financial experience. “Banner has come up with many significant ways to differentiate ourselves as a health system and to continue to provide an outstanding patient experience with excellent customer service,” he says. “Status quo is never OK. Change is going to happen one way or another, and we plan to control and shape that change in a way that is positive for our patients and employees.”
Specialized Healthcare Partners (SHP) provides best-in-class claim resolution services to hospitals nationwide with more than seventy healthcare attorneys and clinicians on staff. Founded by partners with three decades of denial management and complex claim experience, SHP combines regulatory understanding, contractual knowledge, and clinical expertise to produce industry-leading denial overturn rates. SHP’s commitment to our clients extends to data security, as SHP maintains a HITRUST certification for HIPAA compliance and the protection of confidential and sensitive personal health information.
Deloitte’s US healthcare practice helps clients transform uncertainty into possibility and rapid change into lasting progress. Comprehensive audit, advisory, consulting, and tax capabilities deliver value at every step, from insight to strategy to action. Our people know how to anticipate, collaborate, innovate, and create opportunity from even the most unforeseen obstacle. Learn more at www.deloitte.com/us/providers