CONSULTING QUICK HINTS
1. CLEARLY DEFINE THE OUTCOMES YOU WANT
If the goal is to have a new technology installed, make sure the use case, the users, and the desired outcomes are identified up front.
If the goal is a particular financial outcome, make sure the outcome is measurable - and measureable in the appropriate time frame.
The clearer your direction to a consultant, the more likely you are to get a good outcome.
2. DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN EXPERTISE AND ATTITUDE
For some efforts – a CDM review, for example – consultants need highly specialized skill sets, but for more simple tasks – a process redesign – more general knowledge is adequate.
Decide up front whether you are seeking deep subject matter expertise, or rather just a can-do attitude coupled with some smart hands and feet to help your existing content experts.
Don’t hire a specialist when a generalist will do. And vice versa!
3. DEFINE THE MEASUREMENT METHODOLOGY
Particularly in Revenue Cycle improvement, measurement is notoriously hard, often coming down to trying to prove a payment would not have happened without intervention.
Identify specific metrics or measurement methodologies that will gauge success at the outset. They could be cash, or net revenue or reduction in denials but choose a metric and stick to it.
The temptation will be to explain away changes based on other, outside factors – identify those possibilities in advance and determine the appropriate adjustment actions.
4. PICK SOMEONE YOU TRUST
You will invest a significant amount of financial and political capital in a consultant – make sure you trust them personally.
In the course of completing an engagement, there’s an excellent chance any consultant will see other opportunities and bring them to your attention – don’t discard them out of hand.
Find a consultant that treats you like a partner, not a mark; treat them like a partner, not a vendor.
5. ADOPT AN ROI MENTALITY, BUT THINK CRITICALLY ABOUT PROMISES
Providers often get stuck in a budget-centric mentality – there must be funding in the budget to bring in consultants – but they usually overlook the performance degradation or losses that also aren't in the budget.
But it is easy for the most well-intentioned consultants to misunderstand your business or innocently overstate opportunities. If you don't agree or don't understand, ask questions until you're comfortable that you understand the opportunities.
If an opportunity assessment credibly points to an opportunity, the next step is to evaluate the cost benefit relationship and then determine how and where to get funding.