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Implementing a Remote Working Environment in Response to COVID-19? A Checklist to Get You Started

Kevin Hagen

Vice President of Information Systems, XIFIN

Mitch Fry

Vice President of Sales, XIFIN

Depending on their location in the country, laboratory billing departments have already moved or are starting to move their billing and financial team members home, and here at XIFIN, we’ve recently been fielding inquiries on best practices and advice for making this transition.

XIFIN started planning for a broad move to remote working in February. In California, where most of our team members live, an executive order requiring all individuals to “Stay at Home” was ordered by Governor Newsom on March 19th. It includes exemptions for continuity of operations for critical infrastructure sectors defined by the federal government, including the health care sector. Because of that exemption, XIFIN was not obligated to close its locations.

XIFIN is part of the fabric of the underlying critical technology infrastructure for seven of the top ten labs, four of the five biggest IDNs in the country, and more than a hundred other diagnostic providers. We don’t take this responsibility lightly. Ultimately, the threat of the Coronavirus impacting the health of the XIFIN team and the risk associated with the potential impact on our clients’ business needed to take priority. As a result, the XIFIN executive team chose to move the majority of the XIFIN team to work from home as soon as possible. The company began moving teams offsite even before the governor’s order and has successfully transitioned over 300 employees. While making this decision was no easy task, XIFIN was aided by the fact that our solutions are all truly SaaS-based. Having web-native applications removes many accessibility and usability issues, as many of our clients who have enabled their billing teams to work remotely have also found. In fact, we recently heard from one client who said their billing team has been working remotely (using XIFIN RPM) for three weeks, with zero change in productivity. Detailed reporting capabilities give the management team confidence in their staff efforts, and automation keeps correspondence and other activities flowing. We know that many labs will need to make the same decision, so with that in mind, we offer a quick checklist of remote workforce considerations:

  • Does each team member have a PC at home, or do you need to supply it?
  • Can each team member’s home equipment support dual monitors? Does the VPN technology they are using support dual monitors?
  • Can you provide team members with a way to secure their remote connection using a VPN?
  • What type of access to information will each team member need?
  • Do team members have any network whitelisting that may need to be considered when allowing people that normally work from an office to transition to working from home?
  • Do they handle PHI? If so, is their work environment such that they have privacy and can ensure confidentiality?
  • Does each team member have the appropriate Internet connectivity at home?
  • What about telephones? Can team members use office VOIP, dedicate phone, or use a mobile phone? Will the company supply a phone if they don’t have one?
  • What other types of collaboration solutions do your team members need?
  • How about chat capabilities for quick Q&A resolution?
  • What are the expectations of team member availability while they are working from home?
  • What about hourly paid team members? How will productivity be measured and managed?
  • Does the IT organization have solid asset tracking mechanisms in place ahead of time to track what hardware is provided to whom (laptops, towers, monitors, phones, etc) and to plan ahead for the eventual transition back to the office?

These are unprecedented times with fast-changing circumstances. Diagnostics providers, like many other entities, face a number of challenges as they move to protect their workforce while keeping their laboratories and lab operations fully functional. It is XIFIN’s mission to help our clients succeed and get paid for the valuable work they provide. Beyond that, we are also an advocate for the industry and are very happy to provide guidance where we can.

To learn more about the latest testing, testing supply needs, and payor billing requirements related to COVID- 19, visit our COVID-19 Laboratory Resource Center.
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Published by XIFIN
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