Matt Seefeld – Executive Vice President,
MedEvolve, Inc. and Founder, myLifeLink
Matt began his career as a management consultant helping healthcare providers solve the complex strategic and tactical problems facing the industry every day. His primary focus as a consultant is in the arena of improving financial and clinical operations for physicians and health systems nationwide. As a technology developer, Matt’s focus is on big data management and analytics along with workflow automation. In this interview, Matt talks to me about his decades of experience in the field and the challenges he has overcome through the years.
An Early Start In Revenue Cycle Management
Matt began his career in revenue cycle consulting immediately after college. He started working with Stockamp & Associates Inc., a small boutique consulting firm which over the years became the premier leader in revenue cycle consulting and was acquired by Huron Consulting. Matt believes the company’s focus on alignment of people, process and delivering technology that holds staff accountable for financial outcomes spearheaded its growth and differentiation.
Following this, he went onto PricewaterhouseCoopers and helped build their healthcare revenue cycle business, specifically technology deployed on engagements to maximize financial results for the client and the firm. Matt designed his first workflow automation system here, after which he moved to Deloitte Consulting. After seeing the same problems repeat themselves across healthcare organizations of all sizes, Matt went out on his own and founded Interpoint Partners with a goal of building workflow automation and analytic systems to help normalize and standardize revenue cycle processes.
‘I believe the IT systems that run revenue cycles are insufficient when it comes to capturing the structured data necessary to tell you what your people are doing and what result they’re getting, and if that is acceptable or not.’
Matt sold Interpoint to a public company, Streamline Health, in 2011 where he continued for a few more years. He joined MedEvolve in 2017, where he currently serves as Executive Vice President and Head of Effective Intelligence, leading the strategy around the development and deployment of workflow automation and actionable intelligence solutions. Matt continues to focus on improving revenue cycle management through data-driven decision making and reducing manual work through automation.
‘You need to have technology that holds people accountable for the work they are doing and the financial outcome they are getting.’
Current Business Structure And Organization
At present, there are about 120 employees at MedEvolve with Matt responsible for about 80 of them. He oversees the company’s revenue cycle services, workflow automation, sales, marketing, and data science teams.
An increasing trend that Matt points out is that many MedEvolve clients are challenged with finding and retaining revenue cycle staff. This has led to many of them requesting the company to take over their billing. Additionally, healthcare organizations are challenged to properly manage the front office side of the revenue cycle which involves verification of insurance benefits, collecting coinsurance, collecting past due balances, verifying demographics, and several other aspects. This has enabled the company to move upstream in its revenue cycle service line, which accounts for half the revenue.
One of Matt’s core focuses is using the existing technology and integrating workflow automation to reduce the need for people in the revenue cycle process. It is important to identify the claims and accounts that need immediate attention and direct that work to the correct individuals, while also assessing the ones that can wait.
‘Innovation needs to be constantly pushed with one thing in mind which is why are humans having to get so involved in the revenue cycle to get the outcome that’s expected.’
One common aspect that often stands in the way of healthcare business success is executives are managing their businesses out of fear of the future, or living in the past, which destroys the present opportunity. While organizations may be quick to adopt new technology on the clinical side, they often lag behind when it comes to the business side because people are generally reluctant to change. This, according to Matt, is a major reason why healthcare continues to lag decades behind other verticals when it comes to automation.
Standout Moments As A Business Leader
A significant standout moment for Matt was starting Interpoint at the young age of 29 years old. He managed to succeed without any funding or capital based simply on his confidence and ability to build technology. Following the recession in 2008, Matt had to creatively come up with solutions to acquire new clients, retain existing clients and expand. These trying times helped shape him into the effective leader he is today.
“Nothing comes easy, and if it does you are not challenging yourself enough. Remember, when your opportunity’s exceed your capabilities you grow as a leader and an individual.”
Part of his success as a leader has been developing and implementing work drivers across the span of the revenue cycle designed to hold people accountable, and measuring that outcome and the work effort it took to get the outcome .
Matt has learned during his career that one way to ensure a revenue cycle team is effective is to financially incentivize people. If somebody is delivering the results or exceeding the results expected with minimal work effort, they need to be economically rewarded.
‘When you hold people accountable for results, the ones that deliver need to be not only recognized but rewarded for how they are helping the practice.’
Talking about MedEvolve, Matt has a lot of pride in the technology that they have designed over the last three years as they continue to innovate. The company first acts as an incubator for any new service or technology. Once they prove it works, they take it to the market.
Overcoming Challenges Over The Years
Matt has learned that selling revenue cycle solutions is difficult – whether its consulting services, technology enabled services, outsourcing services, or technology. This is because one has to navigate a lot of politics in an industry that does not move very fast. He has succeeded in this by making sure to always go back to the business objectives of the prospect.
‘One big thing is making sure that we align the business objectives, or guide them to what should be their business objectives, and show how our technology or services help them achieve those objectives.’
The other big realization that Matt has come to over years is one cannot simply install technology and expect to get positive results. It is important to look at the people involved and the processes used and how that aligns with the technology to achieve positive results. This is where many vendors fail.
Top Philosophies And Core Values In Business
‘You have to be relentless and obsessed with your pursuit of the result that you want.’
For Matt, it is not just about hard work but a conviction towards one’s career that will make a person willing to do whatever it takes to get the desired outcome. Even in healthcare, while automation is so highly needed and sounds like a simple idea, it is still challenging for people to grasp that they need it.
“Challenges are always going to be there. To succeed requires hard work, innovation and bringing on the right people with the right teams in place.”
Advice For Newcomers Looking To Start A Career In The RCM
Matt found great value in starting his career as a consultant because it got him exposure to revenue cycle processes from the start. He worked in the back-office side, front office side and even on the inpatient side which gave him a broad perspective of the industry. There’s no shortage of opportunity in healthcare, from the clinical side to the operations or finance side.
One option is to look at firms that offer specializations in healthcare. Some may require experience in the field, while some will bring people in after graduation and help them learn by training them through practical exposure.
Vision For The Future Of The Industry
Matt believes the future of RCM is around effective intelligence. Post COVID, and its challenges, people realized that only having insight is not enough, they also need to have intelligence and be effective with that intelligence. There is a big difference. And, the only way to be effective is to have objective structured data that details the story, especially when it comes to labor performance.
‘I think that organizations who adopt this philosophy and recognize the need to hold their entire revenue cycle teams accountable for the work they’re doing and the outcome they are getting will succeed.’
Matt states that most PM/EMR companies are still focused on the EMR and the clinical experience or patient engagement. All of these things are important, but so is ensuring the performance of the humans involved in every revenue cycle process. It is imperative that providers embrace technology to ensure proper reimbursement for the services they are delivering.
For healthcare organizations to succeed, every person has to be measured in a way that’s objective and not emotional. Staff need to be measures on performance, and more importantly, their work effort.
‘Everybody wants to talk about RPA, AI, machine learning, and automation. But providers need to be talking about how to objectively measure the people who have to get involved in revenue cycle to get me paid correctly, and on time. And, when that does not happen, they need to know why and what to do about it in seconds.’
Leadership Lessons Learned Throughout Life
‘I think that the best leaders are the ones that accept the fact that things will probably not go the way you intended and the way you hope.’
Matt believes focussing on actions, which a person can control, and not outcomes which a person cannot control, is a sure way to succeed in business and in life. When one controls the actions they take every day, by working hard and as a team, there is a much higher probability of a good outcome.
Also, a leader needs to be not only obsessed and relentless with their pursuit, but also open-minded in knowing they may have to go in different directions to get to the top of the mountain. This concept must start at the top in an organization and be infused in the executive team and every employee in the company. too. Effective employees need to be adaptable and able to pivot when necessary. Additionally, leaders who are curious and don’t accept the status quo are way more successful than those who accept it.
Helping Those In Need
On the personal side of Matt’s life he has developed and supports a free mobile app, My Life Link, which offers community to those suffering from addiction. With thousands of sober warriors all over the world connecting and supporting each other every day Matt takes great pride in watching this growing community transform their lives into something extraordinary.