Transitions—when patients move from one care setting to another—represent a state of vulnerability for both the patient and the healthcare organization. Patients need referrals to the most appropriate provider in a timely, seamless fashion so they get the level of care they need. If patients leave the network, it could result in revenue leakage for the provider organization. I’ve heard healthcare leaders estimate that between 20-30% of their patients ultimately leave their network during a transition of care. This renders the care team less able to ensure patients get the best possible care—and less able to track patient progress and monitor follow-up. Plus, it means missed revenue opportunities. When patients see out-of-network ambulatory or post-acute providers, healthcare networks are unable to capture the revenue that would otherwise be associated with patient care. There are downstream financial effects, too. When patients […]

Payer requests for medical records can be time consuming. Even though the physician practice is likely using an electronic health record (EHR), many times these transactions require vast amounts of paper and labor. It can be a cumbersome task for both the practice and the payer. Hutchinson Clinic (Hutchinson, Kansas, U.S.A.) Chief Information Officer Bob Davidson explains it this way, “Everyone here already has a full-time job. When we get requests from a payer for charts that require pulling massive quantities of patient information, we have to pull somebody off of their tasks to do it, or the payer sends someone to work on site. It’s very time consuming.” Davidson continued, “We had one request last year that was for 160 hard-copy charts, which took one person a full week – 40 hours – to pull the charts, copy them […]

At a recent meeting for clients that use Allscripts population health solutions, we heard several success stories. Despite various outstanding achievements, many interoperability conversations started with, “We’re not as far along as UPMC, but…” A clear leader in interoperability, UPMC is a healthcare provider and insurer. To give a sense of the organization’s size and influence, UPMC operates more than 20 hospitals and 500 outpatient sites. At the meeting, clients heard from two Assistant Professors of Pediatrics in the UPMC Division of Newborn Medicine, Sean Frederick, M.D., Assistant CMIO at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and Amy Urban, DO, Clinical Director of Interoperability at UPMC. They shared an interoperability journey in a pediatric environment at two busy tertiary care facilities, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC. Data exchange in a pediatric environment It’s an […]

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What does your EHR really cost?

  • Steven Shaha, Ph.D., DBA
  • 10/22/2015

Time and time again, we hear horror stories of electronic health record (EHR) systems that far exceed budgetary expectations of their healthcare organizations. Failure to estimate all of the expenses accurately has steep long-term effects on operating costs, as indicated in Steven R. Eastlaugh’s recent hfm® article*. It’s important to look at total cost of ownership – TCO – which goes well beyond the initial software, hardware and annual maintenance costs. For that reason, every well-managed healthcare organization purchases EHRs based on comparative TCO and then tracks the elements of TCO thereafter. Most often, executives do not fully account for long-term EHR expenses, such as ongoing cost of licenses, upgrade fees and staff dedicated to support. These cost factors vary widely by EHR vendor and solution. Using hospital data from HIMSS Analytics, the nonprofit research arm of the Healthcare Information […]

Sometimes a little preparation can save a lot of time and frustration, especially before a visit to the doctor. It can improve patient experience and help physician practices protect their bottom line. According to AMA Wire, “Pre-visit planning can increase efficiency often saving 30 minutes of both physician and staff time per day. In a practice with 220 clinic days a year where a physician’s time costs about $3 a minute and staff time costs about $1 a minute — that’s about $26,400 a year.” CHADIS is a web-based questionnaire delivery, decision support and patient engagement system. Pre-visit data collection enables the clinician to focus on patient concerns and visit agenda. How does CHADIS work? Patients, parents or teens respond to the questionnaires online (from home or waiting room using a tablet or phone) prior to the office visit, helping […]

There is no magic bullet when it comes to engaging patients to use a patient portal – rather, a magic buckshot. No one understands this better than Clinics of North Texas (Wichita Falls, Texas, U.S.A.), which has invited 55% of its patients in 2015 to join the Allscripts FollowMyHealth® patient engagement platform. Clinics of North Texas Chief Information Officer Melissa Huff and Clinical Trainer Trudi Pittman shared their experience at Population Health University, our annual user group meeting for clients with Allscripts population health solutions. The organization is a multi-specialty clinic with 45 providers and about 200,000 patient visits each year. “To encourage adoption of the FollowMyHealth portal has taken a lot of creativity and a team,” Pittman said. “You have to involve everybody from the beginning to the end of the process.” What the enrollment process looks like When […]

Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) employs Allscripts Patient Flow™ to automate the process of turning over and assigning beds for better occupancy management and higher staff productivity. More efficient and accurate bed assignments helps reduce length of stay by an estimated 42%, saving the organization $400,000 annually. RQHR offers a full range of hospital, rehabilitation, community, public health, long-term and home care services to the more than 260,000 residents of southern Saskatchewan, Canada. It faces the same occupancy management challenge as many other healthcare organizations. Better processes with automation In October 2013, RQHR went live with Patient Flow’s bed management component for inpatient services. With processes in place, the organization uses Patient Flow to manage the work flow of bed turnover and match patient needs to available capacity. “Discharge triggers the dirty bed notice right away, that’s huge,” said Wendy […]

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The reality of CCJR: Understanding new risks facing hospitals

The projected debut of the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CCJR) Model is less than three months away, and it represents an entirely new approach for care and cost management. Affected hospitals are beginning to realize that the financial, operational and clinical risk they are responsible for managing is a much larger task than they had originally envisaged. When the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) first proposed the program, CMS wanted to demonstrate a new way to achieve better care, smarter spending, together with healthier people and communities through coordination of care across inpatient and outpatient healthcare providers. Hospitals are realizing their internal resources are not well-aligned with the requirements for analyzing and administering a CCJR program. What is the risk hospitals must manage? A large proportion of services included in a CCJR episode are non-hospital based. In […]

Excela Health (Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.) prioritizes a positive patient experience. Combining teamwork with its patient-centric philosophy helped the organization succeed with Allscripts FollowMyHealth® patient engagement platform, branded ExcelaHealth.Me. Since launching the portal in January 2014, Excela Health has enrolled 20,000 patients and adds more than 1,500 new accounts each month. It has also exceeded the Meaningful Use requirement for more than 5% utilization – in both inpatient and outpatient settings – helping claim about $3 million in incentive funding. It takes a team to succeed “Your first step is to embrace the fact that patient portal deployment and utilization are communication challenges, not IT problems,” Excela Health Manager of Communications and Digital Media Jaime Crawford said. “It really does take a team.” Excela Health engaged the senior leaders first and launched a governance structure that involved all parts of […]

Two years ago this month, I underwent a mastectomy at the age of 40. It’s ironic given that October is breast cancer awareness month, because for me, while cancer is always now semi-present in my mind, September is the month when the disease looms largest. That’s because it’s September when I go through the cadre of tests that are now a part of my annual experience, and it isn’t until those are in the rear view mirror with an “all clear” that I can breathe again. I’ve worked in health IT for more than fifteen years, and thankfully, our family hadn’t had much of an encounter with intensive health care before 2013, which meant that technology’s role there was conceptual to me personally. Yes, I went to an OB practice that refused for nine years to go electronic, and it […]