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    Financial insights drive budgeting process at University Health System

    December 10th, 2015

    University Health System (UHS) is a nationally recognized academic medical center in San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A., serving more than 230,000 unique patients each year. Like many healthcare organizations, UHS strives to deliver the best care at the lowest cost.

    “Every c-suite healthcare executive in the country is focused on improving quality, safety and outcomes. Improving the patient experience. Improving efficiency and access to care,” Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Bill Phillips said. “How do we give better care to our patients and still cut costs? That is getting really difficult.”

    Because it’s critical to have a financial decision support solution that enables greater visibility to financial performance, UHS uses Allscripts EPSi™:

     

    “Knowing what your service lines are doing, how they’re performing each day, is a ‘must’ to survive these tight economic times in health care,” Phillips said. “EPSi is an extremely powerful tool for our financial picture.”

     

    Editor’s Note: UHS uses Allscripts Sunrise™ as its core clinical solution, EPSi to integrate financial processes and Allscripts dbMotion™ Solution as its connectivity platform. To learn more about how UHS combines these solutions to improve results across care settings, earn millions in incentive funding and improve overall efficiency, download this free case study.

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    5 strategies to combine clinical and financial insights

    September 22nd, 2015

    Our client base reflects some of the finest financial decision support teams in the United States. These teams help put Allscripts EPSiTM at the top of its class. Our clients are incredibly creative in using EPSi to combine clinical insights and financial data. Some of our favorite client strategies include:

    1)   A world-class multi-hospital IDN in upstate New York found opportunities to improve operational efficiency and reduce the total cost of care. By setting specific utilization and length-of-stay targets by service line, and aligning those targets with their financial planning process, this client saved $20 million in one year while maintaining a high quality of care. To learn more, click here for the complete outcomes story.

    2) A regional healthcare leader in Washington State used EPSi to save more than $981,000 through its clinically and financially valuable palliative care program. By focusing on specific charge codes within clinical documentation, EPSi also helped the healthcare system capture $814,000 in its first eight months and average better than $50,000 per month in ongoing incremental net revenue. To learn more, click here for the complete outcomes story.

    3) A leading academic healthcare system in Mississippi found ways to reduce unnecessary clinical lab testing and high-cost medication use. This healthcare system found the potential to save more than $1.3 million annually with these changes and plans to use EPSi to find more operational efficiencies.  To learn more, click here for the complete outcomes story.

    4) A leading regional healthcare system in Texas created metrics to reduce risk of Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTIs). It evaluated the cost of actively complying with prevention measures and found the initiative reduced CAUTIs, which in turn reduced length of stay from 14 days to 6 days and average cost per patient from $75,000 to $13,500.

    Ready for tomorrow’s decision-support strategy?

    Most healthcare organizations look to gain insights into quality and cost by bringing this information together outside of their modeling and forecasting processes. This methodology is often retrospective and based on clinical and financial information already derived in exclusivity of each other.

    But there’s another strategy that will yield even greater results:

    5) By bringing clinical insights into EPSi to combine with its already deep and broad financial data, healthcare organizations have the opportunity to use that combined data with the capabilities in EPSi to better derive cost or to produce more accurate financial forecasts or plans.

    Let’s use an example. Utilization of costly supply items and labor resources is correlated to the intensiveness and clinical risk of the patients that consume those resources. By bringing into EPSi additional clinical insights into intensiveness and risk of those patients, teams can create more accurate cost models to better reflect the resources spent on those cases, resulting in more accurate cost insights.

    As another example, with clinical insights from data not fully available with claims information, teams can create financial plans for shifting resources and changing utilization mix to solve for those gaps in care. The result is a much more complete picture of the financial impact of those clinical changes and better resource alignment to ensure success.

    EPSi is ready with this capability today. Learn more on our website.

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    How to balance the yin and yang of academic medical centers

    June 2nd, 2015

    In Taoist philosophy, yin and yang describe two seemingly contrary halves that together make a complete whole. It aptly describes a common experience in academic medical centers: Balancing patient care with academic training and research.

    At a recent advisory group meeting for Allscripts EPSiTM decision support leaders at academic medical centers, I heard some common themes:

    When a resident and physician are working side by side, how do we account for the expenses associated with teaching time and other “non-billable” activities?

    What are the true costs and contribution to patient care given the additional academic time and materials supporting each resident?

    How do we accurately budget and account for funding sources that are established to pay for the research and teaching aspects of care?

    How do we have the right financial incentives and programs in place to keep and grow relationships between academic institutions and institutions of care?

    The clinical and academic responsibilities sometimes seem at odds with one another. It takes sophisticated solutions to accurately plan and track time and expense, bringing balance to these two competing forces within academic medical centers.

    Most of these concepts were familiar to everyone at the advisory group, but the organizations vary widely in structures, processes and tools for modeling, planning and managing the academic aspects of care. So, it comes as no surprise that we received varying responses to how they were approaching and meeting their needs.

    Client example #1 – Automating the complex management of funding sources

    One client used the flexibility of EPSi to define its own business rules and calculations to manage the funding arrangements for manage the funding arrangements for a multi-specialty faculty practice. Using EPSi’s Data Extender functionality and reporting capabilities, the client: a) brings in data from different sources, and b) defines and applies their complex business rules and logic to the data. Through this approach, the client was able to accurately automate the management and oversight of its funding sources.

    What’s especially impressive to me is that the client was able to do this on its own. It didn’t require programmers or consultants, but rather EPSi was easy and open enough to solve this organization’s business problem.

    Client example #2 – Striking a balance between patient care and research

    Another client uses EPSi to address a familiar problem: how much of a physician’s time is spent on clinical activities, and how much is spent on research/academic work? This client is using EPSi to figure out how much time and expense is going into each area. The team can track it with EPSi and set targets, creating accountability at the physician level.  The client uses visibility and accuracy of the data and insights to achieve a happy balance between research and actual patient care.

    Again, as in the first example, the client achieved all of it with the flexibility, openness and ease of use of EPSi capabilities.

    Client example #3 – Understanding and having visibility of the true cost of care

    Not surprisingly, all of the members interviewed described the different cost accounting methodologies and modeling practices used to ensure they accurately capture and apportion the often times hidden costs associated with teaching and research.  Many times, the models required the automated creation of patient activities associated with the various academic teaching and research practices.

    Although they were all the same from the aspect they all needed to accurately determine the true cost of care, they were equally as different in path they needed to take to get there.  Each unique and intelligently designed accounting process employed by these organizations was a testament to the breadth of EPSi’s cost accounting capabilities, as well as the flexibility needed and provided by the solution.

    Client example #4 – Identifying variances in care that lead to unnecessary cost and risk

    In a recent case study, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC – Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.A.) described how it uses EPSi’s patient analytics for both clinical and research benefits. It found two areas with potential cost saving opportunities of $1.3 million: reducing unnecessary lab testing and identifying efficient uses of medication. You can download the full story here.

    In Taoism, there is a natural balance and harmony nature, but a polarization and differentiation in perspective and reality. So too is there harmony in the needs of our academic healthcare settings, but also a natural variation in the perspective and reality for fulfilling those needs.

    Given the number of different ways our academic medical center clients are successfully using EPSi, it’s ever clearer to me that the system is extremely flexible, open and easy to use. The functionalities and capabilities enable some really creative responses from our clients to common business problems.

    We continue to encourage clients to share their best practices in the EPSi ClientConnect community.

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