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    Saving children’s lives with data

    May 12th, 2016

    Data and reports are unlikely tools for heroes. But the team at Texas Children’s Hospital (Houston, Texas, U.S.A.) is analyzing patient information and tracking clinical results to help improve care for vulnerable, critically ill children.

    A recent success story outlines some of the many ways Texas Children’s is using Allscripts EPSi™ to support clinical initiatives throughout the organization. One example of these efforts is helping infants who have difficulty swallowing.

    Better evaluation of babies with swallowing difficulty, to reduce risk of aspiration

    Children who do not swallow safely are at risk for feeding and respiratory problems. Unfortunately, the primary tool to assess swallowing disorders is invasive and its radiation may have long-term negative effects.

    Occupational therapists approached Senior Decision Support Analyst Mary Watson with a request to develop a way to identify infants at risk for aspiration. Using EPSi, Watson could identify NICU patients who were: 1) less than six months old, 2) had a swallow study, and 3) had occupational therapy evaluations.

    “Texas Children’s is looking for the best and most appropriate intervention for these babies,” Watson said. Data from this initiative is having a direct clinical impact, according to occupational therapist Rose Toruno.

    “Knowing which clinical signs to watch for at each age helps me determine what will work best to prevent aspiration for each infant,” said Toruno. “The results of the study have changed the way we practice at the bedside.”

    This is just one of many examples of how Texas Children’s is using EPSi and other data to save children’s lives. To learn more about others – including an initiative that helped improve survival rates for children on Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT) from 38.8% to 62.7% – download this free success story.

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    How UK HealthCare® saved $2.4 million by combining clinical and financial data

    November 17th, 2015

    UK HealthCare (Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.A.) uses Allscripts EPSi™ to combine clinical and financial data for more complete and accurate decision support information. As detailed in a recent case study, this integrated data helped the organization measure outcomes from the modification of its transfusion program, which saved more than $2.4 million in direct costs over five years.

    Why give two units when one will do?

    When a patient has abnormally low hemoglobin (Hb) levels, it is common practice for clinicians to order Red Blood Cell (RBC) transfusions to help carry oxygen to all parts of the body. However, the threshold or “trigger” for when such transfusions are necessary has changed over the last several decades.

    UK HealthCare used evidence-based guidance to evaluate its policy on RBC triggers and determined it could safely lower its transfusion trigger from 8 g/dL Hb to 7 g/dL Hb. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggested an Hb 7 trigger policy in 1988. Most institutions implemented an Hb 8 trigger policy as a compromise and UK HealthCare had done so as well. It also found that using one unit of RBCs could be as effective as the routine two-unit transfusion.

    In 2010 UK HealthCare adopted this new policy and a transfusion committee developed an educational program for physicians, nurses and blood bank staff to explain the change and the rationale. Physicians practicing outside of the new trigger limits or ordering the previously routine two-unit RBC transfusion had to justify the medical necessity. All of the data is captured within EPSi, which receives the information automatically from the billing system.

    “One of the clinicians involved with the RBC transfusions needed information down to the charge level and EPSi is the only system that combines the encounter with charge-level data,” Associate Director of Decision Support Todd Hjorth, MPA, said. “We could give them specific units billed, per day, per patient.”

    As a result of UK HealthCare’s efforts to modify its blood transfusion protocols, it saved 11,575 RBC units and avoided unnecessary transfusions over five years, when compared to a 2009 baseline. “EPSi helped us show the direct cost savings over five years was more than $2.4 million,” Hjorth said. “If we use activity-based costing, the savings would have more than doubled that amount.”

    To find out more about UK HealthCare’s initiatives, download a free success story here or visit our website to learn more about EPSi.

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    The University of Mississippi Medical Center identifies $1.3 million potential savings with Allscripts EPSi

    March 5th, 2015

    The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC – Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.A.) uses Allscripts EPSiTM to identify cost-saving opportunities while helping to improve overall care and patient experience. Using EPSi’s patient analytics and teaming up finance and physician expertise, it has identified two areas with potential cost-saving opportunities of $1.3 million:

    1) Reducing unnecessary lab testing

    Certain laboratory tests have enough diagnostic accuracy to make other tests unnecessary. The UMMC team used evidence-based guidelines to identify and evaluate 21 redundant testing scenarios.

    “With a rich data set, we can fine-tune pathways and standard order sets for the clinical side,” UMMC Director of Finance Operations Bryan Clements said. “These tools help better prioritize decisions for patient issues, like unnecessary lab testing, which are also often cost issues, too.”

    2) Identifying efficient and effective uses for medications

    UMMC also focused efforts on reviewing certain high-cost antibiotics. A simple lab test can determine whether or not a patient will respond to expensive drugs, or if a lower-cost prescription will be as effective.

    “We’ve found the tip of the iceberg,” Clements said. “We can keep working in different areas to quantify outcomes and become more efficient.”

    These are practical examples of what EPSi is all about. Instead of having data in silos or Excel spreadsheets, EPSi links all of the organization’s operational, financial and clinical data. With real-time, comprehensive data, reporting and analysis, healthcare leaders have a unified view of both problems and solutions.

    Integrated decision support is what forward-looking healthcare organizations are using to compete in today’s world of value-based care. Better information leads to better decisions. Ultimately, EPSi helps organizations achieve better outcomes across the board.

    To learn more, you can download a free success story featuring UMMC.

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    3 ways to build a better hospital budget

    January 29th, 2015

    Featured in a new success story, Kaleida Health (Buffalo, New York, USA) recently used Allscripts EPSiTM to save more than $20 million in one year – while still maintaining a high quality of care.

    The organization, one of the largest in Western New York, needed to reduce overall spending to remain competitive. Kaleida Health turned to EPSi, which provides clients integrated budgeting, financial decision support and long-range financial planning, helping to improve patient outcomes while reducing costs and maximizing revenues.

    Kaleida Health used three methods to identify total cost opportunities throughout the organization:

    1)      Break up the budget process.

    The team at Kaleida Health examined each service line individually, determining the utilization and per-patient cost targets.

    “Breaking it into smaller pieces made it more actionable,” said Kaleida Health Senior Director of Decision Support Christine Lanza.

    2)      Develop a strategic approach.

    The organization used EPSi Product Line Analyst reporting to determine total cost opportunity, comparing expected amounts with actual costs. The team set a goal of reducing costs by 10% the first year.

    3)      Build the budget with actual data.

    Using EPSi Strategic Product Budgeting, Kaleida Health used a data-driven approach to budgeting and achieve a consensus with its physicians on goals.

    Kaleida Health also used dashboards within EPSi to measure each product line monthly against the set targets. They were also able to include clinical quality metrics to make sure those didn’t drop as they reduced costs.

    The outcomes that Kaleida Health achieved were “dramatic,” according to Lanza. The team reduced the average length of stay by more than a full day. The organization also saved $15 million in operational costs.

    The EPSi solution helped Kaleida Health make the most of its resources, saving both money and time, and helping the organization provide patients high-quality care. To learn more, download a free success story here.

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    3 ways EPSi helped tame complex healthcare operations

    March 25th, 2014

    Believe it or not, processes such as budgeting, cost accounting and strategic planning should make life easier. They should simplify the staggering complexity that healthcare organizations face today.

    Unfortunately, they are often disconnected from each other and lack analytics, limiting their effectiveness. They should all work together in a single system. This approach is the only way for healthcare organizations to evaluate true financial performance and plan for the future.

    Clients have turned to Allscripts EPSiTM for integrated performance management. Here’s how three organizations have used the solution:

    1.        Recovered $4.5 million in underpayments

    Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (New Brunswick, NJ, U.S.A.) recovered $4.5 million in underpayments its first two years of using the EPSi Product Line Analysis Contract Modeling tool. That includes recurring annual savings of at least $1.5 million.

    With EPSi, RWJUH better understands the total costs of providing care, can more easily recover lost revenue, and will be better prepared to negotiate fair contracts with payers. All of these abilities help ensure financial health for the organization.

    You can read more about Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s experience in a recent case study and blog post.

    2.       Made it easier to budget physician business

    University Hospitals Health System (Cleveland, OH, U.S.A.) tasked manager of financial planning, Karen Komer, to make it easier for the business unit finance team to budget the physician business for the organization and improve consistency across accounts.

    It’s a massive job for her organization – one that employs more than 18,000 people and managed more than 5.8 million outpatient procedures last year.

    UHHS now has a much simpler process for establishing variable and statistic accounts and a streamlined budget process.  The team gave especially good feedback on the reporting features. Most importantly, UHHS is spending less time on budgeting.

    3.       Met budgeted net income

    According to Robert Crawford, director of decision support at Huntsville Hospital System (Huntsville, AL, U.S.A.), EPSi helped the organization achieve a record financial year, in terms of operating margin. Huntsville reinvested those funds back into patient care, replacing about 800 patient beds.

    Crawford also credits EPSi with improving efficiency and standardizing care. You can learn more about Huntsville’s experience in this video

    These stories help illustrate why Allscripts EPSi earned the Category leader for Decision Support – Business for the eighth year in a row from KLAS.



    Editor’s note: We updated this post on May 22, 2014, removing a link to a webinar that is no longer available.

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    How Allscripts EPSi helped one hospital recover $4.5 million

    February 4th, 2014

    Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) in New Brunswick, NJ, has an integrated view of its finances and operations with Allscripts EPSiTM. The organization recovered $4.5 million in underpayments its first two years of using EPSi’s Product Line Analysis Contract Modeling tool. You can read more in a recent case study.

    Prior to implementing the Allscripts EPSi modules Cost Manager, Product Line Analyst and Enterprise Management Dashboard in September 2011, RWJUH had limited financial and patient data reporting capabilities.

    Before EPSi “There was always a level of skepticism with our reports back then,” said RWJUH senior financial analyst, Michael Piagentini. “Is that the true fully-loaded cost for that service? It was hard to know for sure.” This uncertainty was particularly difficult when RWJUH negotiated contacts with payers.

    Contract modeling saves the day at the negotiating table

    Contract negotiations between healthcare providers and payers are complex. It’s important for both sides to get the facts straight.

    Piagentini shared an example of how important it is to have quick, accurate information during these discussions:

    We were in negotiations with a major payer recently. One of the leaders representing RWJ stepped out of the meeting to double-check something. He said that the payer believed our admissions were way up and we weren’t doing necessary observations – that we were admitting “everybody.”

    With EPSi we’re able to check those assumptions. In just a couple of minutes, I handed him a report that showed we were trending a 20% incremental increase in observations year-over-year for that payer. He returned to the meeting with real data.

    Not only does the Product Line Analyst module help with fast, easy reports. According to Brandon Drucker, finance process improvement associate at RWJUH, “Contract modeling enables us to see different scenarios next to each other. We can negotiate what brings the best benefit to Robert Wood Johnson, while being fair to payers.”

    Bringing more efficiencies to light

    With EPSi, RWJUH better understands the total costs of providing care, can more easily recover lost revenue, and will be better prepared to negotiate fair contracts with payers. All of these abilities help ensure financial health for the organization.

    “When you go through an implementation this grand, and get new information this granular, you notice opportunities throughout the organization,” said Piagentini.

    Using EPSi, RWJUH is recovering underpayments from missing charges, incorrect codes, stop-loss corrections, bundling charges and more. These learnings are particularly helpful as the organization makes sweeping changes to its Charge Description Master (CDM), the list of what the organization charges for services.

    Learn more about how Allscripts EPSi helped Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in this case study.


    Editor’s Note:  KLAS named Allscripts EPSi solution as Category Leader: Decision Support for the eighth consecutive year. Read more in a recent news release. (We updated this note on Feb. 5, 2014 to reflect the correct award name and we updated the post on Feb. 18 to correct a quote attribution.)

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