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Conversations about Optimizing Hospital Operations

Category Archives: EMR / Healthcare IT

Big Data + Healthcare Business Analytics = Big Bucks for Hospitals

Clarian Dashboard“Big Data” sounds like a character in a “Transformer” movie, or a Tennessee Williams play.

Everyone in healthcare IT is talking about “Big Data” these days. From Genome medicine to EMRs, the opportunities are stupendous. But so are the problems.

An IBM survey of healthcare executives says 90 percent expect things to be more complex over the next five years, but 40 percent admit they aren’t prepared for it. IBM makes the point that investing in business analytics will help those 40 percent (and more) through the next big wave of information overload.

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Categories: Author: Dennis Morabito, EMR / Healthcare IT

Why Ignore Hospital Operations?

Why Ignore Hospital Operations?In a September 21 article, New York Times reporters Reed Abelson, Julie Creswell and Griffin J. Palmer say the move to electronic health records may be contributing to billions of dollars in higher costs for Medicare, private insurers and patients.

Critics conclude that EMRs make it easier for hospitals and physicians to bill more for their services whether or not they provide additional care because of the way billing codes have changed and enable fraud through EMR-assisted cloning and upcoding. Hospitals and physicians counter that the increases reflect more accurate charge capture for services and that patients (older and with more co-morbid conditions) require more care than in past years.

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Categories: EMR / Healthcare IT, Operational Efficiency

Eliminate Healthcare Waste, Eliminate Reform?

Managing healthcare wasteCould eliminating waste in healthcare eliminate the need for the Affordable Care Act?

Consider the latest numbers offered by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and The Institute of Medicine (IOM). The CBO now says it will cost $1.1 trillion to expand healthcare coverage to uninsured Americans over the next decade. The recent IOM study, Better Care at Lower Cost, pegs annual waste of all types at $765 billion. So removing two years of waste would more than cover insurance expansion for ten years.

Of course, the reform act calls for much more than expanded insurance coverage and cost reductions, but it’s interesting that the two areas with the biggest financial impact could potentially cancel each other out.

So, where are the biggest areas of waste in healthcare? The IOM had some surprising answers.

Although fraud is huge, it’s not the prime mover. Fraud from all sources accounted for “just” $75 billion, less than 10 percent of the total amount.
Prevention may well be the future of medicine, but missed opportunities for prevention at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of care totaled $55 billion.
The three biggest culprits, by far, were:

The choice by physicians to use more or costlier care than necessary accounts for $210 billion (and we have a financial system that is misaligned with the goal to reduce and eliminate this over treatment)
The paperwork required for care reimbursement costs $190 billion because of all the attendant inefficiencies that go along with the process
Operational inefficiencies and medical errors waste $130 billion each year
Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are a way to trace and address care selection and overuse. The Affordable Care Act eliminates federal reimbursement for preventable medical errors. And Accountable Care Organizations, which offer financial incentives for physicians, hospitals and other health care providers to team up may fundamentally change our traditional “fee for service” payor system.

While many of these changes required will take years, if not decades, to fully take hold, TeleTracking can tackle operational efficiency challenges today and can point to real-life examples of what’s possible.

Improvements in organizational capabilities can get waste out of healthcare today by optimizing the resources they have at their disposal. Hundreds of leading healthcare systems can attest to millions of dollars of waste reduction by optimizing their operations, actually avoid building new facilities while increasing the amount of patient visits, by simply by making greater use of the facilities and resources that already exist.

Eliminate waste, eliminate reform – maybe not. But there is vast waste in the delivery of healthcare that can be immediately addressed by applying real-time capacity management technology along with some basic principles of management science to dramatically improve care delivery.

Valerie Fritz

Categories: EMR / Healthcare IT, Real-Time Capacity Management

Hospital CIOs Transforming Healthcare IT

Transforming HealthcareFrom our vantage point in healthcare operations, it seems the office of the hospital CIO is getting an extreme makeover. But this one has nothing to do with drywall or new carpeting.

It involves rapid change from a cost center to a revenue-generator.

As healthcare reform takes hold, we see healthcare IT evolving from its traditional functional role to one involving strategic business operations, healthcare outcomes and operational efficiency.

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Categories: EMR / Healthcare IT

C-Suite, Add Hospital Revenue With Real Time Capacity Management!

C-Suites want real time capacity managementReal Time Capacity Management adds revenue right now.

With budget and staff cutbacks reaching the point of diminishing returns, hospital CEOs are counting on information technology to play a bigger role in keeping their facilities solvent.

This is putting a new form of pressure on the CIO to seek out the kind of technology which can have an immediate impact on the bottom line.

But how do you do that after spending millions on electronic medical records? No one can argue that EMRs aren’t important for a hospital’s mission.  Yet EMRs do very little to drive margin. And, without margin there can be no mission.

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Categories: EMR / Healthcare IT, No Margin, No Mission, Real-Time Capacity Management

EMRs: Taking the Slow Lane to Progress on ROI

EMRs:  Taking the slow laneWhile the cost of digitizing the “patient experience,” medical records and all, is soaring, no one seems to be asking about the ROI.

The question is: Why not?

Duke University Health System will spend $700 million over seven years to build out its digital backbone, according to the Duke Chronicle. Yale medical group will spend $250 million to switch to a large EMR vendor next year, the Yale Daily News says.

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Categories: EMR / Healthcare IT, Financial Health of Hospitals

The High Cost of “Free” Patient Flow Software

Cost of FreeAs the saying goes, if you think you can have it all, you probably don’t know what you’re missing.

That’s very often the case when hospital technology vendors “throw-in” free software. The cost of “free” goes up in direct proportion to the number of capabilities left out.

Hospital patient flow and capacity management software is a very good example.  As federal incentives gave the EMR market a huge boost, some vendors acquired start-up patient flow companies. Others developed “bed tracking”, “bed management” or “transport” applications and offer them “free” as part of the multi-million dollar price tags and multi-year implementations hospitals sign up for.  While these offerings may provide basic patient flow, or more likely, visibility into broken processes, they do not offer the true sophisticated data analysis capabilities, workflow automation and hospital operations expertise needed to manage hospital enterprise capacity in real time.

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Categories: EMR / Healthcare IT

Do Your Healthcare IT Systems Improve Outcomes and Cost? Prove It!

HISTalk HealthcareHISTalk Blog Time Capsule asks whether Hospital Healthcare IT Systems improve outcomes and reduce costs. They should. Here’s proof!

If you’re involved in Healthcare IT, you’re likely already a fan of the HISTalk Blog.  For those who aren’t,  HISTalk was started by a hospital clinical department head whose original intent was to collect his thoughts about what was going on in healthcare IT.   Since its humble launch in 2003, the site has grown to one of the most well-read resources for major industry developments, and today, visitors exceed the 5 million mark!

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Categories: EMR / Healthcare IT

The “Catch-22” of EMRs

Catch 22 EMRsJoseph Heller’s darkly hilarious wartime novel, “Catch-22,” skewered military bureaucracy through the eyes of a bombardier who couldn’t make his mission quota and go home because the quota kept getting higher.

Catch-22 is now part of the lexicon. It’s defined as a “condition or regulation which prevents the resolution of a problem.”

That describes the situation for many hospitals regarding Electronic Medical Records. To get a piece of the $20 plus billion dollar government incentive pie for adopting EMRs, the hospitals must meet an array of measurements proving that they are using this IT in a meaningful way.

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Categories: EMR / Healthcare IT, Real-Time Capacity Management