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7 Revenue Cycle Management Tips

Posted on December 9, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Healthcare is getting squeezed from every direction. The discussion around the cost of healthcare has exploded and everyone is looking at ways to lower the cost of healthcare. Unfortunately, for a hospital or healthcare organization, lower cost healthcare means getting paid less for the same things. We’re going to need a major shift in our thinking to be able to handle this shift in cost.

While we figure out these major changes, one thing I see happening across all of healthcare is managing an organization’s revenue cycle. NextGen recently put out this whitepaper titled 7 tips to go from “Getting By” to “Thriving” where they talk about a number of ways you can improve your revenue cycle management. Here’s a look at the 7 tips they offer:

1. Self-pay Collections
2. Measuring Performance
3. Claims Scrubbing
4. Track and Prevent Denials
5. Create and Enforce Write-off Policy
6. Remind Patients of Appointments
7. Maximize Electronic Remittance Advice

You can download the full whitepaper for free if you want to see a much deeper dive into all 7 of these tips.

What I’ve found as I’ve worked with hundreds of healthcare organizations is that most of these things aren’t rocket science. In fact, deep down these organizations know how to manage their revenue cycle. However, many of them aren’t doing it. Sometimes it’s a lack of resources available. In other cases, the organization just needs a reminder.

Unfortunately, revenue cycle management isn’t always the most fun thing you can do in an organization. It’s not a really sexy job that you can go home and tell your friends about. However, from a financial perspective it’s one of the best investments a healthcare organization can make.

Are Vendors Buckling Under the Meaningful Use Pressure?

Posted on January 3, 2014 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Today, I’m going to tell you about a legal dispute between the hospital EMR vendor NextGen Healthcare Information Systems. It’s not pretty but it’s not so spectacular that deserves a lot of publicity by itself. But the dispute does say something about the capacity of vendors to keep up with the next round of certifications and support for Meaningful Use Stage 2 and beyond.

The dispute involves two parties, the Mountainview Medical Center of White Sulfur Springs, Mt. and NextGen. According to documents filed in US District Court last week, the Medical Center had hired NextGen to install a certified EMR by June 1, 2013 for a price of $441,000. When NextGen couldn’t meet the deadline, the Medical Center gave it an extension until October 1 of this past year.

Here is where things get ugly. According to the MMC, it found out that NextGen not only failed to meet the deadline, but didn’t have a solution that complied with Meaningful Use. At that point, it seems, MMC basically threw its hands in the air and said “it’s time to fight back.” MMC now wants the $441,000 it spent to prepare for the NextGen installation.

I’m sure there’s more to this story. As you can imagine, NextGen has said that they believe the case is without merit and will defend against it. Plus, it seems that NextGen Inpatient Clinicals EHR 2.6 is 2014 Certified as a modular EHR. So, was the issue with NextGen not having enough resources to install the EHR? No doubt NextGen was certified.

My question is this: if a vendor in the size of NextGen can’t meet the meaningful use deadlines for its users, are its larger brethren at risk as well? Can we expect to see Cerner, Meditech or even Epic get so overwhelmed managing existing installations (which is what I imagine is happening with NextGen) that it will temporarily or permanently drop out of the Meaningful Use program?

Maybe your first reaction is “no way — this is just a blip on the map to successful installation and certifications for all major vendors.” But maybe not. I find myself wondering whether we’re seeing beginning of a showdown, in which, at minimum, large vendors focus on customers they’ve got already in place and lack development resources to speed the development of a certified EMR that will meet upcoming criteria.

I say, keep your vendor on a short leash. If you can’t afford to have your Meaningful Use implementation dates shift, you may need to keep close eye on even the largest and best funded vendors.

EHRs Can Generate Meaningful Return On Investment

Posted on September 27, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Well-implemented EMRs can certainly generate Meaningful Use incentive payoffs, but that’s far from the only way that they can help a practice generate return on their EHR investment.

According to “Return on Investment in EHRs,” a whitepaper sponsored by GBS, HP, Intel and Nextgen, properly implemented EHRs can do a great deal to generate ROI for medical practice above and beyond qualifying them for MU payoffs.

The paper notes that many practices have achieved a return on investment in their EHRs without receiving external incentives. As it points out, a Health Affairs study from 2005 found that while initial EHR costs averaged $44,000 per full-time equivalent, and ongoing costs averaged $8,500 per provider per year, the average practice paid for EHR costs in 2.5 years and generated a profit after that.

Eleven of the 14 practices studied by Health Affairs had “tightly integrated” EHR and practice management systems, a factor the paper contends was highly relevant to their success with their EHR implementation. Not only did providers use the EHR for common tasks, almost all used it to help with billing. Ten of the practices no longer pull paper charts at all, the study noted.

EHRs also improve efficiency and productivity in the following ways, the paper argues:

* More appropriate coding: Properly-designed EHRs help physicians with coding by displaying the appropriate code based on the documentation entered during a patient encounter. This avoids costly undercoding.

* Greater efficiency: The use of point-and-click templates lessens and in some cases eliminates transcription costs, which can be up to 11 percent of collections.

* Reduction in soft costs: Fully-enabled EHRs also remove many “soft costs” that practices occur, such as the time it takes to call in prescriptions. Also, once doctors learn how to use the EHR, they can complete most of the notes during or between patient visits, leaving them with time to either see more patients or go home earlier.

It’s great to think that medical practices can generate ROI on their EHR investment, but given that the sponsors of this paper have their own agenda, I’m not taking everything they say at face value. What do you think, readers? Have you seen situations in which practice EHRs generate significant ROI independently of what they take in in Meaningful Use dollars?

Top Inpatient EHR Vendors – 2013 Black Book Rankings

Posted on February 22, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I think that most of you know how I feel about the various EHR ranking systems. They all have their issues, but they are another interesting data point in the search for the right EHR. Plus, the EHR ranking trends over time can be interesting. Not to mention, it’s hard not to look at a post that has rankings. It’s almost un-American not to look.

So, I figured I’d post some of the Black Book Rankings over the next week. The following are the Top Ranked EHR Vendors for Inpatient Hospital Systems, Chains and IDN (in alphabetical order).

4MEDICA
ALLSCRIPTS
CPSI
EPIC
GE HEALTHCARE
HCS EMR
HEALTH MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
HEALTHLAND
INFOMEDIKA
KEANE
MCKESSON
MEDITECH
NEXTGEN
PROGNOSIS HIT
QUADRAMED
SEQUEL
SIEMENS
UNI/CARE
VERSASUITE

Not too many surprises on the list. Was their any Hospital EHR vendor that you think should have made it on this list? I think this list would be more interesting if it just ranked the top 5 Hospital EHR vendors.

Which Hospital Vendor Solutions Are a Fit for the Community and Mid-Size Hospital Space?

Posted on December 29, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The following are some of the vendors often under consideration:

  • Allscripts: The Eclipsys Sunrise platform has proven clinical functionality. Strong outpatient strategy via Allscripts.
  • Cerner: Has been among the most aggressive in adapting a large hospital solution for the community space. A proven clinical platform which is made more consumable by the introduction of the remote-hosted version.
  • Epic: Has dominated the large hospital market. Not accustomed to selling to hospitals with less than 300 beds (unless it is a children’s hospital). Some community hospitals are piggybacking on a larger organization’s investment in Epic, making these larger hospitals act as solutions providers to other hospitals – i.e. acting as vendors.
  • McKesson: Paragon has a lot of momentum in the community and mid-size hospital space. They are rolling out CPOE functionality.
  • Meditech: The most successful (and affordable) integrated platform in the community hospital market. Huge number of legacy installs. The go-forward is Version 6.
  • QuadraMed: Has a sizable client base in the middle of the market. Proven clinical adoption. Clients wonder where the core clinical product is going in terms of development.
  • Siemens: Soarian has several installs in community and mid-size hospitals. Has gained CPOE adoption. Little clinical enhancement with MedSeries4 and still working out which is the preferred solution for this market – Soarian or MS4.

CPSI, Healthland, HMS, and NextGen are pushing up into the small end.

What is on the horizon?

Large hospital vendors are redoubling their efforts to win business in the community hospital space, which, in turn, causes vendors with small hospital solutions to reinvest in their products in order to prove clinical functionality and adoption. These two groups of vendors are coming at the market from different places, but providers benefit all the same.


Guest Post: Jeremy Bikman is Chairman at KATALUS Advisors, a strategic consulting firm focused on the healthcare vertical. We help vendors grow, guide hospitals into the future, and advise private equity groups on their investments. Our clients are found in North America, Europe, and Asia. www.KATALUSadvisors.com

The principals of KATALUS Advisors have worked with hundreds of healthcare organizations, vendors, and other consulting firms across the globe. The opinions expressed here are our own and are not intended to promote any specific vendor and do not reflect those of any other organization or individual.

Which Health IT and EHR Vendors Should Critical Access Hospitals Consider?

Posted on September 27, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The number of health IT and EHR enterprise options available to critical access hospitals is increasing as competition for new hospital contracts moves downstream to smaller facilities. The following is a brief (not all-inclusive) list of health IT and EHR vendors that could be ideal fits for critical access and small, rural hospitals:

  • CPSI: Has done a good job of proving clinical adoption and leads with the most critical access hospital clients doing CPOE.
  • Healthland: Solid system with proven operational capability. Clients give the EMR high marks for usability.
  • HMS: Reinvesting heavily in improving clinical functionality and UI, including a partnership with MEDHOST for strong ED capability.
  • McKesson: Paragon is being considered more often in the critical access space. Has significant sales momentum in larger community hospitals, with some IDN wins.
  • Meditech: Already has a huge client base in larger community hospitals. Small organizations with resources are considering v.6.
  • NextGen: Gets little notice despite having an inpatient offering that is completely integrated with their successful outpatient EMR. Already have a number of clients. Has solid functionality.
  • Prognosis: Exciting new entrant. Applies remote-hosting technology to a single-database inpatient solution for small, rural facilities and critical access hospitals. Already has several clients.

These health IT and EMR vendors represent a mix of those who have caught the attention of smaller facilities, those who represent a new and intriguing competitive advantage, and those who have proven able to deliver products in a small hospital environment.

See also our list of hospital EMR and EHR vendors.

Chris O’Neal is Managing Partner at KATALUS Advisors. KATALUS Advisors is a strategic consulting firm focused on the healthcare vertical. We serve healthcare technology vendors, hospitals, and private equity groups in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Our services span growth strategies in new and existing markets, M&A due diligence, market analysis, and advisory services. www.KATALUSadvisors.com