Pivot Point Consulting’s Advisory Services leadership team summarizes their key takeaways from Becker’s recent Hospital Review Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference. In true Becker’s fashion, presenters shared stories of their successes and their challenges. The vibe in the sessions and on the floor was one of wary excitement as organizations try to think differently while maintaining patient trust. Health systems are seeking to be innovative amid pressure to partner and expand reach, reduce cost, and keep projects and initiatives running on-time and on budget.
- The Digital Patient Experience
There has been a remarkable change in leadership’s understanding and support of digital transformation—providing integrated services to patients and members where they are, when they need (and want) them—as defined in other industries (hospitality, travel, retail, financial services). Supporting an emerging awareness of the longitudinal perspective, leading healthcare delivery organizations are focused on defining their patient experience, starting with digital engagement, through episodes of care and billing. The “digital continuum” follows the life of the patient relationship from acquisition to engagement (portal interaction) to digital health (telehealth, AI, mobile).
- Data, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Analytics and data interoperability / integrity are increasingly vital to clinical and revenue cycle optimization. We must ensure data from multiple sources—new and legacy—are harmonized in a way that it can be relied upon for consistent decision making. Data driven organizations are applying the required discipline and seeing results with predictive and prescriptive analytics. More is happening with applied artificial intelligence with the anticipated “age of convergence” of AI surpassing human support within the next five to ten years. In Daniel Barchi’s (Senior VP and CIO at New York-Presbyterian) keynote presentation, he emphasized a message that “Time is Brain” noting AI can and does augment clinical expertise toward better outcomes. However, he pointed out an algorithm bias in today’s AI that requires human intervention to negate AI’s adoption of historical bias interpretations.
- Revenue Cycle Improvement
Organizations are focusing effort and investment toward revenue cycle improvement—although not through direct system or process improvement. Presentations addressed how to implement and improve patient-centered processes that impact billing and collections and leverage data and analytics to streamline revenue cycle processes (i.e., using EHR data to automatically secure prior authorizations). This is consistent with the related improvement focus in clinical care and patient access, data-driven care, etc. Organizations that look upstream and downstream across clinical and revenue cycle domains for differentiating opportunities and consistently apply discipline to capitalize on those opportunities will emerge as market leaders.
It’s clear that security concerns continue to plague our industry and providers and vendors alike must actively assess the amount of risk they are willing to take. In his panel presentation, Sentara’s Corporate VP and CIO, Michael Reagin, made the point that privacy and security must be acknowledged as challenges that will live in perpetuity. Organizations with a strong security posture are ones that foster a culture of awareness and vigilance embedded into core operations and business processes.
- Strategic Process Improvement / Cost Containment
Business strategy must drive decision making and technology investments; focus on strategy helps manage the allure of opportunistic “shiny objects”. If it doesn’t align to strategy, it’s noise. Organizations are looking to enhance efficacy. EHR optimization and using the data collected in the EHR to streamline and improve the patient experience was a hot topic as hospitals look to enhance workflows around their core systems. Presenters are pursuing everything from providing a better upfront estimate on costs—to working on proactive payment plans—to providing simple and patient-friendly ways to present and pay a bill. More so, robotic process automation and the transition to cloud are being leveraged to help reduce overhead.
We need to be aware of the lessons learned in retail and banking and start to consider the true impact of health care disrupters such as Amazon and Google. How we use data and technology to understand and cater to the healthcare consumer will shift the care provided beyond the traditional hospital walls to encompass the Internet of Things and self-reported outcomes. Now more than ever it is critical that health systems think out of the box.
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