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Forecast Roundup

Drive throughput, remove waste and lock in best practices

B y Debi Lelinski, director of product management, health- care office of strategy management, Ontario Systems

The U.S. healthcare delivery system is in a period of unprecedented change. Surviving healthcare delivery systems and extended business offi ce service providers will be those who adapt to manage through turbulent fi nancial times. Under any projected reimbursement scenario, providers will be expected to do

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more, for more patients, with lower reimbursement. Providers will see increased risk shifting to patients as high-deductible health plan (HDHP) enrollment grows. These plans leave many previously insured patients unprepared to pay their healthcare costs. Meanwhile, Gallup reported a record high 17.3 percent of the adult population is without health insurance as of the third quarter of 2011. Electronic medical records (EMRs) will increasingly focus

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on care standardization and quality, with wave upon wave of stringent meaningful-use requirements. The focus on clinical-system enhancements may render legacy revenue cycle systems unable to respond rapidly enough.

Among the

surviving organizations will be those who exploit technology to drive throughput, remove waste and lock in best practices across administrative, clinical and financial functions. Specifi cally, we see an increased need for technology that supplements the collection functionality of an organization’s patient accounting system, increases account representative productivity and reduces administrative costs while enhancing patient satisfaction. Technology that drives accuracy, speed and service into every administrative point of patient contact will help healthcare organizations maintain their market positions and meet their fi nancial commitments.

Less time documenting, more time delivering

By Janet Dillione, EVP and general manager, Nuance Healthcare

With ACOs looming and a major transition to ICD-10 less than two years away, healthcare organizations must prioritize and enable the capture of high-quality clinical data.

As we all know, physicians have

different documentation styles. While one might type at 100 words per minute, another might still rely on medical transcriptionists. When adequately supported by innovative technologies, however, clinicians can spend less time documenting patient care and more time delivering it.

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The prioritization of high-quality data is occurring today and will continue alongside the U.S. healthcare system’s conversion to ICD-10. As we begin shifting from 18,000 codes to 140,000 codes, innovations such as natural language-understanding technologies and mobile speech-enabled capture must be added

34 February 2012

The cloud will keep providers afl oat By Rick Jennings, chief technology officer, vRad

For more on vRad: www.rsleads. com/202ht-214

For years innovative cloud-based technologies were viewed with skepticism as unproven or on the bleeding edge, because they were based on a computing model that challenged the status quo. These technologies were spurned in favor of traditional software that is more complex, costlier and time consuming to install. However, this will change in 2012, as technology executives adopt a Web-based platform to address increasingly tight capital budgets (and face the fact that a disruptive shift, similar to the one that occurred when client-server computers leapfrogged mini-computers and mainframes, is now underway). CIOs tasked with modernizing PACS and other information systems will lack the capital to replace the traditional solutions that have reached their end of life. Critical business, financial and competitive pressures confronting their organization will force them to rethink their IT approach. Technology that made sense in years past simply will not be economically feasible in 2012 and beyond. As CIOs and risk-averse physician practices look for solutions that fit the new economic reality, improve care, enhance customer experience, reduce cost of I.T. operations, increase effi ciencies and

create competitive advantages, they will come to fi nd that the cloud is their only option. Cloud technology is not the risky, unproven proposition they thought it was. It has proven itself and been used very effectively in fi nancial, manufacturing and other industries over the past decade. The cloud will not only keep their organizations afl oat, it will also help them navigate the changes ahead. The cloud will be an imperative for technology executives in 2012.

to the documentation workflow in order to capture the full patient story at the specifi city level required, to streamline the coding process and to reduce physician interruptions. To understand this, let’s take a present day example: A physician documents that a patient has a “fracture of the forearm.” Did he mean lower forearm, right forearm or left forearm? And what was the severity? These specifi c details often instigate a query and require follow up, thereby disrupting clinician workfl ow. But by turning to technology, we can prompt the physician for more specifi city through computer-assisted physician documentation (CAPD) technologies while the details are fresh in his mind. In the end, documentation will be more complete, resulting in more accurate billing and improved care.

Clinical documentation is currently one of the most

undervalued resources in healthcare. By improving upon and expanding the scope of the documentation process we can drive clinician efficiency, eliminate unnecessary costs and refocus the care team back on the patient, not the process.

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