How to Solve the Data Crisis Caused by a Hospital Merger

hospital merger. Team of doctors having meeting in clinicThe headquarters of Dimensional Insight is so close to Lahey Medical Center that it’s more appropriate to walk there than to drive there. Our Burlington neighbor is the latest in a growing trend of large scale hospital mergers. Lahey is awaiting approval on a proposed merger with Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center that would form the second largest hospital system in the state. Speaking with RevCycle Intelligence, Stuart H. Altman, Chair of Commission of Mass Health Policy, called the merger, “the most significant change in the structure of the Massachusetts healthcare market in more than 20 years.”

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The upside of these mergers, greater efficiency and price control, are well documented; however, the technological downsides are rarely addressed. Combining two massive health systems creates a huge strain on the information flow of the resulting organization and demands a revenue cycle analytics system that is able to handle the influx of data. (more…)

Overcoming Data Zombies with Analytics

Overcoming Data Zombies with AnalyticsIn the current value-based reimbursement environment, hospitals have been overrun. They have been overwhelmed not by zombies from The Walking Dead but by out-of-control financial information. While these two may seem unrelated, the former is an accurate comparison for the latter. 2010’s Affordable Care Act, with its cut to Medicare payments and increase in value-based incentives, can be seen as the outbreak of the contagion. These changes made reimbursement more complex while decreasing hospital margins, essentially starting an informational zombie apocalypse while giving everyone a sprained ankle.

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The status quo for dealing with the flow of financial information has been individual reports cobbled together from the various areas of a hospital’s financial map. Like fighting an army of zombies with a baseball bat, this analysis method proves slow and worthless. The true solution for managing financial data within a hospital lies in a revenue cycle analytics tool, which turns the mindless swarm of financial data into useful pieces of your hospital’s decision-making process. (more…)

The Power of Analytics in Diagnosing Physician Burnout

physician burnoutThe amount of data in the healthcare industry is rapidly expanding. “Big Data” is a buzzword that now seems like an understatement. “Colossal Data” may be more appropriate. The U.S. healthcare system will soon be measured in zettabytes, one of which is equivalent to 1 trillion gigabytes. If distributed evenly, this would translate to around 18 completely full iPhones per U.S. citizen.

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For a hospital’s financial team, there are two methods to deal with this mountain of financial information: individual reports and data analytics. The former can offer information on the broadest aspects of the hospital’s revenue stream, like days in A/R or denials, but this method lacks the strength to sift through the smaller, more targeted reports. Analytics, on the other hand, can find valuable insights from all aspects of the revenue cycle. One problem that analytics can help detect is physician burnout. (more…)

How Hospitals Can Better Manage Revenue Cycle in a Value-Based World

medical statistics and graphic charts with stethoscope, revenue cycle

From 1990 to 2007, the U.S. government increased healthcare spending by about $1 trillion. The problem with this statistic is that once figures reach thirteen digits they begin to sound like monopoly dollars. To put it another way, this 18-year period saw an annual growth rate of 7.3% in healthcare spending, which is more than double the 3% annual growth in real GDP.

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Value-based care has emerged as one way to try and combat the rapid growth in healthcare spending. While the emphasis on quality holds promise for patient care, it has created financial challenges for hospitals. Let’s examine the impact it has had on the revenue cycle. (more…)

How to Start an Information Governance Initiative

a group of people discussing something in an office setting, information governance initiativeWhen healthcare leaders think about information governance, they often think about it in a clinical context in terms of improving patient care, reducing variation, and so on. However, there is almost always a revenue driver behind information governance.

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A failure to properly govern data can negatively impact a healthcare organization’s revenue cycle. In fact, recent survey results indicate that two-thirds of healthcare organizations use more than one system for revenue cycle management, and they tend to experience more issues with denials, impacting the bottom line. Clearly, there is a need for governed data. So if you are starting an information governance initiative, what do you need to consider? Here’s a look. (more…)

Survey Says: Hospitals Struggle with RCM, Impacting the Bottom Line

HIMSS RCM SurveyHospitals and health systems are struggling to make the most of their revenues in the ever-changing healthcare landscape. A steady stream of mergers, lack of interoperability, the shift to value-based care, and other challenges are prompting health systems to focus on improving their revenue cycle management (RCM).

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Dimensional Insight recently surveyed health systems to assess their current tools and challenges within RCM. The results highlight the complexity of tracking and gathering data throughout the revenue cycle, especially for organizations with multiple EMR and/or RCM solutions. Here are some of the survey’s highlights and as well as a few thoughts on what they mean for health systems. (more…)