7 ways HIEs can enhance profitability
Health information exchange, enabling a free flow of clinical information between IT systems, can enhance patient care. For CFOs and CIOs, it can also lead to big revenue returns.
"These are silos that nobody thought about 10 or 15 years ago – this shared info in such a structured format," explained Dave Caldwell, executive vice president of Certify Data Systems, an enterprise HIE provider. "IT departments of hospitals and health organizations are driven by financially-minded individuals with medical and clinical input. They're buying HIE for revenue enhancement."
Caldwell explained seven ways bringing on an HIE across a healthcare system can enhance profitability.
1. Better engagement with doctors. Doctors not employed by or affiliated with a health system have to compete for admissions. If hospitals can make it easier to do business with independent physicians over their competition, they'll be able to grow revenue stream due to "acquiring" those admissions. Furthermore, physicians would rather work for a hospital that offers electronic results, orders and continuity of care documents that freely integrate with their workflow over one that still forces manual fax results, orders, and don't have the ability to share clinical information on a patient's summary. "There's definitely an upper-hand to have that sort of HIE/EHR implemented," said Caldwell.
2. Cost effectiveness. When an organization moves from paper processes to fully automated, integrated EHRs, they're cutting out manual steps on both the hospital and physician side. "What we found with HIE systems is that the efficiencies healthcare organizations gain when they're fully automated from both in-patient and out-patient settings really starts to pull labor costs," said Caldwell. Reallocation of resources for better care and provision of care can also improve the general workflow.
3. Participation in associated bonuses. As ACOs are developed, health organizations can move to incentive programs and risk sharing agreements based on cost, quality and prevention of complications associated with chronic disease.
4. Labor savings associated with more efficient workflow processes. "This is clearly being demonstrated in hospitals moving from manual process to electronic orders and results like in radiology or lab testing. Efficiencies start to be experienced and this impacts labor costs," said Caldwell.
5. Equipment and supplies. If an organization has a mechanical method to manage processes – someone managing supply and equipment internally – they will start to see savings. "Large healthcare systems can go from $250,000 to $1 million savings cots associated with those type of processes," said Caldwell.
6. Reduction of errors. Moving from manual processes with human errors in keying, for example, to electronic method where a provider is capturing information without mistakes is going to lower risk of medical errors. This has an impact on medical malpractice and general liability insurance premiums for example.