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Top 5 videos from HIMSS17

athenahealth CMO: Our big moonshot for 2017 is EHR ROI

Chief medical officer Todd Rothenhaus said the company is working on an ROI guarantee as it moves into the post-EHR era of population health and care coordination.
By Tom Sullivan
08:46 AM
athenahealth CMO EHR ROI

Almost every healthcare CFO signed off on a big check to implement electronic health records software in the past six years. Not because they knew it would bring the same financial return as a shiny new MRI machine or building to house a slick surgery center, but instead because the federal government said they must.

athenahealth chief medical officer Todd Rothenhaus, MD, made that assertion in a pre-HIMSS17 interview.

“Our big moonshot work here in 2017 is getting back to a true ROI,” Rothenhaus said. “We’re working to get past the idea that an EHR is a necessary expense. Instead it’s a tool for automation.”

Rothenhaus added that one part of the company’s move into the post-EHR era will include an “ROI guarantee” along the lines of the offer it laid out ahead of the ICD-10 conversion deadline. And while Rothenhaus did not reveal the exact percentages of the ROI guarantee, CEO Jonathan Bush at that time threw down the coding gauntlet: “We’ll get you to ICD-10 or you don’t have to pay for it.” 

[Also: Post-EHR era: Empty buzzword or here before long? CIOs weigh in]

In addition to the ROI guarantee, Rothenhaus said athenahealth is working to leverage its technologies to create cloud services that link patients to tests and treatments, find gaps in care, and facilitate claims -based analysis layered with clinical data.

“We’re now integrating that with our athenaClinicals EHR service – that’s the future,” Rothenhaus added. And while the company spent it’s first years thinking about what Rothenhaus called “the box that was a medical group or hospital, now it’s about the network.”

That network includes athenahealth clients, accountable care organizations, integrated delivery networks, and to a certain extent doctors using other EHR platforms operating as part of a care team for patients also seeing other physicians who are using athenahealth services.

Rothenhaus added that in those instances the care teams can even be practicing coordinated care without realizing that they are all looking at the same patient information.

“The patient,” he said, “is a network.” 

HIMSS17 runs from Feb. 19-23, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center.


This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.


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