|The Health Record Review
by Ramsey Evans, Prognosis Health Information Systems
Posted on Fri, Oct 12, 2012 - 10:43 am
As rural and community hospitals move to meaningfully use electronic health records (EHRs), they are faced with three decisions.
They can interface their existing revenue cycle management system with EHR software from a different vendor, buy the clinical module from their financial system or replace their legacy application with an integrated clinical and financial solution.
On the horizon are new-technology (e.g., Web-native) integrated systems composed of clinical and financial components. As these systems roll out into our market they will be the smartest approach, offering more benefits than interfaced or overlaid disparate proprietary systems – even those supported by a single vendor.
Those benefits include:
Enhanced documentation- Accurate and automatic charge capture of rendered care services increases cash flow, leading to a more complete and stable picture of the organization’s finances.
Eliminate the interface- An interface between a clinical and financial system is simply another one that can break. A one-platform solution eliminates this additional headache and ensures your hospital can always accurately bill.
Elimination of duplicate data entry- Data only needs to be entered once because it auto-populates all relevant clinical and revenue cycle fields. For example, when a patient registers, that data is automatically entered into the EHR system in real time. Not only does this free nurses to focus on patient care activities, but it also improves the patient’s experience by eliminating the need to re-enter information and reducing errors from manually entered data.
Simplified maintenance and support- Users call one vendor or IT support person to resolve technical problems rather than chasing down several people or companies responsible for multiple disparate systems interfaced or “pieced” together.
Comprehensive, near-real-time reporting- When a legacy financial system and next-generation clinical module are stitched together, the resulting reporting capabilities are severely limited. The configurability and ability to aggregate and analyze data to generate reports that provide current data and forecasts customized to a hospital’s needs requires integrated financial and clinical systems.
As health care moves toward more patient-centric care, it is imperative for smaller providers to track information by patient and episodes of care. Toggling between two or more systems, manually entering duplicate data or having access only to standard retrospective reporting hurts their ability to navigate the changing environment. Hospitals who move to cutting-edge integrated systems will be better positioned to adapt to market changes, enhance processes, eliminate inefficiencies, strengthen their financial position, increase patient satisfaction, lower costs and reduce IT headaches.
Ramsey Evans is CEO of Prognosis Health Information Systems, in Houston, Texas