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Improving Financial Performance By Accelerating Cash Flow

Posted on July 24, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

In IT circles, revenue cycle management isn’t the sexiest assignment, but collecting revenue is the lifeblood of your hospital nonetheless. In this e-book, Relay Health offers several suggestions for speeding up cash flow by being proactive about when and where cash is collected.

Right now, as the book notes, hospitals rely on collecting co-pays at the time of service, while determining and collecting the balance post-service. However, the likelihood of patients paying goes down after they leave the hospital.

To address collections pre-service, Relay Health suggests hospitals use technology to screen patients for eligibility for benefits and their propensity to pay bills, verify their personal data and identity information to avoid fraud and speed the claims process, and screen them for charity assistance.

There’s also several steps the e-book recommends which can increase the propensity of patients to pay post-discharge, including leveraging patient data to customize statements with relevant messages; using visually-appealing statement formats; offering online bill  payment and management; and integrating an estimation/verification tool to help focus the discussion of patient responsibility.

Another important step  hospitals can take is to evaluate their claims management processes and shift effort to areas where the greatest impact can be felt, the book suggests.  As of the first half of 2012,  the average service-to-payment velocity industry wide was 45.3 days from patient discharge to resolution. This can be helped by finding process delays in key areas of claims performance, including service to release of claim, service to submission of claim, submit to Transmit and Transmit to Payment, Relay Health suggests.

Still another way in which hospitals can improve their revenue cycle management performance is to engage in comparative analytics, benchmarking their financial performance to improve decision-making.  The e-book notes that while traditional benchmarking presents several issues — not the least of which being that comparing performance indicators between organizations may be an “apples to oranges” comparison — benchmarking using comparative analytics avoids these issues.

Ultimately, the e-book notes, healthcare providers will transition from a focus on internal data repositories for performance information to a more outward-facing, patient-centric model integrating data from claims, EMRs, PHRs, analytics technologies, CRM systems and health insurance exchanges. In the mean time,  it suggests, it’s definitely worth the effort to fine-tune RCM systems using the data you have.

CIO Reveals Secrets to HIE

Posted on July 3, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Inspira Health Network is a community health system comprising three hospitals in southern New Jersey, with more than 5,000 employees and 800 affiliated physicians. It is an early adopter of health information exchange technology. In this Q&A-style paper their CIO and Director of Ambulatory Informatics share secrets to their successful Health Information Exchange implementation.

One of the most impressive numbers from their HIE implementation is that they were able to get 600 providers using the portal and 36 EMRs connected. Plus, they were able to get their HIE up and running in 4 months while many of the public HIEs were still working on their implementations. As I’ve written about previously, I see a lot of potential in the Private HIE. So, it’s great to see a first hand account from a CIO about their private HIE implementation.

Here are some of the other benefits the CIO identifies in the paper:

  • Ties the Physician Community to the Organization
  • Helps Meet the Meaningful Use Patient Engagement Requirements
  • Helps Address Care Coordination Requirements
  • Paper, Postage, and Staff Resource Savings
  • Improve Patient Length of Stay

Check out the full Q&A for a lot of other insights including rolling out the HIE to doctors who have an EMR and those who don’t. I also love that the CIO confirmed that the biggest technical challenge is that every EHR vendor has interpreted the HL7 standard differently based on the technical limitations of the application. This is why I’m so impressed that they were able to get 36 EMRs connected.

I hope more CIOs will share their stories of success. We’ve heard enough bad news in healthcare IT. I want to cover more health IT success stories.

5 Tips for Improving Provider Productivity with an EMR

Posted on May 13, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The most recent EMR adoption numbers I’ve seen are putting EMR adoption at about 60% of doctors. When I think about the other 40% of doctors that have yet to adopt an EMR, my guess is that the biggest reason they haven’t adopted an EMR is based on their fear that an EMR will negatively impact their practice and their productivity. They fear that a change to EMR is going to be negative rather than a positive that it could be.

A whitepaper called Getting Lean with Your Practice: Five Tips for Improving Provider Productivity with an EHR does a good job looking at the issues of productivity in a practice and how to improve that productivity. One thing it points out is that if you can’t measure it, then you don’t really know how you’re doing. Turns out, an EMR is a great way to measure productivity.

Think about all the data an EMR can produce that would have never been possible in an EMR. Patient wait times and documentation times are the most obvious when we’re talking about productivity. In the paper world, you really didn’t have a good idea if a doctor had 20 charts outstanding or none other than looking at the stack of charts on the desk and checking them. In the EMR world, you can easily report on who’s staying up with their charting and who is not.

In the productivity whitepaper mentioned above, after studying 25 providers at 12 diverse practices they found that same-day encounter close rates (ie. finishing the charting the day of the visit) was the single most revealing metric about the success of patient workflow processes. They suggest that this doesn’t mean you document every patient as you seem them. Instead, they suggest documenting as much as you can with the patient when you’re with them and then you wrap up any complex patients as the end of the day. This is usually the right balance for most doctors I’ve worked with as well.

Here are the full 5 tips from the whitepaper:

  1. Start on time.
  2. Work with cross-trained staff that can handle intake and documentation.
  3. Document encounters as much as possible during and immediately after visits, but don’t document more than necessary or spend too much clinical time on complex documentation.
  4. Close all patient encounters by the end of the day – This should involve just wrapping up documentation for complex encounters.
  5. Route documents appropriately and delegate responsibility for document handling effectively.

One of the other great takeaways from the whitepaper is the idea that doctors can and should be delegating more of the documentation to their staff. A Dr. Lizabeth Riley pointed out that “the data the system provided immediately opened my eyes to the fact that I was only giving my staff 1% of charting duties! Once I saw that, I knew thing had to change. My staff now does 40%-60% of my charting for me.”

There was a lot more interesting data in the whitepaper including the 5 different physician work styles from Truly Lean to Falling Behind and Frustrated. This last group is behind the EMR backlash. Hopefully some of the tips above can help a doctor become more productive with their EMR.

EMR Research, EMR Blogging, and EMR Whitepapers

Posted on April 28, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.


This is an interesting observation. I see what Ross means when it comes to experimentation. Meaningful use and the rest of the government regulations are sucking the innovation out of healthcare IT and EMR in particular. However, from a research stand point, EMR can open up a whole new section of research. Maybe Ross was referring to research on the best way to do EMR.


I love more people blogging about EMR. Although, it seems that some of the best EMR blogs are coming from vendors. I love vendors involvement and perspective in the blogosphere, but I’d love to see more independent EMR bloggers as well.


I was glad that Dr. Webster likes the healthcare IT whitepaper resource we created. The nice part is that we’re just getting started with it and the resource will get even better over time.