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A Few Quick HIMSS15 Thoughts

Posted on April 13, 2015 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.

Today’s been a long day packed with meetings at HIMSS 2015. I need to reach out to HIMSS to get the final numbers, but word is that there are over 40,000 people at the show. In the hallways, the exhibit hall and the taxi lines it definitely seems to be the case. I’m not sure the jump in attendees, but I saw one tweet that IBM had 400 people there. Don’t quote me on it since I can’t find the tweet, but that’s just extraordinary to even consider that many people from one company.

Of course, the reason I can’t find the tweet is that the Twitter stream has been setting new records each day. The HIMSS 2015 Twitter Tips and Tricks is valuable if you want to get value out of the #HIMSS15 Twitter stream. I also have to admit that I might be going a bit overboard on the selfies. I think I’ve got the @mandibpro selfie disease. Not sure the treatment for it since my doctor doesn’t do a telemedicine visit while I’m in Chicago.

I’ve had some amazing meetings that will inform my blog posts for weeks to come. However, my biggest takeaway from the first official day of HIMSS is that change is in the air. The forces are at work to make interoperability a reality. It’s going to be a massive civil war as the various competing parties battle it out as they set the pathway forward.

You might think that this is a bit of an exaggeration, but I think it’s pretty close to what’s happening. What’s not clear to me is whose going to win and what the final outcome will look like. There are so many competing interests that are trying to get at the data and make it valuable for the doctor and health system.

Along those lines, I’m absolutely fascinated by the real time analytics capabilities that I saw being built. A number of companies I talked to are moving beyond the standard batch loaded enterprise data warehouse approach to a real time (or as one vendor said…we all have to call it near real time) stream of data. I think this is going to drive a massive change in innovation.

I’ll be talking more about the various vendors I saw and their approaches to this in future posts after HIMSS. While I’m excited by some of the many things these companies are doing, I still feel like many of them are constrained by their inability to get to the data. A number of them were working on such small data sets. This was largely because they can’t get the other data. One vendor told me that their biggest challenge is getting an organization to turn over their data for them for analysis.

While it’s important that organizations are extremely careful with how they handle and share their data. More organizations should be working with trusted partners in order to extract more value out of the data and to more importantly make new discoveries. The discoveries we’re making today are really great, but I can only imagine how much more we could accomplish with more data to inform those discoveries.

Real-Time Analytics and Dashboards for Streamlining Revenue Cycle Automation

Posted on January 25, 2012 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.

Last month CareCloud announced a new real-time analytics dashboard to help doctor streamline revenue cycle automation. The core of their product is what they call CareCloud Analytics. As I think about the announcement, I wondered if it was really a big deal or not and why we hadn’t seen more of this in the various practice management systems and EHR software on the market today.

Is Data Analytics important in Healthcare?
I think this type of information is a big deal. Information is power and this is never more true than in healthcare. The press release does a great job of describing how real-time analytics and dashboards provide information which provides transparency and accountability to a practice. One quote from the article says, “The practice can now manage the productivity of the office staff, monitor in real time the productivity of billers, and gain transparency into the business side of operations to help form better decisions through data, instead of intuition.”

I’m a huge fan of analytics in my business. I call myself a stats addict. I have 2-3 stats programs running on my websites at all times. I get stats from my ad server, from Google’s ad server, and from every other stats engine I can find that has reliable data. Much of my success with my websites is because of my passion for knowing what’s happening with my websites. To me, Data is power! The same can be said for a practice. Data is the power to make important decisions that are needed for the success of your practice.

Why don’t more EHR and PMS vendors provide these analytics?
I’m sure there are a number of reasons why we don’t see real time analytics happening very often in the small practices. Hospitals are a bit different. There are whole companies devoted to just providing these types of services to hospitals that can pay for a full scale data warehouse environment to provide this type of data. A hospital that doesn’t do this type of data mining is missing out as well, but they have a number of options. Although, I don’t think many hospital HIS vendors offer this info by default.

The key reason I think real-time analytics and customizable dashboards are missing in the small practice environment has to do with doctors demand (or lack thereof) for such a feature. This will surprise some, but most will agree that the majority of doctors don’t care much for the business side of the practice. Sure, they care that the business side of the practice effects how much money they take home at the end of the day, but a large portion of doctors would love their lives a lot more if they didn’t have anything to do with the business of a practice. Yes, I know there are exceptions to this, but most doctors want to practice medicine not business.

With this as background, if you ask most doctors what they want from their EHR and Practice Management software, they’ll start to list off all of the clinical and workflow needs that they have. Very few of them will even venture into the business requests like real time analytics. Plus, even if they did venture into the business side of things, would they know how to request such a feature?

EHR and Practice Management Vendors have to show them why it matters to have these real time analytics. It reminds me of the famous quote attributed to Henry Ford. “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” This can often be taken too far, but I think it applies well when it comes to things like real-time analytics of a practice.

One other reason that a number of companies are missing the analytics and its relationship with revenue cycle management is that they’re too focused on EHR. Many just consider the PMS a standard thing that everyone has already and that there’s no room to innovate. Last I checked meaningful use didn’t have any practice management elements and that’s taken up at least one development cycle for most companies. Too many doctors later dismay, the EHR selection process often puts the practice management side of the puzzle on the backseat. This is a mistake that many practices are paying for today.

As one PR rep for a major EHR company said to me, “Revenue Cycle Management isn’t sexy.” Although, she said this directly after telling me how beneficial it was to their bottom line.