The next generation of healthcare IT infrastructure is on its way… and it offers some stunning possibilities. According to a recent article in Healthcare IT, “APIs, automation, blockchain along with mobile and medical devices will enable a new era of learning networks. The next generation of infrastructure will include new features and functions ranging from evolved networks to enhanced analytics to distributed database offerings.” Whew. And new hospital financial analytic solutions are right around the corner with the distinct possibility of leaving healthcare systems that don’t adopt and adapt… in the dust.
In this near-term future, healthcare leaders agree that analytics will play a starring role. In the same Healthcare IT article, Barbara Casey, director of healthcare and life sciences at networking giant Cisco Systems, explains how Analytics will play a key and central role in the healthcare of the near future. “The next-generation data analytics software will give you automated 360-degree contextual insights across users, devices, and applications in real time,” Casey is quoted as saying. This “real-time and historical data analytics will enable an organization to learn, adapt and even detect problems before they happen.
What’s the current status for hospital financial analytic solutions in hospitals? In a recent announcement about creating the Financial Analytics Leadership Council, the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and Kaufman Hall, a strategic and financial consulting services company, stated that based on a survey of senior healthcare financial execs:
- 90 percent of respondents state that their organizations should do more to leverage financial and operational data to inform strategic decisions
- 70 percent have either cost measurement tools they describe as too simplistic or as sources of inaccurate data or no tools in place at all
- 84 percent view peer financial benchmarking activity as important, yet just 56 percent are benchmarking their organizations’ performance against industry peers
Analytical insights are vital for hospitals seeking to streamline care. Healthcare Analytics News carried a recent post that warned hospitals to stay on track and use analytics smartly. This article explains how analytics helps hospitals get on top of value-based care. Writes the authors, “in an era of heavy healthcare consolidation, hospitals and health systems that don’t embrace data and analytics are increasingly in danger of being gobbled up by those that do. Why? Such high-tech tools are necessary to promote value-based care, a movement that experts believe will replace the fee-for-service model, regardless of whether any single healthcare organization is ready.”
We’re seeing the same thing with our hospital clients that deploy analytics in smart ways. Recently, Nebraska Medicine, a two hospital 809 bed system esteemed as an academic partner with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, deployed our SSI Claims Analytics solution. Financial benefits became clear quickly. Within 90 days, the system had reclaimed and reallocated one full time FTE. Today, Nebraska Medicine uses SSI Claims Analytics to establish informed payer conversations, to streamline workflow, to monitor clean claim and denial rates and make sure they’re getting paid timely and accurately. You can download the full case study, here.
A clear plan for analytics implementation, with buy-ins by key stakeholders, is the key to avoiding turbulence and confusion. The leadership team at Northwell Health, New York state’s largest healthcare provider knows this well. In an article on “How to Minimize Data Chaos in Healthcare”, Christopher Hutchins, associate vice president of healthcare analytics for the not-for-profit health system, was quoted during the Health IT & Analytics Summit in Baltimore, Maryland how he and his colleagues cut through the confusion. For Northwell, Hutchins “enacted a three-part strategy: They opened an enterprise platform for self-service analytics, got tech and clinical staffers to bolster clinical reporting (of which there was a clear deficit), and worked with executives to sketch a roadmap for enterprise data integration.”
Healthcare IT News has a related article with guidance on where to focus during the coming analytics changes, in large part driven by the shift to value-based care. The long article quotes industry experts who recommend hospital financial management teams concentrate on AI, the blockchain, and visualization on the road to value-based care and risk adjustment. One thought leader, Brian Croegaert, senior vice president of value-based care services at Arcadia Healthcare Solutions, observes that “in the next two to five years, healthcare will move to a world in which everything is based on managing some level of risk.” He also believes that “they will need performance analytics to help earn outcome-based bonus payments.”
To sum up, what is going on in the rapid technological advance for hospital financial analytic solutions, Modern Healthcare has an article stressing, why hospitals “’can’t afford to’ provide value-based care”. In a nutshell, it is because the future is all about “using data to lower the cost of care.” The article notes that one thing that became clear at this year’s Healthcare Financial Management Association conference in Las Vegas: All of this IT transformation with all the promise AI can bring is “just a pipe dream if it’s not backed by strong data analytics.”