Right now, there's a lot of uncertainty about what the new presidential administration will change or attempt to change in the healthcare industry. We could spend lots of time speculating, but for now, let's talk about what's not going to change.
From a macro perspective, the arrival of Team Trump and the resulting potential repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act will not have a material impact on the greatest driver of healthcare “change.” That is, the march from fee-for-service to value-based care and the necessary bending of the healthcare cost curve associated with it. Healthcare providers will thrive or fail based on their ability to improve quality while reducing cost.
One of the critical components of succeeding on this journey is a provider’s ability to capture, analyze, and use data to direct necessary changes in their care delivery models and to measure quality and financial performance on a go-forward basis.
If you’re a hospital CEO, you’ve likely invested tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in an EHR – and are still waiting for the promised ROI.
What we see all too often is that a vanilla system has been installed, and it hasn’t been optimized to match the evolving healthcare models that need to be embraced. It may not be for lack of desire, but simply because of the rush to get things done.
Here's how one CIO put it in a recent KLAS report on Healthcare Consulting Perceptions:
“There is a lot of functionality that has not been turned on or that has been turned on but is not being optimized. So I am embarking on what I call my Epic enablement program. It is really about leveraging our investment. I told the rest of our executive team that over many, many years we have done a good job implementing Epic but that we haven’t necessarily taken advantage of the investment and enabled the automation of processes and workflows. We haven’t really done a good job of engaging the organization around some standards.”
Add to that the reality that we’re seeing the largest-scale consolidation of hospitals and physician practices that we’ve ever seen in this country – driven by the need for scale to effectively compete in a value-based marketplace. The net result of all of this is that hospital IT departments haven’t had a moment to help their organizations get true value out of the sunk costs related to their EHR.
So now what? The macro drivers of an evolving healthcare delivery system have caused your organization to make a multi-million-dollar investment in technology systems and infrastructure, so how do you capture real value?
The answer is optimizing the systems and mining the data to support new models of care that drive down cost and enhance quality – the big circle.
Bruce Cerullo is the CEO of Nordic and has over 30 years of healthcare industry experience.