It goes without question that the EHR is the most significant technology investment for a hospital or health system. With the financial impact(s) of COVID-19, it is more critical than ever for health technology leaders to examine cost-effective strategies to support the system that is the heart of hospital operations.
According to a recent Healthcare IT Today article “Four EHR and IT Cost Control Strategies for Hospitals in 2021 and Beyond,” reducing the cost of purchased services such as data storage, user licenses, software, security, disaster recovery and networking is one area where hospital CIOS can look for cost savings – potentially 30% of a hospitals non-labor expenses.
“Moving forward, we must shift from cost adversity to technological advancement. And the only way to do that is with mindful decisions regarding our supporting technologies, along with strong governance and measurement efforts” says Peyman Zand, VP of Advisory Services at CereCore.
Cases in Point: Four Cost-Saving Stories With Big Results
As examples of these cost-savings strategies in action, Zand discusses four cases that churned financial savings for organizations during his career as a health system CIO and consultant:
- Case 1: Contract rationalization for a four-hospital health system found redundant contracts with vendors for the same functionality. In this case, the reduction of 350 contracts to 195 resulted in an estimated 30% savings in annual operating costs as well as a stronger IT posture.
- Case 2: A review of the revenue cycle build and CDM setup for an acute plus ambulatory facility located over $300k in overlooked billing. In this case, a new EHR consulting team found discrepancies in the CDM build. Further review and testing showed that previous changes to the EHR had disrupted reimbursement processes that went undetected.
- Case 3: Analysis of EHR support incidents related to accounts receivable resulted in a 90+ day A/R with millions of dollars in uncollectable accounts to nearly zero. In this case, data from the IT support dashboard was compared with A/R increases and decreases which identified a broken workflow.
- Case 4: EHR upgrade resulted in 60% operating costs savings and 40% productivity gain from modernization. In this case, two healthcare systems with similar scale and the same EHR platform took different paths. The one that upgraded had less interfaces to maintain, system stability, and was able to streamline business processes for tremendous gain.
While some of these cases can be quickly and easily addressed through automated testing, as in the case of orderable charges, others require detailed evaluation and decisions. The good news is that there are always new strategies to apply to improving the performance and cost-structure around our most critical health system technologies.
Original article: Four EHR and IT Cost Control Strategies for Hospitals in 2021 and Beyond, Healthcare IT Today.