The healthcare industry faces numerous challenges today. This includes rapidly changing regulatory reporting requirements, financial constraints and demand for higher quality of care. Most hospitals have heavily invested in their core applications such as Patient Administration System (PAS), Clinical applications (EMR/EHR), Radiology (PACS) and billing systems. These systems are usually database driven isolated repositories far away from today’s systems of engagements essential for high quality care delivery process.
Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is a set of strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver both content and documents related to core and non core processes in a hospital. The goal of this post is to highlight 3 areas where you can maximise EMR investment with ECM solution to address core health information management challenges.
3 areas where Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems are challenged today are Enterprise Clinical Content Management, Clinical Mobility and Clinical Analytics. Healthcare organisations must have a solution to overcome these challenges before using EMR to its full potential. These challenges can differ from one facility to the next. Whether you are already using an EMR solution or planning your EMR implementation in the future the ideas shared in this post will help you stop bleeding critical clinical and non-clinical data and reduce operational costs while creating a rich patient engagement.
1. Enterprise Clinical Content Management
80% of the content generated as a result of care cycle or episode is unstructured and growing faster than ever before. In recent years, several primary and secondary care organisations from small practices to major hospitals have implemented electronic medical record (EMR) solutions to replace inefficient paper-based processes. The reality is EMR systems are only good as the data you feed into them. Unfortunately clinical and non clinical content generated cannot fit into database models directly without a meaningful indexing and metadata strategy. Relying purely on your EMR solution to drive the life-cycle of the content has been a failed strategy with poor user adoption.
Health providers today needs to be more collaborative with content than ever before and proactive in capturing and processing the care related content often at the point of origination with minimal or no manual processing involved. This is a core area ignored by most EMR systems out there and your opportunity to maximise you EMR investment with ECM solution that manage the full lifecycle of content. When all electronic content is organised in a meaningful manner in conjunction with your EMR:
- serve as a medium of communication and collaboration between doctors and other healthcare professionals both internal and external
- provide proof to insurance companies with insurance claims
- can be used in court in the event of a malpractice claim, FOI requests or Audits
- can be used for research and clinical coding
2. Clinical Analytics
Clinical data analytics help you to analyse process performance and compliance against set standards across all tasks, revealing new efficiencies and cost savings that would otherwise remain undiscovered. The reason that we need Analytics in healthcare environment is because processes today span within multiple applications. The processes today are unpredictable.
when it comes to collaborative workflows only 60% of the processes runs on the defined path. That’s why you need realtime analytics.
Modern analytics collect data from multiple internal and external applications and provide you visual dashboards of what’s happening in realtime so that you can be proactive about taking preventive actions. Analytics enables healthcare organisations to discover new insights hidden within organisational processes and identifies strategic business opportunities and risks. It also provides decision makers and end users direct and unprecedented visibility to proactively resolve problems, eliminate delays, and improve quality of our services. This is different to typical EMR reporting and traditional business intelligence which shows what happened in the past at a point in time. For example here are few scenarios where modern data analytics solutions can provide the insights you need to action with the operational data coming out from your EMR, PAS, PACS, Finance and billing systems.
- Real-time monitoring of metrics for patient safety, length of stay, readmission rates and much more
- Analyse emergency room patient processing by task – from admission to discharge, including lab, radiology and other services spanning multiple departments and systems of record – to identify root causes of excessive wait times, monitor procedure compliance and manage risk
- Monitor detailed performance and quality metrics within service areas in real-time to improve turn-around times, reduce reprocessing and improve operational visibility
- Minimize uncompensated care through timely management of insurance claims and patient billing/ collections
- Ensure proper insurer reimbursements, including identifying underpayments for procedures performed
- Effectively negotiate with insurers using historical analysis to gain the highest possible contractual reimbursement levels from insurers
- Optimise staffing and scheduling using census metrics, updated constantly throughout the day
- Improve equipment utilisation rates to ensure productivity at or better than benchmark Relative Value Unit (RVU) rates
- Enable informed materials management decisions to achieve order efficiencies, minimise waste and expense
3. Clinical mobility
In a healthcare provider organisations, the importance of accurate, instant and up-to-date communication can’t be understated. For me providing a rich patient engagement starts even before the patient admit to the hospital to make the patient well prepared for the appointment to get the most out of the clinicians valuable time. For certain chronic patients it never ends when the patient discharge from the hospital. Preventive healthcare consists of measures taken for disease prevention, as opposed to disease treatment. This is a key element to achieve patient satisfaction and winning the trust and credibility in supporting accountable care delivery model. ECM solution can easily extend existing process boundaries to interact with the patient providing a rich patient experience though their preferred channel of engagement: The smart phone
The electronic forms and workflow capability of modern ECM solution can enhance inbound and outbound communication with patients and other external parties. These processes operate outside the core EMR but providing essential data and information it needs for its optimal performance. This is another growing area where you can maximise your maximise EMR investment with ECM solution in providing valuable data it needs to operate as a single source of truth. Here are some examples use cases.
- Patient registration and admission on-boarding process automation
- Patient education and alerts as part of extended community care
- Capture supporting documents via mobile device at allied health site visits
- Conducting electronic patient survey and satisfaction measurements
- Expense management
- Billing and e-Invocing
Information is the lifeblood of any health provider organisation and if the quality of that information isn’t properly governed, it could hurt core operations. Poor data quality can lead to higher costs, operational inefficiencies, compliance risks and an overall lack of trust. The key to fill this gap today is to build missing capabilities outside your core EMR system with right level of data integration. This approach gives you more flexibility and agility to adopt your solution with changing business needs around people, processes and content. This hybrid solution approach also promotes the concept of services oriented architecture and reduces the risk of over relying on your EMR system to deliver everything that your users will ask to deliver. When it comes to health information management the best of breed approach with right level of integration wins over all in one approach which is not a practical reality.