Healthcare Financial Transformation: Five Leading Strategies

The Affordable Care Act passed into law in March 2010, putting the shift in motion from fee-for-service (FFS) to value-based care (VBC). Since then, healthcare financial transformation—delivering better care at lower costs—has become an increasingly urgent industrywide concern. Furthermore, COVID-19 has increased financial pressures for many health systems, making financial transformation more important than ever. As organizations continue to evolve and adapt their financial strategies to optimize performance under VBC, the following central challenges stand out: Delivering cost savings and passing savings to the consumer. Resolving uncompensated care. Handling outstanding bill hold accounts, reducing accounts receivable (A/R) days, and managing discharged not final billed (DNFB) cases. Reacting to runaway costs resulting from high labor and technology expenses, inefficient use of…

Reduce Bad Debt: Four Tactics to Limit Exposure During COVID-19

Health systems have always faced bad debt—from charity care to insurance claim denials—and COVID-19 has exacerbated its impact on revenue. While hospitals and clinics are responsible for providing care to populations, they can still generate revenue from care delivery without compromising care accessibility or quality. An effective bad debt management approach provides the patient with every financial resource possible and allows the health systems to focus less on payment and more on delivering the best care. With four tactics, health system leadership can identify bad debt and implement effective processes to minimize it without undue burden on patients: Identify bad debt exposure early. Educate patients about alternative payment options. Leverage technology within the workflow. Understand the true cost of care.

A Comprehensive Prescription Renewal Solution: Meet Charlie for Refill Management

With prescription drugs becoming a more common part of healthcare among Americans, health systems need a seamless, efficient prescription renewal process. However, many organizations continue to rely on outdated, laborious workflows that lead to slow turnaround time and delayed prescription renewals. Healthfinch® by Health Catalyst: Charlie™ for Refill Management is a complete prescription renewal engine that optimizes a health system’s medication renewal process. By embedding medication renewal insights directly in the EHR, providers can streamline prescription renewal workflows, delegate tasks to staff, and focus on top-of-license work. Charlie for Refill Management combines technology, protocol content, and workflow optimization so that health systems can deliver fast prescription renewal turnaround times without compromising patient safety.

Healthcare Price Transparency: Three Opportunities for Transformation

Price transparency has been an ongoing challenge for health systems, and upcoming legislation requiring increased visibility around hospital pricing adds pressure. Meeting the new price transparency requirements means legal compliance, but providing procedure costs, different payment options, and the reasoning behind prices set patients up for an optimal experience, increasing their likelihood to return for future care. With the right tools, such as robust pricing transparency technology and a defensible price strategy, health systems can use the new mandate to take advantage of three key opportunities: Satisfy increasing patient interest in cost of care. Earn patient trust—a short- and long-term imperative. Create the optimal patient experience.

Six Strategies to Navigate COVID-19 Financial Recovery for Health Systems

Research projects that 2020 healthcare industry losses due to COVID-19 will total $323 billion. As patient volumes fall and pandemic-related expenses rise, health systems need a strategy for both immediate and long-term financial recovery. An effective approach will rely on a deep, nuanced understanding of how the pandemic has altered and reshaped care delivery models. One of the COVID-19 era’s most impactful changes has been the shift from in-person office visits to virtual care (e.g., telehealth). Though patients and providers initially turned to remote delivery to free up facilities for COVID-19 care and reduce disease transmission, the benefits of virtual care (e.g., circumventing the time and resource drain of patients traveling to appointments) position telehealth as lasting model in the…

Six Proven Methods to Combat COVID-19 with Real-World Analytics

This article is based on the webinar presentation, “Real World Analytics: Advancing Methods and Literacy in Healthcare” by Adam Wilcox, PhD, Chief Analytics Officer for University of Washington Medicine and Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Health Education at the University of Washington, and Dale Sanders, Strategic Advisor at Health Catalyst. Historically, to access data, health systems had to collect data manually from patients or providers. Organizations have now moved from hunting for data to gaining access to more data than ever before due to widespread EHR adoption. However, even with abundant data, organizations still struggle to leverage effective methods that result in real-world analytics. Health systems may successfully locate and aggregate data, but they often don’t advance the…

How to Run Analytics for More Actionable, Timely Insights: A Healthcare Data Quality Framework

Healthcare organizations increasingly understand the value of data quality, but many lack a systematic process for establishing and maintaining that quality. However, as COVID-19 response and recovery further underscores the need for timely, actionable data, organizations must take a more proactive approach to data quality. A structured process engages technical and subject matter expertise to define, evaluate, and monitor data quality throughout the pipeline. Health systems can follow a simple, four-level framework to measure and monitor data quality, ensuring that data is fit to drive quality data-informed decisions: Think of data as a product. Address structural data quality first. Define content level data quality with subject matter experts. Create a coalition for multidisciplinary support.

How to Optimize the Healthcare Revenue Cycle with Improved Patient Access

Despite pandemic-driven limitations, health systems can still find ways to optimize revenue cycle and generate income. When health systems improve and prioritize patient access through a patient-centered access center, they can improve the revenue cycle performance through decreased referral leakage, better patient trust, and optimum communication across hospital departments. Rather than relying on traditional revenue cycle improvement tactics, health systems should consider three ways a patient-centered access center can positively impact revenue cycle performance: Advance access. Optimize resources. Engage stakeholders.

Healthcare Relief Funding: Five Steps to Maximize COVID-19 Dollars

While federal COVID-19 relief funding for health systems sounds good in theory, many organizations have found accessing and using these monies overwhelming and frustrating. Federal guidance has been inconsistent or incomplete, and continued changes to relief packages and policies challenge organizations to develop pragmatic financial recovery strategies. Financial leaders who are confronting more questions than answers need a simple framework to move confidently into recovery. The following five expert financial- and healthcare-based guidelines will help organizations navigate and optimize COVID-19 relief funding: Regularly review legislative and regulatory updates and agency activity. Make the most of what’s available. Use required reporting as a decision-making tool. Prepare now for the inevitable audit. Test compliance now to eliminate headaches (or litigation) later.

Healthcare Revenue Cycle: Five Keys to Financial Sustainability

With COVID-19 challenges continuing in the near-future, health systems must continue delivering quality care in the midst of the pandemic, without compromising financial well-being. Historical approaches to revenue cycle add value but fail to leverage data to drive financial sustainability in a time of crisis. To financially survive tumultuous economic times, health systems must leverage data to drive a more comprehensive revenue cycle strategy. Five best practices generate the actionable data that allows health system leaders to understand financials at a nuanced level, promoting effective processes that lead to financial sustainability and optimum revenue cycle management: Identify and measure the right metrics. Define clear lines of accountability. Create consistent workflows. Define key performance indicators. Understand the right metrics at the…

Effective Patient Stratification: Four Solutions to Common Hurdles

Accurate patient stratification, the first step of any effective population health strategy, identifies patients who will benefit most from a population health intervention. Successful patient stratification is critical when laying the foundation for any population health initiative, yet many health systems struggle with this step. Care teams can apply four solutions to overcome common patient stratification hurdles, target the most impactable patients, and carry out population health initiatives: Consider both the physical and the mental. Prove and measure return on investment. Complete data sets. Transparent, customizable technology.

How a U.S. COVID-19 Data Registry Fuels Global Research

In addition to driving COVID-19 understanding within the United States, a national disease registry is informing research beyond U.S. borders. Clinicians with the Singapore Ministry of Healthcare Office for Healthcare Transformation (MOHT) have used Health Catalyst Touchstone® COVID-19 data to develop a machine learning tool that helps predict the likelihood of COVID-19 mortality. With this national data set that leverages deep aggregated EHR data, the MOHT accessed the research-grade data it needed to build a machine-learning algorithm that predicts risk of death from COVID-19. The registry-informed prediction model was accurate enough to stand up to comparisons in the published literature and promises to help inform vaccine research and, ultimately, allocation of vaccines within populations.

Population Health Success: Three Ways to Leverage Data

As the healthcare industry continues to focus on value, rather than volume, health systems are faced with delivering quality care to large populations with limited resources. To implement population health initiatives and deliver results, it is critical that care teams build population health strategies on actionable, up-to-date data. Health systems can better leverage data within population health and drive long-lasting change by implementing three small changes: Increase team members’ access to data. Support widespread data utilization. Implement one source of data truth. Access to accurate, reliable data boosts population health efforts while maintaining cost and improving outcomes. With actionable analytics providing insight and guiding decisions, population health teams can drive real change within their patient populations.

Four Strategies Drive High-Value Healthcare Analytics for COVID-19 Recovery

COVID-19 response and recovery is pushing healthcare to operate at an unprecedented level. To meet these demands and continue to improve outcomes and lower costs, healthcare analytics must perform more actionably and with broader organizational impact than ever. Health systems can follow four strategies to produce high-value analytics to withstand the pandemic and make healthcare better in the long term: Minimize benchmarking. Outsource regulatory reporting. Grow risk-based stratification capabilities. Run activity-based costing plus at-risk contracting.

The Fight Against COVID-19: A National Patient Registry

Comprehensive COVID-19 understanding is a critical asset for adapting to pandemic needs, directing resources, developing vaccines, and planning for surges in a timely, informed manner. Because common barriers have impeded the progress of comprehensive data repositories, researchers have relied on surveillance data from population-level viral testing, which has proven insufficient. To significantly advance COVID-19 understanding, the medical community needs a digital patient registry that captures national-level data on how the virus impacts individuals differently according to comorbidities, lifestyle factors, and more. These essential insights lie in real-world evidence, which a registry can only deliver when it applies value sets to leverage clinical and claims data from health systems across the United States.

The Healthcare Analytics Summit™: Top Data Discoveries and Insights from HAS 20 Virtual

The 2020 Healthcare Analytics Summit™ (HAS 20 Virtual) took place for the first time from a remote platform. But, as the 2020 HAS infographic demonstrates, the remote experience delivered on HAS event’s customary high level of engagement and meaningful healthcare insights. The 2020 conference focused on the theme of analytics in the new normal, sharing insights around pandemic response and recovery to a record-setting audience.

Hiring Top Healthcare Analytics Talent: Five Best Practices

COVID-19 has escalated healthcare’s decision-making demands, reinforcing the industry’s need for highly skilled analytics team members. As a result, health systems face mounting pressure to hire the best-suited analytics talent in a timely manner and with minimal burden on existing team members. Five proven inclusive strategies will help hiring managers efficiently build an analytics team that can adapt to healthcare’s shifting environment and also fit within an organization’s culture: Open positions to remote employees and conduct interviews via video conferencing. Insert “tollgates” into the hiring process. Use scenario-based role play to assess many competencies concurrently. Assess cultural fit. Follow up with and provide feedback to all candidates.

Six Ways Health Systems Use Analytics to Improve Patient Safety

With preventable patient harm associated with over 400,000 deaths in the U.S. annually, improving safety is a top priority for healthcare organizations. To reduce risks for hospitalized patients, health systems are using patient safety analytics and trigger-based surveillance tools to better understand and recognize the types of harm occurring at their facilities and intervene as early as possible. Six examples of analytics-driven patient safety success cover improvement in the following areas: Wrong-patient order errors. Blood management. Clostridioides difficile (C. diff). Opioid dependence. Event reporting. Sepsis.

Weekly News Roundup: September 18, 2020

As the coronavirus continues to threaten the financial stability of health systems, there is an urgent imperative to formulate an effective financial response. In this week’s news roundup: inside the trillion dollar quest to bring hospital care to your home; three ways to leverage data for an effective financial response; how hospitals' financial recovery is tied to the health of the economy; and why the pandemic has had dramatically different financial consequences for payers and providers.

An Effective Financial Response to COVID-19: Three Ways to Leverage Data

With COVID-19 presenting unprecedented challenges, health systems are struggling to financially survive. With little data about the novel coronavirus, traditional financial approaches that rely on historical information are not sufficient. However, organizations can get back on the road to financial recovery and well-being by practicing three key strategies centered around data: Prioritize access to real-time data. Understand data at a deeper level. Realize margin and cost by service line. Leveraging data allows financial healthcare leaders to effectively manage the COVID-19 challenges and prepare their health systems for future obstacles.

Data Visualization Dashboards: Three Ways to Maximize Data

With an unpredictable future due to COVID-19, health systems must leverage data to drive decision making at every organizational level. Data visualization dashboards allow health systems to optimize their data and create a data-driven culture by displaying large, real-time data sets in an easy-to-understand dashboard. Health systems that rely on dashboard reporting maximize their data in three important ways: Time to value. Decision makers do not have time to wait for manually-created reports; dashboards quickly convey information so leaders can make swift decisions. Data democratization. Leveraging a central source of truth, dashboards allow leaders at every level to access the most updated, accurate data. Digestible data. Analysts can configure dashboards to highlight important figures and trends, so high-level leaders can…

Telehealth: A Top Organizational Performance Solution During COVID-19 and Beyond

With COVID-19 sending health systems reeling, leaders understand the only way organizations can survive the pandemic is by driving improvement in three key areas: revenue, cost, and quality. Many traditional healthcare delivery methods, such as in-person visits, are on hold, leaving health system leaders considering how telehealth solutions allow organizations to excel in the new industry normal. Although many health systems see telehealth as a temporary healthcare delivery solution because of COVID-19, it is here to stay. And, if health systems invest in telehealth, they will be more likely to succeed in revenue, cost, and quality, even in a pandemic.

Healthcare Analytics Summit 2020: Day Three Recap

The Healthcare Analytics Summit 20 Virtual (HAS 20 Virtual) concluded three days of online programming on Thursday, September 3, 2020. Though COVID-19 forced this year’s event to take place virtually, the geographic dispersal of attendees and presenters didn’t dampen the depth of insights or level of engagement previous summits are known for. After two days of keynote addresses, breakout presentations, small Braindate gatherings, and project and solution showcase, HAS 20 Virtual maintained its momentum. The conference closed on a powerful note with yet more world-class speakers, groundbreaking innovations, and common theme of the power of analytics and human potential in healthcare’s new normal.

Healthcare Analytics Summit 2020: Day Two Recap

Day two of the Healthcare Analytics Summit 20 Virtual (HAS 20 Virtual) included keynote speakers followed by live Q&As, quizzes to earn points for the HAS game, the Analytics Walkabout, Machine Learning Marketplace, and Digital Innovation Showcase. Attendees enjoyed topical keynote speakers like Amy P. Abernethy, MD, PhD, acting CIO of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, who discussed the importance of data in addressing COVID-19; Yonatan Adiri, CEO of Healthy.io, who presented on a smartphone-enabled urine test to improve healthcare accessibility; and Sampson Davis, MD, emergency medicine physician and New York Times best-selling author, who shared how education saved his life.

Virtually Kicking Off the 2020 Healthcare Analytics Summit

For the first time from an online platform, Health Catalyst COO Paul Horstmeier welcomed attendees to the Healthcare Analytics Summit 20 Virtual (HAS 20 Virtual), promised a highly interactive online experience that would maintain the breadth and depth of expertise as well as the spirit of innovation of the conference’s in-person iterations. HAS 20 Virtual will also provide some of the fun and good humor attendees have enjoyed in year’s past–from the Virtual fun run to the friendly competition for the most notable socks–HAS 20 Virtual has moved these activities online. Highlights from Day one of HAS 20 included keynotes from Eric Topol, MD and Ari Robicsek, MD, as well as two breakout session waves.