Finally, some good news. Two articles caught our eye this week that appear to deliver hope and promise for the future, which from some corners has been looking a bit ragged lately. One was a story on Augusta University introducing young female students to coding as a door to cyber professions. The other was a story on healthcare organizations embracing digital disruption. Here’s what’s so encouraging about it.
Girls learn to code
Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia announced plans for its new “cyber school” that hopes to interest more women in the field of coding. The school just wrapped up its inaugural “Girls Who Code” program that gave 50 young women in grades 6 through 12 the chance to learn about basic coding. The program gave them insights into the coding world through games and web design tutorials. They also had the opportunity to create mobile applications over the course of the three-month program. As Michael Nowatkowski, one of the group’s founders said, “To think that half of our population is not potentially interested or going to come into that workforce really puts us at a disadvantage.” Augusta University sees the need for a dynamic coding workforce for the future.
We couldn’t agree more. Coding is the DNA of health costs – one that is foundational to understanding trends, value-based patient care and how to reduce costs for everyone. Without it there can be no transparent billing, no understanding of real-time expenditures in patient care and no way to analyze how to improve care vis-a-vis costs.
Healthcare organizations begin to embrace digital disruption
This article in Healthcare Data Management seems to push the conversation about the application of digital solutions in healthcare into warp speed. It cuts right to the heart of the matter – if technology is to help healthcare it has to understand healthcare from the ground up. The difference is that the influencers interviewed in the article accept this as a pragmatic premise, not a bewildering obstacle. They very matter of factly state that it is time for innovators to realize that new technology cannot be developed separately from the clinicians who are going to use it.
“Too often, innovation starts with cool things we think we can do, as opposed to [starting with] the problems we need to solve,” says Andy Slavitt, former administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicare Services who has become a noted health reform advocate. The article goes on to quote Slavitt as saying, “We need to innovate in ways that give physicians and clinicians and patients more time to get the better result.”
It’s a good read on what needs to happen to increase the adoption of technology for the remote monitoring of patient conditions, artificial intelligence and streamlining of workload.
Shedding a new light on efficiency
These articles made us think about the importance of using proven technology to meet the best interests of the hospital or physician practice. It’s true that new “whiz-bang” technology will continue to come down the pike. It does need to be vetted and sorted through; applied carefully to the best interests of clinicians and patients. However, the technology that can be applied to shore up the back end and bottom line of these organizations should be implemented “tout suite”.
We would never advocate a foolhardy rush to accept technology just for technology’s sake, but we do believe that good organizations deserve to receive the reimbursement they have earned. That requires adopting solid technology that handles patient pre-authorizations, insurance verification, billing, coding and patient pay estimates as a matter of course. When technology can build a bridge between these foundational functions, let there be a bridge!
There are too many pressures and too many changing regulations that can hogtie revenue and keep it from the bottom line. The forward-thinking, pragmatic clinician will adopt technologies because they solve real problems. Thinking about how to get revenue in the door with successful, proven accounts receivable practices shouldn’t be an issue, it should be a foregone conclusion.