Two surveys that made the news recently revealed problems with technology that health care providers are forced to use. One is a source of constant frustration and another is a drain on earned revenue.
EHR receives a failing grade
The first survey gauged EHR success across the country and by any standard it received a failing grade. Sixty-one percent (61%) of healthcare professionals surveyed rated the “return on digital investment” from EHR implementation as “terrible”. The survey was conducted at the Healthcare Analytics Summit in Las Vegas (September 12-14). Results showed that in addition to rating EHR as terrible, providers rated the ROI of billions of taxpayer dollars spent on the national rollout of EHR as poor (42%), or mediocre (29%). Only ten percent of those surveyed said the results were either positive (9%) or superb (1%).
However, that doesn’t mean that health care providers don’t believe in the power of technology to improve delivery and outcomes in health care. Quite the opposite. According to the article in Healthcare Informatics, “The majority of respondents (83%) rated analytics as ‘extremely important’ to ‘the future of healthcare and population health.’ Fourteen percent (14%) of respondents said analytics is ‘very important,’ while 3 percent (3%) rated it as ‘moderately important.’” Seventy-six percent (76%) said they were either “optimistic” about the promise of analytics or considered themselves “advocates” of analytics who want to lead change in healthcare.
This shows that the only good technology is one that is developed with a firsthand understanding of its use and application inside healthcare. Certainly there are enough platforms, applications and analytics to wrap around the globe hundreds of times. But that doesn’t matter if physicians can’t make use of them and benefit from them. That’s why only the back-end revenue cycle management technologies that work are those that are developed hand-in-glove with practices and health care systems. Platform functions must address the real-life challenges and real-time needs of healthcare today, like providing insurance verification and preauthorizations while the patient is in the practice. Anything less doesn’t serve the provider.
Fleeced by EFT
The other survey that caught our collective eye was one conducted by an MGMA (Medical Group Management Association) Stat poll. Physician survey participants reported that their electronic funds transfer (EFT) payments from health plans come with a fee that ranges from 2 to 4 percent of the total payment. EFT payments have been on the rise since CMS established a standard for them in 2012.
The surveyed showed that 17 percent (17%) of respondents, one in five, said that a fee was deducted from their EFT payments. Nearly 60 percent (60%) of them said that the health plans used a third-party payment vendor. As reported in Healthcare Informatics, Robert Tennant, director of health IT policy, MGMA, said,“Providers are forced to pay these EFT fees as CMS has yet to issue explicit guidance against health plans and payment vendors charging these tolls.”
Bite your nails much?
The news of wasted money and reduced reimbursements led us to read a New York Times article entitled, Are You a Hair-Twirler, Nail-Biter or Knuckle-Cracker? It seemed so relevant.
The article asked “Are you a toe-tapper, hair-twirler, eye-blinker, head-nodder, nail-biter, knuckle-cracker, skin-picker, lip-licker, shoulder-shrugger or a chin-stroker?” Doctors say the repetitive behavior is often the result of situations “…that make people feel overwhelmed with emotion because either they didn’t see something coming or don’t know how to deal with it.” Exactly – healthcare in a nutshell.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. The more that health care changes, the more your reimbursement systems must be rock solid. The only constant is excellence and a revenue cycle management system that streamlines tasks, accurately codes, bills and manages claims will place your practice on a bedrock of revenue efficiency.