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Optimizing Your HIM Framework: The Importance of Technology Partners

Optimizing Your HIM Framework

The story of David and Goliath has played out in the world of business over and over again: Netflix vs. Blockbuster and Rakuten vs. Amazon. And the health information management (HIM) technology domain is no exception to smaller, more flexible companies besting larger organizations.

Hospital staff, especially the health information management (HIM) department, are often swamped with tasks that divert attention from the coding and CDI processes. In such scenarios, a technology partner assumes responsibility of the coding process by simplifying the procedure and implementing best-in-class software that aids coders and automates routine tasks.

But how do you know which technology partner is the right fit for you?

When opting for a technology vendor, choosing a bigger more reputed company with a rigid service line may not always work for hospitals. Healthcare institutions need to pay equal attention to domain expertise and flexibility of services and solutions. It is only together that these attributes can add value to your existing HIM infrastructure.

Cloud Access: Not Just an Advantage Anymore

A cost-effective alternative to expensive data warehouses, the cloud is heading towards ubiquity in the healthcare industry. An HIMSS Analytics survey found that 65% of healthcare organizations have used some form of cloud services.

Cloud computing has not only eliminated the need for on-premise infrastructure but provides the added benefit of security to patient data management. This makes cloud integration and implementation an important consideration when it comes to selecting the right technology partner. A partner that can provide a flexible and secure cloud integrated HIM solution can help healthcare organizations eliminate a large number of operational challenges such as downtime and drop in productivity.

Moreover, augmenting the HIM infrastructure with a technology solution that is hosted on a HIPAA compliant cloud platform means hospitals have one less challenge to worry about. The security built into the platform is carried forward to safeguarding patient data on the bespoke HIM framework.

Financial Viability and ROI

While pricing is not the most important parameter for evaluating of a technology vendor, a comparative analysis of vendors based on pricing and services can provide helpful insights. Hospitals can start by identifying operational areas in which they are lagging. This information could in turn help them focus on choosing a technology partner that ensures improved ROI in those areas.

Stepping Into the World of AI

Artificial intelligence, an idea conceived back in the 1960s, has evolved from being the subject of computer science research to the center of attention for future business disruptions. The healthcare industry, too, stands on the verge of the AI disruption. While a large number of HIM technology partners offer some form of automation, most of them revolve around rule-based tasks and hardly require AI to accomplish.

However rule-based tasks make up for only a fraction of an HIM department’s workload. The bulk of the task burden lies in improving, and not simply executing, the clinical documentation process. This is where AI-powered tools like natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) comes into the picture. By leveraging these tools in combination with medical ontologies and computational linguistics, healthcare institutions can record and review automatically to identify areas that need attention in real time.

Joint Responsibility: Partnerships at Their Best

The role of a technology partner is not just to provide the tools to optimize and improve HIM processes. A technology partner must assume the responsibility of rapid implementation and integration of their tools within the hospital’s existing framework. This is an important consideration while choosing the right HIM technology partner.

Considering hospitals have come to depend on legacy systems and structures that have, in time, become integral to the hospitals operations. To do away with these systems call for unnecessary organizational disruption. The best bet for hospitals in such a scenario would be to opt for a partner providing a solution that is EHR and encoder agnostic.

The responsibilities of a technology partner does not, however, stop at the implementation and integration stage. It is also up to the partner to bring the hospital and HIM department staff up to speed on the technology that is being implemented. This could include an initial induction program followed by regular training of personnel to keep at par with, both, industry standards as well as platform features.

How a Leading New York Hospital Boosted Productivity by a Third

In the spring of 2015, Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) of New York was faced with a challenge. Despite having partnered with a technology vendor, the medical center’s systems and processes were not prepared for the migration to ICD-10. The inadequacy of the systems was further reflected in longer coding time per case and loss of productivity.

The problem that Richmond University Medical Center confronted is a common issue for hospitals across the world. With the introduction of the ICD-10 medical classification, many hospitals find their systems and coding processes to be falling short of meeting productivity targets. A rise in the number of DNFC days and a stagnating standard of coder efficiency are among the most widely observed repercussions of this shortcoming.

Following an evaluation of the challenge areas, Richmond University Medical Center partnered with ezDI based on their requirements. ezDI’s computer assisted coding (CAC) and clinical documentation improvement (CDI) solutions were customized to meet Richmond’s unique HIM framework rather than modifying the existing system to suit the facilities provided by the software, which is often the case.

The results were almost immediate. While other hospitals were facing a 10% to 15% drop in coder productivity, RUMC achieved 33% higher productivity. Moreover, ezDI’s rapid implementation and integration support helped RUMC’s new and improved ICD-10 ready system to go live the day the new classification came into effect. The medical center witnessed a steady rise in case mix index (CMI), reduction in DNFC days, and complex denials and rejected claims.

RUMC’s partnership with ezDI, and the results it led to, is an example that flexibility is a far more important factor to consider than size when choosing a technology partner. By ensuring near perfect (99.9%) system uptime and dedicated 24×7 support, we help our partners achieve ROI from day zero.

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Devanshu Yadav

Devanshu Yadav

Devanshu Yadav is a corporate strategist at ezDI Inc. He works for continuous advancement in bringing ezDI’s award-winning natural language processing (NLP) technology and comprehensive medical knowledge base to the market. He is considered as a subject matter expert in an emerging Healthcare AI driven technologies for mid revenue cycle management. He has contributed to the literature of healthcare professionals by engaging in numerous publications with HFMA. He is trusted & accomplished expert in intersection of technology, HIM, CDI and Coding, with a mission to set others up for success.

Devanshu has earned his post graduate degree in Business Administration and graduate degree in Electronics engineering. He is a firm believer in the abilities of technology to change the world, making the world a better place for all of us.

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