Staying competitive in today’s healthcare environment means embracing innovation. The ability to think about new ways to solve longstanding challenges can prove to make a hospital successful. How can data and technology help your hospital provide the most health services needs in your community? It can be difficult to pinpoint where to start or how you could obtain the resources to leverage new technology. Though innovation comes with a set of challenges, having the rights strategies in place can help your organization discover better ways of delivering care and improving outcomes.
To drive innovation, your organization needs to master thinking about how to solve challenges in both big and small ways with new ideas, technologies and processes. Challenges such as reduced reimbursement, data sharing and increased patient experience expectations all push your organization to think differently and find new ways to reach and care for your patients.
Healthcare Interoperability and Reimbursement
Part of what’s driving this focus on innovation is a change in Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) reimbursement plan. Starting in 2019, telehealth visits for all Medicare patients will be reimbursed, where it was formerly only allowed for certain rural patients. Interoperability is another area that will need innovative solutions in the near term. As the majority of providers are now using Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and other technologies, the ability to share pertinent clinical data on patients is critical to more effective and safer care. Interoperability also provides an opportunity to identify duplicative tests and procedures, driving down costs for your organization. Meaningful use was a good start toward getting all providers to use EMRs and other technologies, but there’s more work and optimization to be done in interoperability moving forward.
As with financial, consumerism and quality challenges, changes to reimbursement models and consumer expectations will require your organization, large or small, rural or urban, to leverage new technology to stay ahead of the curve.
When determining where to put your focus, and your budget, consider what Techie Magazine reported as 2019's Health Tech Spending Priorities:
- Leaders of mid-sized hospitals are more ambitious than their peers, with two-thirds expecting to grow their spending in 2019.
- Supply Chain and Pharmacy appear to present the most opportunities. Nearly one-fifth of executives said they’re considering outsourcing those functions in the next two years.
- Project priorities for dollars are shifting pretty rapidly. Population health management, care coordination and resource management are quickly rising in importance.
- Resource management, revenue cycle management, analytics and business intelligence were also among 2019’s top priorities.
- In Q1 of 2018, digital health venture capital funding went to data analytics, clinical decision support, mobile health, telemedicine, and digital health benefits. The industry is also seeing a rise in the use of robots as adoption of automation equipment continues to accelerate.
Your Potential to Thrive
Depending on your organization’s size, structure and resources, there are different areas where you should focus. Some questions to consider include:
- Can your organization offer the same level of customization and personalization in healthcare that is currently used in retail? Do your consumers have the ability to browse, transact, acquire and consume on your website or mobile applications? How can you create personal connection through each visit?
- Could your organization benefit from offering pre-paid procedures via vouchers for the most common procedures? What about for non-insurance covered procedures?
- Where can your organization leverage new design offerings by blurring the line between the digital and physical worlds? Think about how Fitbit turns physical steps into data, and then couples that data with heart rate and targets to track weight.
- What can your organization learn from Facebook? They are a “media” company, but they don’t own anything.
- Is your organization becoming more data-driven? If data-driven framework is the same as making decisions based on predictive analytics, then having that data is required before you can use predictive analytics.
Technologies, such as telehealth, telemedicine and consumer health wearables or smartphones can enable rural-based care systems to consolidate specialty care services and referrals as ways to survive and grow in an evolving market. Organizations of all sizes can optimize technologies like patient portals, putting the tools in place to follow individuals and ensure that primary care patients are getting essential screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies.
Data has become the key to most areas of innovation. For innovative predictive analytics capabilities, do you have the data to predict scores or star ratings, predict events or outcomes such as readmission rates, and support reconciliation of claims billed vs. claims paid? With the advent of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) for HL7 data, your organization has new ways to deal with EHR data, especially for population health
Innovation is a major factor in whether your hospital can provide the best care while also thriving in its business. Need some ideas? QHR can help. For example, our Vantage Workforce Productivity software solution can help you implement flexible staffing standards and monitor performance. With this software, your executives, managers and front-line supervisors can easily access the information they need to consistently staff at appropriate levels. Schedule a demo here today.
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