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Transformation toward value-based healthcare is reshaping the delivery of care, patient expectations, and payment structures.
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By Jason Fortin and Erica Drazen
The personal health record (PHR) model must continue to evolve from a business model that largely benefits providers, payers, and employers to one that is aligned with patients' needs and integrated with their lifestyles.
From the comfort of his or her home, a consumer can tap into one of these patient-friendly online portals to access information about their own medical histories. But according to one survey, only 7 percent of consumers have accessed PHRs to receive, keep, or update their health information.
A widespread change in behavior is the expectation of what will happen if patients have access to a true PHR, but it should not be viewed as a foregone conclusion.
There is no widely accepted definition for what specific capabilities a PHR should include, but at a minimum, any true PHR needs to at least possess the following four characteristics.
Comprehensive. The PHR includes accurate and complete data from all settings of care. This includes any data required to make a healthcare-related decision:
Interactive. Information flows both to and from the PHR. Patients are provided with proactive and timely feedback based on the information provided. Authorized physicians can be automatically notified of important changes or new information.
Patient-controlled. The patient has lifetime access to any information in the PHR and decides which stakeholders can access the information.
Secure. The information in the PHR is accessible only by the patient or third parties authorized by the patient.
Despite being a patient-friendly tool for consumers and providers, recent data from the California HealthCare Foundation suggest that, outside of a few well-known initiatives, adoption of a PHR by consumers is low.
According to the 2010 study, only 7 percent of adults nationwide have ever used a website from a doctor's office, health plan, or other company to get, keep, or update health information, such as lab test results, medicines, and doctor's visits. Other survey results include:
There are large integrated delivery organizations that have had success with PHRs. For example, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, patients can use PatientSite to view medication information and test results, renew prescriptions, request appointments, and securely message with providers.
According to BIDMC, between April 2000 and March 2004, 18,435 patients registered on the site and logged in at least once. By 2008, BIDMC reports that more than 35,000 unique patients were actively using the site. The most popular features as of March 2008 were provider messaging (27.8 per month per 100 patients), prescription refills (3.1 per month per 100 patients), appointment scheduling (2.6 per month per 100 patients), and referrals (2.1 per month per 100 patients).
Given the longstanding silos of data that exist in health care and the limited interest from patients to date, it is highly unlikely there will be a true PHR on the market anytime soon. Niche uses clearly have value to many stakeholders and are likely to increase, especially given the increase of social networking sites and the availability of mobile health applications. But what needs to change before a true PHR is possible?
Clinical information needs to be available electronically from providers. The best source of data for the PHR-the provider's electronic health record (EHR)-is also the least prevalent. A majority of hospitals and physician practices are still paper-based, and despite HITECH incentives and penalties, many remain years away from widespread EHR adoption. Until PHRs can be populated in real time with structured data from providers across all care settings-and integrated with coverage, billing, and other health-related information-there are inherent limits to any benefits that can be achieved from a patient using the PHR.
Both patients and providers need to think of PHRs as more than just repositories for information. As capabilities continue to evolve, patients need to think of the PHR as an interactive tool that plays an integral role in how they make decisions about their health care. The PHR will need to provide timely, proactive information in a way that is a natural extension of the patient's daily workflow, such as access to their clinical information on a mobile device or condition-specific content integrated with their use of social networking.
The way that providers think about PHRs will also need to evolve. The PHR should be viewed as a vehicle to provide patients with health information, but also as a source of data. To help patients make informed decisions, providers need access to patient-centered information that might not be in the EHR-such as data from a device in the patient's home-as well as any information that is contrary to what is in the EHR-such as differences in medication or allergy lists.
PHR use needs to trigger an actual change in behavior. Some of the successful PHR initiatives to date have shown PHRs can increase patient satisfaction and make them feel more informed about their care. But happy, satisfied patients-while an important first step-are not necessarily healthier patients. Using the PHR must result in patients taking actions they would not have otherwise taken. This could be as simple as scheduling an overdue screening or as drastic as changing their entire diet-but without a majority of patients making some kind of change, the benefits of a PHR are limited.
The reality is that the healthcare industry is still no closer to a true PHR than it was five or 10 years ago. Fundamental barriers still exist, and without major changes in behavior and dramatic increases in technology adoption, a true PHR-and the benefits associated with it-will not be possible.
Jason Fortin is a senior research analyst, Emerging Practices Group, CSC, Falls Church, Va. (email@example.com).
Erica Drazen is managing partner, Emerging Practices Group, CSC (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This article is excerpted with permission from the following resource: Fortin, J., and Drazen, E., Personal Health Records: A True "Personal Health Record?" Not Really … Not Yet, CSC, Falls Church, Va., 2011.
Publication Date: Monday, July 11, 2011
TriMedx helps health systems control costs and uncover savings opportunities by optimizing the clinical engineering function.
Patient financial engagement is more challenging than ever – and more critical. With patient responsibility as a percentage of revenue on the rise, providers have seen their billing-related costs and accounts receivable levels increase. If increasing collection yield and reducing costs are a priority for your organization, the metrics outlined in this presentation will provide the framework you need to understand what’s working and what’s not, in order to guide your overall patient financial engagement initiatives and optimize results.
A leader from McKesson discusses how healthcare reform is forcing hospitals and health systems to take a different approach to capacity management and patient flow.
No two patients are the same. Each has a very personal healthcare experience, and each has distinct financial needs and preferences that have an impact on how, when and if they chose to pay their healthcare bill. It’s no longer effective to apply static billing techniques to solve the complex challenge of collecting balances from patients. The need to tailor financial conversations and payment options to individual needs and preferences is critical. This presentation provides 10 recommendations that will not only help you improve payment performance through a more tailored approach, but take control of rising collection costs.
Emad Rizk, MD, president and CEO of Accretive Health, discusses the uncertainty facing hospitals and the transitions affecting revenue cycle management.
This white paper, written by Apex Vice President of Solutions and Services, Carrie Romandine, discusses the importance of patient segmentation and messaging specifically related to the patient revenue cycle. Applying strategic messaging that is tailored to each patient type will not only better educate consumers on payment options specific to their billing needs, but it will maximize the amount collected before sending to collections. Further, targeted messaging should be applied across all points of patient interaction (i.e. point of service, customer service, patient statements) and analyzed regularly for maximized results.
Jim Bohnsack, vice president, solution & corporate development for Conifer Health Solutions, explains how the company helps healthcare providers leverage data to deliver better outcomes while optimizing reimbursement for all payment arrangements.
This white paper, written by Apex President Patrick Maurer, discusses methods to increase patient adoption of online payments. Providers are now seeking ways to incrementally collect more payments due from patients as well as speeding up the rate of collections. This white paper shows why patient-centric approaches to online payment portals are important complements to traditional provider-centric approaches.
Steve Scibetta, senior director of channel sales for Ontario Systems' healthcare product line, shares insights into effectively managing receivables.
Increased electronic engagement between healthcare providers and patients provides significant opportunities for improving revenue cycle metrics and encouraging patients to access EHRs. This article, written by Apex Founder and CEO Brian Kueppers, explores a number of strategies to create synergy between patient billing, online payment portals and electronic health record (EHR) software to realize a high ROI in speed to payment, patient satisfaction and portal adoption for meaningful use.
Elena White, vice president of risk, quality, and network solutions for Optum, discusses how healthcare providers can leverage data and technology as they enable risk in their organization.
Faced with a rising tide of bad debt, a large Southeastern healthcare system was seeing a sharp decline in net patient revenues. The need to improve collections was dire. By integrating critical tools and processes, the health system was able to increase online payments and improve its financial position. Taking a holistic approach increased overall collection yield by 10% while costs came down because the number of statements sent to patients fell by 10%, which equated to a $1.3M annualized improvement in patient cash over a six-month period. This case study explains how.
Somnia President and CEO Marc Koch, MD, MBA, explains how hospitals can drive transformative change in the perioperative experience for outstanding clinical and financial outcomes.
With the ICD10 deadline quickly approaching and daily responsibilities not slowing down, final preparations for October 1 require strategic prioritization and laser focus.
PMMC President Roger L. Shaul discusses the effects of healthcare reform on revenue cycle management and how PMMC's products help clients adapt to a changing financial environment.
Read how Gwinnett Medical Center provides clear connections to financial information, offers multiple payment options for patients, and gives onsite staff the ability to collect payments at multiple points throughout the care process.
Greg Burgess, Founder and Chief Product Officer at Burgess Group shares insights and opportunities for payment integrity in the rapidly changing healthcare IT landscape.
Read how Orlando Health was able to perform deeper dives into claims data to help the health system see claim rejections more quickly–even on the front end–and reduce A/R days.
To maintain fiscal fitness and boost patient satisfaction and loyalty, healthcare providers need visibility into when and how much they will be paid–by whom–and the ability to better navigate obstacles to payment. They need payment clarity. This whitepaper illuminates this concept that is winning fans at forward-thinking hospitals.
Financial services staff are always looking for ways to improve the verification, billing and collections processes, and Munson Healthcare is no different. Read about how they streamlined the billing process to produce cleaner bills on the front end and helped financial services staff collect more than $1 million in additional upfront annual revenue in one year.
Effective revenue cycle management can be a challenge for any hospital, but for smaller providers it is even tougher. Read how Wallace Thomson identified unreimbursed procedures, streamlined claims management, and improved its ability to determine charity eligibility.
Before launching an energy-efficiency initiative, it’s important to build a solid business case and understand the funding options and potential incentives that are available. Healthcare leaders should consider taking the steps outlined in the whitepaper to ease the process of gaining approval, piloting, implementing, and supporting sustainability projects. You will find that investing in sustainability and energy efficiency helps hospitals add cash to their bottom line. Discover how hospitals and health systems have various options for funding energy-efficient and renewable-energy initiatives, depending on their current financial structure and strategy.
Health care is a dynamic mergers and acquisitions market with numerous hospitals and health systems contemplating or pursuing formal arrangements with other entities. These relationships often pose a strategic benefit, such as enhancing competencies across the continuum, facilitating economies of scale, or giving the participants a competitive advantage in a crowded market. Underpinning any profitable acquisition is a robust capital planning strategy that ensures an organization reserves sufficient funds and efficiently onboards partners that advance the enterprise mission and values.
The success of healthcare mergers, acquisitions, and other affiliations is predicated in part on available capital, and the need for and sources of funding are considerations present throughout the partnering process, from choosing a partner to evaluating an arrangement’s capital needs to selecting an integration model to finding the right money source to finance the deal. This whitepaper offers several strategies that health system leaders have used to assess and manage capital needs for their growing networks.
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