What I learned at HFMA’s Revenue Cycle Conference at Gillette Stadium

(…while the Patriots prepared to get their butts kicked)

Right from Jonathan Bush, the co- founder and CEO of athenahealth [the keynote speaker]: “Make Hospitals Focus on What They’re Good At – Everything Else, “Seek Help!” I can help define “everything else”. For now, I will keep it generally confined to the world of healthcare data – because I would argue more time, money, and effort is wasted on getting good data than almost any other activity in a hospital.

If you are a Chief Quality Officer, or Chief Medical Informatics Officer, or Chief Information Officer – what would you rather spend your budget on?

data analysisYour analysts collecting data – plugging away, constantly, all-day into a spreadsheet?

Outcomes: Stale data in a static spreadsheet…that probably needs to be double/triple-checked…that probably is different than what the other department/analyst from down the hall gave you…that you probably wouldn’t bet your house on is accurate.

Or your analysts analyzing data and catalyzing improvement with front line leaders?

Outcomes: Real time data in a dynamic, flexible multi-dimensional reporting environment…that can roll up to the enterprise level…and drill down to the hospital → unit → provider → patient level.

Here’s a hint – this isn’t a trick question. Yet, for some reason, as you read this, you’re still spending more money on analysts reporting stale, static, inaccurate data than you are on analysts armed with real time data to improve the likelihood of higher quality and patient satisfaction scores and improved operational efficiency.

The majority of the speakers at this year’s HFMA Revenue Cycle conference seemed to accept that providers are NOT good at collecting and analyzing data, or using it as an asset to their advantage. They also seemed to align well with other speakers I’ve heard recently at HIT conferences. If you’re like 99% of your colleagues in this industry, you probably don’t understand your data either. So do what Jonathan Bush said and GET HELP!

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