I’ve been noting a real maturing in the EHR and healthcare IT markets over the past 6 months. There’s not as much news coming out about EHR developments or government programs related to EHR. Plus, the announcements that do come out are an evolution of the same topic. I still am interested in the concept of a care management system, but I digress.
With EHR implementation maturity upon us (although many would likely that we’re still not that mature), I was excited by the question Lester Parada asked on the SRSSoft EMR Straight Talk blog about new KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in the new world of value based reimbursement. I love the concept of creating some new KPIs.
In the post, Lester suggests a look at:
- Cost of Care
- Patient Engagement
- Capture Rate
At the core of his perspective is the simple idea that a practice can either lower costs or improve revenue. Yes, practices are a business and those 2 principles are at the core of every business. Unfortunately, the $36 billion of EHR incentive money caused so many people to throw these principles out the window while they chased a carrot. It’s time to get back to business (yes, healthcare is a business) and think about how EHR software can lower costs and improve revenue (Side note: look through the meaningful use requirements and see which ones helped with either of these goals).
My KPIs for organizations would have some similarities to Lester’s above, but I would frame them as: Improve Efficiency and Create Connections.
EHR software should make your practice more efficient. If it doesn’t, then you’re doing something wrong. However, don’t trust in your own perception calculus to decide if it makes you more efficient or not. Our perception gets easily swayed. Plus, we quickly forget how much time we wasted searching for paper charts, reading illegible paper charts, and playing phone tag with patients. All of these are efficiencies that every practice should be experiencing with their EHR. Create goals around making your practice more efficient. Your practice will love it and patients will love it too.
While technology gets a bad rap when it comes to disconnecting people, quite the opposite is possible. Technology can be used as a way to create much deeper connections with your patients. Whether it’s delivering lab results through a patient portal, text message and email reminders to patients, online appointment scheduling, secure text communication, etc. All of this can be done efficiently and scalably thanks to technology. The next generation of value based reimbursement will require this connection. Ensuring its in place will lead to more revenue for your organization as reimbursement continues to evolve.
Those are the two KPIs that I’d suggest for every healthcare organization. Once you’ve nailed these two areas down, there are plenty more to work on including plenty of other quality care initiatives. However, this will give your practice a good start and may even change your people’s perspective on their EHR investment.