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My First Impressions from ANI 2012

Posted on June 26, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’m in the middle of my first time attending the ANI 2012 conference in Las Vegas. For those not familiar with ANI, it’s HFMA’s (Healthcare Financial Management Association) National Institute. It’s kind of like HIMSS for the financial side of healthcare. I must admit that I was mostly driven to attend ANI because a number of advertisers and other connections I had started emailing me asking me if I was going to be at ANI since it was conveniently located in Las Vegas. I have to admit that I’m really glad I’ve been able to attend.

Some of my initial reactions are that ANI has a very different audience than most of the other healthcare IT conferences I’ve attended. Sure, many that attend ANI are at the other conferences, but when I first got to the ANI reception I tweeted that I bet the average age of ANI attendees was about 20 years higher than the other healthcare IT conferences I attend. When you think about healthcare financial management (the people who hold the purse strings) it makes some sense that the audience would be a bit older.

I sent the following tweet late last night which also captures my initial impressions of ANI 2012 quite well:

I can tell that many of the same people at ANI were also at HIMSS. Although, the pace feels more relaxed at ANI and I’ve been able to connect with some of the very same HIMSS people on a much deeper level. I think both things have their place, but I’ve enjoyed some of the deep conversations and understanding that’s come from ANI.

Another great story from my ANI experience was from this tweet that I sent:

While waiting in line for a Joe Montana signature, I struck up a conversation with a CFO who was in line next to me. Upon learning that I was a blogger, he asked if I was the one that tweeted about all the tweets coming from vendors and not attendees. How funny that indeed I was the one and what a great lesson. Many of the CFO attendees aren’t tweeting, but it was a great illustration that many are still reading and following the tweets. The power of social media to bring people together.

One final observation before I head back to the ANI exhibit floor. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s a palpable sense of money flowing at ANI. Maybe it’s because it’s a healthcare financial management event, but I think if we dug into the underpinnings of the event we’d see a lot of financial transactions happening. One illustration of this was in a meeting with Craneware where they talked about one of their hospital clients who found $6.2 million in previously unfound revenue.

Plenty of EHR Solutions on Hand at HFMA Show

Posted on July 6, 2011 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

My day job as Social Marketing Director for Billian’s HealthDATA and Porter Research took me last week to the exhibit halls of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) 2011 ANI Healthcare Finance Conference in Orlando. It was my first trip to the annual show, and to its venue, the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center.

Unlike my previous tradeshow experience in Orlando, at the fun yet overwhelming HIMSS, I found the HFMA event to be extremely manageable in terms of schedule, show-floor size and booth scale. Almost everyone I ran into – whether it was at our booth, at someone else’s booth, at lunch or on the shuttle – was very approachable and seemed happy to take a few minutes out of their day to speak with me, even though, as a fellow exhibitor, I wasn’t exactly their target prospect. Perhaps it was my blue exhibitor ribbon that brought out the few bad apples in the bunch – those sales reps that either refused to get off the phone when they saw me approach or those that refused to crack a smile. My only other complaint was that exhibitors were denied entry to the majority of the educational sessions.

The Blues Brothers made an appearance at the HFMA 2011 ANI Healthcare Finance Conference.

As it was my first time being in the thick of the healthcare finance world, I took the opportunity to chat with as many show-floor folks as I could. I learned a lot about how integral healthcare finance and information technology are to each other, and to bringing the overall costs of providing healthcare services down, so that providers can – hopefully – extend these savings on to the patient in the form of more accessible and coordinated care, and better clinical outcomes.

I kept my eyes and ears open for solutions relating to electronic medical/health records, and came across quite a few that piqued my interest. I found I have a soft spot for anything related to patient portals and mobile solutions. Here, in no particular order, are a few snippets of what those exhibiting companies had to offer:

Healthcare Management Systems Inc. (HMS)
– offers ambulatory EHR and practice management services
“HMS is uniquely positioned to provide community hospitals with an EHR in a much shorter timeframe. With ONC-ATCB certification for inpatient EHR, EDIS and Ambulatory EHR, HMS will ensure that you meet the health IT standards mandated by ARRA and reap the financial benefits that follow.”

I’d be lying if I didn’t disclose that half the reason I went to their booth was to grab one of their very cool, green water bottles.

Origin Healthcare Solutions
– offers integrated practice management software and EHR solutions
“Streamlines office redundancies and makes users more efficient.”

Walking into their booth made me realize why exhibitors spend a bit more for that cushy carpet – and I was in flats, mind you.

Patient Point
– offers a technology platform that aggregates and integrates in real-time with health plan data, pharmacy benefit management data, practice management and EMR systems
“Our patient-facing portal and mobile apps enable patients to securely communicate with their care team and report progress of their ongoing conditions. Patients have the choice to opt in for secure messaging via email, phone or text messaging, which enables us to close the loop effectively on patient compliance and care coordination.”

As a social media enthusiast, I wonder if patient portal solutions like these will one day find a way to securely (and privately) integrate with Facebook or Twitter. Heck, even location-based social networks like Foursquare could be used. I’m sure us patients could be incentivized to “check in” early to our appointment.

The White Stone Group
– offers the Trace Communication System
“The only system of its kind that captures any healthcare exchange – voice, fax, or electronic – for fast processing and easy retrieval.”

Based on the Trace literature and its graphics, I kept looking for the phrase EMR to pop up, but it was nowhere to be found. It seems like it could fall into this category, especially as “All communication records are consolidated in one central location for quick and easy retrieval.” If anyone knows different, please enlighten me. The fact that they cite Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, which is right in my backyard, as a case study also piqued my interest. The study relates that “Trace was used to overturn $2 million in denials and prevent an estimated $4 million in denials. Productivity improvements saved 107 staff hours per month and allowed for reallocation of five FTEs.”

* Editor’s Note: Erin McCarty, Director of Marketing at The White Stone Group, Inc., was kind enough to clarify the Trace system’s relationship to the EMR: “Trace is a platform that captures communication (voice, fax & electronic), indexes the records by patient and stores them for web-based retrieval. It is primarily used to capture revenue cycle communication that occurs with payers, patients and physicians. Trace does not replace the EMR, which is documenting the patient’s clinical data. Rather, it complements the EMR by capturing communication that helps hospitals receive accurate reimbursement for care provided. Common uses include recording authorization calls to payers, out-of-pocket discussions with patients, capturing faxed physician orders, visits to payer web sites, etc.”

Healthland
– offers a certified EHR to rural hospitals
“In addition to our ONC-ATCB 2011/2012 certified EHR software, we also offer clients comprehensive services, support, training and financing to help them receive incentive dollars, and ultimately, provide the high-quality patient care their communities expect.”

I also noticed in their brochure that they offer a white paper on “10 Must-Haves to a Successful EHR Implementation.”

Phreesia

– offers an electronic patient check-in solution
“With patient payments making up $1 out of every $4 of medical practice revenue, it’s no wonder 10,000 clinicians use Phreesia as their electronic patient check-in solution.”

Patient portals and electronic check-ins were popular at the show. Phreesia’s solution stood out to me for its bright orange color. While not directly tied to EMRs, I wonder if these sorts of technologies will become interoperable with them, especially as doctors and payers begin to work more closely together in the name of more coordinated care.”

Athenahealth
– offers integrated physician billing, practice management and EHR services

Their white paper on “The HITECH Act and Your Practice: Eight Tips for Successful EHR Adoption” caught my eye. It got me wondering how they were able to whittle it down from Healthland’s 10.

A number of other companies were on hand with EHR solutions, including:
MedQuist
Healthcare Anytime
Sandlot Solutions
PatientWorks