Hospitals Want Practice Management Systems to Work with EHR, RCM

Hospitals are seeking customizable practice management systems that integrate with their revenue cycle management and EHR systems, according to a new survey from Black Book Research.

Thirty-six percent of hospital system executives said their organization is currently looking for a practice management system that will allow them to streamline financial and clinical systems, the survey of over 3,000 hospital-owned or employed physician practice organizations showed.

Another 40 percent of respondents from large hospital systems also reported that their organizations are planning to replace multiple legacy medical practice systems to work better with their integrated delivery network (IDN) practices.

The large hospital systems are budgeting to replace their practice management systems with consolidated ambulatory technologies that work with the hospital’s EHR and RCM systems by the end of 2020.

“In a healthcare system dominated by large, integrated health care delivery organizations, centralized administrations are moving to achieve harmonized electronic health records, reimbursement systems and quality measures,” stated Doug Brown, Managing Partner of Black Book Research.

“With over fifty percent of US doctors receiving their pay directly or indirectly from a hospital system organization, CFOs and CIOs are seeing the value-based care model potential, reimbursement improvements and resources expenditure savings to be gained by implementing a fully integrated healthcare information technology system,” Brown continued.

Hospital executives do not believe they can succeed with value-based care unless their practice management systems communicate with their other systems.

Approximately 89 percent of respondents stated that non-integrated EHR and practice management systems do not allow leaders to “strategically design alternative reimbursement and payment methodologies that will improve physician engagement and advance patient care.”

About 85 percent of IDN executives also said that alignment of hospital and physician IT systems would meet the challenge associated with evolving accountable care and value-based reimbursement models.

Value-based care holds physicians accountable for both the clinical and financial outcomes of a patient’s care. Understanding a patient’s health as well as their expenditures is to key to succeeding under alternative payment models.

Knowing where a patient is on the care continuum and being able to influence the outcomes and costs of encounters beyond the organization’s walls is also crucial to earning value-based payments.

But hospitals are realizing more than value-based care benefits from integrating their practice management systems with their revenue cycle management and EHR technologies.

Hospital-owned and employed physician practices with an integrated physician management system collect 29 percent more on billed charges, on average, compared to independent physician practices with non-integrated practice management systems.

About 79 percent of clinical administrators at hospital systems also reported greater scheduling satisfaction within two months of implementing an integrated practice management system.

Integrated physician practice management systems are supporting the connections that tie physician practices to hospital systems, the survey showed.

Hospitals and health systems are rapidly acquiring physician practices to leverage economies of scale, participate in value-based care arrangements, and offer more services to patients. As a result, less than one-third of physicians are now independent practice owners or even partners in a solo practice, a recent Physicians Foundation and Merritt Hawkins survey showed.

With more hospital-owned or employed physician practices, hospitals are looking for strategies to connect practices with the larger health system.

Integrated solutions are a solution to the physician practice management challenge, survey respondents indicated. About 92 percent of hospital leaders are seeking an integrated EHR solutions that permit IDN administrators and clinical team leader to monitor and analyze provider performance across the health system.

Approximately 94 percent of physician practice managers surveyed also stated that interoperability and coordinated information between practices and hospital departments reduced time and resources spent compared to when providers operated on unconnected and disparate practice management software.

“The most compelling reason for a hospital system to select a fully integrated practice management solution rests in the paybacks from not having to juggle multiple software platforms across dozens or even hundreds of physicians,” stated Brown.

The survey respondents agreed that Allscripts offered the top integrated Hospital/Ambulatory/Physician EHR, RCM, and practice management solution for integrated health systems and networks. The vendor scored highest in 11 of 18 key performance indicators.

GE Healthcare, Cerner, athenahealth, and CPSI also scored better than over 149 EHR systems with practice management or revenue cycle management capabilities.

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Image Credit:  Ochre Recruitment