If you’re anything like most hospital leaders, accountable care and meaningful use initiatives are renting a lot of space in your head these days. You certainly want to make the most of accountable care and Meaningful Use for the benefit of your patients and organization. But like many of your peers, chances are you face major challenges with respect to accurately capturing, managing and transforming data to meet regulatory requirements and to operate efficiently under evolving care models.
A recent IDC Health Insights study of C-level hospital leaders commissioned by Ricoh found integrating workflows and information across differing platforms and departments is essential to delivering and coordinating care. Specifically, more than 77 percent of hospital leaders rated finding and integrating information from different repository platforms for insights, answers or predicting business outcomes as “very important.” On the other hand, nearly 85 percent of those surveyed agreed that their hospitals have departments with unmet needs for optimizing document workflows.
The key for hospitals is to improve upon their information mobility, which can be a key driver of accountable care and meaningful use initiatives. While “interoperability” describes the ability of a technology to work together with other types of technologies, “information mobility” describes the level of ease or efficiency at which hospitals and entities can capture, manage and transform patient and business data across departments and even other institutions.
The same IDC survey found that where clinical information flow improves, outcomes also improve. The research found that information mobility has positively impacted business process workflow at over 70 percent of hospitals that use them. Moreover, information mobility technologies and practices have also positively impacted revenues at about 67 percent of hospitals.
If your facility is not among them, here are some steps you can take toward improving your organization’s level of information mobility.
- Make security a top priority. Your organization should set preferred coding methods and input requirements to collect and use data accurately in its own daily operations, and put measures in place to securely share that information with patients, payers and other providers.
- Take inventory. Start now to assess where your information comes from, where it goes and how well it travels across your current infrastructure. At the same time, look at your organization’s electronic health records, storage and communications systems. This will reveal opportunities to integrate these systems and remove the obstacles to capturing, transforming and managing information for higher-quality clinical and business outcomes.
- Look ahead to the future. Look ahead and prepare your organization for the long term. When making any technology upgrades or purchases, ask yourself, “Will this support the goals of my organization in the future?” Focus on acquiring solutions that position your organization for long-term success.
- Prefer solutions that “play well” with others. If your electronic health record and other systems can’t seamlessly communicate and share information with other systems inside and outside your own four walls, you risk losing data, wasting money and making potentially serious mistakes.
- Partner up. Invest in partnerships that can help you achieve your information-mobility goals; the right ones can go a long way toward smoothing the process and setting your organization up for long-term clinical and business success.
The bottom line for hospital leaders like you: Information mobility is here to stay as a key driver of accountable care and Meaningful Use initiatives. Outcome-focused care models demand that hospitals improve care coordination and clinical processes across departments, and the most effective way to make those improvements is through information mobility technologies.