Hayes' Healthcare Blog

5 Benefits of Staff Augmentation during Your System Transition

Posted by Clinical Transformation Team on January 31, 2018 at 9:00 AM

The project list for a transition to a new EHR or practice management system can seem endless. But even with a lengthy, comprehensive task list, one key component of a system transition is often overlooked. How are you going to support your legacy system during the implementation of your new system? Despite regularly being ignored or discounted, developing a plan for legacy system support is one of the most important things you can do in your transition planning.

The default for too many organizations is to try and use existing FTEs to handle both legacy support and new system implementation. As it often turns out, however, this can be a flawed strategy which leads to reduced efficiency in current operations, increased errors and costs, surge in user and staff frustration that in some cases can lead to significant employee attrition.

As revenues shrink and margins tighten, chances are your resources have already been reduced. Asking your already overworked staff to assume more responsibilities without expecting a negative impact is unrealistic. Those organizations that understand this problem up front address the issue by augmenting current staff with temporary help. In many cases that takes the form of either managed services to handle the help desk or adding resources to help take on other legacy support duties.

Here are five benefits of staff augmentation during your system transition.

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Topics: system transition, staff augmentation, clinical optimization

3 Key Planning Steps to a Smooth IT Transition

Posted by Tracy Welsh on January 10, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Proper planning prevents poor performance. The Five P’s may sound trite and cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less accurate. It’s especially good advice when you are about to go through an IT transition.

The upheaval in the healthcare industry is creating an unprecedented number of IT changeovers because of provider and vendor mergers and acquisitions, or the need to upgrade to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and MACRA. In 2017 alone, nearly 50 health IT companies and over 40 healthcare organizations have been involved in a merger or acquisition.[1],[2]

Even if M&A activity isn’t on your immediate horizon, there is still a serious likelihood of change. The number of clinicians replacing their EHRs has increased 59 percent since 2014.[3] Nine percent of acute care facilities and 11 percent of ambulatory facilities are looking to replace their current EHR.[4] Half of large hospitals were planning to replace their EHR systems as of 2014.[5]

Implementing a new EHR or practice management system while maintaining current operations on the legacy system can pose significant challenges. The best way to overcome the obstacles you will face is by laying out a detailed plan before you start. Here are three key steps you should consider as you prepare for your transition.

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Topics: system change management, clinical optimization, it transition

Why You Should Consider Outsourcing Your Legacy Support During a System Implementation

Posted by Tracy Welsh on October 18, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Implementing a new system comes with its own set of resource challenges. Oftentimes organizations utilize their internal staff to support the legacy system while learning and implementing the new system. It seems logical and cost effective at first. But it puts a lot of stress on help desk employees who are trying to focus on learning and building the new system while they worry about a backlog of help desk tickets waiting for them to resolve.

There becomes a breaking point where staff feel overwhelmed and may resign during an implementation. Or there are resources who are not being trained on the new system and see the writing on the wall and proactively resign leaving the old system with little or no support. Hiring a vendor to manage the help desk can be a cost-effective solution including accounting for unforeseen costs like:

  • Losing staff who possess significant institutional knowledge
  • Hiring and training new employees to support the legacy system
  • Ramp up time it will take new resources to come onboard midway through a new implementation
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Topics: system change management, clinical optimization

Restoring the Joy in Clinical Practice

Posted by John Halamka on September 20, 2017 at 9:00 AM

By Dr. John D. Halamka, MD, MS, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 has been blamed for many things, including the diminished joy of clinical practice.  

While HITECH certainly has its flaws, it’s hard to deny the positive impact.  In 2008 before the act was passed, less than 10 percent of non-Federal acute care hospitals were using a basic EHR. In 2015, 96 percent of those same organizations had implemented a certified EHR system. No other sector of the U. S. economy has experienced such accelerated technology adoption.

However, HITECH is just one component of the legislation, regulations and demands that have increased practice burden without simplifying processes through automation.

What can we do to transform the EHR from a burdensome requirement into an essential tool that improves the quality of practice life? Ideally the EHR of the near future will integrate patient data from multiple sources - providers, payers, patients, employers and devices then turn that data into wisdom, providing the clinician with actionable advice that will improve quality and reduce total medical expense. To realize that goal there is foundational infrastructure to be built. Instead of wringing our hands and blaming “information blocking”, we should focus on a short term work plan with the following.

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Topics: EHR, value-based care, HITECH, clinical optimization, Hayes Thought Leadership Blog Series

5 Reasons You Should Use an Independent Healthcare Expert for Clinical Optimization

Posted by Rena Hrivnak on April 12, 2017 at 9:00 AM

EHR technology has reached near universal adoption as organizations continue to invest in their IT environment. The clinical and business side of most healthcare organizations have adapted to the use of EHR’s and as resistance has melted away, there is a clamor to get even more utility from their systems. The general upheaval in the industry has also continued to shrink revenue and squeeze margins, leading organizations to launch cost savings initiatives across the board. Many look to their clinical systems to help them improve productivity, efficiency, and patient satisfaction to help drive revenue increases and trim costs.

Attaining those goals often leads to a clinical optimization program. Though worthwhile, these initiatives can often fall by the wayside or fail to get enough mind share because existing staff is tied up with day-to-day tasks that consume their time. Some organizations look to their EHR vendor to help but this can lead to a narrow, single solution view of potential improvements.

Often the best solution is bringing in an independent expert consultant who can help drive the optimization program and achieve tangible results. Here are five reasons you should consider an independent healthcare expert to help with your clinical optimization program.

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Topics: clinical optimization, IT staff management

7 Tips to Cultivate Your Trainer, Part 2 of 2

Posted by Angela Hunsberger on March 22, 2017 at 9:00 AM

This is the second installment of a two-part blog mini-series where I share the tricks of the trade with detailed tips surrounding 7 essential “train the trainer” categories.  Missed the first half? No worries, you can check it out here: 7 Tips to Cultivate Your Trainer, Part 1 of 2.

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Topics: training, clinical optimization

7 Tips to Cultivate Your Trainer, Part 1 of 2

Posted by Angela Hunsberger on March 15, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Preparing your trainer to deliver an impactful learning experience is essential for getting the most return on your training program. Aside from the curriculum, learn how to inspire, groom, and mentor your trainer to enhance your program and promote skill set growth. A good teacher mixed with a thoughtful technique can make the difference in what learners retain.

This is the first of a two-part blog mini-series where I share the tricks of the trade with detailed tips surrounding 7 essential “train the trainer” categories.

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Topics: training, clinical optimization

Optimizing Your EMR Project: Utilize Your Lessons Learned

Posted by Lisa Laravie on February 22, 2017 at 9:00 AM

“If I knew then what I know now…”

How many times have we all uttered that phrase? It’s easy to see mistakes or opportunities for improvement once a project or event is complete. The trick is taking that knowledge and utilizing it for current or future projects to avoid unnecessary headaches.

Nowhere is that truer than when you’re implementing an EMR. Learning from your experience during implementation helps you fill in functionality gaps and optimize your EMR as you go. If you’re like most organizations, your EMR projects represent a huge undertaking.  With the resource management, legacy systems to adjust, and new processes to be put into place, you will find it hard to keep track of all the details.  You can often be left wondering how you’ll maintain the project on time and on budget, let alone how to optimize the change. 

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Topics: clinical optimization, EMR implementation, project management

Verifying Patient Eligibility: Leveraging Epic Benefit Collection Workflow for Improved Collections

Posted by Karen Lilly Castle on February 8, 2017 at 9:00 AM

The turmoil in the healthcare industry is no more apparent than the effect it is having on patient health insurance. Rising costs in premiums and deductibles, the establishment of healthcare exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and a workforce that continually changes jobs is forcing mass confusion in the healthcare insurance market.

As people assume more responsibility for payments, they are shopping for less expensive insurance options. To accommodate this new consumer mentality, insurance companies are offering a wider variety of plans than ever before. These dynamics place even more stress on the already overburdened front office function of most providers.

With patients moving from plan to plan, verifying eligibility has become crucial for hospitals and physician practices. The complexity of plan options makes the process even more challenging for front office staff. Determining coverage, benefits, co-pays and deductibles for each patient can be an overwhelming task.

Despite widespread use of electronic business transactions, many providers are still handling eligibility verifications manually. A recent report from CAQH Explorations reveals that health plans fielded more than 72 million phone calls on eligibility in 2015. The same report says the cost of a manual verification process is $8.39 per transaction, more than 17 times greater than the $0.49 cost of an electronic verification. In all, CAQH estimates the healthcare industry can save over $5 billion by using an electronic eligibility verification process.[1]

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Topics: epic, Real Time Eligibility, clinical optimization

How to Maintain Healthcare Security during Staff Augmentation: 4 Critical Areas

Posted by Steven Botana-Gumbs on January 18, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Every organization, at one time or another, will require staff augmentation. The reasons are common and include maternity leaves,
sick leaves and extended vacations. These absences while typical can cause disruption as management all too often does not have employees with bandwidth to cover their coworkers’ responsibilities and their own.

Many times, external resources are brought in on a temporary basis to help keep the wheels turning with minimal bumps in the road. This is necessary to ensure that all duties are covered and all deadlines are met.  

Unfortunately, what may seem like simple staff augmentation requires a great deal of forethought. Due to the security complexities in today’s healthcare environment, a cushion period is often necessary.

It is always a good practice for an organization to think about possible stumbling blocks that may lead to a break in the workflow process before the staff augmentation begins. Here are four critical areas to examine as you assess staff augmentation for your organization.

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Topics: staff augmentation, Change management, clinical optimization

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