Business intelligence edges toward medical practices

With business intelligence on the cusp of breaking through to mainstream implementation in healthcare organizations, now is the time understand how BI can impact practice and clinical operations.Nearly half of healthcare IT executives and medical staff report having currently implemented or acquired a BI system, according to survey results ...

With business intelligence on the cusp of breaking through to mainstream implementation in healthcare organizations, now is the time understand how BI can impact practice and clinical operations.

Nearly half of healthcare IT executives and medical staff report having currently implemented or acquired a BI system, according to survey results released this week by staffing and services firm TEKsystems.

BI technology is being used most prevalently in finance (by 76 percent of respondents), operations (71 percent) and clinical care (71 percent), respondents said, with 53 percent expecting it to be widely used for compliance.

Indeed, outpatient providers — like other health entities — face the need for greater data transparency to improve business intelligence and create more efficient processes, said Judy Hanover, research director at IDC Health Insights. Even if medical practices are moving more slowly than large health networks.

To that end, RemitData, an independent source of comparative analytics data for outpatient providers, announced on Wednesday the launch of an upgraded version of its cloud-based BI service Titan.

Whereas the giant BI players such as IBM, EMC, Oracle, SAS and others have been touting Analytics-as-a-Service among the various SaaS flavors, the approach is newer to the healthcare realm than some other industries.  That said, last June consultancy Deloitte joined with Intermountain to release OutcomesMiner with a bent toward harnessing comparative effectiveness research to sculpt new therapies.

Also dubbing it an Analytics-as-a-Service offering, RemitData took a somewhat but not altogether drastically different tack with its latest iteration of Titan, engineering the service with tools to address a changing healthcare environment defined by decreasing reimbursement rates, claim denials, increased risk of audits, frequent regulatory changes and an ongoing need to improve operational efficiencies to control costs, said RemitData CEO Dave Ellett.

Of particular interest to small and midsize practices eyeing analytics is the fact that, as with cloud offerings, there’s no software to install so all the IT required to use Titan is an Internet connection and a browser. And while many cloud vendors perhaps overly-optimistically boast of deployment taking minutes, Brian Fugere, RemitData’s chief operating officer, was more realistic.

"We can get you up and running within a couple days," Fugere told Medical Practice Insider.  Once the service is operational, practices can assess where they stand on key revenue cycle performance indicators and gauge those against RemitData’s comparative analytics database to see how they fare in relation to peers.

Common problems that practices using the product initially spot are front-desk eligibility check and claims-formation processes.

"Typically most denials, and the resulting cash flow impacts, are preventable with good internal processes and continuous training on payer rules," Fugere explained, suggesting that a return on investment is reasonably straightforward. "Fix or prevent one denial per provider per month and you've more than paid for the system."

That may be easier said than done for small and midsize medical groups with limited IT budgets and few claims experts. But as Analytics-as-a-Service options continue cropping up in healthcare, as IDC’s Hanover said, there is potential to “enable providers to better compete and thrive in an evolving healthcare landscape.” 

RemitData said Titan is priced at $30-50 per provider per month depending on what's bundled with it.

Source: remitdata.com