Transition in Washington – and in Health IT
As the administration that gave the healthcare industry Meaningful Use and MACRA makes way for a new one in Washington, D.C., uncertainty looms large. Still, amidst the transition, who can resist the temptation to offer predictions about what 2017 may bring. So we have dusted off our crystal ball, and here is what we see.
In 2017, hospitals and practices will begin to deploy and adopt IT tools that will actually provide doctors an advantage in doing their jobs caring for patients. This should not be a radical concept, but it is, because to date most IT has been imposed upon physicians by their organizations (often motivated by government carrots and sticks) mainly for billing and reporting purposes. These new, physician-centric IT tools will help providers to diagnose illnesses more accurately; to predict and avoid potential adverse health events based on known risk profiles; and to allow physicians to spend more time caring for their patients and less time in front of a computer.
For the first time, we are talking about computers adding value to clinical care delivery, not just automating hospital or practice operations. Sure, EHRs have largely eliminated paper, but that’s just table stakes. We are poised now to begin seeing the real value of computerization in healthcare delivery and patient care.
From a revenue cycle management perspective, the conversation and forward planning will be predominantly around risk- or value-based revenue models; in contrast, revenue will remain mainly fee-for-service-based. Therefore, hospitals and other provider organizations will need to devote a portion of their IT effort to readying their technology infrastructure for a hybrid world. Accurate and timely physician charge capture will remain a priority (albeit more challenging with the expanded ICD-10 code set); so will charge analytics. Quality reporting will become more complex as MIPS phases in.
Check back with us in 12 months to see how accurate our predictions have been. And in the meantime, we wish all our readers a healthy, prosperous and productive 2017.