Value-based care, reduced reimbursement rates, and increased competition push hospitals and health systems to consider strategic affiliations in order to survive in today’s challenging healthcare landscape. The same reasons for mergers and acquisitions, place healthcare organizations under considerable pressure to manage performance, quality of care, and curb financial costs. The need to integrate multiple disparate systems, quickly and efficiently, presents challenges that cause many to reconsider M&A deals. A recent study by NEJM found that “conceptually, hospital mergers and acquisitions could lead to improvements OR deterioration in quality of care.” There are many factors to consider. Acquiring hospitals might transfer managerial, clinical, or operational expertise to the hospitals that they acquire. Yet with multiple systems, disparate data silos and increased complexity, this does not always translate to improvements in usability, operational success, or even greater savings.
Automation Provides the Missing Link to Merger and Acquisition Success
Organizational efficiency is a key consideration in hospital mergers and acquisitions. It’s inevitable that along with the changes, there will be the necessary alignment and migration of systems and data. Short-term, issues may arise with the data migration. Most EHR vendors are unwilling or unable to migrate all of the necessary data like appointments and schedules, medical histories, preferred pharmacies, and more. The result is staff must manually capture the data, migrate manually, or re-capture from patients to fill in the gaps. This causes a backlog of tasks, taking away from the patient experience and introducing possible patient safety risks. The NEJM study emphasized how “diseconomies of scale (e.g., bureaucracy) could divert resources away from investments to improve care, and consolidation could weaken competitive pressures for hospitals to provide high-quality care…” When performance issues require less attention, there is more time to improve the patient experience. Automation provides the missing link to improved usability, allowing you to meet revenue objectives, while focusing on the patient experience, more closely aligning projections to M&A realities.
Performance and Economy
Hospitals and health systems are multidimensional patient care and business entities laden with data driven decision making and overlapping processes impacting a variety of stakeholders. Unfamiliar technologies, such as a new EHR system, can make routine tasks even more time-consuming and error-prone, according to an article published in JAMA earlier in 2018. Adding intelligent automation closes the critical gaps between systems, organizing and accelerating the flow of data. This added efficiency allows staff to devote time to providing higher levels of care, rather than struggling to keep up with additional complexities.
Some of the benefits of healthcare automation include:
- A reduction in the administrative data burden on staff, provides a quick ROI
- The ability to offload tasks, big and small, that detract from the patient experience
- Implementation within all existing systems and software, reducing complexities
- Identifies data entry errors, duplicates, and omissions for increased safety
- Uniform, consistent, and accurate documentation for records and reports
Many hospitals and health systems realize that successfully completing a merger can be complex, especially when the merging entities are large, with multiple EHR systems. During mergers and acquisitions, it’s important to concentrate on shared data issues across facilities and identify common challenges shared between all organizational entities. Examine individual and shared processes constricting data flow in and between facilities. Begin with the data migration itself. Examine staff-heavy, lengthy and constrained processes and procedures which:
- Require the use of multiple disparate programs, systems, servers, and applications
- Require manual data input, such as appointments, schedules, and medical histories, taking additional time, and restricting usability
- Inhibit clinical care coordination, patient safety issues, and lab integration
- Cause delays in clinical decision-making, actionable insight, and usability
Where to Start
With proper planning and execution, automation can advance timelines, increase system performance and reduce costs. Even areas with the most specialized applications eventually link to mainline data networks sending, sharing and storing clinical, financial, operational and technical data. Areas to center on are any pain points where manual data entry, sorting, compiling and contrasting data is required. In mergers and acquisitions, such areas might include:
- Revenue cycle management (managed care claims, banking/financial transactions)
- EHR/EMR platform migration, integration, optimization
- Purchasing, inventory control, materials management, supply chain management
- Scheduling (patient appointments, staff, procedure, facility)
- Interdepartmental data sharing (laboratory, pharmacy, radiology, etc.)
Strategically Deploy Automation
Once the targets are identified, qualify them according to greatest overall impact for the collective organization. While these can be shared processes or procedures in each of the facilities, be certain to carefully consider those shared processes between facilities that interconnect with the host organization:
- Prioritize those which impact performance and the patient experience
- Define the objectives to be reached in applying automation to these processes
- Create timelines and implement automation initiatives across the healthcare organization
- Establish best practice guidelines to apply on a routine basis and for situations created by future mergers and acquisitions
“The hospital industry has consolidated substantially during the past two decades and at an accelerated pace since 2010”, as referenced in the NEJM article. This places hospitals and health systems on the defense at a pivotal time. It’s vital for the ongoing health of the organization to reduce clinical and administrative complexities during transitions, to obtain cost savings and improve patient outcomes.
Why Boston Software Systems?
Boston Software Systems is a dedicated leader in healthcare data migration and workflow automation. We have worked with all of the leading EHR vendors achieving documented success and quick ROI. Live up to the projections outlined with your initial merger or acquisition plans.
Our experience has been ensuring automation projects remain on track since 1985. Working across a wide-range of vendors and applications, we are experts on streamlining workflows, reducing costs, and improving usability for hospitals, health systems, provider organizations, and technology partners. We have worked with all of the leading EHR vendors, optimizing usability and role-based user satisfaction.
Give us one hour, we will tell you what can be up in running in days or weeks. With over 95% of our healthcare automation projects being completed in under 30 days, savings are right around the corner. Achieve savings and improve the patient care experience with Boston Software Systems.
#bridgethegaps on on your M&A journey with intelligent automation solutions.