Executive Order Tackles Healthcare Price, Transparency, and Competition

Lack of competition is a key reason for President Biden’s executive order, “Promoting Competition in the American Economy.” The proposed order tackles four key areas where a lack of competition in healthcare increases prices and reduces access to quality care: prescription drug costs, hospital consolidation, health insurance choice, and hearing aid access. Among other things, the initiative will make it easier to change jobs and help raise wages by banning or limiting non-compete agreements.

Included in the order, the President:

  • Directs the Food and Drug Administration to work with states and tribes to safely import prescription drugs from Canada.
  • Directs the Health and Human Services Administration (HHS) to increase support for generic and biosimilar drugs.
  • Directs HHS to issue a comprehensive plan within 45 days to combat high prescription drug prices and price gouging.
  • Encourages the FTC to ban “pay for delay” and similar agreements.
  • Encourages the Justice Department and FTC to review and revise their merger guidelines to ensure patients are not harmed by hospital mergers and acquisitions.
  • Directs HHS to support existing hospital price transparency rules and to complete federal legislation to address surprise hospital billing.
  • Directs HHS to standardize plan options in the National Health Insurance Marketplace so people can compare costs.

Do Mergers and Acquisitions Challenge Healthcare Systems?

According to a 2021 Physician Sentiment Index by athenahealth, organizational disruptions, such as changes in technology platforms, staff layoffs, temporary furloughs, and/or mergers and acquisitions contributed to more than half of the feelings of exhaustion, overextension, and burnout by physicians. When consolidating systems for increased efficiency and agility, healthcare CIOs must get the cost, scale, and quality right. A compelling issue occurs when vendors are unwilling or unable to migrate all of the necessary components like appointments, schedules, medical histories, preferred pharmacies, and other data during an EHR migration. The result is an overwhelming burden on staff who must capture the data, manually copy/paste, or re-capture from patients at the point-of-care. This causes a backlog of tasks, taking away from the patient experience, adding to organizational burnout and introducing additional patient safety risks.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can help with this by bringing over clean data, eliminating duplicates and errors, and reducing hours of manual data manipulation and correction. Greater leverage of this technology can help to improve the efficiency and quality of mergers and acquisitions for all involved, helping healthcare accomplish more with less, which is a driving theme in reducing costs.

Planning is Key to Migrating Systems and Minimizing Disruption

Planning is key to migrating IT systems during a merger or acquisition. Migrating data from disparate systems, through the use of RPA, at night or on weekends, reduces the disruption to administrative practices, clinical care protocols, and the patient experience. What seems like a simple fix of manually entering demographics or legacy appointment data, literally turns into months of manual data entry and an overwhelming burden that can be lifted through automation. Some of the benefits include:

  • A reduction in the administrative data burden on staff
  • The ability to offload tasks that detract from the patient experience
  • Implementation across existing systems, reducing complexities
  • Ability to identify entry errors, duplicates, and omissions for increased patient safety and reduced burnout
  • Accurate and consistent documentation for records and reports

In Summary

The executive order includes 72 initiatives by more than a dozen federal agencies. The President states that these initiatives tackle some of the most pressing competition problems across our economy.

Whether you are viewing these recent initiatives as good or bad, one thing is certain: it’s imperative that we address areas of inefficiency, burnout, and transparency in healthcare. Ongoing challenges include constantly changing regulations, systems, and services. Automation helps to lift the burden of manual data entry, advance timelines, increase system performance, and reduce costs, which helps to improve bottom line revenue in hospitals and provider organizations.

Why Boston Software Systems?

At Boston Software Systems, we’ve been successful at automating the healthcare enterprise for 30 years. Our automations are running in thousands of hospital applications, partner solutions, and EHR systems, every day to minimize disruptions, improve performance, and reduce costs.

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