Medical Operations Improvement Through Digital Transformation

Many clinics are now embracing a digital transformation strategy. With this change, medical offices can focus their efforts on what they do best: providing health care while also driving a positive experience for patients and caregivers. A digital transformation means clinics can improve efficiencies, create new products and services, capture electronic data, monitor operations more accurately and dynamically respond to changes in the marketplace by leveraging emerging technology.

 To facilitate this digital transformation process, a modern medical office must have the right technology in place that improves operational efficiency while also enhancing patient care. We spoke with practice managers and physicians to understand how clinics can implement a digital transformation strategy that will provide the best patient outcomes while also improving the revenue cycle.

 The first step in driving revenue growth is having an effective revenue cycle management (RCM) strategy. Without an RCM strategy, medical offices are likely to make suboptimal decisions that reduce their opportunity to capture payment opportunities, which results in both reduced cash flow and delayed capital expenditures.

1. Determine the needs of your organization and what other solutions are already in place that are not performing as intended. 

Medical clinics must recognize that every process, from patient care to revenue cycle management, must be examined. An office RCM strategy should create a framework for all departments to communicate with one another and identify areas for improvement. Medical offices can then use this data to prepare an implementation plan that improves performance across the entire clinic.

2. Build or select an RCM system that is cost-effective and scalable.

 Many hospitals are moving away from on-premise RCM systems in favor of cloud-based systems that are more cost effective, require less IT support, offer increased flexibility and scalability, and can expand operations as needed. A cloud-based solution is also necessary to move toward total patient experience analytics and what is referred to as the "digital office". 

3. Integrate your clinic's existing financial and clinical systems with an RCM solution that is modern and easily adaptable as economic conditions change.

 For instance, an integrated solution can streamline information throughout the revenue cycle, ensure that patient information is shared efficiently and accurately among departments, automate manual processes, and provide 360-degree access to key data. Further integration of your hospital's electronic medical records (EMR) system will allow for enhanced decision support to improve patient care and outcomes while also reducing financial risk for the medical office. 

4. Develop dashboards with relevant information for managers to review and make decisions.

 Analyzing current and potential revenue opportunities is crucial for any clinic to improve its performance. Medical Offices can then make informed decisions on how to improve operations, which leads to better patient outcomes, higher patient satisfaction, and higher revenue cycles.

5. Maximize revenue with claims management, analytics, and emerging payment models.

 Accurately adjudicating payments is one of the most essential functions for any clinic to ensure profitability and cash flow generation. Claims managers should identify opportunities for improvement that can be realized through better patient coding, management of supplier contracts and a more thorough understanding of payer processes and rules. Analytics are critical to a clinic's success in managing its revenue cycle. They allow for the identification of pockets of high-risk patients and problems that can be fixed to improve patient outcomes.

6. Leverage advanced analytics to reduce costs, improve services, and enhance revenue cycles in an evolving healthcare environment.

 Medical Offices are beginning to use data analytics to understand how customers are using the services provided by the clinic and what they expect from the quality of care they receive. This helps by identifying issues with patient care and pairing these with immediate solutions that can be implemented.

7. Support the clinic's digital transformation by leveraging mobile technology to improve patient care, reduce operational costs, and capture data.

 For example, mobile devices allow for more efficient administration of blood draws, delivery of immunizations, identification of patients in a clinic for treatment and monitoring their progress during procedures, and more seamless communication between the hospital and the patient or family members about care processes.

8. Protect patient data by implementing technology that provides security and privacy regulations compliance.

 All systems must be built to comply with best-in-class standards for privacy and security, which are essential for care in the emerging "digital clinic".

 While medical offices continue to embrace a digital transformation strategy, they also need to build a robust operational plan that supports their strategic initiatives. A successful digital transformation strategy is dependent on having the right technology in place that improves operational efficiency while also enhancing patient care.

Better Patient Outcomes Through Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is not just about displaying modern technology to patients; it is also about improving care delivery and eliminating unnecessary costs. Digital transformation can help improve patient outcomes by refining the ways in which information is captured and shared throughout the medical office departments, promoting greater transparency and collaboration among stakeholders, ensuring that claims are processed accurately, and reducing improper payments. Additionally, patient satisfaction can also be improved with enhanced communications with patients to ensure better communication about hospital processes and procedures.

James Phipps 28 June, 2022
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