We are on a steep trajectory of electronic health record (EHR) adoption. From first generation systems, to stage 1 and more recently stage 2 Meaningful Use capabilities and certifications, electronic health records are growing up. Collectively, vendors have built what was initially asked – individual systems to manage the information needs of the clinical enterprise, whether a solo practice or a network of facilities. As critical mass is being achieved in terms of EHR market penetration, an increasing share of our focus is now on the exchange of information between what has become in some cases, electronic health information silos. Data liquidity – or being able to extract your data and share it to support the continuum of care is another entry in our growing HIT lexicon. It is not only logical but a Meaningful Use requirement.
But the definition of liquidity can and should extend beyond data.
As a term more commonly associated with finances and investment, liquidity’s burgeoning use in the context of health information technology invites consideration of its more traditional definition. How can the exchange of health information facilitate financial liquidity for today’s practices? Consider how acute this need has become in the 1-10 doctor practice segment where doctors continue to face mounting financial pressures including the most recent decrement in Medicare reimbursements due to the sequestration crisis facing our nation.
There’s no liquidity in a sunk cost.
Let’s start with the initial financial investment in an EHR. After tens of thousands of dollars spent on training, implementation, hardware, software licenses and maintenance, that money is gone. And unfortunately for many doctors, the return on investment was short-lived when their first system failed to meet expectations, and thus required the doctor to seek a replacement EHR.
Further, today’s systems miss an opportunity for the doctor to get compensated for providing a higher level of convenience, service and access to the patient whereby previously unreimbursed responses to patient questions and consults could represent new revenue opportunities for the doctor. And beyond patient interactions, today’s doctor often responds to requests from insurance companies and law firms for patient records with no compensation for his or her time and trouble. There’s no liquidity in that work either.
At Hello Health we address both data and financial liquidity.
Health data can be easily exported from the platform in the form of CQM and MU reports and doctor and patient extracts. Data can be exchanged seamlessly between the doctor, his/her staff and patients between the integrated web-based doctor and patient portals. Interfaces with the leading lab providers facilitate electronic orders and results. E-prescribing is supported via the SureScripts network. And more data liquidity is on the way.
But financial liquidity fulfills the opportunity even further. Hello Health generates New Revenue™ for our doctors by sharing revenue from patient subscriptions to the integrated patient portal, telehealth consultations from the platform, compensation from third-party requests with our RapidRecords™ solution and more. And all this financial liquidity comes without an initial cost outlay in the first place.
The future of the EHR market is truly exciting in its potential. As we talk more about data liquidity, lets not forget the financialroots behind this term, the financial roots that are needed to support today’s independent practices.
Stephen Armstrong is senior vice president for Hello Health, the revenue generating EHR platform for primary care practices supporting practice vitality through patient engagement.