Preparing for Post-Live Optimization for an EHR Conversion

HFMA article by Andrew Hancock and Bryan Chamberlin

With organizations improving every part of the electronic health record (EHR) conversion from pre-live training and communication to post-live revenue capture and billing throughput, moving the post-live optimization phase earlier in the process can give health systems a distinct competitive edge. 

Today, a growing number of health systems are getting back to baseline in important metrics in a matter of 90 days after implementing a new EHR system. After that, however, most organizations spend a few months observing how things play out before launching serious optimization efforts. The top performers, on the other hand, plan for optimization before they implement, giving them an opportunity to move seamlessly from stabilization to optimization. 

One of these top performers is Michigan Medicine (known as University of Michigan Health System until early 2017), an academic medical center and multisite health system that handles more than 2.4 million outpatient and emergency visits, 48,000 hospital stays, 54,000 surgeries, and 4,400 births through its hospitals and outpatient facilities in southeast Michigan. Michigan Medicine implemented its EHR system in February 2012 and later that year performed a revenue cycle assessment and post-live optimization. The comprehensive revenue cycle assessment uncovered risks in areas such as self-pay collections, call abandonment rates, underpayment recovery, and denial management. Thus, along with the discharged-not-final-billed metric (widely acknowledged as one of the most pressing points of focus after a conversion), Michigan targeted specific metrics related to those areas and went after them immediately. Pushing forward when many health systems would choose to “wait and see,” Michigan achieved immediate and continuous improvement.

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