If you’re a healthcare provider, chances are, your original motivations for joining the field were patient-focused. You wanted to make a positive difference in patients’ lives. Being in the field though, you may now feel like your day-to-day concerns are back-office focused. You’re spending much of your energy and resources:
- Coding to be reimbursed appropriately
- Staying up-to-date with and obeying all the regulations
- Maintaining low turnover
- Implementing and optimizing the best technologies like EMRs and analytics solutions
Why is your focus being shifted from patient to back office? Well, in today’s healthcare landscape, you could provide care like Mother Teresa and excel at consumer service, and be out of business in the wink of an eye if your back office falters. And that makes sense, because in theory your back-office processes and technologies should augment your caregiving. In reality though, all of these responsibilities often feel like barriers from doing what you want to do—improve patients’ lives.
Since I’m writing on behalf of a home health technology company, I’m going to lend insight on the fourth bullet, “Implementing the best technologies like EMRs and analytics tools.” I’m hoping the perspectives I share will not only simplify some of your back-office technology decisions, but will also display how technology can positively affect patient care, rather than detract from it.
First, let’s talk about you.
Most healthcare providers we chat with who have invested in an electronic medical record, feel the return on investment is unclear.
As for analytics, providers are still getting used to new technologies like their EMR, and are unsure of the hype behind analytics. Every headline seems to read, “How big data, or analytics can drive better care quality, reduce costs and save the world from a meteor strike.” You’re thinking, is it truly what it’s made out to be?
The truth is, not all analytics-based healthcare technology solutions measure up to the hype. Many fall short—especially those that stop after analytics and fail to give caregivers ways to act upon the analytics-based insights. We’ll get to that.
When it comes to technology, analytics-based technology specifically since that’s where my knowledge lies, keep one thing in mind when selecting your vendor: Find a healthcare technology company that is T-shaped.
T-shaped is a metaphor used in job recruitment to describe the abilities of persons in the workforce. The vertical bar on the T represents the depth of related skills and expertise in a single field, whereas the horizontal bar is the ability to collaborate across disciplines with experts in other areas and to apply knowledge in areas of expertise other than one's own.
So, T-shaped people or technology vendors have broad knowledge of industry dynamics, as well as a deep level of expertise in a specific area.
As it relates to your healthcare technology vendor, the vendor should have depth in the area it offers a solution in, like analytics or population health management. At the same time, the vendor needs a breadth of understanding of your industry, your organization’s strengths and weaknesses, your organization’s goals and your day-to-day operations. Without this combination of depth and breadth, a technology solution won’t solve anything.
With this in mind, yes, Medalogix provides a depth of knowledge in analytics. We have data scientists who live eat and breath data. Our models have been peer reviewed by Vanderbilt University data scientists. But we also have a breadth of knowledge in your industry and your business.
Our company was started by a former home healthcare owner. He gets the home health provider’s pain points first hand. We also have a handful of veteran home health clinicians on staff. They know what it’s like to visit patients back-to-back while juggling documentation and technology.
The depth and breadth helps us understand that you need more than analytics. You need a solution that goes beyond reports and helps your clinicians actually put the analytic-based insights to use. That where our clinical transformation team comes in. This team, comprised of healthcare consultants and veteran caregivers, works with your organization to ensure our technology aligns with your day-to-day routines—this way, our technology doesn’t get in the way. Instead, it actually helps you improve patient care.
In addition to looking for breadth and depth from your healthcare technology vendor, steer clear of vendors that:
- Claim big data is better. Big data won’t help your patients, the right data will. For instance, what’s predictive of hospital readmission in one region of the United States, isn’t necessarily predictive in the next region. So, curating the right data rather than more data will often be more insightful. It’s a quality of quantity matter.
- Promise the solution will be tweaked to your needs. This is an O shape, where the solution goes round and round without established or proven success. Ask that analytics vendor if its solution is validated by a third party or if references are available.
The advancements in technology and computing power have lowered the barrier to enter the analytics field. For vendors, the competition is fierce to stand out from the field and that is going to benefit you, the buyer. You have the ability to interview a number of different prospects and select the one that shows they have invested in knowing their clients while working to solve singular and difficult problems. Keep the T-shape in mind as you vet your vendors.