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Healthcare professionals: 3 data management strategies for stronger financial results

by ​Michael Campana
Information should be the key to turning your financial goals into realities.

However, if data management strategies are not implemented properly, they might be doing just the opposite – causing costly errors that set your whole organization back. Creating effective strategies to produce strong financial results can seem like a near impossible task, yet it can be easier to achieve than you think.

When staff can access the information they need no matter where they are and from the device they prefer – it can alleviate some of healthcare’s ongoing financial woes while leading to improved efficiencies and patient satisfaction. But in order to see maximum financial benefits, your data management strategy must be implemented correctly. So how exactly do you do that in a way that cuts costs, not raises them?

Here are three strategies to help you get started:

​Technology vastly improves security and compliance by creating access authorization and audit trails to avoid compromised PHI.

1. Analyze administrative capacity and operational efficiency

Let’s say a 20-hospital system wants to improve efficiency by grouping all claims denial information into a single packet. It consolidates financial operations into a single business office, hoping to achieve savings by reducing staff and technology. However, the organization quickly learns that with only two printers to support a staff processing countless claims denials per day, the “streamlined operation” is anything but efficient. Instead, chaos and confusion, missing pieces of paper and mixed-up print jobs take over. In short: Staff can’t process any more denials than before because of inefficient processes and technology.

On the other hand, with the right technology, electronic “staples” could be used to better manage information flow, printing and document assembly. Providing your staff with the right tools and a supportive work environment that fits their specific needs could vastly improve the daily claims processing volume without forcing you to purchase additional equipment or increase headcount.

By bridging the gap between capacity and operational efficiency, you can reduce the time between denial receipt and actual payment.

2. Address gaps in care

Now take the case of an academic medical center that knows its 48-hour turnaround for the electronic capture of unstructured documents is impacting patient care and operations. So it sets a new goal: All unstructured data is to be captured and accessible within four hours. Staff scan documents immediately at the point of service, versus sending them via courier to the medical records department.

Putting unstructured data directly into the electronic chart at the point-of-care allows information to be accessed much faster by both clinical and business office teams. This allows billing to occur faster and more seamlessly so that the hospital can receive timely and accurate reimbursements while reducing claim denials.

3. Improve security and compliance

Finally, let’s review an all-too common scenario that you’ve probably witnessed: A staff member inadvertently leaves a document with protected health information (PHI) in the printer bin. When another employee sees it, the organization immediately takes on potential security and financial risks – especially if it doesn’t know exactly what’s being printed or who’s printing it.

Technology vastly improves security and compliance by creating access authorization and audit trails to avoid compromised PHI.

Data management can have substantial financial impact

Are you ready to start planning solutions for your healthcare processes?
The key is to manage and move information with security, so it gets where it needs to be when it needs to be there – whether in the care environment or the business office. This not only creates an overall smoother experience for patients and staff, but also helps protect your organization from financially devastating breaches and the public relations nightmare that comes with them.

Financial pressures in healthcare aren’t going away. An effective strategy to close data gaps and enable staff to properly capture, access and share data (whether paper or digital) anytime, anywhere can help ease financial pressures while also improving care.
Michael Campana
Michael Campana joined Ricoh in 2012 as Senior Manager of Healthcare Marketing. He brings 27 years of experience to the role to lead the market positioning and strategy for Ricoh’s healthcare industry vertical in the Americas. Campana began his career in the healthcare industry upon graduating from the University of South Florida. He has worked for a number of healthcare organizations, including most recently Siemens Medical Solutions Health Services.