Exploring Driver #4 of the “5 Things You Must Know Now About Release of Health Information

By: Linda Kloss, MA, RHIA, FAHIMA

This blog series on transforming release of health information has examined the increased demand for information, the need to mitigate risk and control to costs. We outlined the need for sound work process design supported by workflow technology as an essential requirement for ROI today. In this third blog, we explore the need to scale technology-enabled workflow from a single site—a hospital or clinic—to the enterprise.

Enterprise may seem a lofty word but it works well to describe the need to scale-up ROI. Enterprise refers to a business (the entire health system) or a project (managing access and disclosure of protected health information). It is the term customarily used to describe the software version needed to support a whole organization. A healthcare organization doesn’t purchase multiple copies of the single user version of Microsoft 10 to support the whole organization, it gets the enterprise version to save money and ensure that the whole team is securely working together on the same platform.

Best practice for ROI requires a uniform set of policies and procedures that are sanctioned for use throughout the organization. It requires that mechanisms are in place to ensure that the sanctioned policies and procedures are being applied wherever ROI occurs in the healthcare organization, whether in a medical practice, the ED, or a hospital. ROI can no longer be siloed, with each part of the enterprise handling requests and releases as it sees fit. A standardized approach is needed, as is a process for escalating issues for timely resolution. In today’s complex work environments it’s almost impossible to ensure uniformity in a decentralized process without the use of uniform workflow technology.

Many healthcare organizations are going a step further and centralizing all release of information because this approach offers greater opportunity to mitigate risk, control cost, and improve service to customers. They may do this in-house with their own staff or outsource all or part of the function. Again, what ensures uniform practice is the use of a common technology platform designed to guide compliant workflow that allows managers to track and trend processing and release quality and productivity. Many successful Verisma customers are demonstrating the tangible value of this approach. In fact, Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City, MO will address their results at the upcoming AHIMA 2017 Convention in LA (Monday, October 9th, 1-2 pm).

HIM managers may consider the following questions as they assess how best to reduce ROI cost and risk while improving service through enterprise-wide standardization:

  1. Can we map the current ROI practices across the enterprise? Where are requests for information being received and processed?   Are current policies and processes well outlined and up-to-date?  How do we measure how well they are being adhered to?
  2. What is the opportunity to centralize using technology-enabled workflow tools? How can we make the case for cost savings, improved compliance and better service?  Whose support will be needed to effect this change?
  3. Given the organizations current capabilities, is it best to centralize through outsourcing, insourcing or a hybrid combination?

In our final post in the series, we will explore Driver #5 Enterprise ROI Improves Customer Satisfaction of the 5 Things You Must Know Now About Release of Health Information.” In the meantime, please send your questions or comments to solutions@verisma.com.