The Future is Now: Solving the Digital Dilemma in Healthcare
Dr. John Noble Jr., Orthopaedic Surgeon
The business of healthcare is tough and getting tougher. More regulations and more data require more robust software. While software solutions that do everything from patient queuing to address verification, the lack of interoperability left much to be desired and physicians are begging for innovations and time-saving tools. With new clinical operating systems, the future is closer than ever and time consuming documentation is becoming a thing of the past.
Years of practice and the boredom associated with documentation are demonstrated by my graying hair and furrowed brow. Early on in my career it was quite easy to see 70 or more patients a day. After all, there was not much more to document than a glorified SOAP note. In-house transcription was relatively cheap and seemingly it didn’t really matter if it took days or weeks to review and sign each note. In those days, I would pass by a colleague’s office and it was not uncommon to see well over 100 charts on the floor waiting to be signed. The term interoperability was unheard of at that time.
Much of the dictation however was mundane and redundant and we had to repeat the same phrases over and over. At times, it was very difficult to find motivation to catch up on clinic documentation. And, it was quite painful to see all the duplicated work throughout our individual enterprises. As a result, I frequently pondered why healthcare was so far behind other businesses in the development and implementation of software. I have since surmised it is because healthcare has historically been organized locally or regionally at best. For the most part, healthcare is still delivered in a mom and pop fashion. There really are no nationwide corporations pushing solutions from the provider side as there are in various industries like airlines and banking.
The business of healthcare is tough and getting tougher. More regulations and more data require more robust software. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) is requiring exponentially more data sets to satisfy MIPS and MACRA requirements. Private insurers and Worker’s Compensation carriers are requiring more information for pre-certification and payment of claims. Not having ready access to the information delays patient care, reduces patient satisfaction and ultimately affects the revenue cycle.
There now seems to be a niche software product (and company) for virtually every function in a physician’s office. These solutions do everything from patient queuing to address verification. The problem is there is little integration and interoperability. Legacy electronic health records (EHRs) have allowed us to store information, but have allowed us to do virtually nothing else. These systems have left much to be desired in satisfying other clinic functions. If our smartphones provide the operating system for daily living, why can’t we have an operating system for ambulatory healthcare? This is where Better Day Health powered by Nuance comes in.
Fortunately, 18 months ago, I switched to the Better Day Health system at our clinic the Center for Orthopedics in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Using Better Day’s ambulatory clinical operating system gave us completely interoperable programs that helped my fast-paced clinic thrive. Now, for the first time in my career, I am caught up virtually at any point, and a large reason is accurate and rapid speech recognition from Nuance that allows voice automation throughout many components of the software. I can now complete all of my in-office reports in seconds and can finish an entire new office visit documentation in as little as two minutes.
These tools bring our clinic so much closer to the efficiencies I see in my home and at my bank. I’ve seen a markedly improved workflow with fewer clicks. It also means no transcriptionists are needed. Since the system is coded and written as one ambulatory solution, there are no costly, complex interfaces to construct or maintain. Information is available and the data is analyzable, making it highly valuable for research and population management. Also, structured data can be used by the system to accurately code each visit ensuring improved revenue cycle management. Practices can now combat arbitrary down coding with objective, mathematical data.
We are now entering a new era of health information technology. Nuance and companies like Better Day Health are leading the way, and physicians are begging for these innovations and time-saving tools. Move over legacy health record systems and make way for the new clinical operating systems of the future.