A look to the year ahead in healthcare
by Julanne Williams

Each year we participate in the ANI 2016 HFMA event and each year is a unique experience. Held at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas proved to be a classy venue. With more than fifty breakout sessions to choose from there seemed to be something for everyone. This year’s theme was “out of the box” thinking. Keynote speaker/presenter Eric Topol, MD was clearly a fan favorite this year. I heard numerous attendees raving about his talk. A cardiologist and author of The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands spoke about the future of medicine and the challenges that come with it. He spoke about the lack of a need for a stethoscope when physicians now have access to portable ultrasound devices — among many other things. (To read more about this debate click here…). And to learn more about Topol’s work and book click here.

Exhibitors appeared to number close to 400 — which meant for attendees if you were seeking more information, new “out of the box” ideas and solutions you had probably come to the right place. Freedom Imaging Systems pushed visitors thinking to imagine a health care or laboratory world where you scanned your requisitions, EOB’s, correspondence at a patient centric level as opposed to a batch level. Visitors were excited about this concept and are excited to start working with us to implement and mirror the results our other clients have witnessed: reduced patient hold times, decrease in DSO’s, improved RCM and overall improved patient experience.

It’s interesting to note that just as Topol talks about how the mobile internet is providing us control over our healthcare and there are exciting changes and opportunities on the horizon, there is resistance from the medical community to embrace it. In a much similar way we continue to derive new and better ways of processing the information and data exchanged between ordering physicians and clinical laboratories, though we consistently see a resistance to embrace it. Whether it’s the fear of the new and unknown or the ever complicated healthcare system and it’s honest and well understood concerns about privacy. And lest we not forget cost and budgets. This is an ever growing issue presently due to changes in healthcare insurance. See article for more information on this topic.

We spoke with numerous healthcare employees, primarily on the billing and revenue cycle management side that are seeking solutions to reduce the amount of paper flowing through their organization. Their looking to save on storage space – the archiving of all these records. They’re concerned about security of records being housed in file cabinets, banker boxes – at risk of vanishing in the blink of an eye from a natural disaster or other event. Yet, while they can see the benefits of moving to a more secure and efficient solution – scanning their documents and archiving them digitally they hesitate. When they learn that there’s an easier way to move their documents that come via email or fax by simply having them automatically dropped into an import folder where they can then be worked and moved throughout the organization with workflow – they’re excited but then they hesitate. We hope that as we continue to provide more information, more case studies, illustrating the benefits and ROI that it will ease the concerns of decision makers. That when they read about how others, who went before them, with the same concerns and fears, are now visibly ecstatic about the impact moving to an enterprise content management solution had on their business, they too will be excited. To go from mounds of paper being physically handled, multiple times, by numerous employees, to a process where each document is touched only once and then moves seamlessly through the system. And now the information is available for those who need it, with the security clearance to access it, in literally seconds. That’s life changing.

So we continue to attend events like ANI 2016 –  write about it and share content so that others can be informed, enlightened and less fearful when making educated decisions.

We look forward to the year ahead in health care — new discoveries, technology and improved patient experience. In the end, isn’t that what we all should be striving for — physicians, knowledge workers, support staff alike?