Like other hospitals across the nation, rural and critical access facilities want to adopt data analytics to support population health management, but they lack adequate resources and expertise, and face a large learning curve.
But the desire is there, said Tim Jarm, CEO at Alliant Management Services, a small hospital management company serving 16 facilities in five states, during an interview at HIMSS16. At the National Rural Health Association meeting this past February, there was wide consensus among members that they needed to move to analytics.
Three of Alliant Management’s hospitals already are in an accountable care organization, with most of the rest getting entering such arrangements in May. In the past two years, Alliant helped the facilities aggregate data to get ready for analytics, but because the hospitals use five different information systems, more help was needed to manage the data and turn it into actionable information.
The hospitals turned to the analytics platform of Sentry Data Systems, but over time with the urgencies of daily work, the platform wasn’t being used. So Alliant Management took over the project through an outsourcing arrangement and now uses the platform to compile 10 basic reports that are customized for each hospital, Jarm said. They include revenue cycle, case management, length of stay, quality, cash on hand, expenses and employee overtime, among other metrics.
Over time, he believes the hospitals will gain confidence with the process and start doing their own analyses.
For now, Sentry Data Systems also is offering additional analytics support to the hospitals, such as identifying commercial insurers not cutting a check within 45 days; that service was added after a hospital’s chief financial officer found that certain claims with the same CPT code weren’t being paid for an extended period of time. Further analysis revealed that a specific payer had never put that code in its adjudication system, so the system was routinely rejecting the claims. After the problem was identified and corrected, the hospital received $58,000 in reimbursement.
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