Technology is front and center for healthcare organizations in 2010. Especially prominent is the HITECH Act of 2009 and its substantial impact on finances, human resources, Medicare payments, and the technology requirements to support these areas. Increasing federal regulatory compliance, accompanied by a heavy burden of standards and mandates, can make it seem overwhelming to weigh all issues and needs regarding technology for healthcare organizations.
Every industry experiences periods of transformation around their IT infrastructure and the business automation that introduces new efficiencies. The healthcare industry is now in the midst of its makeover. Substantial investments and change have already been made in medical and patient technology; however, the same level of change has not been duplicated in the business infrastructure of many healthcare organizations.
With so many technology demands to consider around electronic Telehealth aruba health records and healthcare IT, why should finance executives in the healthcare industry scrutinize their accounting software in 2010?
There are four reasons why healthcare organizations should evaluate and implement better accounting software this year in order to establish seamless, automated business processes that connect front office to back office and give healthcare professionals more time and resources to devote to their mission – excellent care for patients:
1. Data Integration Across Systems Helps Deliver Affordable Healthcare
With integrated systems, technology increases efficiencies, maintains quality of care and is not simply a way to cut costs. A typical healthcare organization is bogged down by paper-based data collection and runs dozens of disconnected systems and a plethora of patient billing and records solutions. Good accounting software is able to integrate with these systems to bring the information into the back office. You also need to automate the flow of financial information across internal systems and health plans with insurance claims, including a range of government organizations.
High quality service must remain constant amidst continuously evolving technology, but finding ways to reduce the costs of quality care is also imperative. Accounting software that integrates with other systems can dramatically improve operational efficiencies, reduce administrative costs, and ultimately free up cash for better, more affordable patient care.
Providing high quality healthcare takes a unified team of doctors, nurses, specialists and clinicians. A healthcare organization’s technology platform should incorporate the same collaborative approach so all systems, including accounting software, work together and enable automated business processes that streamline the way information is created, collected, accessed and shared.
2. Improve Operating Efficiencies
Accounting staff in many healthcare organizations today are overburdened with increasing pressures from internal and external demands. As other areas of a healthcare organization or practice advance due to technology investments, the organization now expects quicker turnaround on requests and more financial information. Externally, many of the requirements from HIPPA, Sarbanes-Oxley, and HHS-GIO present challenges that are initially often overlooked for the finance team. Today, a top accounting system can help a small finance staff more efficiently address payroll/HR requests, automate expense reporting and purchase requisitions management, provide a paperless workflow around payables management, and much more.
Many healthcare organizations are only using accounting software as a tool to present their practice to external users for financing, tax returns, and owners, rather than as a system to help improve the quality of patient care, reduce costs, or to increase revenues.
A recent study by Ivans, Inc. concluded administrative inefficiency and redundant paperwork account for 18% of healthcare waste. The study also notes many healthcare facilities still operate with older technology infrastructures, and by updating these infrastructures and operating systems they will experience immediate benefits.