I recently sat in a project initiation meeting eliciting information on a process that was created in response to federal regulatory requirements.
I was amazed at the amount of paper and labor that are involved in a request that follows the process and even more amazed when I was told that the regulatory agents will not accept the information to satisfy their inquiries in electronic form. When I hear of government efforts to push the universal implementation of electronic health records in the healthcare industry I respond with "Physician, heal thyself."
Given the current penetration of information technology into the healthcare industry, you would think that the federal government would leverage that capability to reduce the cost of reporting compliance. An example of what I have in mind is the innovation enabled by extensible business reporting language, or XBRL, and standard business reporting in the area of financial compliance reporting. These tools provide major benefits in the preparation, analysis and communication of business information. The result: proven cost savings, greater efficiency and improved accuracy and reliability to all those involved in supplying or using financial data.
Why can't we apply a "Yes we can" attitude toward the spiraling cost of healthcare compliance to state and federal agencies? Why not use open standards like XBRL applied to the healthcare industry to enable the exchange of information already in the healthcare business' software to the myriad of regulatory agencies that demand it? Healthcare leaders should demand that government and institutional policymakers make a priority of using IT to reduce the cost of regulatory compliance.
Ricardo DavisBusiness systems analystRegency Hospital Co.Alpharetta, Ga. To submit a letter to the Modern Physician Reader Blog, click here. Please include your name, title, company and hometown. Modern Physician reserves the right to edit all submissions.