Having a certified EHR, a data warehouse and a patient portal, participating in a health information exchange, achieving complete data integration and using business intelligence systems are essential building blocks a healthcare organization must have as part of what Branzell called a health information technology foundation. But to move ahead, organizations also need systems capable of performing data analytics and meeting the needs of accountable care organizations, including tracking population health. Plus, they need a world-class IT team, he said.
“If you don't have some form of performance management system, if you can't see your performance on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, you can't move forward,” he said.
Fellow panelist Joseph Fifer, president and CEO of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, noted that traditional financial reporting tools—a balance sheet, an annual budget and a five-year plan—are inadequate to meet the demands of what he called the value-based future.
Better than one in five HFMA members foresee that their organizations will be bearing risk amounting to 10% or more of their reimbursements within the next five years, Fifer said, citing survey data. More than half of members surveyed foresee risk at greater than 10% within the next 10 years, with better than a third (37%) expecting the risk-based portion to exceed more than 20% of payments.
When it comes to managing under outcomes-based reimbursements, however, only 6% of surveyed respondents indicated they thought they had actuarial capabilities to do the job now, and only 36% more indicated they would be ready in the next one to two years.
Meanwhile, investments in systems to measure the costs of care are “on the back burner” and experience with population health management “is really limited,” Fifer said. “Most places have no experience,” he said, and only 16% of financial leaders surveyed “have significant experience in designing and implementing population health management programs.”
The data was from a 2011 survey, Fifer said, but, based on conversations he's had with members around the country, asking them if they are seeing things any differently, Fifer said the numbers hold up.
“We know the payment change is coming,” he said. “We're seeing that push in our contracting today. Many organizations are partners with payer organizations, and yet we don't have the data to manage from a risk perspective,” he said.
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