The last few years have brought increasing numbers of hospital, imaging center and ambulatory care mergers and acquisitions (M&A), all of which has created a number of challenges for diagnostic imaging. According to Modern Healthcare: Mergers & Acquisitions Database, 95 US hospitals and 84 outpatient imaging centers were affected by M&A activity in 2015. Pressures that continue to drive M&A activity are declining imaging volume growth, reduction of reimbursements, and the ever-present shift to value-based care. This has all driven the need for cost efficiencies and the ability to better manage patient populations.
M&A activity creates an incredible amount of shuffling and reshuffling of equipment, clinicians, administrators, images, and data; and that means an exponentially increasing need for improved standards-based interoperability, clinical data integration and more meaningful analytics.
Ask the right questions
To thrive amidst an M&A, imaging departments must seek products and vendors that put standards-based interoperability at the top of their priority list. It is important to have compliance with industry standards such as IHE profiles, emerging web standards like DICOM RESTful services and FHIR. Buyers should ensure that their systems enable data exchange through these standards as well as other API’s, and vendors should make these API’s public. The goals of improved health care interoperability include the ability to more meaningfully connect multiple data sources and connect with multiple EHRs.
Interoperability is just one piece of the M&A puzzle. Here are specific ideas of what to look for in a enterprise imaging vendor when considering consolidation:
- Track record of demonstrable delivery of standards in generally available products
- Solutions that can connect to multiple data sources and handle multiple patient identities
- Future roadmap commitment to interoperability, and support for evolution of standards through participation in the activities of Standards bodies.
- Product architecture that is modular and scalable, without increasing the costs linearly
- Demonstrable success in large deployments where the scale in image data and users be verified
- Commitment to multiple 9s
- Track record of system uptime
- Upgrades handled with minimum downtime
- History of multi-site multi-facility deployments and upgrades
4. Workflow solutions
- Availability of workflow solutions (such as an enterprise worklist, automated quality workflows, etc.) across the enterprise that can scale and row with M&A’s
Pursuing the goal of both surviving and thriving through an M&A is no easy task, so you’ll need the full support of everyone you work with, including your vendors. Keeping these few items in mind when choosing your enterprise imaging vendor will improve your chances of success in the post M&A imaging world.
If you’ll be at RSNA in Chicago from November 27-December 2, book an appointment to come talk to us about how we can help your organization undergo a transformation that will make sure you thrive in your transition to value based care.