Stop the (Money) Bleed: 3 Ways that Updating Your Imaging Software Helps Improve Healthcare ROI

2014-10-02
 

Healthcare IT ROI Helps Stop Financial HemorrhagesHealthcare organizations have to make significant investments merely to keep operating. Replacing old equipment and updating software to stay compliant with regulations can feel like financial hemorrhages that can’t be cauterized. These money bleeds can be costly, with one-quarter of hospitals losing money on operations and the average operating margin at a slim 5.5 percent. Old, outdated PACS that operate in silos merely store images, unlike today’s sophisticated systems.

Investing in enterprise medical imaging software can help organizations as they endeavor to meet compliance goals and can help improve system health by offering a valuable return on investment (ROI). Here are three ways that updating or optimizing software can improve ROI at healthcare organizations.

1. Helps improve efficiency of practitioners. Today’s enterprise medical imaging software helps improves staff members’ workflow. Radiologists can access the images and all of the related data they need with just a few clicks from their workstation. Rather than walking across the hospital to see a colleague or calling a referring physician with a question about a patient’s fibroid history, the data is already on hand. If even a few tasks per day are faster by 20 minutes, that can save an hour a day, five hours a week. Count that as one suture to help stop the financial bleed and help improve healthcare IT ROI.

“Medical imaging software can enable your staff to save time and effort,” says Tom Coppa, a technical consultant at McKesson Technology Solutions. “Think about the processes your practitioners go through and the cost per minute, hour and day. If you can transfer data more efficiently and reduce the amount of time your team is looking for data, it can help save money, reduce their frustration and aid your efforts to provide better patient care.”

2. Provides actionable trends. Today’s enterprise medical imaging software helps healthcare organizations as they strive to meet compliance requirements, such as the Joint Commission’s rules regarding radiation dose tracking. As software collects vast amounts of data, such as imaging studies, lab results, hospital stays and emergency department visits, that data can be mined and analyzed for trends and areas for potential cost control. For example, software could alert physicians to patients who are due for preventative care such as a colon cancer screening. The earlier that disease is found, the less expensive it typically is to treat. Data can add another suture to help stem financial bleeding and improve organization’s healthcare IT ROI.

“We should be able to take this data and make predictions around risks,” says Edward W. Marx, senior vice president and CIO at Texas Health Resources, in an interview on Computerworld. “[A]s you get more experience and add new features, you have to make sure you optimize your investment.”

Software that allows users to drill down data and delve into details offers strategies to help them reduce costs on both an individual patient level and in the bigger picture. “Healthcare leaders can extract value by looking at trends and using that data to make informed predictions,” says Coppa. “They can even use it in ACO-related conversations as they look at their limited dollars and strategies to help keep patients healthy.”

3. Helps improve patient care. Helping improve patient care is a crucial benefit of updating medical imaging software. Take a cancer patient who is out of town on vacation and develops an infection. Integrated medical imaging software enables her primary oncologist to send all of her scans and the appropriate data to the new physician so that the patient can receive the appropriate medical care faster, with the new physician having access to all of the relevant data to make the best care decision.

“Everyone agrees there’s a financial benefit, but at the end of the day, I know what we’re doing is making the difference in someone’s life,” says Marx. “I can see by leveraging IT you can make a demonstrative difference.”

Improved patient health can also translate into a financial benefit; the last suture to help stop the money hemorrhage. As value-based payment models become more widespread, keeping patients healthy with fewer visits to the emergency department and fewer hospitalizations can help boost an organizations’ healthcare IT ROI.

Healthcare leaders may look at their organizations’ financial records like a surgeon with a complex bleed on their hands. But with updated medical imaging software in place, leaders will feel like a surgeon who just received an American Surgical Association Medallion. Medical imaging software can help improve staff efficiency, give insight to trends and help improve patient health, offering significant healthcare IT ROI to help leaders place sutures and stop the money bleed.

Learn how upgrading your medical imaging solution can help identify trends that may help reduce costs by contacting us.

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