A recent survey of healthcare finance executives found that they will be increasingly focused on healthcare information technology and its potential to support accountable care organizations (ACOs).
These executives indicated they consider the adoption and use of healthcare IT a top concern, according to the report from FirstSource Solutions USA. Interestingly, most said that changes associated with healthcare reform were the top priority industry-wise, but less than a quarter indicated it was the highest priority for their organization in particular. Most cited meaningful use requirements and clinical or financial system conversions as their leading concern.
Additionally, most said that partnerships with ACOs should be the second-greatest concern, after healthcare reform, but fewer than 10 percent of respondents indicated that their own priorities were aligned with those industry concerns. The level of focus on clinical and financial system conversion is largely due to the push to adopt electronic health records (EHRs), which more than half of respondents say they are currently working on.
"The priorities for the industry as a whole differ from the current priorities of individual organizations right now," said Mitzi Winters of Firstsource. "This, coupled with financial system overhauls, is creating an extremely complex environment for healthcare finance executives to navigate. Healthcare reform changes have taken precedence."
The attention being paid to healthcare reforms and ACO partnerships has increased since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling indicating the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is constitutional, which kept health reforms moving forward. Now, executives are looking to healthcare IT to help simplify administrative and financial processes so they can more effectively operate their businesses.
Healthcare IT and insurance needs
With this renewed focus on information technology, healthcare organizations must also keep in mind the increasing data security concerns associated with EHRs. The use and storage of growing amounts of information on patients means that larger amounts of that information can be compromised if an attack or accident occurs.
As organizations seek to more effectively share information, the difficulty of doing so without sacrificing security may grow further. Strong security measures may be needed to limit business liability insurance rates. Cyber attacks can cause rates to increase, in addition to the other short- and long-term consequences. Executives may wish to allocate more of their efforts to risk management practices associated with new healthcare IT.