Within Health Information Services, time is a precious commodity
With HIS teams constantly stretched, it’s essential to find ways to streamline workflows and improve efficiency to maximise your operational budget.
Using software tools and tech to scale, streamline and automate workflows can save time and reduce costs associated with manual processes. The importance of which cannot be underestimated in times of tight budgets and a highly competitive labour market.
According to recent research**, the skills shortage, combined with mounting margin pressure and changing patterns in health care demands, has prompted many health organisations to turn to technology and new approaches to address the gap and drive greater cost efficiencies.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how HIS workflow optimisation can help CFOs get more out of their budgets and resources.
Reclaim bandwidth for your HIS team
Workflow optimisation can save HIS teams hours of administrative work by creating automation and streamlined workflows for the tasks they’re usually buried in.
For employees who are spending hours maintaining spreadsheets, this opens the door for them to be upskilled to other roles or departments.
However, sometimes it’s the managers who maintain the spreadsheets rather than using their expertise on larger projects. Therefore, by optimising workflows and investing in technology that takes care of the mundane, repetitive and low-risk tasks, highly qualified and expensive staff have the bandwidth to focus on more strategic tasks.
Coding is one area in which CFOs will see a fast return on investment. A performance optimisation software solution, like Code Focus, can digitise and automate the reporting, code auditing, and workflow management to improve productivity and deliver significant time savings. One Code Focus customer said the solution has transformed the way they work:
“We used to have about 20 Excel spreadsheets to record everything on. We don’t do that at all anymore, which is great.”
Improve staff retention through higher engagement
With the war for talent, healthcare organisations are looking at the wider issue around how to engage, retain, and motivate employees.
Workflow optimisation is key for retaining employees in a competitive market. By replacing multiple spreadsheets with a solution like Code Focus, HIS staff are kept engaged by delivering value on strategic tasks rather than becoming frustrated and burnt out by working on repetitive work.
Importantly, workflow optimisation is not about replacing people with technology, but instead helping clinical coders and auditors to be more efficient as they work side by side with technology. The resulting employee satisfaction will manifest itself in greater productivity, innovation, loyalty and other tangible benefits to the bottom line.
Manage remote working efficiencies for hybrid teams
Managing virtual or hybrid teams means Health Information Managers (HIMs) have to adjust workflows to accommodate the needs of employees working remotely, which can affect clinical coding efficiency and create potential backlogs.
Using software to optimise workflows and processes can improve efficiencies for remote teams. For example, Code Focus creates audit work queues automatically, with all information required to audit contained in a single view. It also allows HIMs to use worklists to prioritise and allocate high-value coding and auditing work. Coders can simply log in and view a list of episodes to be coded, while HIMs can provide real-time feedback to their coders, thereby improving the productivity of HIS teams.
A cloud-based software like Code Focus also enables easier collaboration. It gives HIMs and hospital executives access to the same up-to-date information, whether they are working at the hospital or remotely. This can improve efficiency and communication, leading to better outcomes for the organisation as a whole.
The high cost of inaction
With hospital leaders being challenged with complex funding rules and widespread worker shortages, there is no time for inaction. Workflow optimisation can alleviate the pressure of talent shortages in the HIS department by reducing workloads, improving productivity, and reclaiming the bandwidth of skilled staff for higher value projects.
Invest in coding quality
Investing in the right workflow optimisation tools will enable HIMs to ensure high quality coding and, therefore, better business outcomes.
Our recent study with HIMs revealed that investing in Health information Technology is one of the major factors affecting the quality of coding, and therefore hospital data quality.
Around a third of all staff told us they felt there was a strong need for analytics and/or auditing software. This demonstrates the professional evolution of HIMs into analysis, and the increasing desire for high quality coding.
As the medical record has evolved, HIMs are no longer clerical support to hospitals – they work with software, policies, and processes to ensure high quality coding, which affects Activity Based Funding (ABF), which in turn affects a hospital’s operational outcomes.
Ensure high quality data
Workflow and process optimisation can help HIMs deliver high quality data, which healthcare CFOs and the rest of the organisation can rely on to make well-informed decisions.
Good quality data is invaluable for healthcare organisations – it leads to better decision-making, greater visibility on business activities and enables organisations to reduce their operational risks and costs.
Without accuracy and reliability in data quality, CFOs cannot trust the data or make informed decisions, which can lead to operational issues and costly mistakes. According to Gartner, organisations lose an average of $12.9 million every year due to poor data quality.
However, recent research by Code Focus reveals that 45% of HIMs don’t believe they are receiving the support they need to maintain the integrity of their health data.
With software like Code Focus, workflows can be optimised and HIMs can deliver quality clinical coded data that you can trust.