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Focused on the Bottom Line

February 21, 2011
by Richard R. Rogoski
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Systems integration fuels interest in financial/accounting software
Mike Smith
Mike Smith

While the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act continues to drive interest in clinical systems - especially electronic medical records (EMRs) - both the HITECH Act and other developments are compelling a renewed interest in finding appropriate business-related solutions. Interest in patient accounting systems is growing as hospitals face the challenge of melding clinical and financial data, according to Mike Smith, general manager of financial and services research at Orem, Ut.-based KLAS. The top performing financial software venders can be found in the “2010 Top 20 Best in KLAS Awards: Software and Professional Services” report.

Smith says many CIOs, who are implementing new EMR systems and want to have seamless integration between clinical and financial applications, are taking a close look at vendors such as MEDITECH, Epic Systems, or Cerner, who are providing integrated clinical and financial solutions. Other CIOs, who already have a modern EMR but need to replace their legacy patient accounting system while maintaining a best-of-breed environment, are considering next-generation revenue cycle solutions from vendors such as Siemens or McKesson.

Lorin Bird, KLAS's strategic research head, financial and services research, agrees, but adds that on the patient access side, the ability to integrate key operations such as eligibility and medical necessity verification, is a functionality now appearing in next-generation products by Siemens, Epic, and McKesson's new HERM product.

In its overall ranking of software vendors that have at least three separate products in three separate market categories, KLAS ranks Epic number one, while Siemens comes in at number 10.

Patient Accounting and Patient Management

As to overall software suite rankings, Epic is ranked number one, with Siemens Soarian in the third spot. Epic again scores well in the patient accounting and patient management category with its product, Epic Resolute Hospital Billing, getting the number one spot. MEDITECH C/S Patient Accounting/ADT has come in at number two after posting a 5 percent jump in its overall score from the previous year.

Lorin Bird
Lorin Bird

Bird says part of the reason behind this 5 percent jump was that MEDITECH has improved its relationship with clients, especially in the areas of contracting and customer service. Plus, he notes, the company has improved its “delivery of new technology.”

More Patient-Centric Environment

Paul Conocenti
Paul Conocenti

In a way, the HITECH Act may also be helping to spark new interest in financial systems, says Bird. If, for example, a hospital is installing or upgrading its EMR, it might decide that now is the time to add a financial system from the same vendor.

But with changes in coding and Medicare reimbursements looming on the horizon, hospital CIOs are taking a hard look at their financial and accounting systems to see if they can meet the demands of a more patient-centric environment.