Winds of change swept across the healthcare landscape last year, ushering in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and fueling renewed interest in accountable care organizations and ICD-10 coding.
The scope of these changes has put more emphasis on financial and accounting software, as providers continue to grapple with the important challenge of integrating clinical and financial data. And the importance of business solutions is reflected in the “2012 Best in KLAS Awards: Software & Services” report.
Rankings in this report are based on feedback solicited from providers who use the systems and services. KLAS then assigns a numerical ranking based on overall satisfaction with each product or service. However, the researchers at KLAS also stay in touch with vendors so they are aware of any changes in management or underlying technologies.
In looking at those vendors that offer financial and accounting solutions, Mike Smith, general manager of financial and services research at the Orem, Utah-based KLAS, says he’s paying particular attention to revenue cycle vendors. “McKesson had a course correction. They discontinued their Horizon revenue management product, even though they have a lot of customers with legacy systems,” he notes.
Another major player with a large client base is Cerner. But its product is becoming more of a patient accounting solution, Smith says.
This is partly due to vendors needing to meet market demand, he says. “More providers are thinking about their inpatient and outpatient strategies and are looking at their enterprise. In revenue cycle, there are a lot of old legacy systems—25 to 30 years old—so they’re updating their patient accounting systems.
But Smith also notes that he’s seeing more integration, as providers are opting to purchase new electronic health records and patient accounting systems from the same vendor.
In its latest ranking of patient accounting and patient management software, KLAS again gives the first-place award to Epic’s Resolute Hospital Billing. In second place is GE Healthcare’s Centricity Business, followed by Allscripts’ Sunrise Patient Financials. “Epic continues to do a good job executing and managing customer expectations,” Smith says. “And we’re watching GE closely. They’re looking at opportunities in the marketplace and investing more in their patient accounting software.”
On the community hospital side, McKesson’s Paragon Financials was ranked No. 1 which, according to Smith, is attributable to this vendor’s support of its Paragon line of products. “They have a good HIS solution and are competing on the integration side,” he says. Coming in at No. 2 is QuadraMed’s Affinity Financials, followed by CPSI Financials.
In the category of Revenue Cycle-Claims Management, KLAS ranks SSI Group’s ClickON Claims Editor No. 1—a substantial rise from last year’s fourth place. Jumping from No. 6 to the second spot this year is OptumInsight’s Claims Manager.
Smith says SSI Group has continued a steady rise in the rankings, moving 10 points over the course of five years. And OptumInsight has remained a solid competitor that delivers on client expectations.
In the category Revenue Cycle-Contract Management, KLAS awards the top spot to MedAssets’ Contract Manager. In second place is McKesson’s Pathways Contract Management.
Building IT Bridges
Chuck Podesta, senior vice president and CIO at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt., says he uses GE Healthcare Centricity Business for his revenue cycle solution and will be upgrading to the latest version in the next couple of months. His organization’s electronic health record (EHR) solution is Epic’s EpicCare Inpatient EMR.
While he agrees that GE Healthcare has invested a lot in its business solution, Podesta says he still needs to use a third-party interface engine to link the financial side of the hospital to the clinical side. The integration of that data will become even more important as providers make the transition to the new ICD-10 coding system, and increasingly move from a fee-for-service payment model to newer payment models involving various forms of episodic bundling and capitation, he says.
In assisting healthcare organizations with their revenue cycle solutions, consultants also are ranked by KLAS. In the category Revenue Cycle Transformation, Huron Consulting has moved up from the third spot last year to number one this year. Taking second place is PwC. “Huron Consulting is set apart by the tools they offer, and customers are happy with them,” Smith says. “Huron acquired two companies which gave it the new technology and tools.”