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Blog Post

Dec 21

Following the Data

As part of our Year-End Series, North Star will highlight recommended areas of emphasis every week until we change or calendars.  In addition to general housekeeping tasks and the constant refocusing efforts required by the pandemic, we are drawing attention to areas often overlooked.

As the PHE continues, stress, anxiety and tension affect us all in different ways; many people are on edge and feeling strongly about things around them.  This is completely understandable.  However, during trying times it is very important to ensure we make decisions based on information and not emotions.

As I have written before, we should use data and analytics to support planning and decision-making, not as an excuse for past failure.  Data can tell historical facts.  However, it has far greater power through predictive analytics.  Intelligent data manipulation can also identify revenue opportunities, like missed revenue in the form of under-coded services, services performed but not billed, and services available but not performed. 

Detailed analysis of the 2017 Medicare Part B claims data reveals more than 38 billion dollars in missed revenue from those categories by primary care, family medicine, and internal medicine providers across the country. 

How much is your organization missing out on?  We can help answer that question and much more.

Analytics helps organizational leadership and providers identify at-risk patients, predict patient utilization patterns (missed appointments, patient throughput), score chronic disease risk, track patient survey responses, improve preventive service management, identify revenue gaps and associated services, manage revenue cycle, track provider productivity, and many other areas to foster growth and efficiency. 

The proportion of utilization is mostly balanced between clinical and ‘back-office’ tasks.  However, most independent practices and physicians do not use business intelligence applications and analytics since most tools require more tech capabilities than even small medical groups have.  There are limited capabilities within EMRs and turning descriptive analytics (historical perspectives) into predictive (and prescriptive) analytics requires more than an Excel spreadsheet.  Those practices attempting to report and track key performance indicators (KPIs) feel as though the time and effort detracts from patient care and clinic operations.

Click here if you would like to learn how analytics can help your practice.     

If and when practices join larger networks or groups, they might have access to the necessary tools and support.  Then again, they might not.  Surveys and reports suggest that 60 - 80% of hospital, physician, and medical organizations do not use data analytics in the planning and decision-making processes.  Larger organizations have access to the data necessary to drive informed decisions that can improve patient treatment, raise provider quality scores, and increase organizational revenue – truly a win-win-win proposition.  So, why would leadership not use a tool that could help reach those goals?  Most often it falls into one or more of the following areas:

  •    o  data analytics confidence decreases as complexity increases; they cannot use what they cannot understand
  •    o  working with vast amounts of data is intimidating and presents challenges most clinics cannot overcome with their tools and personnel
  •    o  difficulty capturing, accessing, and integrating data from various sources
  •    o  training staff for additional skillset is difficult – outside of aptitudes or interest is as common as citing limited resources for training
  •    o  lack of available resources (time, personnel, automation, and money) to invest in developing the capability

Analytics helps you see where shortfalls occurred and identify opportunities to correct course.  The team at North Star helps you get your data organized and pointing you toward success.  We help you see solutions to the obvious first – strategies to make your column look more like the target than everyone else. 

We make recommendations on where to invest resources (time, talent, treasure) on tools and platforms that encourage innovation and success from the bottom up that drive measurable value, build confidence, and assure rapid ROI.  An organization should not have to go hire a team of Cal-Tech scientists or Silicon Valley programmers to accomplish their data goals

If you want your programs to excel in 2021 but need a little guidance, select the Get Help next to your desired subject on our Services page.  You will be prompted to register and submit some information (which we do NOT share externally) and then we can get started.