Ken Accardi of Ankota says that as healthcare shifts to payment models that encourage maximizing outcomes and minimizing costs, practices will need to determine how to stay in contact with their patients and help them to avoid hospitalizations. CMS agrees and has approved payment to practices for Chronic Care Management (CCM) (eligible patients have two or more chronic conditions).
He shares more of his expertise on the topic of healthcare technology in the interview below:
What are some of the biggest changes happening now with healthcare technology?
Practices and hospitals have spent a great deal of effort in recent years implementing electronic health record (EHR) systems. While this is great, the point of these systems is to allow sharing of patient information. This represents the biggest change in healthcare IT. Instead of working to get information into one system, now the focus needs to move to sharing and interaction between systems.
How does healthcare technology make things easier for patients? How about healthcare workers?
It can be argued that healthcare IT hasn’t yet made things easier for patients or for workers, and that most of the work so far has been analogous to building the foundation of a new house. The foundation is necessary, but the benefits come with the rest of the house, and extending the analogy, the integration into neighborhoods.
With the aging population, how important is healthcare technology now vs. 10 years ago?
Ultimately, healthcare technology will be the key to improving outcomes and reducing costs. Shared health records and care coordination technologies will reduce hospitalizations, reduce costs for redundant labs and diagnostics, and will enable focused and less expensive care to be delivered to the 5% of the population that account for half of healthcare costs.
What trends do you foresee happening in the healthcare technology industry? What benefits will come from these trends?
The biggest opportunity that we have to improve care and lower costs is to focus on the 5% of patients who consume close to 50% of the healthcare spend. This requires a trained expert (ideally a nurse case manager) to oversee the care of a group of patients. By establishing a care plan and a set of inexpensive services such as medication review, home health aide visits and check-ins via phone, hospitalizations can be avoided, and the savings are significant. The Chronic Care Management (CCM) reimbursement will jump-start this process.
The next big trend will be to use big data technologies in population health to predict the next patients who are at risk of joining the 5%, and reaching out to them proactively to help get them under a plan before a major medical event occurs.
For those facilitating healthcare management, how does healthcare technology make their jobs easier? For instance, what are some key products or solutions that businesses/organizations should be using?
Future-looking practices should embrace CCM as a game-changing approach to improving care quality and lowering cost. Honestly, the “rub” is that the reimbursement is pretty low, and many physicians won’t see the potential.
Two technologies to focus on now are as follows: 1) sharing health information via health information exchanges (HIE) and using HL7, and 2) CCM management software that enables care providers inside and outside of your practice to provide care.
Talk about the solutions that you offer and the benefits they offer.
Ankota provides software for managing care outside of the hospital. We believe that home care can play a major role in avoiding hospitalizations and thus improving care quality while lowering costs. Our customers include two major teaching hospitals, but most are small home care agencies, and we offer a very affordable cost structure with our HIPAA-compliant cloud-based software.
Do insurance changes on a national level change things for your industry? If so, in what ways and how does Ankota address these changes?
Changes to reimbursement models, such as capitation and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), are driving healthcare toward the models that we support, but the biggest change affecting Ankota is the growing elderly population and increased life expectancy.
How does Ankota increase the efficiency of its customers?
Ankota allows care providers to focus on care rather than logistics. The Ankota software handles scheduling, work tracking, clinical notes and checklists, billing and payroll. In addition to automating these processes, Ankota also has technologies for optimizing schedules (so a home health aide seeing eight patients in a day can have their route optimized like a UPS driver).
Please share anything additional you would like people to know about Ankota.
Ankota offers solutions for Chronic Care Management (CCM), Care Transitions (avoiding hospital re-admissions) and home care management starting at $199/month. Generally customers are able to go live in less than a month.
We are very excited about the potential to improve care quality and lower costs. Ankota blogs about home care and care transitions at Ankota.com/Blog.
Follow Ankota on Twitter for more healthcare technology tips.
Last Updated on January 9, 2015