SCC: Preparing labs for molecular growth
SCC Soft Computer, Clearwater, Fla., touts more than 30 years of experience as one of the country's leading laboratory information system vendors. In addition to robust LIS systems, the company's product portfolio also offers applications for genetics labs, blood labs, healthcare outreach management and data integration among the LIS, pharmacy information systems and radiology information systems.
This privately-held company, ranking #49 on the 2010 Healthcare Informatics 100, has seen steady financial growth over the past decade, due in part to client retention: Some of its installation sites have been customers for 25 years.
The company's success stems from its ability to document, track and integrate all aspects of the lab, while offering clients a customized, buy-as-needed module approach, explains Gilbert Hakim, SCC's founder and CEO.
“Through integration of all parts of the laboratory, we can bring enormous benefits to our clients in the maintenance of the application data on their side,” Hakim says. “We can be their sole vendor for clinical, anatomical and molecular pathology, as well as outreach.”
SCC's hallmark LIS product, SoftLab, integrates a master-patient index, charge capture, instrument interfacing and deep quality control features within a Web-based platform, allowing efficient data exchange among multiple care sites. Its SoftExpress courier tracking module uses GPS to track lab samples from the collection point to the lab, and back to the physicians.
This year, SCC received approval for its SoftID.Tx application, which enables labs and hospital nurses to verify patient identification for blood transfusions.
SCC's latest product, SoftTotalQC, is a cross-module quality control/quality analytics tool that can be used with any LIS system. Released earlier this year, the module fills a crucial void in the current market, Hakim notes.
“This quality control module is very important because many of our vendors in microbiology and genetics don't have much quality control at all,” he explains. “Our package goes into molecular, pathology and microbiology quality control, which includes scheduled maintenance, instrument repairs, temperatures of holding spaces, etc. Anything that relates to maintaining the laboratory can be scheduled and recorded within this application.”
Amid today's regulatory environment and the constant emphasis on achieving greater efficiency, many hospital labs have been forced to look harder at laboratory automation, Hakim says. “Now, even very small hospitals are being encouraged to change their laboratories to do more business in-house, and to emphasize laboratory outreach to maximize profitability,” he says. “Teaching hospitals have the broadest needs in terms of technologies, but we tailor the applications and dictionary setups based on whatever the client needs.”
Solving the automation challenge in the labs means more than finding the funding to buy a product, he adds. “Automation, artificial intelligence, integration and the breadth of our product allow integrated delivery networks (IDNs) and laboratories to adjust to today's lower reimbursements and the need for higher volumes, while reducing their costs.”
As the fields of genetics and micropathology continue to blossom, data mining tools will become increasingly important, especially as the integration between LIS and electronic medical records grows, he adds. “Ironically, most electronic medical records do not have as much information on the patient as we have, from the standpoint of molecular or genetics.”
The company's reputation for long-term client relationships comes from its deep product portfolio, its well-trained staff, and its dedicated attention to customer service, Hakim says. “Whenever a client calls with a problem, it'll be answered by a real person that day.” Delivering top quality service and support is something SCC takes very seriously, and it's continually looking for ways to improve. In 2009, SCC received SCP certification, and was recertified in 2010. With an employee development score that surpassed the industry benchmark, the auditor noted that training is one of SCC's strongest areas.
SCC is experiencing a major transformation through education, Hakim adds. “For SCC to provide the best products and service to our clients, we must ensure that our associates receive the best possible training. Employee retention in this competitive industry is a real issue, and at SCC we use workforce training and leadership development to help reduce turnover, get employees onboard from day one, and establish a career path,” he says.
SCC's efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2009, SCC ranked third in ASTD's BEST Awards Winner's Circle, and SCC's CLO and training department were selected for the ASTD/ISPI OPAL Award for Excellence in Leadership Development. In 2010 SCC received its eighth Training magazine Top 125 award and became the first healthcare IT company to rank in Training's Top 10 for three consecutive years.
SSI: EDI advantages are its claim to fame
The SSI Group, Mobile, Ala., claims the #73 slot in this year's Healthcare Informatics 100 list. Founded in 1988, SSI specializes in revenue cycle management, EDI and claims management. As both an EDI company and one of the nation's EHNAC-certified clearinghouses, it processes more than $588 billion in transactions annually.
Most of SSI's clients are hospitals, but interest is growing quickly among surgery centers, long-term care facilities, nursing facilities and others.
“Once they get a taste of the benefits of EDI, it's easy for them to jump to the next level of revenue cycle benefits,” says Doug Bilbrey, executive vice president for sales and marketing at SSI. “Over time, most hospital providers have done the basic things pertaining to electronic claims. Now, they're looking for tools that can allow them to squeeze tighter margins out of that revenue cycle and enhance their workflow.”
The company's ClickON Claims Management suite provides all the features of advanced EDI claims systems. SSI's new ClickON ClearView 5010 application allows providers and payers to test their 5010 processes.
“We've now bundled our billing, claims status, payment posting and workflow reporting offered via Software as a Service (SaaS), with several pricing models based on volume,” Bilbrey says. “What's different about our tools is that they have editing, formatting and reporting capabilities, too.”
Recent interest also has been growing around the company's ClickON RADs (Recovery Audit Defense system) product, which can catch inaccurate billings that would otherwise be pushed into audits by Recovery Audit Contractors”, he says.
“Historically, claims scrubbers would tell you what's wrong with the claim. But now we also need to tell providers, ‘you could have done this,’ or, ‘make sure you include A and B before you send this claim out,’ or ‘this could become a potential issue down the road,’” he explains. “Now that the edits have become more analytical and productive, it'll make the providers much more efficient in catching errors before they go out.”
SSI processed 311 million transactions last year. The company has more than 2,400 clients nationwide, including 900 payers and 1,500+ health plans.
Webmedx: Transcribing Documentation for Quality Analytics
Atlanta-based Webmedx debuts this year on the Healthcare Informatics 100, ranking #71.
Founded in 1996, the Web-based documentation transcription company has enjoyed steady growth over the past four years; it is now the third-largest transcription company in the U.S. healthcare market.
Back in the late 1990s, the application service provider (ASP) model was a hot, new frontier in healthcare, but not necessarily for medical records. The company had to prove the reliability of the model for physician documentation, mainly by providing accurate reports, quick turnaround and top-notch customer service, recalls CEO Sean Carroll.
Today, the company is focused on the newest demands in the transcription market: front-end speech recognition, EHR-ready data, and quality analytics tools.
“On an increasing basis, what we produce for a customer needs to be ready for integrated use by an EHR, regardless of vendor. The stakes for accuracy, both for the information and the integration integrity, have ratcheted up very quickly as more EHRs are being implemented,” Carroll notes, adding that the company has invested heavily in speech technologies while also developing interfaces to all the major EHR vendors. “And, with today's emphasis on core measures, quality reporting, and the ‘meaningful use’ criteria, the time for quality analytics tools is now.”
Webmedx uses multiple technologies to capture and transcribe narrative physician documentation and extract meaningful data sets, Carroll explains. “We incorporate Natural Language Processing technologies with our query-based script intelligence to re-purpose usable information, whether reports are dictated or speech-generated.”
Remaining a top player amid the rapidly changing demands of healthcare documentation means being willing to make constant investments in the company's technology capabilities and its own employees, Carroll says.
“Our real fuel is our strong field of 1,000 employees, and keeping our employees long-term is a big part of our business strategy of quality and continuity.” One clue: Three of the last six presidents of the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity have worked for Webmedx.
The company processes about 6 million documents annually, while maintaining a client retention rate of 98%. In an ASP-based market where dissatisfied clients can go elsewhere easily, the retention is a clear indicator of the company's quality of service, Carroll notes. “Clients have to see that you're committed to getting it right.”
Vitalize: Expertise along healthcare's regulatory road
Over the past four years, Vitalize Consulting Solutions, Inc. (VCS), Reading, Mass., has climbed 20 spots on the Healthcare Informatics 100, ranking #66 this year.
Founded in 2002 by former consultants as a company in which consultants could thrive, this rising national firm employs over 350 HCIT specialists, the majority of whom have clinical certifications and backgrounds. “Our team understands and relates to the providers' IT challenges, understands the language the vendor is speaking, and that expertise is highly valued by hospitals and physician practices,” says CEO Bruce Cerullo.
VCS offers dedicated consulting services via nine focused Practices in support of the clinical and revenue cycle management. Six of these Practices offer deep subject matter expertise and consulting services for HIT vendors, including Cerner, Eclipsys, Epic, McKesson, MEDITECH and Siemens. The other three Practices offer Project Management, Ambulatory (Allscripts, NextGen and eClinicalWorks) and Vital Services expertise.
Shifting pressures in the market are affecting how and why clients need IT consultancies, Cerullo asserts. “Meaningful use is a game-changer. Although clinical outcomes have always mattered when implementing a HIT system, provisions in the ARRA, including incentives and penalties, now drive significant change. So, in addition to focusing on the overarching goal of patient safety and satisfaction we'll be helping clients achieve meaningful use.”
Additionally, as healthcare executives grapple with HIPAA 5010, ICD-10 and meaningful use, many CIOs are looking to “upgrade an existing system rather than replace the technology,” Cerullo adds. “It's imperative that we serve both the net new implementations as well as supporting the legacy systems,” he explains. Regardless of the determined need, VCS offers tailored expertise and solutions to meet these challenging goals.
“We are proud of our reputation for providing quality outcomes, pleased by what our clients report through KLAS, and honored to be recognized by our clients for our depth of knowledge and breadth of experience. In fact, we have worked in five of the seven U.S. healthcare systems that have achieved Stage 7 of the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model, and that isn't something everyone can report.” Cerullo says. “We congratulate all seven of those healthcare systems as they pave the road for the entire industry.”
Cognizant: Driving business growth and innovation
Teaneck, N.J.-based Cognizant Technology Solutions has garnered nearly a decade on the Healthcare Informatics 100, ranking #9 this year.
Cognizant offers a wide range of consulting, IT, and business process outsourcing (BPO) services across the entire healthcare continuum - from payers and providers to pharmacy benefit managers, intermediaries and government clients, as well as life sciences and medical devices firms.
Although Cognizant serves other verticals globally, approximately a quarter of its overall revenue is generated by its Healthcare practice. The company's clients include nine of the top 10 U.S. health plans, three of the top five pharmacy benefit managers, as well as intermediaries, TPAs and providers, among others.
Cognizant combines its experience in business consulting, systems integration and BPO with deep industry expertise and a “client-first” mentality focused on long-term customer relationships, explains Krish Venkat, senior vice president and head of Cognizant's Healthcare and Life Sciences practice.
“Our goal is to help clients strengthen their businesses by improving operational efficiency and effectiveness, while enabling customer intimacy,” Venkat says. “As a result, over 90% of our business comes from existing clients.”
Healthcare reform presents particular business and compliance challenges. Cognizant's Healthcare practice works with its clients to help them understand the impact of industry changes and mandates, while providing guidance to ensure continued business effectiveness and growth. For example, Cognizant helps healthcare organizations gain a 360-degree view of the business and organizational impacts of ICD-10 and assists in developing a roadmap for compliance and transformational change - from business impact assessment through testing and implementation.
BPO is another example of how Cognizant is providing organizations with the agility, flexibility and scalability to adapt swiftly to changing market forces. While certain processes like coding, billing and transcription have been common candidates for outsourcing previously, today's clients are using BPO for much higher level tasks such as clinical care management, claims adjudication, regulatory filings, provider credentialing and data management.
Cognizant maintains 54 global delivery centers and has more than 85,500 employees worldwide. In the past year, Cognizant has gained new healthcare clients in the U.S. government sector, as well as clients in Europe, the Middle East and Asia/Pacific.
“The healthcare industry is undergoing momentous change, and healthcare organizations and vendors will need agility and adaptability to recalibrate existing business models,” Venkat notes.
Greenway: Integrated EHRs for meaningful data exchange and patient encounters
Greenway Medical Technologies, #65 in this year's Healthcare Informatics 100, was founded by people who realized the importance of integrated electronic health record systems: clinicians and hospital administrators.
The Carrollton, Ga.-based company is helping to redefine the design of EHRs, providing solutions that welcome the convergence and exchange of data without interfering with the physician-patient relationship, notes Tee Green, Greenway's president and CEO.
So far this year, Greenway has secured three regional extension center (REC) contracts-New York City, New York state, and the state of Iowa. “The charter of these RECs is to assist smaller primary care practices in implementing the technologies critical to building a smarter healthcare system and achieving meaningful use,” Green says.
Greenway's electronic health record, PrimeSuite, combines patient charting, clinical tools and practice management integrated with administrative and financial workflows. In June, Greenway received a patent for PrimeSuite's template-building module for customized clinical documentation.
“We've focused a lot of energy on the user interface,” Green explains. “It's been a limiting factor with a lot of EHR platforms, because they are built around legacy technology. Many companies had a hard time comprehending what it means to deliver the user experience to a physician.”
Greenway also is one of the first EHR providers to offer physicians a direct link to life sciences resources. The PrimeResearch solution is both a knowledge base and a portal for life science resources such as clinical trials, evidence-based medicine, pharmaceutical research and benchmarking. “It allows us to collapse the timeframe of research, so we can improve the system and start to personalize medicine,” Green says.
The company's product designs acknowledge the rise of consumer-based healthcare and the need for more data convergence across the continuum of a patient's life.
“Physicians have never really had to deal with patients as consumers before,” he says. “Today's patients are much more educated about the services they purchase, and with the rise of patient portals and automated referrals, they're going to figure out what the best systems are. If you order a steak medium-rare and it's delivered raw, you don't say, ‘Thank you’ and leave a 20 percent tip. We are about creating data liquidity that will lead to a smarter health system.”
EMC Corporation: helping healthcare providerson their journey to the private cloud
Why are healthcare organizations embarking on the journey to the private cloud?
They're looking to improve business agility, reduce IT complexity, and manage the explosion of digital data. On average, 72% of IT energy is spent on maintenance while only 28% is on investment and 5% on infrastructure investment. Moving toward the private cloud shifts IT costs away from maintenance and management to investments that can help deliver safer, patient care.
The private cloud creates fully virtualized next-generation IT infrastructure, spanning internal and external resources. Private Cloud presents seamless services to the business with IT fully in control, combining the best of data center with the best of cloud.
The journey to the private cloud is a three-phased approach for Healthcare Providers.
The first phase, also referred to as the IT Production phase, involves virtualizing and consolidating silos of healthcare information. In consolidating, patient care collaboration becomes simplified and more efficient.
The second phase involves moving applications to a virtualized infrastructure. Providers are starting this phase with web-based patient services and email, then mission critical applications like PACS and modules of an EHR. This second phase, also referred to as the Business Production phase provides healthcare providers with a scalable, highly available, secure IT environment.
Finally, in the third phase, also referred to as IT-as-a-Service, real patient care transformation occurs. You're offering IT as a service. You're managing IT assets based on policy, with automation, and cost transparency. Learn more about the journey to the private cloud at http://www.emc.com/privatecloud.
In 2004, EMC began embarking on the first phase of the journey to the private cloud and is currently moving through the second phase. EMC is not only leading its own journey, but is using its documented best practices and lessons learned to bring their customers safely along the journey as well.
To learn more about EMC's journey to the private cloud, download an ESG IT audit at http://www.emc.com/collateral/analyst-reports/esg-it-audit-emc-journey-to-cloud.pdf
Ingenix: a leader in hospital and health system solutions: Expands capabilities to offer end-to-end revenue cycle solutions
To meet the needs of our rapidly changing health care industry, Ingenix developed and executed on a comprehensive strategy to become a premier hospital solutions provider. By combining its existing coding and consulting capabilities with those of several carefully chosen acquisitions that target key revenue cycle functions, Ingenix is now positioned to help hospitals, health systems, and their affiliated physician practices address their most critical needs in the face of unprecedented industry challenges.
Through the addition of AIM, CareMedic Systems, Ingram & Associates and Netwerkes, Ingenix now offers comprehensive revenue cycle technologies and services to optimize processes and results, from patient access through account resolution and audit management. These combined capabilities include patient-centric data management, robust dashboard reporting and a web-based hospital clearinghouse solution that automates existing business processes. Our solution set now addresses each major component of the hospital revenue cycle: patient registration, eligibility verification, financial clearance, coding and compliance, bill submission, denial management, remittance processing and audit management.
Additionally, Ingenix Consulting experts help health care providers achieve growth, capital and performance goals through a broad array of consulting capabilities, including: business strategy and performance, revenue cycle optimization, clinical and operational improvement, patient safety and quality outcomes. The combination of innovative technology, business process outsourcing and consulting services helps health care organizations improve efficiency, simplify administration and bridge the gaps in disparate systems.
The people of Ingenix are passionate advocates for the use of health information to save lives, improve care and solve fundamental, deep-seated problems in health care. We achieve these objectives by providing information, technology, consulting and business process outsourcing services. We create innovations that reduce administrative burdens, increase revenue and cash flow, reduce the cost of doing business, and ultimately, help provide better treatment for each patient that you serve. Founded in 1996, Ingenix is a global pioneer in health information technology, and we continue to grow and change with the needs of the marketplace as your trusted source for healthcare solutions. For information, visit http://www.ingenix.com/rcm/ or call 800.765.6793.
MED3OOO: Continued growth through a changing healthcare environment
MED3OOO, a national healthcare management and technology company, is experiencing continued growth and opportunity in the healthcare industry even through the difficulties of a recovering economy, changing regulatory and care delivery environment.
Whether a physician, hospital or employer, there is a dramatic focus on cost and quality, personal accountability and wellness. MED3OOO, through its delivery of a combination of industry knowledge, efficient technology, cost effective services, and sophisticated data management has a unique sustainable advantage over most industry single solution vendors.
Reflective of these goals is the company's partnership with Tenet Healthcare Corp. Based in Dallas, Texas, Tenet Healthcare is focused on providing their employed and independent affiliated physicians with access to a broad array of services, each focused on helping them compete successfully in the evolving healthcare industry. Through this collaboration MED3OOO and Tenet are improving healthcare delivery in the markets they serve. Other hospitals and employers are now partnering with MED3OOO to achieve similar focus and success.
Another example is MED3OOO's aggressive partnering approach to healthcare delivery is its development and offering of a community based electronic health offering through its InteGreat suite of products. Through its leadership position as an application service provider the company is providing hospitals and physicians the ability to work collaboratively to deploy practice management, electronic health records, patient recalls, portals and data warehousing in an integrated cost effective approach and outcomes based delivery model. These capabilities allow hospitals and physicians to conserve precious capital in order to improve their facilities and advancements in direct patient care.
“MED3OOO is the leading provider of outcome based solutions. We have a unique ability to bring the full “360” combination of knowledge, services, technology and data management that are required for employers, hospitals and physicians to succeed” stated Patrick Hampson MED3OOO Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our shareholders, management and employees are committed to long term growth and sustainability and providing outcomes that matter”
Healthcare Informatics 2010 August;27(8):34-43