Oftentimes, organizations are reluctant to embark on community outreach programs such as Epic Community Connect because they can’t really see the benefit. Traditionally, healthcare leadership have not viewed their IT department from an entrepreneurial standpoint, or as a way to achieve their organizational goals.
If you have been keeping up with our blog, you probably already understand that Epic Community Connect can be a major strategic tool that can profoundly benefit your organization in numerous ways. There is a common question that arises, however: “How can I show my organization that an Epic Community Connect project is to our advantage?”
HCIs VP of Community Outreach Services, Scott Jacobs, has a wealth of experience with Epic Community Connect and knows not only how it can benefit your organization, but who it benefits. In today’s post, Scott goes into detail on how you can convince your executive team – including your CFO, your CIO, and your CMIO – that Epic Community Connect is in their best interest.
1) Chief Financial Officer: The Financial Benefits
When making the financial argument for Epic Community Connect, it is important to remember that you will already have a mountain of data on new patients before they even walk in the door. You will already have tests completed (which covers some soft costs), and you won’t have to spend time asking questions you already know the answers to. This will save you a good deal of nursing and admitting labor.
Imagine if your system already contained information on the allergies, medications, and chief complaints of every single patient that walked into your ER. Let’s say that having this information were to only save you five minutes per patient (which is most likely a gross understatement), and your hospital has 100,000 patients visit the ER over the course of a year. Multiply that five minutes by the 100,000 patients you see in your ER, and that comes out to 500,000 minutes. How many FTEs are you saving? Your organization could be potentially saving millions of dollars by saving five minutes on each patient. Additionally, having more patients in your database means you will have more patients coming to your organization, which will generate a considerable amount of revenue for your facility.
2) Chief Information Officer: The Data Benefits
It is not uncommon for organizations to view Epic Community Connect solely as an IT project. The IT department can have trouble seeing how it can benefit them, and may look at Epic Community Connect as a burdensome endeavor that will just end up with them having more customers that they have to service.
When it comes to your IT department, it is important for your CIO to know that by having more providers (and therefore thousands more patients in your database), Epic Community Connect gives you the power, leverage, and ease to get that data to produce your quality reports. Everything in the future is moving towards analytics around big data, and in order to have analytics, you need the raw data. If the community of providers is on any of the several other types of EMR, it makes the job of putting that data all together very expensive, and very difficult.
Therefore, from a data point of view, it is in your CIOs best interest to have one homogenous database full of standardized data. This will make all of the reporting you do, such as quality data reporting, much easier for your organization. While the benefits are not as profound and clear cut from the technology aspect of Community Connect as opposed to the clinical or financial benefits, there is still enough for your CIO to know that Epic Community Connect is going to benefit not only his day-to-day operations, but the organization’s as a whole.
3) Chief Medical Information Officer: The Clinical Benefits
The third argument that makes the case for Epic Community Connect amongst your executives is the most altruistic of the three, as well as the strongest, and that is the clinical argument. When providers share clinical data, quality outcomes are higher, and speed to therapy is much quicker. This means it is better for the patient, as they are receiving a higher quality, more efficient level of care from your hospital. Epic Community Connect has the potential to make healthcare faster, better, and cheaper for your patients, and for your organization as a whole.
While many organizations can be hesitant to implement a community outreach program like Epic Community Connect, it is important to know how it can benefit you, and who, specifically, it can benefit. IT can see easier data aggregation, and lowered costs to produce big data results and analytics. Your financial team is going to save a good deal of money from those soft costs, and will see increased revenue from patients already being in your database. Finally, and most importantly, Epic Community Connect can allow your healthcare organization to provide inexpensive, efficient, better care to your patients.