By Russ Levanway, CEO
The 3 ‘R’s
With the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (aka “Obamacare”) over the last several years, the healthcare industry has experienced massive changes, many of them regulatory-driven. The requirements of ICD-10, HIPAA, “meaningful use” and now the up-and-coming Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) going into effect January 1st, have created a heavy burden for our healthcare clients because they’ve forced a series of fundamental changes in how healthcare operates overall. We are still in the middle of that transition; the journey isn’t over yet.
Having worked closely with quite a few healthcare partners at TekTegrity, I can sympathize with the challenges they’ve experienced. Making changes is hard enough, but when they’re regulatory in nature, the result can be an extra measure of resistance, resentment and reluctance. Without genuine buy-in paired with unknown end results, adopting new methods can look like an obstacle to getting work done.
Resistance to change is not unique to healthcare, of course. We’ve seen it across all industries. But healthcare is unique in that many of these changes are regulatory. So, in the wake of mandated change, how can any organization – healthcare or otherwise – continue to serve their customers/patients well and successfully grow?
Embracing the Inevitable
At TekTegrity, we’ve witnessed significant success stories of healthcare partners who have not only met the challenges of satisfying ACA requirements, but flourished as a result. The common thread between them?
They all embraced new technology.
When regulatory requirements came down through the enacting of ACA, those of our clients who interpreted the requirements early and challenged their vendors (us included) to create technological solutions are in a very good place right now. They’ve weathered the transition and are in good shape for the future.
It reminds me of when, several years ago, we were faced with the decision to deploy a management system at TekTegrity. When we discussed how to use the system, we asked ourselves: Do we just use it lightly to keep track of work orders, or do we completely adopt it and integrate it into everything we do, from sales to projects to billing? Do we use it as a tool and keep our workflow the same, or do we re-do everything and let the new system determine our workflow? In other words, do we get our toes wet, or do we jump in?
We decided to jump in. Yes, it was painful. Yes, we had to re-do a lot; in fact, we had to start over completely with many systems and processes. During that painful period, there was a lot venting and complaining about the software system; eventually, though, we made it through to find a great, uniform system, and a lot more end-to-end knowledge in our methods and services. We became more efficient, more productive, and we learned a lot throughout the process.
We see clients across all industries who wholeheartedly adopt, embrace and integrate technological solutions take a long view and end up with great results. Those clients are very successful at what they do. They’re the companies who feel like they’re getting value out of their technological investments.
On the other hand, those who don’t embrace new technology often just want to throw it away, ignore it or view it as a big waste of money. However, the true value of technology can be found through full utilization and a wholehearted exhaustion of a system’s capabilities. The outcome is more productivity, greater efficiency, and better service for patients and customers.