Author Archives: Glenn Schweidler

With over 25 years of Health Information Management (HIM) experience, Glenn brings expertise in delivering excellent client service with a focus on top performing Revenue Cycle transformation, EHR migration efficiency, and patient identity integrity solutions. Glenn has a proven record of leading high-performing, successful teams in providing world-class HIM consulting services and delivering solid value-driven results to client partners.
MPI and Data Cleanup When You’re Bringing in Practices

Last month we covered MPI cleanup across hospitals. Three considerations reviewed for preserving data integrity were: resolving enterprise overlaps duplicates, determining surviving records/targets, and merging downstream systems.

An MPI cleanup and data abstraction strategy for physician practices should be a systemwide priority. My advice when you’re consolidating practices is to make your MPI partner experience a priority.

Partner with a credentialed third-party group

One of our clients started with a staffing agency during their Epic transition but quickly realized they couldn’t keep up with demand. According to Todd Williams, System Director of HIM at Baptist Health, “We used a staffing agency for the first two and a half years, but then shifted after go-live because we couldn’t keep the temporary employees in-house. With more acquisitions, we had larger gaps moving from one market to the next. Sometimes we’d have six months in between projects. We needed a partner who could manage the fluctuations with us.”

Intellis’ implementation specialist was able to quickly deploy 600 cross-trained specialists to manage all service lines. This included coders, nurses, and other experienced staff of 40 managers. The project managers jumped in feet first to assess staffing requirements and gave quality input. With 400 to 500 team members across the country, the managers were able to scale credentialed staff from 20/40 people to 50/70 people with ease. “That’s something a temporary staffing agency is not able to do,” said Williams. “Working with an implementation partner made my life easier as a manager.”

In addition to scalability, it’s important to partner with a vendor that has deep experience in data abstraction. You want a team that knows about quality and has a solid, proven QA program in place. When vetting candidates, ask about years of experience for people not just in management, but working in the field. HIM professionals with credentials shouldn’t be limited to the top ranks. It helps to inquire about their experience with different HIT and EHR systems. A credentialed team in all areas of strategy, implementation, and post go-live can make a big difference in efficiency and overall cost.

Set your vendor partner up for success

When you set clear guidelines for your vendor, everyone wins. This means creating a strategy in advance to ensure success. This could include help with getting the vendor team access to different areas and systems. We’ve learned over the years that from initial go-live and beyond, when there’s support from the provider side, data migration goes more smoothly.

Six-phase approach

A northeast region health network with a services footprint that includes over a dozen hospitals and large physician groups selected Epic electronic health records system as a single enterprise EHR. After thorough planning, the health network’s team embarked on the formidable task of migrating 8.3 million patient records from multiple EHRs to the new system.

Intellis led the project with a six-phase approach: holistic assessment, preparation, decision-making, data migration, analytics/reporting, and ongoing evaluation. In addition, a sophisticated rules-based strategy drove decisions and survivorship rules based on relationships with facilities and 400+ downstream systems. View the Case Study.

IT Advice During M&A: 3 Tips

M&A Overview

Last year, President Joe Biden ordered the FTC and other federal agencies to promote market
competition in healthcare. Biden said hospital mergers and acquisitions had left the 10 largest
healthcare systems in control of a quarter of the market and led to the closure of hospitals in
rural and other underserved areas.

Yet even as antitrust enforcement builds, total revenue from hospital and health system
mergers and acquisitions (M&A) during the second quarter of 2022 far exceeded that of any
prior year’s second quarter, according to Kaufman Hall’s latest industry report. Some of the
largest healthcare systems are happy to merge. Or they’re buying up surgery centers,
independent practices, and more.

“Provider M&A is here to stay.”

John Lynn, blogger, Health IT Today

The Kaufman report predicts a couple of reasons for the uptick. Hospitals need to find partners
that can help them continue to evolve, including growth in outpatient services, telehealth
programs, and home healthcare. And, smaller hospitals that face financial challenges may see
it’s no longer viable to stay independent and may need partners.

Shifts in healthcare delivery, regulation, and expectations of providers can create both
opportunities and constraints when it comes to IT infrastructure during M&A. From security
risks to duplicate medical records, here are five important IT considerations during the process.

Three IT Considerations During M&A

1. Ensure IT Has a Voice During Due Diligence
M&A transactions require a thorough evaluation of complex IT requirements to encourage data sharing, pinpoint cost savings, and increase clinical value. While CIOs and IT leaders have gained a seat at the table during the due diligence process over the past few years, hard lessons are learned if IT is not part of early discussions. Thorough assessments of IT infrastructure, network capabilities, data centers, and more are required. This ensures a solid understanding of the applications environment and IT staffing requirements, which reduces unnecessary financial, technical, and security risks.

2. Conduct Security Risk Assessments
Introducing new business partners or taking part in a merger or acquisition comes with new security risks that must be considered. Ferdinand Hamada, managing director of healthcare at MorganFranklin Cyber, predicts that a high volume of M&A activity will continue into the rest of 2022, and he encourages healthcare organizations to conduct thorough risk assessments and make sure that new business partners are aligned with the organization’s existing security processes and controls.

MPI Case Study

3. Prioritize Master Patient Index Cleanup
The sheer complexity of migrating millions of patient records from multiple EHRs into a new system can’t be overlooked. A master patient index (MPI) cleanup strategy to tackle all disparate systems and duplicate patient information across facilities is crucial. In fact, when done right, this endeavor enhances patient identity integrity, care delivery, and revenue cycle activities. Case in point: A NJ-based health system that underwent a combination of different M&As over seven years was tasked with migrating Epic into 14 hospitals and 1,000 providers. The consolidation happened over time, where multiple organizations came together and made for a challenging situation. There were nine different EHR systems and approximately 650 downstream systems, including labs, radiology, respiratory, and more. After thorough planning, the health network’s team embarked on the formidable task of migrating 8.3 million patient records from multiple EHRs to the new system. You can learn more about this project here.

Keep IT Agile During M&A

With no end in sight to M&A activity, it is imperative that CIOs and IT leaders get involved early
on to plan for the situations listed above. Keeping information systems agile, adaptable,
efficient, and powerful across healthcare organizations is essential. Click here to learn how
Intellis can support MPI cleanup and more.

By Glenn Schweidler, RHIA
Chief Operations Officer and Partner