Coordinating the efforts of six different technology vendors may soon be a thing of the past for clients of Springfield, Missouri-based healthcare at home software and services provider HEALTHCAREfirst. The company has assembled all of its products and services into a bundle that it will be calling its "Solution Suite." The pricing model will change as well, with a single monthly payment for the bundle instead of separate charges for each component.
We spoke with CEO Bobby Robertson about what may be a first-of-its-kind offering.
"This idea has been in the works for a number of years," he began, "in response to a list of needs we saw. In our space, we compete with software companies, coding companies, billing services companies, analytics companies, and connectivity companies because we offer all of these things too. In the software arena, we have been selling features and functionality. Certainly, we do things better than some others, and some do things better than us. What we realized is that that narrow focus blurs the concept that what we are really supposed to do for our customers is provide a value.
"So we backed up and asked ourselves, 'what are the most important things that keep our customers up at night?'" Robertson and company decided that it boils down to three issues:
"We looked at what we were not providing to meet these needs and starting putting solutions together. Our acquisition of Deyta was the last piece of the puzzle." (See HCTR "Vendor Watch," 4/29/2015)
Robertson outlined the ways "Solution Suite" addresses each of the identified issues. "Regarding profit, we offer our EMR, which we believe features easy documentation and an efficient OASIS scrubbing tool, and our coding services, which help our customers ensure their codes are in right order so that they get paid correct amount. Not 'as much as possible,' but the proper amount, and paid quickly by avoiding delays caused by documentation and coding errors."
To address the second issue, regulatory compliance, Robertson referred to the mobile application introduced last fall, which is based on care plans developed by Tina Marrelli. (See HCTR: "Elite Team Builds Point-of-Care System," 9/30/2015)
Acknowledging that there may be a handful of criminals in home care intentionally committing fraud, Robertson emphasized that the vast majority of errors are unintended. "What clinicians need is guidance, good oversight, and help creating solid documentation." To help customer QA overseers with this, he said, is the second part of the new suite. HEALTHCAREfirst's team of registered nurses, each with at least 5 years home health experience, review each chart, sending feedback to the customer's clinical team. "Nurses today are being asked to do more visits, often for less money," he reasons. "Overworked, rushed clinicians, trying to do more with less, sometimes make unintentional mistakes. That's not fraud, but auditors regard it as fraud. So we have to help them avoid even the appearance of wrongdoing."
The final issue, reputation enhancement to support referrals and census growth, is addressed in the Solution Suite by the new division they are calling "Deyta Analytics," following the 2015 acquisition of Deyta." This service includes patient satisfaction surveys, benchmarking, and data analytics tools. "When we find a failed service delivery point, we push the information to the customer so they can quickly recover from it," Robertson explained. "You cannot allow your entire reputation to be harmed because one family may have told one physician that their loved one had a bad experience."
The Suite is rounded out by a direct data connectivity system to assist with eligibility checking, billing, and other CMS communication needs.
Unique pricing model
To keep the new system affordable, the HEALTHCAREfirst team designed a collections-based fee structure. Its EMR software and all of the other services in the new Solution Suite are paid for monthly as a percentage -- Robertson says it will be a low single-digit number -- of monthly collections. "This way, we are aligned with their revenue as well as their strategy," he said, "which is especially beneficial for our customers in regions where census fluctuates, such as with snowbirds in Florida, Texas, and Arizona. When a software system is licensed according to a peak census count, it can be a burden for months at a time. We decided to adapt to each customer's revenue trends, to keep our Solution Suite affordable all year around."
He added that the HEALTHCAREfirst billing service, also a part of the Suite, has the effect of sharing risk with customers. "If they donít get paid, we donít get paid," is the concept at work. From an accounting point of view, the services become a "cost of goods sold" instead of an expense line item.
Response from existing customers has been positive since the Suite was introduced in January of this year, Robertson concluded. "Training is changing. Where we used to train on a software product or a billing or coding service, now we are involved in the entire workflow. It all works together to create a 3-pronged outcome."
©2016 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. email@example.com