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Editor's e-Note
It’s OK to set goals. Lose 10 pounds, fix that loose brick in the patio, eat more vegetables. On and on it goes. Nothing too crazy. But set a goal like running a sub–four-minute mile and disappointment is the likely outcome.

Oddly enough, this philosophy, as we learn in this month’s E-News Exclusive, is something revenue cycle departments would be wise to embrace. Of course, you want to establish efficient workflows, but at the same time it’s important to keep the situation in perspective.

Lee DeOrio, editor
e-News Exclusive
Coding Workflow and Process Audits
By Ashley Cleavenger, CPC, CCS-P

In the era of so many workplace, staffing, and process changes to accommodate the world around us, it is imperative that HIM departments and provider office management stay up to date with fluctuations in workflow processes and coder productivity. Changes in these areas often begin subtly but can develop into major issues within just a few months. Regardless of staff size and volumes, all coders should have a workflow structure as well as quality and productivity measures to maintain. The key is to set attainable goals that are effective in reducing redundant tasks and avoiding spikes in backlogged charges. But what are attainable goals? How do you set and maintain an effective workflow?

The answers to these questions will vary from practice to practice. However, the way in which workflow processes are solidified and put into policy should include similar steps known as a workflow process audit.

Initially, a baseline review of current workflows, policies, and charge volumes should be done. During this phase you should also be checking current coder productivity, comparing them with one another when coders perform like tasks and analyzing those numbers against average volumes and backlog.

Full story »
Other News
Upcoding Continues to Drive Cost Recovery, According to Industry Executives
A report found an increase in Massachusetts hospitals coding patients with the highest severity levels despite no increase in the prevalence of chronic disease or life expectancy, according to NewsQuick24.

Columbus Regional on High Alert After Cyberattacks Hit Nearby Hospitals
Cyberattacks have swept through multiple Indiana hospitals recently, making those nearby wary of being the next target, reports the The Republic.
Products & Services
Harris Data Integrity Solutions and RightPatient Enter Partnership
Harris Healthcare’s Data Integrity Solution Business Unit—which includes patient data integrity powerhouses Just Associates and QuadraMed Corporation—has entered a strategic partnership with RightPatient to integrate biometric patient identification into its existing suite of master patient index (MPI) management solutions. Doing so provides important protections against front-end contamination of the MPI and EMPI and helps eliminate the patient misidentification and safety issues created by “dirty” patient identification data. RightPatient provides an accurate, scalable, hygienic, and versatile HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based photo biometric patient identification service that also publishes patient photos in health records, wristbands, and other applications to improve patient safety. With easy implementation and seamless integration into any EHR system, RightPatient solutions reduce denied claims, lower medical errors due to misidentification, and prevent duplicate medical records. They also ensure accurate patient identification at any point along the care continuum while protecting medical records against unauthorized access, ransomware attacks, and other data breaches. Learn more »

OpenNotes and Ciitizen Launch
OpenNotes, in collaboration with Ciitizen, announces the launch of a new web-based resource: Where Is My Medical Record is a resource designed to help people understand their rights in regard to accessing medical records, how to find their medical records online, why medical records are important to review, and how to navigate the complicated “information blocking” reporting process on the Health and Human Services website. OpenNotes and Ciitizen partnered to create in response to a new federal regulation that requires health care providers to give patients access to key parts of their EMRs. The website, which is designed to be accessible to individuals with widely varying levels of literacy, explains the complicated process of requesting records and offers step-by-step guidance about what constitutes medical record information blocking. Learn more »

Cerner Announces Cerner RevElate Patient Accounting
Cerner Corporation announces Cerner RevElate, the company’s go-forward patient accounting product that will bring new and enhanced capabilities to the Cerner revenue cycle management portfolio. Cerner RevElate is expected to reduce complexity by managing data and workflows that scale for large health systems and influence clinical, billing, and payer workflows. It also is expected to preserve and advance the clinically driven capabilities of Cerner Millennium while adding scalable, enterprise capabilities of Soarian Patient Accounting software. Cerner RevElate will help provide the flexibility to integrate data from various venues of care, including newly acquired and integrated facilities that may be on disparate HIT systems. Cerner is planning to uplift its current patient accounting client base to Cerner RevElate in phases. Learn more »
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In this e-Newsletter
Recently in For The Record
CDI Flexibility Key to Value-Based Care Success
As we enter a new era of payment models, CDI specialists are once again poised to reinvent themselves—this time with the help of technology and greater alignment with strategic initiatives. Read more »

CISA Report Sounds the Alarm on Cyber Threats
As if further evidence was needed, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has identified four key areas where health care organizations are failing to protect data. Read more »

When the Police Come Knocking
... at your front door, how you gonna come? With your ... Oops, that’s an altogether different train of thought. In this instance, the cops are at the hospital in search of patient information. What does the law say is permissible? Read more »

Open Notes for All
The movement for having patients view their clinical notes shows no signs of slowing down, which makes it all the more imperative that physicians understand the nuances of documentation in these settings. Read more »
Industry Insight
Proposed Policies Encourage Shared Responsibility Between EHR Developers and Users

Developers of EHRs should create or modify their products to ensure that health care organizations can meet safety recommendations of the Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience (SAFER) Guides, according to researchers with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and Baylor College of Medicine.

The paper, “Policies to Promote Shared Responsibility for Safer Electronic Health Records” was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The SAFER Guides are a comprehensive compendium of safety practices organized as checklists and designed to help health care organizations and EHR developers conduct self-assessments of their EHRs. Their goal is to proactively optimize the safety and safe use of EHRs. The guides are sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) within the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] published new payment rules that required all eligible hospitals to use the SAFER Guides,” says Dean Sittig, PhD, a professor of biomedical informatics at UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics and coauthor on the paper. “What this new rule didn’t do is require EHR developers to use the SAFER Guides. So, we are recommending that developers of EHR systems should annually assess their products as well. This will ensure that their customers can implement and use the EHR as recommended in the SAFER Guides.”

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