HIMSS Media Group Revenue Cycle Summit Proves Popular Event for HIMSS16 Attendees

March 15, 2016 by John Showalter, MD, MSIS, Chief Information Officer, University of Mississippi Medical Center

This year’s Revenue Cycle Solution Summit at HIMSS16 was the best attended since HIMSS Media Group began offering the semi-annual event in 2015.   A packed room created great energy for the event as more than a dozen speakers kept the event moving, covering topics from innovation to handling patient payments to applying forensic accounting to the revenue cycle.

Three main themes were woven into the summit. The first was to start with empathy. Todd Dunn, Intermountain Healthcare, argued persuasively in his keynote that innovation is the result of empathy, curiosity and fast learning.  In fact, empathy proved a common thread throughout the day, mentioned  several times when addressing patient payments or engaging physicians.

The second theme was that the patient’s financial experience is inseparable from the patient’s clinical experience. Scott Ulrich, Houston Methodist Hospital, described a program that provides navigators to work with patients receiving chemotherapy.  The program has lowered the patient’s out of pocket expenses while increasing hospital revenue. Navigators help patients communicate with their insurance provider and pharmaceutical companies to identify how to obtain the best chemotherapy at the lowest cost. By focusing on helping patients lower their out of pocket expenses, Houston Methodist Hospital improved their patients’ clinical and financial experience while providing a return on investment to the hospital. Speakers encouraged a customer-friendly approach that leverages technology. Technologies that support point of care collections were demonstrated to be effective at increasing cash collections, as well as providing extended payment options. The summit reinforced the idea that a poor financial experience will reflect negatively on the health system even if excellent clinical care was provided.

The final theme was to treat vendors like partners. Working with your vendors to create a better product that allows you to serve your patients better is a win-win situation. Your patients and your organization benefit while the vendor gets a better product and successful use case.  Again, the presenters encouraged starting with empathy.  Specifically, they encouraged both vendors and administrators to have empathy for the end users of the system in order to design better user interfaces and more efficient systems.

This was definitely HIMSS Media Group’s best summit so far. It was exciting to be part of a revenue cycle conference with themes of empathy and collaboration that focused the needs of the patient. As a physician, I am pleased to see patients at the center of revenue cycle thought leadership.

Bio: John Showalter is an influential thought leader on the innovative use of health information technology to drive improvements in healthcare. A practicing physician, Dr. Showalter is dual board certified in internal medicine and clinical informatics and currently serves as the Chief Health Information Officer for the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

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