According to a 2014 study by The Advisory Board Company, the number of hospital and health system M&A transactions almost doubled over the last four years. The study also showed that 88 percent of the hospital and health system executives who were interviewed plan to pursue a merger or acquisition within the next 12 months. Healthcare providers are merging and scaling up in order to consolidate their competitive position in local markets, build up referral streams and negotiate better prices with payers.
Hospitals and health systems are also merging to be able to establish themselves as accountable care organizations (ACOs) or to participate in an ACO, as a result of the Affordable Care Act’s push to shift the industry from volume-based care to a value-based care model. Indeed, following the announcement of the new Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs, the total number of estimated lives in public and private ACOs rose from 13.6 million at the end of 2012 to 18.2 million lives at the end of 2013. The number of lives covered by ACOs is expected to reach 40 million in 2015 and continue to grow to more than 130 million by 2017, according to a report from market researching firm Parks Associates.
As hospitals and health systems pursue M&A activity for these strategic goals, however, many are discovering that one of the biggest challenges and most costly initiatives is ensuring the interoperability of financial and clinical information stored in disparate IT systems across multiple facilities and organizations. Premier, a collaborative healthcare alliance of more than 2,700 hospitals and health systems and more than 90,000 healthcare sites, polled 62 ACOs in the summer of 2014, and found that 88 percent reported “significant obstacles” in integrating data from disparate sources. Premier reported that the challenges become more acute as ACOs grow and gather data from more and different care settings. The numbers reported in the survey suggest interoperability is a “pervasive problem among ACOs, and it could stymie the long-term vision for ACO cost and quality improvements if not addressed,” Keith J. Figlioli, Premier's senior vice president of healthcare informatics, reported in a press statement announcing the findings.
During the M&A process, merging hospitals and health systems will assess their combined IT systems’ functionalities to determine where duplications exist. For example, while enterprise content management (ECM) systems capture information such as scanned documents and vendor neutral archives (VNA) store DICOM images, next-generation ECMs and VNAs now have the ability to store information and images. Each technology, however, possesses best-of-breed capabilities, which are vital to supporting interoperability of information and systems. New technology is enabling the convergence of ECMs and VNAs, thereby allowing merged healthcare organizations to reap the benefits of both technologies. As these expanded organizations implement more robust technologies to leverage existing technologies, they will be able to scale their capabilities and operate in a more cost-efficient, streamlined manner, making good on all the clinical and financial reasons for strategically engaging in M&A activity.
During this webinar, you’ll learn:
- The interoperability of financial and clinical information stored in disparate IT systems across newly merged healthcare organizations should be a major goal in a strategic M&A initiative
- The convergence of Enterprise Content Management and Vendor Neutral Archive technologies are positively affecting interoperability given increased M&A activity
- Best practices, lessons learned and benefits accrued from merged healthcare organizations that were able to access all business and clinical information across all IT systems
Team Lead - Imaging
Clinical Information Systems
Community Health Systems
John Mattison, MD
Assistant Medical Director
Chief Medical Information Officer
Kaiser Permanente, SCAL
This webinar has been approved by HIMSS for up to 1 contact hour of continuing education credit toward renewal of the CPHIMS credential.