"I think the impetus was put into place with the Affordable Care Act with things like bundled payments and other elements to force providers to manage a patient holistically," Gilbert says.
"Regardless of where the patient is within the provider network, the system needs to understand consumption patterns. That is where more advanced technologies that integrate quality and cost data across the continuum come into play so that physicians' offices, long-term care, and acute care can all be on the same system."
That is exactly the reason Reading (PA) Health System is in the process of a $130 million, three-year EMR installation, Richard W. Jones, CPA, senior vice president, CFO, and treasurer of the 735-bed institution, recently told me.
"As more and more payers and consumers are measuring providers on quality and outcomes, it is putting pressure on providers to manage costs across the entire continuum of care as well as to reduce redundancy of services," Jones says.
"By having all of our patient information in one record, whether in the hospital or in an ambulatory setting, it will reduce redundancy and allow for better, faster care."
Increased Outpatient Volume Drives Spending
Another trend driving capital spending decisions is the shift in patient volume. The survey results reveal that 41% more respondents are projecting a decrease in inpatient volume as compared to 6 months ago, and 61% are projecting outpatient admissions will increase.