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A Single Version of the Truth Takes a Whole Toolbox

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   October 02, 2012

Arriving at a "single version of the truth" from all of these data sources has enabled MSHA to detect surgical volume moving from inpatient to outpatient, Pigg says. "These shifts can really affect your bottom line," he says.

"It takes business analytics, digging into the details to figure out why the revenue isn't there, and why it legitimately isn't there," says Pigg. A traditional inpatient surgical DRG might get $20,000, but the same type of procedure done on an outpatient basis may only bring in $10,000.

As a result, MSHA has started shifting more low-margin surgeries out of its tertiary hospital, 445-bed Johnson City Medical Center, and into its clinics and surgery centers.

"We're going to have to find the lowest-cost settings to care for patients. We're not going to transfer patients to our tertiary hospital just because we have vacancy," Pigg says.

One thing is constant across the different providers I've talked to about analytics. You need a whole toolbox, not just one tool. MSHA uses a bunch: Siemens Soarian (EMR and data warehouse), Avantas Smart Square (scheduling software with demand forecasting), SCC Soft Computer's SoftLab (laboratory management), Surgical Information Systems (OR management) and others, Pigg says.

Scott Mace is the former senior technology editor for HealthLeaders Media. He is now the senior editor, custom content at H3.Group.

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