According to a recent report from the American Hospital Association (AHA), the healthcare industry spends roughly $39 billion annually on regulatory compliance efforts.
Interestingly, while perhaps not unexpectedly, this burden becomes seven times greater when post-acute is added to the mix.
The study found that average-sized hospitals spend nearly $7.6 million each year on administrative work related to compliance, which is about $1,200 for each patient admitted. However, for hospitals that have post-acute care beds on site, those annual costs increased to $9 million.
“We understand that the administrative work related to compliance can seem like a burden,” said Saqib Akhter, CEO of Post Acute Analytics, a company that helps health systems and providers monitor their patients in real time outside their four walls.
“However, the increased need for reporting and transparency is actually a good thing and is helping to improve our healthcare system. However, where it becomes an issue is when additional employees are required to manage the admin work. This is a problem for several reasons. One, there is a shortage of labor. Two, these people need to be focusing on patient care. And three, it is expensive, which is the opposite of what the industry is trying to do, which is curtail healthcare costs.”
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The AHA report found that the average acute-care facility committed around 59 full-time employees, typically doctors and nurses, to focus on compliance. For post-acute care providers, the number of full-time employees increased to nearly 70 per facility, due to strict regulations.
“The answer to this problem can’t be throwing more employees at the issue,” said Akhter. “This needs to be done via automation. The data is there, and all the stakeholders are already capturing it in their existing workflows. The need to manually pull this data to report on it should be – and can be – completely eliminated.
“Healthcare providers and payers are all making requests of post-acute providers to report a lot of different factors: care delivery, quality, legal, payroll, and much more. And they all want it reported in a different way. Currently, post-acute providers have to manually pull this data and then, using an Excel spreadsheet, look at each row for each patient and do matches by hand. It’s quite cumbersome.”
As the volume of regulatory compliance requirements grows, so do the risks for non-compliance. It’s no wonder that providers are growing frustrated with the breadth of scope of their compliance reporting. Fortunately, some of this burden can be alleviated through automation.
“Post Acute Analytics has already built integration with the major electronic medical records (EMRs) and understands the workflow of clinicians. Our solution can ensure that the information – that’s already being captured – is communicated in a way that’s very easy to consume by providers,” said Akhter.
“Currently, there aren’t intraoperative standards that make it easy for healthcare providers to communicate data with each other. This is especially true in post-acute. This makes it very difficult on providers just trying to get information from one system to another. Post Acute Analytics has solved that pain because we can pull data from any system. We can help ease the burden of reporting for patient outcomes, quality of care, cost of care, and justification for cost of care.
“We understand that providers and clinicians are over-taxed. Post Acute Analytics helps ensure that there is no need for duplicated data entry. Our solution is easy to use and understand. Compliance reporting shouldn’t interfere with the care you provide to your patients. Our solution helps to ensure that it doesn’t.”