Study: Practices and Hospitals Must Act Now to Unleash the Full Benefits of Interoperability and Accountable Care

Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:00am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Study: Practices and Hospitals Must Act Now to Unleash the Full Benefits of Interoperability and Accountable Care

New research from HIMSS Analytics and NextGen Healthcare supports use of Health Information Exchanges and early involvement in ACOs as critical to transforming healthcare delivery

Released today at the 2011 HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition, a new study from HIMSS Analyticstm, sponsored by NextGen Healthcare Information Systems, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Quality Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:QSII) stresses the urgency for healthcare organizations to engage with emerging care delivery models, starting with an interoperability strategy. A white paper analyzing the results, “Opportunities for Engagement and Transformation through Emerging Care Delivery Models,” is available at NextGen Healthcare’s HIMSS11 booth #2163.

Conducted through focus groups with representatives from ambulatory practices and hospitals, the study brings to light a diverse array of methods for data sharing across the continuum of care, with manual processes such as fax, encrypted email, web portals and encrypted patient devices still used often. Respondents face several challenges with these methods, however, including the significant work required to maintain and upgrade a variety of disparate systems for sharing with multiple organizations, as well as a lack of industry standards.

Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) were identified as a means to eliminate many of these issues and arm providers with a complete patient record, as HIEs provide a single platform for positive patient identification and data sharing between healthcare organizations in a local environment.

Participants felt that Patient-Centered Medical Home and Accountable Care Organizations, when done correctly, are vehicles that could result in better coordinated care and a reduction of costs. For these initiatives to be successful, healthcare organizations must be poised to share data through an HIE or other means.

In fact, several study participants are already involved in programs similar to PCMH, such as state Medicaid programs and regional data-sharing initiatives for hospital-employed physicians, while others are engaged in preliminary discussions about forming an ACO. Uncertainty around payment models, the political environment and providers’ ability to truly work together in the best interest of the patient, however, raised questions about the long-term viability of these care models. Getting involved in the early development stages of an ACO was cited as critical to gaining a voice at the table to address these concerns.

“If you’re a provider and haven’t begun developing an interoperability plan, talking about PCMH or engaging in discussions on Accountable Care, the time to start is now,” said Scott Decker, president of NextGen Healthcare. “The expertise and educational resources needed to help guide you through these emerging care models are out there. Providers should take advantage of the counsel available from their vendors, industry organizations and peers, and begin to make their voices heard in the development of these initiatives, as they will undoubtedly impact your business in the future.”

NextGen Healthcare supports industry-leading Accountable Care Organizations, including the nation’s premier ACO pilot, and more than 30 percent of the NCQA-certified Patient-Centered Medical Homes. Southeast Texas Medical Associates, for example, is a Level 3 PCMH and will be honored at HIMSS11 with a Healthcare Informatics Innovator Award for its transformative, patient-centered care.

“Regardless of what form the care-delivery models of tomorrow take, one thing is clear: the ability for providers across the continuum of care to collect and share a patient’s data electronically and seamlessly will be a critical success factor. Today, health information exchange technology is in a very nascent stage, but we must nurture and encourage these pioneering efforts if we are to meet the cost and quality challenges facing the industry,” said Marc Holland, Vice President of Market Research at HIMSS Analytics.

Key takeaways from the study:

Interoperability: Information sharing between healthcare organizations allows clinicians to have a comprehensive view of their patient’s medical history. Organizations need to evaluate not only the technical components required for participating in HIEs and other data sharing agreements, but also understand the workflow and staffing changes required to take full advantage of them.

Patient-Centered Medical Home: Patient-centered medical homes are seen as forming the basis for an ACO. PCMHs allow for the coordination of patient care across the continuum of care and should be considered as part of a healthcare organization’s care delivery strategy.

Accountable Care Organizations: Healthcare organizations need to begin conversations about participation in ACOs now. Delaying these discussions could result in a scenario where healthcare organizations are involved in an ACO without having a say in its development.

About NextGen Healthcare

NextGen Healthcare Information Systems, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Quality Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:QSII), provides integrated clinical, financial and connectivity solutions for ambulatory, inpatient and dental provider organizations. For more information, please visit www.nextgen.com and www.qsii.com. Follow NextGen Healthcare on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nextgen or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NextGenHealthcare.

About HIMSS Analytics

HIMSS Analytics supports improved decision–making for healthcare organizations, and healthcare information technology (IT) companies and consulting firms by delivering high quality data and analytical expertise. The company collects and analyzes healthcare organization data relating to IT processes and environments, products, information systems (IS) department composition and costs, IS department management metrics, healthcare delivery trends and purchasing related decisions. HIMSS Analytics is a wholly owned, not-for-profit subsidiary of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). For more information, visit www.himssanalytics.org.

This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Statements regarding future events, developments, the Company's future performance, as well as management's expectations, beliefs, intentions, plans, estimates or projections relating to the future (including, without limitation, statements concerning revenue and net income), are forward-looking statements within the meaning of these laws and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Management believes that these forward-looking statements are reasonable and are based on reasonable assumptions and forecasts, however, undue reliance should not be placed on such statements that speak only as of the date hereof. Moreover, these forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, some of which are outlined below. As a result, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated by the forward-looking statements. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements are: volume and timing of systems sales and installations; length of sales cycles and installation process; the possibility that the products will not achieve market acceptance; seasonal patterns of sales and customer buying behavior; the development by competitors of new or superior technologies; the timing, cost and success or failure of new product and service introductions, development and product upgrade releases; undetected errors or bugs in software; product liability; changing economic, political or regulatory influences in the health-care industry; changes in product-pricing policies; availability of third-party products and components; competitive pressures including product offerings, pricing and promotional activities; the Company's ability or inability to attract and retain qualified personnel; possible regulation of the Company's software by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; uncertainties concerning threatened, pending and new litigation against the Company including related professional services fees; uncertainties concerning the amount and timing of professional fees incurred by the Company generally; changes of accounting estimates and assumptions used to prepare the prior periods' financial statements; general economic conditions; and the risk factors detailed from time to time in Quality Systems' periodic reports and registration statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A significant portion of the Company's quarterly sales of software product licenses and computer hardware is concluded in the last month of the fiscal quarter, generally with a concentration of such revenues earned in the final ten business days of that month. Due to these and other factors, the Company's revenues and operating results are very difficult to forecast. A major portion of the Company's costs and expenses, such as personnel and facilities, are of a fixed nature and, accordingly, a shortfall or decline in quarterly and/or annual revenues typically results in lower profitability or losses. As a result, comparison of the Company's period-to-period financial performance is not necessarily meaningful and should not be relied upon as an indicator of future performance. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

NextGen is a registered trademark and service mark of NextGen Healthcare Information Systems, Inc. All other names and marks are that of their respective owners.

NextGen Healthcare
Kristy DelMuto, 215-657-7010
kdelmuto@nextgen.com