As we round the corner into the final months of the year, we can begin to reflect on the most significant advances over the year. As predicted, technology in global healthcare has undergone an unprecedented transformation in 2019, and 2020 is not going to pale in comparison.  What’s hot is not only these advances in technology, but how they have driven the evolution of consumer-centric healthcare, shifting away from “what’s not”… in how we think about traditional notions of healthcare.

Walmart’s “every day low price” is the focus of their new 10,000 square foot healthcare services super center which opened this month in Atlanta, GA according to Forbes. Healthcare providers across the country have broadened their focus on the patient experience so significantly, that healthcare delivery from the patient’s standpoint has become a top priority. According to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), providers are enhancing their systems, expanding telehealth services, implementing patient portals, appointment reminders, kiosk patient check-in, online bill payment, and data analytics tools.

As consumer-centric care expands, organizations are balancing competing priorities while concerns that their systems and EHR data are not only convenient for patients, but are efficient, safe, and secure.  These concerns are real with no reprieve on the horizon.  In August 2018, Applied Management Systems, Inc (AMS) published a list of the “Top 10 Hot Button Issues in HIM, Compliance, Risk, HIPAA, Quality” listing HIPAA and Cyber-Security at the top of the list and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Work Plan came in at number seven.  A year later, the OIG added “Use of Telehealth to Provide Behavioral Health Services in Medicaid Managed Care” to its work plan for 2020.  This comes on the heels of an August 31, 2019 report by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which published that the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) had investigated and resolved over 27,225 cases in 2019 requiring changes in privacy practices and corrective actions by, or providing technical assistance to, HIPAA covered entities and their business associates.  This resulted in civil money penalties of $102,681,582 involving 65 cases.

These statistics underscore the importance of robust regulatory compliance and risk management programs. Providers have dedicated teams to updating policies and procedures, performing audits, tightening oversight and updating work-plans with an effort to maintain organizational efficiency[1]. As consumers gain more access and control over their care, providers are moving away from traditional roles and redefining them to adjust for new and increasing workflows because the status quo is just not enough.

[1] If you are a provider in need of interim management or project support in please consider AMS as a preferred resource for all of your labor resource utilization, HIM, Compliance, Risk, HIPAA, and Quality needs.