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INTRODUCTION

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Most healthcare project sponsors regard business impact data as the most important data type because of its connection to business success. Patient outcomes, patient revenue, patient safety, operational efficiency, length of stay, and patient satisfaction are some of the most important impact data found in the healthcare industry. Top executives rate impact data as their number one category for data from performance improvement projects. For many projects, inadequate performance in business measures (the business need) is usually what initiated a particular project. For example, adverse patient outcomes drive a healthcare improvement project to improve outcomes. Improvement is needed to either meet existing needs, or to improve the anticipated future state. Business impact data taken from a follow-up after the project is implemented to close the loop by showing a project's success in meeting the business needs. This chapter examines a variety of business impact measures and the specific method to collect the measures within a project.

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OPENING STORY

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Birmingham Heart Clinic is a nine-provider cardiology practice established in 1994. Specializing in adult coronary, peripheral artery disease (PAD), and carotid diseases, the practice offers electrophysiology for invasive and noninvasive cardiac arrhythmia. Birmingham Heart Clinic also features an on-site accredited diagnostic facility for echocardiograms, EKGs, nuclear stress testing, and CT scans.

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With a decentralized operation and continued growth, Birmingham Heart Clinic crucially needed to coordinate patient care away from paper charts, reconcile administrative tasks, and ensure that each patient was receiving optimal continuums of care as overall patient population increased.

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In addition, Birmingham Heart sought to modernize technology to address public and private quality reporting initiatives such as Physician Quality Reporting, meaningful use, and anticipated accountable care, in part due to the proximity and association with St. Vincent's Hospital, part of the Catholic network Ascension Health.

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Birmingham Heart Clinic selected Greenway's electronic health record (EHR) practice management and interoperability solution PrimeSUITE to accomplish its clinical, operational, and financial goals.

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Following a 12-month implementation period, Birmingham Heart realized substantial outcome measures compared to predeployment baseline data. For example:

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  • Total charges increased by nearly 3% per month through enhanced charge capture.

  • Total receipts were greatly impacted, increasing by more than 10% per month.

  • Total physician clinics increased by 300 per month.

  • Overall practice income reflected a 3% annual increase.

  • Transcription costs decreased 9%.

  • Chart supply and storage costs decreased by almost 100%.

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In addition, Birmingham Heart received $70,000 in PQRS funds, minus a $4,500 investment, because of the new system. These direct cost savings and additional income of funds shows the impact of this EHR practice management solution.1

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THE IMPORTANCE OF BUSINESS IMPACT

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In addition to executive interest, several rationales support the collection and analysis of business impact data related to a project. Clearly, it is the most important data set.

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