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How technology can impact a surgery center's bottom line — Cyber criminals, digital infrastructure & more

Investing in technology can be more beneficial for an ASC and its bottom line than expected. In a recent webinar titled "How Your Technology Environment Can Impact Your Surgery Center's Bottom Line" representatives of National Medical Billing Services shared best technology practices.

National Medical Billing Services CEO Nader Samii and Vice President of Technology T.J. Rock addressed three of the most common issues facing ASCs in the connected age: cybersecurity, IT infrastructure and business intelligence and analytics.

1. Cybersecurity
In 2015, more than 100 million healthcare records were compromised. Cyber criminals are targeting healthcare companies at a higher rate than ever before; investing in technology and technical infrastructure is a top priority for ASC owners.

“Every single day people are trying to auction off healthcare information,” Mr. Rock said. “It’s important to recognize the value your data holds to bad actors.”

The source of cyber-attacks may be surprising. IBM X-Force Research's 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index shows 60 percent of all cyber-attacks are from insiders of the company.

On average, data breach will cost a center $200 per patient, but it's possible to prevent these attacks. Technology to mitigate the risk of attacks only costs $8 per patient. There were 100 million compromised medical records last year costing $20 billion in damages; it would have only cost $800 million to prevent these attacks.

Surgery centers can decrease the risk of cyber-attacks by:

  • Working with a qualified professional to install Security Technical Implementation Guides
  • Implementing mobile device management that protects data if a phone is lost or stolen
  • Implementing a data loss prevention strategy to ensure users do not send sensitive or critical information outside of a corporate network.
  • Contracting out security information and event management
  • Accepting software updates to a computer.

By keeping software up-to-date, 85 percent of loopholes cybercriminals exploit will be closed. "The updates are inconvenient, but necessary," said Mr. Rock.

2. IT infrastructure
Improving a center's IT infrastructure can be a daunting process, but making the right improvements at a gradual rate will have a positive long term effect on a center's bottom line.

There three most feasible types of IT infrastructure for ASCs are:

1. On premise: Hosting a network on premise can be a costly option, but ultimately offers an ASC control of their network.

2. Hosted data center: Professional staff manage the ASC's infrastructure as one of multiple customers at an off-site center. It's more affordable but equipment upgrades are difficult to implement.

3. Cloud hosted: Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services offer cloud services for ASC data. This is an affordable option; however the hosting companies are in complete control of the upgrade cycle.

IT infrastructure development and improvements are a multi-year process. Ensure your budget is prioritized and then chip away at the problem with a manageable approach by identifying and upgrading technology on an efficiency basis.

3. Business intelligence and analytics
By measuring key performance indicators on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, an ASC will have a better understanding of its operating costs and can identify areas for improvement.

"Using data metrics to track the performance of ASCs is important because they allow administrators and owners to know the ins and outs of their operation," Mr. Samii said. "A lot of times people focus solely on the revenue side of things, but you need a complete picture of your costsall the way around."

Some key performance indicators include:

  • Total clinical hours per case
  • Medical supply costs per case
  • Inventory turnover
  • Total cases per number of operating room
  • Days to bill
  • Days to pay
  • A/R % over 90 days
  • Cash per case

As New York Yankee great Yogi Berra once said, "If you don't know where you're going, you might wind up someplace else," Mr. Samii quoted.

To view the webinar, click here.

To view the webinar's slides, click here.

More health news:
7 things for ASC leaders to know for Monday — Oct. 10, 2016
7 ways we lowered our medical office overhead
Individual & organizational strategies to combat physician burnout: 4 things to know

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