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Improve Provider Processes and Provider Data Management with Echo

This blog post excerpts an article in the Q4 2015 issue of PX Adviser, our quarterly magazine designed to bring you thought leadership and best practices for improving the patient experience.

Echo is a new venture launched by HealthStream to deliver unique value for hospitals, health systems, ambulatory and retail facilities, medical practices, and post-acute facilities. Echo, A HealthStream Company, is the combination of two market leaders recently acquired by HealthStream: HealthLine Systems and Sy.Med Development. These two companies, complemented by unique HealthStream assets, establish Echo as the market leader in medical staff credentialing, payer credentialing, and provider enrollment, provider analytics, provider onboarding, and solutions to transform patient experiences at the first touchpoint with healthcare contact centers. As of the formal launch of Echo in October 2015, more than 2,000 healthcare organizations are already relying on the company’s powerful suite of products.

What Problems Can Echo Solve for the Healthcare Industry Today?

Provider data management must become a core competency for healthcare organizations, underpinning a multitude of critical processes to boost care quality, admissions, revenues, and patient and provider satisfaction. To achieve these aims, hospitals are seeking to optimize how they analyze providers, streamline administrative processes, comply with regulations, and connect patients with the right provider. For example:

  • Medical Staff Credentialing: Spurred by the Joint Commission Medical Staff (MS) standards and other regulatory requirements, credentialing and privileging has been transformed from a periodic review to continuous, evidence-driven analysis of professional competence and provider performance. This transformation expands the areas to review at initial and re-credentialing; necessitates integrations with EMR systems; requires ongoing, automatic monitoring of licenses, sanctions, and exclusions; and demands robust assessment workflow and portals for chairs, chiefs, and peers. Fresh perspectives are needed, in our view, to deliver solutions that meet these requirements and support the transition to paperless processes.
  • Employed Providers: In 2014, for the first time, more than half of all U.S. physicians were employed. This represents almost a 75% increase in the number of employed physicians since 2000, creating new challenges and opportunities for healthcare organizations. Further, improvement opportunities persist. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, hospitals typically lose $150,000 - $250,000 per provider during each of the first three years of employment.
  • Provider Analytics: Hospitals today are challenged with the need to maintain current data on providers, including employed, affiliated, and referring. Further, they seek to enhance the rigor by which these providers are analyzed, including OPPE provider scorecards, OPPE benchmarks, CAHPS ratings and comments, CMS Open Payments data, and social media “ratings.” Only Echo delivers provider scorecards across all of these areas, with dozens of other provider-specific analytics planned.
  • Payer Credentialing and Provider Enrollment: A single provider may need to enroll annually with some 30-40 payers, with each payer application requiring different criteria and each application taking 2-4 hours to complete. Further, once they are enrolled as a participating provider, they then need to enroll in Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), Electronic Remittance Advice (ERA), Electronic Data Interchange for Claims (EDI), Claims Status Inquiry (CSI), and Eligibility Verification (EV). At Echo, we are automating and streamlining these processes, reducing enrollment timeline, process costs, and aging receivables.
  • Patient Access: Echo is helping hospitals consolidate the various access points for patients into one-stop Patient Experience-centric “Access Centers” that ensure and a continuously-improving experience for patients. For example, these Access Centers can help hospitals reduce avoidable readmissions, a top priority for many hospitals. Some 78% of acute care hospitals (2,610) were assessed a penalty for FY2015, up from 66% the year before, due in part to the fact that the number of diagnoses monitored by CMS increased from three to five. Further, patients are seeking expanded, online services from Access Centers, including more robust “Find A Doc” solutions integrated within their websites. For example, 56% of patients consider online reviews to be important or very important when evaluating a new physician. Further, it can be challenging to find up-to-date and accurate information on the insurance doctors accept. The Echo Provider Directory solution will include patient ratings with comments along with real-time, provider-specific, payer information.

In sum, Echo will enable healthcare organizations to accelerate the time to connect patients to the best care provider, credential and onboard your providers, enroll your providers with applicable payers, and analyze provider outcomes. At Echo, we are passionate about helping hospitals launch paperless credentialing processes, reduce the provider enrollment timeline by 30-70%, boost CAHPS scores by transforming call centers into Patient Experience Hubs, accelerate provider onboarding and improving provider satisfaction, and drive improvement and transparency through unique and validated provider scorecards.

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