RPA’s Annual Meeting in Chicago was another eventful conference for the Acumen team. We kept very busy at our exhibit hall booth, often resulting in roadblocks for passersby! Our equally well-attended annual “Friends of Acumen” dinner was a welcome opportunity to spend an evening of fun and games with our wonderful customers and partners, and their friends and families. While we currently work with over 2,000 nephrology providers whom we can honorably call our customers, we have developed relationships with many others in the nephrology community that we enjoy seeing and catching up with during RPA.
Being a nephrology-focused software and services company, we engage in many relevant conversations with both customers and “friends of Acumen” alike. These conversations not only allow us to speak directly about our products and services, but also to gain a pulse on questions and concerns within Health IT in general, and specifically how it intersects with nephrology. The two most popular questions from this year’s conversations relate specifically to Acumen, which were addressed in in our previous blog post by Acumen’s president, Sam Gopal: 1) Why is Acumen transitioning to Acumen 2.0 powered by Epic?, and 2) What is our rationale for launching a billing service—Acumen RCM?
Aside from Acumen-specific conversations, the following topics often came up during our time in the RPA exhibit hall:
- Interoperability: Not only is interoperability its own MIPS category, it plays a key role in the shift from an electronic health record to a comprehensive health record, and is a necessity as value-based care takes hold. Few software systems are positioned to enable nephrology practices towards this important shift in health care. EPIC Systems accounts for 29% of the health IT market and boasts their interoperability engine CareEverywhere, which exchanges pertinent patient information between all entities on the EPIC system anywhere in the country. With Epic’s prominence in many of our customer’s communities, this data exchange is making the comprehensive health record a reality. This exchange of data reduces staff burden and promotes simplified workflows with data-driven insights to paint a clearer picture of the patient’s current state of health. There is one nephrology-focused system that offers this exact functionality—Acumen 2.0!
- Reporting and analytics: Practices are becoming acutely aware of the need to track and report on clinical and financial metrics systematically. There was robust discussion of emerging needs from payers to report on tracking quality improvement at a population level. Acumen 2.0 has prioritized reporting and analytics to leverage Epic’s platform and support the unique registry- and population-level tracking that nephrology practices are looking for.
- Transitioning to a new EHR/Practice Management System: Nephrologists are recognizing the importance of partnering with a vendor that is agile and has the system to adapt to this unique specialty, both in content and in the platform to support the mobile nature of nephrologists in all venues of care (CKD clinic, dialysis, hospital). When making a change in technology, picking a partner whose system and vision are poised to support a practice into the future of a data-driven environment of value-based care was widely acknowledged as key to success.
- Billing and reimbursement changes: There was considerable conversation around reimbursement models migrating from fee-for-service towards pay-for-performance, and how nephrology practices are weighing the options of adapting internally or outsourcing billing to specialty-specific revenue cycle management services. Physicians and practice managers alike expressed frustration about consistent change in the healthcare landscape—be it MACRA/MIPS, alternate payment models, or future unknown regulations. Value-based care is transforming the foundation of the physician-practice revenue cycle and physicians want to focus on patient care. Acumen’s RCM service is geared to complement and support the practice staff. This allows the practice to focus primarily on market-specific operational needs and to drive improvement in clinical workflow, outcomes, and data management, thereby delivering the results needed to achieve happier, healthier patients.
Do these topics pique your interest? Feel free to drop us a line in the comments below and continue the conversation!
With more than 15 years of experience in the health care IT industry, B.J. Fife has been with Acumen since 2010. Prior to Acumen, B.J. worked in sales and implementation of ambulatory and hospital-based electronic health record systems. B.J. is originally from Pittsburgh, PA, and is a Penn State alum with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He enjoys building relationships and establishing new customers within the nephrology community.