#JoinTheConversation with Tim Urick on CRM for Labs
This #JoinTheConversation series is brought to you by our partner Experian Health and the episodes were broadcast live in Experian Health’s booth (#3503) at the The HIMSS17 Annual Conference and Exhibition. The interviews were recorded and published to the media player on this page. Please read more about why more than 60% of U.S. hospitals count on Experian Health.
Tim Urick, Systems Engineering Consultant
Joe Lavelle 00:31 That’s right, I’m Joe Lavelle. I’m so excited to be bringing you Join The Conversation with my co-host Todd Eury from the Experian Health booth right here in Orlando. Todd, let’s give a quick shout out to our great sponsor Experian Health.
Todd Eury 00:44 Experian Health bringing the partners together. It’s been an amazing time here at HIMSS 2017. This organization is truly Best in KLAS for patient access. And the awards that they’ve received in category leader in claims management for 2017 is well deserved. Congratulations Experian Health.
Joe Lavelle 01:06 Absolutely. We’re going to get that right it today. I want to introduce our guest, Tim Urick. Tim welcome to the show.
Tim Urick 01:12 Thank you.
Joe Lavelle 01:13 Tim, could you take the first part of our discussion here, and just give the audience an idea about you and your background.
Tim Urick 01:19 I’m a systems engineering consultant. I have been providing solutions for 35 plus years, we’ll leave it at that. And I’ve covered many different areas of healthcare, years in pharmacy, ton of radiology work and most recently in the last ten to fifteen years a large focus on the laboratory EMR. I’ve done a lot of different things.
Joe Lavelle 01:43 Perfect. Let’s start with this then Tim. How do you see the future state of laboratory evolving over the next three to five years?
Tim Urick 01:50 The crystal ball question.
Joe Lavelle 01:52 Oh, we get our crystal ball out later.
Tim Urick 01:54 First, I’m going to think about where we’ve come from. It’s not that long ago, the doctors were all walking around with paper charts. I was at a conference. I don’t know if it was a HIMSS or other, years ago and the speaker mentioned that healthcare was one of the last industries to go electronic, compared to something like banking. So it’s come a long long way and I’ll give a radiology example. When I first got into radiology, it would not be uncommon for patients in the ED to get filmed, and they were using films, the films would get hung, the ED doc would take look at it, especially if it was just arms and legs, and decided to treat the patient. The films would be taken down, moved over to the reading room. If the radiologist was gone for the day, they would read it the next morning.
Probably recording a cassette, someone would come by, pick it up a couple hours later, take it upstairs to transcription. Hopefully they get it typed before the end of the day, depending on the backlog, and so they could get it signed before the doctor went home, the radiologist. Obviously it doesn’t work that way anymore, the average ED turnaround times measured in minutes. The films are right there on the work list, they get read, voice recognition is captured, the report is presented, signed literally in 12 to 15 minutes from the time the patient hits the ED, it’s amazing.
And the voice recognition might even tell the doctor, oh! You forgot to mention such and such which is required for Medicare reimbursement. It can do things like that. So that’s a radiology example but the point is this, is the focus in this automation in healthcare has traditionally been on the operational system: improving the workflow, getting it functional, obviously making sure the charges are captured and billing goes out the door, a huge, huge focus and those systems have become quite mature these days. We are passed that point. You’ve seen ten years ago, you’d walk around the HIMSS and the word integration was everywhere. Now it’s interoperable. There’s a lot of population management going on. My point is this, is that analytics the ability not just to automate your workflow and make an efficient operational system, but to be able to use data to figure out what is going on, whether it’s within the laboratory, within the production lines, whether it’s a client issue, whether it’s a population management issues. I think that laboratories will heavily invest in the analytics part.
Todd Eury 04:35 Good segue. So from your perspective specifically, how has the movement to value based reimbursement affected the laboratory business?
Tim Urick 04:44 It obviously is beginning and it’s only going to have a much bigger impact, but it points back to those analytics. With the value based reimbursement, all of the partners in healthcare are going to have to contribute. It’s going to be a team, whether it’s the laboratory, the pharmacy, the radiology department, everybody’s helping the providers provide the value to the clients at the optimal cost, make sure that the utilization of all the tools, all the diagnostic tools, everything, all the treatment tools is optimized for the patient base.
So it’s tools like that where you now are getting out of just improving my operational syste to I now need analysis tools to better understand and find out layers that will help reduce those costs, and provide the most efficient treatment for the population of patients.
Joe Lavelle 05:37 Good deal. Tim, many healthcare organizations that are here at HIMSS are starting too really use analytics in innovative ways. In fact I’ve said, if we created a tag cloud of all the words, on all the booths, 99% of the booths are going to have the words analytics.
Tim Urick 05:52 That word is everywhere absolutely.
Joe Lavelle 05:55 What benefits can laboratories gain from using a healthcare CRM and analytics?
Tim Urick 06:00 Specific to the Healthcare CRM, one of the key benefits is as we know there’s many silos in healthcare. Your billing system will give you your financial reports, your operational system will give you operational, customer service systems, if you want to know what’s going on with the client issues or whatever. So traditionally, and it still exists a lot today, those are separate systems and in order to understand what’s going on, you’re running into different systems and hopefully they can give you their individual pieces of information. With a HC1 type of product you now have a central repository, where all this data can be centralized into one area, because many of the users need to share information outside of their own area.
Sales might need to see customer service data. They want to see volumes, they want to know turnaround time, so they don’t go in are blindsided by an issue. The same thing with other users, the medical officers, the medical leadership needs to see what’s going on with the test results. So it provides a central repository, and you cannot do that without big data capabilities, because there is so much information being generated in the laboratory today. The volumes are up, and with the booming population, it’s only going to keep increasing. The inventive testing that’s coming out generating more and more data, you need a big platform. So this platform gives you the ability to centralize the information, put one reporting package together that can be shared by many many users in the laboratory, and they all share information even the information that’s outside of their department. Where in the past, it was go fish into the other systems to find your answers.
Todd Eury 07:44 Tim, you’ve been in this industry in Healthcare IT long enough to see things dramatically change, especially if you took things in five year increments, (as) a matter of fact 3 year, 2 year increments, and as that wealth of knowledge in now the laboratory industry, specific to technology. Share with us what you believe the game changer is for your lab customers and the laboratories that are out there on the HC1 platform?
Tim Urick 08:13 The big game changer and probably the reason that word is spread all over the trade show, is the ability to effectively do real time analysis across these huge huge data sets. Laboratories today, the large ones they’re dealing with tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of clients. And the volume of data that those clients are generating is absolutely huge. The big data solutions and the analytics solutions turn what used to be sometimes a three to four week analysis, client calls in and says hey!, I’ve noticed something’s gone aerie this test seems to be running high. So you have to go to the IT department, ask him to run some queries, here’s the date range, here’s the customer, here’s the test, unfortunately those were all typically custom queries, and it takes them time to develop it.
The big old mainframes fire it off on Friday night, hope it’s done Monday morning. And then from there you go to Excel, and then you have to do all your Excel magic. (It’s a) very inefficient process. You could now put those parameters into analytic tools and say this is what I want to look like, here’s the range, any date, any time frame, any client, any test, any age range, any gender and have the answer in seconds. A CMO I worked with in one of my clients, the comment was, this has proved to be an invaluable tool. Just to have that real time analysis capability, it literally turned weeks into minutes.
Joe Lavelle 09:50 Outstanding. Tim, what’s specific analytics should all laboratories have in place in order to survive? That they absolutely have to have them in order to survive?
Tim Urick 09:59 If you just start with your basic volumes, turnaround times, a session listing, those are givens. You would think everybody has those with the flexibility of any client, any test, any time frame you know many many ways of running those fundamental queries. I’m sure there’s a lot of laboratories and what not out there that would say, oh! I would love to have all that. Many of them do, but that’s almost like the price of admission. You must have that, those are simple requests, but they’re extremely common. And if you could literally like I said run those in seconds versus a multi-day or week turnaround time on a specific report, that’s a definite advancement.
The big win though is you need to move to active monitoring and alerting in these tools, and the tools do start to provide this type of capability. Because running your turn around time at the end of the month and finding out that it’s gone up, it’s too late. It’s too late to do something about it. Or finding out that hey in a session, the reason is and the session got stuck, and got lost a little bit, it’s too late, so you need to take the next level then move to active monitoring and alerting, so that the system’s watching for problems like this, watching for a creep in turn-around, or a creep and a test value. Maybe the piece of equipment is starting to lose calibration. Maybe there’s a handling error with a specimen that’s somewhat temperature sensitive. Being able to monitor this stuff and alert before things get out of control. That’s where you really start improving the quality of the laboratory, response time of the laboratory, and find these things in flight, and get them addressed. You can’t go dumpster diving after the fact.
Joe Lavelle 11:41 Absolutely not. Tim, it’s such a great pleasure to have you. Thanks for joining us, sharing your great wisdom with us today.
Tim Urick 11:47 No problem. Thank you.
Joe Lavelle 11:49 All right. That wraps this live broadcast from HIMSS17. Again, we want to shout out to our sponsor Experian Health, what great friends they’ve turned out to be. On behalf of our guest, Time Urick, my co-host Todd Eury, I’m Joe Lavelle and we hope you stay tuned for more of Join The Conversation from Orlando.
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