November 16, 2016
by Alex Attinson, Connected Care Team, Foothold Technology
About a year ago, the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, part of New York University’s Silver School of Social Work, and the Managed Care Technical Assistance Center (MCTAC) convened Foothold Technology and three other Electronic Health Record (EHR) vendors in a new project aimed at supporting behavioral health providers through reporting and data standards. For us, it meant we would be partnered with a behavioral health provider to design, evaluate, and launch a set of standardized reports. Once complete, these reports would be used by the provider to gain a better understanding of its census, service delivery strategies, and billing procedures. In a world of Value-Based Payments (VBP), having this set of standards is both timely and essential. In late September 2016, human service agencies from all over New York State gathered in Albany for the Measuring Outputs, Preparing for Outcomes: EHR Report Implementation Training to hear from the EHR vendors. These presentations were the culmination of months of collaboration involving focus groups, web conferences, and face-to-face meetings.
On the technical side, the experience of building the reports and enhancing the functionality for this project was a unique process, leading to a final product that took advantage of AWARDS’ powerful ReportBuilder, the integrated Intelligent Medical Objects (IMO) content engine, as well as some new features we added to our AWARDS platform. It was also an exciting project in the sense that MCTAC paired all EHR vendors with a provider blindly. Meaning, we weren’t privy to the name of the human services provider when we kicked off the project. We were pleasantly surprised several months into the planning when we saw some familiar faces from Foothold customer The Bridge at one of our first in-person workgroup meetings. Staff at The Bridge have been robust users of AWARDS for several years and it was a huge advantage for us to be paired together. Because of the familiarity with each other, the collaboration resulted in a combination of blue sky thinking while remaining true to the workflows in AWARDS.
In the end, the reports and the functionality we built both represent a large step in addressing the needs of a VBP world, but also show how far the entire behavioral health community has to go to fully embrace the concept and functionality required for VBP. With this project, we developed a unique way to close the gap between services and billing data– which other vendors admittedly struggled with during the project. This presents agencies with an excellent opportunity to maximize their revenue cycle management. The payer mix report we created will give agencies the ability to see where their payments are coming from per client, while the service delivery reports allow agencies to see the services they’re providing to their clients based on their conditions. All of this reporting takes advantage of AWARDS, including the integration of the IMO content engine and the smart categorization MCTAC created. We’re thrilled to have a partner in New York State that’s focused on helping AWARDS users take the great data they have and generate even more robust outcomes reports.
If you are a current customer in New York and you’d like to participate in the MCTAC project or you’d like to learn more, you should reach out to your Implementation Consultant or Senior Project Manager. It’s very possible your agency might want to add some of the features and reports from this project as it may improve your AWARDS experience. If you aren’t yet part of the Foothold community, perhaps it’s time to partner with an EHR vendor who stands ready to support your success in the Value-Based Payments world and a changing landscape of care that continues to evolve.