Integrated Healthcare Technology Platform: Build or Buy?

Posted by Continuum on Mar 20, 2015 2:00:00 PM


Should You Build Your Own Healthcare Technology Platform or Buy One?

Evolving payment models, changing regulations, and shifting ownership structures are creating new challenges for healthcare providers. Decision-makers recognize that in order to thrive in this increasingly complex environment, new methodologies and healthcare-specific technologies are needed to advance business and financial objectives, as well as enhance the patient experience, improve the health of populations, and lower overall cost of care.

Medical practices, whether independent, part of a larger organization or owned by a health system, require an integrated managed healthcare platform that addresses all aspects of their operations, from meeting quality of care objectives for value-based reimbursement contracts, to proactively monitoring the health of their patient population, to coordinating care and sharing clinical data across the care continuum.

When evaluating alternatives, organizations must first decide whether to contract with consultants, as well as buy separate solutions and manage the procurement, implementation, integration, and support of each product, (or) contract with one partner for a single, integrated healthcare technology platform that includes all the required infrastructure and services.

Continuum has developed an extensive white paper to guide your decision-making process, available for download now or at the end of this blog.

Facing Current Challenges

Many providers are struggling to prepare for the rapid move to value-based healthcare; in fact, many are still trying to understand what needs to be done from either an organizational or technological standpoint. All providers will require next-generation methodologies and technologies that satisfy the evolving requirements for practice management, electronic health records (EHR), population health management, and fee-for-service and value-based reporting.

To maintain financial health and enable infrastructure investments, a practice must have a strong practice management system with robust revenue cycle management components. To earn Meaningful Use and PQRS incentives and avoid payment penalties, physicians need a certified and meaningfully-structured EHR, as well as the ability to securely transfer clinical data to other providers. In order to manage the health of patient populations, improve care quality, and lower overall costs, practices require dashboards and care plans to identify gaps in care at the point-of-care; advanced analytics; and proven population health management solutions.

High-performing organizations realize that having the right integrated healthcare technology platform in place has never been more critical. Practices that are evaluating the best long-term transformational alternatives must first consider the pros and cons of buying a fully integrated managed platform versus building one internally. 

The Build Approach

Building a comprehensive managed platform that includes revenue cycle management (RCM), EHR, and an integrated population health solution(s) can take several years. The process requires significant monetary capital as well as a wealth of subject matter experts who are committed to developing, delivering, and maintaining a comprehensive solution. Some of the details covered in depth in the accompanying whitepaper include:

  • An organization must designate a project leader who is well-versed in technology 
  • Building a comprehensive, managed platform requires millions of dollars in up-front capital.
  • Based on application requirements, the size of the organization, and projected growth, healthcare technology experts must procure hardwareor a cloud-based solution that satisfies the technical specifications for each application’s platform.
  • Once the healthcare technology solutions are identified, the various components must be integrated. 
  • And much more...

The Platform-as-a-Service Approach

As an alternative to building a platform internally, organizations can procure a single healthcare solution that encompasses every required component, including infrastructure, applications, and middleware, as well as the subject matter experts to manage, maintain, and operate the project on an ongoing basis. The all-inclusive platform-as-a-service (PaaS) approach offers numerous advantages:
  • No capital investment. 
  • Less impact on staff. Building a platform requires expertise and input from of a wide variety of proven professionals, including clinicians and personnel in IT, finance, and operations. 
  • A PaaS solution includes human intelligence; that is, the experts that understand both the financial and clinical requirements of a practice and who are experienced with deploying advanced technologies, proactively managing population health, and efficiently managing clinical and financial operations. 
  • More rapid implementation.
  • And much more...

Considering the True Cost of Ownership

Medical providers seeking to adopt advanced technology in today’s increasingly complex environment must evaluate what solutions best satisfy their unique clinical and financial needs, which promise the best return on investment, and which position the organization to participate and thrive in value-based programs. To determine the total cost of ownership, organizations must consider every aspect of the project

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Topics: integrated healthcare technology platform, integrated healthcare technology

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