Several EHR providers allow for health systems and practices to share their EHR with other hospitals and practices in their community, such as Epic Community Connect. Through this program, the health system (the hub) extends its EHR to providers and smaller hospitals (the spokes) in their community for a subsidized fee that provides simplified access to an EHR for providers and creates a shared community health record, which leads to a continuum of care and higher quality of care benefiting patients, the community and the sharing entity. With all the changes and increasing pressures in today’s health care landscape, including value-based health care, improving operational efficiencies and reducing costs, many health systems have recognized the need to be able to offer EHR hosting capabilities to their communities. The program’s success is dependent on the commitment to making changes to how the organization operates, building the right organizational structure to engage in a different business model, creating a new culture of delivering services and developing appropriate operational controls and support. This not only impacts the IT team but also needs to be coordinated across several other areas, such as finance for invoice generation and collections and contracting for generating and administering agreements to name a few.
Hall Render IT Advisory Services is uniquely positioned to assist health systems in developing a successful EHR hosting provider program. Our consultants understand that no two health care organizations have the same information systems, financial systems, IT organization model or cost structures and will provide tailored, practical advice on how to establish an EHR hosting provider program that is flexible and meets the strategic objectives of each unique organization. Hall Render IT Advisory Services can assist health systems with becoming an EHR hosting provider in the following areas:
- Review or document the organization’s program goals, executive governance/steering committee structure and guiding principles and make recommendations, as this is foundational for all decisions;
- Document scope of services and applications that the organization wants to provide to the community and develop service/application offerings with associated cost models that include application, staffing, hardware and data center expenses;
- Assess the capabilities of the current organization (IT technologies, architecture, capabilities and staffing) to provide the future state of service offerings and identify any potential risks, gaps or challenges for meeting expectations;
- Review of IT vendor relationships/contracts for long-term alignment and future state readiness to determine extensibility rights, pricing and any necessary changes;
- Recommend overall program management/command and control structure and assess other areas of the organization for readiness and capabilities to support (finance, contract, etc.);
- Identify and document all cost drivers and decisions associated with the program to create a scalable pricing model that meets regulatory requirements;
- Create affiliate project framework for integrating new affiliates to allow for rapid integration, to include roles and responsibilities, ongoing operational support, communication and change management strategies to allow for transparency and partnership to create a win-win offering; and
- Assess the size and scope of expected EHR hosting offerings and make recommendations for future organization structure for ongoing operational support, including transformation into an IT Service Provider
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