Patient Solutions

Upstream Change, Downstream Value: see you at HIMSS!

The time between setting an appointment and arriving in the exam room is the most important for influencing immediate and downstream revenue capture, patient readiness and satisfaction.

Vecna’s patient self-service solution is a digital platform that automates routine registration and billing tasks through one cohesive workflow for patients and staff.

Our customers have:

  • cut patient waittimes by 12 minutes,
  • reduced bad debt by 52%,
  • increased patient satisfaction scores by 5%,
  • increased staff efficiency by 15%, and
  • increased payments collected at the point of service by 30%.

Stop by booth 5279 during exhibit hall hours to learn how digitizing your front office can impact your back office operations downstream.

Vecna has also attained DIACAP Accreditation and ATO issued by the Department of Defense’s Defense Health Agency. DoD customers can now purchase and securely use Vecna’s patient check-in system on the DoD network.

And test drive a VGo telepresence robot in our booth and at Verizon’s booth 761. VGo helps give clinical experts instant access to the patient unit, to the rehab facility, or to the home, improving the connection with face-to-face interaction, from anywhere.

Monday, February 20 10:00 am-6:00 pm
Tuesday, February 21 9:30 am-6:00 pm
Wednesday, February 22 9:30 am-4:00 pm

Taking Care Of Business: How To Create An End-To-End Revenue Cycle IT Ecosystem To Demystify Patient Billing

Discover the “frictionless” revenue cycle – a groundbreaking approach that uses a seamless IT platform to connect front and back-office functions, or the critical administrative pieces of patient access and revenue cycle. In addition, it turns those pieces patient-facing, giving them the tools to take care of business (like updating demographics, paying bills, requesting appointments, etc). However, the real power in making these connections comes from the automated insurance eligibility check and on-demand patient responsibility estimate provided during pre-registration and registration – even before services are rendered. Allowing patients to pay for services up front on estimates not only enhances the patient experience for its transparency, but also creates major downstream effects like reduced AR days, increased collections and improved staff workflow.

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The traditional role of banks in revenue cycle management

By Deborah Theobald for Bankless Times

Banks have traditionally played a critical role in serving the healthcare industry.

They are payment aggregators, digital and paper lockboxes, data normalizers, systems of record, and more.

They are the unsung heroes of healthcare – the trusted, sturdy gears that make an incredibly complex revenue cycle turn.

But they’re also an old institution.

No one is looking to them for creative solutions to new problems. Yet, they have the experience and the means to make waves. They also know the rules – so they know how to break the rules… and where and when.

They aren’t built with the agile phalanx of technical resources required to burrow into the complex networks of legacy systems that comprise providers’ most-used IT tools.

Yet providers have a thirst for this kind of creativity. Patients are frustrated, hospital debt is soaring to record levels, and reimbursement rates are decreasing. So, health systems are looking for a more consumer-oriented model.

To meet that need, we will see banks performing a duet with innovative technology companies to produce solutions that work for payers, providers, and patients: think Tony Bennett, partnering with fresh voices like Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga for a new twist on the old classic to satisfy a modern audience.

Playing Matchmaker: Opposites attract

Banks know their stake in the game. After all, they provide healthcare with financial backing.

If hospitals are not financially healthy, banks suffer as well. Yet banks do not necessarily have the ability or desire to reach patients directly.

At the same time, a record number of technology vendors are amping up their healthcare game. For 7 years, innovators have been rushing to connect all healthcare stakeholders, sparked by the HITECH Act of 2009, followed quickly by Meaningful Use in 2012.

This proliferation, however, requires risk and it means that some innovations will succeed while others will fail.

Competition is fierce, funding is limited, integration is hard, and government regulation introduces a quagmire that challenges even the most nimble and brilliant tech stars.

Yet payers, providers, and patients need a system they can trust, that links the silos through the administrative arc of the patient experience: patient access, revenue cycle, and onsite experience.

These challenges give way to the marriage of healthcare’s odd couple. Innovative tech companies can rely on the strengths of banking’s time-tested institutional experience and infrastructure for moving money through complex systems, and navigating regulatory environments.

Meanwhile, banks can expand their reach to improve the patient experience through nimble, risk-taking, forward-thinking technology vendors.

Connecting systems and people to make change

Banks and IT vendors will partner to create the tools for a consumer-driven healthcare system. Here are 8 ways that innovative, consumer-driven features will enhance billing and collections for healthcare.

  1. Connected IT Ecosystem. Web services are critical in pulling backend data from a variety of hospital source systems into one single interface. Patients can access their administrative tasks from any device, including onsite kiosks. Staff can easily manage patient scheduling, flow and billing at the point of service from a robust web-accessible dashboard. No more repetitive manual data entry – on either side of the registration desk!
  2. Access to actionable information on any device. Increasing transparency and convenience online and at the point of service with a modern, digital twist increases patient satisfaction scores by 5%. It also improves the bottom line. Because patient demographic information, tends to be wrong over 30% of the time, the simple act of ensuring patient information on file is correct can reduce bad debt by over 4%. In addition, eliminating paperwork improves patient satisfaction and staff morale by offloading the most tedious part of their job. In fact, one national multi-facility healthcare system has increased staff efficiency by 15%.
  3. Online appointment request. This is the age of OpenTable, and Apple Genius Bar reservations. Patients want to find appointment times that suit their schedules without having to spend time on hold and tediously comparing calendars. Now they can click a button and receive a confirmation that their preferred time is available. As an added bonus, each appointment booked online saves healthcare systems $7.00 per interaction.
  4. Insurance verification. Healthcare systems can get ahead of the billing cycle by asking patients to review and update their information before they even arrive onsite. Verifying that the right insurance is on file increases billing clean claim rate by 22%. By the time they arrive for their appointment, patients have a clear understanding of whether the service is covered in whole, in part, or not at all — in addition to what the co-pay is, and the amount of the deductible. This transparency will shift healthcare billing to a more consumer friendly experience.
  5. Eligibility gives patients and staff the necessary benefits coverage information for an upcoming service.  By presenting patients with this information before service, they can talk to their providers about their options and make better decisions about their course of treatment. Determining eligibility can also help healthcare organizations reduce claims denials and put the proper safeguards in place to ensure patients have the support structure they need. For example, a healthcare organization might provide financial assistance or payment plans for patients who cannot afford service. After all, caring for a patient’s financial health is part caring for a patient’s overall wellbeing.
  6. Payment estimates. Estimates are commonplace in the service sector and almost completely lacking in healthcare. However, banks and innovative healthcare IT vendors will partner to pull forward patient responsibility. Patients will be grateful for the opportunity to pay their share up front since they won’t have to think about settling up after service. This creates an enormous opportunity to get ahead of accounts receivables and to advance the consumerism trend.
  7. Payment options. Most patients are eager to have online access to lab results, account information, costs of common procedures. They also want a consolidated bill and a system that makes it easy for them to pay (i.e., a wide range of payment options that includes secondary insurance, credit cards, HSA, and/or a payment plan). With payment options at patients’ fingertips, paying bills will be that much easier. In fact, by presenting patients with outstanding bills at the point of service, this increases the chances of collecting payment by 62%. For the consumer, this approach removes the transaction cost of having to think about finding the credit card or writing the check and moves more quickly off a patient’s to-do list. For healthcare systems, these simple enhancements shorten collections cycle over 90 days by 18%.
  8. Onsite queuing. Not only does staff have a consolidated view of patient information, billing, flags and alerts, but they also have the ability to prioritize patients in their waiting room from the same dashboard. Staff can sort by wait times, or appointment type to ensure that no patient is left sitting too long. Giving staff the tools to monitor patient flow onsite reduces wait times from 10 to 2 minutes.

Staying on the top through Innovation

Tony Bennett first appeared on stage in 1946 – 70 years ago. Now, at 90 years old, Bennett’s collaboration with Lady Gaga earned a Grammy and sold over 1 million copies worldwide. A legend in his own right, Bennett says he isn’t done learning. He’s looking at future collaborations, perhaps with Beyoncé.  His willingness to step out of his comfort zone and innovate with other artists who can offer a fresh perspective is what gives Bennet his edge even in the modern era.

Banks first revolutionized healthcare over 25 years ago by introducing services that shuttled money and information accurately and on time. It’s time for them to step back into the spotlight. Like Bennett, banks are a classic. They have the power to leverage both their experience in consumer sector and expertise as the backend glue in healthcare to simplify administrative tasks for staff and consumers alike.

To enact real change, banks will look to partner with the innovative risk-taking vendors to connect with the users. Banks and IT vendors are the power couple that will develop powerful new solutions for healthcare’s newest challenges.

Reducing friction in the revenue cycle and improving the consumer experience? Well, that’s music to our ears.

Banks Team with Healthcare IT for Innovative Solutions

By Debbie Theobald, CEO, for The Doctor Weighs In

The traditional role of banks in RCM (revenue cycle management)

Banks have traditionally played a critical role in serving the healthcare industry. They are payment aggregators, digital and paper lockboxes, data normalizers, systems of record, and more. They are the unsung heroes of healthcare—the trusted, sturdy gears that make an incredibly complex revenue cycle turn.

But they’re also an old institution. No one is looking to them for creative solutions to new problems. Yet, they have the experience and the means to make waves. They also know the rules—so they know how to break the rules…and where and when. They aren’t built with the agile phalanx of technical resources required to burrow into the complex networks of legacy systems that comprise providers’ most-used IT tools.

Yet, providers have a thirst for this kind of creativity. Patients are frustrated, hospital debt is soaring to record levels, and reimbursement rates are decreasing. So, health systems are looking for a more consumer-oriented model. To meet that need, we will see banks performing a duet with innovative technology companies to produce solutions that work for payers, providers, and patients: Think Tony Bennett, partnering with fresh voices like Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga for a new twist on the old classic to satisfy a modern audience.

Playing matchmaker: Opposites attract

Banks know their stake in the game. After all, they provide healthcare with financial backing. If hospitals are not financially healthy, banks suffer as well. Yet, banks do not necessarily have the ability or desire to reach patients directly.

At the same time, a record number of technology vendors are amping up their healthcare game. For 7 years, innovators have been rushing to connect all healthcare stakeholders, sparked by the HITECH Act of 2009, followed quickly by Meaningful Use in 2012. This proliferation, however, requires risk and it means that some innovations will succeed while others will fail. Competition is fierce, funding is limited, integration is hard, and government regulation introduces a quagmire that challenges even the most nimble and brilliant tech stars.

Yet, payers, providers, and patients need a system they can trust, that links the silos through the administrative arc of the patient experience: patient access, revenue cycle, and onsite experience.

These challenges give way to the marriage of healthcare’s odd couple. Innovative tech companies can rely on the strengths of banking’s time-tested institutional experience and infrastructure for moving money through complex systems and navigating regulatory environments. Meanwhile, banks can expand their reach to improve the patient experience through nimble, risk-taking, forward-thinking technology vendors.

Connecting systems and people to make change

Banks and IT vendors will partner to create the tools for a consumer-driven healthcare system. Here are 8 ways that innovative, consumer-driven features will enhance billing and collections for healthcare.

1. Connected IT Ecosystem.  Web services are critical in pulling backend data from a variety of hospital source systems into one single interface. Patients can access their administrative tasks from any device, including onsite kiosks. Staff can easily manage patient scheduling, flow, and billing at the point of service from a robust web-accessible dashboard. No more repetitive manual data entry—on either side of the registration desk!

2. Access to actionable information on any device.  Increasing transparency and convenience online and at the point of service with a modern, digital twist increases patient satisfaction scores by 5%. It also improves the bottom line. Because patient demographic information tends to be wrong over 30% of the time, the simple act of ensuring patient information on file is correct can reduce bad debt by over 4%. In addition, eliminating paperwork improves patient satisfaction and staff morale by offloading the most tedious part of their job. In fact, one national multi-facility healthcare system has increased staff efficiency by 15%.

3. Online appointment request.  This is the age of OpenTable and Apple Genius Bar reservations. Patients want to find appointment times that suit their schedules without having to spend time on hold and tediously comparing calendars. Now they can click a button and receive a confirmation that their preferred time is available. As an added bonus, each appointment booked online saves healthcare systems $7.00 per interaction.

4. Insurance verification.  Healthcare systems can get ahead of the billing cycle by asking patients to review and update their information before they even arrive on site. Verifying that the right insurance is on file increases billing clean claim rate by 22%. By the time they arrive for their appointment, patients have a clear understanding of whether the service is covered in whole, in part, or not at all—in addition to what the co-pay is and the amount of the deductible. This transparency will shift healthcare billing to a more consumer friendly experience.

5. Eligibility.  Eligibility gives patients and staff the necessary benefits coverage information for an upcoming service. By presenting patients with this information before service, they can talk to their providers about their options and make better decisions about their course of treatment. Determining eligibility can also help healthcare organizations reduce claims denials and put the proper safeguards in place to ensure patients have the support structure they need. For example, a healthcare organization might provide financial assistance or payment plans for patients who cannot afford service. After all, caring for a patient’s financial health is part caring for a patient’s overall wellbeing.

6. Payment estimates.  Estimates are commonplace in the service sector and almost completely lacking in healthcare. However, banks and innovative healthcare IT vendors will partner to pull forward patient responsibility. Patients will be grateful for the opportunity to pay their share up front since they won’t have to think about settling up after service. This creates an enormous opportunity to get ahead of accounts receivables and to advance the consumerism trend.

7. Payment options.  Most patients are eager to have online access to lab results, account information, costs of common procedures. They also want a consolidated bill and a system that makes it easy for them to pay (i.e., a wide range of payment options that includes secondary insurance, credit cards, HSA, and/or a payment plan). With payment options at patients’ fingertips, paying bills will be that much easier. In fact, by presenting patients with outstanding bills at the point of service, this increases the chances of collecting payment by 62%. For the consumer, this approach removes the transaction cost of having to think about finding the credit card or writing the check and moves more quickly off a patient’s to-do list. For healthcare systems, these simple enhancements shorten collections cycle over 90 days by 18%.

8. Onsite queuing.  Not only does staff have a consolidated view of patient information, billing, flags, and alerts, but they also have the ability to prioritize patients in their waiting room from the same dashboard. Staff can sort by wait times—or appointment type—to ensure that no patient is left sitting too long. Giving staff the tools to monitor patient flow onsite reduces wait times from 10 to 2 minutes.

Staying on the top through Innovation

Tony Bennett first appeared on stage in 1946—70 years ago. Now, at 90 years old, Bennett’s collaboration with Lady Gaga earned a Grammy and sold over 1 million copies worldwide. A legend in his own right, Bennett says he isn’t done learning. He’s looking at future collaborations, perhaps with Beyoncé. His willingness to step out of his comfort zone and innovate with other artists who can offer a fresh perspective is what gives Bennett his edge even in the modern era.

Banks first revolutionized healthcare over 25 years ago by introducing services that shuttled money and information accurately and on time. It’s time for them to step back into the spotlight. Like Bennett, banks are a classic. They have the power to leverage both their experience in consumer sector and expertise as the backend glue in healthcare to simplify administrative tasks for staff and consumers alike.

To enact real change, banks will look to partner with the innovative risk-taking vendors to connect with the users. Banks and IT vendors are the power couple that will develop powerful new solutions for healthcare’s newest challenges.

Reducing friction in the revenue cycle and improving the consumer experience? Well, that’s music to our ears.

5 Disruptors You’ve Never Heard Of

By Leia Ruseva, Excerpt from Beantown Innovation

A sneak peek into the future would be incomplete without an army of robots. No, not the evil Terminator-like destroyers, but the ones that promise to propel humanity forward. Deriving its name from the Czech ‘vecny’ (meaning ‘eternal’), Vecna provides solutions for enterprise, healthcare, education and government, focusing its core research on enabling machines to independently navigate through unstructured environments, recognize human movements, faces and gestures, as well as specific objects. Their coolest projects include a telepresence robot for managing remote teams and VGo, a solution that helps kids transition back to the classroom after short- and long-term absences.

Technology helping Iowa City VA better serve veterans

By Madison Arnold, The Gazette

IOWA CITY — Officials from the Iowa City VA Health Care System want veterans to know technology is helping improve the quality of their care.

Representatives of Iowa City’s Veterans Affairs system, which serves Eastern Iowa and parts of surrounding states, showed off equipment like check-in kiosks, telemedicine and buses with wheelchair lifts during a media tour on Tuesday.

“Technology is always moving forward, and it’s important for us to move with that because that’s what is important to the care of our veteran population,” said Jamie Johnson, public affairs officer for Iowa City’s VA Health Care System.

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Inventing the Mid-Cycle with Patient Self-Service

By Janie Tremlett, in Journal of AHIMA

Payment models in healthcare are transforming—which should be no surprise to health information management (HIM) professionals. What may come as a surprise though is how quickly these models are transforming.

Healthcare is rapidly moving to incorporate measures of value into payment models, with more than two-thirds of payments expected to be based on value measurement in five years, up from just one-third today, according to a study conducted by ORC International.

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Automating Clinical Processes to Improve Value in Healthcare

It’s no surprise that payment models in healthcare are transforming. What may come as a surprise, though, is how quickly these models are transforming. Healthcare is rapidly moving to incorporate measures of value into payment models, with more than two-thirds of payments expected to be based on value measurement in five years, up from just one-third today, according to a study conducted by ORC International.1

(more…)

Device lets patients record vitals while waiting for doctor

By Nidhi Subbaraman, Boston Globe

A Cambridge company that builds robots and records software for hospitals has now designed something new: a piece of furniture.

The new device, built by Vecna Technologies, is an armchair that looks like a waiting room fixture — but it’s outfitted with blood pressure cuffs, a thermometer, and an interface that looks like an iPad, which will allow patients to record their vitals while they wait. Vecna hopes to sell it to health facilities around the country.

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Introducing Robots and Virtual Presenters at the HIMSS Innovation Center

By John Paganini, HIMSS

Visitors to the HIMSS Innovation Center in Cleveland, Ohio can now meet a virtual member and an insightful robot, technologies complimenting the interactive visitor experience.

VGo: The newest addition to the HIMSS Innovation Center, VGo is a robot used for patient monitoring and remote patient visits in the healthcare environment. VGo facilitates virtual tours, security, inspections and interpreter services.

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Webinar: Patient Flow Management

Patient Flow
Download PDF: Vecna/HIMSS: Patient Flow Management

  • Decrease patient wait times by as much as 67% by identifying bottlenecks and areas where daily schedules are off course
  • Boost patient satisfaction by eliminating the frustration, worry, and hassle that accompanies waiting and not knowing what will happen next
  • Enhance staff productivity and efficiency by establishing the optimal allocation of resources to satisfy current and future demand

Self-serve kiosks reduce antibiotic use

By Karen Appold, Managed Healthcare Executive

Veterans Administration (VA) Palo Alto Healthcare System, through collaboration with Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco, is having great success with self-serve kiosks to screen and reduce antibiotic use in its patient population of 10,000.

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Technology improves preventative care through screenings

Chronic disease accounts for nearly 75% of all deaths in Canada each year. In addition, medical care costs for people with chronic diseases account for 42% of total direct medical care expenditures, not to mention the estimated $54.4 billion loss in productivity due to illness. Needless to say, chronic illness has major impacts on the Canadian healthcare system and the national economy.

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Enhancing the Patient Experience at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in San Diego

At a time in healthcare when providers are being judged (sometimes harshly) by payers, both public and private, on their ability to engage and satisfy patients, the broad arena of patient engagement/patient satisfaction is becoming increasingly urgent. Differential reimbursement around patient satisfaction is becoming increasingly important across a variety of public and private payer payment regimens, and as value-based reimbursement becomes the norm, even the seemingly smallest elements around satisfaction will loom increasingly large when it comes to dollar rewards (and discounts).

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Kiosk at VA office helps vets access sites

A new amenity has appeared at the Cherokee County Veterans Affairs Office — a kiosk to help veterans access VA sites. The kiosk has been operational for a month. Cherokee County Veterans Affairs Officer Todd Humphries said vets can access the kiosk laptop to check the status of their claims and appeals.

Read the full article here.

Going with the flow: BCH is leveraging kiosks to streamline processes

In the fall of 2014, Boulder Community Health (BCH) in Colorado consolidated the majority of its inpatient acute care operations into one location. As part of this process, BCH created a centralized registration area for all hospital services, which includes outpatient lab and imaging as well as all inpatient services. Given the anticipated increase in daily patient registrations, the hospital implemented a patient queuing system to streamline flow.

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Vecna showcasing patient solutions and robotics at HIMSS 2015

Vecna will attend the HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition where they will exhibit their patient solutions and robotics solutions in booth #2071. The HIMSS Conference will take place at McCormick Place, Chicago, IL, April 12-16th, 2015 and showcase the newest technologies, trends and solutions in health IT to international and domestic healthcare executives and providers.

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VetLink: An easier way to check in at Overton Brooks VA Medical Center

There is now an easier way for Veterans to check-in for their appointments at Overton Brooks VA Medical Center. VetLink kiosks, powered by Vecna, are positioned near every clinic of the Medical Center, shortening check-in and wait times for appointments. The kiosks also provide a means of updating personal information to include insurance and account information. Each Vet-Link kiosk provides a touch screen for Veterans to use as they access this information. Vet-Link also provides seamless communication between the Veteran and the clinic. Once the Veteran checks-in the clinic is notified, resulting in shorter wait times.  The system also gives Veterans the opportunity to view future appointments.

Read the full article here.

Havasu News Takes a Closer Look at Prescott VA

Havasu News salutes the efforts of the Northern Arizona Veteran Affairs Health Care System to ensure vulnerable veterans receive proper medical care, be it mental health counseling, addiction rehabilitation programs, occupational therapy, or acute medical care for a former soldier on a limited income without health insurance.

Included in an ongoing effort to improve service for Veteran beneficiaries at the Prescott VA Medical Center and its 5 Community Based Outpatient Centers is the VetLink patient registration system, powered by Vecna.

Read the full article here.

“Start with the basics” says VP Janie Tremlett to mHealth News

mHealth News’ Eric Wicklund quotes Janie Tremlett, VP of Domestic and International Business Development at Vecna, in suggesting the best approach to adopting mHealth is to start with the basics. And she’s not talking about that first phone call between doctor and patient. She’s talking about the registration process – that time-honored and laborious process of filling out forms and answering questionnaires before the patient even gets to see a doctor.

Read the full story here.