At the 2017 AHIMA National Convention and Exhibit, MRO’s client Melissa Landry of Ochsner Health System and I co-presented a session titled “Merger Mania: Impact to Privacy and Health Information Management.” In this presentation, we discussed industry trends around mergers of healthcare organizations and the impact on privacy, Health Information Management (HIM) systems and Protected Health Information (PHI) disclosure management.
Melissa Landry shared how Ochsner successfully responded to challenges resulting from healthcare mergers. Audience members learned strategies for addressing these types of challenges. Below is a video interview where I recap the presentation.
Video Recap: Merger Mania and its Impact on Privacy and Health Information Management Systems
Rita: I’m Rita Bowen, and I am with MRO. And, I am their Vice President for Privacy, Compliance and HIM Policy.
Question: Tell us about the presentation you gave at the AHIMA Convention about “Merger Mania.”
Rita: I had the opportunity to work with Melissa Landry from Ochsner on a discussion of Merger Mania, and that has been so important because there have been so many physician facilities that are actually merging, buying physician practices, and there needs to be a dedicated process in getting that done correctly. It’s not simply, “I’m going to buy you, and make you part of my team.” There are Information Governance components that have to be demonstrated to make it work correctly.
Question: What best practices did you discuss during your presentation?
Rita: During our presentation today, we talked about best practices for this process of Merger Mania, and we actually took each of the components of Information Governance and threaded that through the discussion; the project management skills required in that; and, actually, the workflow that has to be determined. Because, you often find that the workflow in a physician practice has never been discussed, and you may find that a physician never closes their record, and most of the records will not come into an electronic health record system that you may be trying to merge unless they have actually been closed, which means someone has signed off on those records.
Question: What is MRO doing to address Merger Mania?
Rita: At MRO, we’re doing many things to address Merger Mania—through our acquisition process when we’re bringing on and partnering with a new customer, through the implementation process. We have an assessment phase that helps us do a deeper dive into workflow, and helps analyze those workflow issues. Then, there’s the policy review, which I do, which helps identify policies that the facility may be missing and/or may be complementing policies that we have; or they may be more stringent; or we may perhaps have a policy that’s more stringent, so that sets the foundation for the framework for the implementation team as they go through their education process.
Question: What are some of the biggest trends and themes you’ve noticed at this year’s AHIMA Convention?
Rita: At this year’s convention, some of the biggest trends that I’ve noticed and observed, especially in the general sessions, is that there’s still a focus and discussion regarding Information Governance (IG). There’s still a disconnect from many members thinking they’re not in that IG space. I contend that everything that everybody does in HIM is IG. Everybody is in some kind of lane of IG. It’s not different; it’s not a different domain; it’s one in the same of Health Information Management. The other big thing is population management and how information has got to flow in a way that it can be used in a way that patient privacy is still protected but it actually helps the population management improve health and improvements can be seen—because we still have a way to go there in this country.
Question: What is your favorite part about AHIMA?
Rita: When you ask me what my favorite part about AHIMA is, that’s hard because this is my 43rd convention, so obviously I love to come here. But, my favorite part is seeing friends. Seeing and networking with all the colleagues who I’ve worked with over the years. And, then networking is an excellent way to learn. You stay engaged with someone that’s doing one niche, because you may be working in a different lane, so it helps you stay identifiable into the whole processes. But, the friendships that you’ve maintained through those years is just so vital.
To download slides from MRO’s Merger Mania presentation, complete the form below.