“Please, sir, I want some more.” – Oliver Twist
In this super-sized world, we tend to believe that “more” is better than “less.” I personally believe more trumps less in many areas:
- All things being equal, I’d rather have more money than less. Most providers seem to agree, which is likely one reason for today’s hot market for applications and services that maximize reimbursements and help providers qualify for more financial incentives.
- I am always wishing for more time. Providers, vendors, and payors are seemingly obsessed with wanting more time. Why else would we see so much lobbying for extending Meaningful Use deadlines or the transition to ICD-10?
- The world would be a better place with more dark chocolate.
Of course more isn’t always better. Quite often – especially in the health IT world – less is actually “more.” Consider the following:
- MGMA recently asked CMS to consolidate its reporting programs and eliminate its use of multiple Web portals for Medicare Part B reporting. Fewer portals means fewer registrations, user names, passwords, and the like, as well as less confusion as to which portal to access for what task. Fewer portals equates to increased efficiencies and fewer administrative hassles.
- As EMR adoption has grown, so too has the length of a typical chart note. Clinical documentation is no longer just a means for tracking a patient’s condition. Instead the chart note has become the primary tool for meeting billing requirements and justifying reimbursement. The chart note has fallen victim to “note bloat;” that is, with EMRs it’s too easy for users to paste in non-essential data, making it difficult to narrow in on the most critical elements. The American College of Physicians and other professional organizations are now calling for the redesign of EMR-generated documentation to make it is more concise and reflective of the information gather to develop an impression, diagnostic and/or treatment plan, and recommended follow-up.
- Healthcare generates a wealth of patient data that can be analyzed during the care process, or on a larger scale to measure everything from internal quality metrics to population health trends for predictive analytics. Some may argue that more data is better, but a case can also be made that all data is not equally good/relevant/of value. When it comes to big data, perhaps more data is okay as long as we have plenty of “spam” filters to eliminate the irrelevant.
- In terms of hardware technology, what’s not to love about less? We embrace devices that are increasingly smaller; we seek components with produce less noise and use less energy; and we’re spending less capital as more applications migrate to the cloud.
- And of course in the general healthcare world, stakeholders often criticize the over-use of healthcare services in U.S., which not only wastes dollars and resources, but may harm the health of patients, according to a Health Affairs report. Ten to 30 percent of total healthcare spending is considered unnecessary and the waste includes everything from overprescribed antibiotics, excess testing, and unnecessary surgeries.
Oliver Twist and chocoholics may disagree, but sometimes less can be the best way to go.
Michelle Ronan Noteboom
Latest posts by Michelle Ronan Noteboom (see all)
- Health IT and the parallels of presidential politics - March 29, 2016
- Health IT Rantings and Ratings - February 16, 2016
- Transparency in healthcare: it’s time - February 2, 2016