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Are outdated hardware and the lack of integration between computer programs preventing your facility from making much needed improvements in its operations? Instead of trying to convince your boss that it’s time for a major capital outlay for new computers, you might want to check out subscription-based computing.
One of the companies offering this option to assist health care providers in integrating their record-keeping and billing capabilities is focusCore, an application service provider (ASP) and managed desktop company in Irvine, CA. Subscription computing, says Dawson Davenport, focusCore vice president and director of sales and marketing, allows businesses to upgrade and expand their information technology (IT) infrastructure without making a large capital expenditure.
In addition to creating instant wide-area networks and intranets, Davenport notes, the company also does hosting and integration of legacy applications — like an existing patient registration system, for example — that allow hospitals and other organizations to migrate to a modern platform.
"The problem most hospitals have is they look so much inward in technical capability and as a result, by not having an up-to-date platform, end up having a tremendous conflict in systems," he says. "The costs associated with managing those becomes burdensome, but they’ve created such a high-dollar IT infrastructure, it’s hard to justify changing."
With subscription computing, Davenport explains, there is a monthly fee for each "seat" that is occupied — one location may be used by people on different shifts — and new seats can be added or taken away "virtually overnight," if necessary.
Access departments can make use of subscription computing to, among other things, more easily ensure the accuracy of their billing processes, notes Jack Duffy, FHFMA, director and founder of Integrated Revenue Management, Carlsbad, CA. "With a subscription service, like an ASP, software can be packaged in a way that the tools for testing the integrity of the revenue cycle and the payment posting process can be integrated at the provider level," he says. Companies like focusCore, Duffy adds, can create a link so that this testing — of things like whether the provider was paid correctly — can be a normal piece of the transaction, rather than a separate program that has to be written.
"Instead of owning their own software and it never being the right version," he notes, providers can outsource their computer needs to a company using a high-speed data line. It takes away the hassle of "always being two versions behind" and having to retrain staff with each change in technology, Duffy says.