What is a Healthcare IT Consultancy?
It is a question that needs an answer concerning the current medical standards & reforms.
To be frank, if you are thinking this field is not study-intensive, think again. An excellent healthcare consultancy at least requires a bachelor’s degree with a predisposition to a master’s degree. It rules out the possibility of doing mindless work on your seats.
The next question is quite similar to the first one – what do healthcare consultants do?
Since, we live in an age when the software, hardware, and the people working in an organization depend on Information Technology; healthcare is not so far behind.
It also gives birth to the profession of healthcare IT consultants.
They are technically sound dealing with healthcare software & hardware programs and processes on a daily basis. They suggest improvements, but in some cases, they have to fix the entire system. During the transition to value-based care models, the healthcare IT consultants are very much in demand.
The healthcare industry is advancing and, therefore, IT is replacing the paper-based mechanism. In that way, the medical professionals need IT consultancy at almost every step. They work closely with the healthcare providers.
Medical billing services are an excellent example of health IT consultants. By optimizing the Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) process, they increase collections and the overall revenue for the providers.
How to Become a Healthcare Consultant?
For students and those who want to make the switch to this field, this career is not only intriguing but practically highly rewarding. Due to inflation rates and the economy not helping, these kind of jobs are more than a ray of hope.
They provide an alternate route to the students and those looking for employment in this highly competitive job market.
Ideally, a bachelor’s degree of 4 years is enough, but a master’s degree adds to your overall charisma. Either Bachelor of Science in healthcare management or Bachelor of Science in healthcare administration gets you there.
Courses such as medical ethics, medical terminology, and healthcare information systems along with math, accounting and computers are touched upon the course of study.
After the degree comes the hard part – getting some hands-on experience under your belt. An entry-level job as a fresh graduate introduces you to the work and the atmosphere you’ll be staying in, for at least 8 hours of the day. With the passage of time, your analytical skills polish up, and you are in a position to excel as a HIT consultant.
If you can provide information management solutions to the supervisor, it is highly likely you are promoted to a higher position. Initially, they are looking for people with skills and experience in project management.
Given some time, your ability to administer and manage sensitive information improves. Indeed of 2016 reports an average salary of $61,00 per annum for a health IT consultant.
A Bright Future Awaits You
Healthcare IT jobs are the most lucrative regarding salaries according to a CNBC report released in 2015. They were the sixth most sought-after jobs back then. Today, we see the demand has only increased.
Due to the involvement of IT products within the healthcare industry, there is a constant need for health IT professionals. If you want to choose this career path, you are, indeed, making a wise decision.
Clinicians are busy with the patients, but at every step of the treatment, they have to interact with the IT systems & software. At that point, they miss having someone who can help them connect with the government, insurance companies & the patients at the same time. And, that is where a consultant jumps in.
Integration of software at all the critical stages of the clinical and operational process is what most practices are going for because nothing beats the seamless flow of information between an EHR, Practice Management System (PMS) and the medical billing software.
The Hierarchical Advantage
In a healthcare consulting firm, there is a specific hierarchy, and the workforce can generate a different amount of revenue at each level. It starts with the strategic management, taking the advisory role implementation and value-based care reforms. They are the ones generating the maximum revenue.
Then, some people deal with the financial management and functions. Human resources and related operations generate the 3rd highest revenue for the firm. And, the IT strategy makers come at number 4 regarding revenue generation for the company.
All these departments are working to improve different sections of a hospital or medical practice. We are going through the value-based system; HIT consultants play a significant role in many healthcare programs and initiatives. For instance, reporting the meaningful use measures against the EHR systems is one of their responsibilities.
As a healthcare provider, it is mandatory to achieve the objectives of EHR technology and report those measures to the CMS. It also earns them favorable payment adjustments. Your job, as a consultant, is to help them communicate those requirements and realize those incentives.
If the providers choose to work on their own and do not seek assistance in this regard, they may be downplaying on their incentives. The incentives hugely depend on the skills and credibility of the consultants.
Assisting with the Certified EHR Technology
The top EMR consulting firms handsomely pay HIT consultants because the doctors and other medical professionals often face technical and reporting issues with the EHRs.
Since the EHR incentive programs are now called Promoting Interoperability (PI) programs, ONC concentrates on health information exchanges and networks in 2018. It makes way for developers to come up with ideas that may increase integration and compatibility among the computing systems.
For instance, when a patient visits a doctor other than their regular doctor, their electronic records will show up at the new doctor’s system without much effort. Therefore, to have better patient outcomes, it is necessary for EHRs to become more interoperable.
Assisting in Enrollment and Credentialing
Enrollment in the Medicare program, as a physician, may look easy on paper, but in reality, it can be a daunting task. However, by hiring the services of a health IT consulting firm, the process becomes hiccup-free and quite relieving.
You are not only helping the medical professionals but also gaining experience with time. You may be promoted to a better position after some time which has its perks & privileges.
Enrollment & credentialing go hand-in-hand. By undergoing the process of provider credentialing, insurance companies check the authenticity of the providers.
Soon after they prove to be legitimate regarding education, training, work experience and reputation, they may start medical billing the company. Medicare credentialing will allow you to bill Medicare.
Same goes for the Medicaid program. Healthcare IT consultants execute the processes effectively so that the providers can focus on their work without any distractions.
Providers Rely on HIT Consultants for Better MIPS Final Score
Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) is one of the tracks of the Quality Payment Program (QPP), but only Eligible Professionals (EPs) take part in it. The other route is Advanced APMs. By selecting one of these two, the EPs may be eligible for incentive payments.
For the performance year 2018, CMS will release payments in the year 2020. To select one of the two tracks is mandatory for eligible clinicians (ECs).
Reporting measures for all the performance categories of MIPS through reliable HIT consultants can get you a good MIPS Final Score. In MIPS 2018, if the final score is above 70, the EP is a viable candidate for bonus payments. Nothing beats good reputation and a couple of years’ experience in the field of reporting as a HIT consultant.
Reporting measures for quality, promoting interoperability, cost and information activities to the CMS via a MIPS Qualified Registry comes as a highly recommended method.
The point of all this discussion is to put a word out there for students and people looking for jobs. It adds another field to your list of options. Yes, we see that there is a lot to learn and explore in this profession.
Health IT consultancy will only grow in the upcoming years and, hence, will require a larger workforce. For instance, those who can memorize and are good at math, medical billing outsourcing companies can hire you as medical billers & coders.
By increasing the number of collections, you will pave the way for your professional success and maturity as a medical billing expert. This is just one opportunity, and there are several other jobs in the health IT sector that may suit you.