In October, we launched the inaugural HIM Benchmark Report using data we gathered from over 140 HIM leadership professionals. Since that time, the findings of that report have allowed healthcare leaders to see the “big picture” in HIM by showing a broader view of management approaches and outsourcing trends across our industry.
One of the key focus areas of the report was related to the number of facilities who outsource HIM activities, specifically coding and registry services. According to survey respondents nearly 60% outsource at least a portion of their coding needs. Interestingly this percentage was much lower for registry related activities. For those that work at certified cancer or trauma centers, only 22% stated they utilize an outsource vendor. Given registry is a non-revenue generating department, it is a bit surprising that so few facilities outsource.
Given the vast amount of challenges that cancer registries face related to backlogged registries, recruiting and retaining experienced and credentialed registrars, and meeting updated state and CoC guidelines, should providers consider outsourcing more of their registry related activities? With over 30 years of private industry and consulting experience, my expertise leads me to believe that outsourcing is a solution that is worth a closer look. I have developed and maintained approved cancer programs for facilities all over the country. Based on my experience, providers that outsource at least some portion of their cancer registries are able to:
Leave it to the experts – Many in the HIM department do not have the necessary skillset to abstract cases in the trauma or cancer registry. By outsourcing, there is a guarantee the registry will be staffed with credentialed and qualified professionals.
Focus on revenue generating activities – With the registry under control, providers are able to focus on the programs that impact their bottom line.
Eliminate or reduce training time – Great outsourcing vendors employ knowledgeable registrars who can hit the ground running and take care of any abstracting backlog. The best vendors provide professional development funding so that registrars can maintain their credential with up-to-date education.
Eliminate or reduce onboarding time – Top outsourcing vendors have a process for streamlining the onboarding process. They know the ropes and can easily deal with most hurdles and barriers that could delay the first day of work. In addition, partnering with an outsource vendor means never having a gap in registry staff. Supported by a recruitment engine, vendors know how to tap the market and have registrars ready to go to work.
Meet higher standards – If your facility is not accredited, vendors usually have the resources to assist with survey readiness. Not only does this demonstrate the willingness to participate in quality patient-centered care, but hospitals will gain national recognition for their efforts.
All of these benefits aside, providers that manage their cancer registries more efficiently are able to serve a more noble purpose by ensuring their registry accomplishes its intended purpose; to ensure that health officials have accurate and timely health information that can be used to inform a wide variety of public health decisions. Is your facility a certified cancer center? How is your cancer registry department managed? I am interested in hearing from you in the comments.
In addition to inquiring about Cancer Registry in our Inaugural Benchmark Report, we also gathered data on CDI, Outsourcing, ICD-10 Readiness and more. If you have not read the 2015 HIM Benchmark Report in full, I encourage you to do so.
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