Anthelio Health Care Solutions’ CEO Asif Ahmad talks electronic health records and the ever-changing face of health IT.

Mediaplanet: What are the biggest changes to Revenue Cycle Management in health care today?

Asif Ahmad: The biggest difference, when you look at health care technology today, is the adoption of integrated electronic health records. You now have the EHR and the revenue cycle management [RCM] logged onto one system, allowing us to go from a siloed view to a comprehensive perspective.

Rather than managing from a back-end only, which you tried to correct mistakes and it was too late, the industry is shifting to managing from the front end. This transparency means you should be able to look at your population and be able to predict in the local region some level of productivity for RCM. An analytics format is becoming real.

MP: How are the technology advancements impacting consumers?

AA: The patient is finally getting empowered to engage. Historically, from an RCM perspective, we didn’t provide the patient any visibility. Now patients are forcing hospitals to tell them ‘what is my co-pay?’ or ‘what do I pay you this month?’

"CEOs have to understand and start using technology as the core of the business, especially to optimize the investment."

Maybe they decide to shop around to get a scan and email their test results. That’s pushing the consumerism and driving a transparency into health care pricing, which wasn’t there before.

MP: What could possible hamstring the optimization of RCM?

AA: You now have transparency; the flipside is you have accountability. You now have physicians in hospitals who have to provide timely information back to the patient or health care provider. A lot of this is done on the backbone of technology. You need to have people who are not only adept at managing patients, but who also know how to use technology. That’s been one of the biggest challenges.

While a lot of EMRS [electronic medical records] have been sold and implemented, very few have been truly adopted, meaning an efficient way of using it to your advantage—not a detriment. People haven’t optimized the clinical process. There is a huge disconnect between the capability of a technology and being able to use an optimized process to get the result. The challenge is how to drive results from RCM—how do you move from back end to front end? It is a culture shift that hasn’t happened yet.

MP: What can bring this to fruition?

AA: We need to realize health care is a technology business. Health care IT used to be viewed as a support function. Now IT is the core of the business; you can’t schedule patients without it and 60 percent of patients are expected to schedule appointments on mobile devices by 2019. You can’t drive verifications. You can’t prescribe drugs. CEOs have to understand and start using technology as the core of the business, especially to optimize the investment.