Blockchain is a digital decentralized public database that can be shared among its users. It creates an unalterable digitally signed record of each transaction, called a block. For every new transaction, a new block is created which links with the preceding block, thereby resulting in a chain of blocks; this is how blockchain derives its name. Since the blocks cannot be altered or deleted, it is an accurate repository of every transaction made in a blockchain.
In the first blog post of this series, I briefly described CryoLife’s work to implement the GHX ePay solution, the results we have achieved - including a 94 percent reduction in payment processing fees – and the top three lessons learned on our journey. In this next post, I delve deeper into one of our top success factors – securing executive support for the transition.
The 2017 annual survey of hospital CEOs conducted by the American College of Healthcare Executives revealed that financial challenges was their number one concern. Healthcare providers and executives are still trying to grapple with the shift of healthcare from a fee-for-service to a value-based model. As a result of this shift, there has been a marked decline in reimbursement from the government as well as private insurance groups.
The adoption of technological advancements, in healthcare or any industry for that matter, varies for a number of reasons and happens along a predictable continuum. When a new technology emerges, there will be people who adopt at the earliest stages (innovators), early adopters, those in the early majority, those in the late majority, and laggards who resist the adoption altogether. The reasons for these different rates of adoption are varied as well. Some see cost as a prohibitive factor. Some do not trust new technologies and want to make sure that they have been fully vetted before bringing them into their own practice. Others are simply comfortable with their current way of doing things and don't seek out a change.
Like most manufacturers, CryoLife has been challenged to increase operational efficiency and cut costs without negatively impacting product and service quality. Upon examining our processes, we identified accounts receivable (AR) as a significant area for savings.
We manually processed a wide range of payment forms from customers: credit cards, automated clearing house (ACH) payments, wire payments and checks. Payment processing was time consuming, labor intensive and costly. We spent $1.4M annually in credit card processing fees, budgeting $100k per month – that caught the attention of the C-suite.
Even though the European version of the unique device identification regulation was introduced almost four years after the U.S. UDI rule, it stands to broaden the value of the rule with the expanded coverage for implantable devices and the requirement related to generation of real world evidence on the performance of medical devices. Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) UDI rule was introduced, similar mandates have been included in the U.S but only went into effect this year.