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Universal Health System

UHS increases Medicare Preventive Services and Annual Wellness Visits by 120%, drives revenue while improving quality of care

In January 2015, Universal Health Services (UHS), a Pennsylvania-based health system implemented Cerner’s Preventive Care Advisor at practices in its St. Mary’s (STM) market. The solution helps UHS providers easily identify and offer Medicare’s preventive care services that are available at no cost to traditional (Part B) members. These services include a range of diagnostic and preventive screenings such as Annual Wellness Visits (AWV) and counseling services. These offerings are aimed at early detection and diagnosis, leading to improved health outcomes for all patients, especially older patients with low health literacy and knowledge about preventable diseases.

“The Preventive Care Advisor is such an important tool to utilize within the clinic to track specific tests that my patients are eligible for, as well as maintain and track those AWVs that I encourage my patients to have,” said Dr. David Shepherd, internal medicine, UHS.

UHS’ focus on offering preventive services not only promotes patient wellness and engagement, increasing patient satisfaction with their health care providers, but also generates incremental revenue from the Medicare AWV and other appropriate preventive services and downstream procedures.

Using Preventive Care Advisor from January 2015 to April 2016, UHS increased its total AWVs by 120 percent, boosting preventive services revenue by 90 percent.

“Cerner's secret sauce is their ability to ping the CMS claims database to get real-time service statuses and availability,” said Melissa Green, DHA, director of operations, Independence Physician Management at UHS. “By presenting patient-specific service availability embedded in the clinical workflow, providers have a streamlined workflow as a subset of their overall visit.”

Preventive Care Advisor integrates seamlessly into PowerChart Ambulatory™, so when a traditional Medicare patient record is accessed, the system automatically populates screenings the patient is eligible for, enabling the provider to easily order preventive screenings on the spot. Conversely, Preventive Care Advisor queries Medicare claims to produce a real-time, aggregated list of eligible patients and the services available for each. This allows care teams to proactively reach out to eligible patients in their population to schedule their AWV.

“Before Preventive Care Advisor came about, we tracked AWVs internally, but with the Preventive Care Advisor, we have simplified that tracking process and I can see what the patient’s options are for screening tests and annual exams right there in the EHR,” said Shepherd.

Enabling UHS’ providers with the tools to ensure their patients are offered all covered services available keeps their patients up-to-date on recommended tests and screening, improving management of health conditions, as well as the patients’ experience.

The quality of care improvements and financial value realized in the primary care clinics in the STM market prompted UHS to implement the solution in its other markets, which are all seeing the same benefits.

“From a technology standpoint, this was an easy implementation,” said Green. “The process and provider education piece was what took more legwork. Changing behavior is never easy, but when we were able to show our providers the tools to make their workflow easier and the improvement in their overall productivity through the utilization of the tool, we started to gain traction.”

In some instances, UHS has also opened up utilization of Preventive Care Advisor to its cardiologists and OBGYNs, and plans to continue adding and encouraging use of the solution by providers as they are hired.

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Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.