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Why I Don’t Want to Pay My Doctor: A Patient’s Perspective

A recent visit for an annual physical left me feeling angry, cheated, and worst of all, broke. After expecting a twenty-dollar co-pay, I was shocked to hear the administrator at the front desk utter, “And, today, you owe, $275.” My eyes grew big, almost popping out of my head, “Excuse me?” I questioned. “I’m sorry; you haven’t met your deductible yet” she explained with a smile. “I’ve seen worse,” she added. I was confused and overwhelmed by the various thoughts flooding my head. Wait a minute, I have great insurance, an awesome job, and set that money aside for a fun weekend trip to Charleston, not to give to you, I thought to myself. Of course I couldn’t tell her that, so (like a responsible adult), I reluctantly handed over my debit card, turned around, and waited to see my doctor. I felt slighted in some way. Why didn’t someone tell me this before I booked the appointment? Why isn’t my insurance paying for this? Do I really owe that?

Surprise Bills Are the Worst Kind. While $275 may not seem like a lot to some, it was a shock to me, and something I wasn’t prepared for. This is an all too familiar story and a large reason why medical practices need to increase patient engagement and communication amongst practitioners. It’s beneficial to set clear expectations in regards to the patient’s financial responsibility before the appointment is even scheduled. It’s vital for everyone involved – the insurance companies, the medical practice, and especially the patient to understand what is owed. Patients are consistently confused about what they owe. Last year, 42% of consumers said they were confused by the bills they received from their providers.

If I don’t understand it, do I still have to pay it? Who wants to pay a bill when they aren’t sure they “really” owe what is listed on that bill? A friend of mine who recently had a baby, shared that she received multiple bills from various doctors. Now, eight months later, the bills are still being altered, corrected, and worked out by her insurance company and the hospital. Meanwhile, she’s been sent to collections, and now has a healthy baby and an unhealthy financial situation. According to the Medical Billing Advocates of America, 8 out of 10 hospital bills contain mistakes.

I have to pay for my dinner, but not my doctor? Due to a change in FICO scoring, medical bills now weigh less on your credit score, thus patients have even less of an incentive to pay their doctors. Working for a medical billing software company has shown me how much patient debt some practices are writing off. Meanwhile, doctors are becoming banks that provide financing for patients that are trying to pay their medical bills. Sometimes it takes patients years to completely pay their doctors, while the patients who are unwilling to pay their medical bills, or just simply can’t, are written off as bad debt with little to no repercussions for lack of payment.

Give Me Options. I want to pay my bill, but I’d rather do it online. My phone bill, my rent, my car payment, and even my power bill get paid online. Just like choosing an affordable phone plan, residence, automobile, or setting up fixed utility payments, I should be able to do the same with my medical bills. I enjoy the convenience of setting up automatic payments on a schedule that I choose. Unless it’s a personalized greeting card, I absolutely hate getting mail, where most of it ends up in either the trash or the shredder. I’m not alone! 93 percent of consumers would pay online through their provider’s or a health plan website. Providers need to understand, as a patient, we need multiple payment options and most of us, would rather pay you online.

The Struggle is Real. Even with insurance, many patients are struggling to pay medical bills. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that one-third of Americans struggle to pay their medical bills. With increases in high deductible plans, the rising costs of prescription drugs (nearly 123.7% from 2000 to 2013), and stagnating income, it’s no wonder I’m more likely to go into bankruptcy from my medical bills than by supporting my shoe fetish. High deductible plans aren’t going away. If you don’t currently have payment plan options for your patients, you need to. There are many great options available to help patients pay their medical bills. Practices need to start offering these options to their most difficult payers; their patients. Just be sure to vet out these programs to ensure they have your patient in mind, and won’t hit them hard with high interest fees if they default on payments. Imagine recently launched ImagineHonorCare®, a flexible, interest free patient payment plan option. As a patient, and someone who works closely with providers and medical practices, this is a wake up call for providers to start offering patients more payment options, continue increasing patient engagement, and provide patients with the most accurate explanation of what they owe.

Now, let it be clear that I’m not saying it's acceptable to not pay your doctor. My goal is to provide a unique insider’s perspective from both a patient who has experienced frustrations and confusion surrounding medical bills, and as a professional, whose daily job is helping providers and medical practices with patient collections.

To find out more about offering patients a better way to pay, schedule a demo of ImagineHonorCare®, or contact:

Joya DiCristo
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Instamed; Trends in Healthcare Payments Fifth Annual Report 2014: https://www.instamed.com/wp-content/uploads/Trends-in-Healthcare-Payments-Annual-Report-2014.pdf

Medical Billing Advocates of America; Why you Need a Hospital Bill Review: http://billadvocates.com/resources/need-hospital-bill-review/

FICO; FICO Score 9 Introduces Refined Analysis of Medical Collections: http://www.fico.com/en/newsroom/fico-score-9-introduces-refined-analysis-of-medical-collections

Kaiser Family Foundation; Medical Debt Among People with Health Insurance: https://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/8537-medical-debt-among-people-with-health-insurance.pdf

Beckers Hospital CFOl; 50 things to know about healthcare costs: http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/50-things-to-know-about-healthcare-costs.html

American Journal of Medicine; Medical Bankruptcy in the United States: http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(09)00404-5/abstract

HonorCare®; Honor Your Health Payment Plan; http://www.imagineteam.com/healthcare/software/patient-pay-system

Top Class Actions; GE Capital Retail Bank Ordered to Pay $34.1M in Care Credit Refunds: http://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/31584-ge-capital-retail-bank-ordered-pay-34-1m-carecredit-refunds/


What Really Happened at the RBMA 2015 Radiology Summit in Vegas?

Imagine’s motto is, “What happens in Vegas… should be shared!”

With the RBMA 2015 Radiology Summit officially concluded and the Imagine team all safely back home, let’s take a look at a few highlights from this year.

Overall, the conference proved to be an excellent opportunity for radiology business management professionals to network with one another and connect with vendors in the industry. Our team had a great time (not hard to do in Vegas!) meeting with radiology clients, partners and prospects and a chance to show off the latest and greatest from our entire product family.

Imagine Software RBMA Booth
Photo Credit - RBMA Radiology Summit  

With three full days of roundtables, discussion panels and sessions, the extensive learning opportunities available at the RBMA Summit attracted numerous attendees to take advantage of hearing knowledgeable speakers cover a wide-range of industry hot topics, like:

What sounds like a medieval punishment for crimes against the King, is simply a payment arrangement for health care service providers. In a capitated payment system, physicians or physician groups are paid a set amount of money per patient for a specified period of time, regardless of whether or not that patient receives care. Attendees discussed the different types of capitation arrangements and the potential the payment system may have to control mounting healthcare costs.

2015 RBMA Summit

The Patient

As radiology practices and providers continue to rely more on patients for revenue, discussion surrounding increased patient care quality, retention rates, and the need for new, flexible patient payment options are on the rise. Many have already focused on a variety of patient-centered strategies to help capture these payments, including HonorCare® and ImagineiPay.

Big Data
Popular sessions such as “What’s the Big Deal About Big Data?” and “Analytics and Informatics Roundtable: What’s Required for High Performing Practices?” all supported radiology business managers in finding ways to utilize big data to improve medical practices and control costs, including applying tools like ImagineIntelligence  that allow for more meaningful data analysis.

Industry Changes
While it’s clear that issues like ICD-10 and PQRS are still concerns for many practices, attendees were more comfortable sharing their current plans for the upcoming transition now that things are scheduled to move forward without further delays. Many have coordinated intense efforts to prepare their staff for these new regulations and are in the process of testing and tracking results. Of course, as the official deadline looms ahead, the full impact of these and other government mandates continue to be open topics of speculation. One thing is certain – industry changes are definitely in the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Imagine Booth RBMA
Photo Credit - RBMA Radiology Summit  


Of course, we have to add ourselves to the list of buzzed about topics at this year’s RBMA Summit! Imagine was one of the most popular exhibits at the show, highlighting our new Imagine Financial Suite, which includes ImagineiPay™ for online patient payments, and our interest free patient payment plan, HonorCare®.

In keeping with previous RBMA conferences, our flagship solution, ImagineBilling was the most demoed product in our product line; however, ImagineIntelligence was high on the list as well, offering personalized reporting capabilities and data-rich analytics in a comprehensive business intelligence tool. Both impressed users with their features and performance.

We were also a big hit on the conference app, with posts and comments about our complimentary booth massages, Amazon gift card giveaways, and legendary client appreciation dinner on Monday evening. Held at the Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas, Imagine hosted a record number of clients and partners for a fun night of authentic German food, beer, and music!

2015 RBMA Imagine Client Dinner

To conclude, the Summit proved to be full of helpful tools and networking opportunities for both attendees and sponsors alike.  It’s great to be a valued member of such a unique organization dedicated to the mutual success of all those involved in the business of radiology practice management.  If you haven’t already, I encourage you to join RBMA and head out to Austin, TX this September 27-29th for the Fall Educational Conference.  The Imagine Team will see you there!

Imagine Team at 2015 Spring RBMA
Photo Credit - RBMA Radiology Summit  


Selecting a Medical Practice Management System

Imagine Software Helping Manage Medical Billing PracticesSwitching practice management systems can be an extremely difficult decision. Choosing which medical software to implement, learning a variety of new medical billing processes, and trying to make everyone happy about the change are just a few of the challenges organizations can encounter. More often than not, an upgrade in technology will pay off in the long run, but getting through the process itself can be, well, a process. Here are some helpful steps to get you started when searching for a new medical practice management system -

1. Establish a team who can assess your medical practice needs

2. Evaluate the entire patient and claims revenue cycle

3. Determine essential software features and functionality

4. Identify software vendors to consider

5. Request a formal proposal and schedule system demonstrations



Revenue Cycle Management

Revenue Cycle Management

ImagineAppliance™ takes medical billing to the next level with hands-free automation of many billing activities, eliminating routine and time-consuming manual work on a daily, weekly or monthly basis depending on your business needs.

Designed to automate the billing and revenue cycle management processes such that little to no human intervention is needed for a vast majority of the billing workflow, the ImagineAppliance™ provides flexible set-up, easy-to-use navigation, and detailed logging of each action performed.

Let The ImagineAppliance™ Work For You To Reduce The Claim Lifecycle

Just as user-friendly as it is efficient, utilize the ImagineAppliance™ to automate general file transfer and management functions of your billing enterprise through automated timers and natural language processing, decreasing the overall human steps necessary in the billing process, including the acquisition of demographics and charges, coding of charges, checking against payer rules, and submitting for payment.


Radcom Associates, Ltd. Selects ImagineSoftware as Medical Billing Provider

Charlotte, NC – Technology Partners, Inc. (dba ImagineSoftware), a leading provider of medical billing technology, announces that a new client, Radcom Associates, Ltd., has chosen the Imagineradiology™ practice management suite for its billing and collection needs.

A multi-specialty, multi-state medical billing company based outside of Pittsburgh, Radcom provides services to more than 70 physicians who bill over 850,000 procedures annually. After careful consideration of other solutions within the marketplace, Radcom selected Imagine as the new centerpiece of its billing operation due to the need for an all-encompassing practice management system that could provide seamless integration capabilities with existing client services.


PBS West Interview

PBS West is a small billing company specializing in radiology and also several hospital-based practices in our regional market. It is so easy to be taken with the next generation computer systems, which Imagine very much represents. 


Medical Practice Management System


Medical Practice Management System

ImagineBilling™ Practice Management Software improves cash flow, simplifies processes and provides unprecedented, real-time productivity monitoring by streamlining the billing/collections workflow to help clients achieve peak performance and measurable results.


Meeting the needs of hospitals, medical practices, and billing companies across the country, the Imagine system enhances everyday applications within the billing process, reducing the lifecycle of claims to increase practice profitability. Easy-to-use navigation, grouping of like information and class together, automatic adjustment of screen size and resolution, and recent account retrieval all work to leverage staff capabilities for building efficiency and adding value while applying high quality standards to data integrity.


ImagineSoftware Unveils Imagine EFX for Global Billing Performance

Charlotte, NC - ImagineSoftware, a leading provider of medical billing solutions, announces the first look of Imagine EFX, the next version and 11th generation of its practice management suite.

Developed on a completely interoperable framework, Imagine EFX allows the system to be expanded on its secure, privacy-centric and ubiquitous platform.  EFX methods include browser-based, virtualized, native app, and enterprise presentation.  All methods are designed for simultaneous, multi-user, multi-mode environments and performance, providing optimal experience and efficiency to Imagine users from a variety of locations in real-time, all with advanced quality, speed, and security.


ImagineSoftware Adds Medical Software Company CPU

ImagineSoftware, a leading provider of healthcare billing software, today announced that cloud-based medical and professional billing software solutions provider, CPU Medical Management Systems (CPUMMS) joins the Imagine team. The combined company will be the market leader with the single largest footprint of radiology billing softwarewith an expanded presence across multiple healthcare specialties


Imagine Practice Management Software

ImagineSoftware's Practice Management Software improves practice cash flow, streamlines the billing processes and provides real-time practice KPI's. Our advanced billing software leverages your staff capabilities for a true “new generation billing" effort. Designed to further enhance the advantages of ImagineRadiology®Imagine's Practice Manager meets the needs of medical practices and billing companies by improving practical applications within the billing / collections system, including easy to use GUI, grouping of like-information and class together, automatic adjustment of screen size and resolution, and recent account retrieval of patient and practice information.

ImagineMedical Practice Manager is the industry's first intelligent multi-platform channeling practice management system. The core module of IMAGINEradiology®, Practice Manager, offers integrated radioloy billing features including: automated denials, radiology workflow, medical billing charge central, HIPAA audit trails, document management & archiving, denial mitigation, flex reporting and more.

Illuminating ICD-10 – The Ridiculous, Outrageous, and Just Plain Weird

Ah, ICD-10.

A never ending topic in the medical billing community (seriously, will it ever end?). Rumor has it that on October 1, 2015, ICD-9 will go the way of the dinosaur and be replaced by its smarter, more evolved cousin, ICD-10. Which, in the case of the T-Rex, was a giant, flightless, meat-eating bird called a Diatryma. Go figure.

With the switch less than three short months away, the scramble is on to make sure millions of organizations across the country implement the correct processes to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. Currently, there are 14,000 ICD-9 codes available. How many ICD-10 codes? 68,000. Giant bird for the win!

With nearly five times as many codes in ICD-10, it’s important to consider the reasons behind such a massive code set. Yes, yes, we all know that the new ICD-10 codes are designed to provide a more exact diagnosis. However, it might be possible that enough bizarre occurrences which no one really knew how to code for kept repeating themselves in emergency rooms. Thus, ICD-10 was born.

Don’t believe me? As proof, I offer you this compelling evidence from the following REAL, honest-to-goodness ICD-10 codes:

Code V91.07XD – Burn due to water-skis on fire, subsequent encounter.
Water puts out fires, in general, so this begs the assumption that it must have been some type of grease or chemical fire that set your skis ablaze. In which case, smothering with a beach towel would be appropriate.

Code Z63.1 – Problems in relationship with in-laws.
Never mind. This one seems pretty legit. 

Code W220.2XD – Walked into lamppost, subsequent encounter.
What is the code for drunk?

Code W55.29XA – Other contact with cow, subsequent encounter.
There are also codes for “kicked by cow” and “bitten by cow” so, yes. It is safe to conclude a cow sat on this person.

Code Y93.D – Activities involved arts and handcrafts.
scissors f20ed
Technically, Y93.D is not a billable ICD-10 diagnosis code, and therefore, it cannot be used to indicate a medical diagnosis. However, there are FOUR codes below Y93.D that describe this diagnosis in greater detail. I can only assume they are as follows:

1. Activities involved arts and handcrafts, scissors through leg
2. Activities involved arts and handcrafts, hot glue in eyeball
3. Activities involved arts and handcrafts, allergic reaction to glitter
4. Activities involved arts and handcrafts, excessive paper cuts

Code V00.01XD – Pedestrian on foot injured in collision with roller-skater, subsequent encounter.
Looking at you, Venice Beach. Seriously, anyone over the age of 12 should not be on roller skates. What if it was a child, you ask? Not possible. Children are born with the innate ability to skate their little legs off in perfect form. Plus, during a collision, they just bounce off adults.

Code Y92.146 – Swimming-pool of prison as the place of occurrence of the external cause.
You read that right. We all know prison is dangerous. Water aerobics class injuries are not exactly what comes to mind.

Code T71.231D – Asphyxiation due to being trapped in a (discarded) refrigerator, accidental, subsequent encounter.
Apparently, this has happened enough to require a classification. Refer back to “Code Z63.1 - Problems in relationship with in-laws” for more information.

Code W61.12XA – Struck by macaw, initial encounter.
Seen Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds? Terrifying. I’d run to the nearest hospital, too. 

macaw2 05ee7

Code V97.33XD – Sucked into jet engine, subsequent encounter.

Wow. Just, wow. Can we be friends? Anyone who gets sucked into a jet engine and lives to tell the tale is a winner in my book.

Code V95.43XS – Spacecraft collision injuring occupant, sequela.

Obviously, this only applies to injured humans. Alien lifeforms have a whole separate set of codes. Cue The Twilight Zone theme song.

Code Y34 – Unspecified event, undetermined intent.
Got it. You’re too embarrassed to tell your physician you got trapped in the refrigerator again…

So there you have it. May the odds be ever in your favor!


Healthcare Excellence Despite Lower Reimbursements

Bridging the Gap and Meeting Demands

Healthcare reform ups the ante in terms of expectations, attempting to measure (and pay) in a world of quality, where patients are “cured” the first time around and the effectiveness of their physicians determined by whether they accomplish that goal. Value-based compensation models, while still functionally vague, are the intended mandate and represent a quantum change from current fee-for-service models.

Bridging the GapThe “new” model of healthcare comes on the heels of recent reimbursement cuts, the implementation of “5010” (the new format for standard electronic Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act transactions), the threat of penalty for failure to submit quality data codes compliant with Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) measures to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), confusion regarding changing Meaningful Use requirements, an often hostile environment of Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) audits and even more confusion over how to function with future payment systems. In our new world, the quality of healthcare will improve based on objective measurement and the “value” of the patient experience, all at lower cost for those paying the bill.

Better healthcare for less cost? The demand for more service, higher standards of accountability (while at the same time simplifying administration), and increased levels of compliance reporting usually go hand in hand with higher costs. Practices are rapidly facing the need to upgrade technology and personnel skills, with perhaps a greater reliance on support from consultants and professional organizations to help them navigate the waters.

This type of contradictory, disruptive messaging tips the balance of certainty and stability, puts us on high alert, and allows for fear, uncertainty, and doubt to set in. Some of the credible surveys conducted in 2011/2012 show physician morale at an all-time low, with many providers considering the safety of employment over practice ownership and others even considering a change in career.While this should come as no surprise given an increasingly hostile business environment, it would be unfortunate and further add to the predicted physician shortage in the future. In fact, solutions to this crisis are actually within reach.

Radiology is usually viewed as a “behind the scenes” specialty, where contribution to the patient’s circle of care is consultative and supports those physicians with direct patient contact. While radiologists could in theory support the concept of “value” in medicine, they in fact have little control over how their interpretations are used to drive improved outcomes. At the same time, as quality becomes the watchword, insurance companies in some parts of the country are attempting to steer patients to lower cost providers without consideration of quality. How does radiology move then from the perception of being a “passive” specialty in regard to patients, potentially treated as a low-cost commodity and therefore, able to maintain some level of control over its destiny?

Alan C.Kay stated, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” What can this look like for radiology?


Big Data, Big Deal or Big Dread? And How Does It Impact Medical Billing?

What is Big Data, and how does it impact Medical Billing?

Big Data is on a lot of people’s minds lately, including those of medical billing administrators. Social media news feeds are filled with stories that promise everything from a cure to cancer, to the downfall of personal privacy as we know it. So what is Big Data, and how does it have any application to the world of medical billing? This is a question that many practice administrators are looking to answer. This post will explore the impact of Big Data reporting, and offer a few considerations to keep in mind while selecting a reporting solution to purchase.

Wikipedia has a well-written article on what Big Data is, and defines it as, “an all-encompassing term for any collection of data sets so large or complex that it becomes difficult to process using traditional data processing applications.”

Questions to Consider:
• Have you ever wanted to see what the true impact of CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) combining services has on your business?
• Have you ever tried to setup reports that show a comparison of insurance adjustments to uncover factors that are involved in the changes you see happening in your payer mix?
• Are you interested in showing the Relative Value Unit for how much work your doctors have performed, relative to the reimbursement amount they are receiving for their services?

If you have ever wanted to know the answer to these questions, or similar questions, then Big Data collection and analysis applies to your medical billing practice. With most billing systems a user can only use a small amount of the data to establish trends for these kinds of questions. Depending on the daily volume of posted charges, sometimes you can access as little as 5 months worth of transactional data before reaching the limit for the amount of data that can be shown in a report. This limitation is not always the fault of the software, and typically resides with the computer hardware not being able to process the required amount of information. Trying to establish trends while working around these limitations can become nearly impossible for some practice managers, due to the sheer volume of data they have to organize. Big Data is not a theoretical concept that may one day start to impact the medical billing office, it is an everyday reality for any practice manager who posts more than half a million procedures a year. This massive amount of data illustrates what the IT industry is referring to as Big Data.

The good news is that while the amount of data being pulled to do business analysis has changed, the concepts of what needs to be analyzed is still the same. The need to report on trends for metrics and key performance indicators has not changed. What has changed is the increase of complicated business research required to help managers and administrators set benchmarks and forecast trends. It now includes a more sophisticated method for processing data. Big Data has created a need to not just store massive amounts of information; it has also forced software developers to come up with innovative ways to make that information accessible for analysis. So what kinds of reporting tools do you need to accomplish this? You will need advanced tools that offer everything from early warning alerts and user productivity dashboards, to secure web accessible items that allow any member of your organization to remotely monitor your business. Most advanced reporting tools fall in to the Business Intelligence software category, due to their capability of monitoring live data trends without the user being required to open the application.

Before you look into a new reporting tool, here are a few things you may want to keep in mind:

Separate what you Need from what you Want:
It would be nice for every team member to access all of the metrics for their responsible areas from their smart phone, any time they are away from the office, but do you need this ability? Most reporting tools charge a per user access license fee, and most price their licensees based on the kinds of features and access each user will have when working with the product. Make sure that you are planning ahead for future licensing needs as well as purchasing features that are relevant to your business model and that your team prioritizes needs over wants before negotiating a contract.

Nothing powerful comes for free:
Time to talk about system performance cost. If your system has a massive amount of data to process before it can be extracted for a reporting tool to access, then a server somewhere on your network is going to need to dedicate resources to make that happen. Virtual servers usually are very bad at this kind of processing but cost less money to get off the ground. If you do not have the ability to create a new server, what will the performance impact be on the existing server(s) that will host the reporting processes? Make sure your IT team is part of the discussion with your vendor to ensure that running a report will not bring your billing system to a halt while the report is running.

The more powerful the product the higher the learning curve
One of the biggest obstacles that Practice Administrators will be facing as they look into obtaining a reporting tool will be determining who on their team needs to be trained to use it. Some organizations have a heavy enough volume of analysis needs that they have a full time employee who does nothing but run advanced reports. Others do not have this resource available. It is important to realistically evaluate whether or not your team members tasked with running advanced reports have more than a passing knowledge of Excel. At the same time, your reporting product needs to be intuitive enough that these individuals can learn it without earning a business degree in the process. Make sure that you collect plenty of user experience feedback on potential reporting solutions to see how long it took users to get up and running.

The most meaningful data comes from focused analysis
Any reporting tool you use to help dig through your data is going to provide you with a number of ways to categorize and sort that data into meaningful categories and relationships. The only way to maintain your sanity in this kind of situation is to stay focused. Before purchasing a tool, have a set of specific reporting needs that you want to accomplish with it. Keep the list small, no more than five, ensuring your most important reporting needs are being directly addressed. Many Billing Software Vendors have advanced reporting tools that have a number of prefabricated reports that may or may not meet your needs. Ask them to demonstrate how to meet your list of needs in their tool to make sure that you are getting what you need, not just what you are being offered.

Keeping these items in mind while approaching a new reporting tool will help set expectations when evaluating products, and guide you towards a tool that will provide you with meaningful data. By considering these factors, you will be able to reach your operational goals as opposed to choosing a tool that is so complex your team does not embrace it.

Will Big Data mean anything for the day-to-day life of front line workers? Yes, but in indirect ways. The real impact will be felt by managers and team leaders who oversee daily operations, who now have real data on how their team is contributing to meeting organizational goals. Advanced reporting tools will not just monitor employee progress, but will also identify breakdowns in processes and highlight areas where the team needs more resources, in order to meet their goals. These tools will also give new insight into shifts in revenue and services your doctors are preforming. If your organization has a clear direction and focus on where it wants to go, business intelligence reporting tools like our company’s ImagineIntelligence module, will not only validate the reality of those goals, but will help you stay on target to accomplish them. That only becomes possible if you have the ability to leverage your Big Data in a meaningful way. Big Data ultimately means more information to base decisions on. Make sure that you are taking full advantage of your data today.


An Interview with Imagine CEO, Sam Khashman

Imagine’s fearless leader and CEO, Sam Khashman, sat down with the team at the RBMA Bulletin to talk about taking business risks, data security, and the changing trend in practice collections. Take a look at what he had to say in the RBMA May-June Bulletin Thought Leader spotlight:

When you founded the company, did you have a sense of what it would grow into and that you would still be running it today?
Thinking back to the beginning, our vision, endless ideas and drive would have had us bigger and more successful in our own minds. I think we always thought of super success without an end in sight. We probably didn’t quite think about all the mountains we would have to climb and the hurdles that we would have to overcome; and that endless ideas and drive command an equal amount of resources. I am certain that every entrepreneur firmly believes in their success and the immortality of their idea, their company and their team. In our case, we set nonnegotiable goals. Success and servant leadership are on top, and we are grateful that they have been well received for 15 years.

How important has taking risks and innovating been to your company’s overall success?
I believe that taking more risks than anyone else thinks is practical and surrounding yourself with a very creative team that can execute is key to any company’s success. The French romantic Victor Hugo wrote, “nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.” In modern times we might add “…and a strong team and likeminded partners that can execute and maintain relationships.” Additionally, we believe that servant leadership and continuous innovation of systems, processes and products play a vital role.

Data security is becoming a big challenge for healthcare. Have you seen the need for security go up since ImagineSoftware was launched?
The healthcare IT landscape has changed significantly and the need for security has dramatically increased since we first began our journey. Cybersecurity was a Star Trek, insider, geek term in 2000. Today cyber-attack, -breach, -security are on the minds of most Americans and front and center for any business with sensitive data. Particularly scary breaches are the ones that involve PHI and surrounding information because these constitute the most severe breach of privacy. It seems that not a week goes by without news breaking of a healthcare system, practice or cloud provider being breached. Unfortunately, most breaches are successful on the attacker’s end and a failure on the side of the folks charged with safeguarding the data. The short version is that if an individual actor, an organization or even a foreign government spends enough time and resources, they will likely be able to get in.

Our company has implemented multilevel systems to include intrusion prevention and intrusion detection at the n-point in addition to putting in place the proper protocols for stop-of service and risk mitigation. We have added an entire department of high powered cyber folks headed up by our chief strategy officer, a veteran in the cyber field who has implemented mission-critical systems for national interests. These folks are available to our clients and assist in critical infrastructure design well beyond the Imagine system. Finally, we have built our own data center to ensure that we provide clients who like the convenience that cloud-based systems bring but don’t want to take a gamble on a third party with a viable alternative.

What do you anticipate will happen to practice collections and how will Imagine play a role?
The recent reimbursement cuts and the combination of procedures that hit radiologists’ pocket books may have been just a preview to what the mounting patient responsibility component will become. The theory was that true self-pay would disappear, but the reality is that the dollar volume simply shifted from one bucket to the next. Deductible, self-pay after insurance, enrollment periods, etc. impact collections more now than ever before. In anticipation of this shift, we helped create a number of patient payment solutions that assist our clients in the collection effort while maintaining a healthy and positive relationship with the patients. Imagine makes these options and systems available to its clients without the need or cost of additional software licensing. Our clients have had great success in not just the mitigation but also the increase of income on this journey.