Cath lab directors dissatisfied with CVIS documentation features

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Cardiovascular information systems (CVIS) are not delivering quantifiable financial benefits, according to cardiac cath lab directors who participated in an independent national survey on behalf of Wolters Kluwer Health and ProVation Medical.

The survey, conducted by Renaissance Research, of Edwardsville, IL, was designed to measure the use and satisfaction levels with CVIS and procedure documentation systems. It was completed online by 151 hospital cardiology and cardiac lab directors in January and results were released in late February.

Thirty one percent of cardiac cath lab directors reported no quantifiable improvements in revenues or the revenue cycle since implementing CVIS, due in part to continued reliance on dictation for physician documentation. Overall, 69 percent of respondents reported that physicians continue to dictate, despite clinical procedure documentation for physicians being identified by 51 percent of cardiology directors as an extremely important CVIS feature.

Four in 10 cardiac cath lab directors whose physicians dictate felt that documentation issues have at least a moderate impact on revenues. One-fourth also estimated that they could realize an annual savings of $100,000 or more by eliminating the costs associated with dictation and transcription.

When properly designed and implemented, technological systems for cardiology should streamline workflow, reduce costs and increase revenue, said Arvind Subramanian, president and CEO, Wolters Kluwer Health Clinical Solutions and ProVation Medical. However, when they are difficult to use, don't offer a solid return on investment or do not integrate with other information systems, they cannot deliver the full scope of improvements health care organizations require to achieve their patient care and financial goals.

This was borne out in the survey. The majority of respondents reported being only somewhat satisfied or satisfied with CVIS. Lower satisfaction rates were most closely associated with problems interfacing with other systems and hardware (10 percent); failure to function as promised (8 percent); not user-friendly (7 percent); poor vendor support (6 percent); and failure to offer a comprehensive array of features (5 percent).

Of the 31 percent who reported using software for procedure documentation, fewer than one in five said the application produced automatic CPT and ICD codes based on that documentation. As a result, 22 percent reported no quantifiable increase in revenues since implementing the documentation solution.

However, interest in clinical documentation software remains high. The majority (68 percent) of those whose physicians currently dictate said it was at least somewhat likely that they would implement physician procedure documentation within the next two years. Among the features identified as having the most influence over that purchasing decision were the ability to streamline workflows and increase efficiencies (88 percent), ease-of-use (86 percent) and physician satisfaction rates (72 percent).