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Developing a Superior Product: Q&A with Rhonda Hixson of AmkaiSolutions

June 17, 2013 By SIS Corporate


technologyRhonda Hixson is director of product management for AmkaiOffice at AmkaiSolutions.

Q: What do you think makes the AmkaiSolutions systems — the AmkaiOffice business management system and the AmkaiCharts electronic medical records system — superior to others on the market?

Rhonda Hixson: In designing our systems, we brought together a group of people that had been in the ASC industry for a long time. With this experience and perspective, we analyzed different systems and carefully noted the components we liked and didn't like. We then solicited similar feedback from surgery center leaders from throughout the country.

This information was used to create the foundation for our systems, and we have continued to use this approach for updating and upgrading the systems over the years. Many of our partners recognize this history in our systems' development, and we feel it is quite apparent that the growth of our systems is based upon the expanding — and changing — needs of our partners.

Q: How have the AmkaiSolutions systems improved on what was and now is on the market for ASCs?

RH: When the original ASC systems were launched, we were constrained a bit by the technology that was available 15-20 years ago. Ever since our launch of AmkaiOffice, we are constantly integrating new options and discussing new opportunities for improvement, and advancements in technology have helped more of these come to fruition. We've been able to make the systems much more user-friendly, through reducing the number of screens it takes to accomplish tasks, reducing a lot of the tabs you see in older systems and allowing users to drill down into various fields so oftentimes all of your information you need can be displayed on one or even just a few screens.

This all makes it so much easier to train people on how to use the systems. Especially in cases when you have cross-training for staff, which is quite common in ASCs. It makes it so much easier because they can see all the data on one screen; they're not trying to figure out where the data is and how to find it.

Q: What are a few other features of the systems that you think have changed significantly since their launch?

RH: We've made conflict checking more real-time, so rather than having to wait until you file a case to find out what may be missing or what may be wrong, the systems check to make sure you do what you need to do as you move through the different data fields.

With AmkaiOffice, for example, we've been very responsive to the way contracts have changed over the years. You used to just have your basic grouper-based contracts. Now there are so many different types of contracts that must go into the system, and that's because payers are driving these different models. We're responsive to these changing contract needs, and we work to ensure our systems can accommodate this changing need because we know accounts receivable is so essential. We know that if our systems can't match what the contracts require and payers expect, that's going to hinder the way ASCs can do business.

When we make changes to the system, it's because we're listening to our clients, we're talking to them, we're understanding what they need and we are building our products around what's going to work for them. We don't want our partners to adapt to us. We adapt to them.

Topics: Revenue Cycle Management, ASC Solutions, Ambulatory Surgery Centers

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