Clinical Optimization Effort and ROI Matrix

Over on Hospital EMR and EHR, Galen Healthcare Solutions has been providing some really practical and detailed information on optimizing an EHR as part of their EMR Clinical Optimization Series and they’re just getting started. Along with the EMR Optimization blog posts, they also have published a FREE EMR optimization whitepaper that dives into tips, tricks, and perspectives on how to approach driving a tangible return on your EMR investment.

I love that we are finally moving past the discussion of EMR implementation and moving towards EMR optimization. As David Chou, CIO at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, recently said in the CXO Scene podcast, “Hospitals have invested at minimum $100 million on their EHR and that doesn’t include all the consulting and training services required to implement the EHR on top of it.” Given this massive investment, it is more than time to optimize our EHR implementations and ensure we’re getting a great ROI from the investment.

In Galen’s EMR Optimization Whitepaper, they shared this really impressive matrix that looks at the clinical optimization effort required against the benefits an organization will receive from those efforts:

(Click on the above image to see the large version of the matrix)

There’s a lot to chew on in this matrix, so feel free to spend some time looking over the details. In fact, it would be beneficial to do a deep analysis of this matrix with your organization. No doubt you’ll uncover ways that your organization can benefit from better clinical optimization and it will help you evaluate areas where you should focus your initial attention.

While there’s a lot of detail in this matrix, I was struck by how few levers had an impact on costs. This is a tremendous insight to consider when it comes to EHR and clinical optimization and their impact on healthcare costs. No doubt there are other more important drivers of cost that need to be considered.

On the other hand, I was also struck by how many of the opportunities in the matrix were able to directly maximize revenue while also improving quality. Sometimes I think we look at the care we provide and see our efforts to improve quality as counter to our efforts to maximize revenue. This chart clearly illustrates how you can focus on improving the quality of care your patients receive while still maximizing your organization’s revenue.

I also like to look at the outliers in these matrices. In the matrix above, they’re found in the middle of the matrix. They require less effort, but the monetary ROI is high. I’m talking about “Keeping Patient in Network” and “Driving care delivery and managing acute and chronic diseases by evaluating the patient’s problem list in clinical documentation.” These are both things that can be done much more effectively on the back of the data found in the EHR. Are you maximizing these opportunities? I know many organizations that have barely begun the work of reducing volume leakage and improved clinical decision support. Those might be great places for your organization to start in your EMR optimization efforts.

What stands out to you when you look at the EMR optimization matrix above? Would you change any of the values in the matrix? Are there areas that are missing from the matrix that you would add? How many of these optimization efforts are you working on in your organization? We look forward to hearing your thoughts and perspectives in the comments and on social media.

Note: Galen Healthcare Solutions is a sponsor of Healthcare Scene and the EMR Clinical Optimization Series of blog posts.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.