John Muir Health and Optum are embarking on a new partnership that will see the Bay Area health system outsource most of its technology and billing functions to the UnitedHealth subsidiary.
WHY IT MATTERS
Optum will manage John Muir’s nonclinical IT systems, analytics, revenue cycle management, purchasing and claims processing. The company will also work to boost the ambulatory care coordination and utilization management services of John Muir Health’s Physician Network.
The goal, officials say, is to streamline the efficiency of administrative operations using innovative technologies – helping reduce administrative workload and allowing the health system focus more on patient care.
Optum also hopes to accelerate John Muir Health’s value-based care efforts by deploying some of its own clinical technologies and advanced analytics software at the point of care, helping the health system with patient engagement and population health management.
As part of the deal, terms of which were not disclosed, some 540 John Muir Health staff will become Optum employees as a team dedicated to the health system, officials say, noting that those employees will gain access to new skills training and workforce development opportunities.
THE LARGER TREND
As Healthcare IT News looks at workforce trends across the industry this month, John Muir Health’s agreement with Optum represents one bold way a health systems might try to manage the financial and operational demands of deploying the staff and technology necessary to advance value-based care.
A trend toward outsourcing of IT services and revenue cycle capabilities has been gaining momentum across the industry in recent years, but this deal is more extensive and sizable than many.
Another, different, strategy had been tried recently by Providence St. Joseph Health, a major Epic client that recently acquired Epic consultancy Bluetree, bringing that company’s expertise in-house to help advance its own quality improvement efforts while also diversifying its revenue stream by helping other providers with their IT initiatives.
Thge same day it announced the John Muir Health agreement, Optum parent company UnitedHealth announced that it would roll out an interoperable personal health record to its 20 million members.
ON THE RECORD
In a statement, OptumInsight CEO Eric Murphy called its new partnership with John Muir Health a “first-of-its-kind, comprehensive relationship” that brings the “skills and knowledge of the John Muir Health team together with Optum’s advanced technologies, analytic tools and operational expertise to deliver better health outcomes and patient experiences while reducing the total cost of care.”
“We share common values with Optum, and this new relationship will help us further deliver on our mission to improve the health of the people we serve,” added John Muir Health President and CEO Cal Knight. We are committed to remaining independent while embracing partnerships that help us grow, and serve more patients.”
Focus on Workforce Development
In July, we’ll speak to experts about how they’re managing their workforces – not just clinicians, but IT departments, data scientists, care managers, back office staff and others.
Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.