GE Updates Centricity Revenue-Cycle Platform for Health Care

GE has launched a new version of its Centricity Business application to improve the workflows of revenue cycles and billing processes for health care providers.

GE Healthcare has unveiled Centricity Business 5.1, an update to the company's revenue-cycle management (RCM) platform for health care.

Announced Dec. 5, the new version will enable integrated delivery networks, hospitals and large practices to make payment systems more efficient and boost the quality of care, GE reported.

Centricity is also the brand name for GE's electronic health record (EHR) platform.

Version 5.1 of Centricity Business allows hospitals to use task-management features to control their workflow to provide documentation for payments. It also offers simpler setup and scheduling as well as a way to separate charges for bundled payments.

The Managed Care application in Centricity Business adds increased billing automation. Other features include electronic clearinghouse transactions that can connect hospitals and payers as well as reduce late payments, according to GE.

Centricity Business 5.1 also simplifies security measures in the platform and adds proactive monitoring to boost the efficiency of revenue cycles.

Starting in 2014, Americans will be required to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, or pay a penalty. Health care providers will need RCM software to keep track of payment collection from precertification to final payment, Nancy Fabozzi, senior health care industry analyst for Frost & Sullivan, told eWEEK in a July email.

"Revenue cycle management solutions are critical investments for hospitals, physician practices and integrated delivery networks," Fabozzi said in a statement provided to GE. "Providers will need to invest in revenue cycle technology that drives improvements in critical metrics such as [accounts receivable] days and collection rates while helping them manage new reimbursement models like bundled payments, shared savings and capitation."

Health care reform was a key consideration in upgrading GE's RCM platform, according to Michael Friguletto, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare IT.

Medical practice HealthCare Partners in Torrance, Calif., used Centricity Business as part of an accountable care organization (ACO) pilot. Under the Affordable Care Act, providers can be eligible for Medicare reimbursements based on patient outcomes.

"The Centricity Business modules HealthCare Partners relies on to help them meet these ACO pilot requirements include Enrollment, Referral Management, Capitation and the Centricity EDI Toolkit," Friguletto told eWEEK in an email. "One of the specific challenges HealthCare Partners faced as they looked at the ACO pilot requirements was patient attribution."

Centricity Business provides interoperability to connect additional IT systems, Julie Castongia, director of GE systems at HealthCare Partners in Torrance, Calif., said in a GE video. It also allows providers to handle additional types of insurance claims, including those from self-insured individuals, she said.

"Declining reimbursements and health care reform are some of the biggest challenges we face today," Castongia in a statement. "Centricity Business provides us with the flexibility to adapt to evolving payment models."

In addition, Centricity Business allows health care organizations to connect financial and clinical systems, including EHR applications, said Friguletto. Centricity Business can send a message to the EHR software that a patient will be arriving for an exam. Pre-exam documentation then begins automatically. Doctors also send "clinical requests" to Centricity Business for follow-up tests and appointments, Friguletto added.

On Dec. 5, GE also announced that it would launch Centricity EDI Services 6.0, a Web-based clearinghouse for health insurance companies, or payers. The software offers analytics to help insurance companies with the cost to collect payments. It also provides automation of claim status inquiries. The automation module in Centricity EDI Services could enable health care organizations to achieve all-electronic posting of payment information, said Friguletto.

"Getting to 100 percent electronic posting can be an important efficiency and cost-savings gain for many health care organizations," said Friguletto.

The new version of Centricity EDI Services will be available in early 2013.