How to Classify Patients within Service Lines

As a healthcare provider, you want to deliver the highest level of care to your patients while remaining profitable and competitive in today’s market. One effective method for tracking costs and monitoring performance is classifying patients within service lines. By using service lines, you can analyze cost accounting across multiple areas to develop a clear picture of your actual patient care expenses so that you can manage your resources and identify areas for improvement.

A turn-key solution, CostFlex’s Service Line & Analysis Reporting software can quickly aggregate large volumes of service line data so you can analyze it accurately and efficiently. It works seamlessly with our cost accounting software suite. You can create and manage service line data from each patient group to develop effective strategies for maintaining profitability while still providing exceptional patient care.

What are Service Lines?

In the healthcare industry, service lines focus on specific groups of patients who have similar needs or receive similar care. Instead of using a traditional, silo-type approach to providing clinical care, you can employ a service line model similar to those product line manufacturers and retailers use. In this way, you can define specific lines of business and their related services to create a system that follows the patient throughout the lifecycle of their treatment.

Service Line Classifications

You can classify patients within service lines based on patient demographics and the types of services they received, such as:

  • Inpatient and outpatient criteria
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups (DRGs) and Medicare Severity-Diagnosis Related Groups (MS-DRGs)
  • ICD procedure codes, such as ICD-10-CM
  • Major Diagnostic Categories (MDCs)
  • Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System codes (HCPCS)

Each of these classifications has subcategories that you can use to further classify patients to obtain pinpointed metrics regarding a particular area of treatment or disease. You can also create classifications that define your governance structure, which is critical to staying competitive and ensuring top-notch patient care and engagement.

Why Use Service Lines?

Service lines can be powerful tools to direct management decisions and provide operational oversight. By analyzing the data and making informed decisions, you can more effectively drive key areas of the organization to:

  • Increase financial performance
  • Standardize procedures and services across multiple facilities
  • Create specialized hubs of service that can provide higher-quality care and outcomes

You can evaluate and monitor performance across several service areas at once with service lines. Since most patients engage with many different departments and service areas, you can use the data to understand each service line’s contributions to patient care and your organization’s financial sustainability. Along with assessing internal performance, service lines can assist large community or regional hospitals with identifying strategic external partnerships.

Furthermore, you can also use a service line leadership model to develop a “center of excellence” mentality in your organization and establish innovative and flexible practices within a specialized field of medicine. A service line leader who is responsible for data analytics can provide insight to C-level executives, health plan administrators, and other key stakeholders to help them make critical business decisions such as capital investments and divestments, service offerings, and more.

Help You Address Important Questions

Service lines can help you identify areas within your organization that are underperforming, and they can help you answer important questions regarding your business model and the services you provide, such as:

  • Are your costs out of line with the industry?
  • Are you receiving appropriate reimbursement?
  • Can you divest certain lines of services or consolidate areas to realize cost and performance improvements?

Service lines can provide vital insight into all aspects of your organization to help you make informed decisions on how to best structure and manage your resources to increase the level of care you offer and your bottom line.

Customizable to Your Needs

With CostFlex’s Service Line & Analysis Reporting software, you can create customized demographics and data points to classify patients within service lines that are most relevant to your organization. With a user-friendly interface, turn-key implementation, and minimal hands-on maintenance, our software offers a cost-effective way to help you gather information efficiently and use it more productively to leverage your resources better and thrive in your market.