Healthcare compliance is a convoluted and rapidly changing industry. Chicago-based Ludi works with hospitals and health systems to manage this complexity by facilitating physician alignment and helping providers administer the complex financial arrangements that form the infrastructure of healthy physician integration strategies. The startup’s SaaS solution, DocTime Log, is designed to build trust and efficiency into the relationship between the hospital and the physician while also mitigating compliance risk and providing tracking and analytics. Oliver Wyman Associate Terrance Wallace connected with Gail Peace, Ludi President & CEO, to learn more about how Ludi pairs technology with an understanding of the industry to streamline operational processes:
Terrance Wallace: I imagine there are still a few people who haven’t heard the Ludi story. Could you give us a brief overview?
Gail Peace: I founded Ludi after working with countless physicians from a business development angle at health systems nationally. Recurring trends seemed to lie in the maintenance, management, and tracking of critical components of physician contracts. After recognizing that there was opportunity for physician alignment strategies to be bettered, I decided to create a product that would use technology – and eliminate paper – to track physicians’ administrative time, route time logs for approval appropriately, and pay physicians in a timely manner, all while leaving an audit trail to meet compliance requirements and provide in-depth reports on a variety of data points. We are adding process and structure to a very important area of risk for hospitals.
TW: How does strong physician alignment change the healthcare marketplace?
GP: Healthcare organizations simply cannot succeed without strong alignment with the provider network. Physician alignment involves a variety of contractual relationships between the organization and the physician. Giving physicians the tools they need and a way to reduce the amount of time they spend on administrative items helps them focus on their number one priority – patients. This is critical for a hospital to see positive results.
TW: What role will Ludi play in the transformation?
GP: Ludi’s product suite, DocTime Log, gives hospital administrators the tools they need to stay in compliance with their employed and contracted physician employees all while mitigating the compliance risk associated with each contract. Ludi applies a process to a very unstructured workflow that exists today. On the physician side, the technology’s simple user experience allows a physician to log his/her administrative time quickly and, most importantly, in compliance with guidelines set by the Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Laws.
TW: What level of readiness do providers need to implement Ludi?
GP: Implementation requires absolutely no IT time. Ludi’s team has many years of experience working within health systems and just as with any industry, IT resources are tight. We work with the executive sponsor and a project manager onsite to manage the entire implementation. Most questions that come up through implementation related to employment and independent contracts are business-related in nature, so those are answered with best practices in mind and with guidance from our team of experts. Once the tool is ready for use by physicians and administrators, we work with the client site to train individuals appropriately on their role. The process is seamless and, depending on a client’s bandwidth, is fast.
TW: An important part of that is streamlining operations. How does Ludi leverage technology and analytics to make that happen?
GP: The technology is built in such a way that empowers the physician to logs his/her time on a mobile device. The software ensures the time is within scope of the contract and the time log is submitted to the administrative tool and appropriately routed for approval and then physician payment. Today this process is done with paper or spreadsheet and leaves a lot of room for human error, creating a compliance risk. Additionally it makes it challenging for hospitals to follow their own rules. On top of this streamlined process, the tool is equipped with a plethora of reports that can be manipulated to measure hospital spend on these contracts, the kind of physician contract the hospital is aligned with, actual physician spend, when a physician contract will expire and more. Measuring any one of these is currently impossible because too many variables are missing from the paper logs.
TW: How will Ludi add value to the ecosystem – and what does a win look like?
GP: The biggest issue we currently see is a lack of systems, process, and resources focused on physician contracts in the hospital. The return we bring is hard dollars saved in staff time, increased satisfaction with the physician network, and compliance savings. A simple technical violation can occur due to lack of following of the contracts as written or lack of maintaining administrative time logs for physician contracts. Rectifying this and, in tandem, removing a lot of compliance risk are huge benefits for the health system and also solidify the physician alignment strategy overall. We see happy customers when their physicians are actually using DocTime Log, are getting paid accurately and on time, and contracts are being renewed ahead of their expiration dates.
TW: What should leaders be thinking about that is NOT on their radar?
GP: The use of technology to mitigate compliance risk and promote stronger physician alignment. Violations are expensive and undermine an organization’s credibility. Recently, these settlements include punitive damages to the physician and will likely soon be a mark against executives. This is an area that is simply not worth the risk!