Health IT Thought Leader Highlight: Joanne Rohde, CEO and founder, Axial Exchange

Joanne Rhode
Joanne Rhode

Joanne Rohde is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Axial Exchange. She brings 30 years of experience to her role and has grown companies using “disruptive business models.” Prior to Axial Exchange, she served as the COO and director of health IT strategy at Red Hat, as well as was the CIO of UBS Investment Banking IT. She’s passionate about healthcare because it’s personal; healthcare is a personal business and with the advent of patient engagement, healthcare is even more so personal than its ever been.

Here she discusses the reasoning for her venturing into to healthcare and Axial’s creation, the company’s mission, what “patient engagement” is to her, how “patient engagement” is changing healthcare and Axial’s solution set. Finally, she addresses what she feels are the most pressing issues facing the healthcare as a whole. Her perspectives are deeply insightful; the following is well worth the read.

Can you tell us about yourself and your background prior to starting Axial Exchange? Why healthcare?

I spent most of my career in finance and technology. If I had a personal tagline, it would be that I like to build disruptive businesses in old industries. I did this in finance, with a company called O’Connor and Associates, which brought derivatives and computers to the financial industry when derivatives were still used to hedge real transactions. Then at Red Hat, we brought the benefits of open source to the enterprise, revolutionizing the software industry. Healthcare is one of the most inefficient industries in our country, and it affects every one of us. It is ripe for disruption.

What was your motivation in starting Axial Exchange? Perhaps you can tell me more about your entrepreneurial spirit and journey. Do you have other plans for new business lines in the works presently?

I was COO of a rapidly growing global technology company, Red Hat, when I became ill. Over the course of two years I became too sick to walk up a flight of stairs. I was in constant pain, and couldn’t speak properly. It took two years and 10 doctors to properly diagnose me. As I went from doctor to doctor, it became clear that I was starting over with each doctor — they couldn’t share information, and that lack of information sharing made it difficult for them and for me. It was also apparent that when I would go into their offices, they’d take tests and check symptoms, but they were point-in-time analysis — if I had a bad situation a week prior, it wouldn’t be captured. It occurred to me that my story was in part every American’s story and the current system frustrated both doctors and patients alike.

We are just at the beginning of what we can do to improve the patient-doctor experience. The rapid advances of wearable devices is our current area of focus. We want patients to understand their own health patterns, and to securely share that key biometric information with their physicians so each appointment can be fact-based, not “recall” based. Our next area of focus is real-time case management. What if you could get in touch with a recently released cardiac patient precisely when they were at the most risk instead of waiting for a crisis that lands them back in the hospital? These kind of timely, specific interventions can be a reality with the integration of our application back to the care managers.

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CMS’ Pioneer ACO Program: Results to Date and Changes Ahead

Ken Perez
Ken Perez

Guest post by Ken Perez, vice president of healthcare policy, Omnicell.

The recent flurry of upsets in college football has caused pundits and fans of the sport to do a mid-season recalibration of their projections for their respective teams. Many of the pre-season favorites — selected just seven or eight weeks ago — are no longer in the running for the national championship, others are plugging along pretty much in line with expectations, and a number of “Cinderella” teams have emerged. All teams, no matter how well they have done thus far, will need to make adjustments in the second half of the season.

In like manner, with recent developments and disclosures about CMS’ Pioneer ACO Model, it’s time to do a kind of mid-season recalibration and speculate a bit about needed adjustments to the program.

In August and September, four hospital systems — Sharp HealthCare, a five-hospital system in San Diego, Calif.; Franciscan Alliance in central Indiana; Genesys PHO in Flint, Mich.; and Renaissance Health Network in Pennsylvania — dropped out of the Pioneer ACO Program. With those departures and nine that were previously announced, the number of Pioneers has dropped by 41 percent, from 32 original participants to 19. It should be noted, however, that the majority of the ACOs that have left the program have transferred to the less challenging Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).

On August 6, CMS posted 879 pages of public comments received in response to the CMS Innovation Center’s December 2013 request for information that solicited input on the Pioneer ACO Model as well as new ACO models.

On October 8, CMS released detailed quality and financial data by ACO for the first two years of the Pioneer Program. With regard to quality performance, average quality scores for the Pioneers improved by 19 percent year-to-year, with improved performance on 28 of 33 measures (85 percent) between the first and second year.

Financially, in year one of the program, 13 of the Pioneers (41 percent) met or beat their expenditure benchmarks, qualifying for shared savings and garnering an average of $5.9 million, with the amounts received ranging widely. One Pioneer had to pay CMS a shared loss of $2.6 million, and the remaining 18 ACOs either did not earn shared savings or did not owe CMS money because of  losses.

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IT Jobs with the Highest Pay and Fastest Growth

The following infographic from Staff.com is interesting, outlining IT Jobs with the highest pay and fastest growth. Though it’s not specific to health IT jobs, it it worth a look to see how the IT job market is moving. As is expcted, mobile app development is the hottest market sector now and there are not enough folks to fill them.

Median salary for a IT staffer is about $90,000.

Cloud is the fastest growing sector with nearly two million jobs worldwide going unfilled in 2012. More than 65 percent of all enterprise organizations expected to add some sort of cloud service as of then and the numbers are likely increasing.

Finally, if you’re in IT for the money, work your way into management – about $110,000 annual salary – or a developer with an average annual salary of about $95,000.

Also, want to see how you compare to other IT workers around the world: There a nice graphic below outlining the salary disaparity globally. Think the US pays the most? You’d be bloody wrong! No even the top two, mate.

Staff.com - IT Jobs with the Highest Pay and Fastest Growth Infographic

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CHIME: Healthcare IT Leaders Embrace Federal Interoperability Plans

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives released the following statement in support of embracing federal interoperability plans:

The federal government’s top health IT advisers recently made recommendations on how public and private stakeholders should progress toward interoperability in healthcare. Leaders from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and Health Level Seven International (HL7) embraced the recommendations of the JASON Task Force, calling them a significant step forward in achieving the promise of information technology in healthcare. CHIME and HL7 also highlighted the need to incorporate critical enhancements to standards currently under development for meaningful use Stage 3.

During a joint meeting of the Health IT Standards and Health IT Policy Committees, federal officials discussed new details regarding a national interoperability roadmap and outlined concrete recommendations meant to improve the appropriate access and use of health data. The JASON Task Force said that a solid foundation for interoperability should utilize public APIs, advance modern communications standards, such as HL7′s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), and use meaningful use Stage 3 as a pivot point to initiate this transition.

FHIR is a simple-to-use format that can improve interoperability for a range of technologies, including EHRs, patient-centric solutions and mobile applications. A next generation standards framework created by HL7, FHIR combines the best features of HL7′s Version 2, Version 3 and CDA product lines while leveraging the latest web standards and applying a tight focus on implementability.

“Today’s discussion and the recommendations of the JASON Task Force represent an evolution in thinking,” said CHIME president and CEO Russell P. Branzell, FCHIME, CHCIO. “The updated roadmap and the recommendations put forth by the JASON Task Force incorporate a tremendous amount of stakeholder input and articulate the challenges facing our industry much more completely than previous efforts.”

“The prioritization of standards-based interoperability and a commitment to long-term policymaking will enable healthcare to benefit from information technology in very tangible ways,” said Charles Jaffe, MD, PhD CEO of HL7.

CHIME and HL7 believe important recommendations were accepted by the full Health IT Standards and Health IT Policy Committees. HL7 and CHIME also support allowing time to make meaningful use Stage 3 more impactful with the inclusion of key standards that are still under development. “There remains a disconnect between artificial government timelines and the realities of standards and technology development,” Branzell said. “This highlights a principle concern with how health IT policy is created, adopted and implemented at the federal level.”

CHIME and HL7 are committed to collaboration in the advancement of health IT initiatives such as FHIR and support government efforts on the interoperability roadmap.

CHIME is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 1,400 CIO members and more than 140 healthcare IT vendors and professional services firms, CHIME provides an interactive environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate; exchange best practices; address professional development needs; and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and healthcare in the communities they serve.

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Health IT Leaders Not Fully Prepared to Leverage FutureCare Technologies to Optimize their EHR

MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of health and government IT, announces the results of its new study, “FutureCare:  Cloud, Big Data, Mobile, and Social Optimize the EMR.” The report, sponsored by EMC Corporation, explores how FutureCare-enabling technologies — cloud, big data, mobile and social — are driving profound change and how deployment of these tools can help optimize electronic health records for improved patient care coordination.

The report purports to reveal that while many providers have implemented or plan to implement these technologies in the next two years, 96 percent of healthcare organizations say their infrastructure is not fully prepared for the evolution of their EHR today.

Health IT leaders have started to adopt FutureCare technologies. Two-thirds of healthcare providers run EHR applications in the cloud, with the majority currently using private cloud models (49 percent), followed by hybrid and public clouds (35 percent).

Healthcare providers are also using big data and analytics in conjunction with their EHR with 50 percent saying big data is helping them to reduce re-admissions and track and evaluate patient outcomes more effectively. Providers are also using big data to conduct cost/benefit analysis to reduce project risk (46 percent), manage clinical and IT staffing levels (38 percent) and prescribe preventive care (24 percent).

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Report: Health IT Sees Nearly $1 Billion in VC Funding in Q3 2014

Mercom Capital Group, a global communications and consulting firm, releases a new report depicting VC funding and mergers and acquisitions activity in the healthcare IT third quarter 2014. According to the report, venture capital funding in the sector came to $956 million raised in 212 deals globally, a decline of 46 percent in terms of dollars compared to the massive $1.8 billion in 161 deals raised in Q2 2014, a rare quarter. Q3 2014 was still the second highest quarter for VC funding since 2010, though, and total VC funding year-to-date is $3.6 billion.

The quarter was dominated by more than 100 funding deals of less than $2 million. There were 252 investors that participated in the quarter including angels, VCs, private equity and corporate VCs. The quarter also included 12 accelerators/incubators.

“Healthcare IT saw another big fundraising quarter in Q3 with almost $1 billion raised. Companies from countries outside of the United States, accounted for a record 21 percent share of the funding. While consumer-centric companies attracted the majority of the funding this quarter, M&A has been a different story with the majority of the deals involving practice-focused companies,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO and co-founder of Mercom Capital Group.

Consumer-focused technologies received 65 percent of all VC investments, with $623 million in 140 deals compared to $678 million in 100 deals in Q2 2014. Areas that received the most funding under this category were mobile health with $345 million in 82 deals followed by telehealth, which had its best quarter, with $101 million in 16 deals; personal health with $85 million in 24 deals; social with $70 million in three deals; and scheduling, rating and shopping with $23 million in 15 deals.

Practice-centric companies received $333 million in 72 deals in the third quarter of 2014, compared to $1.1 billion in 61 deals in Q2. Under this category, the areas that received the most funding were revenue cycle management with $75 million in eight deals, and data analytics with $71 million in 19 deals.

The top five VC funding deals in Q3 2014 were the $70 million raise by DXY (Ting Ting Group), an online healthcare community for medical institutions and healthcare providers in China, from Tencent Holdings Limited, a provider of comprehensive internet services in China, followed by the $52 million raise by Proteus Digital Health, a developer of products and services integrating medicines with ingestible sensors, wearable sensors, mobile and cloud computing.

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CMS Makes Substantial Investment in Rural ACOs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announces the availability of a new initiative for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. The new ACO Investment Model is designed to bring these efforts to to rural and underserved areas by providing up to $114 million in upfront investments to up to 75 ACOs across the country.

The ACO Investment Model will give Medicare Accountable Care Organizations more flexibility in setting quality and financial goals, while giving them greater accountability for delivering quality care efficiently, said CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

“We are working with these organizations to make necessary investments that encourage doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to work together to better coordinate care and keep people healthy,” Tavennaer said.

Through its Innovation Center, CMS will provide up front investments in infrastructure and redesigned care process to help eligible ACOs continue to provide higher quality care. This will help increase the number of beneficiaries – regardless of geographic location – that can benefit from lower costs and improved health care through Medicare ACOs.

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How the 2014 Meaningful Use Final Rule is Playing Out in the Field

Tom Lee, Founder and CEO, SA Ignite
Tom Lee

Guest post by Tom S. Lee, Ph.D., CEO & Founder, SA Ignite.

If the few years since the onset of meaningful use haven’t been proof enough, the speed and unpredictability of regulatory change in the last five months has cemented our field’s status as truly not-for-the-feint-of-heart.

Yesteryear’s glacial rate of change in healthcare IT regulation is nowhere to be seen. May 2014 brought both a CMS reset of the ICD-10 transition deadline to October 1, 2015, and a proposed meaningful use rule to enable the use of 2011 edition certified EHR technology (CEHRT) to meet compliance in 2014. The summer then ended with the August 29th finalization of the 2014 meaningful use final rule, the ensuing disappointment that the mandated start of Stage 2 was not delayed and then the swift Congressional response in the form of the September 15th proposed Flex-IT Act to introduce quarterly meaningful use reporting for 2015; enough to spin heads more than once around.

What’s happened in the field since the publication of the final rule among provider organizations bring the phrase “threading the needle” to mind. To further illustrate, we have culled some sample issues from our client base of more than 8,000 providers, across more than 15 EHR brands, and representing numerous combinations of meaningful use stage, payment year and program. These issues, none of which yet have universal and clean solutions, span three areas for provider organizations as seen in the field: 1) properly adhering to the requirements of the final rule, 2) working within the constraints of what EHR vendors can deliver per the final rule’s timeline, and 3) redirecting or pausing organizational momentum for change on short notice.

Regarding the first consideration, note that the final rule requires that an organization attest that it is “not able to fully implement” 2014 Edition technology because of “delays in 2014 Edition CEHRT availability.” Although the rule outlines what does not meet this eligibility test, provider organizations have a persistent question about what documentation and conditions are sufficient to satisfy the test.

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Health IT Startup: Wellframe

Jacob Sattelmair
Jacob Sattelmair, CEO, Wellframe

Wellframe delivers a mobile experience featuring a secure two-way communication channel to connect patients with care providers. The company also offers a mobile data collection system that is, cloud-hosted and scalable to any number of users. Wellframe’s artificial intelligence engine for health state modeling, prediction and dynamic clinical protocol optimization uses data from a patient’s interaction with the care plans to optimize the system, and the company has developed a lightweight cloud-hosted care management EHR that has been successfully integrated into clinical workflows.

Elevator pitch

Wellframe’s mobile platform for care management and patient engagement extends therapeutic relationships to promote patient adherence and improve financial outcomes for health plans and systems.

Product/service description

Wellframe enables organizations to extend the reach of their existing care management services, while providing a higher quality of care to members and improving patient outcomes. Wellframe’s intelligent system engages high-risk patients and creates a personalized patient experience, which is delivered in a simple daily health check-list via mobile technology.

Wellframe has demonstrated success working with the health system’s most socially and medically complex —and costly— patients. These are the individuals for whom payers and providers most desperately need additional insights. The insights gleaned from the Wellframe platform enable clinicians and care managers to better manage their patients’ health and keep them engaged in their care. Wellframe amplifies rather than replaces therapeutic relationships and is re-engineering an antiquated market by using mobile technology to put a care manager in every patient’s pocket.

Foundersstory

The Wellframe founding team is comprised of individuals with a diverse set of skills and whose backgrounds include clinical medicine, public health, systems engineering, data science and consumer engagement. By leveraging their different areas of expertise, the founding team was able to identify a gap in the way care is delivered in the US.

The CEO, Jacob Sattelmair, who is an epidemiologist by training, was focused on using technology to engage people around managing their own health. The chief medical officer, Dr. Trishan Panch, who is a primary care physician and a lecturer at MIT, had been focused on using technology to reengineer care delivery and lower cost settings. Vinnie Ramesh and Archit Bhise are both MIT-trained computer scientists who were researching new ways to utilize low cost technology to improve access to healthcare.

Utilizing and merging their diverse backgrounds, the team developed the idea behind Wellframe: An effective solution to re-engineer care delivery.

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Are ACOs the Future of Healthcare?

Ron Vatalaro, MBA
Ron Vatalaro

Guest post by Ron Vatalaro, who works at Bisk Education with the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. He writes about health informatics.

The Affordable Care Act supports healthcare providers in reducing costs and improving efficiency while delivering quality care. Accountable care organizations (ACOs) achieve these goals by enabling physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers to create networks and share responsibility to deliver care to Medicare and other patients.

At the heart of the ACO model are three core principles:

  • ACOs are provider-led organizations with a strong primary care base, and collective responsibility for quality and per capita costs.
  • ACO payments are linked to improvements in quality that also reduce costs.
  • Performance measures that support improvement are sophisticated and reliable, and demonstrate that savings are achieved through improvements in care.

Joining an ACO is voluntary, but the federal government encourages participation to reduce unnecessary or duplicated services, prevent errors and keep patients healthier. When providers successfully coordinate services to meet a long list of quality measures, they become eligible for bonuses.

The Current Environmment

Medicare offers several ACO programs, including the Medicare Shared Savings Program, the Advance Payment ACO Model and the Pioneer ACO Model, but many other public and private models exist. Some are sponsored by physicians groups, while nonprofit organizations, hospital systems and health insurers sponsor others. The Pioneer Model was designed for early adopters of coordinated care, and is no longer accepting new members.

To date, more than 600 public and private ACOs have formed; in 2012, the first year of the program, they generated $87.6 million in gross savings. Government support is spurring considerable growth, and ACOs could well become the dominant model in healthcare.

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The Value of Big Data: From Bench to Bedside to the Bottom Line

Anil Jain
Anil Jain

Guest post by Anil Jain, MD, FACP, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Explorys, and consulting staff, Department of Internal Medicine, Cleveland Clinic.

Despite advances in medical education, the proliferation of medical journals and the speed of light retrieval of information on the Internet, the lag time between when researchers identify life-saving clinical interventions and when they are put into practice ranges from 10 to 25 years, averaging 17 years. This lag time between the discovery at the “bench” and its practice at the “bedside” is even more startling when you consider the impact of care at the “bedside” to the “bottom-line.”  This “bottom-line” has become increasingly important with the formation of accountable care organizations (ACOs) that aim to reward provider organizations and payers that meet the “triple-aim”:  high-quality care for the population, high-quality care for the patient, at the most affordable cost. Unfortunately, current practices at the “bedside” reportedly generate approximately $700 billion in care that isn’t necessary and may even be potentially harmful to the “bottom-line.” Moreover, despite healthcare expenditures of 17 percent of our GDP, the U.S. lags behind most industrial nations when looking at composite measures of healthcare quality.

With the increasing use of health information technology and data we should be able to shorten the time between “bench” to “bedside” and improve the “bottom line.”

Big Data

“Big data” is data that is of high volume, variety and of sufficient velocity that is not amenable to traditional data storage and analysis tools.  This “big data” is most typically generated from health systems’ electronic health records (EHRs), laboratory, radiology, financial and billing systems, personal health records, biometrics and smart devices.  In addition, patients today are oftentimes utilizing various mobile health and wellness apps and wearable devices which also collect a plethora of data, which only adds to the complexity.

The Bench

The aggregation of de-identified medical information across millions of health records from varying venues of care facilitating a longitudinal view of a person can be incredibly beneficial for researchers focused on net new knowledge discovery. For data from disparate health systems to be aggregated, it is vital that it is standardized and that subjects across health systems can be matched. This harmonization of disparate data coupled with the appropriate analytics software is critical to identify patterns in the data.

In this setting, the larger the data set, the more likely that a signal can be detected through the noise, even in the rarest of conditions. Fortunately, many hypotheses can be conceived and tested through appropriate analytics within this real-world data set in a much more cost-effective manner than conducting full-scale clinical trials. Furthermore, if a signal is detected or a pattern is found, researchers can then design a more focused explanatory or pragmatic clinical trial to prospectively test the hypotheses. For example, over the past few years within the Explorys network, more than a dozen peer-reviewed abstracts and publications have been generated by leveraging a de-identified data set comprised of nearly 48 million subjects, searchable by a specialized browser-based analysis and query application.

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Health IT Startup: instaRounds

Kurian Thott, MD
Kurian Thott, MD

instaRounds provides the most comprehensive mobile and web platform for physicians to communicate with one another, share call schedules, follow their appointments, allow cross coverage and, for the first time ever, give physicians a mobile patient sign-out application.

Elevator pitch

Imagine a platform in which physicians can communicate in a Twitter-like feed with one another about those patients currently under their care. By real-time updates, critical decision making and care planning can occur seamlessly with the patient benefiting the most.

Product/service description

instaRounds is a mobile and web platform that enables physicians to securely communicate with one another in a patients’ care team, by use of a patent-pending format that allows simple-to-use template interfaces that provides seamless patient sign out. Studies have shown that the most critical time in patient care is during the handoff of the patients from one provider to another; instaRounds nearly eliminates errors in sign out.

Providers can use either a web interface or the more popular mobile app, available on iTunes and Google Play, to communicate with members of their team.

Founder’s story

instaRounds was founded by Kurian Thott, MD, a gynecologic surgeon who felt the void in patient care when it was almost impossible for members in his own practice to communicate securely and HIPAA compliantly. He figured there had to be a better way and when he found none, he created instaRounds. Built on the idea that for patient care to be better, physicians needed to communicate with one another, and instaRounds gives physicians this power.

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Health IT Thought Leader Highlight: Dr. Cliff Bleustein, Chief Medical Officer, Dell

Cliff Bleustein,MD,MBA
Cliff Bleustein, MD

Dr. Cliff Bleustein, chief medical officer and head of Dell’s global healthcare consulting services, leads an integrated team of clinical, business, and technical professionals who provide expertise to health systems, hospitals, physician practices, health plans and life sciences organizations. Here he discusses Dell’s healthcare vision; improving patient engagement and how he defines the term; data security; and trends that he thinks will be worth tracking in the near term — here’s a hint: smartphones, yes; wearables, no.

In your new role as chief medical officer and global head of healthcare consulting at Dell Services, what are your responsibilities?

As chief medical officer, I play a key role in Dell Services’ healthcare division supporting our aggressive strategic initiative to revolutionize the way healthcare is managed. I spend a lot time listening to customers and helping them to better manage patient-specific data that spans the entire continuum of care. Ultimately, better information and technology will drive improvements in quality, patient safety, efficiency and outcomes. I help shape our strategy and ensure that it meets the needs of our customers, both now and in the future.

Tell me about your background in healthcare and how you came to be passionate about the space.

Ever since I was a child, I knew that I wanted to be a physician. Originally I was fascinated with the ability of body builders to be able to grow muscle to such huge proportions and lift weights several times greater than their mass. As my career developed, I focused on how treatments and diagnostics could move from the lab to the bedside. During training and private practice, I became more involved in understanding how systems work and function and what drives them. I was fortunate enough in my career to work internationally, as well. This gives a much broader view about how healthcare can be improved on a larger scale. I am driven by a desire to continue to disrupt the market with new technologies and solutions that can have a meaningful impact on improving health at scale.

What is Dell’s background in healthcare IT and why does the company put an emphasis on this sector (other than for obvious financial reasons)?

People are often surprised to learn that Dell has more than 20 years of experience in serving healthcare customers. That, combined with our deep bench of clinical and technical experts, is why Gartner has ranked Dell number one among healthcare IT service providers for four years running. But it goes beyond that; it’s also personal. Michael Dell is keenly interested in exploring how technology can improve healthcare systems around the globe. And we have thousands of employees who get up every day and focus solely on the needs of our healthcare customers. With an aging population and the impact of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, we must find ways to reduce cost, improve productivity and improve health outcomes. Technology has a huge role to play. We also know we can’t do it alone, and for that reason we work with and partner with some of the leading companies in the industry.

What solutions does Dell offer and how do they set the company apart from competing vendors?

What sets Dell apart is our holistic approach. It’s not enough to just add technology. It’s also about connecting people to the right technology and integrating that technology into their workflows. Processes need to be re-examined and, in many cases, re-engineered. So, in addition to the traditional IT products and services Dell is known for, we also offer a robust suite of solutions and services that are specially designed for healthcare. These include secure cloud solutions such as our Unified Clinical Archive, EHR implementation, mobile clinical computing, sophisticated analytics tools, social media integration, HIX and HIE services and support, and clinical transformation. We also have a strong focus on the life sciences, with a genomics analysis platform that supports clinical trials investigating personalized treatments for cancer.

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Is Wearable Technology the Future of Healthcare?

Guest post by Tom Giannulli, MS, MD, chief medical information officer, Kareo.

It seems like everywhere you look there is a new piece of wearable technology to help people monitor their health and lifestyle. The latest and greatest, of course, is the Apple Watch, which hit the newswire with a bang last month.

There is no doubt that mobile health apps and wearable technology and devices are big business. Both patients and clinicians are using mHealth apps on their smartphones and other devices. There are tens of thousands of these apps, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says this number will grow by 25 percent a year. Their research also shows that by 2018 1.7 billion people worldwide will download a health app.

Despite what the media may say, the fact is most people aren’t using these apps and devices yet according to a new study from Technology Advice. Their research found that nearly 75 percent of adults do not track their weight, diet, or exercise using a fitness tracking device or app and most cited reason was general lack of interest.

However, one interesting thing to note is that more than half said they would be more likely to use a health tracking app or device if there was a possibility of lowering their insurance premiums. Just over 40 percent said better advice from their healthcare provider would be a possible incentive to use a fitness tracker.

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Taming the Revenue Cycle Beast: Leveraging Same-day Billing Strategies to Improve Cash Flow

Allison Errickson
Allison Errickson

Guest post by Allison Errickson, CPC-H, director of coding compliance, ProVation Medical, with Wolters Kluwer Health.

Never before have effective revenue cycle management strategies been so critical to future positioning in hospitals and health networks. In today’s lean environment of declining and unpredictable reimbursement, effective oversight of timely billing practices can simply be a make or break element to success.

Because the revenue cycle is dependent on the time-to-bill for procedures and diagnostic care, healthcare organizations must enact processes to support the most efficient coding practices to speed receipt of payment. Success in this area remains an obstacle for many organizations struggling with how to allocate limited resources to ensure the most accurate coding and efficient turn-around.

Denials plague the industry in terms of maintaining consistent cash flow. Inaccurate or incomplete documentation can impact as much as 5 percent of revenues if a healthcare organization is experiencing denial rates of 25 percent or more. Revenue is also negatively impacted when documentation does not support the highest level of acuity, minimizing reimbursement potential.

While accurate documentation remains an ongoing issue, resource allocation to effectively address the issue will likely be further impacted with the introduction of ICD-10. The industry has been granted a reprieve with the recent deadline extension of Oct. 1, 2015, but the reality of the transition will be coming into focus very soon. Coding challenges will be exacerbated as coders will now have 72,000 unique procedure codes to choose from, increasing the complexities associated with specificity and accurately coding to the highest level of reimbursement.

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