The running of a small business is a very involved process and take a lot of time and effort to be a success. For a new small business to get their foot in the door with customers, they will need to find a way to market and advertise what they offer. With all of the many methods of advertising out there, finding the right ones will take some time and effort. Among the best ways to get your name out there is by having a website. Be sure to follow these tips before registering a domain name for your business website.
Consider Your Branding
The first thing you need to consider when trying to find the right domain name is the brand you are representing. You need to make sure that your domain name is both catchy and is representative of the image you are looking to portray. The domain name does not always have to be the name of your business, it can also be related to the industry you serve. Make sure you put some time into choosing the right name that will help to boost your brand and get you the recognition you are looking for.
Doing things like envisioning how your domain name will look on a custom mouse pad or a coffee cup is important. By doing this type of visualization, you will have no problem narrowing down the selection of names you have before you. Rushing through this process may lead to you choosing the wrong domain name and having to deal with this mistake for years to come.
The Extension is Important
The text that follows your web name, like .com or .net, are very important when trying to make maximum impact. There are a number of different extensions that you can use, but you want to stay with the more familiar and well-known kind. Be sure to do some research to find out the type of extensions your competitors are using. The more you are able to find out about the most popular extensions in your in your industry, the simpler you will find it to get the best one chosen.
The only way to find out more about the extensions you need is by working with the right domain name supplier. These professionals will have no problem taking the needs of your business and helping you with this important decision. Trying to make this difficult decision on your own is usually a recipe for disaster.
Location is Important
You need to also think about whether or not you need a location tag at the end of the web address. If you are catering to one specific country or area, then a location tag may be the right move for you. For businesses that are not sure about their market or how far they will go, a location tag may be a bad idea and something that holds them back. By taking these options into account, you will be able to register the best possible domain name for your business.
Make Your Domain Name Simple
Among the worst mistakes an online business owner can make when choosing a domain name is making it too difficult to spell. If consumers aren’t able to spell the name of your website, they will never be able to find it online. Your goal should be to make your domain name simple and memorable. The easier it is for a consumer to remember your domain name, the simpler it will be for them to find and use your site.
The time and effort you put into researching the best name for your domain will be well worth it in the end. You will need to find the right domain service to register your name with. Settling on the first service you come to may cause you to lose out on a deal later on.
One of your top specialists is pushing for a new medical technology that shows great promise for patients but doesn’t yet have the backing of insurers. What do you do? Healthcare providers frequently face this challenge.
But hospitals shouldn’t shy away from investing in non-reimbursable medical technologies that could make a qualitative difference for patients, as long as they go through a thorough vetting process on the clinical end, working closely with department physicians, and build a solid business case to show a return on investment on the administrative end.
HIFU vs. Standard of Care
In 2015, Houston Methodist, one of the largest medical centers in the US, comprising an academic medical center and six community hospitals, made this kind of decision to invest in HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound), a medical technology for treating men with prostate conditions that had not just been approved by the US Food & Drug Administration.
While HIFU was new in the U.S. and largely unknown by urologists across the country, it was prevalent and in demand in Europe and parts of Asia. This is the story of how they vetted this new technology, weighing the anticipated benefits for patients with the return on investment for the organization.
For prostate cancer, the standard of care at Houston Methodist was the radical prostatectomy, in which the entire prostate gland is removed. Looking at the number of prostatectomies hospital surgeons performed over the long term, decision-makers wanted to know if HIFU was a feasible alternative for eligible patients.
HIFU uses a probe and ultrasound device to destroy only targeted tissue in the prostate, while allowing men to retain their healthy tissue and nerve bundles that control sexual function and urinary continence. It’s a breakthrough treatment for men who qualify.
The Clinical Vetting Process
Every year Houston Methodist’s physician and executive leaders meet to discuss medical devices and authorize capital expenditures for new technology. Part of the discussion focuses on new procedures and/or new medical technology that may not be FDA approved or reimbursed by insurers yet.
Likewise, specialists pushing for new procedures must convince and win approval from the Medical Center’s physician department chairs. Each proposal must show how a new procedure will benefit patients, how it differs from competitors and contributes to hospital growth, as well as provide information on whether the FDA pre-market approval or Medicare and insurance reimbursement filing process is underway. They must also report on any medical technologies that have been purchased for their specific department over the last several years.
Other questions under consideration from department chairs and the hospital executive team include: Is the procedure a novel idea or the latest technology of the moment? How does it compare to other procedures and is it a better alternative to what the hospital currently offers? Does it align with Houston Methodist’s mission to lead in medicine? And is there any conflict of interest for the physician requesting the device? Is this a new procedure or technology that is supported by other physicians practicing in the Houston Methodist Hospital system?
In their evaluation, Houston Methodist narrowed their search to EDAP Technomed, the makers of Ablatherm Robotic HIFU. Physicians reviewed the manufacturer’s training and technical support, follow-up, and marketing material available to market the procedure to referring physicians.
Big data has arrived, and in healthcare, it has landed on our desks with a resounding thud. The challenge ahead lies in discerning how to analyze information and use it to effectively improve patient outcomes, costs and efficiencies.
Many of us are already influenced by machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). For example, if buying hiking boots online, items of a similar nature also appear as suggested purchases, like bug spray or sunscreen. The data analytics behind those recommendations includes a wealth of information about the user, including demographics, such as age, gender, education and income level, as well as location and other factors that influence buying decisions. It will only be a matter of time until we are able to apply the same principles to healthcare data.
Imagine a doctor who can review operational and clinical data in real time for a patient who had knee replacement surgery. After the patient goes home, she is given a Fitbit to monitor her step count. If her steps trend downward, it is probably time for someone to intervene because she is potentially in pain or not ambulating correctly. That same physician could also see where she has received care, the cost of the care, and who performed the surgery. Then, the physician could compare her progress against others with similar demographic and health backgrounds by using machine learning and streaming analytics that not only gather relevant data across the entire care continuum—from hospital to rehab facility to home—but draw inferences from that information in real time to truly influence cost and care outcomes. In addition, if the patient had three MRIs that cost $2,000 each and someone with similar demographics and health conditions had one MRI that cost $500—caregivers can explore why that happened and work toward more uniformity.
This idea is inspiring, but a more practical look can be taken for how AI can support the business operations of healthcare as an achievable first step, along with connecting that operational data with remote care, device data and patient EHRs. Here are next steps for creating efficiencies with the power of AI and interoperability:
Step 1: Unlock Human Potential
As a recent Advisory Board report states, “AI works best when paired with humans.” The goal is to use this technology to create efficiencies across the care continuum that not only help staff in their roles, but that free clinicians, caregivers and office staff to focus on more valued activities. AI can help augment and automate human tasks and functions where appropriate, and sooner rather than later it may be able to offer advice, ultimately allowing caregivers to focus entirely on patient care.
Step 2: Optimize the Supply Chain
AI can quickly answer employee queries, buy supply, such as bandages from a certain supplier, and can also track unused supplies to minimize excess inventory. In addition, AI can help alleviate the amount of time—and frustration—nursing and clinical staff spend searching for supplies by not only providing location, but automating future order and delivery.
Step 3: Enhance and Expand Employee Self-Service
For those healthcare employees without regular access to a computer, such as lab technicians, AI can quickly and accurately empower cross-functional self-service. All employees need to do is ask for answers about anything, from paid time off (PTO) balances to company holidays.
Step 3: Automate Financial Processes
AI can augment the payment process, detecting payment, vendor and invoice patterns, and suggesting automating payments for a specific invoice that is approved 99 percent of the time.
The Da Vinci Surgical System (as it’s more properly called) has been one of the most innovative and complicated medical technologies to have been introduced in the past 20 years. The surgical system was the first of its kind to become commercially available in the United States. Since its commercial debut in 2000, there have been 1,700 Da Vinci Surgical Systems installed in hospitals worldwide.
What Does It Do?
These robots essentially make the skills of a physician available for use regardless of distance. As of writing, there have been around 775,000 successful procedures that have been performed with the use of this hi-tech surgical system. In fact, robot-assisted surgery is the most preferred option when it comes to performing prostate cancer-related procedures. Three out of four prostate cancer surgeries are performed with the help of the Da Vinci Medical Robot.
Now, as humans, we are always looking for new ways to solve problems. One problem that the system seeks to solve is the distance between a physician and his patient. Because the robot is able to mimic the precision of the operating physician, the surgeon is, in essence, able to transfer his or her skill and precision where it is most needed — which is often a surgery table that’s hundreds of miles away.
Potential Improvements via AI
There’s a current trend that involves artificial intelligence. It started off with applications in smartphone cameras, and now it’s as viral as a Dengue outbreak. And it should be.
Artificial intelligence is an attempt to help minimize, or even eliminate, the risk of human error (because, let’s face it, no matter how skilled you may be, the best you can do is to minimize the margin of error).
Artificial Intelligence might even allow surgical robots to function autonomously, as long as these robots are given sufficient data to perform these complicated procedures. And that doesn’t seem to be very far off either, as Google and Johnson & Johnson have recently begun working on new surgical robots.
The thought of an autonomous surgical robot will definitely frighten a lot of people, but so has the concept of flying vehicles; now, look around and see how so many people fly on a daily basis.
It’s a fact that all machines are prone to failure. While it was established earlier that these machines were built to minimize the risk of human error, we should never forget that while these machines are designed to be error-free, many things could go wrong during manufacturing and assembly.
There are also risks that involve technology where all sorts of devices are prone to hacking. What if these robots were to be compromised during the crucial moments of a procedure?
Data has been regarded as the new, shiny object in every industry for the last several years—the secret key to all your unanswered questions. The healthcare industry has been no stranger to this language, but has not had as much opportunity to put data to use as other industries. With fast-paced, “ready for anything” schedules, hospitals, EMTs and private practices have had to leave data analysis to the researchers.
A 2017 Bankrate survey found that one in four Americans do not seek medical care when they need it. The survey results cite cost as the main reason for this. While healthcare providers cannot control insurance coverage and healthcare legislature, they can control the experience patients have when they seek care. A patient is much more likely to return for an annual check-up or seek medical care when sick if they hold healthcare to be positive and important. By giving patients the chance to voice their opinion, to feel heard and capturing and analyzing this powerful data, you will create a positive atmosphere. This will then lead to things like patient retention and positive online reviews.
With technology ever advancing, data analysis is simplifying. It is becoming something that a person with no research experience can do and find benefit. Take, for example, open-ended survey analysis software. Most data software analyzes the quantitative or number-based data. This includes the numerical details that you gather like a patient’s vitals. Data is much more than that. Imagine being able to analyze not only quantitative data, but qualitative too, including things like open-ended answers. This opens the possibility to hear directly from patients, doctors, and nurses, not only to better customer service, but importantly, care.
Mixed-question surveys provide health practitioners a simple way to gain new insights. Have patients answer a few questions through your medical portal or while at your office that ask basic questions like, “Rate your experience,” and, “How likely are you to recommend our practice to others?” But do not feel restricted by these types of questions, there is much more to learn beyond whether someone has had a generally good or bad experience. Ask them why. Ask for suggestions of how to improve care. Ask patients to describe their symptoms or the side effects of their medication. Each answer becomes part of a data set that you can analyze and cross-examine to give you new ideas and findings, and contribute to providing a higher standard of care for patients.
As healthcare organizations pursue improvements in productivity and clinical outcomes, they are also increasingly turning to business intelligence (BI) systems and staff to provide the data and tools needed to achieve and sustain such gains. The problem is, many organizations’ BI teams – tasked with a myriad of urgent and competing internal demands – often lack the experience, bandwidth and/or big-picture strategic and analytical skills needed to adequately respond to their organizations’ heightened needs.
That was the dilemma faced by a health maintenance organization (HMO) that had doubled its membership and found its BI team ill-equipped to respond to its growing technology needs. The HMO’s experience in recognizing and addressing its BI issues provides a template that other organizations can follow when confronted with similarly pressing BI demands.
The Four R’s of Quality BI Performance
The greatest positive emerging from the HMO’s BI issues was a wholesale reassessment of its BI team’s role, responsibilities, responsiveness and resources. You can call these the four fundamental R’s of well-functioning BI team performance:
Role – Rather than being focused on “doing,” a well-functioning BI team should also consider itself to be a vital strategic partner in the health care organization’s business. Attitudinally and functionally, a BI team needs to operate as a key part of the organization’s business team.
The HMO installed a new BI leader who immediately focused on mentoring and developing existing staff, overseeing and assisting with business analysis and reporting functions and defining a strategic path for the team to meet the HMO’s organizational strategy. This leadership change quickly stabilized the BI team’s performance and enhanced its ability to more effectively respond to internal requests. Your BI team’s leadership should be capable of achieving similar performance.
Responsibilities – Instead of simply being “order-takers” and “project fulfillers,” well-functioning BI team members should be high-quality strategic and process partners with internal clients. Creating and having in place service level agreements (SLAs) between a BI team and its business clients is crucial for establishing expectations for timing, deliverables and process improvement measurement.
For the HMO, the BI team’s new SLAs defined responsibilities for each business team member involved in project requests, performance objectives, documentation and sign-off requirements at milestones. The SLAs also provided project quality measurement standards, project success definitions and internal satisfaction reporting. Do your SLAs provide similar levels of accountability and clarity?
Responsiveness – Delays in responsiveness to client requests are not only inappropriate, they detract from a BI team’s professionalism. Established operational guidelines should delineate proper responsiveness for members of your BI team.
Guest post by Manish Mathuria, CTO and co-founder, Infostretch.
Digital transformation means different things to different industries. On the consumer front, Amazon didn’t even have to transform itself, because it was born in the digital age. On the other hand, for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, much of their innovation is heavily dependent on the move from a physical, analog world to a digital world.
This brave new digital world is fraught with perils, partly because of the necessary regulation, and partly because many digital advances represent new ground, so there may be no precedent for assuring product quality (which in this example translates to patient safety). Indeed, topping the complexities facing many healthcare companies is the fact that they are operating in a regulated environment, both in the U.S. and globally. The U.S. FDA and other regulatory agencies worldwide require them to maintain strict vigilance on the testing of products, while at the same time they want to be doing rapid development.
Take LifeScan, for example, an operation of Johnson and Johnson. With a long history in the medical devices field, its blood glucose monitoring (BGM) line is one of the most-prescribed brands in the industry. LifeScan is taking the conventional BGM device full-bore into the digital era, with a concentration on mobile. As you might expect. their market is growing at a healthy rate (much as diabetes is growing at an “unhealthy rate”), and they face competition both from established companies and innovative newcomers, notes Ed Hein, Manager – Digital Verification and Validation at LifeScan.
LifeScan is enabling patients to track their blood glucose readings on their mobile devices and online; their healthcare providers and health management companies can access their data via API interfaces. This provides faster access to the data and more accurate tracking and trending. Being able to present that data to the patients, their providers and loved ones more accurately lets them live a normal life.
Like other companies in the healthcare field, LifeScan’s competitive advantage and market position was strengthened by its ability to accelerate cycle time to get new software-based capabilities to market faster and more efficiently. This meant changing its software testing approach from traditional –often manual– Quality Assurance (QA) to a more proactive Quality Engineering (QE) process that integrates software testing and development and leverages automation.
This transition has been common in some industries but is rather new in healthcare. The good news is that it is driving innovation and, because of more efficient and effective testing processes, accelerating product approvals (READ: time to market).
By integrating QA more tightly with the development process, LifeScan has also been able to integrate its organizational structure as well. This has provided additional visibility to additional opportunities to accelerate the development lifecycle.
The healthcare sector is hopeful for the future, as innovations in the IT sector will continue to provide opportunities to improve the deliverability of crucial services. One thing’s for sure, more and more companies will continue to realize just how big of an impact HITs can bring, and the situation alone is urging companies to invest more on new software and technologies — even as these innovations are still in the works.
Several key innovations in this area, such as 3D printing and artificial organs, are still being tested and developed. It would take time before these breakthroughs can penetrate the market. What’s important, meanwhile, is the fact that AI will continue to drive technological adoption in the healthcare industry.
As technological tools have become increasingly sophisticated, the demands for these tools are also becoming more complex. Still, organizations are in the right when they invest a huge bulk of their resources in AI-based solutions. Apparently, they know all too well that these products are capable of improving the delivery of care and other services.
They help healthcare providers to thrive
End users will certainly reap the benefits that AI entails. If anything, effective software and IT products are being sought by businesses that want to get the most out of their investments. Analytics plays an important role in maintaining the efficiency of an organization, whether it involves using organizational psychology to retain productive employees or managing the workflow of hospital staff.
One thing that makes HITs relevant is the fact that they lighten the workload and that they simplify complex processes. With the use of AI, healthcare organizations can accelerate their services without compromising quality. This would allow healthcare managers to focus on exploring ideas for expanding their bottom lines.
They help in patient outreach
A key trend in HIT is the rise of AI virtual assistants. Doctors normally have their hands full engaging patients with unique histories — considering this, there will always be room for error. This technology can help by automating the way they handle individual cases.
In this case, using automated VAs to organize patient data and notify patients about their appointment schedules and regular medication can ultimately lessen the amount of work doctors will have to handle. As VAs are being developed to become more intelligent and predictive, these innovations will certainly provide ample opportunities to forge stronger patient links.
They make accuracy central
Human error is natural. We are basically prone to make mistakes. But in the healthcare industry, errors can sometimes cost you money or, even worse, a patient’s life.
Indeed, new technologies in the field of diagnostics are helping organizations to identify and analyze diseases more accurately. This, in turn, can help doctors to make the proper prescriptions and suggest the right treatment plans.
Medical innovators can’t come up with ways to implement 3D printing into categories of healthcare fast enough. With so many practical applications, 3D printing is quickly becoming a technology realized for its untapped potential and seemingly limitless possibility to transform healthcare.
3D printing alone has many applications across a wide range of industries — for one example, advancements in health data are benefiting nursing and patient care. As 3D printing continues to be combined with the innovations in health data, it will further revolutionize patient care, lower healthcare costs, expand the field of nursing, and improve modern medicine as we know it. How will 3D printing and health data do this?
Below is an extensive look at how innovations in health data are changing healthcare fields, and how 3D printing will further reform these sectors, allowing for advancements in both medical practice and patient care.
Home healthcare benefits patients who would like personal care in the comfort of their own home. Elderly and disabled patients don’t have to travel to have minor care done, and patients who have such diseases as HIV and are worried about discrimination or bias can have their privacy. Home-based care allows for specialized care for the patient, rehabilitation, and the close monitoring of vital signs for health and wellness, without the trouble of an in-person office visit. This convenient transfer of data through new technology makes it increasingly easier for caregivers, whether it be family members or professionals, to care for patients on their terms.
ASU reports, “75.2 percent of nurses agree that telemedicine makes their job easier.” Telemedicine is another sector of healthcare made possible by the accessibility of telecommunication technologies such as videoconferencing. Through videoconferencing, a professional is able to listen to a patient’s concerns and diagnose illness or injury from a remote location. This gives the patient another level of privacy and both parties freedom and independence. Telemedicine cuts healthcare costs, as a physician doesn’t need to physically travel to a patient every time a minor checkup is needed.
EHRs and CPOEs
Electronic health records, or EHRs, are just that: electronic patient health documents that provide real-time information. Medical history, treatments, and diagnoses can be constantly updated along with other details such as allergies and current medications. An infographic by Duquesne University highlights the increased reliance on EHRs while illustrating patient data in the age of technology.
CPOEs, or computerized provider/physician order entries, are a better way to order medication and control the dosage and frequency at which the medication is administered. This efficient method of ordering pharmaceuticals reduces error and abuse, and therefore diminishes illness and injury. As Scott Rupp writes, CPOEs are “foundational for meaningful use. Make sure it’s easy to use and intuitive.”
Involvement of 3D Printing
In its infant stages, 3D printing is being utilized to make hearing aids, prosthesis, skin for burn victim patients, heart and airway splints, and much more. Showing potential for almost every aspect of healthcare, 3D printing, combined with the innovations in health data above, will transform these fields for even more accessible, affordable, and convenient healthcare.
3D printing can be applied to home health care, telecommunications, EHRs and CPOE in a number of ways. A professional can diagnose the atrophy of a leg, order the rehabilitation of walking, 3D print a prosthetic, and monitor the progress all while a patient is at home. In another instance, home healthcare and telemedicine can diagnose that a patient is ill, EHRs and CPOEs will allow for a better determination of what medication to order, and 3D printing can be used to print the medication for a patient
More accessible healthcare means more easily affordable healthcare, and with the involvement of 3D printing home-based care, telemedicine, EHRs, and CPOEs, healthcare will be transformed and turned on its ear. Patients who desire privacy, or are not mobile, will be able to get the care they need at home, while professionals will be able to stay in the office to help people with more immediate and urgent matters.
As mentioned above, 3D printing is in its infancy stages for many of these processes. An argument can be made that 3D printing will make home care, telemedicine, EHRs, and CPOEs more expensive — and that’s true, but only for now. As 3D printing becomes more of a norm in the medical field, and it will with its promising applications, the cost will decrease. As 3D printing becomes a normal process in these fields, it will increase patient care and make healthcare more accessible and more easily affordable.
Many hospitals and healthcare organizations say they’re committed to moving to a paperless or paper-light environment. Greater document digitization is key to a more seamless flow of information within the healthcare enterprise, increasing worker productivity and reducing costs while also enhancing patient data security and ultimately improving quality of care.
Electronic health records (EHRs) are viewed as a foundational component of this strategy. In 2016, more than 95 percent of all eligible and critical access hospitals demonstrated meaningful use of certified health IT including EHRs, according to Health IT Dashboard. The conventional wisdom would lead some to expect subsequent decline in paper usage, but quite the opposite is happening.
Studies have shown that despite the growing adoption of EHRs and other digital technologies, paper in the healthcare enterprise remains prevalent – and is even growing. Experts say hospitals are seeing as much as an 11 percent increase in their annual print volumes driven by the Meaningful Use program, the Affordable Care Act, ICD-10, and the adoption of electronic record-keeping.
Why is this happening? Sometimes we find that physicians to not yet fully trust EHRs. Approximately 27 percent of a doctor’s time is spent with patients, the rest being spent on office work, documentation and EHRs – a common source of physician frustration. Also, disjointed processes of gathering paper-based information from a variety of points within a facility lead to delays in uploading this information to the EHR – leading to physicians keeping copies of patient files on hand.
EHRs alone are not enough to decrease the mountains of paper in hospitals and healthcare facilities. Organizations should consider augmenting EHRs with the following capabilities:
Integrated Document Workflows
Even healthcare organizations that have achieved late-stage meaningful use continue to print and process high volumes of paper for assorted reasons – from patient admissions and discharge, to belongings and consent forms, to prescriptions and pharmacy records. The benefits of EHRs can only be achieved insofar as they are integrated with digitally-based document workflows – the series of electronic steps by which a process is executed.
Consider physicians submitting prescriptions to pharmacies. When the EHR is directly integrated into this process, it can be automatically flagged if the patient is on another medication or has an existing condition which could cause an adverse reaction. If the EHR is not integrated, the entire process is disjointed and not as seamless and safe as possible. Or, consider the discharge process – when the EHR is integrated, discharging physicians have immediate access to patient files and charts – negating the need to print this information. Furthermore, studies show that “hybrid” paper-electronic workflows are ripe for error.