Electronic Health Reporter Named One of the Best Healthcare IT Blogs of 2014

Healthcare IT Leaders, an award-winning consulting and staff augmentation firm that connects hospitals and health systems with top healthcare IT talent, announces its picks for the Best Healthcare IT Blogs of 2014. The winning blogs were chosen for their timely content, insightful writing and subject matter expertise on topics important to the HIT industry.

Electronic Health Reporter was among one of 15 sites nominated, and selected, for the honor of best healthcare IT blogs of 2014.

“It’s exciting to see the healthcare IT industry unfold from so many perspectives,” said Alex Gramling, chief marketing officer for Healthcare IT Leaders. “The blogging of CIOs, physicians, consultants, tech journalists, industry experts and lawmakers, whether they’re behind the scenes or right there in the action, helps inform, educate and entertain all of us.”

Site nominations came from social media followers and readers of the Healthcare IT Leaders blog.

Healthcare IT Leaders matches skilled IT talent to contract and full-time HIT consulting jobs. Through its blog, the company provides content, infographics, and news updates as well as insights from its chief medical officer, Dr. Frank Speidel. In 2013, Healthcare IT Leaders was named by Staffing Industry Analysts as one of the Best Staffing Firms to Work For in the US.

Here’s the complete list of sites selected as this year’s best:

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View from the Hospital: Reflection on Electronic Health Record Implementation

rsz_agrawalrishi_o_1
Agrawal

Guest post by Rishi Agrawal, MD, MPH, physician champion, La Rabida Children’s Hospital, Chicago, IL.

“Why do I have to click so many times to order something so simple?” a frustrated resident blurted out on her first day using our newly implemented CPOE system.

Having helped build order sets as a physician champion, the best I could tell her was that many aspects of the software were beyond my control, but that it will get faster and easier with familiarity.  And it did, to a point. Within a few weeks of going live, we had more than 90 percent adoption of CPOE, a source of both relief and pride. But challenges remained.

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Electronic Health Record Pricing Information and Guidance

Because I’m fascinated with the lack of information surrounding pricing of various electronic health records and because I admire the work of AmericanEHR Partners, I thought it relevant to shine a little light on another interesting piece of information from the organization.

As this seems to be the year of the big EHR switch, and because seemingly the folks at AmericanEHR hear as much as I do about the lack of transparency in the pricing structure of these solutions, I thought I’d publish some guidance for what to consider when making the transition to EHRs. In my research on the subject – I’m developing a piece on the subject of EHR pricing – I came across this piece, compiled by the AmericanEHR from the Maryland Health Care Commission.

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CHIME Chimes In, Says Meaningful Use Stage 2 Should Be Delayed One Year: I Agree

Breaking news hits the wires from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), which has responded to a recent query by a group of six Republican senators who are hell bent on slowing down the meaningful use program to ensure its operating efficiently and not just handing out money to everyone claiming they’ve met Stage 1 (and eventually the other stages).

What’s remarkable about the news, though, is that CHIME actually issues a letter calling for a one-year extension of meaningful use Stage 2. According to CHIME’s letter, as reported by Healthcare Informatics,

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Healthcare Records: A Hacker’s Roadmap to your Life

Healthcare Records: A Hacker’s Roadmap to your Life
Alex Horan

Guest post by Alex Horan is the senior product manager at CORE Security.

In 2012 we saw an increasing number of health breaches across the country – and across continents. We saw an employee’s lost laptop turn into a healthcare records breach of more than 2,000 sensitive medical records of Boston Children’s Hospital patients. We heard how one weak password allowed a hacker to access the Utah Department of Technology Services’ server and steal approximately 780,000 patients’ health and personal information. We even read about Russian hackers encrypting thousands of patient health records and holding the information for ransom for thousands of dollars.

Healthcare fraud or medical identity theft put both individuals and healthcare organizations at huge and severe risk. Since 2010, Ponemon Institute has annually benchmarked the progressing and evolving issues of patient privacy and security. The third annual study, released in December 2012, found that healthcare organizations still face an uphill battle in their efforts to stop and reduce the loss or theft of protected health information (PHI) and patient records. What’s more, data breaches can have severe economic consequences – and the repercussion costs are only climbing. The study estimates the average price tag for dealing with breaches has increased from $2.1 million in 2010 to $2.4 million in 2012. The report projects that the economic impact of continuous breaches and medical identity theft could be as high as $7 billion annually, for the healthcare industry alone.

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Dog Sledding and ACOs: What Do Health IT Leaders Do When the Lead Dogs Fail?

Ken Perez

Guest post by Ken Perez, Director of Healthcare Policy and Senior Vice President of Marketing, MedeAnalytics, Inc.

Recently, Mitch Seavey, 53, became the oldest winner of the Iditarod, the most famous dog sledding race in the world. At a distance of 1,600 kilometers, the Iditarod constitutes a race of supreme endurance. In dog sledding, the dogs that are chosen to lead the sled are usually the smartest, as well as the fastest, and they are appropriately called lead dogs.

The lead dogs in the realm of Medicare ACOs are the 32 pioneer ACOs, the selection of which was announced in December 2011 with great fanfare and optimism. With the greater risks (and rewards) of the pioneer ACO Model, the pioneers were widely considered the best and the brightest, the organizations most likely to succeed as ACOs.

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HIMSS’ Must See Sessions from those Who Will Be In Attendance

As a service to readers of Electronic Health Reporter I decided to ask its readers which sessions they most wanted to see at HIMSS13. For the record, I have attended HIMSS more than once so I understand how overwhelming it can be. However, I also understand that there are plenty of great resources available to those in attendance regarding which events to attend. Certainly, what I offer here is by no means authoritative nor is it objective.

Thus, I leave it up to you to decide what you are going to do while in New Orleans. All I can say is thanks for reading. I hope this helps.

Other sessions of note:

Five Facts that High-flying Teams Can Learn from Geese

geese in leadership V formation
Geese in formation

When my wife forwarded me the following heartwarming link to a tender, but powerful presentation about leadership and teamwork, and later in the day I came across a piece titled “5 Facts that Top Teams Learn From Geese,” I figured it was some sort of sign so thought I’d share with the readers of Electronic Health Reporter.

The link to the presentation is here, and it’s worth a look. Even though it’s a slide show, I understand if you don’t have the time or the desire to follow a link. As such, I’ve included the piece, from HR Pulse (thanks to writer Charles Lubbe for compiling this post, his in full below).

Is it about health IT? No. But, it’s about leadership and taking common sense steps to help improve your teams and your organizations. These are simple tips that apply to every business and should be embraced by every leader — and, who doesn’t like an animal story?

Fact #1: As each bird flaps its wings, it creates a “current” that lifts the bird following it. By flying in a V formation, the whole flock adds 71 percent more flying range than if one bird flew alone.

Lesson learned: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier if they travel on the strength of one another. The clearer the vision or certainty of a team, the more courage they demonstrate in achieving their results and the less they concern themselves with individual effort.

Fact #2: Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

Lesson learned: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stay in formation with those who are ahead of where we want to go and be willing to accept their help and give ours to others. Top teams encourage discipline and look forward to opportunities for positive criticism, ensuring that the entire team reaps the reward.

Fact #3: When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies at the point position.

Lesson learned: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. Teams that are focused on their vision understand situational leadership and don’t need to be micro managed.

Fact #4: The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson learned: We need to make sure our “honking” from behind is encouraging, and not something else. Teams that place a value on regular check in and feedback hold their shape.

Fact #5:  When a goose gets sick, is wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it is able to fly again, or dies. They then launch out on their own, with another formation, or they catch up with their flock.

Lesson learned: If we have as much sense as geese do, we too, will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

I’d love to know your thoughts and if you think the previous points are worth the read, and more importantly, if they are worth implementing.

Do We Have a Healthcare IT Public Relations Problem?

I may be preaching to the choir, or, perhaps, I’m speaking to myself. Here I am, a member of the both the health IT community and a member of the PR community. One of my tasks is to help educate and inform those within and those on the outside of the healthcare community about the benefits of technology that’s designed and created for the betterment of physicians, caregivers and patients.

Being in my somewhat unique position, where I publish a site dedicated to healthcare technology and my role as a PR professional, I get to see things from both sides of the fence, in many cases several times in a given day.

I do a lot of pitching to media sources, sending stories and ideas that have been developed by my clients to best educate the community about a plethora of subjects to the media. I live by a credo established by myself to approach the media only with topics I feel are specific, educated and advance the overall conversation about a certain subject. Never do I blindly pitch ideas simply for the sake of landing coverage in obscure outlets.

Perhaps Electronic Health Reporter is an obscure outlet. I’d like to think not. Nevertheless, I get pitched by fellow PR practitioners a lot. More than you might think; several times a day. As regular readers of this site know, I tend to focus on healthcare information technology and it peripheral topics. But, that’s more than I receive from my colleagues for story ideas.

Some of the topics in my inbox are enlightening and some are entertaining; some of completely off topic and some should never have been sent. So, why is this important; why take the time to dedicate to a post about the subject?

Perhaps I’m a purist. Maybe I have a sense of self importance, but I tend to think that the conversations taking place with the media, things that are being positioned for the press by leaders in the HIT community, just might not be what the market – those serving patients and others in the practice of healthcare – really need, want or like.

At its very base, this is the sort of thing that makes me wonder just how much “innovation” there is because those in the position of creating a product for the purpose of selling it to make money are convincing those that are counting on them for the newest products to advance their mission in the field according to innovation and need.

I’m often called a cynic. It’s true. I’m suspicious of a lot of things. It’s something that I developed during my days as a reporter when, like now (as a site publisher and blogger), I get pitched a lot of stories that were not worthy of my time.

I’ve got to admit, I’m surprised by this disconnect. It’s somewhat eye opening to me that the vendors serving the healthcare community seem so far from synched up with those actually providing the care.

If I’m wrong, I hope you’ll let me know. If I’m right, I promise not to be part of the problem.

What We Think When We’re Led to Think a Certain Way: Wolters Kluwer’s Survey About Healthcare and the American Uninformed

Wolters Kluwer recently released a gem of a survey fit for the bandwagon of health IT topics currently underway.

On its head, the survey results are intriguing and the data does provide some insight into what the American public is thinking when led to think a certain way about a specific topic that, quite frankly, most don’t know much about.

Now, I’m not saying Wolters Kluwer data is flawed. On the contrary, the firm, which makes its living producing qualified data, knows what it’s doing. What I’m implying is that Wolters Kluwer is producing a survey with data collected by an audience that doesn’t truly understand the topic in which it’s responding to.

Let’s dive in and I’ll explain.

According to the survey by the Philadelphia-based company, 80 percent of consumers believe the greater “consumerization” of healthcare – or the trend of individuals taking a greater and more active role in their own healthcare – is positive for Americans.

“Survey data suggests many Americans feel that a greater role in their care is not only good, but necessary, with 86 percent of consumers reporting that they feel they have to take a more proactive role in managing their own healthcare to ensure better quality of care.”

Let’s start here. As a member of the healthcare community, I’ve helped produce similar reports based on surveys I have even helped write, produce, analyze and release to the public. Does that mean my data was a good as Wolters Kluwer? No, not at all.

My point is that there is nothing new here. Nearly every survey of the American public about healthcare tends to suggest that they need to be more involved in their care. All Americans want to take greater control of their car until, seemingly, it’s time to do so.

Even the results suggest that Americans have the information and tools available to them to take on more responsibility.

“Most consumers also say they feel prepared to take on a greater role in managing their own healthcare, with 76 percent reporting that they have the information and tools to take a more proactive role in healthcare decisions ranging from choosing healthcare providers to researching treatment options. Despite feeling prepared, only 19 percent report that they have their own electronic Personal Health Record (PHR).”

Well, there’s the catch. There always something holding people back; no, it’s not the fact that when it comes time for the rubber to meet the road no one is ready to actually start their journey. If only everyone had access to a PHR, everyone would clamor to be more involved in their care.

Certainly, most of us know that this is simply an excuse so no one has to take responsibility for their actions. And, when PHRs are readily available, some other hurdle will keep Americans from moving forward with their engagement.

Finally, of the 1,000 respondents, Wolters Kluwer suggests that a mind boggling 30 percent of Americans want the same experiences with their physicians as they have with other consumer interactions, such as while shopping, traveling or lodging, complete with choices and control.

Here’s where my suspension of disbelief ceases. There’s just no simple to explain this nor is there very much credibility in the statement. The flaw in this piece of detail, in my opinion, is that we’ll never be able to have the same experiences with our physicians as we can with our travel agent or the baker in the local supermarket.

Physicians, after all, develop a much more intimate with their “consumers.” I mean, physicians see us naked and stick us with needles and get a lot closer than the clerk at your local department store. There is simply no way the relationship nor the experience is going to be the same. Which brings me back to my original point: the survey just seems to try to be so much more than it is seemingly as a result of trying to be part of a larger conversation.

But, to mitigate against the risk of you thinking I’m holding out on you, here are the remaining results. Let me know if you agree with my assessment:

According to Wolters Kluwer: “When it comes to choices about physicians, assuming that experience levels and care reputations are similar, consumers rank costs of visits and procedures (20 percent); technologically advanced offices, including the ability to communicate via email with doctors and nurses, schedule appointments online (19 percent); location of practice/office (19 percent) and friendliness of staff (14 percent) as the top four factors influencing their decision.”

Among other findings from the survey: