All change faces resistance, and the adoption of technology in healthcare is no different. Advocates speak of the advantages to quicker information access, paperless offices and speed of care. On the other side of the spectrum, technology laggards point to the physical and theoretical technology barriers during a patient exam, a perceived loss of nuance in capturing data and data security issues.
Today’s medical students are debunking the debating by adopting a modern medical approach that merges technology and a focus on patients. Coined as “patient-centric care,” future physicians are encouraging patients to be engaged in their care and live a healthy lifestyle with the aid of technology.
This fresh and engaging method of healthcare delivery, known as patient-centered care, revolves around three key approaches: shared decision-making, a care-team approach and adherence support.
Shared decision-making involves creating a more active discussion between clinicians and patients. This not only develops a mutual sense of trust and information sharing, but also leads to better outcomes. If a patient feels that the physician is speaking with him versus at him then they will be more willing to share information and widen the gateway of communication. Furthermore, the impression of physicians being the sole and final authority has been challenged by the pervasive availability of health information (accurate or not) on the Internet.
CIOs in healthcare face the constant challenge of doing more with less. Most are being asked to dramatically cut costs while continually tackling an ambitious list of responsibilities, including maintaining their organizations’ ability to demonstrate meaningful use, making the transition to ICD-10, sharing information through healthcare information exchanges (HIEs) and maintaining stringent patient privacy and HIPAA compliance programs.
Three key and often overlooked elements can help to address these tasks: document scanning, clinical language understanding and integration standards. Mastery of this electronic health record (EHR) trifecta can significantly simplify the healthcare CIO’s challenge.
Electronic health record adoption levels are steadily increasing, but ongoing interoperability issues result in high volumes of paper-based communications between providers. In fact, a survey conducted by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., found that 71 percent of physicians identified lack of EHR interoperability and exchange infrastructure as major barriers to HIE.
Kareo, a company I have come to quietly respect (the company does not sponsor this site in any way) issued the following graphic (something else I have come to really like). I’m a visual person and there’s often no better way to convey complicated information like that found in health IT and I find the following graphic filled with much telling information, and seems to beg whether small practices are served well by EHRs.
This graphic seems to speak to a bigger picture of what’s going on currently in the space. This information tells the story of how it is becoming more difficult to maintain autonomy in private practice, but not impossible. With technology, small practices can thrive. But, is there enough focus on the small practices for technology to make the difference Kareo says it can?
Kareo has skin in this game, after all, and makes its position clear: “The solution is technology, and not just one piece of software but a fully-integrated seamless package of solutions from a single vendor … most physician practices know that to remain independent they will have to make changes.
“The willingness to change is important because success may rely on seeing your practice as a business and carefully considering and evaluating your bottom line. While many physicians in practices with five providers or fewer are still hesitant to adopt an EHR, the potential benefits are indisputable.”
Guest post byJason Thomas, CIO and IT director of Green Clinic Health System, and Dell Software solutions user.
Across the healthcare landscape, organizations are expected be in complete compliance with all security and privacy policies on all devices – even personal devices brought in by doctors, nurses, clinicians and administrators.
Being compliant involves many things, including training staff, revising business agreements, modifying policies, staying up-to-date on the newest technologies and updating notices of privacy practices as new regulations go into effect – such as the HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule.
While most of the industry’s current compliance strategies are focused on maintaining privacy and protecting patient data, the more recent addition of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) brings a whole new level of complexity into the compliancy equation.
David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, recently stated, “BYOD strategies are the most radical change to the economics and the culture of client computing in business in decades.” He added that the benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction and reducing or avoiding costs.
Might healthcare learn a thing or two from research firm Gartner’s top strategic technology trends? Fresh off the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 held in Orlando where tens of thousands of IT executives gathered, Forbes magazine offers up the following from the research giant:
Mobile Device Diversity and Management
“Gartner suggests that now through 2018, a variety of devices, user contexts and interaction paradigms will make ‘everything everywhere’ strategies unachievable. The unintended consequence of bring your own device (BYOD) programs has been to render much more complex (by two or three times, Gartner estimates) the size of the mobile workforce, straining both the information technology and the finance organizations. It is recommended that companies better define expectations for employee-owned hardware to balance flexibility with confidentiality and privacy requirements.”
Even the world of healthcare will not miss out on MDM as workforces become more mobile. In addition to infrastructure needs, practices will need BYOD policy and MDM solutions to help them protect and manage their data.
Like the adaption and implementation of every new and innovative technology, it takes time to get used to it. Therefore, with electronic health records, being ready for change is key.
Previously, physicians were comfortable with a paper-based system because its usage had been a norm since and before they started studying medicine. The way they had to learn and adopt to a working environment when they started practicing, they will have to do the same with innovative technologies such as EHRs, built to make their lives easier.
In the initial stages, EHR documentation is likely to be cumbersome as physicians familiarize themselves with the new system.
ONC’s HealthIT.gov published the following graphic aimed directly at consumers, expanding on its education strategy. For those that live in health IT, much of the information included here has been seen multiple times. Perhaps there is little new here.
However, there are a few nuggets that I personally find of interest that are worth sharing. According to the the feds, “between 2001 and 2011, the number of doctors using an EHR system grew about 57 percent, making it easier for you and all of your doctors to coordinate your care, and often reducing the chance of medical errors.”
Now that studies have suggested that about 66 percent of the population would switch to a doctor using an EHR versus one not using one, we’re going to see this stat is every piece of collateral in support of the effort; in fact, that same story has been reported here at this twice (this makes the third time). That detail is included here, too, as we would expect.
The Accenture Consumer Survey on Patient Engagement explores whether doctors are delivering on the growing patient demand for access to EHRs and other electronic capabilities.
According to the info below, more than half of global users would switch to a doctor using EHRs with Brazil, France, Singapore and Spain registering well more than 50 percent of all patients willing to switch. In the US, the number of switchers hoovers at around 41 percent.
Physicians can’t seem to live with and can’t live without electronic health records. Or so says a new RAND survey.
The recent survey, conducted by the think tank the American Medical Association, found that most doctors strive to provide the best care possible to patients, but that the biggest obstacles for doing so is electronic health records, according to a report published by Health Tech Zone.
But, even with this hindrance, and though they consider the technology intrusive, 80 percent of respondents said they would never go back to paper patient records. The take away from the study is that physicians just want the EHRs to be “less cumbersome and time-consuming to use.”
“Physicians are pleased and happy professionally when they perceive that they’re giving high-quality patient care, and they’re unhappy when they can’t meet patients’ needs and when there are barriers to quality patient care,” said the study’s author, Dr. Mark Friedberg, a scientist with RAND and a practicing general internist in Boston.
StartUp Health, a global start up platform accelerating health and wellness innovation, announces the addition of 14 digital health companies to its exclusive long-term coaching program and community.
The 14 companies represent an “entrepreneurs focused on building digital health companies that target some of the biggest challenges in healthcare,” according to the release announcing the news.
The companies include a broad spectrum from home healthcare, genomics, aging, sensors, patient and physician engagement, mobile health and wellness, nutrition analysis, concierge medicine, care coordination, and price transparency.