Detailed Analysis, Robust Planning and Guided Implementation Are the Keys to Successful ICD-10 Transition


Guest post by Anirban Mukherjee, account head at NIIT Technologies.

While most of the worrisome news about transitioning to ICD-10 is correct, the most daunting of tasks are actually the easiest to accomplish. Yet unwittingly, most healthcare providers, following the various help forums and articles, have focused on chalking out a complete ICD-10 transition plan before all else. Then, the plan is too often delayed or scrapped altogether.

The trick to a successful transition starts at the grass-root level: analysis before planning the transition effort and timelines. A detailed impact analysis is critical, and since it is based on historical data, it can never be too early to get this done. Moreover, with comprehensive historical data analysis, the planning effort can be drastically reduced. Consider that NIIT’s research, which analyzed the historical data of multiple providers, has revealed that up to 90 percent of claims utilize less than 5 percent of the ICD codes used by providers. Thus, by focusing on the accurate mapping of 5 percent of the code subset being utilized, 90 percent of the risk can be mitigated.

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More than Half of Docs Received EHR Incentive Payments, but They Are More Dissatisfied with Them than Ever Before

So, we’ve finally done it – we’ve reached the sticking point in the battle of electronic health records. Apparently, as of April 2013, more than half of all office-based physicians and other eligible professionals received their meaningful use incentive payments for successfully using and adopting EHRs.

Which means … you guessed it – more than 50 percent of eligible professionals successfully used a certified EHR (of course the number is higher if you calculate the number of physicians not using a certified system).

According to Modern Healthcare, in April 191,305 physicians and EPs received EHR incentive payments from Medicare, and 88,903 have received payments from Medicaid and 11,117 from Medicare Advantage under programs created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

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Making Your EHR Applications Work with Complete Performance Visibility


Guest post by Sean Armstrong, Director of Product Management at AppNeta.

Today, healthcare practices run on critical applications that connect remote users (hospitals, physicians, clinics) to centralized and hosted resources. From the largest medical centers to small clinics, healthcare organizations depend on network-sensitive applications every day. Electronic Health Records (EHR), ePrescriptions, medical imaging, online medical registries, desktop virtualization, VoIP, IP storage, cloud–based system, Software-as-a-Service — all of these critical applications help keep hospitals, physicians and clinics running. When these slow down or crash, so do the healthcare providers and the offices relying on them.

Here are five main reasons why every healthcare provider needs be able to monitor and manage application and network performance:

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Clarity for the Murkiness that is EHR Pricing and their Contract Structure

Electronic health record prices and contract terms remain ever elusive, and in some case, divisive. Certainly, with more than 50 percent of all practice-based physicians using an electronic health record, there is still little clarity and open communication as to the pricing and contract structure of the very systems that physicians and their practices are mandated to build their practices on.

Having worked for an electronic health record vendor, I understand the need for discreetness to a point, as well as the fact that prices of products and terms of contacts can’t always be posted to the web or nailed to the door like an a la carte menu; however, I do believe that the process should be a bit more transparent than it currently is.

That said, I’ve asked a couple industry leaders some of the questions I’ve had on the subject and their responses are educational, insightful and informative. I hope you feel the same.

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When Seeking Ways to Enhance User Account Access, CentraState Healthcare Systems Automated the Process

Healthcare providers, in particular, must prove that their organization and operational standards establish the proper quality and safety measures to meet strict regulation, reform and privacy requirements. However, even with “proper” protocols in place, most healthcare organizations often are unable to prove whether they have properly managed secure and protected information.

Improper user account management can lead to breeches of security, fines, penalties, lack of trust from the community and failed audits. Hospitals and healthcare providers need to take the necessary measures to ensure sensitive information is not available to employees without proper access rights. For instance, former employees and contractors who are still able to access and use a former employer’s e-mail network because their user account has not been deactivated immediately upon their departure present a definite security risk.

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Creating Value from Social Intelligence


Guest post by Nathan Sage, PA Consulting Group.

Across the world there are about 1.5 billion conversations an hour on social media platforms. Social media users share 30 billion pieces of content – comments, opinions, information videos, podcasts and photographs each month.

Yet just 15 years ago, none of this existed.

This means businesses have potential access to huge amounts of data about their markets, customers and competitors. The challenge is to turn these social media conversations from simple noise into intelligence from which they can extract the insights, the understanding and the warnings that will create or protect value.

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Insight About Waste and Tips for Productive IT Techniques throughout the Care Setting

Who among us that spend time working in health IT don’t think about ways to use the technology in practices to create efficiency and make work life better? However, on the other hand, how often do we think about the technologies and technological strategies employed in healthcare that just don’t measure up to much except for waste of time and resources.

Stepping back for a minute, but using that concept as a launching point, I recently asked several people this very question and the responses I received were plentiful. They ranged from implementing new solutions to make life easier for physicians on rounds to techniques for streamlining the use of email.

You see, electronic health records and practice portals, for example, are not the only solutions and approaches that can make us more productive or create productive IT throughout the care setting.

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What’s Your Plan? Cloud as Disaster Recovery for Healthcare IT and Healthcare Consultants

Guest post by Dan Tully, executive vice president, Conduit Systems.

“Disaster” is defined as a sudden event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, which causes great damage and results in unfortunate consequences. Hurricane Sandy – which as hard as it might be to believe,  just came upon its six-month anniversary – still comes to mind as the most recent example of the havoc that disasters can wreak. Sandy caused an estimated $50 billion in damages and healthcare IT systems, their managers and healthcare consultancies were not immune. Not to mention the devastation we just faced with the tornados in Oklahoma.

In recent years, the cloud has emerged as a powerful tool to ensure service continuity in the event of disaster, and rightfully so – it’s swift, efficient and cost-effective. A review of cloud-based solutions today for disaster recovery is a safe investment of time, resources, and eventually, capital.

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Send Money Now: HHS’ Sebelius’ Request for Funds to Support Obamacare Compared to Iran-Contra Scandal


Health and Human Services recently admitted that Secretary Kathleen Sebelius solicited private support for the implementation of Obamacare programs including Enroll America, a nonprofit group devoted to expanding access that a former Obama administration staffer runs. According to Politico and other sources, HHS says there’s no problem with her actions.

According to the report, Sebelius sought donations from healthcare companies for a group working to encourage more people to enroll in Obamacare programs. Several key leaders, primarily Republicans, say Sebelius is showing disregard for constitutional principles and may violate the Antideficiency Act — the prohibition against augmenting congressional appropriations, and executive branch ethics laws.

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The Problem with Healthcare IT: The Closer We Get to the Goal, the Farther Away the Goal Seems to Get

Farzad Mostashari recently said that 5 percent of the problem in healthcare now is people while the remaining 95 percent of the problem is systems and IT.

According the national health IT coordinator, as reported by Government Health IT, “It’s systems that let ordinary people do extraordinary things.”

However, the tools that allow us to do extraordinary things contribute to nearly all of the problems physicians and their practices face in healthcare. IT is to blame for healthcare’s problems; not lack of payment reform, overarching government intrusion, lack of research, the fact that doctors are only able to spend about eight minutes with each patient per visit, etc.

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