Despite the government doling out billions for the advancement of healthcare information technology (HIT) through the electronic health record (EHR) Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs, the shift toward adoption of EHR has not picked up as rapidly as expected.
A deeper study into the issue reveals that physicians and healthcare providers, who are normally at ease in incorporating cutting edge technology into their work, are facing a plethora of problems because of the government’s incentive programs. A hasty implementation of certified EHR, which were provided by hundreds of vendors, resulted in physicians buying tools that were not optimized to meet a individual user’s needs. As a result, instead of facilitating providers, these tools have had a negative impact on their workflows, decreasing efficiency.
HIMSS Analytics released the results of the first HIMSS workforce survey, sponsored by Medix IT, which examines hiring trends and barriers for healthcare provider organizations and IT vendors. The report, based on a survey of 224 executives working for hospital/healthcare system IT and vendor organizations, provides human resource leaders insights into the current hiring environment, recruitment and retention tactics, hiring plans for 2013 and resources currently employed by health IT providers and vendors.
“As healthcare organizations become increasingly sophisticated with their IT initiatives, human resource leaders are experiencing a new set of hiring challenges,” said Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research for HIMSS Analytics. “By identifying those challenges and hiring trends, we hope this new report will be considered a resource for career development professionals as they plan their strategic personnel efforts.”
More than 85 percent of survey respondents indicated that their organization hired at least one employee in 2012. Only 13 percent reported implementing layoffs during the same time frame. While the health IT hiring environment has been very positive for both healthcare provider organizations and vendors, vendors were more likely to report hiring staff than were healthcare providers. Looking ahead, 79 percent of organizations also plan to hire additional staff in the coming year.
After having spent several days in a hospital recently caring for a loved one, I can unequivocally say that there is no comparison for patient engagement – in relation to meaningful use and in regard to health IT such as EHRs – between the hospital setting and the ambulatory practice.
Simply put, there is no comparison between the amount of attention given to the topic of patient engagement in ambulatory practice and in hospital care, at least as far as the patient experience is concerned.
Guest post by Bob Janacek, CTO and co-founder of DataMotion.
Duplicate tests and sky high costs. Healthcare records stored in filing cabinets and warehouses. Millions of documents lost in floods and fires. For the past few decades, these woeful stories have been typical of healthcare. Ask a seasoned administrator about those times and you’ll likely hear stories of heroic hospital staff wading waist deep in a flooded archive basement salvaging whatever floated by.
Fortunately, there’s been a significant push toward the use of electronic health records (EHR) and the days of managing tons of physical documents are gradually becoming a distant memory. Every new innovation, however, brings new challenges. This is especially true when it comes to recent federal mandates requiring the electronic exchange of healthcare records among providers and clinical systems.
Guest post by Girish Kumar Navani, CEO and co-founder, eClinicalWorks.
In a world becoming more and more connected by technology, we have countless resources that fit in the palms of our hands. Thanks to smartphones, we are empowered to shop, bank and manage our social networks and more – whenever and wherever we choose. And companies are working in new ways to meet our needs by building apps and optimized websites that make our lives easier.
This notion of consumerization – the power of the consumer to drive technological innovation – is taking hold in healthcare. It means giving patients tools to track, understand and maintain their health, and meeting their demand for easy access to their doctors and personal health information. Empowering patients in this way could lead to big changes in our healthcare system.
For all of its sophistication, digital pathology turns on just a few basic value propositions: images must be consistent, persistent and efficient, enabling them to be used at anytime and from anywhere. We need to get the right slide on the right patient to the right pathologist at the right time – what eminent pathologist and blogger Keith Kaplan, MD, calls “the 4R’s of digital pathology.”
When these four requirements are met, good things happen: teleconsultation and image analysis can be performed by the right pathologist on the right slide on the right patient at the right time. With this capability, pathology is moving from near real-time diagnoses to real-time diagnoses without regard to geographic boundaries.
Rock Health, the healthcare startup incubator, released its 2013 midyear digital health funding, which shows continued and expansive growth of more than $849 million invested in 90 different companies, a jump of more than 12 percent more money and 25 percent more deal volume than this time last year.
For perspective, here’s a graph from Rock Health that puts the activity into perspective:
According to Rock Health, “digital health has been outpacing traditional healthcare, where investments have dropped precipitously. Medical device funding is down 29 percent and biotech is down 2 percent in the first quarter.”
Guest post by Sreekanth Ravi, founder and CEO, Tely Labs.
Once largely restricted to the largest urban hospitals, telehealth is gradually expanding beyond its city confines. According to estimates from the American Telemedicine Association, about 10 million people a year now receive some form of telemedicine service. Fueled by multiple converging dynamics — including rising consumer demand as people live longer, breakthroughs in medical science, the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, and recent technological advances that make remote and online healthcare more feasible and affordable – rural and remote hospitals are likely to be the chief adopters.
Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico, is a case in point. Because they don’t have neurologists on staff, until recently they had to transfer stroke patients to El Paso or Las Cruces. Now, patients in need of neurologist care are far less likely to be transferred from Alamogordo.
Even given the news that the majority of practices and hospitals have made the change to EHR, this continues to be a tumultuous time in the land of electronic health records. In fact, several entities have proclaimed 2013 the year of the great EHR switch.
With that, and because I am not brand loyal, I think it’s a great idea to keep an open mind and acquire as much information as possible in the event a change is needed or you’re one of the few practices to not make the transition to electronic records.
There are no shortage of quality sources with excellent tips and information available, but I think there’s always room for more. I recently came across a white paper from Tech Target that intrigued me. The topic: 10 Critical Steps for Selecting an EHR.