Infographic: Information-driven Healthcare IT

Another interesting infographic, from Dell, that I thought worthy of sharing. It’s comprehensive, as you can see. Essentially, it asks and answers the question of how is healthcare IT changing through and because of its relationship with technology.

Without a doubt, the change we’re seeing, especially in the last 10 years, is monumental. Take a look at some of the figures below. In a nutshell: social media, which truly did not exist a decade ago is changing healthcare, especially consumer engagement with the industry. According to this data, more than 40 percent of patients are affected by the use of social media in the care space and it drives their decision when deciding which facility to give business to. Does this suggest that they want their physicians using social media platforms or to simply have a profile to interact with the office? The data doesn’t say, but it likely implies that they want the ability to be able to communicate through their own channels rather than the more archaic means like the phone and static websites. Patients want the ability to communicate somehow through the use of social and likely want to own more of the relationship with their providers. It is their health after all and they want the process of care to be efficient. This trend will likely only increase.

Another interesting point here is that more than 75 percent of healthcare CIOs believe that their health systems don’t have the infrastructure to support their technological advancement. This is a major issue as these leaders look to make long-term adjustments, keep up with reform and employ systems to drive efficiencies. However, in an ever-changing technological world where advancement never ends, I think this is likely to be an ongoing trend/problem/dissatisfaction. For example, over the last five years so much attention has been given the the use of and functionality of EHRs and how they will improve healthcare as a whole, but many say that the systems are antiquated and simply don’t meet the needs of modern practices and hospitals and more needs to be done to improve them and make them more robust and useful.

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Six EHR Training Tips You Shouldn’t Miss

Randy Van Egdom
Randy Van Egdom

Guest post by Randy Van Egdom, partner/implementation manager at AdventEMO.

We understand how difficult it is to decide on an electronic health record (EHR) that is customized for your needs and requirements. But, because of the need, you have now finalized on an EHR which has been marketed to you as the perfect match for your practice. Now that the EHR is in place, you have started using it with the help of the vendor training, but hold on, why isn’t it working just as it was promised to you?

It happens more often than ever that the EHR works just right ‘til you have the vendor standing by your side training you on its implementation. Yet, it just fails to work the way it is supposed to when that training period is over. This is because that you face real problems only when you are totally dedicated towards it. During the training tenure you never look at it like an ongoing process.

In all likelihood, this EHR might be the one that will bring a great turnover and growth with your existing and new staff. Not just the efficiency of your staff increases with an EHR in place, even the EHR will update and change with time easing the entire process. The key driving element is to have a strategy that works for your organization and allows time for its development and deployment.

Here are the six EHR training tips you shouldn’t miss. Having this in place will take your practice a long way with the EHR.

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What Patients Value in the United States

I love infographics. Readers of this site know that. As such, the following is a surprising and interesting image: What patients value in the United States. From Vision Critical, as the healthcare industry goes through a significant transformation, the organization claims that it’s more important than ever for organizations to understand what drives patients’ perception of value and put proactive measures in place to better meet their needs.

Vision Critical, a provider of research and data, conducted a survey in October 2013 of more than 1,000 Americans about what influences their choice of healthcare specialists and treatment facilities, and on how they value their overall treatment. The following findings highlight the three factors that drive patient loyalty and offer insights for healthcare providers and any brand that provides face-to-face service:

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How Document Imaging Can Benefit the Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry has to grapple with a lot of sensitive information of patients, and also deal with numerous stringent regulations. This is an industry that has to manage a considerable amount of information without compromising on its safety. From patients’ medical records to prescriptions, information needs to be maintained securely, but also be available for quick access to healthcare professionals.

With all the technological advancements being introduced each day, information has indeed become readily available in the modern world. As a result, healthcare professionals tend to get a larger amount of files and spend more time trying to manage these files. Fortunately, technology has also introduced ways for us to manage documents more efficiently. Document imaging is one of these ways.

What is Document Imaging?

Document imaging involves the conversion of paper documents into computer files and electronic images. There is a good number of document imaging software available and they all allow you to easily retrieve your documents within seconds. The benefits offered by a document imaging system are such that several companies and organizations all over the world are now using it in lieu of the traditional paper filing system.

Benefits of Document Imaging

These are the most notable benefits of having a document imaging system:

–          It prevents the loss of important records and documents. A while ago, an article in BioSpace spoke about China halting shipments of HIV therapy because of a missing regulatory document. That could never happen with document imaging and cloud based sharing.

–          It allows you to save a great deal of physical storage space and use it for other important purposes.

–          It helps you manage your records efficiently. SureClinical has given healthcare companies a cloud based ecosystem that helps them manage content. Collaborative cloud digital signing functionality gives clients the opportunity to adhere to EsMD or Electronic Trial Master File Standard which is a part of the US Medicare program.

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2014: The Year of Healthcare Big Data

Dan Piekarz

Guest post by Daniel Piekarz, vice president of life sciences business development at DataArt.

The life sciences industry will be defined in 2014 by the growing market demand to apply newly developed technology, including big data analysis, to healthcare and medical device practices. While many of the amazing technological advances in the space are driven by a desire to aid humanity, the industry is also caught between increased economic and regulatory pressure that is forcing many to electronically collect heaps of data while looking for custom technology solutions that will allow them to leverage this valuable data and adhere to new industry standards.

Over the next year, trends that reflect newly available technology will start to develop.  The adoption of healthcare big data technology will become a major theme in the sector this year, just as it has in several other industries. Many new technology offerings have been created to tie together data from multiple sources that can be accessed by researchers and physicians to allow them to easily exchange information. This also aids in research and development practices by offering another valuable tool to gather and analyze data.

Tied to the big data trend is the emergence of personal healthcare data aided by physicians’ adoption of EHR technology. By allowing patients to own and access their healthcare data on a healthcare information dashboard, patients can more easily understand risks and preventable care options. Pooling anonymized patient data together can also lead to better analysis, and physicians are already starting to work with vendors to develop big data diagnostic tools. These new technology advancements have started to create a generation of patients more committed to their own healthy future than ever before. Through an intelligent system database, patients and physicians can better understand patterns and symptoms that affect their healthy lifestyles. While this type of big data solution is gaining a foothold, there is still resistance from some doctors due to their concern over critical review of their procedures.

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Who’s Preparing for Meaningful Use Stage 2?

Interesting insight below from Practice Fusion about meaningful use stage 2 adoption trends, specifically state-by-state rates of effective EHR adoption. Am I surprised that large states like California and New York lag behind the rest of the country in EHR adoption progress? For some reason, I’m not really.

What surprises me here is that my native state of South Dakota leads every state in the country in the adoption of EHRs with Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota all making the top 10.

I’m also surprised that no other state really comes close to So. Dak. Minnesota, the next closest state in level of adoption is a full 10 percent behind.

Nevertheless, what does this suggest about rural healthcare facilities? Do they need the money more than their urban counterparts? Does the technology make it easier for them to practice with such a dispersed population or are they just able to make the move more quickly because they are smaller, more agile facilities?

The last reason is less likely. I’d think it’s a combination of the first two points I make, and that they fee the technology makes it easier to communicate and track patient outcomes across their respective geographies.

I’d love your thoughts.

The second chart below tells which organizations are implementing specifically. It’s no surprise to me that family practice has a healthy lead.

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Three Strategies to Tackle Health IT Trends in 2014

Brian Schmitz
Brian schmitz

Guest post by Brian Schmitz, director of future product marketing for HP LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions, Imaging and Printing Group.

In today’s dynamic healthcare industry, it is important that providers embrace modern information technology and innovations to achieve organizational success. It’s no surprise that the health IT landscape is changing rapidly, driven by the interrelated trends of mobility, cloud, security and big data. This will fundamentally change the way that healthcare organizations communicate and collaborate moving forward. But, these health IT trends are not only driving change, they are also serving as the path to deal with many of the new dynamics created in today’s office environment.

In turn, healthcare organizations will need a “new style of IT” that helps them become more agile and efficient while reducing operational costs. In addition to these megatrends, changes to government regulations are driving an industry-wide shift to improve healthcare IT, which have increased healthcare IT spending projections to $34.5 billion in North America.

There will be an abundance of technology resources available to help healthcare providers facilitate this transition; however, IT decision makers must be able to identify the technologies that will work best for their business. The following three strategies are key consideration points when looking for new technologies to help you manage IT megatrends.

Benefit from Healthcare Big Data

Regulatory changes associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will create a surge of newly insured patients. The Congressional Budget Office expects that the PPACA will cover around 14 million of the uninsured in 2014 and 25 million by the end of the decade. There is a significant financial opportunity with these new patients, but it is important to consider that the number of practitioners will not immediately increase to accommodate this influx.

Investing in technology and tools designed to specifically address big data and the vast amounts of patients’ personal information will help healthcare organizations provide more personalized care to these newly insured patients. By selecting tools that help collect, store and search for patient information, healthcare organizations can increase productivity by significantly reducing time spent managing patient records. Converting documents into searchable digital formats is an important part of this process, and educating staff on how to properly scan and organize documents in their digital form will help make patient data more accessible and usable.

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Sharing of Secure Patient Information Requires Strong Breach and Notification Policies

Roy Bossen
Roy Bossen

Guest post by Roy Bossen, partner, Hinshaw and Culbertson.

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act pushing hospitals and health systems to provide services more efficiently, a significant number of hospitals, health systems and providers are sharing secure patient information through health information exchanges (“HIEs”), and accountable care organizations (“ACOs”). The advent of both the HIEs and the ACOs are additional opportunities for protected health information to be shared by hospitals, doctors and other providers.

HIEs allow for patient information, including lab tests, imaging tests, prescriptions and treatments, to be shared by the participants in the HIE. The development of these electronic HIEs allow for the secure exchange of health information among entities participating in the HIE. Generally, the rights and responsibilities of those entitled to share the information is governed by participation agreements. Many providers believe that sharing data will improve healthcare and promote not only quality of care, but efficient care, as well. Similarly, the development of ACOs by otherwise independent providers results in more patient information shared in electronic fashion. The advent of both HIEs and ACOs provide another medium for possible breaches of the privacy rule.

The privacy rule requires that covered entities verify the identity and authority of persons requesting Protected Health Information (“PHI”) if the individual requesting it is not known to the entity.  The Rule, however, does not specify in great detail the verification that must be made and, thus, there is flexibility that can be applied with regard to HIEs and ACOs.

Generally, in a HIE, the participants agree, by contract or otherwise, to provide to the HIE a list of authorized persons so the HIE can appropriately authenticate users of the network. Documentation required for uses and disclosures may be provided in electronic form, and documentation requiring signatures may be provided as scanned images. It is important from an HIE perspective for the various participants to agree on a common set of privacy safeguards that are appropriate to the risk associated with exchanging PHI to and through the HIE. Similarly, with ACOs, the ACO should establish a common set of privacy safeguards that are appropriate to the privacy risks associated with multiple providers using PHI. These common standards would include a breach notification policy or procedure. To fully understand what must be done, one must have a basic understanding of what is considered a breach.

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Strategies for Effective EHR Data Management

Mark Myers
Mark Myers

Guest post by Mark Myers, Datalink.

Today’s healthcare IT departments have a relatively tall order when it comes to effective EHR data management. In an environment that often requires them to be simultaneously budget-conscious, growth-minded and patient-driven, healthcare IT must also address the often-competing data management needs for:

Popular EHR system vendors have made significant strides to address several of these data management issues. Unfortunately, they can only go so far given the current state of many healthcare IT environments. Some departments may still require custom software applications, complete with specially configured servers, storage and network hardware to support them.

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Healthcare Structured Data Enables the Grandest Rounds of All

Micheal Sherling
Michael Sherling

Guest post by Michael Sherling, MD, MBA, co-founder and chief medical officer, Modernizing Medicine.

At most hospitals and academic medical centers, physicians come together once a month to learn new approaches to treatment, to exchange ideas and to debate the possibilities of a challenging diagnosis. We call this Grand Rounds.

Grand Rounds keeps physicians up to date and helps patients too. Instead of relying on one doctor’s opinion, patients get a collective experience of several doctors. Through open debate, a more thoughtful approach to disease treatment is generated. Unfortunately, 80 percent of physicians do not practice in a hospital or academic medical center where Grand Rounds happen.[1] They practice in private practice. While there are opportunities for physicians in private practice to maintain continuing medical education through journals, online courses and annual meetings, most of these practitioners are on their own, so to speak.

When physicians in private practice see a challenging case, they can read about it in a medical textbook, phone a friend (another specialist) or refer the patient to another physician. They don’t have the luxury of calling a “time out” and presenting the case to five other physicians. Pressured by time constraints of increased documentation and decreasing reimbursement, many doctors opt to refer out the more challenging cases, or shy away from newer treatments simply because they don’t have the same access or shared experiences as doctors practicing in hospitals and academic medical centers.

Today, innovative cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) systems can present an opportunity to break down the barriers in private practice so that physicians can make more informed decisions at the point of care. Cloud-based systems rely on one instance of the software where all de-identified medical data is stored. These systems are HIPAA compliant and patient information is protected and secured. Yet, to advance medicine and improve healthcare outcomes for patients and physicians alike, the cloud-based systems can provide physicians access to de-identified patient data. Instead of relying on underpowered clinical control trials for common diseases, outdated studies for rare diseases and anecdotal evidence for orphan diseases, cloud based systems can reveal to physicians which treatment patterns are used for any given disease.

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