Technology that Drives Patient Satisfaction

Some fascinating information from Industry View related to the value of EMRs/EHRs and the technology that drives patient satisfaction, especially as it shines additional light on the patient perspective of the technology.

As detailed here, electronic health records are appealing to folks and their value is beginning to be known among consumers needing care.

Of particular interest is that 82 percent of patients believe they receive better quality of care when their doctors use electronic records, and nearly half believe they’ve had better experiences at the point of care when their docs use the technology.

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HHS Launches Meaningful Consent Site

HHS launches meaningful consent

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services  (HHS) announces the launch of site, Meaningful Consent, aimed at aiding providers in their efforts to engage patients in determining the best way to share their electronic information.

The site provides “strategies and tools” to providers, including background information and lessons learned by other providers. It is based on 2011 recommendations made by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s HIT Policy Committee.

According to HHS, the online resource helps healthcare providers effectively engage patients in choosing how they want their electronic patient health information shared.

Meaningful Consent supposedly addresses the laws, policies and issues related to the electronic exchange of health information, also known as health information exchange, or HIE.  The site includes strategies and tools that can be used to engage and educate patients, if they are interested in learning more, of course.

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Does National Health IT Week Matter?

Does national health IT week matter?

According to Dr. Geeta Nayyar in a commentary posted to Modern Healthcare, as the proliferation of technology takes us closer to instant information in nearly every form, the healthcare sector simply does not move so quickly, and there is a long way to go.

This is clearly the case, and, meaning no disrespect Dr. Nayyar, this is not a new thought.

She opines that this is the reason national health IT week is so important to patients.

Allow me to quote her: “That’s why National Health Information Technology Week (Sept. 16-20, 2013) is so important to patients, physicians and hospitals in the U.S. Now in its eighth year, National Health IT Week is a collaborative forum of providers, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, research foundations and consumer protection groups coming together to address some of the pressing issues in the industry that technology can help solve.

“In focusing the nation’s attention on technology, the week highlights how ‘smart’ mobile applications, predictive analytic tools, patient engagement systems and other forms of technology will transform the delivery of care in the near future.”

All valid points, and clear advantages laid out in support of the movement, but I’m not so sure this is an effort that doesn’t strike me as a preacher speaking to his choir.

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Patients Willing to Switch Doctors For Access to Electronic Health Records?

According to a new survey by Accenture, and featured in Healthcare IT News, among other publications, more U.S. consumers (41 percent) are willing to switch doctors for access to electronic health records.

According to more than 9,000 people in nine countries, people are becoming more engaged with their EHRs and are going so far as to make the switch.

However, “only about a third of U.S. consumers (36 percent) currently have full access to their EMR, but more than half (57 percent) have taken ownership of their record by self-tracking their personal health information including their health history (37 percent), physical activity (34 percent) and health indicators (33 percent), such as blood pressure and weight.”

Roughly four out of five consumers (84 percent) surveyed believe they should have full access to their electronic medical record while only a third of physicians (36 percent) share this belief. In contrast, the majority of U.S. doctors (65 percent) say patients should only have limited access to their records and that is what most individuals (63 percent) say they currently have.

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“What is the Value of Health IT?”

For its second year of celebrating National Health IT Week, HIMSS is asking a simple question: “What is the value of HIT?”

Seems like a simple question, but there don’t seem to be any simple answers. The fact is there seems to be a different answer depending on who you ask. So, instead of offering my lone — and probably less than expert – opinion I’ve asked a variety of folks who are probably better able to give more insightful and valuable opinions than mine.

Brian Wells
Brian Wells

Brian Wells, associate vice president of healthcare technology and academic computing, Penn Medicine – UPHS “The value of Health IT is centered on the liberation of information. The act of capturing health data in electronic form allows that data to be used for multiple purposes: patient care, quality improvement, cost optimization, research, education, etc. The value increases exponentially if the data is stored and shared using structural and semantic standards.  This enables data from multiple sources to be aggregated while retaining its original meaning (value).  The promise of personalized or precision medicine will only be realized if health IT is used to gather the rich phenotypes of all patients and link that to their genotypes.”

Mark Frisse, M.D., professor of biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University “Health IT enables patients and their clinicians to make more informed decisions by bringing to care settings a comprehensive view of the patient’s health status as well as evidence-based care guidelines to inform consensual decision-making. Health IT promises more efficient and effective care delivery, accurate reporting of care quality, and timely assessments of public health. Health IT can enforce patient privacy preferences and other policy requirements. Properly implemented within a system of care, these technologies enable better communication and may allow clinicians and patients to transform care in positive and sometimes dramatic ways.” Continue Reading

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A Vision to the Cure for America’s Healthcare System

Joseph Kanter
Joseph Kanter

Guest post by Joseph H. Kanter, founder of the Kanter Family Foundation.

“If I ran my business the way our healthcare system operates, I’d go bankrupt,” is all I could think almost two decades ago, as I struggled with a life-or-death decision – which course of treatment to pursue for my prostate cancer.

As a self-made businessman whose key to entrepreneurial success stemmed from informing every business decision I made with objective data, I simply could not believe that none of my doctors could answer a seemingly simple question I posed. “Based on the experiences of other patients like me,” I asked, “which treatment is likely to work best?” Every doctor I saw was only able to answer with, “In my experiences…”

Data did not exist to offer me the information I desired to inform my decision.

My frustrating patient experience led me to envision what some experts now believe is the key to the cure. I imagined a health system in which every patient’s health experiences would be captured digitally and in which we would learn from millions of people’s lifetimes of health experiences (while safeguarding privacy).

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Blue Button, HIPAA and Mobile Devices

Bettina Experton
Bettina Experton

Guest post by Bettina Experton, MD, MPH, CEO of Humetrix.

The HITECH Act and its $30 billion attached budget mainly focused on building a provider-based health IT (HIT) infrastructure for providers to exchange patient health information. Two years after its implementation and the adoption of Stages 1 and 2 of meaningful use (MU 1 and MU 2) requirements for the use of electronic health records (EHRs), the federal government, EHR industry and providers across the country can claim remarkable results: more than 55 percent of hospitals and close to 50 percent of primary care physicians were using basic EHRs in 2012 (versus 10 percent, and 14 pecent respectively in 2009).

Now that the building of an HIT infrastructure is well underway, the capacity of the newly deployed provider EHRs to allow for health information exchange (HIE) remains limited.  The persistent lack of interoperability of the more than 1,200 MU-certified EHRs and the scalability issues attached to provider-centric means of HIE leave policy makers, providers and especially patients wishing for a novel approach to achieving true anytime, anywhere HIE.

In almost all other economic and social activities, personal information exchange is driven by the consumer. In banking for instance, whether it is online, using mobile apps or ATM cards, consumers direct and mediate the necessary exchange of their personal information to enable and complete the desired transactions. The days of mainly bank-to-bank transactions by letters of credit are long gone. The convenience and control of today’s online and mobile banking services make them universally used around the globe.

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Survey Finds that Cloud Computing is becoming More Prevalent in Healthcare

According to the 2013 Desktop Virtualization Trends in Healthcare report from Imprivita, the third-annual survey about the adoption rates and benefits of desktop virtualization and cloud-based applications in healthcare, cloud computing is becoming more prevalent in healthcare.

The use of Server Hosted Virtual Desktops (SHVD) is up 39 percent and the use of Server Based Computing (SBC) is up 23 percent from last year’s survey.

The study also indicates that a mixed use of both SBC and SHVD is becoming more commonplace, with 49 percent of respondents indicating that they are using both technologies today (compared with 23 percent from the 2012 survey).

In addition to desktop virtualization, the Imprivata survey also asked healthcare organizations about current and planned adoption of cloud computing. The results indicate that the adoption of cloud-based applications and services is increasing more rapidly than expected, with 30 percent of survey respondents stating that they use cloud computing today (up from nine percent from the 2012 survey).

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MGMA President’s Open Letter to HHS Secretary

Susan Turney
Susan Turney

MGMA president’s open letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from Susan Turney, MD, MS, FACMPE, FACP president and CEO, that is an important summation of the current meaningful use Stage 2 situation facing physicians and caregivers:

August 21, 2013

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius Secretary Department of Health and Human Services 200 Independence Ave., S.W.

Room 445-G Washington, DC 20201

RE: Stage 2 meaningful use EHR Incentive Program

Dear Secretary Sebelius:

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) writes today to share our concerns regarding the current meaningful use environment and diminished opportunity for physician practices to meet the requirements for Stage 2 of the program. If the appropriate steps are not taken, we believe physicians that have made significant investments in EHR technology and successfully completed Stage 1 requirements will be unfairly subject to negative Medicare payment adjustments. Accordingly, HHS should immediately institute an indefinite moratorium on penalties for physicians that successfully completed Stage 1 meaningful use requirements.

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Public vs. Private Healthcare Companies and Technology’s Impact

Guest post by Mike Patel, CEO of Meditab Software.

The rapidly growing and changing technology landscape of the healthcare industry means that companies catering to this market are also rapidly developing and adapting. 

Technological advancements are happening so quickly that healthcare companies have to be able to move quickly to stay relevant and effective. This can be a challenge for large, public companies because there are a lot of moving parts that all need to be working in unison to make the vehicle run, not to mention many layers of approval to navigate.  

A private company can be more nimble, more customer-oriented and more experimental with the way they use technology.  In an industry where “fly-by-night” companies are a regularly accepted occurrence, there is something to be said for well-established, stable and privately held companies in the healthcare industry and the benefits they can provide to their customers.

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