As most healthcare professionals know, an important step in the improvement of healthcare quality and cost will take place in October 2014, just under a year from now. This important step is the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 – with this new code set, the largest financial system change will take place since the Prospective Payment System (PPS) in 1983.
This change has to take place for several reasons including that with a maximum of 13,000 codes, ICD-9 is not specific enough for detailed diagnoses and the current codes do not reflect new services and technology in CMS payment systems. With more than 171,000 codes, ICD-10 will provide much more detailed clinical pictures and data, improving accuracy in all aspects of patient care. New data available through ICD-10 will help determine public health needs and identify trends, as well as helping to spot bioterrorism and epidemics.
The transition will not only impact healthcare organizations, but also physicians, for whom it will be particularly beneficial. Physicians will be able to determine the severity of illnesses more clearly, and, therefore, quantify the level of care more accurately. The codes will also create an electronic trail of documentation, which can help physicians receive proper payment and ensure their reputation remains in good standing.
With the importance and significance of this transition, it is crucial that ample preparations are made. However, there are many organizations that have not yet embarked on the road to preparedness and many concerns exist throughout the industry. For example, according to a survey conducted by the MGMA-ACPME of 1,200 office-based practices surveyed, approximately 70 percent of respondents were very concerned about expected loss of clinician productivity and the same percentage was very concerned about changes to clinical documentation. 71 percent surveyed responded that, in order to accommodate ICD-10, their EHR systems either were upgraded or still need to be upgraded, will need to be replaced, or they are unsure which. Only 0.6 percent had tested their EHRs for ICD-10 compliance.
Providence Hospital, located in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, is a 247-bed hospital founded in 1938 by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Augustine to minister to the community, in both body and spirit. The facility is best known for the expertise in cardiac care it provides through Providence Heart and Vascular Institute. With a hospital staff of more than 2,000 nurses, doctors and hospital administrators, Providence Hospital needed to standardize setup of user accounts and reduce the amount of time network engineers spent assigning rights in Active Directory.
Tony McNeil, technical manager said, “We have more demands on our department and we are not getting any additional staff because of the economic situation. Therefore, we have to work smarter and we need tools that help us work more efficiently.”
This became a perfect opportunity to put into action a permanent process for user account life cycle management utilizing Tools4ever’s complete User Management Resource Administrator solution.
Providence Hospital decided to implement UMRA to mainstream the provisioning process from the time an employee is hired and entered into the hospital developed, web based security application to the time they are entered into Active Directory. The previous process took nearly 2 days to complete before a user was ultimately provisioned in all systems. Now the process allows for an almost immediate creation of a user account with the correct provisioning. A web form allows for the assignment of group privileges and permissions to individual users. The application also creates the appropriate Exchange mailbox and creates a home folder for the employee on the appropriate share drive.
A bit of a “me too” post, but worth sharing nonetheless: Today, CCHIT announced a new strategic direction that will return it to its founding public mission of supporting the adoption of robust, interoperable health information technology. CCHIT plans to offer direct counsel to both healthcare providers and health IT developers on the requirements for certified EHR technology and how to best satisfy HIT regulations published by organizations and governments. With a more global focus, and in alliance with HIMSS, CCHIT will also develop new programs and policy guidance aimed at achieving interoperability and supporting change in the way providers and patients around the world use IT to positively transform health and healthcare.
“It’s apparent to both providers and vendors that the pace of ONC 2014 Edition certification has been slowed by the challenges of more rigorous criteria and testing, and the timing and nature of future federal health IT program requirements remain uncertain. With these changes, we canprovide a greater level of support and counsel to providers and vendors, something we could not undertake as a government authorized certification body,” said Alisa Ray, CCHIT executive director. “At the same time, returning to our independent work, we can convene thought leaders and advisory groups to provide policy and governance recommendations, and guidance to the healthcare community here and internationally.”
Carnegie Tri-County Municipal Hospital, a 21-bed facility in rural Oklahoma, was experiencing growing demand for wireless networking from their staff and patients. The hospital, which houses several clinics, offices and offers a variety of outpatient services, would benefit from a mobile Wi-Fi network improving staff productivity and patient experience. So leadership formulated a plan to upgrade its existing network with enhanced wireless access throughout the facility, as well as increase security and simplify management.
They approached Carnegie Telephone, the hospital’s telephone service provider, with the goal of obtaining a managed solution that met these requirements:
High-performance wireless network that could be segmented in to three mutually isolated networks – one for employees, one for patients and their families and the last for equipment like scanners, printers and other Wi-Fi enabled medical equipment
The network had to be easily and remotely manageable by Carnegie, ensuring quick deployment and trouble shooting for maximum uptime
Implementation on a limited budget for capital investment
Carnegie Telephone has been serving Oklahoma since 1903. It is been on the forefront of offering digital communications, HDTV and fiber broadband. To meet Carnegie Tri-County Municipal Hospital’s demands, Carnegie Telephone required a security appliance with features including content filtering, as well as Ethernet switches and high-performance wireless access points (APs).
In their product selection for the Carnegie Tri-County Municipal Hospital’s wireless network, Carnegie Telephone discovered a wireless APs. These APs had all the important enterprise features like multiple SSIDs and VLAN support to build multiple virtual wireless networks for the hospital. But the real kicker was a built-in controller that could be used to control up to 24 other Aps, from provider ZyXEL.
Security continues to be a major problem in health IT. The coming year will only bring more breaches and problems that must be addressed by those leading their organizations. In 2013 alone, millions of people were affected by breaches.
Breaches can be attributed to something as simple as a stolen device — flash drives and laptops, for example – to unauthorized access or disclosure of information by health system employees. For example, Healthcare IT News recently reported a four-year long breach by a single employee at the five-hospital Riverside Health System in southeast Virginia.
Health IT security issues are only going to get more pervasive, aggressive and encompassing in the years ahead. So, what can we expect as we look ahead? Here are some predictions about health IT security from the industry’s leading minds:
Remaining in compliance with these codes and regulations, like HIPAA, is key from a security point of view for healthcare organizations. Being compliant and ensuring that only the appropriate healthcare staff members and contract workers have access to the information they need to do their jobs ensures that the information remains secure and does not end up in the wrong hands.
Because of the sensitivity of the information accessed on a daily bases within a healthcare organizations and the number of people accessing the information – doctors, nurses, clinical and admin personnel, and contractors – IT security concerns will be slightly different than the highly publicized breaches we read about, like the recent Target breach that originated outside the organization.
QuantiaMD, the largest social learning network for physicians, developed by Quantia, Inc., conducted a recent poll of its members to understand physician perspectives regarding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Despite millions of enrollees, individuals and doctors remain confused about the law – a troubling fact as many patients look to their physicians as a primary resource on health care policy.
The poll garnered responses from 1,265 physicians from around the country and opened up a dialog about the ACA. Results of the study included:
84 percent of physicians said they did not feel like they had enough information on the ACA to serve as a reliable resource to their patients.
81 percent of physicians don’t feel they have enough information on the ACA to understand its impact on their practice and comply with its requirements.
When asked where they get the most reliable information about the ACA, the majority (35 percent) of physicians responded saying there aren’t any reliable sources of information.
79 percent said they would use an HHS-produced FAQ with their patients if such a resource were available.
“This poll proves how physicians have been left out of the health care reform process,” said Mike Paskavitz, Editor-in-Chief, Quantia, Inc. “As the patient’s most trusted point of access to the healthcare system, physicians can be a tremendous communication channel for the ACA, and this poll demonstrates that there hasn’t been much, if any, communication directed at them. This poll was a huge eye opener for Quantia and validates the importance of the Affordable Care Act curriculum we have been developing for our members.”
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.
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.
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:
Reputation – 87 percent of respondents said they chose a specialist because of a physician referral, while 66 percent received referrals from their friends.
Expertise – 72 percent said that the physicians or system’s reputation was the most important factor when choosing a provider.
Time -53 percent answered that the ability to get an appointment quickly influenced their choice of health system. Additionally, 47 percent ranked their time spent with the physician as the top element that influenced their perceived value of care.
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.