Staffing Shortages Threaten The Health of Nursing Homes Nationwide 

David Coppins

By David Coppins, CEO, IntelyCare.

Throughout 2020 and much of 2021, as the pandemic raged, nursing home staff fled their jobs amid the unsafe and poor working conditions, unfair compensation and the lack of work-life balance due to unrelenting overtime.

While staffing shortages have been commonplace in nursing homes for decades, the pandemic made it extremely hard to retain nurses in post-acute care/skilled nursing homes. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that the nursing home industry has lost approximately 235,000 jobs since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 , representing a 15% loss in industry staffers. While some workers are shifting to healthcare jobs in hospitals or other types of facilities, many are leaving the industry entirely.

Nor is the staffing shortage expected to get better anytime soon. For example, a recent American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) survey finds that nearly every nursing home operator has trouble finding qualified workers. At the same time, a record three-quarters of facilities may close due to persistent staffing issues.

Our recent study confirms this trend. IntelyCare commissioned global management consulting leader Oliver Wyman to dive deeply into the after-effects of the pandemic on staffing and occupancy rates within post-acute care.

The ongoing shortage of nursing staff in the U.S. is causing a projected $19.5 billion in unrealized revenue by the end of this year. With organizational funding and reimbursement tied to patient volumes, every unoccupied bed equals a missed revenue opportunity and declining profitability. Without the necessary staff to increase patient volumes, nursing home operators nationwide are punting the organizational funding and reimbursement they need to thrive.

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Patient Survey Shows Unresolved Tension Over Health Data Privacy Vulnerabilities

A new examination of patient perspectives on data privacy illustrates unresolved tension over the eroding security and confidentiality of personal health information in a wired society and economy. More than 92% of patients believe privacy is a right and their health data should not be available for purchase, according to a survey released today by the American Medical Association (AMA).

The survey of 1,000 patients was conducted by Savvy Cooperative, a patient-owned source of healthcare insights, at the beginning of 2022 and found concern over data privacy protections and confusion regarding who can access personal health information. Nearly 75% of patients expressed concern about protecting the privacy of personal health data, and only 20% of patients indicated they knew the scope of companies and individuals with access to their data.

This concern is magnified with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization as the lack of data privacy could place patients and physicians in legal peril in states that restrict reproductive health services.

The survey indicated patients are most comfortable with physicians and hospitals having access to personal health data, and least comfortable with social media sites, employers and technology companies having access to the same data.

“Patients trust that physicians are committed to protecting patient privacy – a crucial element for honest health discussions,” said AMA president Jack Resneck Jr., M.D. “Many digital health technologies, however, lack even basic privacy safeguards. More must be done by policymakers and developers to protect patients’ health information. Most health apps are either unregulated or underregulated, requiring near and long-term policy initiatives and robust enforcement by federal and state regulators. Patient confidence in data privacy is undermined as technology companies and data brokers gain access to indelible health data without patient knowledge or consent and share this information with third parties, including law enforcement.”

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How AI Technology Can Help Cope with Healthcare Problems

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As the world’s population continues to age, the global healthcare industry is preparing to deal with unprecedented pressure.

Luckily, emerging technologies powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) are helping providers meet the rising demand – while also empowering patients to become more accountable for their own health. 

Thanks to its ability to deliver more accurate, reliable, and connected data, AI is radically transforming the global healthcare sector, turning it into a well-oiled system able to deliver quality care and cope with an always-growing demand. 

Here’s how. 

Creating Ad Hoc Insurance Policies and Making Healthcare More Accessible

While health insurance policies are designed to make healthcare more accessible, most American households are still not immune to the financial burden related to health treatments and care costs. What’s more, nearly 50% of US adults find themselves delaying or skipping medical care because of high out-of-pocket costs. 

AI-powered tools are helping insurance providers limit costs by determining the real risks involved with every single patient, based on historical and medical data. 

Thanks to these insights, providers can craft AI-driven insurance policies, which are delivered virtually through a dedicated Health Platform and are designed to meet each patient’s medical and financial needs.

Managing Patient Risk 

Today, healthcare providers use documents such as health records to determine the risk of individuals developing and suffering from chronic disease. However, as the population continues to age and the prevalence of chronic conditions increases, AI can offer a more comprehensive approach and assist providers in managing each patient’s risk. 

What’s more, AI-powered technologies can help chronically ill individuals and seniors deal with their long-term conditions by helping them comply with long-term treatment programs. 

Prevention and Lightening the Burden on Healthcare

Combined with the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and gamification, AI is already proving its incredible potential to help patients become more accountable for their own health. 

Thanks to wearable devices and consumer health applications, patients can monitor important indicators like weight, BMI, heart rate, stress, and oxygen level and just their routine to keep healthy. 

In turn, this encourages healthier behaviors and reduces the risk of chronic diseases – including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular issues.

From the healthcare providers’ point of view, these technologies are essential to better understand the consumer’s behavior, patterns, and lifestyle. 

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The Main Differences Between LIS and LIMS

Global Laboratory Information Management System/LIMS Market - Industry ...

Laboratory information system (LIS) and laboratory information management system (LIMS) are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably. However, although the two overlap and are somewhat similar, they are inherently different. 

Essentially they were designed to support different laboratory types and functionality. While LIS is used to support clinical and patient-centric specimens, LIMS was intended for sample-centric laboratory requirements. This includes clinical research or other nonclinical laboratory settings. 

But, because the overlap today is so close, it might be tricky to pinpoint the difference. So, we thought we would take a look at them separately and then delve into the key differences to better understand what they offer. 

What Is a LIS?

A LIS is software that records, manages, and stores patient testing data. This is used for clinical and pathology laboratories. 

Its main features include receiving test orders, sending orders to a laboratory to analyze, tracking orders and results, and transmitting results from a searchable database. 

It can help the overall streamlining of a workflow with various tools including outreach tools, data mining capabilities, and point-of-care testing support. This whole process is essential to the determination of patient health status as well as pinpointing and developing treatments.

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The Supreme Court Ruling On the 340B Program Reimbursement Rate Cut

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Ken Perez

By Ken Perez, vice president of healthcare policy and government affairs, Omnicell, Inc.

The 340B Drug Pricing Program was created in 1992 to give safety net providers—those that deliver a significant level of both healthcare and other health-related services to the uninsured, Medicaid, and other vulnerable populations—discounts on outpatient drugs to “stretch scare federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.”

In brief, the program requires drug makers participating in Medicaid and Medicare Part B to provide discounts on outpatient drugs to 340B providers, which include various types of hospitals and certain federal grantees, such as federally qualified health centers and comprehensive hemophilia treatment centers.

The change to the reimbursement rate and ensuing debate

On Nov. 1, 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its final rule for the calendar year (CY) 2018 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS), the system through which Medicare decides how much money a hospital or community mental health center will get for outpatient care provided to patients with Medicare. That rule included a 28.5% reimbursement rate cut—from average selling price (ASP) plus 6% to ASP minus 22.5% for the 340B Program. The American Hospital Association estimated that the cut aggregated to $1.6 billion annually for 340B hospitals.

On July 31, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit), by a 2-1 vote, upheld the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) decision to allow CMS to implement the 28.5% reimbursement rate cut, ruling against the American Hospital Association (AHA), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), America’s Essential Hospitals (AEH), and hospital plaintiffs Northern Light Health in Brewer, Maine, Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Mich., and AdventHealth Hendersonville in Hendersonville, N.C.

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How To Avoid the High Cost of HIPAA Noncompliance

Compliance: Follow These 3 Steps to Prepare For HIPAA Audit ...

Businesses operating in the U.S. healthcare sector are required to comply with the data privacy and security regulations first defined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The purpose of HIPAA legislation is to protect the privacy and security of an individual’s health-related information. 

When HIPAA was passed, its primary concern was with safeguarding physical records containing protected health information (PHI). Subsequent updates to HIPAA regulations address the way the privacy and security of electronic protected health information (ePHI) are implemented. 

In a perfect world, organizations would protect patient privacy and data security because it’s the right thing to do. Unfortunately, the market does not always operate in that way which was the reason HIPAA was necessary in the first place.

How Much Does HIPAA Noncompliance Cost?

Without the ability to levy fines and penalties, HIPAA would be an instructive but toothless set of standards. Fines for HIPAA violations can be issued by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) or state attorney generals. 

The OCR issues civil fines directly related to HIPAA violations whereas in many cases, attorney generals enforce equivalent state standards. It can be easier to hold violators accountable with state laws and the financial penalties available can be greater than those imposed by HIPAA. In rare cases, criminal charges can result from activities such as the theft and use of PHI for financial gain.

Not all HIPAA violations lead to financial penalties. In some cases, especially when dealing with minor violations predicated by a misinterpretation of the rules, the OCR prefers organizations to adopt the necessary measures to comply voluntarily. When this tactic fails, the OCR has the authority to impose penalties on covered entities and business associates. 

The costs of HIPAA noncompliance fall into two distinct categories. 

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How Devices Are Evolving With The Increasing Mobility of Home Healthcare

By Matthew Rice, territory account manager (healthcare), Panasonic Connect.

Imagine this: you’re a home healthcare worker treating a patient when your laptop battery dies. You lose precious time waiting for the device to charge, pushing back your entire schedule for the day. When the laptop finally boots up again, the Wi-Fi connection is spotty which further hinders your productivity and potentially delays administering medication to patients. Further, in the event that your device encountered a drop or spill, it may render the device unusable and you may have to wait for a new device to be assigned to you by your IT department.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that home health jobs will grow 33 percent between 2020 to 2030. Technology must advance alongside this growth to keep pace with the market. Hospitals or healthcare providers work within tight budgetary restraints, but with the continuation of digital healthcare, the right tools are a critical requirement. Devices need to keep up with a home healthcare worker’s day. They need to be durable, reliable, and flexible, lasting for years in challenging environments while able to keep up with digital transformation demands.

Multi-Use Devices for Shifting Patient Needs

Devices that don’t have the ability to withstand drops, spills or temperature changes would only increase stress and frustration in an already challenging job. And, when working in healthcare, sanitation is key. Devices must be able to be sanitized from patient-to-patient, shift after shift. Therefore, a device that can be sanitized and withstand the harsh usage and environmental effects is imperative.

Durability ensures that the device can withstand the tough environments inside and outside of facilities, while modularity means a single device can do more, ultimately reducing operational cost and time needed to maintain multiple devices. When IT purchases new devices for home healthcare staff, technicians must consider how and where devices will be used. For example, a health network may purchase devices for all staff with authentication set-up through smartcard readers.

Later on, if they decide to change their user authentication to fingerprint, they can buy this component separately and have it installed instead of buying new devices for everyone. Personalization also boosts productivity and allows providers to see more patients. A home healthcare worker might program certain keys or buttons to create shortcuts to access commonly used tools.

For example, simply clicking a button to launch a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) can improve response times and speed up how long it takes to deliver patient care. A patient’s care team can use mobile devices to communicate frequently, share data and monitor vitals. This means that patients are treated faster, home healthcare workers can deliver more efficient care and hospitals can improve productivity.

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Top 5 Trends To Watch Out For In The Physiotherapy Industry in 2022

Physiotherapy is one of the most important branches of medicine, as it often helps people lead healthy lives. It also plays a crucial role in injury recovery and rehabilitation. Though it has been around for quite some time now, many aspects remain unexplored and undiscovered.

However, one thing remains constant: people’s health conditions keep changing at an accelerated rate due to several factors impacting their wellbeing. Here we look at the top five trends in the physiotherapy industry which will shape this sector in 2022.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence is an area of machine learning and computer science that deals with creating intelligent machines. In other words, it is a technology that can learn from experience.

AI can recognize patterns in large amounts of data, permitting the user to make accurate predictions about future trends and events. For example, physiotherapists can use AI to predict which patients will benefit most from physiotherapy interventions based on age, gender, and previous health records.

You can also use AI to create a personalized treatment plan for each individual based on their age group or specific condition (for example, acute injury). The benefit here is that you have less chance of over-treating or under-treating the patient depending on what kind of physiotherapy intervention you choose based on your analysis using artificial intelligence tools such as deep learning algorithms or even just simple pattern recognition techniques like linear regression models, etc.

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5 Steps To Get HHA Certified

Choosing a Home Health Aide: The Experts Weigh In | LK Daily Money ...There are few occupations whose representatives are always in demand, one of which is a home health aide. Their duties include personal care (dressing, bathing, feeding), light housekeeping, socializing, monitoring medications taken, cooking, and other household duties. The work is specific but has many advantages:

– A high salary, especially for those who are willing to include cooking, cleaning, and transporting the ward to the hospital in the list of duties;

– The ability to choose the most convenient schedule;

– Receiving paid vacation and sick leave;

– the feeling of fulfilling a critical social mission;

– satisfying an internal need for companionship;

– no problems with finding job openings – the number of offers for aides is growing all the time in all states.

The following will detail how to become a home attendant and home health aide in the United States.

Step 1: Analyze Your Requirements

No matter how rosy the prospects are after graduating CPR training ma, the candidate first needs to make sure that they meet the current requirements, namely:

  1. Has reached the age of 18.
  2. Has a high school diploma.
  3. Can drive and has their vehicle (preferably).
  4. Does not smoke, abuse drugs, or alcoholic beverages.
  5. Has no criminal record.
  6. Sufficiently communicative, not prone to conflicts, tolerant, and resistant to stressful situations.
  7. Has good physical shape. The presence of pathologies in the musculoskeletal system may be a barrier to successful work as a home health aide.
  8. Willing to perform the same duties for extended periods.
  9. Able to perceive and comply with the wishes of the employer.

Another responsibility of the aide is periodic verification of qualifications. So it is not enough to try once and successfully pass the test — in the future, you will have to prove your knowledge and skills again every 2 years.

Step 2: Choosing a training center

The leading search criteria are:

The best option would be a center that offers home health aide training and job placement. That way, you can get a job much faster, without having to look for an employer on your own. At the same time, if the conditions offered do not suit you, no one prevents you from finding another job, especially since there are a lot of requests. Just consider that the salary size is directly proportional to the workload at work. The assistant’s task is to strike a balance between the desired salary and the number of responsibilities he is entrusted with.

Step 3: Determining the best training program

Training center offerings can vary in:

Step 4: Attendance

The training period takes an average of 4-6 weeks and includes:

Step 5: Receiving your HHA certification

Once the program is complete, it’s time for the exam. It includes:

The certificate, which the NAHC issues after successfully passing the test, is a document that entitles you to work in a particular state as a home health aide. Without it, you can’t legally get a job. It is valid for two years and then renewed, and it is advisable to avoid gaps and take care of this issue beforehand.

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5 Ways Health Technology Is Impacting Mental Health

Behavioral and mental health challenges are serious issues around the world. In fact, according to recent research conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), almost one billion people live with some type of mental affliction or behavioral issues. What’s more disconcerting is that WHO reports that over 75% of people who struggle with mental disorders do not (or cannot) seek help for various reasons.

Enter the era of health technology. New, cutting edge tech is becoming more affordable and it is tremendously impacting mental health for the better.  In truth, healthcare technology has revolutionized the mental health industry so that people can receive treatment they need to live full and healthy lives. 

Moreover, technology is providing necessary resources and assistance for those who might not have access to treatment.  Read on for some key innovations in health technologies that are positively impacting mental health for people all around the world.

Brain Research

Just a few years ago, tech was extremely limited when it came to diagnosing issues in the brain that might result in mental disorders.  Conditions such as tumors, trauma, or substance abuse impact the brain to the extent that these triggers cause significant detriment to memory function, and can lead to mental maladies. 

As such, biotech scientists have upped their game when it comes to pinpointing and diagnosing conditions such as wet brain, psychosis, bi-polar disorder, and other brain-centric issues that lead to mental instabilities. Technology plays a key role in examining brain function via high-tech brain scans such as MRIs and resonance imaging. 

Without advancements in computer and biotech, mental healthcare professionals would lack the resources to assess potential brain damage or disorders that could be the root cause of many behavioral issues or mental illness. 

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