Health and Technology: Innovation and Advancement

Computer, Business, Office, Technology

Technology has really evolved over the last half a century and its impact is very vast. Many fields are feeling getting a touch of the improved technological advancement a notable one being the medical and health sector. 

In the health sector, the ripples of technology are not going to disappear anytime soon meaning there are still plenty to offer that is on its way. Many trends have come and most find a comfortable spot and stick for ages. The effects are evident in the improvements in the quality of equipment to the commercial aspect of medical care making the internet its hub.

Improvements in Health Technology

One of the key drivers in the technological age is the curiosity factor that forms the necessity aspect of inventions. In the medical field, urgency and curiosity come together and have brought out many pieces of equipment and procedures which have given a boost to the entire health system. 

Cases such as smallpox have been totally eliminated as a result of vaccination. Growth hormone problems also have a solution courtesy of endocrinologists and other hormonal health specialists who have been able to isolate the human growth hormone (HGH). In case of growth issues, you can easily get HGH prescription for a normal growth process.

The oncology unit has also grown tremendously and there is some sustained level of control when it comes to cancer patients. The growth translates to many cancer survivors which is another badge of honor to the technological backing of the health sector.

Each and every day new, equipment gets conceptualized and the future seems like one timeframe we can hardly wait for in the health and medical sector.

The Internet Effect

As earlier indicated, the internet has its vast effects ass a force of technology on the health sector. The internet is a great research tool that helps in giving patients more information on their conditions. It also provides essential information on the care process to the patients. 

Communication between doctors and their patients has received a boost courtesy of the internet and one can receive medical information through mail among other services. The commercial aspect of the medical sector has also received ample backup from the internet. In this vein, a patient can look up the available services and also book an appointment, without physically visiting the healthcare center.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence in the healthcare field is another blessing improving the delivery of services. With AI, records are well kept and come in handy in the maintenance of health data. AI also has a role when it comes to predictive analytics and is a good research companion, especially in epidemiology. It helps in predicting the impact of the spread of diseases and shows which part of the demographics that will be majorly affected. This is essential when it comes to developing cures deal with the disease in the subject.

Adoption

The major adopters of technology are mostly the youth, the millennials. Due to their exposure to technology, they have fast taken to it and most of them diagnose themselves by looking up signs and symptoms from the internet which is not advisable. The older generation has also taken to technology after seeing how effective it is.

Conclusion

It is no secret that technology is very significant in our improved health conditions. As it is evolving constantly all we have to do is to wait and see what else is in store for us.

Psychologists Who Practice Via Online Counseling: Are They Really HIPAA Compliant?

Psychology, Confidence, Professional

Today, psychologists are offering their services online, and telehealth is continuously becoming popular. The top advantage of such practice in the mental health field is the availability of specialized services and expertise to patients in remote locations. Furthermore, telehealth enhances the availability of professional medical expertise globally with modern ways of clinical supervision.

In overall, telehealth provides efficient communication among professionals and their patients globally to engage each other through various technological means and a considerable supply of interventions to pick from. With all the benefits that telehealth offers, there are still many arguments in the mental health industry on whether or not it can be considered truly safe as well as private to the patients.

Why Telehealth Is Under Debate Over its Safety and Privacy

Furthermore, individuals with means of producing educational videos, applications, or websites, etc. can come up with such content easily, posing the risk of a patient obtaining inaccurate information. Another point of concern for telehealth is associated with its jurisdictional compliance. License specification typically differs per state or country. However, the ease with which psychologists can provide their services globally may ultimately lead to inadvertent legal or ethical malpractice.

HIPAA’s Security Protocols that Safeguards Patient’s Information

The first question a patient may ask when using telehealth services or telemedicine software is, “How safe and private is the service?” sincerely speaking, this is quite a valid concern for the patient and should be taken with utmost seriousness by the health provider. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) which was passed in 1996 by the Congress makes sure that individuals can transfer as well as continue with their insurance cover even after changing jobs.

Additionally, the act instituted industry-wide policies on billing and healthcare information, among other processes. Most importantly, HIPAA ensured implementation and proper protection of patient information known as PHI (Protected Health Information). These protocols also apply to patient’s data, such as video visits that are transmitted via the internet.

Why Individual Therapists May Not Have Sufficient Security Protocols to Safeguard Your Data

To be safe from stiff penalties and be HIPAA compliant, medical practitioners are required to use telehealth solutions that meet HIPAA’s regulations. However, not all healthcare providers meet this test hence raising concerns. The laws typically apply to covered entities and all business associates such as organizations, agencies, and large medical firms. Professionals and therapists listed here all work with a HIPAA compliant service

Several reports have indicated that personal therapists, not working under professional medical bodies, may not be compliant to HIPAA laws. This means that they are less likely to follow and respect the patient’s privacy rights and information. Thus, this raises significant concerns for patients using telehealth services. Choosing to work with a therapist from a large telehealth company ensures that your data and private information is safe.

Are Your Vendors Putting the PHI of Your Patients At Risk?

By Carol Amick, manager of health care services, CompliancePoint.  

Carol Amick

As healthcare providers continue to search for ways to cut costs and increase efficiency, many are outsourcing selected services.  One report indicated that 98 percent of the hospitals surveyed were either actively considering outsourcing or had already done so. [1] Outsourcing is expanding beyond non-core functions to clinical areas, as healthcare providers look for ways to decrease costs and increase quality. While outsourcing can be a cost-effective move, failure to properly assess and manage risks related to protected health information (PHI) can create legal and reputational issues for the organization.

However, outsourcing and relying on vendors to perform activities that involve access to PHI increases the risk to a covered entity. Over the past three years, the Health and Human Services Office of Civil Right (OCR) has issued approximately $6 million in financial penalties where failure to obtain a signed HIPAA compliant business associate agreement (BAA) from at least one vendor was either the sole reason for the financial penalty, or contributed the severity of the penalty.[2]

The HIMSS 2019 Cybersecurity Report noted that 30 percent of the healthcare vendor respondents had not experienced a significant security incident in the prior 12 months.[3] This means that 70 percent had experienced a significant security incident.

HIPAA requires that covered entities have a BAA with vendors that have access to PHI to perform duties on behalf of the covered entity, or if electronic PHI (ePHI) passes through their systems. The HITECH omnibus rules require that business associates comply with the security rule with regards to ePHI, report breaches of unsecured PHI to the covered entity, comply with applicable requirements of the privacy rule, and ensure their subcontractors agree to the same regulations[4].

While a BAA does provide a covered entity with some legal assurances, a BAA does not necessarily indemnify a covered entity against financial penalties for a breach if the covered entity failed to obtain “satisfactory assurances” of the vendors security.[5] Nor will a BAA won’t protect the entity’s reputation. Quest Diagnostics recently experienced a breach by one of their vendors of financial data for approximately 11.9 million patients.[6] While the breach was the fault of the vendor the media focus and public attention is on Quest Diagnostics. 

It’s important to consider if the data an organization is entrusting to a vendor is protected. What is the organization doing to ensure vendors who access ePHI understand their obligations and expectations? 

The steps below should be performed at least annually to help organizations ensure that their vendors are securing their data. Covered entities may do this internally or enlist the services of an independent agency to do the review.  

Verify the Organization Has Required BAAs

Organizations must compare their vendor master file against their BAA file. Many organizations know they set up processes to obtain BAAs when the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, regulations related to business associates were released in 2013[7] and accounts payable has been trained not to process a check without a BAA. However, experience shows that if there is a way around those controls someone will have figured it out! Vendors can get established without BAA when you merge or acquire another provider. Vendors can get established without a BAA when an emergency purchase is made from a vendor. Vendors can change ownership without providing you with notice that you need an updated BAA.  

Reviewing the vendor master file should begin with elimination of vendors that the organization knows are not BAAs, such as utilities, employee expense reimbursement, contracted physicians, etc. The organization should then look at all remaining vendors and determine their use and access to PHI. The process can be time consuming and painful, but if this basic first step is never done, an organization will never know if they have identified the vendors that are putting the organization at risk. At the end of this process, the organization will have two lists; vendors with BAAs and vendors without BAAs.

Evaluation of Vendors

Once the organization has a list of vendors that access their PHI, they need to determine “what are these vendors doing to protect patient PHI.” Some questions organizations should ask themselves:

Evaluation can be done in a number of ways. If a vendor is audited annually to maintain their HITRUST certification, or they have a SOC II or other audit done to validate their security controls, ask for the reports. Furthermore, they should be reviewed to make sure that the controls the organization is relied upon to protect ePHI are functioning. If the vendor doesn’t have an independent review, the organization may need to do their own review.  Reach out to the vendor and talk to them about their security. Covered entities may find it helpful to survey their vendors on security.  

If a vendor doesn’t want to provide information, or can’t provide good data, the organization needs to perform a risk assessment to determine if they are willing to accept the risk presented from the lack of information. 

Update BAAs

After doing the two steps above, organizations should have listings of their vendors and their BAAs. For vendors with BAAs, review those BAAs. Have the agreements been updated to reflect the HITECH Omnibus requirements? Are the agreements complete with the names of both parties and the appropriate signatures? Is the contact information correct? If the vendor doesn’t have a BAA, it’s past time to get a BAA. If the vendor with access to PHI refuses to sign a BAA, it’s time to terminate that relationship!

Monitoring vendors for PHI security is not a “one time” review. A vendor who had a great security person who understood HIPAA and the organizations requirements, can have a financial set back and replace the experienced Security Director to save money. A vendor who assured an organization that their data was stored and processed in the US can suddenly outsource to an offshore location for processing of the account. While this monitoring can take time and resources, as many have learned in healthcare — a little prevention can often head off a major issue.  


[1] https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/by-2022-average-hospital-costs-must-be-reduced-by-24-to-breakeven-and-outsourcing-may-be-the-solution-says-black-book-300643743.html

[2] https://www.hipaajournal.com/hipaa-business-associate-agreement/

[3] https://www.himss.org/2019-himss-cybersecurity-survey

[4] https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/guidance/business-associates/index.html

[5] https://www.hipaajournal.com/hipaa-business-associate-agreement/

[6] https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/quest-diagnostics-discloses-breach-of-patient-records/2019/06/03/aa37b556-860a-11e9-a870-b9c411dc4312_story.html?utm_term=.ef131df9330b

[7] https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/guidance/business-associates/factsheet/index.html

How Can Marrying Healthcare and Artificial Intelligence Solve the Mystery of Rising Care Costs?

By Abhinav Shashank, CEO, Innovaccer.

Abhinav Shashank

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing segments of the digital universe, with data volumes expected to grow by 48 percent annually. Healthcare applications will be the principal driver of this data growth, with EHR penetration in the US already reaching more than 80 percent and expected to reach 95 percent by 2020.

In addition, the healthcare space has matured to the point where EHR replacement has become commonplace, and up to 50 percent of health systems are projected to be on second-generation technology by the year 2020.

So why are these data points an important consideration?

Healthcare organizations have been facing the major challenge of storing and securing patient information. This is not just the problem with the providers, but for payers and patients too. While transitioning to complete digitization of practices, healthcare leaders, specifically CIOs, often find it a daunting task to identify the areas where they need to scale up their technological approach.

EHRs are likely the necessary evil for healthcare. No doubt they solved so many problems; however, they opened gates to other problems. The complications with the legacy systems compel hospitals to shift to modern technological solutions.

Right now, the story of mergers and acquisitions in the space is also like an adventure movie. According to KLAS Research, the number of EHR vendors dropped from more than 1,000 to around 400 now — the reason being the rise in mergers and acquisitions.

Where does the actual problem lie?

The journey of shifting from legacy systems to advanced technology is also ripe with its own set of complications. As the landscape is molded by M&As, consistent EHR replacements are not rare sights.

In this scenario, organizations face two major problems:

Moreover, since these EHR replacements are directly linked to the retention of the data from the legacy systems for about a decade. Most states require Protected Health Information (PHI) to be retained for about seven to 10 years.

How is data archival the solution we need now?

Transitioning between EHRs require a holistic approach to keep their data secure, and the best way here is data archival. Data archival is a simple process of archiving the entire data from legacy systems into a unified platform so that it can be kept secured for a long duration. It is the perfect solution to the above-stated two problems: it is easier and can be done at one-tenth of the price.

For instance, in the case of legacy systems, the EHR vendor can charge up to $10,000 a month for keeping the system running even after the transition. However, in the case of data archival, this entire process is fast, cheap and much more efficient. Also, it eliminates the necessity of keeping the legacy systems running.

The archiving process serves multiple functions and has the following major advantages over other data-retention processes:

And many more …

What is the perfect data archival strategy?

The procedure of data archival mainly consists of two major steps: identifying the need for data archival and adopting the best archival solution. It is important to analyze the need first and then take action. It is a complex process and involves complex compliance requirements to be fulfilled.

So what is needed to be done now? Here is the list of essential prerequisites to be considered and followed religiously before archiving your crucial healthcare data:

Understand your healthcare data

The first step is to understand your EHR and legacy system data. One organization might be focusing on archiving the data from a single EHR while the other might be looking for a solution that can archive the data from multiple data sources. Everyone’s data needs are different and, thus, requires a different data archival approach.

Familiarize yourself with your state regulations

Every state has its own regulations to archive the data. The state of California might need you to archive your data for six years, while the state of Minnesota might have a span of more than 30 years. These regulations need to be considered and understood efficiently before investing in a data archival solution.

Chalk out your technological requirements

The next and most important step is to identify the extent and the varieties of technological features your organization might need. Every organization has different needs which should be analyzed and understood well in advance. Based on these insights, the final decision can be made about any data archival solution and its abilities.

The road ahead

The space of healthcare is among the most diverse and ever-changing fields. New mergers, efforts towards making the practice data-driven, empowering providers with access to every single bit of data about their patients, and whatnot; these factors have compelled organizations to keep shifting towards a better option — a better EHR. And in this story, the ultimate goal is to make this transition as smooth as possible. It is important to ensure that organizations get rid of all their legacy system headaches instantly. With data archival, it is finally possible.

Health Technology for the Ages: Different Patient Demographics Are Embracing New Options

By Mike Braham, CEO, Trapollo.

Mike Braham

Delivery of care options have evolved quickly over the last decade, as more patients have become comfortable with remote care and connected health services. And while it’s often assumed that younger generations are more eager to adapt to the changing healthcare landscape, services enabled by technology are being adopted by all generations – but often for different reasons.

The Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers

It’s estimated that by 2020, roughly 40 percent of the U.S. population will be over 50.

Those in the older generations are typically associated with an aversion to technology, assumed to value in-office engagements with medical providers and clinging to antiquated methods of treatment.

Although older generations grew up in a face-to-face generation where doctors regularly made house calls, that doesn’t mean they balk at connected health services. In fact, Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation (those that grew up in the Depression era) are more digitally connected than ever and benefit from remote visits too. Many don’t realize that Boomers have been using technology since PCs were introduced in the workplace the early 1990’s, long before the launch of today’s iPhones and Androids. And while modern technology may be relatively new to the Greatest Generation, the group has shown to be the fastest-growing adopters of smart phones.

While neither group is digitally native, many welcome alternative care options such as connected health. For one, a large portion of the nation’s $2.7 trillion in annual healthcare expenditures are related to chronic disease, which afflicts older patients more than younger ones. Plus, connected health options are less expensive than in-office visits. However, cost isn’t the only factor they consider.

Most Boomers are still in the workforce and looking to balance the end of their careers with caring of aging parents. Connected health can save money and time associated with office visits. And those in the 75-85 age group – the Greatest Generation – prefer not to travel to see a doctor post-surgery if they could use two-way video or a phone call. This is coupled with the fact that transportation is the biggest impediment to seeing doctors or following up post-surgery for extended care for chronic illness.

Transportation challenges or disrupted routines are just a few of the barriers to getting a patient proper care – and it’s costly. Of roughly 1.3 million hospital transfers from nursing homes each year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate that 45 percent are unnecessary. The introduction of remote care could be paramount, offering patients a minimally disruptive alternative to receive necessary care that would decrease long term issues.

Millennials and Generation Zers

Millennials currently make up a quarter of the country, and Gen Zers are coming up quickly behind them. While the younger set may be less dependent on the healthcare system now than their Baby Boomer and Greatest Generation precedents, it’s becoming more apparent just how much influence they have on the industry.

Having spent their lives plugged into technology, millennials and Gen Zers are widely referred to as the on-demand generations. They want immediate results in all aspects of life and are driving huge strides in technological healthcare advancements, including self-service options and remote delivery.

So, it should be no surprise that they often prefer quick service retail clinics and acute care facilities and are largely interested in connected health alternatives. For these generations, it’s all about online access, immediate results and keeping costs low. Many of them prefer urgent cares to primarily care physicians and see doctors most often for acute issues or maternity care. In fact, a majority of millennial respondents in a recent Patient-Provider Relationship Study cited that making a visit to the doctor’s office is a last resort.

Consumers of all ages increasingly embrace technology-enabled healthcare options

In short, today’s patient, regardless of age, is more engaged in their health care and not just relying on their doctors’ orders. Nearly everyone takes to the internet to try and figure out their ailments via search engine before heading to a doctor’s office.

And while millennial and Gen Z patients may be leading the charge as connected health patients, it’s possible that elder generations aren’t – and shouldn’t – be too far behind. Based on their vast adoption of modern technologies, remote care can be a useful tool in reducing unnecessary visits to a physician’s office and may curb an emergency trip to the hospital as well. While it is still important for patients to have some face time with their doctors, technology is creating easily accessible and positive alternatives for all ages.

Better Prior Authorization Outcomes Through “Augmented Intelligence”

By Navaneeth Nair, vice president of product, Infinx.

Navaneeth Nair

Recently, major U.S. health insurance companies have begun implementing prior authorization processes. These insurers do not possess the specialized knowledge needed to determine medical necessity, so they have to shift the responsibility to providers in order to minimize instances of fraud and abuse.

However, shifting prior authorization responsibility back to the practitioners can be troublesome. Many providers do not have the necessary staff headcount needed to handle the seemingly endless number of phone calls needed to obtain manual insurance verifications.

That may lead providers to seek completely automated solutions as a solution, but—despite all the advances in artificial intelligence (AI)—machines simply cannot do everything. The true purpose of AI is to help people make better decisions rather than completely automate tasks and remove the human element.

Decision-making in the healthcare industry absolutely requires the intelligence and empathy that can only come from people and not machines. As a result, it is more accurate for providers to look to “augmented intelligence,” which is the enhanced capabilities of human clinical decision-making coupled with AI’s computational methods and systems as defined by the American Medical Association.

Make no mistake—AI is absolutely necessary in healthcare because the industry is either swimming or drowning in data, depending upon whom you ask. As a result, the value proposition with the most potential is to implement a tool that can input the data, make sense of it, and present it back to the provider in a way that allows people to use their knowledge and empathy to make the best possible decisions.

The AI component is designed to continuously learn and improve from all data and interactions to provide prescriptive insights for decision making while providing an increasing transparency into the process. Ultimately, the AI’s job is to enable intelligent decisions by applying machine learning, natural language processing and understanding. When decision making is more deductive based on a learning system, it improves outcomes.

Predictive models are inherently simple to build, but difficult to maintain, because none of our healthcare processes remain stable enough to utilize the data and patterns that are produced. Those aspects are always changing, so practices need a solution that seamlessly integrates the process and constantly accesses the latest and most relevant data.

AI should be prescriptive and not just predictive since predicting the outcome without explain ability (black box AI) is limiting, particularly in healthcare where we need to better understand machine rationale before applying it.

Lastly, the human component is required to make the decisions that robotic automation and AI cannot. Only people with empathy and knowledge of each unique situation can tailor the patient experience to their individual context and needs.

Simply put, prior authorization needs to be a product of human determination with as much assistance as AI can provide. The best possible outcomes are the result of good intelligence and great execution.

The most significant value proposition for AI is the ability to take mundane administrative processes like prior authorization or revenue cycle management off the task list of staff members who have more important things to focus on without letting machines make critical healthcare decisions. The most valuable automation systems will continuously learn from the data gathered from previous experiences in order to help people make better decisions.

This “digital workforce” will not replace human workers, but instead will accelerate employee expertise, augment decision making, reduce manual processing costs and risk, increase consistency of output, and develop continuous self-learning processes. These best-in-class platforms will allow providers to manage prior authorization, coding, and billing needs through a combination of AI and specialists.

Providers should avoid completely automated solutions for prior authorizations and instead look to a solution that does not remove the deep knowledge and expertise factor gained from specialists. Many general-purpose AI solutions are nothing more than spot analytics solutions branded as AI, which require significant investments and deliver uncertain results.

While AI may one day evolve to the point of completely automating the prior authorization process, providers today should remain committed to incorporating the human factor for better decision making and outcomes.

Healthcare Information Technology Leader, Vyne, Acquired by The Jordan Company

Vyne, a market leader in secure health information exchange and electronic healthcare communication management, announced today it has been acquired by The Jordan Company, L.P., a middle-market-focused private equity firm with original capital commitments in excess of $11 billion. This new investment supports Vyne’s commitment of providing market-leading healthcare technology and support to thousands of dental practices, hospitals and major health systems across the United States.

The acquisition of Vyne from private equity firm Accel-KKR, comes after five years of consistent top and bottom-line growth as well as a strategic acquisition to expand its product offerings.  With the backing of The Jordan Company, Vyne will further expand upon its already robust technology platforms that facilitate the electronic capture, storage and submission of healthcare data in any form – voice, document, image, data, fax or electronic interface — to provide business intelligence throughout any care organization. Vyne’s proven solutions connect disconnected data to close gaps in documentation,delivering improved financial strength, operational performance and patient experience for medical and dental providers, partners and payers.

Lindy Benton

“This acquisition provides Vyne with an amazing opportunity to serve more healthcare organizations and we’re looking forward to working with The Jordan Company to continue expanding our capabilities for serving the medical and dental markets,” said Lindy Benton, Vyne President and CEO. “Vyne clients and partners will benefit from this strategic move as we grow our portfolio of solutions that help position their healthcare organizations for the future.”

“Vyne has a long and successful track record of providing software products that deliver true value to healthcare organizations.,” said Dan Williams, Partner of The Jordan Company. “We are excited to partner with Lindy Benton and the Vyne management team to use our resources to support their mission of connecting disconnected data.”

Vyne serves the dental market through its NEA Powered by Vyne business, which continues to lead the dental market with its FastAttach® solution for compliant electronic attachments, serving more than 73,000 dental practice offices nationwide.

Vyne Medical servesthe healthcare industry with the robust healthcare content management capabilities of Trace™ and secure electronic information exchange solutions in use by more than 800 hospital and health system clients nationwide.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The “What If”: The Downside of Not Using A Communication Platform for Patient Engagement

By Lee Horner, CEO, Synzi.

Lee Horner

Clinician-to-patient communications are typically anchored by in-person, at-home visits. Home health agencies may struggle with understanding the benefits of technology adoption and how it will “work with” traditional check-ins. The downside of not implementing a communication platform unfortunately weakens an agency’s positioning and performance amongst patients, family caregivers, and referral sources. Without being able to safely communicate with patients via HIPAA-compliant messaging, home health agencies may negatively impact their ability to:

Introducing technology into the communications between home health agency staff and patients may be seen as a potential interference to building and sustaining meaningful clinician-patient relationships. However, the use of technology – specifically a communications platform – allows nurses to more effectively perform their clinical responsibilities and more efficiently keep patients engaged in their own care.  The benefits of using technology to strengthen communications are many.

  1. Engaged patients are more invested in their outcomes:  Patients who are engaged in their care are more aware of their day-to-day changes in their condition and more likely to ask their clinician questions if there are emerging concerns and issues. Using a communication platform to reach out to a home health clinician can mitigate trips to the ER and keep a patient on track with the appropriate steps in their care.

A communication platform can help optimize the experience for the patient and the home health agency as all stakeholders can stay in better and more frequent communication during the episode of care. Administrators can schedule and send out timely messages suited to the patient’s condition and care. Ongoing communications include appointment reminders, adherence triggers, and diet/exercise recommendations.

Patients can also safely use the platform’s HIPAA-compliant email, text, SMS, and secure message to reach their home health clinicians regarding questions or issues. The essence of the in-person clinician-patient relationship remains intact during the video-based virtual check-ins. The patient’s family members can also be included in the virtual visits to drive better understanding of the patient’s progress and next steps.  

Data is key to allowing administrator the ability to assess each patient’s level of interaction with each communication and the cadence of touchpoints. As needed, the administrator has the flexibility to adjust the compliance messaging to better engage (or re-engage) the patient. If there are concerns about non-compliance, the home health agency can decide if a more immediate intervention (e.g., call, in-home visit, or transfer to the ED is necessary.

Using a combination of messaging and video touchpoints, a communication platform can help a home health agency increase satisfaction and outcomes for the patient while actively reducing the number, length, and related costs/penalties of hospital stays. The coordinated plan to engage patients throughout the episode of care helps agencies minimize any “what if” scenario for the future of their agency, their reputation, their staff and most importantly, the agency’s impact in their region and community.  

INTEGRIS Health Selects Trace Platform by Vyne Medical to Support Consumer Financial Engagement

Vyne Medical announces an agreement with INTEGRIS Health for implementation of its Trace communication management platform. Oklahoma’s largest not-for-profit health system will implement Trace solutions across the system’s eight acute care hospitals and centralized access center.

The Trace platform encompasses voice recording, electronic faxing and image capture to automate and manage communication surrounding patient care. Data is digitized, indexed to the patient record and centralized for enterprise access and exchange. INTEGRIS will use Trace solutions to standardize and monitor key patient communication events and support its consumer financial engagement strategy.

“Trace solutions will help ensure the quality of our patient interactions prior to admission, while capturing valuable consumer insights contained in phone calls, emails, faxes and other revenue cycle communications,” said Susan Garcia, vice president of revenue cycle at INTEGRIS. “A digital audit trail of these interactions will support our goal of providing seamless service across all INTEGRIS facilities. It provides the objective data we were missing to better manage the entire patient encounter.”

Patient access team members will use Trace software to support daily activities at INTEGRIS hospitals and its centralized access center. Associates will record scheduling, preregistration and patient financial counseling phone calls with patients. Face-to-face recording will be implemented to record in-person patient encounters in registration, financial counseling and discharge planning. The Trace Quality Assurance solution will be used to review and score recordings.

Lindy Benton

“Forward-thinking health systems are investing to optimize patient encounters and identify new opportunities to improve consumer engagement,” said Lindy Benton, Vyne CEO and president. “We are excited to partner with INTEGRIS to reduce the cost of operations and improve KPIs by automating and leveraging data from these exchanges.”

With admitting physicians, INTEGRIS plans to automate delivery of faxed physician orders to eliminate paper and manual processes involved with faxing. Trace voice solutions will also be used to record pre-admission phone calls with physician offices. To improve communication with payers, INTEGRIS will document pre-authorization inquiries via payer portals and record payer voicemails granting approval for services. Medical records faxed to health plans will also be captured, along with the date and time stamp of delivery. Proof of these exchanges will help INTEGRIS reduce claim denials and improve reimbursement.

Remote Cardiac Monitor Data and Artificial Intelligence: Transforming Clinical Applications for Heart Patients

Cardiovascular diseases remain the number one killer of people in the world, resulting in 31 percent of all global deaths (17.9 million per year), and are the most expensive condition to treat. However, AI and machine learning technologies are being developed to make care pathways, treatment and real-time visualization of cardiac anomalies and subsequent therapy more effective. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities may provide numerous advantages over traditional analytics and clinical decision-making techniques, and cardiology is likely to benefit tremendously from these advancements as they mature.

Stuart Long

“As machine learning-based algorithms become more precise and accurate by interacting with data and programmed information, these technologies will allow care teams to gain unprecedented insights into diagnostics, care processes, treatment variability and patient outcomes, especially in regard to cardiac care,” said Stuart Long, CEO of InfoBionic, the leading digital health company that created the MoMe Kardia remote cardiac monitoring platform.

“AI algorithm-based cardiac devices can procure tremendous amounts of data, providing for the ability to match up what physicians are seeing to long-term patterns and possibly detect subtle improvements that can impact care,” noted Long.

Leveraging AI for clinical decision support, risk scoring and early alerting is one of the most promising areas of development for this revolutionary approach to data analysis. Powering new tools and systems can help make clinicians more aware of nuances, more efficient when delivering care, and more likely to curb a patient’s developing health problems.[1]

AI is ushering in new clinical quality and breakthroughs in patient care. For example, at the Cleveland Clinic[2], a customized algorithm developed by clinicians analyzes data, including blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation levels, to flag the patients that are at highest risk of deterioration. The ultimate goal is to provide front-line clinicians notice of serious cardiac events before they happen. Moreover, the precision now possible with cardiovascular imaging, combined with “big data” from the electronic health record and pathology, is likely to lead to tremendous cases of cardiac disease management and personalized therapy[3].

Healthcare consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan, projects a 40 percent growth rate[4] for AI in healthcare between 2016 and 2021, and said AI has the potential to improve outcomes by as much as 40 percent, while reducing the costs of treatment by as much as 50 percent.

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