By Dr. Shayan Vyas, SVP and medical director of hospitals and health systems, Teladoc Health.
As patient expectations continue to evolve, hospitals and health systems are required to offer an omnichannel experience that lets patients connect with the health system whenever and wherever, and via the channel of their choice (in-person, phone, video, etc.).
As patients gain more choices, it becomes harder for health systems to ensure a quality experience, maintain complete patient records, keep patient data secure and maintain care coordination.
In fact, a 2019 Deloitte study found that 90% of healthcare data is unstructured and largely inaccessible for data-driven decisions. The result is ultimately elevated risks to patient safety, care quality and compliance.
Fortunately, these challenges can be avoided with a well-connected platform for hybrid care – a method of care many leading U.S. health systems employ today. In planning for this new care model, hospitals and health systems can implement care technology that integrates into a single platform that supports internal clinicians, care team and patient communications across all channels that also integrates with current workflows and systems.
The integration of communications across both physical and virtual channels gives patients and providers the engagement options and experience they want, and health systems the security, coordination, information access and control they need. And ultimately, it minimizes clinician burden by eliminating redundant devices, logins, data entries and other workflow tasks.
Here are what we believe to be the most important features of an integrated platform:
A single sign on to simplify and promote a good user experience
Multiple logins are more than an inconvenience, they are a risk. When clinicians and patients are required to log into multiple systems to perform their common activities it becomes tempting to reuse the same login credentials. This raises the risk of exposure and chances of a system breach. The more logins that are required, the more chances there are for failed logins, which can cause appointments to be missed or for records not to be updated. A single sign on allows patients and clinicians to launch telehealth visits directly when logged into the patient portal and/or EHR system.
Interoperability with EHRs
With care models, patient preferences and clinician workflows all changing, hospitals and health systems are rethinking their communications channels and workflows to better support these changes. A constant amid these changes is that the EHR will remain as the system of record. Ideally, as healthcare organizations improve their systems of engagement with patients, these systems work in concert with the EHR.
Clinicians should be able to access the EHR to review information and make updates while they are interacting with patients via telehealth, from the same screen. This level of integration encourages timely and complete record keeping, which supports care quality and continuity. It also eliminates the need for redundant data entry (once in the telehealth system, and again in the EHR), allowing clinicians to give patients their full attention, ultimately leading to a better patient experience.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Has reached the age of 18.
Has a high school diploma.
Can drive and has their vehicle (preferably).
Does not smoke, abuse drugs, or alcoholic beverages.
Has no criminal record.
Sufficiently communicative, not prone to conflicts, tolerant, and resistant to stressful situations.
Has good physical shape. The presence of pathologies in the musculoskeletal system may be a barrier to successful work as a home health aide.
Willing to perform the same duties for extended periods.
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:
reputation and reviews;
the duration of the service provision;
the cost of training;
number and content of programs;
qualifications and experience of teachers;
provision of additional services.
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:
the format of training;
number of topics;
the language of instruction;
the need to purchase additional literature.
Step 4: Attendance
The training period takes an average of 4-6 weeks and includes:
online or offline lectures;
Practical exercises on each topic;
practicing first aid and CPR skills on modern dummies;
counseling before taking the exam.
Step 5: Receiving your HHA certification
Once the program is complete, it’s time for the exam. It includes:
Providing written answers to 60-70 questions on thirteen topics;
evidence of practical skills (depending on the program, there may be three to six).
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.