EHR and Health IT Consulting
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EHR and Health IT Consulting
Technical Doctor's insights and information collated from various sources on EHR selection, EHR implementation, EMR relevance for providers and decision makers
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Stanford Launches App That Connects to Epic EHR & Healthkit

Stanford Launches App That Connects to Epic EHR & Healthkit | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

Stanford Health Care today announced its new iOS 8 MyHealth mobile health app for patients. Developed in-house by Stanford Health Care (SHC) engineers, MyHealth connects directly with Epic’s EHR, Apple’s HealthKit and cloud services for consumer health data monitoring.

The SHC MyHealth mobile app is designed to make it quick and simple for patients to manage their care right from their iPhones, including:

• Make appointments

• Get test results – your lab results are automatically made available in the palm of your hand

• Communicate with your care team through a secure messaging system where your information is always kept confidential

• Have a video visit with your doctor through the new ClickWell Care clinic which gives you the convenient option of a “virtual” appointment

• Manage your prescriptions and medications

• View your health summary

• Access and pay your bills

• Share your vitals with your doctor via HealthKit integration

Secure Messaging 

With the new MyHealth app, patients can communicate directly with their care team through a confidential and secure messaging system. In addition, the app automatically syncs with wearable and wireless products, allowing patients to take vital signs at home or on the go. That data is automatically and securely added to the patient’s chart in Epic for their physician to review remotely. 

“The SHC MyHealth app allows patients to connect their lives with their health care,” said Pravene Nath, MD, Chief Information Officer, Stanford Health Care. “By integrating with companies like Withings, our physicians have access to meaningful patient data right in Epic, without having to ask the patient come in for an appointment. We believe this is the future of how care will be delivered for many types of chronic conditions.”

The free SHC MyHealth app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store. It is available for current Stanford Health Care patients with a MyHealth account. Existing SHC patients that do not have a MyHealth account can sign up at

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Unfortunately, Epic Seeing Growth Explosion | Hospital EMR and EHR

Unfortunately, Epic Seeing Growth Explosion | Hospital EMR and EHR | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

Let me be candid here: I’m not too pleased with the progress of Epic as the hospital system of choice. Experience tells me that once a vendor becomes the default choice, seemingly due as much to C-suite peer pressure as technical merit, vendors get lazy and worse, extremely arrogant.

I admit most of us would be blinded by the magnitude of Epic’s success. According to chief administrative office Stephen Dickman, who spoke at a recent business luncheon in Madison, Epic’s stats include the following:

* It had 260 customers last year, and expects to add another 30 large customers this year

* It serves hospitals and clinics treating 33 percent to 44 percent of the U.S. population

* It has 5,225 employees and expects to add 1,000 this year

* It expects to have generated $1.2 billion in 2011 revenues

*  It has only five sales people on staff (!)

Sure, these numbers are very impressive. But that doesn’t excuse Epic’s imperial attitude, or CEO Judith Faulkner’s contention that hospitals should only worry about interoperating with her company’s products. Look, Ms. Faulkner: I’m sure you’re bright, but I’m pretty sure you’re no Steve Jobs. You may be taking over the hospital EMR business, but you’re not reinventing it.

In my experience, users uniformly say that Epic’s interface is all but broken, that it’s hard to adapt and in some cases, that the 20-something young geniuses the company sends to install and service its systems aren’t particularly deferential. (If you want to hear a particularly galling tale — downright terrifying, if true — check out the tale of one engagement in which Epic staffers seemingly tried to get a hospital CIO fired.)

Meanwhile, if Epic leaders ever gave a damn about building great products, they don’t have a lot of incentive to do that now. Yes, they face well-financed competition from Cerner and Meditech and GE, but if they only have five sales people on board, they must assume they can beat those folks with one hand tied behind their back.  At this point, in other words, competition isn’t enough reason to keep improving their product.

I guess the bottom line here is that I instinctively distrust any company that seems too secure at the top, especially if they’re not known for being especially likeable or having a superior product. Isn’t anyone going to show up and challenge them for the throne?

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Questions to Ask Before Choosing an EHR

Like many managers or owners of a thriving medical practice, you have heard about the benefits of using electronic health records software and are interested in implementing an EHR in your organization. You can assume that many, if not all, of your nearby competitors are using EHR, and the more effective they are in using this software, the better they will be able to attract and keep patients.

Transitioning from the old methods of paper-based systems to the latest advances in medical software is bound to raise some questions among you and your staff. Therefore, it’s a good idea to do some research first before making the commitment and selecting your EHR. With that in mind, here are some questions to ask as you prepare to make your choice.

Is the Software Vendor Knowledgeable and Reliable?

It’s much better to go with a software vendor that has sufficient experience, knowledge, and a proven track record in developing mission-critical software like EHR. Find a firm that has been around for a while and that has excellent reviews from your peers, as well as your competitors.

A software developer for medical organizations must have a staff that keeps up with the changing nature of healthcare delivery, adjustments in industry standards, and governmental rules. This ensures that you will always have access to software this is compliant with the entities you do business with.

What Kind of Training is Available?

After assessing the skill level and knowledge of your medical organization, you will have a better idea of how much training you need. Make sure that your software provider will give your team the training and help it needs to quickly get up to speed with using EHR software.

How Does the Software Company Handle Upgrades?

Upgrades are a fact of life in any computer system. You’ll want to ask your vendor how it approaches upgrades. There will be upgrades to improve the quality of the software, to be sure, but there will also be required updates, such as the ones EHR software developers must finalize to meet the U.S. government’s required change from ICD-9 to version 10 of the International Classification of Diseases.

Does the Software Vendor Provide Good Customer Service?

The last thing you want when dealing with unfamiliar software is to contend with unanswered questions on how to use it. Check the level of customer service from your prospective provider. Otherwise, your staff may experience unexpected and unnecessary downtime, hampering office productivity and lowering your organization’s financial success.

Making the decision to move from a paper-based system for managing your medical organization will make a significant impact on your staff’s daily activities. Now that you know you want to implement an EHR, it’s crucial to resolve any unanswered questions before making your software selection.

Key Takeaway:

  • Medical practice owners and managers who are aware of electronic health record software will want to ask some questions before choosing their EHR.
  • Don’t rush into buying EHR software that you are unfamiliar with. Make sure you understand how it will integrate with your organization.
  • Check what kind of training your software provider offers to ensure your staff can quickly get up to speed with the EHR system.
  • Verify the skill level and knowledge of your software company to make sure it will be capable of handling upgrades, especially those mandated by governmental regulations.
  • Does the EHR vendor provide the type of customer service that you deem appropriate? You will want to go with a firm that has excellent communication skills and will respond in a timely manner.

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Deloitte Announces New Approach to EHR Implementation and Support

Deloitte Announces New Approach to EHR Implementation and Support | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

Today Deloitte announces Evergreen, a new approach to electronic health records implementation and maintenance designed to help reduce hospital system IT costs as health care moves to a value-based model more reliant on clinical and enterprise data.

Evergreen may help health systems save up to 30 percent on EHR operating costs by using a global staffing model and a standardized design that works to improve clinical optimization. Evergreen also leverages Deloitte’s acclaimed cyber risk services in providing advanced levels of data security and compliance.

In addition to supporting large providers and academic health centers, Evergreen may especially benefit mid-sized healthcare systems looking for more EHR innovation and efficiency as they move to a new environment marked by declining reimbursements and a focus on quality outcomes.

According to Mitch Morris, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Deloitte’s global healthcare leader, Evergreen’s potential savings will enable providers to put more capital back into caring for their communities. “Evergreen offers an innovative approach to achieving the expected benefits of clinical and revenue management systems in a post-reform world,” said Morris. “It can provide clinicians with the software applications they prefer while supporting the clinical and financial results that health systems are looking to achieve.”

Evergreen is modeled after Deloitte’s mature services approach developed for Catholic Health Initiatives’ Epic deployment, and it builds upon Deloitte’s extensive history in managing other application management services engagements. In addition to the core EHR benefits, Evergreen leverages Deloitte’s advanced analytics and reporting capabilities, which can improve clinical performance by gleaning insights from clinical and financial data.  It also wraps clinical transformation and workflow optimization into the approach.

“Evergreen draws upon Deloitte’s world-class capabilities in strategy, consulting and application management services,” said Tim Smith, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and leader of Deloitte’s health care technology practice. “It brings the enterprise-wide view that organizations may need in retooling their cultures around a greater use of data.”

Catholic Health Initiatives is the first provider to implement the full Evergreen approach. The company said Evergreen is increasing its ability to capture, analyze and share information, which will help position the organization as a leader in the areas of evidence-based medicine and care coordination.

“Evergreen is part of our vision to become a forerunner as health care moves to a value-based model,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief information officer at CHI. “It will enhance our ability to deliver the right treatments to the right patients at the right time, with improved quality and reduced costs.”

Morris commented that there is “tremendous” market potential for Evergreen. “Health care is an industry looking for tools and direction on how to make the transition to population health,” he said.  “We anticipate that providers in the U.S. and abroad will be very receptive to an approach that makes EHRs more relevant to their missions.”

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Clearing the Way for Patients to Get Access to their Data

Clearing the Way for Patients to Get Access to their Data | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

The National Association for Trusted Exchange (NATE) today kicked off its new NATE Blue Button for Consumers (NBB4C) Trust Bundle at the 2015 ONC Annual Meeting with a surprise display of interoperability in patient-mediated exchange.  Shortly after NATE’s announcement, Greg Meyer, Director, Distinguished Engineer, Cerner Corporation, demonstrated how a provider using a Cerner electronic medical record (EMR) can simply push a patient record to the patient’s personal health record (PHR), in this case to the Humetrix iBlueButtonapp running on the patient’s smartphone.

The new NBB4C Trust Bundle helps relying parties to identify consumer facing applications (CFAs) that meet or exceed criteria considered to be the most important characteristics of a trustworthy steward of consumer health information, while still enabling patients to benefit from the value of having access to their health information.  Participation in the trust bundle will facilitate secure exchange of health information from provider-controlled applications to consumer-controlled applications such as PHRs using Direct secure messaging protocols.

“Thank you to my colleagues at Cerner and Humetrix for helping NATE demonstrate the capabilities of the new NATE Blue Button for Consumers Trust Bundle at the ONC Annual Meeting.  Greg’s demonstration today shows that the NBB4C is ready now to enable real world exchange between provider-facing applications and consumer-facing applications, empowering the consumer to get access to their data,” said NATE’s CEO Aaron Seib.  “Our industry achieved a major milestone today.  We studied the issues around securely sharing information from providers to patients and together we took a leap of faith.  Consumers across the country will now have more control over their care.  NBB4C gets the information flowing to where it should be: in the hands of the patient.  I look forward to the day when patients across the nation routinely download their health information into a consumer-facing application of their choice and use it to improve their lives and the lives of those they love.”

The NBB4C Trust Bundle is the result of the next generation of NATE’s ongoingPHR Ignite Project and incorporates lessons learned from NATE’s administration of the Blue Button Consumer Trust Bundles.  Over the past year, NATE and a task group made up of thought leaders in the patient-mediated exchange space worked together to develop a set of criteria and expectations that balances what is a ‘must have’ for today and what can wait until tomorrow, what is practical as a starting point and what is a showstopper that would kill consumer engagement if introduced.  In November 2014, NATE crowdsourced the trust framework, calling for and receiving comments from across the industry.  In January 2015, the NATE Board of Directors approved the workgroup’s recommendation for release into production.

“The NBB4C establishes a practical framework that will enable patients to securely exchange health information with their providers without burdening the patient with unnecessary steps to obtain their data and share it with whomever they choose,” said MaryAnne Sterling, Consumer Ombudsman for the NATE Board of Directors.  “As a long time caregiver for my aging parents, this work is important to all of us who manage healthcare on behalf of others.  I have confidence that applications participating in the NBB4C will meet or exceed my expectation that my family’s health information will be confidential and secure.”

Interested CFAs may begin onboarding to the NBB4C Trust Bundle now at  Stakeholders interested in participating in the next phase of NATE’s work in consumer-mediated exchange should consider NATE membership or subscribe to news from NATE’s PHR Community.

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