EHR and Health IT...
Follow
Find
11.5K views | +0 today
 
Scoop.it!

EMR and Practice Management – Automation Realized

EMR and Practice Management – Automation Realized | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
Consumer and business marketing has substantially developed in regards to the holistic value delivered by a product or service. Rationale is the underlying basis to adjudicate the purchase decision on any item under question. ‘Is it functional towards my needs?’, ‘How does it measure up to its competitors in the market in regards to quality?’, ‘Is it good value for money?’. These are the most common questions while determining a final choice. It would be fair to say that before finalizing any single prospect, a cost-benefit analysis is of the utmost importance. The same holds true for physicians while implementing applications within their practice such as EMR and practice management. Since software such as EMR and practice management are long term investments, it is all the more important to have an in depth analysis before coming to a final decision. Furthermore, EMR and practice management may have serious implications on the quality of care delivered within a practice; therefore it is mandatory for providers to be completely thorough before implementing any application.

 

“After you part with your hard earned money on adopting a certain EMR or practice management system and you eventually discover that the costs outweigh the benefits, you will end up becoming aggravated. Hence, comprehensive research is fundamental prior to deciding upon any particular product or service you decide to apply within your practice”, says a Massachusetts based physician.

 

The core benefit of applying tools like EMR and practice management is that they have automated arduous processes which previously had to be carried out manually. In a modern doctor’s office, clinical processes are expedited and made easy through EMR, while administrative processes are automated through a practice management system. After the advent of electronic medical records, tasks which required long hours can now be wrapped up in a few minutes. Storing and retrieving documents is now done electronically within a few minutes. Furthermore, thanks to this technology the healthcare industry has ventured into the electronic sphere, where chances for any silly mistakes made are highly minimized.

 

Just a decade ago, no one would have envisioned that such applications would completely revolutionize the entire healthcare system – health information being transferred without barriers of location or boundaries of paper. In the world of today we see it happening; due to the incursion of health IT applications, healthcare as we know it has been transformed.

more...
No comment yet.
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
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scoop.it!

Are Client Server EHR Holding Back Healthcare? | EMR and HIPAA

Are Client Server EHR Holding Back Healthcare? | EMR and HIPAA | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The number one topic of debate on this blog has definitely been Client Server EHR versus SaaS EHR. There are staunch parties on both sides of this aisle. No doubt both sides have a case to make and we’ll see both in healthcare for a long time to come. Although, I think that long term the SaaS EHR will win out.

As I was thinking about this recently, I realized that while client server EHR can do everything a SaaS EHR can do, it definitely makes a lot of things much harder to accomplish.

It’s much harder to create an API that connects to 2000 client server EHR installs.

It’s much harder to make 2000 client server EHR installs interoperable.

It’s much harder to evaluate data across 2000 client server EHR installs.

I’m sure I could keep going with this list, but you get the point. Even though something is possible, it doesn’t mean that they’re actually going to do it. In fact, if it’s hard to do, then it takes extreme pressure for them to do it.

All of this has me begging the question of whether client server installs are holding back the EHR industry. Up until now, many of the things I mention above haven’t been that important. Going forward I think that all three of the things I mention above are going to be very important.

The good thing is that I see many client server EHR moving to some kind of hosted EHR solution. That solves some of the problems mentioned above. At least if it’s a hosted EHR solution, they can control the environment and more easily implement things like API access and interoperability. That’s much harder in the client server world where if you have 2000 EHR installs, you have 2000 unique setups.

Of course, as soon as a large SaaS EHR has a massive breach, healthcare will go running after the client server EHR. The battle lines are drawn and each side knows each other very well. Although, I think the SaaS EHR have the high ground right now. We’ll see how that continues over time. Client server EHR have done an amazing job battling.



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Why bad EMRs are forced on physicians

Why bad EMRs are forced on physicians | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

I recently did a tally.  Since starting my locums adventure last year, and going to full-time locums in January, I’ve worked in a grand total of 11 emergency departments.  Let me qualify that for the occasional visitor to my blog.  I decided to do this for purposes of flexibility, finances and a much needed change of scenery.  Not because I’m a problem physician, or unable to do the work in a “real” job.  I say that to emphasize the fact that at 21 years into my career, I am a keen and qualified observer of life in emergency medicine; in fact, of life in medicine in general. It’s one of the things I write about most.  And I do so because there are so many regular physicians out there with grave concerns and real problems, for whom there is no voice at all.  I try to be that voice.


And one of the things the doctors are crying out over is electronic medical records, or EMR.  These are systems that hospitals impose upon physicians in order to capture extra federal dollars via meaningful use. Or in order to mine the data so that they can squeeze every more blood from the turnip of paying patients and insurers.  Or, they are used to track every motion, every action so that administrators can have sufficient flow charts, spread sheets and other data with which to send “bad boy” letters to clinicians reminding them to work faster or better.  (And which allow various mid-level managers something to do all day without having to actually care for patients or provide intrinsic value to the hospital.)

Mind you, EMRs were already on their way, but now the administrative pressure is high.  Sadly, the systems are very, very bad indeed.  It is said that use of an EMR, versus paper charts or dictation, typically reduces physician productivity by about 30% right out of the box.  It is also noted that now, young physicians in training spend more and more time at keyboards and less and less time looking at that pesky throwback to ancient times, the human patient.  (How dare they not be pixelated!)

The sound of medicine these days is the sound of the keyboard. It is so prevalent at times that it nearly causes me to have a headache and nausea.  Tap, tap, tap, day and night.  We dash to the patient and we come back and spend the lion’s share of our time using the one class of all our classes that mattered most; typing or keyboarding.

This is not because it generates a good chart.  In fact, most systems generate terrible charts.  Charts full of clipped sentences and check box histories and exams that read worse than the worst prose.  A patient encounter can generally be summarized in well composed paragraph.  It’s just harder to mine the data from said writing.  So modern EMR charts are inundated with time-stamps and worthless information, much of it put in the chart by nurses also forced to document everything from the patient’s pain scale to when they last fluffed his pillow or inquired as to his general state of happiness.  All too often, the reason for the visit is buried in nutritional assessments and statements about whether or not they feel safe at home, or the bed-rails are up.  (I have actually witnessed charts on patients with a laceration in which the laceration or its location were nowhere described.)

The whole thing is demoralizing.  It is my experience that physicians and nurses routinely stay an hour or two later than their shift time, just to complete charting that they couldn’t do while trying to see human beings in a timely and competent manner.  In the process, they develop repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.  I have had right shoulder pain on several occasions after prolonged charting.  Of course, this extra time does not in any way result in extra hourly compensation. It is a requirement added on the already too many requirements of life in modern emergency departments, imposed by those whose jobs end at 3 or 5 and who do not spend their days logging in, logging out and trying to click all the right boxes while around them, people may well be dying.  But I digress.

Having used a number of EMR systems, I can say that some are horrendous.  These are the systems that require at least four to eight introductory hours of classroom time.  These are the systems that ultimately take users weeks to fully comprehend and employ.  These leave users frustrated and angry; sometimes tearful as they simply can’t be used in a manner commensurate with the pace of the actual medicine being practiced.

Why are cumbersome systems used?  Many reasons, no doubt.  Perhaps because the hospital or hospital system has been heavily courted by a large company that convinced them that it was an “industry standard,”  that “everyone who is anyone is using it.” Certainly not, in general, because the end-user (physicians and nurses) found it simple and effective; that metric seems almost laughable these days. Doctors and nurses are commoditized quantities who will do as they’re told or else.  Period.

The cumbersome systems are also, often, connected with the large corporations that run health care.  They own or are affiliated with EMRs and those systems, with their built in data capture and billing systems, are forced upon the system’s providers to maximize reimbursement. ( One more reason, in my estimation, that a simple laceration costs $1,000 in most emergency departments.)

I am not naming bad systems; not yet.  But I am going to name two systems that are excellent.  I am not an owner, shareholder or employee of either.  I simply want to illustrate the difference.  I have used systems that required an IT nurse educator to sit by my side for at least an entire 8 or 10 hour shift; and still I wasn’t clear.  And by way of disclaimer, I realize that even the systems I’m naming are businesses, dedicated to both documentation and generating revenue.

Having said that, I repeat that I have used systems that I understood and could use competently in 30 minutes.  Why aren’t these more popular?  Because if we want physicians to use EMR, and we want those physicians to do their jobs effectively and quickly, we need to simplify and streamline.

Which ones, you ask?  First of all, EPOWERdoc.  I have used this at two facilities and found it to be delightfully simple, with a very gentle learning curve.  I learned, and used it, within about 15 minutes.  The doctor leaving night shift showed it to me and I used it seamlessly for the next 12 hours and from then on at that, and another, facility.

Second, T system.  I have used paper T-sheets and they’re nice and simple.  Personally, given my bad penmanship, I prefer the electronic version.  When I first used it in June of this year, I was met by an IT educator as I walked into the shift.  In 20 minutes, I understood it and smiled as I enjoyed its intuitive design for the next 10 hours.

I suspect that if physicians had any control of this situation, the majority would use the simplest system possible. As it stands, however, we don’t.

Pity, because the demands on emergency departments grow more intense every day.  The stresses are high and the resources are stretched. The last thing anyone needs is a complicated, time-intensive, soul-sucking computer program.

What we need is simplicity and compassion for providers.

Is that too much to ask?



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Why Don’t 35% of Patients Know that Patient Portals Exist? | EHRintelligence.com

Why Don’t 35% of Patients Know that Patient Portals Exist? | EHRintelligence.com | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
Patient portals are becoming important tools for engagement and population health, but patients are largely unaware of the technology.

While patients are generally enthusiastic about viewing their EHR data and engaging with their providers online, a concerning number of patients are unaware of the possibilities of using a patient portal, finds a new survey from Xerox.  Among the 64 percent of patients who are not portal users, 35 percent did not know a portal was available to them, and 31 percent stated that their providers had never mentioned the technology to them.  Despite the widespread lack of knowledge, 57 percent of non-users said they would be more engaged and more proactive in their own healthcare if they had access to their data online.

“With providers facing regulatory changes, mounting costs, and patients who increasingly seek access to more information, our survey points to an opportunity to address issues by simply opening dialogue with patients about patient portals,” said Tamara St. Claire, Chief Innovation Officer of Commercial Healthcare for Xerox. “Educating patients will empower them to participate more fully in their own care while helping providers demonstrate that electronic health records are being used in a meaningful way.”

The survey indicates a generation gap when it comes to how patients use online tools.  While baby boomers are more likely to view patient portals as a utilitarian feature by making appointments online (70 percent), refilling prescriptions (58 percent), and communicating through emails with their physicians (60 percent), millennials view portals as an informational hub.  Younger patients want to see personalized information (44 percent), tailored care plans, details about related services from their providers (44 percent), and industry news that might relate to their issues and concerns (23 percent).

Perhaps surprisingly, baby boomers, aged 55 to 64, were among the most frequent users of patient portals.  Eighty-three percent of this age group indicated that they already do or would be very interested in communicating with their healthcare providers through a portal.  Millennials were more likely to want mobile access to online tools, with 43 percent stating their preference for smartphone and tablet interfaces.

Providers can help to shape patient engagement – and help themselves to meet the 5 percent patient engagement threshold included in Stage 2 meaningful use – by taking the time to educate patients about their options and opportunities.  Reinforcing the idea of signing up for a patient portal account at multiple points along the patients’ journey through the office, from check-in to follow-up, can help to secure a patient’s interest.  And physicians themselves should take the lead, St. Claire asserts.

“Physicians just aren’t having that dialogue,” she said to HealthITAnalytics.  “When we look at some of the best practices out there, we see that having that conversation multiple times along the patient’s path through the office is most effective.  And we think having that conversation directly with their physician is going to be most important.  People really want to hear it from their physician, because they’re that trusted source.  Even as medicine is changing, having that talk with the physician is probably going to have the most impact.”



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

CMS Provides Details about ICD-10 End-to-End Testing Weeks | EHRintelligence.com

CMS Provides Details about ICD-10 End-to-End Testing Weeks | EHRintelligence.com | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

With the deadline for physicians, providers, suppliers, clearinghouses, and billing agencies to apply to take part in the next wave of ICD-10 end-to-end testing, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is providing a closer look at these ICD-10 preparation activities.

The application deadline for volunteer testers to participate in ICD-10 end-to-end testing between April 26 and May 1 is scheduled for January 9. Those who are already slated to participate in ICD-10 end-to-end testing next month do not need to re-apply.

“Approximately 850 volunteer submitters will be selected to participate in the April end-to-end testing,” the federal agency announced earlier this week. “This nationwide sample will yield meaningful results, since CMS intends to select volunteers representing a broad cross-section of provider, claim, and submitter types, including claims clearinghouses that submit claims for large numbers of providers.”

After April’s testing week, physicians, providers, suppliers, clearinghouses, and billing agencies will have one final end-to-end testing week to be a part of between July 20 and 24.

In a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) released alongside this call for ICD-10 end-to-end testing volunteer applications, CMS details components of the testing activities ranging from differences between types of testing as well as the data used during the testing process.  Here’s a sampling:

How is ICD-10 end-to-end testing different from acknowledgement testing?

The goal of acknowledgement testing is for testers to submit claims with ICD-10 codes to the Medicare Fee-For-Service claims systems and receive acknowledgements to confirm that their claims were accepted or rejected.

End-to-end testing takes that a step further, processing claims through all Medicare system edits to produce and return an accurate Electronic Remittance Advice (ERA). While acknowledgement testing is open to all electronic submitters, end-to-end testing is limited to a smaller sample of submitters who volunteer and are selected for testing.

Is it safe to submit test claims with Protected Health Information (PHI)?

The test claims you submit are accepted into the system using the same secure method used for production claims on a daily basis. They will be processed by the same MACs who process production claims, and all the same security protocols will be followed. Therefore, using real data for this test does not cause any additional risk of release of PHI.

Last month, American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and eHealth Initiative found that some healthcare providers still lacked ICD-10 testing plans as well as assessments of the impact ICD-10 implementation would have on their facilities. According to their findings, ten percent of organizations did not have a plan in place for conducting end-to-end testing, with 17% having no clear understanding of when their organization will be ready to begin ICD-10 testing processes.

The AHIMA-eHealth Initiative survey gives credence to claims from Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) that the most recent ICD-10 delay will cause many providers to postpone their ICD-10 testing activities until 2015 with potentially costly effects.

“Delaying compliance efforts reduces the time available for adequate testing, increasing the chances of unanticipated impacts to production. We urge the industry to accelerate implementation efforts in order to avoid disruption on Oct. 1, 2015,” WEDI Chairman and ICD-10 Workgroup Co-chair, said in September.

Physicians, providers, suppliers, clearinghouses, and billing agencies applying to be part of April’s testing week will receive word from their Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) and the Common Electronic Data Interchange (CEDI) contractors in late January.



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Lessons learned from an award-winning EHR system replacement | Healthcare IT News

Lessons learned from an award-winning EHR system replacement | Healthcare IT News | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
In 2012, ARcare undertook a fast-paced transition to a next-generation electronic health record system. Less than two years later, ARcare was nationally recognized, receiving HIMSS Analytics' Stage 7 Ambulatory Award, the highest HIMSS honor for EHR adoption.

[See also: Cleveland Clinic scores Stage 7 ambulatory award from HIMSS Analytics]

ARcare, a private, non-profit corporation providing primary care in rural Arkansas and Kentucky through a network of clinics, pharmacies and wellness centers, is the first Federally Qualified Health Center – and was one of only two ambulatory practices not connected with a hospital – to receive a Stage 7 ambulatory award.

On the way to a successful implementation, ARcare learned a great deal about the relationship between ongoing physician involvement and final clinical training – information that may help our peers who are moving forward with similarly ambitious systems replacements.
Managing change during the transition

ARcare’s system replacement involved moving from comparatively basic EHR use to a more comprehensive system with clinical event functionality that would enable us to better manage patient conditions across multiple care venues. A primary goal was to have the system drive orders and events rather than merely document clinical activity.

Migrating to next-generation technology across an enterprise requires significant IT resources, training, management support and workflow changes. Our strategy was to tie these elements together with a carefully constructed change-management plan, in which a highly experienced, multi-disciplinary team with C-level support facilitated all aspects of system adoption. The change-management team was tasked with creating a continuum of sustained change with a primary focus on improved patient care, stripping away governance of information silos. In this spirit of change management, each identified issue was relevant to the team – rather than individual roles – without regard to reporting structures.
The importance of keeping physicians in the change-management loop

Although ARcare achieved significant success in the arena of change management from an IT perspective, and within an aggressive timeframe, we also found in hindsight that keeping physicians in the loop throughout the transition can simplify clinical training during the final stages of implementation.

While ARcare actively sought input and buy-in from physicians on the front end of the transition, our sensitivity to the demands on physicians’ available time led us to remove most of them from the actual transition process, preserving involvement to a select few clinical staff members as physician representatives. While physicians remained involved to provide input to the new standardized workflows required by the new system, most of them had minimal exposure to the new system prior to clinical training.

[See also: Rip and Replace: Atlanta Thrasher Fans Feel Providers' Pain]

The scheduled training sessions involved the clinical staff who were part of the change-management team performing training duty: nurse practitioners training other nurse practitioners and physicians training other physicians. We had anticipated this to be one of the easier tasks of implementation, and hadn’t fully accounted for the learning needs of clinical staff.

Although our physician leadership group requested they be the trainers, it soon became apparent that many healthcare professionals are simply uncomfortable voicing the need for additional help, especially to their peers. We also learned that having select clinical staff involved in the overall process didn’t necessarily translate directly to building teaching skills; the ability to understand complex technology and to teach its use are quite different. We decided to revisit training with the assistance of our own KMS – knowledge management systems – education team.
Getting clinical training back on track

Together with the KMS education team and led by four top instructors, we created a new, three-day program that integrated training for physicians, nurses and physician assistants.

Working in small groups, clinical staff participated in the training program, which was rolled out across facilities in series. Feedback gathered at the end of each training session helped to improve each subsequent session. Satisfaction increased quickly and steadily, and ARcare has continued to provide training updates on a regular basis to ensure continued optimal performance.
Well worth the effort

Five months after going live with our new system, ARcare became the first ambulatory practice that was not part of a hospital to achieve Stage 6 on the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model. One year later, we became the first FQHC to achieve the highest level of EHR usage, Stage 7.

The overall experience helped the organization recognize and develop an appreciation for the fact that change can and should be a positive experience. ARcare has developed a level of confidence across the organization where employees are less reluctant or fearful of change, and where learning from failure produced valuable outcome – not just in successful training, but in the successful adoption of a new Greenway Health EHR that brought with it substantial benefits, including:

Improved patient management with better information access for providers and clinical event management that drives events and orders, computerized provider order entry and closed-loop medication administration, and other advanced functions that improve patient care
The ability to exchange data directly with the state health department
Streamlined access to patient records across the network of primary care clinics, dental clinics, pharmacies and wellness centers

During the transition to the new system, ARcare successfully converted more than 17.2 million records, including clinical notes, images and test results. Now, when ARcare identifies and secures a new clinic site, the new site can be completely operational from an IT perspective in 30 days or less thanks to advanced system capabilities for scalability and extremely fast implementations. As of today, the system provides paperless charting and order entry for 37 ARcare clinics.

In all, it’s been a very satisfying transition in which the gains were well worth the pain – pain that can be avoided by following the lessons learned in ARcare’s approach and re-working of clinical training. In short: It’s all about identifying an effective training team.
more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Lessons learned from an award-winning EHR system replacement | Healthcare IT News

Lessons learned from an award-winning EHR system replacement | Healthcare IT News | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

In 2012, ARcare undertook a fast-paced transition to a next-generation electronic health record system. Less than two years later, ARcare was nationally recognized, receiving HIMSS Analytics' Stage 7 Ambulatory Award, the highest HIMSS honor for EHR adoption.


ARcare, a private, non-profit corporation providing primary care in rural Arkansas and Kentucky through a network of clinics, pharmacies and wellness centers, is the first Federally Qualified Health Center – and was one of only two ambulatory practices not connected with a hospital – to receive a Stage 7 ambulatory award.

On the way to a successful implementation, ARcare learned a great deal about the relationship between ongoing physician involvement and final clinical training – information that may help our peers who are moving forward with similarly ambitious systems replacements.

Managing change during the transition

ARcare’s system replacement involved moving from comparatively basic EHR use to a more comprehensive system with clinical event functionality that would enable us to better manage patient conditions across multiple care venues. A primary goal was to have the system drive orders and events rather than merely document clinical activity.

Migrating to next-generation technology across an enterprise requires significant IT resources, training, management support and workflow changes. Our strategy was to tie these elements together with a carefully constructed change-management plan, in which a highly experienced, multi-disciplinary team with C-level support facilitated all aspects of system adoption. The change-management team was tasked with creating a continuum of sustained change with a primary focus on improved patient care, stripping away governance of information silos. In this spirit of change management, each identified issue was relevant to the team – rather than individual roles – without regard to reporting structures.

The importance of keeping physicians in the change-management loop

Although ARcare achieved significant success in the arena of change management from an IT perspective, and within an aggressive timeframe, we also found in hindsight that keeping physicians in the loop throughout the transition can simplify clinical training during the final stages of implementation.

While ARcare actively sought input and buy-in from physicians on the front end of the transition, our sensitivity to the demands on physicians’ available time led us to remove most of them from the actual transition process, preserving involvement to a select few clinical staff members as physician representatives. While physicians remained involved to provide input to the new standardized workflows required by the new system, most of them had minimal exposure to the new system prior to clinical training.


The scheduled training sessions involved the clinical staff who were part of the change-management team performing training duty: nurse practitioners training other nurse practitioners and physicians training other physicians. We had anticipated this to be one of the easier tasks of implementation, and hadn’t fully accounted for the learning needs of clinical staff.

Although our physician leadership group requested they be the trainers, it soon became apparent that many healthcare professionals are simply uncomfortable voicing the need for additional help, especially to their peers. We also learned that having select clinical staff involved in the overall process didn’t necessarily translate directly to building teaching skills; the ability to understand complex technology and to teach its use are quite different. We decided to revisit training with the assistance of our own KMS – knowledge management systems – education team.

Getting clinical training back on track

Together with the KMS education team and led by four top instructors, we created a new, three-day program that integrated training for physicians, nurses and physician assistants.

Working in small groups, clinical staff participated in the training program, which was rolled out across facilities in series. Feedback gathered at the end of each training session helped to improve each subsequent session. Satisfaction increased quickly and steadily, and ARcare has continued to provide training updates on a regular basis to ensure continued optimal performance.

Well worth the effort

Five months after going live with our new system, ARcare became the first ambulatory practice that was not part of a hospital to achieve Stage 6 on the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model. One year later, we became the first FQHC to achieve the highest level of EHR usage, Stage 7.

The overall experience helped the organization recognize and develop an appreciation for the fact that change can and should be a positive experience. ARcare has developed a level of confidence across the organization where employees are less reluctant or fearful of change, and where learning from failure produced valuable outcome – not just in successful training, but in the successful adoption of a new Greenway Health EHR that brought with it substantial benefits, including:

  • Improved patient management with better information access for providers and clinical event management that drives events and orders, computerized provider order entry and closed-loop medication administration, and other advanced functions that improve patient care
  • The ability to exchange data directly with the state health department
  • Streamlined access to patient records across the network of primary care clinics, dental clinics, pharmacies and wellness centers

During the transition to the new system, ARcare successfully converted more than 17.2 million records, including clinical notes, images and test results. Now, when ARcare identifies and secures a new clinic site, the new site can be completely operational from an IT perspective in 30 days or less thanks to advanced system capabilities for scalability and extremely fast implementations. As of today, the system provides paperless charting and order entry for 37 ARcare clinics.

In all, it’s been a very satisfying transition in which the gains were well worth the pain – pain that can be avoided by following the lessons learned in ARcare’s approach and re-working of clinical training. In short: It’s all about identifying an effective training team.



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

EHR Data, Decision-Making Ultimately Lie in the Patient’s Hands | EHRintelligence.com

EHR Data, Decision-Making Ultimately Lie in the Patient’s Hands | EHRintelligence.com | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Patients should have the right to control their own healthcare and their own EHR data regardless of a provider’s opinions or disagreements, state David Blumenthal, MD, MPP and David Squires, MA in a commentary published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.  Even though some patients withhold critical information from their physicians or refuse to comply with treatments, clinicians are nothing more than “guests” in a patient’s life and must act with respect and understanding, the authors say.

The question of whether patients should be able to control the information in their electronic health records (EHR) provokes strong opinions, says Blumenthal, a former National Coordinator for Health IT and current President of the Commonwealth Fund.  “Some argue that the information rightfully belongs to patients, and they should be able to decide what is recorded and who can access it. Some clinicians, however, argue that because they have a duty to provide their patients with the best possible care, doctors should have unfettered or nearly unfettered access to any information needed to meet that obligation.”

Blumenthal and Squires, a senior researcher at The Commonwealth Fund, come down on the side of the patient’s rights to make their own choices about the quantity and completeness of the data they share with their clinicians, as well as the access, use, and transmission of information stored in their EHRs.

As privacy and security concerns continue to affect the way patients view the use of EHRs, patients must be properly educated about data security, health information exchange, and the benefits of providing complete and accurate data to their physicians.  Providing this education is a “considerable challenge,” the authors note, as many patients do not understand the details of how data is exchanged between providers or even what privacy protections are built into HIPAA.

While patients may have the right to withhold information based on these concerns, incomplete or incorrect data can have significant impacts on a patient’s health and wellbeing in unanticipated ways.  “A patient’s decision to withhold data about a sensitive medication—such as a psychotropic or HIV-related drug—may have later consequences that neither patients nor clinicians could have anticipated,” Blumenthal and Squires write. “Beyond this, when evaluating a patient, experienced clinicians often rely on an array of data, including information not obviously related to the current problem, to raise and evaluate hypotheses about diagnosis and treatment.”

EHR developers are still working to refine and implement technologies that deal with patient consent for the sharing of specific pieces of information, such as HIV status, sexual orientation, or mental health diagnoses.  Even when these capacities are more mature, the authors point out, there will always be instances when clinicians feel they must override a patient’s wishes in order to provide proper care or protect other patients from communicable or infectious disease.

However, Squires and Blumenthal caution providers who wish to assert their unrestricted rights to a patient’s health information that “if patients do not trust the health system to protect them, their relationships with their clinicians will suffer, they will withhold information, and the value of the health information contained in the EHR will be undermined. In the long run, clinicians as well as patients will benefit from a health information system that patients feel they can depend on to protect their privacy.”

As EHR adoption reaches the majority of healthcare providers and the tension over issues of consent, data exchange, and data usage become more complex, these questions will continue to prompt discussion among healthcare professionals on both sides of the argument.  “Continued research on how to inform patients, support their choices, and understand the consequences for their care is essential,” the article concludes. “And while caution cannot be thrown to the wind, our prejudice should be to give patients a chance to express their views, and then abide by those as best we can.”



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Seven Ways PAs Strengthen the Team, Deepen the Bench | Physicians Practice

Seven Ways PAs Strengthen the Team, Deepen the Bench | Physicians Practice | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Physicians often ask me whether they should consider hiring a PA and how to integrate one into their practice.

Much like a sports team’s game plan, every practice functions differently. But if you need to draft a new player, consider what areas of your practice could use some relief and what skills that player needs to complement your practice. A PA can be the leadoff batter, collaborating partner, supporting player, or the rebounder.

At the core of PA training is team-based care through the medical model. We practice with our physician partners and enjoy being the all-around players that execute the fundamentals of medicine in a way that expands the team’s capabilities, resources and positive outcomes.

Here are seven ways PAs may benefit your practice:

1. Make room for more patients. If you are already working overtime, another provider may be the only way you can grow your practice. For services that are incident-to a physician’s services, the reimbursement rate is at 100 percent. For other services, reimbursement is 85 percent of physicians' fees. Our ability to see our own panel of patients, or share yours, will generate revenue and more than cover the cost of our salary and benefits.

2. Free you up to handle the most-complex medical cases or those that will generate more revenue. For example, surgeons want to operate and can turn over some of the pre-op and post-op care to PAs.

3. Improve your work-life balance. Having a PA manage patients with chronic conditions, help manage phone calls, and share other responsibilities can give you back hours in your day.

4. Give patients what they want. Patients want to spend time with their provider, and you want to extend this coverage so patients feel good about their care. When you and a PA work as a coordinated team, patients will not feel slighted if you do not see them on each visit.

5. Assume administrative roles. PAs can create wellness programs, initiate and lead group appointments, and perform as lead PA or the clinical interface to the business office.

6. Improve care coordination. PAs can help you coordinate care between your office and other providers or locations, for example specialists, physical therapists, or hospitals/outpatient surgery centers.

7. Focus on CMS requirements. There are many new requirements for quality outcomes, EHR use, and patient engagement. A PA can give the team the additional knowledge, skills, and time that it needs to hit these goals.

Currently there are approximately 100,000 certified PAs in the United States. According to the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), every week certified PAs work 3.8 million hours enabling them to increase healthcare access by treating 7 million patients in every clinical setting across the U.S.

PAs can increase team wins:
Ultimately, patients seek healthcare from providers with whom they are most comfortable and get the best service. PAs can help meet the needs of your most demanding patients, deliver on quality and satisfaction targets, and increase revenue.

So if you are considering adding a player to your team, now is the time to make your move. Assess current strengths, determine skills needed, and draft a PA to be the utility player, who can help bring your team to the next level.



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

How to Deal with an Annoying Medical Practice Coworker | Physicians Practice

How to Deal with an Annoying Medical Practice Coworker | Physicians Practice | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

It can be hard to get over things that get under our skin. While colleagues are often oblivious to their irritating habits, the rest of us go stir-crazy looking for ways to ignore their eccentricities. Unfortunately, it seems the more we try to minimize their mannerisms the more magnified those mannerisms become.

How can you diplomatically deal with other people's peculiarities? These suggestions will equip you to cope with three kinds of irksome quirks.

1. Frustrating physical habits

Even when there are medically sound reasons for someone's repetitive throat clearing, nose sniffling, or deep sighing, being around a person with these chronic behaviors can be off-putting.

When dealing with someone exhibiting these habits, it's best to begin by presuming they have an underlying condition such as GERD or post-nasal drip. You can explore this by asking if they are even aware of their persistent sniffles and sighs. Though you're not in the position of being a diagnostician in this circumstance, it may be appropriate for you to suggest they mention these symptoms to their physician. While they explore potential diagnoses, you need to grin and bear it.

It can be equally challenging to cope with idiosyncrasies like habitual whistling, humming, and tabletop drumming. What brings a grin to one person's face can grate on another person's nerves.

Once a medical cause for these behaviors has been ruled out, you can cautiously proceed to the next step; letting them know that you find their habit distracting and asking if they can please try to control it.

Whether the irritating issue is medical or melodious in nature, you must be sensitive when you bring it up. It's better to have a respectful, private conversation with the offending party than to reach your breaking point and shout, "Stop doing that! You're driving me mad!"

2. Exasperating emotional habits

Two common emotional habits that get old fast are chronic complaining and colleague parenting. What is colleague parenting? That's when someone constantly questions and advises you by saying things like, "Have you taken a break for lunch yet? You need to eat!" or, "What took you so long? You should have been able to examine that patient in two minutes."

In their minds, these "helicopter coworkers" have your best interests at heart. It just doesn't feel that way when you're on the receiving end of their coddling. You can nip this behavior in the bud by letting your colleague know that you're perfectly capable of taking care of yourself and there's no need for her to oversee your routines. Keep in mind that these caring people can be easily hurt if you're too harsh, so soften the blow by pre-empting your comments with a word of thanks for their concern.

Chronic complainers are more challenging to deal with because they tend to see the world through ipecac-colored glasses. Usually, nothing you can say or do will sway their glass-half-empty perspective. You can only get past their doom and gloom by focusing on your own positive attitude. The downside to this is that the chasm between your perkiness and their pessimism may continue to grow, putting you in the position of becoming yet another thorn in their side.

3. Conflicting communication habits

Failure to listen leads to failure to thrive — in relationships, that is. Some people are so anxious to express what's on their mind that they'll routinely cut to the chase by interrupting or finishing your sentences for you. Others, who have less confidence in their communication skills, may mumble or become mute when asked to chime in.

When someone interrupts you, make eye contact while raising your hand a bit and say, "Please let me finish this thought and then the floor is all yours. Thanks." If that doesn't work, take the oral offender aside and politely inform them that in future you'd appreciate the chance to say what you have to say before they interject with their point of view. You may need to reinforce this appeal by reminding them about your request each time they verbally butt in.

When dealing with people who are less communicative, invite their input by asking direct questions and engaging them in conversation. They may feel intimidated or insecure, but the more dialogue you can create, the more expressive they're likely to become. You can gain their trust by letting them know how much you value their contribution to the conversation.

No matter what annoying habits are bothering you, there's no need to sacrifice your saneness by staying silent. But before speaking out, take a look at yourself. Is there anything you're doing that might be irritating others?



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

CMIO role evolving in wake of EHR implementation

CMIO role evolving in wake of EHR implementation | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Healthcare organizations tend to be unclear about what the chief medical information officer's role is after the implementation of electronic health record systems, according to an article at Healthcare Informatics.

Chris Wood, M.D., CMIO of Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Illinois, is a "second-generation CMIO." Wood, who last summer came from a position as medical director of information systems at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, advocates that CMIOs should be leaders in determining the future of the position.

"This is a new functionality that the entire health system is looking at. Instead of doing procedure after procedure, we have to step back and ask what is best for the patient, and how we can get rid of waste, improve quality and lower costs. If you are passionate about it, find ways to go out and get training," he says in the article. "You are better positioned than people who don't have that informatics background."

Since Loyola has years of EHR use under its belt, Wood says he sees his job as helping clinical staff gain more useful insight from the data being generated.

Wood reports to a chief of operations, but also works closely with the chief quality officer--who runs a center for clinical excellence and studies all the metrics reported to state and federal government and to private payers.

"He has data needs. Clinical programs trying to drive out waste individually have data needs. Researchers at the med school have data needs. The CMIOs who can partner with the most important clinical business goals of the organization are going to succeed," he tells Healthcare Informatics.

Improving care requires a greater willingness to share information and interoperability between systems, Sutter Health CMIO Christopher Jaeger said in an interview at Becker's Hospital CIO.

Just as in the case of healthcare chief information officers, workload and responsibility are growing for CMIOs, which could explain why fewer say they're satisfied with their jobs, though recently their salaries have increased.



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Six Action Items for Every Medical Practice in 2015 | Physicians Practice

Six Action Items for Every Medical Practice in 2015 | Physicians Practice | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
We have all experienced a multitude of changes to the healthcare industry in the last year, and that trend of constant change is going to continue into 2015. The medical practices that thrive in the new healthcare environment will be the ones that take a proactive approach to managing these changes.

Here are six action items I recommend for every practice in 2015:

1. Develop your patient portal. Clearly patients today desire the ability to know more about their issues as well as communicate more to their practitioner. Long waits both in the waiting room and when attempting to make appointments has damaged patient relationships while also creating numerous communication gaps. The family practice that communicates more effectively with patients will gain more referrals and be more highly respected within the community. In the coming year, focus on developing your portal and promoting its use to patients (or purchasing one if you do not have one). Many portals allow patients to order medication refills, obtain lab and test results, and even e-mail staff about appointments or schedule changes. The new technology creates not only better communication, but also less need to request an appointment because data is available online.

2. Implement an EHR, if you don't already have one. If your practice does not already have en EHR, it's time to get one. While there are many practitioners still using files and travel cards, EHRs provide better efficiencies for billing, reimbursements, audits, etc. Admittedly, there are more systems (so it seems) than doctors, but acquiring an EHR allows better practice efficiencies and perhaps more money for the practice.

3. Develop your website. Doctors in 2015 need to think in terms of the patient. On the day I wrote this article, I found that 1.67 billion searches had been made on Google. Doctors and their practices will be required to develop and implement websites so that patients can find them. True, many insurance companies refer prospective patients to physicians, but the fact remains that most patients conduct their own research. A great website will ensure that patients find you.

4. Get active on social media. As of January 2014, 74 percent of Internet users used social networking sites, according to the Pew Internet Project. Understand that not every form of social media is useful, but doctors and staff that engage in social media will create pockets of community to discuss the doctor and help with external marketing efforts. Additionally, social media forms such as Twitter or even Facebook enable staff to communicate messages to patients such as, “The doctor is running late," or, “The office is closing early due to inclement weather."

5. Prioritize cyber security. Many medical practices have very limited knowledge and resources to consider cyber security, but they must. The 2012 Data Breach Investigations Study by Verizon shows that in 855 data breaches they examined, 71 percent occurred in businesses with fewer than 100 employees.Similar to the manner in which many large corporations have prioritized cyber security, so must medical practices.

6. Pay attention to your reputation. According to one survey from practice management research group Software Advice, 62 percent of respondents said they turn to online reviews in order to find a new doctor. These review sites include Healthgrades Yelp, Vitals, ZocDoc and WebMD. Doctors that become more attentive to these sites will protect their reputations because they can monitor both positive and negative comments. Those that are more attentive to their reputation will have better searchable results on the Internet as well as have more visitors in the waiting and treatment rooms.
more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Four Ways Your EHR Can Improve Patient Engagement | Physicians Practice

Four Ways Your EHR Can Improve Patient Engagement | Physicians Practice | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
EHRs are often blamed for a decline in patient interaction, as some physicians are forced to spend more time looking at their screens and less time making eye contact with their patients. However, if leveraged properly, EHRs can actually allow for more effective interactions with patients during visits. The result will be a more collaborative form of care.

Here are four specific ways that physicians can use EHRs to enhance patient engagement:

1. Take advantage of your patient portal.

The patient portal can play a big role in increasing patient engagement since it is a secure repository and communication tool for a practice. It is a tool that both physicians and patients can actively use for sending/receiving reminders for preventative or follow-up care, sending patient education materials, receiving patient questions and requests, scheduling/changing appointments, and more.

A patient portal can be extremely beneficial to patients because it allows them to actively manage their care and can also help solve their common pain points. For example, getting lab results has traditionally been a tedious process, but the ability to access results on-demand through a portal can be a huge time saver for patients.

2. Leverage solutions that extend your EHR capabilities.

There are various forms of technology that can help physicians achieve a higher level of patient engagement, working in conjunction with your EHR, such as interfaces connecting to other products or solutions.

John SquireJohn Squire For example, using speech recognition software can increase the speed and accuracy with which patient records are created. As a result, physicians have more time to interact with patients in the exam room during visits. According to a 2014 Medscape EHR report, 70 percent of respondents said their EHR "decreases their face-to-face time with patients." Leveraging speech recognition software can allow physicians to directly combat this common barrier.

Laboratory, radiology, and medical device interfaces can also help support patient engagement — these interfaces allow physicians to automate their work flow, and import results into patient portals for patients to access at their leisure. Additionally, there are features built into many EHRs that physicians can leverage to encourage patients to be more proactive in their healthcare, such as reminders, clinical decision support alerts, a report writer, etc.

3. Empower patients through visual display data.

Another common pain point for patients is the amount of time physicians spend typing, touching, and looking at the computer screen during visits. One easy way to remove the barrier of the computer screen is by involving the patient through visual display of their data in the exam room. Visual integration connects patients with the process without them feeling overwhelmed.

Internist James Legan does exactly this in his practice by projecting Amazing Charts EHR from his laptop onto flat screen TVs in his exam rooms, inviting patients to view their medical charts, prescriptions, lab reports, radiology images, and more. "Most of my patients really enjoy seeing their BMI graphs, medical history, radiology images, and other medical information. It gets them more engaged with their own health," explained Legan.

Legan's approach is just one way to use visual integration of data to encourage patients to participate in shared decision making. Other solutions can be as simple as physicians sitting next to patients and sharing their screen.

4. Use the EHR for shared decision making and education.

Shared decision making involves physicians and patients determining the best care options together, rather than the clinician making care decisions for the patient. This modern approach of delivering care can play an integral role in patient engagement since it empowers patients to choose care based on their unique values and perspectives.

EHRs allow physicians to easily share their role in the shared decision-making process with patients by demonstrating the use of clinical decision support tools. EHRs can also make it easy for patients to review education materials along with their clinician, giving them a better understanding of their conditions and providing deeper insight into their clinician's recommendations than previously available. Many EHRs have a collection of educational materials physicians can access at a moment's notice and share with patients via patient portal or through printouts sent home with the patient.

Patients can play a role in optimizing their outcomes through activities such as identifying individual values, motivations, and health management skills prior to their next visit, reviewing literature provided via the EHR, and using the patient portal to communicate between visits.
more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

5 things EMRs should learn from social media

5 things EMRs should learn from social media | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

1. Likes. Health care providers should be able to “vote up” an excellent note in the medical record. Let’s face it, not all doctors are equally good at documentation. Untold hours of our time are spent trying to cull through pages of auto-populated, drop-down-box checks to figure out what’s actually going on with a patient on a particular day. Once in a while you stumble upon some comprehensive free text that a physician took the time to type after a previous encounter, and suddenly everything becomes clear. If there were a way to flag or “like” such documents, it would help other readers orient themselves more quickly to a patient’s history. A “liking” system is desperately needed in EMRs and would be a valuable time saver, as well as encouragement to physicians who document notes well. Hospitals could reward their best note makers with public recognition or small monetary bonuses.

2. #Hashtags. Tagging systems are sorely lacking in medical records systems, which makes them very difficult to search. Patients make multiple visits for various complaints, often with numerous providers involved. If physicians had the ability to review notes/records unique to the complaint that they are addressing, it would save a lot of time. Notes could be tagged with keywords selected by the author and permanently recorded in the EMR. This would substantially improve future search efforts. Even if the EMR generated 10 search terms (based on the note) and then asked the physician to choose the 3 most relevant to the current encounter, that would be a step in the right direction.

3. Selfies. Medical records would benefit from patient-identifier photographs. In a busy day where 20 to 30 patients are treated and EMR notes are updated after the patients have gone home, a small patient photograph that appears on each documentation page will serve the physician well in keeping details straight. Patients should be able to upload their favorite portrait to the EMR if the standard one (perhaps taken during the intake process) is not acceptable to them. In my experience, nothing brings back physical exam and history details better than a photograph of the patient.

4. Contextual links. All EMRs should provide links to the latest medical literature (on subjects specifically related to the patient’s current diseases and conditions) in a module on the progress note page. UpToDate.com and other reference guides could easily supply the right content (perhaps based on diagnosis codes). This will help physicians practice evidence-based medicine and keep current with changes in recommended treatment practices.

5. Microblogging. Sometimes there are important “notes to self” that a physician would like to make but don’t need to be part of the official medical record. EMRs should provide a free-text module (like a digital sticky note) for such purposes. These sticky notes should not be admissible in court as part of the medical record, and should not be uploaded to the cloud. Content included in these notes could include social information (patient’s daughter just had a healthy baby girl), hunches (patient looks slightly pale today — will check H&H next time if no change), and preliminary information (remember to review radiology result before calling patient next Tuesday).

It is my hope that EMRs will slowly adopt some best practices from top social media platforms. After all, if millions of users are effectively using voting, tagging, linking, searching and imaging in their daily online lives, it only makes sense to capitalize on these behaviors within the constraints of the medical environment. Maintaining strict confidentiality and appropriate professional boundaries (often missing in the social media world at large) is certainly possible with EMRs. Let’s build a better information capture and retrieval process for the sake of our patients, and our sanity.



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

EHR/EMR Workflow System Usability–Roots in Aviation Human Factors

EHR/EMR Workflow System Usability–Roots in Aviation Human Factors | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

You may have noticed aviation-inspired terms, illustrations, and ideas on the High-Usability EncounterPRO EMR Workflow System:

  • A pilot helped to design EncounterPRO’s user interface (UI).
  • EMR UI design is mimicking evolution from traditional cockpits to today’s glass cockpits.
  • The phrase EMR “rollout” derives historically from “rolling out” a new aircraft from its hanger for its first public viewing.
  • EncounterPRO’s Office View is like a radar view from an aircraft control tower, from where staff can see where everyone is and how long they’ve been waiting.
  • The illustration at the top of each fat footer sitemap is an aviation concourse.
  • Aviation human factors is an important subdiscipline within Industrial Engineering (which has many other useful applications within pediatric and primary care “production systems”).
  • Then, of course, there is that cool helmet with an EncounterPRO screen projected on its wrap-around visor.

What if I told you that EHR/EMR workflow systems:

  • Reduce workload and difficulty of carrying out the phases of a patient encounter.
  • Relieve physicians of having to perform repetitive sequences that are unrewarding and for which human beings in their inconsistency can be at their best or their worst.
  • Endow physicians with the gratifying part of their jobs: decision making.

It would be true, but I would be paraphrasing page 176 of the Handbook of Aviation Human Factors in which it says that designers of cockpit automation hope to:

  • Reduce workload and difficulty of carrying out the phases of the flight.
  • Relieve pilots of having to perform repetitive sequences that are unrewarding and for which human beings in their inconsistency can be at their best or their worst.
  • Endow pilots with the gratifying part of their jobs: decision making.

I’ve seen many EMRs over the years, some designed by physicians, some designed by programmers, and many  designed by both. However, a physician, a programmer, *and* a pilot designed EncounterPRO—and it shows.

Aviation human factors techniques and ideas about individual and team performance have been used to improve patient safety (for example), but less so for sheer high-performance effective and efficient EMR data and order entry.  Since World War II, the aviation industry has spent millions (perhaps billions) of dollars on aviation human factors research on the design of high-usability, high-performance robust avionics and cockpit management systems. Many aspects of traditional EMR design contradict  this accumulated knowledge and experience.

As a result, an EMR Workflow System looks and works differently from any other EMR of which I am aware. While I wouldn’t want to fly a plane using EncounterPRO as cockpit management software, of the hundreds of EMRs out there it would the most suited to the task. In fact, after one presentation, representatives from an aviation software company approached us to ask if we would consider adapting EncounterPRO to serve as a cockpit management program. Given EncounterPRO’s roots we were flattered and intrigued, even if we eventually decided to continue to concentrate solely on ambulatory EMR workflow automation.

My own MS in Industrial Engineering at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana involved a year in both the aviation human factors and health systems engineering programs. (This was by accident. There was a research assistantship available to work on an aviation human factors research project.) Aviation and aerospace medicine intrigued me for a while, but I decided that health care workflow was an even more target rich environment. Ironically, several years later I wrote natural language processing grammars for the Pilot’s Associate project (where I faced the truth of a popular linguistic proverb: All grammars leak.)

I had the enjoyable experience of hanging out with a sizable community of aviation human factors graduate students (both from IE and from other graduate departments such as psychology). That’s where I learned about the Fitts and Hicks laws that I discussed in the Cognitive Psychology of Pediatric EMR Usability and Workflow. I also bumped into an idea that has stuck with me since.

For each of the effects of the normal aging process–

  • vision decline,
  • hearing loss,
  • motor skill diminishment, and
  • cognitive decline

–there are a set of design principles and assistive technologies that address environmental challenges causing similar decreases in skilled performance.



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Medicare Will Cut Pay of Health Professionals For Not Using EMR - Capital Berg

Medicare Will Cut Pay of Health Professionals For Not Using EMR - Capital Berg | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that around 257,000 U.S physicians and health professionals’ payment will be deducted as they are not utilizing electronic health records (EMR) in their practices.

EMR is a process through which data is accumulated in the office of provider.  It offers complete medical and treatment history of the patient. It permits clinician to find which patient is left for preventative screening. The main aim of EMR is to make the entire procedure of record keeping of patient much accurate, easier and comprehensive.

CMS informs that the chief goal of the government health agency is to improve the health care quality. Therefore, this action may compel doctors to make use of the electronic health records.

Additionally 200 hospitals would lose 1 percent of their Medicare payments in 2015 for not adequately using EMR. Thus Far, notifications has been sent to almost 257,000 medical care providers.

This is not the first time when the government cut the salary of the health workers.  Earlier, President Obama passed a Health law which state that $20 would be given to Medicare providers for this particular purpose.  The providers are requested to give incentives to health professionals who adequately make use of EMR.

Up till now, around 400,000 providers got the bonus Medicare payments as they properly installed EMR system. Unfortunately, the number of incentives given are relatively low when compare to the payment cut of physicians.


more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

More Responses to Meaningful Use Penalties, Participation | EHRintelligence.com

More Responses to Meaningful Use Penalties, Participation | EHRintelligence.com | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
Members of Congress and CHIME respond to reports of meaningful use penalties and participation figures.

In the span of one week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released two telling pieces of information regarding the Medicare EHR Incentive Program — meaningful use penalties and Stage 2 Meaningful Use attestation — both being used by a cohort of Congress members and one industry association as proof of the need for immediate changes to 2015 meaningful use requirements.

As part of this month’s the Health IT Policy Committee meeting, CMS reported that 1,681 eligible hospitals (EHs) had successfully attested to Stage 2 Meaningful Use as of December 1, doubling the last month’s figure 840 EHs successfully attesting as of November 1.

This revelation motivated 30 members of Congress (28 Republicans and 2 Democrats) to call on the Department of Health & Human Services to reduce the 2015 meaningful use reporting from a full year to a 90-day quarter.

“We recognize that the Meaningful Use Program has been a catalyst in the widespread adoption of health information technology across the country,” the letter from the group led by Representatives Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Jim Matheson (D-UT) states. “However, we remain convinced that program success hinges on addressing the 2015 reporting period requirements.”

Ellmers and Matheson are co-sponsors of the Flexibility in Health IT Reporting (Flex-IT) Act of 2014, which they introduced in the House of Representative in September and currently sits with the House Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means Committees.

According to the most recent letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell, the subscribers contend that a failure to reduce “will complicate the forward trajectory of Meaningful Use and jeopardize the $25 billion in federal investment made to date.” Moreover, the group claims that feedback to the flexibility rule published by HHS and CMS in the Federal Register in September calling for a reduced 2015 meaningful use reporting period were “disregarded.”

The more recent news that more than 257,000 providers eligible for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program will receive notice that they will be subject to Medicare payment adjustments beginning in 2015 in the coming weeks has another supporter of the Flex-IT Act urging CMS to move quickly to address 2015 meaningful use reporting requirements.

That supporter is the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), which released a statement Thursday:

Data released today by CMS, indicating that roughly half of the nation’s physicians will receive penalties in 2015, only validate our calls for increased program flexibility. CHIME applauds the leadership Representative Renee Ellmers (R-NC-02) and Representative Jim Matheson (D-UT-4) have shown on this important, bipartisan issue and are pleased their colleagues recognize how essential Meaningful Use is in the modernization of the nation’s healthcare delivery system.

Despite calls from Congress and industry associations, neither HHS nor CMS has hinted at the possibility of modifying the EHR Incentive Programs in 2015.



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Meaningful use numbers show signs of life, groups still lobby for relief | Healthcare IT News

Meaningful use numbers show signs of life, groups still lobby for relief | Healthcare IT News | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
Stage 2 meaningful use attestations have shown big improvements recently, but many providers are still struggling. With her Flex-IT Act gaining traction in the House, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., along with 28 fellow members of Congress, have called on HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell to offer relief in the form of a shorter 90-day reporting period.

[See also: Poor MU showing renews calls for change]

The American Medical Association, meanwhile, is "appalled" that more than half of eligible providers will face penalties in 2015.

Speaking before the ONC's Health IT Policy Committee this past week, Elisabeth Myers, policy and outreach lead at CMS's Office of eHealth Standards and Services reported some drastic Stage 2 improvements.

[See also: New bill aims to ease MU reporting rules]

Hospitals, which had managed to log just 840 attestations through October, doubled that number between Nov. 1 and Dec. 1 – with 1,681 success stories as of the beginning of the month.

Eligible providers, meanwhile, managed another 5,000 successful attestations over the month – from 11,478 through Nov. 1 to 16,455 by Dec. 1.

For a program that seemed on such shaky ground as recently as this fall, those numbers are heartening. Still legislators and industry groups would like to see more. And a three-month reporting period in 2015, rather than a full year, would be one way to see even more success, argues Ellmers, along with more than two dozen, mostly-Republican colleagues, in a Dec. 16 letter sent to HHS.

"We remain convinced that program success hinges on addressing the 2015 reporting period requirements," Ellmers wrote, asking that HHS "immediately provide" a shortened, 90-day reporting period in 2015, "which would give providers much-needed time to safely and effectively implement certified technology and continue their 'meaningful use' journey."

Full-year reporting will "complicate the forward trajectory" of the program and "jeopardize the $25 billion in federal investment made to date," she wrote.

"Our constituents remain concerned that the pace and scope of change have outstripped the capacity of our nation’s hospitals and doctors to comply with program requirements," wrote Ellmers, who co-sponsored the Flex-IT Act this past September, in answer to outcry over CMS holding fast on its 365-day reporting period – a move that "disregarded recommendations made by the vast majority of healthcare stakeholders."

On Wednesday, CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell issued a statement in support of the letter.

CHIME, he said, "applauds the leadership" Ellmers and her colleague, Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, "have shown on this important, bipartisan issue and are pleased their colleagues recognize how essential meaningful use is in the modernization of the nation’s healthcare delivery system."

He added that December data from CMS showing that about half of the nation's physicians will receive penalties in 2015, "only validate our calls for increased program flexibility."

Indeed, that penalty data had the AMA hopping mad on Wednesday.

The AMA, said President-Elect Steven J. Stack, MD, is "appalled" by the news that more than 50 percent of eligible professionals will face penalties under the meaningful use in 2015.

That's "a number that is even worse than we anticipated," he said.

"The AMA supported the original HITECH legislation and we have provided extensive and constructive feedback to the administration to help fix the meaningful use program, but few changes have been made," wrote Stack.

The penalties faced by docs under meaningful use "are part of a regulatory tsunami facing physicians, apart from the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate formula, that could include cuts from the Physician Quality Reporting System, the Value-based Modifier Program and the sequester, further destabilizing physician practices and creating a disincentive to see Medicare patients," he added.
more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Social Media Platforms and Techniques for Medical Practices | EMR and HIPAA

Social Media Platforms and Techniques for Medical Practices | EMR and HIPAA | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

In my previous post I talked about the benefits of using social media in a medical practiceand I said that the next post in the series would take a look at the tools, techniques, and social media platforms you should use to help you realize the benefits of social media. This will not be an exhaustive look at social media platforms or the way to get the most out of them. However, it will be a good place for you to start and will offer some techniques that those who’ve started might not have heard about.

First, a word of warning. When starting to work with social media, be sure to pace yourself appropriately. As you start working with a specific social media platform, you might want to start “sprinting” and dive really deep into the product. That’s a great way to develop a deep understanding of the platform, but it’s not sustainable. After doing a deep dive into a social media platform, find a sustainable rhythm that your practice can sustain long term.

Social media is a marathon, not a sprint.

Facebook – With nearly 800 million active users, it’s hard to ignore the power of Facebook. Given these numbers, the majority of patients are on Facebook and they’re likely talking with their friends about their doctors. Unlike many other social media platforms, most people are connected to their real life friends on Facebook. That means the focus of your work on Facebook should be to help your most satisfied patients be able to remember to share this with their friends as the need arises.

On Facebook this usually takes the form of a practice Facebook page that your patients can “like.” Invite your patients to like your Facebook page when they’re in your office or through your patient portal. You can even test some Facebook advertising using your internal email list to get your patients to like your page. However, the most important thing you can do is to make sure you regularly update your Facebook page with quality content. That way, they will want to like your page when they find it.

When it comes to content, put yourself in the shoes of your patients and think about what content you would find useful as a patient. Don’t be afraid to post things that represent the values of your practice, but may not be specific to your practice. In most cases, what you’re sharing on Facebook is more about helping that patient remember your practice as opposed to trying to sell them something. For example, it’s more effective to post something entertaining that your patients will like and comment on than it is to post some dry sales piece that they’ll ignore.

Twitter – Similar to Facebook, you want to create a two step process with Twitter. First, think about content you can post to your Twitter feed that would be useful to your patients and prospective patients. No matter what marketing methods you employ to increase Twitter followers, if your Twitter account isn’t posting interesting, useful, funny, entertaining, or informative content, then no one will follow you.

Second, find and engage with people in your area that could be interested in the services you offer. Finding them is pretty easy thanks to the advanced Twitter search. When you first start on Twitter you’re going to want to spend a bit of time on that search page as you figure out what search terms (including location) are going to be most valuable to your clinic. Sometimes you’ll have to be creative. For example, if you’re an ortho doctor, you might want to check out search terms and followers of a local youth rec league.

Once you find potential patients on Twitter, follow them from your account and engage with those you find interesting. Just to be clear, a tweet saying “Come visit our office: [LINK]” is not engagement. Offering them answers to their questions or links to appropriate resources (possibly on your website, blog, or Facebook page) is a great form of engagement. You’ll be amazed how consistently following and engaging with potential patients over time will build your Twitter profile. Once they’ve followed your account, you have created a long term connection with that person.

As I suggested in my previous post, Twitter can be a great way to find patients, but it can also be a great way for your practice to connect and learn from peers and colleagues. I’d suggest using different accounts for each effort. The tweets you create for each will likely be quite different so don’t mix the two. However, the same search and engagement suggestions apply whether you’re connecting with patients or colleagues. The search terms will just be quite different.

Physician Review/Rating Websites
There are dozens of physician rating and review websites out there today. Some of the top ones include: Health Grades, Angie’s List, ZocDoc, Yelp, Google Local, and many more. Which of these websites you should engage with usually depends on where you live. In most cases one or two of these websites are dominant in a region. For example, Yelp is extremely popular in San Francisco while Angie’s List is very popular in the south.

Discovering which one is most popular in your region is pretty easy. Many of your patients will have told you that they found your practice through these sites. However, you can also do a search on each of these services and see which ones are most active. A Google search for your specialty and city is another way for you to know which services are likely popular in your area.

Many of these sites will let you claim your profile and be able to respond to any reviews. Do it (although, don’t pay for it). Responding to reviews is a powerful way to engage your patients. If they post a bad review, keep calm and show compassion, understanding, and a willingness to help and that bad review will become good. Plus, that negative review could be an opportunity for you to improve your practice. If they post a good review, show gratitude for them trusting you as their doctor.

Once you’ve discovered which website is most valuable in your region, encourage your satisfied patients to go on that site and post a review of your practice. In some cases that might be handing the patient a reminder to rate you as they leave. In other cases, you might send them an email after their visit asking for them to review you on one of these sites. With mobile phones being nearly ubiquitous, a sign in the office can encourage a review as well.

Summary
There are hundreds of social media platforms out there today. However, if you focus on the platforms and techniques I mention above, you’ll be off to a great start. Mastering these techniques will make sure you get the most value out of your social media efforts.



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Has Epic Fostered Any Real Healthcare Innovation? | Hospital EMR and EHR

Has Epic Fostered Any Real Healthcare Innovation? | Hospital EMR and EHR | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

I think we could broaden the question even more and ask if any EHR vendor has really fostered healthcare innovation. I’m sorry to say that I can’t think of any real major innovation from any of the top hospital EHR companies. They all seem very incremental in their process and focused on replicating previous processes in the digital world.

Considering the balance sheets of these companies, that seems to have been a really smart business decision. However, I think it’s missing out on the real opportunity of what technology can do to help healthcare.

I’ve said before that I think that the current EHR crop was possibly the baseline that would be needed to really innovate healthcare. I hope that’s right. Although, I’m scared that these closed EHR systems are going to try and lock in the status quo as opposed to enabling the future healthcare innovation.

Of course, I’ll also round out this conversation with a mention of meaningful use. The past 3-5 years meaningful use has defined the development roadmap for EHR companies. Show me the last press release from an EHR company about some innovation they achieved. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any and that’s because all of the press releases have been about EHR certification and meaningful use. Meaningful use has sucked the innovation opportunity out of EHR software. We’ll see if that changes in a post-meaningful use era.



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Three Tips for Struggling Independent Medical Practices | Physicians Practice

Three Tips for Struggling Independent Medical Practices | Physicians Practice | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
Like many ideas, our consulting company wasn’t founded in a garage, but on a napkin. It was the blueprint of a consultancy that would focus on small practices: house-call practices. At that time, we were all executives with a national house-call group and the thought of leaving to start our own company was both thrilling and daunting.

There was considerable risk involved as private practices, and house-call practices specifically, are a small and highly volatile sector of healthcare. But here we stand, one year later, proving that sometimes the risk is worth the reward.

They say that the first year of any new business is the toughest, and we can second that. But the challenges we faced are not unique to our company. In fact, we believe that many independent practices might benefit from hearing about some of the challenges we faced, and some of the lessons we learned along the way. For our one-year anniversary, we've decided to share three of our biggest lessons. We hope they can benefit your practice in some way:

1. Stay flexible. While we originally set out to only serve the house-call market, we started getting inquiries from urgent-care centers, traditional family practice groups, and health. If we elected to work with them, were we losing our focus on the original mission? If we diversified, would we lose our identity as a unique consultancy? Ultimately, we made the decision to diversify and not only have we kept our unique identity, but our non-house call clients have created opportunities for our house-call clients.

Many practices stick to the traditional way of getting patient referrals such as brochures, events, word of mouth, and being part of a hospital. Those are fine methods but with the growing number of individuals who are getting insured that might not be enough to get ahead. One area to look at is sites that provide online appointment bookings through a third-party site. Many times when patients are looking to be seen by a physician they want an appointment that day or the next day. This is a great way to gain patients with little work of actual marketing. So, remember don't be stuck in your ways. Embrace technology.

2. Admit when something’s not working. This can be a tough subject, especially for small practices. We understand the pride in building something from nothing, but not every idea works out the way we hope it will. It could be something as small as changing your patient management software or as large as terminating a long-term employee who is no longer productive. We’ve been there ourselves, recently re-designing our website based on feedback we received from clients and potential clients. It doesn’t mean you failed, it just means it could be done better. We’ve also learned a lot from our clients on what they need, what their concerns are, and what we can invest in to better help them.

3. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. This isn’t a reminder to watch "The Shining." This is a reminder to take the occasional moment and have some fun. Your staff will appreciate it, and your turnover rates will decrease. We do it ourselves. We’ve organized a movie club, trivia nights, and other activities that allow us to unwind and come in the next day refreshed.
more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

SPOK Secure Texing App

SPOK Secure Texing App | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
Encrypted messages protect sensitive information
Separate inbox on smartphone immediately prioritizes business-related messages
Works using cellular and Wi-Fi networks
Supports iPhone® and Android® devices to accommodate personal preferences
Easy installation via an app download and registration
more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

The Future of Electronic Health Records in the US: Lessons Learned from the UK – Breakaway Thinking | EMR and HIPAA

The Future of Electronic Health Records in the US: Lessons Learned from the UK – Breakaway Thinking | EMR and HIPAA | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
With 2014 coming to a close, there is a natural tendency to reflect on the accomplishments of the year. We gauge our annual successes through comparison with expected outcomes, industry standards, and satisfaction with the work done. To continue momentum and improve outcomes in the coming years we look for fresh ideas. For example, healthcare organizations can compare their efforts with similar types of organizations both locally and abroad. In the United States, looking beyond our existing borders toward the international community can provide valuable insight. Many other nations such as the UK, are further down the path of providing national healthcare and adopting electronic health records. In fact, the National Health Service (NHS) of UK has started plans to allow access of Electronic Health Records (EHR) on Smartphones through approved health apps. Although healthcare industry standards appear to be in constant flux, these valuable international lessons can help local healthcare leaders develop strategies for 2015 and beyond.

By the year 2024, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) aims to improve population health through the interoperable exchange of health information, and the utilization of research and evidence-based medicine. These bold and inspiring goals are outlined in their 10 Year Vision to Achieve Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure, also known as ONC’s interoperability road map. This document provides initial guidance on how the US will lay the foundation for EHR adoption and interoperable Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) systems. ONC has also issued the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020. This strategy aims to improve national interoperability, patient engagement, and expansion of IT into long-term care and mental health. Achieving these audacious goals seems quite challenging but a necessary step in improving population health.

EHR Adoption in UK
The US is not alone in their EHR adoption and interoperability goals. Many nations in our international community are years ahead of the US in terms of EHR implementation and utilization. Just across the Atlantic Ocean, the United Kingdom has already begun addressing opportunities and challenges with EHR adoption and interoperability. In their latest proposal the NHS has outlined their future vision for personalized health care in 2020. This proposal discusses the UK’s strategy for integrating HIT systems into a national system in a meaningful way. This language is quite similar to Meaningful Use and ONC’s interoperability roadmap in the United States. With such HIT parallels much could be learned from the UK as the US progresses toward interoperability.

The UK began their national EHR journey in the 1990s with incentivizing the implementation of EHR systems. Although approximately 96 percent of all general provider practices use EHRs in the UK, only a small percentage of practices have adopted their systems. Clinicians in the UK are slow to share records electronically with patients or with their nation’s central database, the Spine.

Collaborative Approach
In the NHS’s Five Year Forward View they attempt to address these issues and provide guidance on how health organization can achieve EHR adoption with constrained resources. One of the strongest themes in the address is the need for a collaborative approach. The EHRs in the UK were procured centrally as part of their initial national IT strategy. Despite the variety of HIT systems, this top-down approach caused some resentment among the local regions and clinics. So although these HIT systems are implemented, clinicians have been slow to adopt the systems to their full potential. (Sarah P Slight, et al. (2014). A qualitative study to identify the cost categories associated with electronic health record implementation in the UK. JAMIA, 21:e226-e231) To overcome this resistance, the NHS must follow their recommendations and work collaboratively with clinical leadership at the local level to empower technology adoption and ownership. Overcoming resistance to change takes time, especially on such a large national scale.

Standard Education Approach
Before the UK can achieve adoption and interoperability, standardization must occur. Variation in system use and associated quality outcomes can cause further issues. EHR selection was largely controlled by the government, whereas local regions and clinics took varied approaches to implementing and educating their staff. “Letting a thousand flowers bloom” is often the analogy used when referring to the UK’s initial EHR strategy. Each hospital and clinic had the autonomy of deciding on their own training strategy which consisted of one-on-one training, classroom training, mass training, or a combination of training methods. They struggled to back-fill positions to allow clinicians time to learn the new system. This process was also expensive. At one hospital £750 000 (over $1.1 million US) was spent to back-fill clinical staff at one hospital to allow for attendance to training sessions. This expensive and varied approach to training makes it difficult to ensure proficient system use, end-user knowledge and confidence, and consistent data entry. In the US we also must address issues of consistency in our training to increase end-user proficiency levels. Otherwise the data being entered and shared is of little value.

One way to ensure consistent training and education is to develop a role-based education plan that provides only the details that clinicians need to know to perform their workflow. This strategy is more cost-effective and quickly builds end-user knowledge and confidence. In turn, as end-user knowledge and confidence builds, end users are more likely to adopt new technologies. Additionally, as staff and systems change, plans must address how to re-engage and educate clinicians on the latest workflows and templates to ensure standardized data entry. If the goal is to connect and share health information (interoperability), clinicians must follow best-practice workflows in order to capture consistent data. One way to bridge this gap is through standardized role-based education.

Conclusion
Whether in the US or UK, adopting HIT systems require a comprehensive IT strategy that includes engaged leadership, qualitative and quantitative metrics, education and training, and a commitment to sustain the overall effort. Although the structure of health care systems in the US and UK are different, many lessons can be learned and shared about implementing and adopting HIT systems. The US can further research benefits and challenges associated with the Spine, UK’s central database as the country moves toward interoperability. Whereas the UK can learn from education and change management approaches utilized in US healthcare organizations with higher levels of EHR adoption. Regardless of the continent, improving population health by harnessing available technologies is the ultimate goal of health IT. As 2015 and beyond approaches, collaborate with your stakeholders both locally and abroad to obtain fresh ideas and ensure your healthcare organization moves toward EHR adoption.
more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

People Aren't Perfect and EHRs Can't Change That | Physicians Practice

People Aren't Perfect and EHRs Can't Change That | Physicians Practice | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
George W. Bush got one thing right and one thing wrong. He was right when he announced that he was "The Decider." He was wrong when he chose where he would get the information on which to base his decisions. He understood that he could never know everything about everything, therefore it didn't really matter if he knew nothing about anything, as long as he could apply his instincts for deciding to knowledge that was supplied and explained by others.

Keep that in mind while we think about healthcare practitioners. Being human, there are two things about which you can be sure:

1. People can't perform an operation flawlessly, in precisely the same way time after time after time; and

2. People can't keep track of (remember) all of the things that hallucinating managers and regulators think that they should.

It's just the way human brains are constructed. It may not be what anyone wants to hear, but it's a fact and no amount of wishing will alter the facts.

So, the worst thing that an EHR can do is to add to the number of procedures that people must perform flawlessly and the number of things that they must remember to do. Being the worst thing possible, that is, of course, exactly what most of them do do (and why some think that they are do-do).

Computer systems will never make good deciders and people will never make good robots.

For an EHR to be useful, it should focus on documenting events, keeping track of work in progress, and alerting people in useful ways when new information becomes available that might require a decision. Then it should present that new information, in context, so that people can make the best decision possible.

When the available information is skewed, biased, incomplete, or just plain wrong, bad decisions will be the result. When information that could be available is not available, the decisions that get made will be a total crap shoot.
more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Keeping Up With Technology: A Must for Medical Practices | Physicians Practice

Keeping Up With Technology: A Must for Medical Practices | Physicians Practice | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
Still carrying around that BlackBerry you've had for the last five years? Still using Microsoft 2003 on that XP machine of yours? Still think the "cloud" is a fad? You might be doing yourself and your business a disservice if you answered "yes" to one or more of those questions.

Keeping up with the ever-changing world of technology is tough. Change can be hard. It's much easier to keep the status quo and ignore all the technological advances happening around you. The problem is, if you don't adapt and keep up with technology, you'll miss out on all the advancements and benefits it has to offer.

That trusty BlackBerry took too long to embrace touch-screen technology and missed out on creating a robust app store. The result is you can't check into your American Airlines flight on your phone, you can't use Hailo to get a cab, you can't access your Google Drive documents, and you can forget about looking up restaurant reviews on Yelp. Basically, even though switching to an Android or iOS device may be inconvenient in the short-run, the long-term benefits are well worth it. You'll have to learn how to use a new tool but that took has far more uses.

Technology in the workplace can mean the difference between a successful business and a failing business. Capable hardware and efficient software will keep your office running in tip-top condition and will allow your employees to focus on their jobs instead of troubleshooting their computers.

Look into Web-based programs that can be accessed remotely and that have export features that allow you to easily extract the data you need. Productivity suites like Google Documents are free and offer a comparable experience to the costly Microsoft Office standard (Google documents are compatible with MS Word). If you have to use Microsoft Office, don't skip on more than one major update. The difference between Word 2007 and Word 2010 is probably greater than you think.

The anxiety in introducing new technology to your office staff lies in the assumption that each employee has a different adoption threshold; some will "get it" and others will struggle. That's not as big of a hurdle as it's been in the past, as technology has become more uniform. Most people have a smartphone of some design, and many have households with smart TVs, multiple computers, and other universal technologies. Like all things, it may take a day or two for your staff to become comfortable with the new work flow, but your bottom line...and talent pool...will appreciate it.

In summary, don't be afraid to try new technology. If there's a hot new device or productivity program, there's probably a reason for it being so popular. Don't turn your practice into a technological ghost-town. Think about what your competition is doing.

In regards to technology, it’s good to be a leader and it’s also good to be a follower ... just make sure you’re one of them versus neither of them.
more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Millennials want personal health records on the go | Healthcare IT News

Millennials want personal health records on the go | Healthcare IT News | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Could younger patients be the key to achieving Stage 2 meaningful use patient access requirements? A new report finds strong desire for online medical records among the 18- to 34-year-old generation, with 43 percent of millennials saying they want to access their portals via smartphone.

In its fifth annual survey on the usage of electronic health records, Xerox sees more and more Americans expecting and demanding online access to health data. While aging Baby Boomers are showing keen interest in online access, Millennials are also increasingly expecting they can see their medical information where and when they want it.


The poll shows that the younger generation is much more interested in their medical records (to the tune of 57 percent) than any other content contained in online patient portals. They also say they'd like more personalized recommendations to improve their health and tips about additional services from their doctor (44 percent each).

The survey of 2,017 U.S. adults found that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those polled don't use online patient portals at all; still, more than half of that group (57 percent) say they'd be much more interested and proactive in their personal healthcare if they had online access to their medical records.


Many patients are unaware that such tools even exist, according to the report. Among those who don't use patient portals, 35 percent didn't know they were available to them and 31 percent said their physician had never mentioned them. Among Americans who do use PHRs, meanwhile, 59 percent say they have been much more interested and proactive in their personal healthcare since they received access.

"With providers facing regulatory changes, mounting costs, and patients who increasingly seek access to more information, our survey points to an opportunity to address issues by simply opening dialogue with patients about patient portals," said Tamara St. Claire, chief innovation officer of Xerox's commercial healthcare division, in a press statement.


With Stage 2 meaningful use's 5 percent view/download/transmit requirements still vexing many providers, the survey suggests that better educating both Millennials and Baby Boomers about portals could help increase patient engagement, accoding to Xerox.

If Millennials expect easy and mobile access to health records and wellness data, Boomers are more interested in using online access to manage their chronic conditions -- and in even greater numbers than younger, arguably more tech-savvy patients -- the poll shows:

  • Those who don't use PHRs say they'd be more engaged in their care if they received access to medical information online (56 percent of those ages 55 to 64, and 46 percent of those ages 65 or older).
  • Those ages 55 to 64 accounted for the highest percentage (83 percent) of Americans who say they already do or would communicate with healthcare providers via a patient portal.
  • Some 70 percent of Boomers say they do or would schedule appointments; 64 percent access/review medical records/test results; 60 percent ask their physicians questions; 58 percent order prescription refills, and 40 percent request a referral.

Providers able to guide "different generations to take advantage of the information available at their fingertips" could see gains in meaningful use readiness and chronic disease management, said St. Claire in a statement. "Educating patients will empower them to participate more fully in their own care while helping providers demonstrate that electronic health records are being used in a meaningful way."



more...
No comment yet.