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24 Outstanding Statistics on How Social Media has Impacted Health Care

24 Outstanding Statistics on How Social Media has Impacted Health Care | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
Social media is one of the most talked about disruptions to marketing in decades, but how is it impactful for the health care industry? In a generation that is more likely to go online to answer general health questions then ask a doctor, what role does social media play in this process? Let’s dive into some meaningful statistics and figures to clearly illustrate how social media has impacted health care in the last few years. Healthcare

1. More than 40% of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health. (source: Mediabistro) Why this matters: Health care professionals have an obligation to create educational content to be shared across social media that will help accurately inform consumers about health related issues and out shine misleading information. The opinions of others on social media are often trusted but aren’t always accurate sources of insights, especially when it comes to a subject as sensitive as health.

2. 18 to 24 year olds are more than 2x as likely than 45 to 54 year olds to use social media for health-related discussions. (source: Mediabistro) Why this matters: 18 to 24 year olds are early adopters of social media and new forms of communication which makes it important for health care professionals to join in on these conversations where and when they are happening. Don’t move too slow or you risk losing the attention of this generation overtime.

3. 90% of respondents from 18 to 24 years of age said they would trust medical information shared by others on their social media networks. (source: Search Engine Watch) Why this matters: A millennial’s network on social media is a group of people that is well trusted online, which again, presents an opportunity to connect with them as health care professional in a new and authentic way.

4. 31% of health care organizations have specific social media guidelines in writing. (source: Institute for Health) Why this matters: It is crucial to have social media guidelines in place for your health care facility to ensure everyone is on the same page, your staff is aware of limitations to their actions on social media and that a systematic strategy is in place for how social media should be run across your organization.

- See more at: http://getreferralmd.com/2013/09/healthcare-social-media-statistics/#sthash.dwPkLHfo.dpuf
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Technical Doctor's insights and information collated from various sources on EHR selection, EHR implementation, EMR relevance for providers and decision makers
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Use of electronic health record documentation by healthcare workers in an acute care hospital system.

Acute care clinicians spend significant time documenting patient care information in electronic health records (EHRs). The documentation is required for many reasons, the most important being to ensure continuity of care. This study examined what information is used by clinicians, how this information is used for patient care, and the amount of time clinicians perceive they review and document information in the EHR. A survey administered at a large, multisite healthcare system was used to gather this information. Findings show that diagnostic results and physician documents are viewed more often than documentation by nurses and ancillary caregivers. Most clinicians use the information in the EHR to understand the patient's overall condition, make clinical decisions, and communicate with other caregivers. The majority of respondents reported they spend 1 to 2 hours per day reviewing information and 2 to 4 hours documenting in the EHR. Bedside nurses spend 4 hours per day documenting, with much of this time spent completing detailed forms seldom viewed by others. Various flow sheets and forms within the EHR are rarely viewed. Organizations should provide ongoing education and awareness training for hospital clinical staff on available forms and best practices for effective and efficient documentation. New forms and input fields should be added sparingly and in collaboration with informatics staff and clinical team members to determine the most useful information when developing documentation systems.

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Online Review Syndication – a Better Approach

Online Review Syndication – a Better Approach | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

What are syndicated reviews?

These are single reviews that end up on many places.

If you are so inclined, an expedient way to drag down your search ranking is filling your online presence with duplicate content.Google defines duplicate content as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”

Duplicate = Syndicated.

When a vendor promises to “syndicate” your online reviews across the Internet, it’s important to understand what that means.

Usually, it means your reviews are published on their web property plus shared as a data feed to other websites.

Why is syndicated content so toxic to your search engine ranking?

When Google’s search crawlers run into identical content on multiple webpages, the search engine cannot easily decipher which version should be ranked higher for related searches. In that dense fog, Google may pick the wrong page to rank – thus negatively impacting your search results. In a panic, your spend on SEO increases to compensate and usually skews analytics. Lather, rinse, and repeat.

Even worse.

Google can also penalize your website by lowering your website’s rankings or stop indexing your website altogether if it believes syndicated content is being used to manipulate rankings and deceive the public. History shows Google aggressively devalues anything that is not unique, original content.

Original content is lowest risk – and easy to obtain. Here’s how.

What happens when you quit using a syndicated service?

Since the reviews are placed on the vendor’s website instead of yours, you may lose all of them if you cancel your subscription. You may be in it for life. You have to perpetually feed the beast.

With a syndicated service, you do not control the destiny of reviews your patients leave for you. Why would you want to cede this control to a third party?

A better approach – get in the driver’s seat

Google’s mantra is to offer users the best search results. The foundation of that offering is unique information. Those doctors who make it easy for patients to create original, relevant content and follow SEO best practices (demonstrating quality of care) will be rewarded. How? With improved search rankings, more website traffic and increased new patient volume and increased revenue.

When patient feedback is captured using our service, there’s no syndication. Google recognizes that feedback as original content. This content provides SEO value for you and your practice, not someone else’s.

And if you ever leave our service – the reviews stay up.

This approach provides much more lasting value than a “syndication” approach, which may have worked many years ago but is penalized now. Don’t get penalized.

 

 

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Ensuring Physician EHR Use Doesn’t Lead to Physician Burnout

Ensuring Physician EHR Use Doesn’t Lead to Physician Burnout | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

One the head of the American Medical Association (AMA) is targeting is the matter of physician burnout tied to providers having to balance the day-to-day realities of patient care with federal and state mandates regulating aspects of that care such physician EHR use and clinical quality reporting.

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"Doctors will get behind things that support better quality of care and support them in their clinical practice. It's the nonsensical stuff that makes it infuriating and challenging," AMA President Steve Stack, MD, tells EHRIntelligence.com.

 

"When we are going to get adverse consequences to ourselves or hospitals by complying with the current thinking in medical treatment rather than outdated quality reporting and regulation," he continues, "those sorts of things are good examples where regulation is not a good tool at times to try to keep up with the fast pace of medical innovation, and good intentions can lead to undesired adverse consequences."

 

Stack points to recent evidence of physician burnout published last fall in Mayo Clinic Proceedings reporting a significant uptick in physicians reporting at least one sign of burnout over the past several years — from 45 percent in 2011 to 54 percent in 2014 — and what it means to a physician's practice of medicine.

 

"Now when physicians get burned out, they feel overworked, overburdened, overstressed, under-supported — just like anyone in any other profession, except that in this profession people rely on us to make very high-stakes decisions that directly impact their health and if we don't get it right, the consequences are not retrievable unfortunately at times," he maintains.

 

According to Stack, demonstrating meaningful EHR use as part of the EHR Incentive Programs serves as a perfect example of how regulation can contribute to physician burnout.*

NB. The recently issued propose rule for MACRA implementation will end meaningful use for physicians in 2017.

 

"Electronic health records have a great amount of promise," he explains. "Many doctors actually enjoy a lot of facets of their EHRs — the ready access to information, the ability to see historical information, the ability to share information with other doctors, other clinicians, and their patients directly so that patients can be more informed. Those are all good things, but there are many other aspects of the EHR that are frustrating. They are inefficient to use. They don't talk to each other. They cost a lot of money. When they crash or go down, it paralyzes our ability to do our work and care for patients."

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Spending on Electronic Health Records Exceeds Expectations

Spending on Electronic Health Records Exceeds Expectations | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The price tag for electronic health records systems exceeds buyers’ spending expectations by 37 percent, according to a new report released by software research firm Capeterra. The final yearly tab for EHR software averages nearly $118,000, about $32,000 more than anticipated, reported 400 physicians, nurses and administrators surveyed for the report.

 

Actual spending outstripped estimates most often for systems costing between $500 and $10,000. Costs were in line with budgets for the largest segment of respondents, those who bought systems priced at $50,000 or more.

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“Pricing transparency will help clinics and hospitals better budget for software, closing the gap between what buyers expect to spend and what they end up spending,” the study report says.

The survey also revealed other buying patterns. About 86 percent of respondents have been using their EHR software for less than five years, which roughly aligns with the 2010 launch of the federal Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

Slightly more than a third were using a different EHR before purchasing their current system. Of those who switched software, about 52 percent did so because their previous system lacked required features. About 28 percent changed vendors because the previous EHR was no longer supported. The high cost of switching EHRs may be a factor in buyers hanging on to the software until support runs out, the survey report says.

Purchase decisions came quickly for respondents, with 56 percent spending six months or less searching for an EHR — in line with expectations. The largest segment of buyers demoed only two systems before making a purchase, according to the study, compared to only 27 percent who looked at three or more options.

Nearly 40 percent of surveyed buyers considered functionality to be the highest priority when choosing their EHR, followed by ease of use at 24 percent. Only 6 percent rated support as their chief priority, and a scant 5 percent put vendor reputation atop their list of most important factors.

 

Overall, the top five functional EHR capabilities requested by respondents were voice recognition (29 percent), mobile integration (14 percent), medical dictionary (14 percent), telemedicine (11 percent) and marketing (10 percent). However, requested features varied somewhat by respondent role. Physicians were most interested in telemedicine and voice recognition. Nurses favored voice recognition as well, but listed mobile integration as their second most-sought feature. Administrators had high interest in medical dictionaries and marketing functionality.

 

The most-used EHR features reported by respondents are patient portal, appointment booking, patient reminders, specialty-specific charts and physician scheduling.

 

About 70 percent of respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with their EHR purchase, according to the study. Only 7 percent report being dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. Of those not happy with their EHR, nearly 90 percent attribute it to lack of functionality (i.e., no voice recognition, medical dictionary or mobile integration) or poor usability.

 

Surveyed buyers report the biggest positive impact of their EHR in improving patient safety and records security, and reducing time spent finding and updating records. EHR detractors point out their software’s inability to integrate with other systems, making it difficult to share records across cares settings.

 

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- The Technical Doctor Team

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EHR Adoption to Support Healthcare Data Evolution in 2016

EHR Adoption to Support Healthcare Data Evolution in 2016 | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

n just a few years, we’ve seen many notable developments, including a steady move toward value-based care, more widespread EHR adoption and a greater provider focus on patient engagement; not to mention technology advancements — from security to robotics to virtual reality — that are truly beginning to take shape. It’s an exciting time to be in healthcare, and I can see the industry as a whole taking big leaps ahead to improve patient care and outcomes.

 

More specifically, the amount of healthcare data we see today will continue to grow. We are in a world where data is in excess and we have yet to truly harness its true potential. In 2015, we saw steps taken with consumer wearables leaping into popularity and healthcare companies partnering to make the resulting data actionable. We’re in the early stages of using and understanding of all this data, and 2016 will be the year we take it to the next level.

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This will be the year of the Healthcare Data Evolution—and it will impact all providers, from those just starting out with harnessing data, to those who are using data analytics platforms to harness deeper insights. I anticipate the following four trends to take hold in 2016:

Data will become interoperable. Healthcare data is rapidly growing, and has been estimated to be evengreater than 150 Exabytes. Wearables, DNA, environmental factors and other health factors will drive an exponential increase in data. To make it actionable for clinicians, the industry will continue to see interoperability as the key ingredient to foster the seamless flow of data across the enterprise in a secure environment, enabling actionable intelligence to help improve patient care. Data will need to flow fluidly and securely between multiple information sources—ranging from EHRs, tablets and patient monitoring devices — giving providers access information that is pertinent to a given clinical situation, no matter where they are.

Hospitals will invest in new enterprise-wide healthcare IT infrastructure to mine the data in the EMR and other clinical systems. EHR adoption is largely complete. Now the question is how do we mine this data and make it useful for clinicians in ways that enable them to manage the cognitive load. This will require new thinking regarding enterprise HIT architecture, large investments in infrastructure, staff resources and a new way of working for clinicians. In 2016, providers will start to put the pieces in place to build the healthcare IT system of the future – one that can accommodate advances in genomics, smart computing, analytics, operational intelligence and other emerging clinical and technology innovations, while increasing security to protect patient health data and enabling the real-time, interoperable health system.

Data will drive “smart technology” for clinicians. We’re living in an era where every major consumer technology brand has their own “Siri” or “Cortana” to serve as our own virtual assistant, reminding us of appointments, researching weather patterns and answering questions about the ratio of pints to gallons. Clinicians are constantly juggling increasing amounts of information, so technology that can filter out what’s important (and what’s just noise) will allow them to do their jobs more efficiently and confidently. This kind of technology will make a big impact in healthcare in 2016, giving clinicians the data and insights they need, right when they need it.

IoT will expand the use of wearables. The Internet of Things (IoT) is beginning to play a role in the evolution of wearables by making the data wearables create interoperable and actionable. Right now, people are beginning to use consumer wearables to take health and fitness tracking into their own hands. As wearables become more sophisticated (e.g., tracking body temperature, heart rate, oxygen levels, glucose and other key metrics), there will need to be an easier way for health practitioners to receive and harness this enormous and growing amount of patient data. The IoT and cloud are making this kind of data collection possible, but applications need to be built to make sense of that data, and algorithms will need to trigger action and kick off new processes that improve care delivery—like automatically scheduling a visit to test for diabetes, or adjusting a prescription for cholesterol.

The year ahead will be pivotal for healthcare IT, and the growth in data will touch more than just CIOs and IT professionals — it will impact physicians and patients too. It will be key for all stakeholders —from technology innovators to healthcare executives and providers — to mine this data in ways that make it useful to clinicians and patients alike.

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CHIME Announces Support for OpenNotes Movement | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology

CHIME Announces Support for OpenNotes Movement | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) has announced a partnership with the OpenNotes team to bring greater awareness of the note-sharing movement and other patient-facing technologies to CIOs and other health IT leaders.

 

The collaboration, which will help empower patients to become advocates in their care, was announced as part the Obama administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative Summit. OpenNotes is an initiative that urges health systems and clinicians to offer patients easy and secure access to the medical notes that are part of their electronic health record. The goal is to improve communication and engage patients, and often their families, far more actively in their care.

 

The power of OpenNotes first came to light in a 2010 study involving 105 primary care physicians and 20,000 patients at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Geisinger Health System in rural Pennsylvania and Harborview Medical Center, a safety net hospital in Seattle. Patients were invited to read the notes in their health record using a secure patient website. The study found that two-thirds of patients who accessed their physicians’ notes reported feeling more informed about their medical condition. Additionally, more than 85 percent of patients said that having access to notes would influence their future choice of providers.

 

Since the 2010 pilot, a rapidly growing number of health systems have adopted this change in practice, including the entire Department of Veterans Affairs. Now, CHIME will collaborate with the OpenNotes team to bring greater awareness of OpenNotes and other patient-facing technologies to CIOs and other health IT leaders and support the spread of OpenNotes across the U.S. In January, the CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust, along with HeroX, officially launched the $1 million crowdsourcing competition aimed at finding a solution to patient identification.

“We are seeing a tremendous swing toward value-based care and consumerism in healthcare,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell, who is participating Feb. 25 summit at the White House. “Patient engagement is a big part of that movement, but to be true partners in their care, patients must have access not only to their basic health records, but the notes that clinicians make during appointments. This partnership with OpenNotes is a terrific opportunity to promote innovative change in medical practice designed to increase patient engagement.

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Consistent Compliance: A Smart Plan for 2016 

Consistent Compliance: A Smart Plan for 2016  | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The dawn of a new year represents a logical time to look at current business operations and commit to making improvements. One key area that physician practices should focus on is compliance.

 

There are a myriad of rules and regulations of which practices must be aware. For example, with the ICD-10 code set in place, there are new and expanded coding guidelines. Similarly, organizations have to have strong procedures for safeguarding proper medical waste disposal, worker safety, and patient information.

 

Compliance in these areas can fall short, especially in smaller practices that have limited resources, and consequences can be severe, ranging from financial penalties to blemishes on a physician practice’s reputation. Organizations cannot afford this negativity given the competitive and costly nature of healthcare today.

 

Although keeping up with the multitude of regulations may seem daunting, it does not have to be. Even though different government requirements touch on diverse topics, organizations can take a similar approach to meeting all the rules. Not only is this cost effective, it also ensures that nothing slips through the cracks.

 

The following are some key resolutions that practices can make to commit to and execute upon a strategic compliance plan:

 

Appreciate the scope. First and foremost, physician practices must familiarize themselves with the applicable regulatory requirements. Getting a firm grasp on what an agency mandates is vital to understanding the extent of necessary compliance efforts. For example, two critical Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations are the bloodborne pathogens standard and the hazards communications standard. These rules dictate that organizations must have detailed written policies that outline the risks present in the organization and describe how the practice plans to address those risks, including needlesticks, exposure to dangerous chemicals, and so on. On top of these two main standards, OSHA has other requirements that relate to personal protective equipment, hazardous chemicals, workplace violence, ergonomics, and so on. Like many other compliance areas, OSHA offers information about what’s required on its website, however, this can be overwhelming and a little unwieldy to navigate. Practices should look for resources, including consulting firms and online tools, to bring the regulations down to size.

 

Perform a gap analysis. After getting a handle on what’s required, the practice should compare its current performance against the applicable regulations to identify any holes. This may involve performing an in-depth review of existing policies and/or observing operations. In the case of HIPAA, an organization may also want to have conversations with staff about how they maintain patient health information security. Although a physician practice can do some of this on its own, an outside resource, such as a software program or other side-by-side comparison tool, can ensure the assessment process can be more thorough.

 

Provide training. Once a physician practice identifies compliance gaps, it should work to implement strategies to address them. Training is often necessary at this stage because it builds awareness with staff and can alter behavior so that the organization becomes more consistently compliant. For example, targeted staff training can help with coding compliance in that it demonstrates which codes a practice should use when and why. Training can take many forms, but should include real-world examples and opportunities to practice. To make sure staff retain information long term, facilities can employ knowledge retention strategies, such as periodically quizzing staff on certain compliance situations or having them engage in sample exercises.

 

Updating policies. Another applicable resolution for closing compliance gaps is to verify that the practice has all the appropriate policies in place and these documents contain the right level of detail. OSHA, in particular, is keen on whether an organization has comprehensive policies and whether the facility regularly reviews them. Even if a physician practice experiences a compliance breach, the regulatory agency may be more sympathetic if the practice can demonstrate that it has the correct policies and is aiming to consistently follow them.

 

Gain staff feedback. Staff can be a valuable resource in compliance efforts, and organizations should empower individuals to speak up about any perceived hazards or ways to improve compliance efforts. For example, if a staff member feels that waste disposal procedures are sub-par, he should feel comfortable bringing his concerns to practice leadership, and there should be an established method for securely and safely expressing opinions. Periodically surveying staff to get their thoughts and impressions is also a good idea. One thing to keep in mind is that employee concerns should be — at the very least —acknowledged, if not directly addressed. If a staff person shares feedback, but feels that nothing ever comes of it, he or she may be less likely to report concerns in the future.

 

Now, more than ever, is a good time to commit to renewed compliance efforts. By taking a strategic approach, organizations can meet the bevy of requirements while keeping costs in check—something that will ensure a better and safer environment as well as long-term practice viability.

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Report: Healthcare Industry Needs to Accelerate Interoperability Efforts, Aim for December 2018 Deadline | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology

Report: Healthcare Industry Needs to Accelerate Interoperability Efforts, Aim for December 2018 Deadline | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The healthcare industry should aim to achieve health information interoperability sooner than the timeline outlined by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) 10-year roadmap, more specifically, by December 31, 2018, according to the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC).

 

That recommendation is part of a comprehensive report on the healthcare industry titled “Viable Solutions: Six Steps to Transform Healthcare Now” and is the result of HLC’s National Dialogue for Healthcare Innovation (NDHI) initiative. The HLC report stated that in order to meet that deadline, which is three years away, the nation must achieve nationwide exchange of health information through interoperable certified electronic health records (EHRs) technologies.

 

According to the report, NDHI participants identified challenges to achieving full-system interoperability, including conflicting and competing standards, the need for dissemination of emerging best practices in patient identification and matching, the lack of consensus on clinical workflow and payment reform best practices, and the complex provider collaborations involved in new delivery and payment models.

 

“According to NDHI participants, this date of December 31, 2018 is achievable if driven by the private sector and the parameters and barriers noted above are sufficiently addressed,” the report stated.

HLC is a coalition of chief executives from various disciplines in the healthcare industry, including payers, providers, manufacturers and health information technology firms, and its NDHI initiative is a platform through which various health industry sectors collaborate with patients, employers, academicians and government to examine, discuss and build consensus on how to address issues affecting the course of 21st century healthcare progress.

 

In March 2015, under the auspices of NDHI, leaders of more than 70 healthcare organizations, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), convened to identify the barriers impeding progress toward a high-value, innovation-driven healthcare system, according to HLC.

 

“NDHI participants came to the conclusion that healthcare in the U.S. can be significantly improved by focusing on actions that are readily achievable via legislation, regulation, or voluntary actions by various health system players. Positive health system transformation does not require a wholesale remaking of health delivery structures, but rather the enabling and acceleration of patient-centered innovation,” the report stated.onclusion that healthcare in the U.S. can be significantly improved by focusing on actions that are readily achievable via legislation, regulation, or voluntary actions by various health system players. Positive health system transformation does not require a wholesale remaking of health delivery structures, but rather the enabling and acceleration of patient-centered innovation,” the report stated.

 

According to the report, the companies, organizations, and policy experts participating in the NDHI process agreed on six policy recommendations to improve U.S. healthcare:

  • Comprehensive care planning
  • Medication therapy management
  • Health information interoperability
  • Changes to federal anti-kickback and physician self-referral (Stark) laws
  • Health information flow improvements focused on patient privacy laws and regulations
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reforms

In the area of health information interoperability, the NDHI initiative supports the establishment of a December 31, 2018 deadline for health information interoperability, “on or before which the nation must achieve nationwide exchange of health information through interoperable certified EHR technologies.

 

“Consumers should also have easy and secure access to their electronic health information, be able to direct it to any desired location, learn how their information can be shared and used, and be assured that  this information will be effectively and safely used to benefit their health and that of their community,” the report stated as another key goal.

 

Following the summit and to continue work on these six steps, NDHI participants established three workgroups focusing on the following areas: patient engagement and adherence, data strategy and electronic health records (EHRs) interoperability and outdated and/or ineffective laws and regulations.

 

“The workgroups collaborated throughout 2015 to agree upon policy approaches that transcend the theoretical and are viewed as clearly achievable, whether through legislation, regulatory action, or proactive steps initiated by healthcare organizations. What emerged from this process is a blueprint that will be offered to executive and legislative branch policymakers and healthcare leaders,” the report authors wrote.

 

In the area of interoperability, the HLC report notes that “while challenges still remain, the past decade has brought tremendous progress towards the adoption and meaningful use of health IT.” And the report authors state that since the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in 2009, there have been several major efforts by the public and private sectors to move toward an interoperable healthcare system.

 

“All stakeholders agree on the fundamental components of interoperability, but definitions of and timing for national interoperability differ, the report authors stated.

The HLC report notes the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) Interoperability Roadmap released in October outlines a vision for interoperability with a timeline and private/public sector opportunities for achieving the goals of interoperability. However, the ONC Interoperability Roadmap is a 10-year roadmap that lays out a plan to achieve nationwide interoperability by 2024.

 

The HLC report outlines a more ambitious goal with a national objective to achieve widespread exchange of health information through interoperable EHR technology nationwide on or before December 31, 2018, which is in parallel to the recommendation made in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.

“NDHI believes that, by bringing together the ideas and technological expertise from both the public and private sectors, interoperability is an achievable goal that can and should be accelerated through innovation and partnership between government and the private sector,” the report stated.

The HLC report also outlined a number of other recommendations for policymakers in the area of health information interoperability:

  • Policymakers should encourage exchange of material and meaningful health data through the use of technologies and applications that enable bidirectional and real-time exchange of health data currently residing in EHR systems (e.g. open and secure API technology).
  • Policymakers should use appropriate authority to certify only those EHR technology products that do not block or otherwise inhibit health information exchange. ONC should decertify Meaningful Use products that intentionally block the sharing of information, or that create structural, technical or financial impediments or disincentives to the sharing of information.
  • The federal government, in collaboration with the private sector, should build on current and emerging best practices in patient identification and matching to identify solutions to ensure the accuracy of every patient’s identity; and the availability and accessibility of their information, absent lengthy and costly efforts, whenever and wherever care is needed.
  • Any interoperability requirements or incentives should be “technology neutral” and focused on outcomes—active interoperation between and among systems—rather than on adoption or use of specified technologies. It is critical that future policies do not stifle potential innovations in health system connectivity.

The HLC stated that the recommendations in the report are intended to “drive health system transformation and a movement toward value and innovation."

"The consensus viewpoints contained in this report are also consistent with steps currently being taken by the federal government to guide a health system transition from fee-for-service to pay-for-value and toward more integrated, coordinated care. These recommendations should serve as a catalyst for further debate and decisive action," the report stated.

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The Pros and Cons of Switching EHRs 

The Pros and Cons of Switching EHRs  | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

If you're not happy with your EHR system, making a change is not easier said than done. Take some time to weigh the pros and cons before a making this big decision.

 

"The advantage of keeping a sub-par EHR is that you don't have to go through the arduous process of changing EHRs," says Wanda is also president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. "However, one of the biggest disadvantages of keeping an EHR you don't like is that it tells the staff that they're not worth the investment in a better solution. Don't avoid making a switch because of the effort involved or the money you've already spent."

 

The advantage of making a change is that you'll hopefully pick a system that's more compatible with your needs. "Because you have the experience of what doesn't work in your current system, you can look for one that works better for your needs,” says John Meigs, Jr., a family physician at Bibb Medical Associates in Centreville, Ala., who is president-elect of the AAFP.

 

Filer's organization ultimately decided to change EHRs because, "the software was an unmitigated disaster. It was an incredibly expensive and time-intensive project to undertake, but I'm absolutely glad we switched EHRs."

 

Meigs, who has supported the use of EHRs for more than 20 years, hasn't liked any of the EHRs he's used. "Our current system takes too many clicks to do basic things, and the data isn't displayed in a way that is useful for patient care," he says. "The advantage to sticking with the devil you know is just that — you know what issues, challenges, and hassles you have to face."

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Professor: For EHRs to pay off, behavior change must come with the rollout

Professor: For EHRs to pay off, behavior change must come with the rollout | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

AS VEGAS – Some hospitals see their electronic health record go-live as an endpoint. But one expert speaking at HIMSS16 Tuesday said the smart providers realize that’s only the beginning.

 

According to Elizabeth Regan, department chair and professor of integrated information technology at University of South Carolina, it's what comes after the EHR implementation, what's done with the patient data collected, that will decide how much value an organization will realize from that investment.

Regan offered the advice Tuesday at her session, "EHR Optimization: Why Is Meaningful Use So Difficult?"

 

People, processes and a host of other factors can affect these projects' outcomes, she said, which is why providers are seeing such a disparity of results even when the technology is the same. It’s also why many hospitals abandon projects such as computerized provider order entry rollouts, even after investing thousands of hours and millions of dollars.

 

"Realizing value requires more than technology," said Regan. "If we want different results, we have to do things differently."

Innovation is a journey, not a destination, she said. "The path from technology to value is not a straight line. In many ways, it's much more like putting puzzle pieces together."

 

Too often, healthcare providers are focusing on wrong things when it comes to EHR deployments, said Regan – offering a list of these misconceptions and a plan for each.

Value doesn't come from capturing data, she said. It comes from using it, and allowing it inform changes in the way care is delivered.

 

By the same token, "value doesn't come from customizing technology to fit the way we always do things," said Regan. "It comes from using it to improve way we do things."

Also, changes in thinking do not lead to changes in behavior, she said. In fact, it's the other way around: True behavior change can eventually upend old misconceptions.

 

That's why the purpose of meaningful use "is not to pay for technology," said Regan. "It is to incentivize behavior change."

But that change doesn't come easily, she said. "Buy-in does not lead to engagement. It's the other way around," she said.

Meanwhile, "cost cutting does not lead to streamlined processes" – in fact, it usually leads to taking shortcuts, said Regan. Instead, streamlining processes can lead to lower costs.

 

"Individual innovation projects don't necessarily lead to improved outcomes or lower costs," she said. True value comes from changing the entire system, not isolated pieces.

 

Adding technology to existing processes often only makes for expensive old processes, said Regan. "Using technology to integrate workflows and improve continuity of care reduces cost and improves outcomes.

 

Finally, it's a myth that people naturally resist change; change is a natural process that most folks are fine with. Instead, she said, "People resist having changes – especially those they don't understand – forced on them."

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At CIO Forum, execs look ahead to a patient-centered future for health IT

At CIO Forum, execs look ahead to a patient-centered future for health IT | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

LAS VEGAS – If 2015 had its share of challenges for CIOs and their hospitals, 2016 "is off to an amazing start," said CHIME Board Chair Marc Probst, chief information officer of Salt Lake City's Intermountain Healthcare, at the CIO Forum presented by CHIME and HIMSS on Monday.

 

Specifically, he said he looked forward to moving beyond the "check-the-box" mentality that's been necessitated by meaningful use these past few years – and toward a near future where CIOs are able to take a "much more active and strategic role" in helping their organizations meet the Triple Aim.

 

[Also: Intermountain innovation chief says healthcare must have a ‘passion for people’]

Probst pointed to some new initiatives from CHIME that are already showing huge promise – notably, the $1 million National Patient ID Challenge it launched in January. Already, 171 innovators from around the world have formally signed on help solve the "vexing problem" of inaccurate patient matching.

"Done right, a national patient ID will save lives," he said. "This is a momentous occasion of CHIME."

Another new initiative is CHIME's partnership with OpenNotes – announced just this past week – to spur patient access and increase information sharing between physicians and those in their care. CHIME will help OpenNotes with its ambitious goal of expanding the program to 50 million patients in three years – opening a huge opportunity for people "to have much better clinical information" to help inform their care decisions, said Probst.

After all: The future of healthcare is personal.

That was the title of the CIO Forum's opening keynote address, delivered by Thomas Goetz, Iodine CEO and former executive editor of WIRED.

Goetz's talk offered an illuminating look at the challenges and opportunities posed to healthcare data – and the information technology needed to analyze and share it – as patients become more empowered.

Patients only interact directly with the healthcare system about 10 hours a year, he pointed out. But increasingly, providers are understanding that patients' experiences in the real world – the other 8,750 hours of the year – are critically important.

"We assume people are always acting as patients – behaving passively," said Goetz. "If medicine is based on the assumption that people are doing what they're told, everything works."

The reality is a bit more complicated than that, of course. Healthcare "is not a science; it's a process where there's a lot of human behavior, a lot of failure," he said.

"Medicine is a human experience and that matters," said Goetz. And it's the job of those who work with health information technology to "measure the mess" – calibrate it, help make sense of it and integrate it with existing IT systems.

The good news is that the dawn of patient-generated data holds huge promise for informing better decisions and "can be incredibly powerful for costs," he said. 

Yes, there are big challenges for integrating patient-reported measures – taking data from sensors and apps and working to validate, integrate and measure its benefits. But there has lately been a "profusion of tools and services" to help improve the technology infrastructure needed to do so, and CIOs hold the skills to optimizing them, he said.

If data scientists might be described as "janitors," cleaning up patient information so it can be put to use, "you guys are plumbers," said Goetz – laying out and connecting the tools to make that data work.

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Cloud, mobile among top EHR trends to watch in 2016, consultant says

Cloud, mobile among top EHR trends to watch in 2016, consultant says | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

With the market for electronic health records predicted to be worth about $35.2 billion by 2019, the steady rise of data has increased the need to strengthen the software to make data more accessible, reduce errors and increase the ease of use.

"You have two driving forces – demand and technological capabilities," Cathy Reisenwitz, a researcher with software firm Capterra, told Healthcare IT News.

For many years, EHRs have been "aimed at satisfying regulators, not just what clinicians want or need," she said. That's changing, though, as developers work more to make health records more appealing to end users on both sides of the doctor/patient relationship. Better mobile interfaces, for instance, are "clearly desired by patients and physicians."

Reisenwitz laid out four EHR and other health IT trends the industry can expect to see in 2016.

1. EHRs are moving toward the cloud. Start-up costs for EHRs can prove burdensome for some institutions, while cloud-based tools offer minimal start-up costs and can make better use of providers' current resources. The cloud also enables better continuity of care and easier software updates. In the coming year, more and more EHRs will offer cloud services.

2. EHRs will improve the patient portal experience. Though patient portal usage got off to a slow start, it's been steadily gaining momentum. More providers will both offer and promote patient portals. Some may even have patients use the portals during office visits to begin getting their data into the system. And patients will start to see their value.

3. Telemedicine will finally find its stride. The telemedicine market is forecasted to exceed $30 billion in the next five years, as providers increasingly see the need to reach seniors and patients in rural areas. The mass adoption of wearables will promote telemedicine, as well, especially when patients are willing to share device data with providers.

4. EHRs are going mobile. More and more providers want to provide medical care from their smartphones, and more patients want to access data through mobile devices. To accommodate this need, EHRs will will offer better mobile design and functionality. Scheduling and patient chart updates will align with prescribing functions on mobile devices, as well.

Providers will need to overcome some hurdles for these trends to take hold, Reisenwitz said, noting that, at the moment, "there's a huge space where the data isn't able to be fully utilized, as it's unstructured or poorly structured; therefore not easily accessed nor interoperable."

The other big EHR challenge is cybersecurity, she added, stoking fears that are preventing even wider acceptance of mobile and cloud platforms.

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Preventing EHR lava pits: what healthcare can learn from the gaming industry

Preventing EHR lava pits: what healthcare can learn from the gaming industry | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Healthcare can learn a lot from the finance and retail sectors, but there is another industry that hasn't been mentioned where healthcare, particularly electronic health record systems, can take some notes: the gaming industry.

 

A large part of the reason the gaming industry has captivated an entire generation, including my son, is their extensive user testing. Several years ago, my son was interested in buying the game Halo 3. Since the game is assigned an 'M' for mature rating, I had to do my own research to see if it was appropriate for him.

 

While I was a gamer in my college years, eight years of intense medical training and beginning my career had put me a little out of touch with the gaming landscape. The days of Atari and Nintendo were pretty simple. I soon realized that today's gameplay had transformed from a D-pad and two buttons and pixelated graphics to complex controllers and cinematic storylines, and popular titles boast intuitive, addictive qualities.

 

One of the articles I read, in WIRED magazine, centered on Microsoft's user testing of Halo 3, which is unlike anything I've ever seen in the healthcare world. Microsoft hired a doctor of experimental psychology to lead its Halo 3 user testing in its labs, which are outfitted with a one-way mirror, video cameras, and wired controllers, so that every moment – action and reaction – is digitally recorded.

Microsoft analyzed more than 3,000 hours of play by over 600 gamers. Through weekly tests and user heat maps, they found snags that stopped users in their tracks, like a "mutant alien that was far too powerful" or "a lava pit that too many players fell into." They also paused users frequently with pop-up one-question surveys to see how engaged, interested, or frustrated they were at that moment.

 

WIRED described this usability testing as "an awfully clinical approach," which is when it hit me: I was struggling with clunky EHR software in my local hospital to save real, human lives during the day, yet I could effortlessly interact with complex gameplay options to take alien lives during the evening? Why aren't EHR vendors and hospitals alike doing more to prevent physicians from falling into EHR lava pits? How can EHR vendors know when a doctor feels frustrated every time she hits a particular screen?

Perhaps even more importantly, how are individual hospitals and clinics measuring how well their users are adopting the local tweaks and enhancements made to the EHR vendor's initial configurations? In my 15 years of working with EHRs, I have yet to see any hospital or health system settle on the EHR vendor's out of the box configurations. So, even if an EHR vendor does engage in usability studies, there are still significant changes that occur at the local level that will affect "gameplay."

 

And the reality is that most EHR vendors aren't even participating in thorough user testing at the vendor level. According to a  2015 JAMA study, EHR vendors are falling short even on the user testing required by federal design rules. The researchers examined usability test results from the 50 most commonly used EHRs.

 

An incredible 18 percent did not have a public report of usability testing on file with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Of the 41 vendors who did file, about one-third did not state the type of user-centered design process. Most alarmingly, a mind-blowing 63 percent engaged fewer than 15 participants in end-user testing. Further, 17 percent didn't have any physician participants in the usability tests of their computerized physician order entry systems.

 

ONC has stated that user-centered design processes and testing must be applied to a dozen primary EHR capabilities, but even if vendors comply, this is often done at the very end of the development cycle. EHR vendors need to do more to involve clinicians in the beginning phases of developing new features, so they are truly designed with their workflows in mind. It has taken years, but a few are starting to immerse staff in customer facilities and follow and track clinicians as they use their EHR system.

One well-known EHR vendor now has a staff of about 400 focused on product usability and are taking advantage of clinician feedback during breakout sessions at large industry conferences. They're also beginning to test eye-tracking software and other user-testing technology.

 

On the provider side, hospitals and health systems also need to make sure implementation and training times on new systems aren't rushed, so clinicians have the time they need to adapt to imperfect technology. One physician and workflow designer once told me that "I can't learn everything in one sitting, but the EHR's design should be 'figure-outtable.'"

 

Until the EHR design is a little more intuitive, providers need to build in those many "sittings" for training and be prepared to deal with clinician frustration and polarization. As one of my favorite reference books, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity, notes:

 

"High cognitive friction polarizes people into two groups. It either makes them feel frustrated and stupid for failing, or giddy with power at overcoming the extreme difficulty. These powerful emotions force people into being either an 'apologist' or a 'survivor.' They either adopt cognitive friction as a lifestyle, or they go underground and accept it as a necessary evil. The polarization is growing acute."

 

Providers cannot place the sole blame on the EHR vendor for poor usability; they must do their part to encourage adoption and avoid polarization.  A lack of thorough user-testing for EHR systems not only frustrates physicians and nurses on a daily basis, but it also is detrimental to patient safety and in delivering the quality care our patients deserve.

 

Microsoft's user testing was able to reveal flaws and bottlenecks that could be fixed in time for Halo 3's release. We can't put the genie back in the bottle, but we can start making positive steps, on both the EHR vendor and provider sides, to make future versions more user-friendly and take EHR systems to the next level. If user testing is taken that seriously for play, healthcare should engage in diligent user testing for systems that help save lives.

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A Successful Approach to EHR Data Conversion - Healthcare Technology Consulting, EHR Implementation & Vendor Selection

A Successful Approach to EHR Data Conversion  - Healthcare Technology Consulting, EHR Implementation & Vendor Selection | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

As the field of healthcare IT continues to grow, there is an increasing demand for healthcare organizations to implement electronic health records (EHR). In order to ensure a successful transition into a new EHR, organizations must include the process of data conversion into their implementation plan. EHR data conversion, so

 

metimes referred to as data migration, is the process of taking data from an old health record system and transferring it into a new system. This process may occur between paper-ba

sed health records and an EHR as well as between an old EHR and a new EHR. At Afia, we have worked with multiple companies to assist with numerous data conversions. Though all conversion processes are not created equal, we have developed a three-step approach to help make the complexities easier to manage.

First Step: Establish the Scope of Data

This step is crucial and must occur at the forefront of the data conversion process. Initially, organizations must select what specific data they want converted. Organizations may decide to covert as little information as possible or they may want the scope to be more overarching and exhaustive. If there is data deemed useless in the legacy system, it is important to take note of this since some organizations may decide to not transfer such data over to the new system. It is also important to determine what level of data cleanliness the organization is comfortable with. Deciding on the level of cleanliness for data saves organizations time from fixing parts of data that don’t necessarily have to be fixed and can dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes for a successful conversion. Additionally, some parts of converting the data will have to be done manually. It’s important to outline in detail what the automated pieces of the conversion process cannot handle. Inevitably, there will be a handful of things that need to be hand entered for one reason or another. The manual conversion pieces can often get lost during the rush to get the other data converted, but without careful planning you can easily find yourself without critical information in the new system. Defining the scope at the beginning of this process prevents organizations from having to redo work and saves organizations precious time and money. It can be a painful process to get everything organized properly, but it can easily derail your entire system launch without proper planning.

Second Step: Map Out the Conversion

This requires organizations to determine where data from the legacy system will be inserted in the new system to ensure that data is properly transferred between the two systems. This part of the process focuses on making sure that the new system houses data in a way that is easy to find and interpret by healthcare personnel. Often, this requires database professionals to manipulate tables to ensure that data is transferred in the correct manner.

Third Step: Extract the Data

The last step of our approach is to extract the data from the legacy system and place it into the new system. At this point, the computer will inform organizations when data is incorrect which will require database professionals to manipulate tables to accommodate such findings or to manually change the data to ensure it is placed in the new system correctly. This is where the level of cleanliness is relevant. The level of cleanliness that the organization decides upon will influence how many extractions are required. Typically, multiple extractions are needed to ensure data is clean enough for an organization’s liking. The number of extractions will also determine the time, money, and number of people dedicated to data conversion project.

HIPAA Requirements

Lastly, it is important to keep in mind that all HIPAA requirements apply whenever discussing protected health information (PHI). Since PHI is the main source of discussion during a data conversion, it is of utmost importance that all individuals participating in the data conversion are aware of how to avoid HIPAA breaches. The most important aspect of abiding by HIPAA requirements is to ensure that the data conversion is occurring in a secure place where vendors and organizations can sort through errors and communicate about specific client information. Through experience and creative thinking, Afia has created a reliable approach to data conversion that helps to navigate through an unpredictable process. We offer data conversion services for all parts of the process and can oversee organizations through the entire process. Afia also offers our Cloud Services where organizations have the option to host their PHI with us in our secure server space to avoid HIPAA breaches.

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How social media changed this oncologist's life

How social media changed this oncologist's life | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

I have been drawn to social media (SM) both personally and professionally for many years now, but I still feel like an outlier in using it professionally. There have been ASCO education sessions on this topic, educational book articles, publications, and the like, but many of these take the approach that people don’t really understand SM and what it offers.

 

 

I fear that there is a different issue, that perhaps many health care professionals do think that they understand SM and that they have consciously decided not to use it professionally. Maybe they signed up for Twitter with their children’s help and found their feeds rapidly filled with tweets about Kim Kardashian, or they got Facebook friend requests from patients and quailed at the potential conflict of interest. Perhaps they mentioned it to colleagues or their chairperson and discovered that SM was dismissed or perhaps actively discouraged as something that had little benefit to a professional career. Instead of another lecture on how to sign up for SM, I thought I would share my experience, along with specific examples of how SM has directly led to professional benefits.

 

 

There is nothing inherently good or bad about SM. To put it simply, social media is media that is social; e.g., you can use it to interact with other people. Normal media is one direction only, to be received by you. You can yell at your television during the presidential debates, but Hillary, Bernie, Ted, and Donald can’t hear you. Social media allows you to interact with whoever is providing the information. If you disagree, please let me know in the comments below.

 

 

I first saw the potential of SM about 8 years ago, when I met Dr. Jack West, who was looking for oncologists to help provide content for his patient education website. I found that I could write blogs on lung cancer trials and get immediate feedback from patients and other doctors on my thoughts. More importantly, I could interact on the discussion boards with patients with lung cancer from all over the globe who wanted to understand their disease better, and I could help them make sense of a world turned upside down.

 

I was amazed at both the profound reach and the immediacy of it, and I was able to build somewhat of a professional reputation in lung cancer very early in my career by talking about issues in real time without being constrained by publication paywalls and schedules. I distinctly remember one reception at the ASCO Annual Meeting, where a senior investigator I barely knew walked up to me out of the blue and told me that she liked my take on her research, leading to a (small) role for me in a grant application she was submitting.

 

I have always been a news junkie, but joining Twitter in 2010 opened up a whole new dimension. At first I simply “followed” the few early-adopting oncology experts but didn’t think much of it. Over time, however, I realized that just about everything I was interested in was out there to be discovered in almost real time. I followed the beat reporters for my favorite sports teams and reporters from the New York Times and Washington Post, and was able to get (free) news around the clock while other people were waiting for the morning paper to learn anything new.

 

 

first saw the potential of SM about 8 years ago, when I met Dr. Jack West, who was looking for oncologists to help provide content for his patient education website. I found that I could write blogs on lung cancer trials and get immediate feedback from patients and other doctors on my thoughts. More importantly, I could interact on the discussion boards with patients with lung cancer from all over the globe who wanted to understand their disease better, and I could help them make sense of a world turned upside down.

 

I was amazed at both the profound reach and the immediacy of it, and I was able to build somewhat of a professional reputation in lung cancer very early in my career by talking about issues in real time without being constrained by publication paywalls and schedules. I distinctly remember one reception at the ASCO Annual Meeting, where a senior investigator I barely knew walked up to me out of the blue and told me that she liked my take on her research, leading to a (small) role for me in a grant application she was submitting.

 

I have always been a news junkie, but joining Twitter in 2010 opened up a whole new dimension. At first I simply “followed” the few early-adopting oncology experts but didn’t think much of it. Over time, however, I realized that just about everything I was interested in was out there to be discovered in almost real time. I followed the beat reporters for my favorite sports teams and reporters from the New York Times and Washington Post, and was able to get (free) news around the clock while other people were waiting for the morning paper to learn anything new.

 

In the past year, my latest SM endeavor has been blogging on ASCO Connection. A blog post is just an essay on a topic you feel strongly about, and ASCO Connection is nice enough to put the words up for colleagues to read. It is a wonderful feeling to have something to say and to be able to write it down and put it out there for others to see and comment on, and — given the size of ASCO’s membership — this platform reaches quite a few people.

 

So why get involved in SM as an oncology professional? Aside from the benefits of gathering information, it gets your name out there, especially early in your career. Many senior oncologists don’t think they need to be on SM, leaving a huge void that still is very open for junior people to fill. While professionals might not be on SM, patients, organizations, and traditional media are. When you are one of only a dozen experts in your field active on Twitter, you have a disproportionate influence. My involvement in GRACE led to numerous opportunities and connections, including an invitation to join ASCO’s Integrated Media and Technology Committee and opportunities to work with ASCO University online. In one interesting twist, a blog post I wrote on the stigma of tobacco and lung cancer led to an invitation to participate in a Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill.

These are just a few examples from my own experience that I hope allow you to see some of the potential of SM to benefit your life and career. The full potential of oncology social media can’t be realized until a critical mass of professionals is actively participating, but many continue to resist. I strongly encourage you, especially junior professionals, to set up a Twitter account and start to follow some people you know. If you gave up on it in the past, try again, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel you aren’t getting what you want out of it. Try it, and I think you’ll see the potential just as I did.

 

 

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How EHR Optimization Can Help Reduce Physician Burnout

How EHR Optimization Can Help Reduce Physician Burnout | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

As Northington explains, enabling the hospital's Cerner EHR technology to serve physician workflows begins with an evaluation of current provider EHR use and leads ultimately to the dissemination of EHR best practices borne out of pilot projects and the insight gained from them.

While modern-day EHR technology still has many improvements to incorporate to mature as a useful physician tool, its usefulness in the here and now depends on unifying disparate sources of patient health data into a navigable format that decreases the time required for providers to find the most relevant information on a patient during face-to-face encounters.

 

EHRIntelligence.com When did physician burnout become a major concern for Memorial Hospital of Gulfport?

David Northington: I don't Memorial is unique to that — it's an industry standard. What really started to alarm me is that at least 20 percent of our physicians are now spending "pajama time" at home (or in the care or in whatever spare time they have) finishing their work. I consider this completely unacceptable.

The physician population with the Affordable Care Act, HITECH Act, and all that has gone through massive change. Our workload and taking care of patients is still there and growing, but our time for seeing our kids and our spouse has been lessening and lessening. So I have deemed 2016 the year of efficiency and the goal of that term is that our physicians will not only be able to get through their clinic on time but finish all of their work and be able to go on home on time. The fear is that it's not that physicians who hate the Millennium product — it's going to be their children, spouse, the baseball games that they miss, and everything else that they can't do because they can't get their work done. This leads to physician burnout. This leads in to revolt and everything else that is going on. We have to respect and give back the time to physicians, and it's all about efficiencies and helping them do that.

 

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How Business Decisions Challenge EHR Integration Efforts?

How Business Decisions Challenge EHR Integration Efforts? | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Over the past year, federal officials have grown increasingly interested the ability for healthcare organizations and providers to share information through the use of interoperable EHR technology, which has raised the need for EHR integration.

 

But despite all the focus on technology and functionality, misconceptions remain and continue to prove detrimental to advancing interoperability and health information exchange.

 

"One misconception surrounding EHR integration efforts is that the larger issues are technical in nature, when in fact they’re actually related to information architecture and workflows," Arcadia Healthcare Solutions CTO Jon Cook tells EHRIntelligence.com.

 

"For a long time in the technical field, we’ve known how to exchange data," he continues. "The challenge lies in whether or not the EHR vendor will permit the exchange of data, and if so, if the data is in a format that the receiver is able to understand and use. There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding transfer protocol, semantics and structure in the last handful of years, and these still remain a major issue."

Much is due to federal programs such as meaningful use for help mitigating the technical challenges associated with information sharing.

"Whether you love it or you hate it, meaningful use has shined a spotlight on integration issues. As health IT standards progress, we’ve seen vendors becoming much more willing to participate in the open exchange of data," Cook adds.

A byproduct of this maturation in health IT standards and EHR design is the growing demand among providers for more convenient approaches to health data exchange.

"Providers are now pounding their fists and rightfully expecting data exchange, and things are better than it ever has been in terms of integration. Despite this, there’s still a ways to go," says Cook.

In its most recent report to Congress, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) provided details about the barriers in the way of integrating health IT infrastructure across the country. One is a lack of information about the capabilities of health IT products, particularly functionalities related to information sharing.

In particular, providers cannot effectively compare solutions and select those that meet their needs when they lack access to basic information about the costs, limitations, and trade-offs of competing health IT products and services. This includes capabilities that will enable them to participate in new care delivery and payment models that leverage health information exchange and analytics. In addition, providers are more likely to become “locked in” to technologies, which diminishes incentives and opportunities for health IT developers to improve their technologies and compete to deliver more innovative, more advanced, and less expensive products and services that meet the needs of providers, patients, and the health care system.

Such is the reality that Cook and other EHR integrators encounter in their effort to support providers and the fluidity of their EHR data.

"While EHR vendors may say they have the ability to exchange data, we often find that all the data is not where vendors think it is. They’re unable to exchange data they don’t know is missing, therefore we’re seeing significant gaps in the data," he claims.

Only so much blame can be laid at the feet of EHR vendors and the health IT development community more widely. In their design to support clinical workflows, healthcare organizations and providers often make the decision to customize their EHR technology, which can have consequences for EHR integration efforts.

"Everyone wants to customize their system, but eventually they’ll need to integrate that system with something else," Cook explains. "With more customization, it becomes harder to integrate down the road. Providers are now more aware than they’ve ever been of the potential issues that come with customization, but it’s important end users keep this in mind as they build out their workflows."

So is it the case that technology is taking the blame instead of business decisions? The national dialogue appears to be trending toward the latter.

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CMS Extends MU Hardship Exemption Application Deadline | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology

CMS Extends MU Hardship Exemption Application Deadline | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the deadline to July 1 for eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals (EHs), and critical access hospitals (CAHs) to apply for a Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program Hardship Exemption.

The deadline originally was March 15 for EPs, and April 1 for EHs and critical CAHs. CMS said it seeks to give providers sufficient time to submit applications so that providers can avoid adjustments to their Medicare payments in 2017.

In late December, President Obama signed a new hardship exemption bill into law, designed to make it easier for healthcare providers to receive hardship exemption from financial penalties for failing to meet Stage 2 meaningful use EHR requirements. The legislation enables CMS to grant hardships not just on a case-by-case basis, but also to 'categories' after which time CMS would still have the case-by-case authority to grant hardship exemptions. Prior to this law, CMS was required to review all applications on a “case-by-case” basis.

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EHR Association Updates its Developer Code of Conduct | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology

EHR Association Updates its Developer Code of Conduct | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA), a Chicago-based trade organization comprised of EHR vendors, and partner of HIMSS, has released an updated version of its EHR Developer Code of Conduct.

 

The Code, a transparent set of industry principles that reflect a commitment to safe healthcare delivery, continued innovation, and high integrity, was developed by the EHRA and first introduced in June 2013, the Association’s officials said. The Code applies to EHR developers, which might be stand-alone companies or divisions or business units of companies with other non-EHR lines of business. This revision is the result of a collaborative effort of EHR Association members, many of whom have adopted the Code, along with several stakeholder groups that provided feedback during the update process. The Code is being made available to the entire health IT industry.

 

Major changes in Version 2 of the Code include a new section on usability that reflects the critical importance of this topic, elaborates on the role of user-centered design (UCD) and usability best practices, and provides examples of how adopters of the Code might involve their clients in those activities.

 

What’s more, the section on interoperability and data sharing was also updated to add greater clarity on provisions regarding transparency to companies’ clients on pricing models, including components related to achieving interoperability.  The Association also reiterated its strong commitment to standards-based, cost efficient information exchange where it is valuable to the healthcare provider and/or the patient, and highlighted its opposition to data blocking. 

 

The EHR Association consulted with key stakeholder groups during the work to update the Code. Russell P. Branzell, president and CEO, College for Health Information Management Executives (CHIME) expressed CHIME’s support for the new version of the Code. “CHIME applauds the Electronic Health Record Association for updating its EHR Developer Code of Conduct. The revisions reflect the rapid changes we are seeing across the industry since the Code was first released in 2013.  The amended Code reflects the growing demand for increased transparency, security, and usability of health IT systems.  We are also encouraged that the revisions recognize the urgent need to adopt standards and achieve true interoperability.  We must work collaboratively across the industry to realize the potential for health information technology to transform healthcare,” Branzell said in a statement.

Leigh Burchell, association chair and vice president for health policy and government affairs at Allscripts, added, “We are very encouraged that the Code has gained wide recognition among EHR developers, as well as the broader industry, including provider organizations and policymakers. Their feedback was important as we looked at how the health IT industry has evolved since the Code was released in 2013 and what changes should be considered.”

 

The Code of Conduct also covers general business practices, patient safety, and clinical and billing documentation. The Association will continue to encourage adoption of the EHR Developer Code of Conduct by all companies that develop EHR technology, regardless of whether they are members of the EHR Association, its officials said.

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eClinicalWorks Moves into Acute Care Market | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology

eClinicalWorks Moves into Acute Care Market | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Electronic health record software vendor eClinicalWorks has moved into the acute care EHR market with the announcement this week of its eClinicalWorks 10i, a cloud-based EHR platform that creates a unified record across in-patient, out-patient and allied health settings.

 

The acute care platform will be available in 2017 and the initial release will focus on enterprise operations functionality, including inventory management, support for emergency and operating rooms, analytics, computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and bed management, according to a press release from the company.

Expanding on its experience in the acute care space in international markets where it has deployed technology in about 80 hospitals, the Westborough, Mass.-based health IT vendor is working with strategic partners, such as South Carolina’s Tidelands Health, to bring the product to market. Tidelands Health is a three-hospital health system with more than 300 beds and over 40 outpatient locations.

 

The vendor’s move into the acute care market has been somewhat anticipated by many in the industry. As previously reported by Healthcare Informatics’ Contributing Editor David Raths, Girish Navani, CEO and co-founder of eClinicalWorks, expressed interest in expanding into the acute market in a profile on the company last year. Speaking with Raths, Navani said, “I am not satisfied and am not going to stop with being an ambulatory vendor long-term.”

 

And, Raths also spoke with Erik Bermudez, a KLAS research director, who said he was not surprised to hear that the company was considering the acute care market. “They are as advanced as anyone, if not the leader, when it comes to technology. I don’t doubt that soon we are going to hear about them entering the in-patient space.”

 

According to Judy Hanover, research director of provider IT transformation for IDC Health Insights, acute care processes, including EHR functionality, are prime targets for re-engineering for most hospitals, but such efforts are limited by the flexibility of existing EHR products installed at most U.S. hospitals. “A cloud-based acute care EHR would allow organizations to concentrate on workflows and efficiency in clinical delivery, while supporting process re-engineering with digital workflows. This industry is ripe for a new approach,” she said in a statement.

 

“The changing landscape makes it even more imperative to have solutions that give a complete, unified view of a patient that is accessible anytime, anywhere. By taking a cloud-centric approach, organizations will achieve higher ROI and lower total cost of ownership than with traditional systems. We are excited to enter the U.S. acute care market and to work with premier organizations, including Tidelands Health,” Navani said in a statement.

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Deciding to Ditch or Detain Your EHR

Deciding to Ditch or Detain Your EHR | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
Is it time to go a new route with your EHR system? Before you decide yes or no, weigh the positives and negatives.
 

Only 34 percent of physicians are satisfied or very satisfied with their EHR systems, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Medical Association and AmericanEHR Partners. Another survey published in the American Academy of Family Physicians' journal, Family Practice Management reported that only 39 percent of respondents who changed EHRs were pleased with their new system.

 

The results of these surveys outline how the decision to change EHR systems or not is a difficult one. After all, it's a significant financial investment and staff have spent a lot of time learning how to implement and use their system. If you change, your practice will have to foot these costs all over again. In addition, you face the potential loss of data and problems with data migration. 

 

HANG IN THERE

 

"A well-designed EHR should be physician centric, specialty specific, and serve as a tool for the physician to document a patient's visit," says John Pitsikoulis, managing director of Berkeley Research Group, LLC, a firm located in Hunt Valley, Md. "The EHR must also meet the practice's business needs, including the revenue cycle. When an EHR doesn't align with a practice's specific day-to-day work flows, it makes the physician's job more difficult by increasing [his] administrative and compliance workload. By negatively impacting the physicians' time, patient care is impacted."

 

While it's tempting to want to replace something that doesn't meet your expectations, under certain circumstances you may want to give it more time. "First, determine if your current system offers enough functionality for managing your practice and achieves meaningful use requirements set forth by CMS. Also, verify that the vendor's strategy for future enhancements outweigh any short-term disadvantages," Pitsikoulis advises.

If your practice likes some of the core features and functions of the system, already developed specialty-specific templates, and can live with navigating through notes, orders, and prescribing without overwhelming frustration, living with the current system makes sense at least for the short term, Pitsikoulis continues.

One common complaint of physicians is that they have become data entry clerks at the expense of patient care. "This is a common physician finding, regardless of the EHR system," Pitsikoulis says. "But changing systems could result in the same functionality."

 

The truth of the matter is that a lot of systems aren't lacking in functionality and can be beneficial if you take the time to learn how to use them, says Eagan, Minn.-based Derek Kosiorek, principal consultant of Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Healthcare Consulting Group. One way to determine if this is the case at your practice is by finding out which physicians successfully use the EHR. If it's more than half, then the EHR isn't the problem and other doctors need to invest more time in learning to use the system more efficiently. See if those doctors can assist others in learning the system.

 

TROUBLESHOOTING

 

Before throwing in the towel, see if the vendor is willing to work with you on resolving issues. Work with the vendor to identify each problem and then ask if the vendor can offer a solution, says Mechanicsburg, Pa.-based David J. Zetter, founder and consultant at Zetter HealthCare.

 

If it is more difficult to order tests or enter information into the medical record than before having the EHR, something is wrong, says Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Joette Derricks, owner of Derricks Consulting, LLC. The EHR should streamline the work flow, not add more steps. If employees are printing out information and still depending on paper, something is probably not set up properly. Open communication is critical to identify and resolve problems.

 

Making some enhancements to the EHR documenting process with voice recognition software, streamlining the physician coding function with built-in coding software, and optimizing the EHR features and functions with templates, could provide some shortcuts that make an EHR more desirable, Pitsikoulis says.

However, be cautious when adding these enhancements. Engage consultants with operational, technical, and coding compliance expertise to integrate the physician's work flow with the technology. "Otherwise, you might end up with similar performance dissatisfaction with the next tool," Pitsikoulis says.

 

PULL THE PLUG

 

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may want to call it quits. Poor technical support is a key reason to get a new vendor. "Oftentimes, marketing staff is very accessible early on and then a year after implementation you can't get a basic question answered," Derricks says. In this instance, it's time to move on.

 

Furthermore, if the vendor does not update its software to facilitate new medical technology or contractual payment updates, that's problematic, Derricks says.

In addition, if an EHR lacks the ability to integrate with other software such as laboratory tests, diagnostic tests, practice management systems, and so forth, it's probably time to start anew, adds Zetter. Other reasons to say "adios" are if staff cannot effectively use the system, if it impedes patient care, or if it's just too costly to continue to use.

 

Or, if information is consistently incorrect because the system is set up poorly, or you're finding bad data, start over, Kosiorek says.

 

MAKING A DECISION

 

Even though EHRs may pose a lot of challenges, their ability to exchange health information electronically has enormous benefits. EHR capabilities, such as electronic prescribing, improve patient and provider communication, while providing for the patient.

 

If you're unhappy with your EHR, it's important to understand what went wrong in your last EHR selection so you don't repeat those mistakes. Perform a needs assessment by categorizing the current deficiencies and determine if these can be improved. If not, then it's time to begin the process of selecting a better EHR.

 

CHOOSE RIGHT THE FIRST TIME

 

After incorporating a new EHR system, many physicians will have to change the way they've done their job since beginning their careers. "They are being asked to take information in their paper chart, shuffle it like a deck of cards, and then have it presented to them in various places on a computer screen," says Eagan, Minn.-based Derek Kosiorek, principal consultant of the Medical Group Management Association Healthcare Consulting Group. "Then, they have to get used to navigating to where the information is relocated. This can be difficult, as some vendors in the early days of creating EHR software didn't design it in the most user-friendly way for physicians."

 

Fortunately, this is evolving, but as a result it's leaving some physicians wondering whether to stick with the old or upgrade to something new.

 

Whether selecting an EHR for the first, second, or third time, the selection, implementation, and integration of work flow with new technology is complex, and requires continuous process improvement. "Usually, the need to make a decision and begin the implementation process gets in the way of a complete and thorough understanding of the technology and the practice's needs," says John Pitsikoulis, managing director of Berkeley Research Group, LLC.

 

When beginning the process of selecting an EHR, a practice's providers and staff should have an opportunity to "kick the tires." Yet, very few often do, says David J. Zetter, founder and consultant at Zetter HealthCare. Trying out a potential system gives users a chance to determine if it's a good fit. For example, they should ask the vendor "How will the EHR work with the practice's way of documenting a patient encounter? How will the practice management part of the software suite work? And, what is the reporting like?" And to make sure that the EHR will fit your unique needs, talk to other same-specialty practices that use the same system.

 

In addition, practices often fail to thoroughly check references. "Don't accept only a few names as references," Zetter says. "Ask proper questions of many practices that have implemented it, such as 'Would they choose it again? Why or why not?'"

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Former ONC chief science officer: Providers must think in a 'systems approach'

Former ONC chief science officer: Providers must think in a 'systems approach' | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

AS VEGAS - While it's difficult to know whether the rise of electronic health records was accelerated by meaningful use or if it was an inevitable trend, the increase in data needs to be better understood to be useful, Douglas Fridsma, MD, president and CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association said Tuesday at HIMSS16 in Las Vegas.

 

"As we think about informatics and educating the workforce, it's not about understanding the data in the EMR, but how it fits in with all of the other pieces," Fridsna said.

Fridsma has a background in both academic and government settings, focusing on technologies in health informatics.

 

While at ONC, he coordinated health IT investment efforts across federal agencies through the Federal Health Architecture working with agencies like the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration.

He's also an advocate for bringing this connected standardization and horizontal platform across the healthcare spectrum. 

Currently, providers look at each department, tool and app as a separate entity, Fridsna said. But this vertical way of thinking is hindering the ability of the provider to engage the technology. Data can't be learned side-by-side, Fridsna said. It needs to span across the organization.

 

This method doesn't connect to the practice and engage patients, he added. "We need to be connected; we can't just learn within a particular silo."

 

According to Fridsna, when considering EMR adoption, non-health data is another major key to help transform the healthcare workforce. "As we get more EMR data, the data from apps, cell phones and social media are increasingly important to transforming healthcare."

 

"We have technologies that can determine whether you're depressed based on cell phone interactions," he added. This type of data is "really a social network that will increasingly become more important as we knit this data together."

 

Education around informatics and heath information technology is maturing, Fridsna said. It started as an outgrowth of computer science, and now it's being taught at every level - including high school, which provides plenty of opportunity to change how the workforce handles data.

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ONC's Steve Posnack: New Interoperability Proving Ground 'like Match.com for FHIR'

ONC's Steve Posnack: New Interoperability Proving Ground 'like Match.com for FHIR' | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

LAS VEGAS – Steve Posnack of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT likened ONC’s new Interoperability Proving Ground to online dating sites.

“There’s a lot going on around interoperability, we just have to prove it,” Posnack, director of ONC’s office of standards and technology, said on Monday morning.

That is the intention of the Interoperability Proving Ground Posnack unveiled last week and outlined at HIMSS16 – to highlight interoperability successes and bring the community together to address challenges.

Posnack called that an example hidden in plain sight that other providers around the nation could learn from.

 

“It’s like Match.com for FHIR,” Posnack said. The Interoperability Proving Ground is not just for Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, however, the project is also for Consolidated CDA, eHealth Exchange, HL7 CDC Immunization records, Direct, and the Semantic Interoperability Framework.

The proving ground works like this: Participants sign up, share information about projects they’re undertaking, what has worked, what has not, and then much like the way dating sites operate, the can elect to receive alerts when topics of interest are updated.

And there’s an interactive map so participants can see who in their geographical region is working on, say, FHIR and also view what other hospitals are doing around the country

 

Posnack pointed to the work of exchanging records that HealthShare Exchange of Southeastern Pennsylvania embarked upon while gearing up for Pope Francis visit.

Ultimately, the test ahead of the Pope’s visit laid the groundwork for the HIE’s goal to swap data with the 15,000 providers in the greater Philadelphia area moving toward its goal of connecting 100 percent of those physicians and 90 percent of hospitals and community health centers in the region by the end of 2016.

 

“For those of you who have done something really cool in the last 12 months, put it in,” Posnack urged attendees. “It will be in the completed table but it will still be in there. If you have results share those as well.”

Echoing Posnack’s sentiment that there is more happening in interoperability than is widely recognized right now, Elliot Sloane, President of the nonprofit Center for Healthcare Information Research and Policy and a HIMSS Fellow said in a subsequent session that the interoperability problem is bigger than any one entity, be that federal government or private sector.

“But there’s light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not an oncoming locomotive,” Sloane said. “We’re making progress.” 

 

Acknowledging the mild irony of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to say, Posnack explained that what ONC is trying to do it build on that progress by working with federal agencies, private healthcare organizations and the vendor community.

 

“Cooperation without coordination is what we’re looking for,” Posnack said, adding that, having been with ONC for 10 years, today he is optimistic about interoperability.

“First we were worried about adoption, then HITECH came along so we worried about getting meaningful use set up,” Posnack said. “In 2006 I would have given my right arm to have the adoption rates of today. We have better problems to solve now.” 

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Epic and Tableau deal links analytics to electronic health records

Epic and Tableau deal links analytics to electronic health records | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

LAS VEGAS -- Tableau Software, a business analytics vendor, announced Monday at HIMSS16 a technology agreement with electronic health records software kingpin Epic Systems Corp. under which healthcare organization clients can deliver insights from Tableau to users of Epic’s EHR. The insights should allow physicians and other caregivers with greater clinical analysis, the vendors said.

 

Under the agreement, client-created Tableau analytics workbooks and dashboards will be integrated with Epic’s EHR, enabling direct access from EHR users’ workflows. Further, the vendors added, the community of clients that use both Tableau and Epic products can share knowledge, innovation and best practices to accelerate time-to-value from both technologies, focusing on helping customers leverage their data assets.

 

“Tableau has been essential in our effort to transform clinical data from Epic into actionable insights, enabling us to deliver these insights into the real-life workflows of clinicians and healthcare administrators,” said Ari Robicsek, MD, vice president of clinical analytics and associate chief medical information officer at NorthShore University Health System. “Examples include predictive models that drive our population health and readmission reduction efforts and actionable quality dashboards for primary care providers.”

 

This collaboration comes at a time of further recognition for Tableau in healthcare. KLAS, an independent research firm, has placed Tableau among the top business intelligence and analytics vendors for healthcare in the 2015 KLAS report, “Enterprise Healthcare BI: The Search for Outcomes.”

Attendees at HIMSS16 can learn more the agreement between the two vendors and about their technologies at exhibit hall booth #11937 and at the Clinical and Business Intelligence Knowledge Center Kiosk #14077.

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7 Key Trends in EHR Technical Support to Know in 2016

7 Key Trends in EHR Technical Support to Know in 2016 | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it


Quality EHR technical support/experience is the key to continued loyalty, utilization, and overall customer satisfaction, according to recent arly 2,200 health It users. Conducted in Q4 2015, Black Book surveyed hospital and network physician based EHR software users, employing eighteen key performance indicators specific to comprehensive technical support experiences in Q4 2015. Managed tech support vendors evaluated included EHR and HIS vendors, EHR partnered consultants and IT firms, and independent outsourcing firms to determine variances in overall user satisfaction and the effects on long term vendor loyalty. Cerner was named the only EHR/HIT offering comprehensive, full, four level technical support with established clients

Key Findings

The survey reveals EHR firms not offering internally, or through a competent partnering IT support firm, an impressing customer technical support experiences stand to lose potential new customers, as well established clients. 82% of hospitals surveyed now insist comprehensive outsourced tech support from their EHR vendor will be a leading competitive differentiator in 2016, and a third of those are not presently pleased.

 

The usage of outsourced tech support centers is expanding quickly in the healthcare provider sector. 16% of hospital respondents outsource at least half of their tech support needs currently. By year end 2016, 35% of hospitals over 100 beds expect to increase their tech support outsourcing spend by 100%.  Additionally, expertise and quality of tech support services offered are weighing heavily on users’ overall loyalty. 61% of hospital users prefer that their EHR provide direct, comprehensive tech support. 79% of those employing third party outsourcing tech support are significantly dissatisfied with their outsourcer’s level of response and the quality of their services.  

Overseas offshored tech support centers scored the worst among healthcare providers on EHR, HIE, analytics and other applications. 97% of physicians practices and 93% of hospitals overwhelmingly prefer US-based, American-English speaking representatives. 100% of both surveyed groups confirmed that negative offshore experiences from outsourced tech support firms (either partnered with or provided by their HIS vendor) have tarnished the users’ overall perception of the vendor’s brand and product lines.

Black Book identified seven major trends in EHR technical support:

1. Cloud Applications

With the increasing amount of providers selecting cloud-based EHRs, a key issue will be how EHR vendors provide a differentiated support service experience that allows users to click from within the application to get immediate help.

2. Tech Support Communications via Video Chat

Hospitals are complex healthcare delivery organizations with multiple applications and skill levels operating the different segments of operations. Physician practice are demanding more live video support immediately, as well. Video chats boost client service by speeding processing like claims management and patient financial services, providing important value-adds to users.

3. Growth of high-accountability support model

Most EHR and HIS tech support centers, both provided directly by vendors and by outsourcers, organize around traditional escalation support models, which includes issue passing between tiers and areas of expertise. But in 2016 and beyond, more tech centers will have to employ a high-accountability or ownership model for more efficient resource utilization. The majority of EHRs are not set up for this passing the parts or the whole process to partner and third party tech support firms. With a high-accountability model, individual support personnel take ownership of the customer experience directly.

4. Social media is an important channel of tech support communication.

Patients and staff, alike, are increasingly venting complaints on their poor tech support experiences on social media. 69% of EHR/HIT users do not believe their vendors or tech support outsourcers monitor these channels frequently or effectively enough to respond to issues and deflect them.

5. Predictive Analytics need Support

Making sense of healthcare Big Data is persisting and related technical support needs are on the table waiting to be addressed by EHRs.

6. Support Service Transparency grows

An increasing number of EHR and HIS vendors are giving customers controlled access to support-related tools and information. Mobility will lead the way, giving health IT users more seamless and transparent interactions, which will ultimately give them instant access to data on their relations with EHR, HIE and, Population Health application vendors.

7. Shift in Channels of Tech Support Communication

2016 is seeing huge leaps in self-help, mobile and web along with a continued focus on voice for difficult provider application issues, especially engineering and analytics support.

 

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Analytics's curator insight, March 24, 3:42 AM

 

Quality EHR technical support/experience is the key to continued loyalty, utilization, and overall customer satisfaction, according to recent arly 2,200 health It users. Conducted in Q4 2015, Black Book surveyed hospital and network physician based EHR software users, employing eighteen key performance indicators specific to comprehensive technical support experiences in Q4 2015. Managed tech support vendors evaluated included EHR and HIS vendors, EHR partnered consultants and IT firms, and independent outsourcing firms to determine variances in overall user satisfaction and the effects on long term vendor loyalty. Cerner was named the only EHR/HIT offering comprehensive, full, four level technical support with established clients

Key Findings

The survey reveals EHR firms not offering internally, or through a competent partnering IT support firm, an impressing customer technical support experiences stand to lose potential new customers, as well established clients. 82% of hospitals surveyed now insist comprehensive outsourced tech support from their EHR vendor will be a leading competitive differentiator in 2016, and a third of those are not presently pleased.

 

The usage of outsourced tech support centers is expanding quickly in the healthcare provider sector. 16% of hospital respondents outsource at least half of their tech support needs currently. By year end 2016, 35% of hospitals over 100 beds expect to increase their tech support outsourcing spend by 100%.  Additionally, expertise and quality of tech support services offered are weighing heavily on users’ overall loyalty. 61% of hospital users prefer that their EHR provide direct, comprehensive tech support. 79% of those employing third party outsourcing tech support are significantly dissatisfied with their outsourcer’s level of response and the quality of their services.  

Overseas offshored tech support centers scored the worst among healthcare providers on EHR, HIE, analytics and other applications. 97% of physicians practices and 93% of hospitals overwhelmingly prefer US-based, American-English speaking representatives. 100% of both surveyed groups confirmed that negative offshore experiences from outsourced tech support firms (either partnered with or provided by their HIS vendor) have tarnished the users’ overall perception of the vendor’s brand and product lines.

Black Book identified seven major trends in EHR technical support:

1. Cloud Applications

With the increasing amount of providers selecting cloud-based EHRs, a key issue will be how EHR vendors provide a differentiated support service experience that allows users to click from within the application to get immediate help.

2. Tech Support Communications via Video Chat

Hospitals are complex healthcare delivery organizations with multiple applications and skill levels operating the different segments of operations. Physician practice are demanding more live video support immediately, as well. Video chats boost client service by speeding processing like claims management and patient financial services, providing important value-adds to users.

3. Growth of high-accountability support model

Most EHR and HIS tech support centers, both provided directly by vendors and by outsourcers, organize around traditional escalation support models, which includes issue passing between tiers and areas of expertise. But in 2016 and beyond, more tech centers will have to employ a high-accountability or ownership model for more efficient resource utilization. The majority of EHRs are not set up for this passing the parts or the whole process to partner and third party tech support firms. With a high-accountability model, individual support personnel take ownership of the customer experience directly.

4. Social media is an important channel of tech support communication.

Patients and staff, alike, are increasingly venting complaints on their poor tech support experiences on social media. 69% of EHR/HIT users do not believe their vendors or tech support outsourcers monitor these channels frequently or effectively enough to respond to issues and deflect them.

5. Predictive Analytics need Support

Making sense of healthcare Big Data is persisting and related technical support needs are on the table waiting to be addressed by EHRs.

6. Support Service Transparency grows

An increasing number of EHR and HIS vendors are giving customers controlled access to support-related tools and information. Mobility will lead the way, giving health IT users more seamless and transparent interactions, which will ultimately give them instant access to data on their relations with EHR, HIE and, Population Health application vendors.

7. Shift in Channels of Tech Support Communication

2016 is seeing huge leaps in self-help, mobile and web along with a continued focus on voice for difficult provider application issues, especially engineering and analytics support.