Blog

March 1st, 2014

HealthcareIT_Feb25_AMore than half of health-care organizations have not implemented business-intelligence systems, according to a survey, and that could hurt their bottom lines.

Business intelligence is the transformation of raw data into useful information for business purposes. It shows you what’s going on in your practice and how your practice could improve.

According to the survey of 250 health-care professionals by TEKsystems, 58 percent of physician practices and hospitals have not implemented a business-intelligence system. That includes 21 percent that plan to implement a business-intelligence system in the next 24 months, and 26 percent that have no plans whatsoever.

This is a problem, because data will be at the heart of how health-care organizations get paid as the industry changes from a fee-for-service model to a pay-for-performance model. The survey supports this idea, as 76 percent of respondents expect a business-intelligence system to be widely used in finance.

One reason health-care providers haven’t implemented business-intelligence systems, the study found, is that there is a lack of resources and skills available to help them do so. Thirty-four percent of respondents said that data complexity is the biggest obstacle. That’s where an IT expert can help. If you want to implement a business-intelligence system, and don’t have the IT resources on staff, consider reaching out to an IT expert like us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 6th, 2014

Healthcare_Feb06_AThe move to digital technology is saving time and reducing errors, but it’s also creating an unprecedented amount of data that must be stored.

According to a BridgeHead Software survey, the health-care industry generates almost a third of the world’s data, which it says “increases day after day.”

While the majority of respondents to the survey reported their data volume increasing over the past year, only a fourth said they have solid, tested disaster-recovery plans.

The problem: Given the vast amount of data that health-care providers must manage, it’s becoming more and more difficult to ensure that timely backups are completed and appropriate copies are made.

And storage isn’t the only issue; optimal use is as well. A study published earlier this year by the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that health-care data systems generally aren't sophisticated enough to optimally use the increasing data - and it suggests that the problem will only grow as innovations (such as next-generation genome sequencing) become more common.

Practice managers and IT directors at medical practices both small and large will inevitably have to deal with this issue. We recommend talking to us today to see how our solutions can help you ensure that your practice can not only meet existing data storage and backup needs, but also scale to meet them in the future.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 2nd, 2014

HealthcareIT_Jan02_AIn the early 2000s – even into the current decade – health care had some catching up to do when it came to technology. Much of the industry was paper-based and when technology was used, it was often in separate areas, creating silos of information that couldn’t communicate.

The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act questioned that notion. Why should patients fill out multiple forms every time they go to the doctor’s office? Why can’t two doctors in two different rooms look at the same file? Why can’t one doctor automatically see what test you took a few months ago to avoid repeating it? Given where other industries are technologically, it didn’t make sense.

What the industry needed was a catalyst for change – and it found it in meaningful use, which has dramatically accelerated the adoption of technology in the health-care industry. But, meaningful use has had unintended consequences.

For example, the artificially low barriers of Stage 1 meaningful use allowed a number of electronic medical record (EMR) vendors to exist, regardless of the quality of their products. And many health-care providers – not knowing what to look for – went out and bought whatever EMR they could find that was certifiable for Stage 1. Today, they feel stuck with systems that really don’t fit what they need.

Don’t feel stuck. If you’re not happy with your EMR, or the processes you have created around it, something can be done. Contact us today to see how we can help you get the system you need.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 3rd, 2013

HealthcareGeneral_Dec03_AThe global market for medical device connectivity is projected to top USD$33 billion by 2019, up significantly from USD$3.5 billion in 2013 - and that could have major implications for health-care providers.

An increase in medical conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes - which require continuous monitoring - are driving growth in the integration of medical devices. Integrating data that comes from various medical devices into electronic medical records (EMRs) has many benefits: It can eliminate the inevitable errors that result from transcription and save time, and in doing so, improve overall patient care.

There is one problem however: For small and mid-size health-care providers, there can be cost barriers. Indeed, in 2012, the largest market share segments were large entities - hospitals, followed by home health care. Both are expected to show strong growth through 2019. As the technology and devices become more popular however, prices should drop quickly, allowing almost all providers to afford it.

Still, a new report from Transparency Market Research expects a compound annual growth rate of 37.8% in the market from 2013 to 2019. Although the wired hardware segment of the market was the largest in 2012 (accounting for 40% of market share), the study predicts that wireless connectivity technology will see widespread adoption, as it, along with related technologies such as Bluetooth, is being used to connect medical devices in all health-care locations, from homes to hospitals.

The growth of this technology, says the study, is being driven by numerous factors, including the need for workflow automation, improved patient safety and increased productivity, to name just a few. If you are interested in learning more about how technology can fit into your practice, please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

November 4th, 2013

HealthcareIT_Nov04_ATechnology is only the first step in the launch of a patient portal; administrators must make subsequent decisions about everything from patient login protocols to patient record revisions.

Stage 2 of meaningful use requires that at least 5% of patients view, download and transmit their health-care information and also send secure electronic messages to their health-care provider. Even though that number is lower than the original objective of 10%, the rule is causing many health-care providers anxiety.

First, what are records? HIPAA’s “right of access” rules say patients are entitled to their “designated record set,” which includes medical and billing records, but health care providers must also provide access to “other records used to make decisions about a patient.”

Second, how do you provide access? You’ll have to give patients access to their records in the form that they request, even if it’s by email, and emailing records is against your policy. “The law trumps policy,” in the words of one health-care consultant.

Third, how do you protect a patient’s privacy? For example, how do you provide account logins? Patient records must be secure, of course, but securing them by making password requirements complex may create the impression that you’re denying access to records.

In addition, HIPAA’s right of amendment gives patients the right to request the amendment of their records, and those requests could increase significantly after your patient portal is deployed. Do you have the staff to handle those requests?

If you are looking for a patient portal, or would like to learn how to adapt one for your practice, please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 2nd, 2013

HealthcareGeneral_Oct02_AOn the surface, the move toward electronic medical records (EMRs) focuses on updating hardware and implementing software. Behind the scenes, however, an equally important shift is occurring in the development and implementation of code-standardization programs.

The goal of a code-standardization program is to ensure that the health-care provider doesn’t have to think about code selection. In other words, the doctor enters a diagnosis, and a code is generated that makes sense to everyone involved, from the health-care provider to policymakers.

The benefits are numerous. First, there’s clinical decision support - the information a health-care provider needs to make a diagnosis being at his or her fingertips. There’s also there’s workflow improvement - the ability to enter information more quickly than it would take to write the same information into a chart. And, don’t forget interoperability - the ability for codes to allow the sharing of patient information regardless of how or where that information is accessed. Finally, there’s patient support - easier access to information because it’s been recorded in a consistent and clear manner.

Codes, such as the ICD series, have been around for a while, but efforts to standardize grew with the passage of the HITECH Act, and may skyrocket with meaningful use Stage 2, in which standardization requirements increase. If you are looking to adopt a standardized code that conforms with meaningful use Stage 2, please contact us today to see what we have to offer.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

August 30th, 2013

HealthcareIT_Aug29_ASome health-care organizations do not grasp the magnitude of the changes demanded by Stage 2 meaningful use, according to a panel convened at The Institute for Health Technology Transformation's Denver Health IT Summit earlier this summer.

In Stage 1 meaningful use, health-care providers had to demonstrate their ability to perform core tasks, which include data exchange, security, imaging and patient engagement. In Stage 2, they’ll actually have to perform these core measures.

Key to success, said the panelists, is working with an electronic medical record (EMR) vendor to tackle the many facets of meaningful use in a proactive manner - which is perhaps one reason the global health-care IT outsourcing market is forecasted by RnR Market Research to grow from $35 billion in 2013 to $50.4 billion in 2018. That’s at a compound annual growth rate of 7.6%.

The key takeaway for health-care providers is to get help when needed. Your IT provider can help you improve your focus on your core business while reducing operational and maintenance costs by increasing your access to skilled IT resources. Outsourcing of health-care IT solutions is a way to mitigate rising health-care costs while meeting demand for quality care, according to RnR Market Research. Contact us today to see how we can help you achieve these goals.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

July 31st, 2013

GenhealthcareIT_July31_AIt’s impossible to know what will happen on October 1, 2014, but you can get a head start on your preparations by asking your payers some questions about their ICD-10 plans.

Will you conduct external testing? Medicare says CMS contractors will not conduct full external testing with business partners, meaning you won’t know for sure if your claims can be accepted by the biggest payer in the industry—and, since many health plans follow Medicare’s lead, you could be guessing about other payers as well.

Will you be dual processing, and if so, when will you start? Many payers are planning to dual process, meaning they will accept both ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes for a period of time. That’s a big benefit to you, as it will give your physicians and coders extra time to practice their documentation strategies and coding while seeing exactly what the world will look like after ICD-10. So, it’s a good idea to ask your payers if dual coding will be accepted for a transition period after October 1, and when they will start so you can maximize the benefits of side-by-side coding.

What will happen if something goes wrong? There’s more than a year left before ICD-10 is implemented, and no one knows what’s going to happen on October 1, 2014. As a result, it’s hard to prepare for something going wrong. That, however, is exactly why payers need to have a contingency plan in place. You should, too, as working together with payers during this crucial time is in everyone’s best interests.

If you are looking to begin preparing for the jump to ICD-10, contact us today to see how we can help make the transition as smooth as possible.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

July 3rd, 2013

HealthcareIT_July03_APatients are using mobile medical apps to take more responsibility for their well-being, but physicians can benefit from on-the-go technology as well. In fact, more and more doctors are incorporating mobile technology into their practices to be more efficient and effective. Here are three apps to consider. DrawMD (by Visible Health) With DrawMD for the iPad, physicians can show patients exactly what a complex procedure will entail. Select an anatomical image or upload your own, then sketch, stamp or type directly on the image to explain the medical or surgical procedures. Conceived by surgical oncologists, DrawMD’s specialties include anesthesiology, critical care, cardiology, female pelvic surgery, general and vascular surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics, otolaryngology and urology. Cost: free.

Isabel (by App Isabel Healthcare) Isabel’s diagnosis-support system is 10 years old, but now it’s available as an iPhone, iPad and iPod app. Physicians use a checklist or text to enter symptoms, and Isabel searches its database of more than 6,000 disease presentations for a diagnosis. Results can be refined for age, gender and even travel history. Cost: $2.99 weekly, $10.99 monthly or $119.99 annually.

MedSpeak (by QxMD Software) Ever experienced a language barrier with a non-native English-speaking patient? A new wave of apps, such as MedSpeak, helps with translation. This iPhone app, for example, provides Mandarin or Cantonese translations (in both audio and written format) for more than 3,300 medical phrases. Content can be sorted by category or symptom. Cost: $9.99.

If you are looking for a mobile solution, we may have the perfect software or app for you. Please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

June 4th, 2013

HealtcareIT_June04_AAn electronic medical record (EMR) or practice management system is only the first step in bringing your practice into the modern era; you must also use the systems appropriately.

When it comes to software, functionality is important to health-providers—but if you're hung up on software functionality, you may not be taking care of what drives the software.

So, in many cases, you’ll need to review and adjust the processes used in your practice—but how? If you’re not familiar with practice management strategies, you may not know where to start.

A good IT firm or software provider will help by offering personalized attention. Look for a team of highly trained professionals who understand the intricacies of scheduling, coding, billing, and reporting. Ideally, this team should take the time to get to know your practice well by studying your scheduling and billing patterns, the way you engage patients, and the other ways you work.

While it may take more time up front, this methodology will allow your partner to develop insight, which will in turn let it provide guidance to help you do more with less—something that’s essential in today’s world of increased competition and decreased revenues.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.