Archive for the ‘Electronic Health Records’ Category

Infographic: Hospital CIOs’ 2018 Priorities

January 15th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Hospital CIOs are wrestling with a wide range of technology challenges, according to a new infographic by Spok.

The infographic details the trop priorities of hospital CIOs this year, including the progress toward a mobile health strategy.

Remote Patient Monitoring for Chronic Condition Management: Leveraging Technology in a Value-Based System Encouraged by early success in coaching 23 patients to wellness at home via remote monitoring, CHRISTUS Health expanded its remote patient monitoring (RPM) enrollment to 170 high-risk, high-cost patients. At that scaling-up juncture, the challenge for CHRISTUS shifted to balancing its mission of keeping patients healthy and in their homes with maintaining revenue streams sufficient to keep its doors open in a largely fee-for-service environment.

Remote Patient Monitoring for Chronic Condition Management: Leveraging Technology in a Value-Based System chronicles the evolution of the CHRISTUS RPM pilot, which is framed around a Bluetooth®-enabled monitoring kit sent home with patients at hospital discharge.

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Guest Post: Are You Preparing to Fail Healthcare Compliance in 2018?

December 19th, 2017 by Tim Feldman and Darci L. Friedman

A 2018 roadmap to healthcare compliance should focus on cybersecurity, vendor management and telehealth.

As the year winds down, we see numerous lists of priorities healthcare organizations should focus on in the coming year. However, if you are looking to those end-of-year lists for guidance on what your organization should pay attention to in 2018, you are already behind. If you do find yourself playing catch-up, drafting your 2018 compliance work plan is the best place to start.

As the roadmap for your compliance efforts throughout the year, your annual work plan should indicate key high-risk areas. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has indicated that developing an annual compliance work plan is integral to the administration of an effective compliance program (Measuring Compliance Program Effectiveness – A Resource Guide).

The annual work plan and compliance program administration are but one portion of what is required for an organization to have a robust and effective compliance program. The required elements of a compliance program are the following:

  • Standards, Policies and Procedures;
  • Compliance Program Administration;
  • Screening and Evaluation of Employees, Physicians, Vendors and Other Agents;
  • Communication, Education and Training;
  • Monitoring, Auditing and Internal Reporting Systems;
  • Discipline for Non-Compliance; and
  • Investigations and Remedial Measures.

These elements provide a broad framework for your organization to identify risk, proactively remediate and provide a response mechanism to mitigate when there is an exposure. Working the plan and program throughout the year helps your organization achieve a state of ongoing readiness.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is one item that will likely factor more heavily in your work plan, and appropriately so. Last June, the HHS Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force released a report on improving cybersecurity in the industry. The Task Force concluded that cybersecurity, at its core, is a patient safety issue and a “public health concern that needs immediate and aggressive attention.”

Some of the areas to address in the broader realm of cybersecurity include:

  • Ransomware;
  • Email security, including phishing;
  • Internet of Things (IoT) and devices;
  • Bring your own device (BYOD); and
  • Medical identity theft.

As the Task Force report notes, cybersecurity must be thought about across the continuum of care in your organization. Work to shift the culture and thinking that cybersecurity is simply a technology issue, of concern only to the IT department.

Do this by implementing policies and procedures for key cybersecurity issues and then communicating them across the organization. Follow that with training, including everyone in your organization, from staff to board members. The training should: define cybersecurity; explain how it may manifest in the organization, and address your policies and procedures, making it evident to all what they can and cannot do and how to respond.

Third-Party Vendor Management

The outsourcing of services to third-party vendors is increasingly common and for good reason. Such relationships offer great benefits, but at the same time, these relationships also carry legal, financial, reputational and compliance-related risks. Here are seven questions to evaluate your third-party vendor relationships:

  • Does your organization, as a covered entity (CE) under HIPAA, have a vendor compliance program to help you identify, manage and report on these risks?
  • Do you review and assess your vendors’ risk profile?
  • Are you familiar with each vendor’s hiring practices?
  • Do you know which vendors’ products connect to other IT systems that contain critical data, including protected health information (PHI)?
  • Do you have insight into each vendor’s information security and data privacy capabilities?
  • Do you know with which vendors you have a business associate agreement (BAA)?

For many healthcare organizations, the answer to several of these questions is likely “no,” which creates risk for those organizations. The OIG’s position is clear: healthcare entities have a responsibility to proactively identify, assess and manage the risks associated with their vendor relationships.

All vendors are NOT created equal. A good starting point in managing an effective and efficient third-party compliance program is to perform a risk-ranking of vendors based on their access to critical assets or information. By segmenting your vendor population into “risk tiers” you can focus limited resources on the most serious exposures.

Components of third-party compliance assessment should include, among other things:

  • Due diligence (background, reputation, strategy);
  • Knowledge of, and compliance with, security and privacy requirements;
  • Operations and internal controls (policies and procedures);
  • Workforce controls, background and exclusion checks; and
  • Training and education.

And, of course, with every vendor that meets the criteria of a Business Associate, ensure that a written BAA is in place. BAAs can be complex and are often daunting, but they must be carefully negotiated and acknowledged by both parties.

By ensuring your vendors have strong compliance programs in place and that they are following through on the BAA requirements, your organization is meeting its compliance obligations and doing its best to minimize its risks.

Telehealth

The compliance concerns related to the delivery of care via telehealth are numerous and include the following:

  • Licensing;
  • Credentialing;
  • Security;
  • Regulatory requirements for billing; and
  • Fraud and abuse.

An area to focus some attention on is payment under federal healthcare programs. The OIG currently has two active work items on telehealth, one for Medicaid and one for Medicare. Both of the items relate to the propriety of payment for telehealth services.

If your organization provides telehealth services, consider conducting a risk assessment to determine if you have any exposure in the area. Risk assessments are not strictly one of the 7 required elements of a compliance program, but they are often referred to as the “8th Element” given the focus on them in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and OIG documents.
Risk assessments, along with the other elements of a compliance program, provide your organization the means to identify, prioritize, remediate and/or mitigate the myriad on-going risks it will encounter. If you are not working your compliance program and specific risk areas throughout the year, you are failing to adequately prepare for an event. By failing to prepare, as one wise man said, you are preparing to fail.

About the Authors: Tim Feldman is Vice President and General Manager of Healthcare Compliance & Reimbursement at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. He oversees product development across a vast suite of practice tools and workflow solutions to help professionals stay ahead of regulatory developments and effectively manage compliance activities. Darci L. Friedman, JD, CHPC, CSPO, PMC-III, is the Director of Content Strategy & Author Acquisitions for Healthcare Compliance, Coding & Reimbursement at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. She is responsible for supporting the overall strategy for developing new content and features, innovating new product models, and recruiting top content contributors.

HIN Disclaimer: The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and not of the Healthcare Intelligence Network as a whole. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.

Infographic: The Pursuit of Healthcare Interoperability

December 13th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

Healthcare organizations are working toward interoperability by investing in electronic health records, as a first step toward eventual data integration. However, the challenges to achieving interoperability go beyond EHR implementation, according to a new infographic by Transcend Insights.

The infographic examines five of the biggest interoperability challenges.

Trends Shaping the Healthcare Industry in 2018: A Strategic Planning SessionUncertainty regarding the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), combined with industry market forces, including consolidations and strategic partnerships, positioning for value-based healthcare, cost containment efforts, an emphasis on technology and efforts to understand and address the whole patient as part of population health management have been the key drivers in the healthcare industry this year.

With the efforts to repeal and replace the ACA now focused on the elimination of the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurers and changes to regulations governing association health plans, short-term, limited-duration insurance and health reimbursement arrangements, the healthcare industry can put aside the uncertainty of this year and move forward with the market forces in play.

During Trends Shaping the Healthcare Industry in 2018: A Strategic Planning Session, a 60-minute webinar on December 7th, two industry thought leaders, David Buchanan, President, Buchanan Strategies, and Brian Sanderson, managing principal, healthcare services, Crowe Horwath, will provide a roadmap to the key issues, challenges and opportunities for healthcare organizations in 2018.

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LVHN Portal Places Healthcare Control in Patients’ Hands, Liberates Staff

November 30th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

patient portal rolloutConsumers accustomed to communicating, shopping, banking and booking travel online increasingly expect those same conveniences from their healthcare providers.

And as Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) has learned, despite the myriad of benefits a patient portal offers, the most important reason to incorporate this interactive tool into a physician practice is because patients want it.

“As much as we emphasize the marketing aspect of [the portal], having a nice, functional technology that we get in other aspects of our life has really been an enabler,” notes Michael Sheinberg, M.D., medical director, medical informatics, Epic transformation at LVHN. Many LVHN patients found the portal on their own, independent of the tool’s formal introduction, he adds. “Patients really wanted this. Our patients want to be engaged, they want to have access, and they want to own their medical information.”

Dr. Sheinberg and Lindsay Altimare, director of operations for Lehigh Valley Physician Group at LVHN, walked through the rollout of the LVHN portal to its ambulatory care providers during Patient Portal Roll-Out Strategy: Activating and Engaging Patients in Self-Care and Population Health, a November 2017 webinar now available for rebroadcast.

The 2015 launch of LVHN’s patient portal and its continued user growth has earned it the distinction of being the fastest growing patient portal on the Epic® platform.

As Ms. Altimare explained, LVHN first launched its portal with limited functionality in February 2015 as part of the Epic electronic health record that had gone live two years earlier. But even given the portal’s limited feature set, LVHN quickly recognized the tool’s potential to enhance efficiency, education, communication and revenue outside of traditional doctor’s office visits.

At its providers’ request, however, LVHN first piloted the portal within 14 of its 160+ physician practices, using feedback from providers in the two-month trial to further tweak the portal before next rolling it out to its remaining clinicians, and finally to patients.

LVHN supported each rollout phase with targeted marketing and education materials.

Today, LVHN patients and staff embrace the functionality of the portal, which offers an experience similar to that of an online airline check-in. Via the portal, LVHN patients can self-schedule appointments, complete medical questionnaires and forms, even participate in select e-visits with physicians—all in the comfort and privacy of their own homes.

Not only are about 45 percent of LVHN’s 420,000 patients enrolled in the portal, but self-scheduling doubled in the first six months of use. Additionally, upon examining a segment of portal participants over 12 months, LVHN identified a steady rise in portal utilization for common tasks like medication renewals and medical history completion.

The portal “liberates our patients from the need to access our providers in the traditional way,” says Dr. Sheinberg. Appreciation of this freedom is reflected in improved patient experience scores, he adds.

“The portal is a patient satisfier, and certainly a staff satisfier, because it reduces patient ‘no-shows’ and liberates our staff from more manual processes, putting them in the hands of our patients.”


Healthcare Hotwire: Blockchain Technology and AI in Healthcare

November 9th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

Blockchain technology and artificial intelligence are healthcare game-changers.

Blockchain technology is a game-changer with the potential to impact not one or two industries, but the complete landscape of how business is done. When 200 healthcare executives were recently surveyed by IBM, 16 percent expect to have a commercial blockchain solution at scale sometime this year.

And artificial intelligence (AI) and robots that support, diagnose and treat people are already in homes, workplaces and clinical environments all over the world, according to PWC.

Still in their infancy, early adopters of these technologies are starting to report promising results.

In the new edition of Healthcare Hotwire, you’ll learn more about the patient benefits of blockchain technology, how AI is being used to identify high-risk colon cancer patients and improve medication adherence and other healthcare blockchain and AI trends.

HIN’s newly launched Healthcare Hotwire tracks trending topics in the industry for strategic planning. Subscribe today.

Guest Post: Combining Big Data, EHRs and IoT for Chronic Disease Management

November 7th, 2017 by Brian Geary, Senior Account Manager, AndPlus

Providers and developers can work together to create solutions that leverage big data, EHRs and the IoT.

Have you ever used a Fitbit® or an Apple Watch®, or downloaded a mHealth app? If so, are you using these tools as an integrated way to improve your health?

The more we use technology, the more we want it to do for us. With millions of people living with complex diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, the development of intuitive and secure chronic disease management tools has become indispensable.

Yet, these tools may not support successful, sustained disease management—at least, not without the help of providers themselves.

More than 40 percent of patients who had downloaded an mHealth app had stopped using it when the app failed to provide accurate, personalized and actionable strategies for achieving their health goals. High data entry burden, hidden fees, and poor usability were other sticking points for these patients.

Another study carried out by an international team of researchers tracked 800 people for a year to see what impact Fitbit had on their health. The experts concluded that such devices are unlikely to be a magic bullet for the early detection and monitoring of chronic diseases.

So how can providers and developers work together to create engaging and supportive solutions that leverage big data, electronic health records and the Internet of Things (IoT) to utmost effect?

Using Big Data to Make Wiser Medical Decisions

Big data analytics allow providers to discover certain patterns that assist them in making better predictions about certain diseases.

With the help of big data and IoT, including patient records, clinical trials, insurance claims, and wearables, providers can discern the extent to which each intervention, as well as its associated expenditures, contribute to the improvement of their patients’ health.

However, in order to achieve measurable cost savings and long-lasting chronic disease control for patients, software models are required to help clinicians organize the data, recognize patterns, interpret results, and set thresholds for actions.

For example, to avoid the failure of an EHR to keep up with one’s sudden healthcare changes, hospitals should look at its software as being only the foundation of their health information, risking a negative impact on patient care.

Through department-appropriate software customization, hospitals can cut down wasted time spent scrolling through irrelevant screens and unnecessary fields, tracking down patient histories and reviewing duplicate data.

Having an intuitive, user-friendly EHR software also helps patients be more informed about their own health and prevents potential issues. They can access test results to see when follow-up appointments are due or communicate with their doctors to bring up any issues that may show significant health problems.

5 Things to Look for When Choosing an EHR System

    • Firstly, your EHR system should integrate easily with other systems within the hospital, such as clinical discussion support systems, laboratory information systems and other tools.
    • Further to considering the individual and specific departmental needs in a hospital, the other important feature of EHR software is customization (e.g. streamlining manual data entry). This is also advantageous for patients, as a customizable EHR system can be tailored to suit specific needs for data access, education and portability.
    • To make the most out of technological advancements and the benefits of customization, constant performance reviews of the chosen EHR systems in real-life scenarios are highly important. For example, when Medica conducted a research study to identify how they could improve their blood gas analyzer product line, it found out that its user interface needed a refresh. The outdated push button control system caused a lengthy training process for new users, so it required a radically improved user interface.
       
    • Make EHR software accessible with smartphones and tablets and provide easy access from connected devices, freeing clinicians from their workstations and creating access to patient data remotely. With accessibility, productivity soars and doctors can provide better care and reduce the lag between diagnosis and treatment, while lowering healthcare costs and improving patient’s compliance with treatment through consistent two-way communication.
    • Last but not least, a customized solution for your EHR can align workflows with the current processes a staff is already following, which can save time and prevent confusion when training users on the new EHR.

    By ensuring all your staff members receive thorough training and have access to ongoing support when questions or problems arise, the risk of the EHR becoming outdated is also minimized. Situations such as missing patient history or test results, which can lead to delayed diagnosis, unnecessary tests or even a misdiagnosis, are avoided.

    IoT Benefits for Healthcare Providers and Patients

    Doctors, nurses, and caregivers are not the only benefactors of IoT and healthcare apps. These devices can alert medical staff to wandering patients, monitor ICU patients or potentially dangerous procedures and treatments.

    Moreover, if a patient with a chronic illness needs immediate attention, the IoT can alert medical experts, and even connect the two to talk them through an emergency.

    In terms of direct patient benefits, IoT devices can remind patients when to take their medications, alert them about pending prescription refills or train them about upcoming medical procedures, while transferring relevant medical information back to the patient’s healthcare provider.

    To sum up, big data, electronic health records, and IoT devices have the potential to save money and often, even people’s lives. Together they contribute to increased efficiency, improved patient satisfaction and more time to focus on patient care.

    About the Author: Brian Geary is a senior account manager for AndPlus, LLC. Brian is a true believer in the Agile process. He often assists the development process by performing the product owner role. In addition to his technical background, he is an experienced account manager with a background in sales and customer service, as well as graphic design and marketing. Brian’s role at AndPlus ranges from marketing to sales and everything in between. Brian brings 10+ years of graphic design, marketing and account management experience to AndPlus.

    HIN Disclaimer: The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and not of the Healthcare Intelligence Network as a whole. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.

  • Infographic: Healthcare Consumer Behavior and Technology

    September 29th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

    Healthcare consumers are familiar with and trust cloud technology, yet nearly one in three still can not easily access their medical records, according to a report released from Ambra Health, “Era of Change: Today’s Healthcare Consumer.” The survey of over 1,100 healthcare consumers found that a whopping 97 percent across all age and gender demographics are familiar with cloud technology, yet 31 percent can not easily access their medical records and only half of those can access medical records online via their healthcare provider.

    The infographic breaks down three key aspects of healthcare consumers and technology, including: finding healthcare providers online; how consumers are looking for more innovation; and moving medical imaging to the cloud.

    Patient-centric interventions like population health management, health coaching, home visits and telephonic outreach are designed to engage individuals in health self-management—contributing to healthier clinical and financial results in healthcare’s value-based reimbursement climate.

    But when organizations consistently rank patient engagement as their most critical care challenge, as hundreds have in response to HIN benchmark surveys, which strategies will help to bring about the desired health behavior change in high-risk populations?

    9 Protocols to Promote Patient Engagement in High-Risk, High-Cost Populations presents a collection of tactics that are successfully activating the most resistant, hard-to-engage patients and health plan members in chronic condition management. Whether an organization refers to this population segment as high-risk, high-cost, clinically complex, high-utilizer or simply top-of-the-pyramid ‘VIPs,’ the touch points and technologies in this resource will recharge their care coordination approach.

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    Infographic: The Healthcare IT Journey

    September 25th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

    Healthcare is undergoing a digital transformation as a growing number of organizations leverage emerging technologies to create care models that are more patient-centered, according to a new infographic by Insight.

    The infographic explores seven key stops on the consumer-driven healthcare IT journey and illustrates how technology is supporting this evolution.

    2016 Healthcare Benchmarks: Digital HealthDigital health, also referred to as ‘connected health,’ leverages technology to help identify, track and manage health problems and challenges faced by patients. Person-centric health management is slowly acknowledging the device-driven lives of patients and health plan members and incorporating these tools into care delivery and management efforts.

    2016 Healthcare Benchmarks: Digital Health examines program goals, platforms, components, development strategies, target populations and health conditions, patient engagement metrics, results and challenges reported by more than 100 healthcare organizations responding to the February 2016 Digital Health survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network.

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    Infographic: 5 Questions Patients Should Ask About Healthcare Information Security

    September 8th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

    Patients need to understand the information security protections by their healthcare providers, according to a new infographic by ISACA.

    The infographic outlines a few questions that patients can ask of their providers to ensure that those organizations are applying
    appropriate and diligent stewardship of the data that they hold in trust.

    UnityPoint Health has moved from a siloed approach to improving the patient experience at each of its locations to a system-wide approach that encompasses a consistent, baseline experience while still allowing for each institution to address its specific needs.

    Armed with data from its Press Ganey and CAHPS® Hospital Survey scores, UnityPoint’s patient experience team developed a front-line staff-driven improvement action plan.

    Improving the Patient Experience: Engaging Front-line Staff for a System-Wide Action Plan, a 45-minute webinar on July 27th, now available for replay, Paige Moore, director, patient experience at UnityPoint Health—Des Moines, shares how the organization switched from a top-down, leadership-driven patient experience improvement approach to one that engages front-line staff to own the process.

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    Infographic: ROI from Data-Driven Clinical Optimization

    August 18th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

    Although the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act gave health systems a financial incentive to achieve Meaningful Use of EMRs, many healthcare organizations have struggled to capture value. As the capabilities and sophistication of EMRs continue to grow, there is a widening divide between healthcare organizations that harness the capabilities for a competitive advantage and those that are crippled by poor usability, workflows and adoption, according to a new infographic by Galen Healthcare Solutions.

    The infographic looks at the impact of clinical EMR optimization on quality improvement and return on investment.

    Health Analytics in Accountable Care: Leveraging Data to Transform ACO Performance and Results Between Medicare’s aggressive migration to value-based payment models and MACRA’s 2017 Quality Payment Program rollout, healthcare providers must accept the inevitability of participation in fee-for-quality reimbursement design—as well as cultivating a grounding in health data analytics to enhance success.

    As an early adopter of the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and the largest sponsor of MSSP accountable care organizations (ACOs), Collaborative Health Systems (CHS) is uniquely positioned to advise providers on the benefits of data analytics and technology, which CHS views as a major driver in its achievements in the MSSP arena. In performance year 2014, nine of CHS’s 24 MSSP ACOs generated savings and received payments of almost $27 million.

    Health Analytics in Accountable Care: Leveraging Data to Transform ACO Performance and Results examines program goals, platforms, components, development strategies, target populations and health conditions, patient engagement metrics, results and challenges reported by more than 100 healthcare organizations responding to the February 2016 Digital Health survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network.

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