Healthcare and Technology news
48.3K views | +2 today
Follow
Healthcare and Technology news
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scoop.it!

Net Benefits of Telemedicine for Urgent Care Centers

Net Benefits of Telemedicine for Urgent Care Centers | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Practice EHR discusses net benefits of telemedicine for Urgent Care Centers.

 

Telemedicine is becoming the new norm for giving and receiving care. Today’s patients are more connected than ever before and 64 percent of Americans report they would seek care via telemedicine, according to an American Well telehealth survey.

 

In its early stages, telemedicine seemed like another on-demand solution taking patients away from urgent care centers (UCCs). Today, urgent cares are realizing the benefits of integrating telemedicine into their operations, such as better flexibility, accessibility and in some cases, better patient satisfaction and outcomes.

 

Fortunately, telemedicine also has financial advantages. Telemedicine empowers UCCs to provide a convenient and cost-effective service for patients, while at the same time improving revenue. Have you considered telemedicine for your urgent care? Read on to learn more about the financial benefits of telemedicine:

Net-Benefits of Telemedicine

1. Increase the number of patients you see each day.

Telemedicine helps you work more efficiently and see more patients in less time. A virtual visit takes less time than an in-person visit, allowing your urgent care to increase the number of patients seen in a day, without having to extend office hours. For example, a clinic with three providers that completes two virtual visits per day, at an average reimbursement of $50, will earn $109,500 in additional revenue in just one year.

 

For UCCs who do feel the need to provide extended office hours, telemedicine is a feasible and cost-effective solution when you have a cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) with integrated telemedicine capabilities. Consider virtual extended hours, where a patient can be seen via a virtual visit conducted by a remote on-call physician. This idea eliminates in-person visits during extended hours, which keeps costs low, drives revenue for your clinic and at the same time provides better accessibility for patients who may be in need during those off-hours

.

2. Better allocate your resources.

Today, consumers have more options than ever before when it comes to their care. Long wait times can result in low patient satisfaction and fewer patients. If your clinic is experiencing long wait times, consider how you can incorporate telemedicine for services that don’t require an in-person visit, like for the flu or an emergency medication refill. Providing virtual visits for these scenarios is a much more efficient and cost-effective way for your patients and your clinic.

 

Telemedicine can also help multi-location UCCs balance their patient volumes and wait times, without having to spend money on additional resources. The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine cited an example of an urgent care that decreased patient wait times and increased patient satisfaction by equipping facilities with telemedicine capabilities in two locations. In other words, UCCs can leverage providers in lower-traffic locations to conduct virtual visits immediately and remotely for patients who are waiting to be seen at the busier location.

 

3. Reach more patients.

In addition to load balancing, telemedicine can easily enable UCCs to reach a larger pool of patients to generate more revenue. Urgent cares who use telemedicine can expand their services to reach patients across one state or multiple, instead of being limited to patients who only live within a 3-5 mile radius.

 

4. Achieve competitive advantage.

Research from Accenture indicates patients want a better healthcare experience and they are leveraging technology, such as telemedicine, to do so. However, the same research also suggests patient demands for virtual care options are outpacing what’s currently available. This provides a significant opportunity for urgent cares. UCCs were the catalysts for convenient, on-demand healthcare; those who continue to evolve with their patients will successfully differentiate themselves in today’s competitive healthcare market.

 

To continue to lead in the on-demand market, urgent care centers will need to adopt technology, like telemedicine to meet patient expectations. The good news is telemedicine is a smart investment that can result in improved efficiency, patient care, cost-savings, revenue and more. Incorporating telemedicine into your UCC isn’t difficult, and there are affordable, telemedicine solutions on the market today. UCCs that incorporate telemedicine, have a lot to gain and very little to lose.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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

Wearable HIPAA Security Concerns Grow for mHealth Apps & Devices

Wearable HIPAA Security Concerns Grow for mHealth Apps & Devices | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Healthcare tech is moving more and more toward mHealth solutions for consumer use. Apple in particular has made major expansions into healthcare and mHealth technologies over the past few years. Many patients are using wearables such as the Apple Watch to monitor, track, and report health care data. But with this new field of mHealth, security issues abound and there are still many grey areas surrounding who is legally responsible for protecting the privacy of patient data. 

How Wearables Could Impact Your Business

In September, Apple made headlines with its newest version of the Apple Watch. CEO Tom Cook bragged about the watch’s fall detection capability, automatic workout tracking, and a heart sensor with ECG capability. With these advancements, Apple will continue to have a tremendous impact on the healthcare industry. In a recent CNBC interview, Cook said that the health-related work will be Apple’s “greatest contribution to mankind.”

 

Yet, there have already been HIPAA-related incidents stemming from multiple health tracking apps and wearables across the mHealth industry. In 2018, the popular fitness and nutrition tracking app MyFitnessPal experienced a breach, exposing the names, email addresses, and passwords of 150 million people. In addition, the fitness app Strava revealed the locations of U.S. military personnel on secret bases. According to Forbes, your electronic health records could be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars on the black market, which makes the Apple Watch and mHealth technologies like it prime targets for security breaches.

 

And of course, this affects health care professionals around the country. mHealth security vulnerabilities continue to pose a serious issue to patient privacy. And with these mHealth security and privacy concerns, HIPAA regulatory standards are in a grey area, especially where enforcement is concerned. Wearables like the Apple Watch expose privacy and security vulnerabilities for healthcare consumers, providers, and vendors working in the healthcare space alike.

Who’s Responsible for Wearable Data?

When it comes to HIPAA, covered entities must be compliant with the full extent of the regulation. A covered entity is any health care provider, health plan, or health care clearinghouse that uses protected health information (PHI) for the purpose of payment, treatment, or operations.

 

Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, covered entities must implement the necessary safeguards to ensure that PHI is kept safe. PHI is any demographic information used to identify a patient. Some common examples of PHI include names, email addresses, addresses, and Social Security numbers, to name a few.

 

That means that if a doctor partners with wearable companies, and is using that biometric data over the course of care, then they are responsible for protecting patients’ PHI. However, the mHealth apps and wearable companies themselves are likely considered business associates under HIPAA. Business associates include any organization that handles PHI on behalf of another HIPAA-beholden entity. The liability in the event of a data breach concerning PHI collected by mHealth devices but used over the course of treatment for a patient presents a new challenge to HIPAA regulation.

 

However, changes to HIPAA regulation or HIPAA guidance in response to new and evolving technologies is not new. In 2009, the HITECH Act was passed, which made sweeping changes to HIPAA regulation in response to the rise of electronic health records (EHR) platforms and the increasingly digital shift across the healthcare industry.

 

HIPAA guidance regarding the use of mHealth tech, apps, and wearables will likely be addressed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the years ahead. However, in the meantime, covered entities and business associates should guard against the potential for data loss, federal fines, and cyber-security risk by implementing an effective HIPAA compliance program to protect their business.

HIPAA Compliance Comes First!

As technology continues to develop, organizations within the healthcare industry will still need to comply with HIPAA regulations.

 

Compliancy Group gives healthcare professionals the tools they need to effectively address the full extent of HIPAA regulation. We give your organization confidence in your compliance with our proprietary achieve, illustrate, and maintain methodology, all housed in our cloud-based app, the Guard. The Guard allows users to address every element of what the law requires to give you peace of mind.

 

Users will also have help along the way. Our Compliance Coaches will walk you through every step of the process and ensure you have a complete understanding of HIPAA.

 

Compliancy Group is here to simplify compliance so you can confidently focus on your business. Find out how we can help!

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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

Bridging the Patient | Provider Divide

Bridging the Patient | Provider Divide | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

There is a growing divide between patients and providers over medical billing. While patient surveys repeatedly cite online accessibility and ease of billing as top concerns, most healthcare providers are not working to address those concerns.

 

A February article in BeckersHospitalReview found that upgrading digital payment tools was not a priority for most healthcare providers. A separate survey found that 79 percent of patients “consider the billing and payment experience” when choosing a healthcare provider.

 

StrongBox eSolution, based in Boca Raton, FL, is working to bridge the patient/provide divide by addressing the needs of patients while providing innovating solutions for providers through our cloud-based revenue cycle management software and patient financing solutions.

 

What Poll Results Tell Us About Patient Expectations


A recent report by Patientco surveyed more than 50 providers at large health systems that had more
than 350 beds and 200 patients on average. Here are their findings.

 

  • Nearly 80 percent of patients said they consider billing options when choosing their healthcare provider.
  • The vast majority (90.5 percent) of patient respondents said they prefer the option to pay their medical bills through installment payments.
  • Nearly 70 percent of patient respondents prefer digital enrollment over mail.
  • Flexible payment options are desired by 87 percent of provider respondents.
  • Half of the patients reported affordability as a top concern while less than 13 percent of providers shared that concern. 

 

The patients have spoken. Affordability and ease of access are top priorities for patients, even if those concerns aren’t always shared by providers. So how can your private practice, MSO, or  medical/dental group begin to bridge the divide and benefit from a more efficient billing system? Simple. By using StrongBox eSolutions, our platform as a service offers two benefits that serve both your patients and your bottom line.


StrongBox eSolutions Services
StrongBox creates a win-win for both providers and patients. Your patients will receive a streamlined
billing and payment experience. We offer two financing options (Select and Pro) that will  provide your
patients with:

  • No hidden markups
  • Fixed-rate loans
  • No interest hikes for late payments
  • Access to top-tier lenders
  • Zero credit score impact
  • Fast lender response
  • Hassle-free applications
  • Fixed monthly payments

 

As a provider, you will receive an enhanced revenue profile and a lower risk profile.  StrongBox efficiency creation helps create a better patient experience, which in turn leads to higher patient
satisfaction and higher patient retention.

 

Providers also benefit from our interactive Dashboard, which tracks Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
such as:

  • Total encounters
  • Total collections
  • Charges
  • Number of procedures
  • Total adjustments
  • Enhanced tracking over outstanding accounts receivable (AR)

 

You can view KPIs on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Plus, we offer a 12-month revenue
snapshot that can be used to compare profitability with prior years. Any reports that are not built-in can
be added by using our software’s custom reporting tools.

 

Learn How StrongBox eSolutions Services Is Bridging the Patients/Provider Divide

 

Nearly 80 percent of patients consider billing options when choosing their healthcare provider. When patients are empowered to handle their own billing and financing, patient payment compliance rises and delinquent payments drop. Our online Patient Payment Portal is designed with this in mind.

 

By partnering with our online services, you will be sending the message that your business is listening and addressing those concerns. To learn more about our services, contact our team online or call our Boca Raton, FL office at (855) 468-7876.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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

Healthcare Technology trends to watch out 

Healthcare Technology trends to watch out  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The healthcare industry is on the cusp of a digital revolution. People are empowered with health information, thanks to technological innovations in digital health. It’s vitally important that healthcare professionals continue to stay up to date on advances in technology that will improve not only their internal systems but also patient treatment and care.

 

In this article, we’ll focus on top healthcare technology trends for 2018 in three main areas, namely Patient Engagement, Hospital Workflow, and Treatment.

 

Patient Engagement


2018 will witness more developments in the arena of patient-centric care. Mobile health is gaining prominence, pointing us to the fact that individuals are taking a more active role in their own health. Wearables and fitness trackers are gaining mass adoption by people of varying demographics. About 50% of healthcare consumers are expected to be active digital health tech adopters in 2018. Now, more than ever, patients will begin to have a say in their choice of treatment and expect transparency of information exchange from healthcare providers.

 

Telemedicine is another model of healthcare that is gaining traction in this hyper connected world. Get ready to see a rise in demand by consumers for health advice and information in the coming months. Adoption of telemedicine will connect patients and doctors like never before. The digital health empowered individual will pose a challenge to traditional healthcare services that are slow in adapting to the digital transformation happening around. The quality of service from healthcare providers will be measured by the ease of access to information by patients.

 

Hospital Workflow


Technology continues to advance as people become more and more accustomed and able to access information in seconds rather than hours or even days. Because of this, slow-paced administrative processes in hospitals are becoming increasingly frustrating to patients. This includes things as simple as difficulties of scheduling an appointment, to accessing medical reports, or even trouble in exchanging information between providers.

 

Hospitals are expected to make use of digital platforms and cloud computing services as part of their patient engagement measures. The motto of 2018 will be data access, anywhere, anytime.

 

Mobile health, telemedicine, and Electronic Health Records (EHR) will produce a plethora of data that healthcare providers can utilize to improve patient care. One of the challenges that many providers will face is the issue of storing and securely transmitting sensitive patient health information (PHI). Many organizations still depend on legacy fax equipment to securely transmit documents despite the criticism of relying on this ancient technology. Thankfully, 2018 will be the year hospitals decide to choose alternative technologies like online faxing that is secure, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.

 

Other exciting news awaiting us as we talk about secure transmission of data is the blockchain. Utilization of the blockchain will disrupt the way data has been handled until now. IDC Health Insights predicts that 20% of healthcare organizations will actively develop systems utilizing the blockchain to keep data secure and enable easy exchange of information between trusted partners.

 

Treatment


Robots are coming - Not Terminators, but life savers.

 

Experts suggest that practitioners will make use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for better diagnosis, surgeries, assistants, and more. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will become common tools at the hands of doctors for educating patients. AI bots will slice and dice data to help doctors make more accurate clinical decisions. The combined force of blockchain and AI will open a new realm in healthcare which will ultimately help provide better patient care. Use of AI will increase the efficiency and productivity of doctors as well. For those who fear a robotic conquer of the world, be assured that AI in healthcare is not going to replace doctors, but empower them.

 

These technological developments will help to fuel a positive change in the healthcare industry in 2018. It’s impossible to predict the pace of these implementations in hospitals, as these require not only capital and training but also an open-minded and forward thinking CIO that’s willing to adopt new and innovative technologies. The pertinent question is, are you ready to embrace the change?

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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

Technology benefits the elderly, but can it help those with dementia?

Technology benefits the elderly, but can it help those with dementia? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The buzz is building about technology’s ability to enrich the lives of the elderly, effectively turning back the clock and opening up new possibilities. The statistics back it up, with 67 percent of adults over 65 accessing the news on mobile devices and 77 percent of adults over 65 owning a mobile phone. Anecdotally, I hear it all the time: So many people talk about how their parents or grandparents initially resisted the adoption of technology, but after learning to use iPads and other devices, their lives are transformed.

Still, amidst all of the valid excitement over technology’s positive effects on the aging population, huge gaps and opportunities remain in the space. Much of the technology is dedicated toward the concept of “aging in place,” with the goal of keeping older adults as independent and healthy for as long as possible. These products are aimed at keeping people connected and brain-fit, as well as enhancing wellness and longevity. These are all valid endeavors, and it’s fascinating as every year goes by to see what’s on the horizon.

 

However, in the wake of that well-justified enthusiasm, folks dealing with cognitive decline, and in particular dementia, can be left out of the equation. Arguably, those experiencing cognitive decline have the most to gain from adopting technology of any group. And the good news is that finding ways to help this group through technology isn’t very complicated.

 

The right technology for the right person

It’s important to realize that the dramatic impact we have seen with technology and dementia over the years has not usually come from new and groundbreaking technologies. Instead, it typically comes from repurposing tools already at our fingertips. Many of us have become blasé about new technologies. While our lives are changed through these tools, it happens incrementally, so the novelty and astonishment can wear off. Not so for those living with dementia. Do you know what it’s like for a 93-year-old with mid-stage dementia to see the house she grew up in via Google Earth? Or a grandmother in Iowa watching her granddaughter get married in France via Skype? Or how about a Korean War pilot reliving the experience of flying simply by navigating a joystick with off-the-shelf flight simulation software? The Jetsons weren’t so far off! We have these tools and many more at our disposal every day; it’s just a matter of integrating them into the dementia landscape. Of course, we must account for the cognitive and physical realities of each individual person, but that reality does not change the human desire we all feel to stay connected and to stay relevant.

 

Fortunately, we’ve had hundreds of providers over the years help us with thousands of ideas as to how to change the paradigm and make technology more accessible to the aging. What these valued partners have taught me is that what matters is not technology for its own sake, but searching to find the right technology that is most relevant to that one person. To the geography teacher, it’s putting together a puzzle of the United States; to the priest, it’s hearing the rosary, to the farmer, it’s being immersed in multimedia videos of farming, and to me, it’s hearing my daughter, Perrin, sing! We all have our own quirks and interests, and the communities that do it right are the ones that proactively look for technology solutions that match the needs of each person. It’s a fun, rewarding puzzle to put together.

 

Our journey into technology for the aging population is just beginning. Thanks to the promise of virtual reality, augmented reality, voice activation, holograms and more, the future is bright, and full of endless possibilities. So, if you are part of an organization that works with older adults, keep looking for technology that will keep the folks you serve as healthy and independent as long as possible. It’s without question a noble endeavor. But I guarantee you will be blown away by the outcomes if you also look for ways to benefit the folks that seem like they are the hardest to reach. The smiles you get back will make it worth the effort!

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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

Patients Want More Digital Health Tools From Primary Care Physicians

Patients Want More Digital Health Tools From Primary Care Physicians | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Patient adoption of digital health tools remains low, but interest in virtual care services is high, as a new survey report finds that the majority of consumers say they are choosing their primary care provider, in part, based on how well they use technology to communicate with patients and manage their health.

A survey conducted by Harris Poll, on behalf of Salesforce, found that 59 percent of all health-insured patients, and 70 percent of millennials, say they would choose a primary care doctor who offers a patient mobile app (allowing patients to make appointments, see bills, view health data, etc.) over one that does not.

The survey polled 2,000 adults, among whom 1,736 have health insurance and a primary care doctor. The 2016 Connected Patient Report aimed to examine how consumers communicate with their healthcare provider and their interest in telemedicine and wearable devices.

The report found that people primarily interact with their physicians through in-person visits, phone calls and emails, but are open to virtual care treatment options enabled through technology.

When polled about how they communicate with their healthcare provider, 23 percent of respondents set up appointments in-person and 76 percent do so over the phone while only 9 percent use a portal, 7 percent use email and only 1 percent communicate via text. However, those last three forms of communication are higher for millennials—13 percent use portals, 11 percent communicate with their doctor via email and 4 percent communicate via text.

More consumers are using portals to get test results (23 percent) and to get prescriptions and refills (11 percent).

Almost a third of respondents (29 percent) report using a portal to look at their current health data.

However, the majority of consumers (62 percent) are still relying on their doctor to keep track of their health records, and only 25 percent report having access to their health data through a single self-service portal provided by their healthcare provider and/or insurance provider. In addition, 15 percent said they use multiple portals or websites to keep track of their health data provided by their healthcare provider. Only 6 percent of respondents have their own electronic method, whether scanning, saving to desktop or an online file storage, to keep track of health data, and 29 percent keep their records in a home-based physical storage location like a folder or shoebox.

Sixty-three percent of insured adults say their primary care physician provides virtual care services enabled by technology, but these are mainly delivered through legacy technologies such as phone

(53 percent) or email (28 percent). Only 10 percent reported their primary care physician enables communication through a health provider app on a mobile device and 7 percent of respondents’ doctors provide the option of texting with a doctor or nurse or instant messaging with a doctor or nurse. And, only 3 percent of respondents say their primary care physician provides the option of a webcam call with a doctor or nurse.

More than a third of respondents (37 percent) say that their primary care physician does not provide any virtual care services.

Despite this, mobile engagement is important among respondents, as, in addition to 59 percent who favor primary care physicians who offer a patient mobile app, 60 percent would choose a physician who offers home care over one that doesn't, and 46 percent would choose one who offers virtual treatment options over one who doesn't. Just 38 percent would choose a doctor "who uses data from patient’s wearable devices to manage health outcomes" over one that doesn't.

And, the survey findings indicate that 62 percent of U.S. adults with health insurance and a primary care provider would be open to virtual care treatments such as a video conference call as an alternative to an in-office doctor’s visit for non-urgent matters.

The survey findings also indicate that patients want their doctors to have access to their wearable health tracking device data to provide more personalized care. In fact, 78 percent of these patients who own a wearable would want their doctors to have access to data created by the device so providers can have more up-to-date views of their health (44 percent), use health data trends to be able to diagnose conditions before they become serious or terminal (39 percent), and give more personalized care (33 percent).

And, 67 percent of millennials would be very or somewhat likely to use a wearable health tracking device given to them by their insurance companies in exchange for potentially better health insurance rates based on the data provided by the device.

When polled about their post-discharge experiences, 61 percent of respondents say that improvements can be made in the post-discharge process, such as better communication between their primary doctors and other members of their care teams (38 percent).

“Patients today are choosing their providers, in part, based on how well they use technology to communicate with them and manage their health,” Joshua Newman, M.D., chief medical officer, Salesforce Healthcare and Life Sciences, said in a statement. “Care providers who build deeper patient relationships through care-from-anywhere options, the use of wearables and better communications post-discharge, will be in a strong position to be successful today and into the future.”

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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

The Possible Future Scenarios For Information Technology’s Role In Healthcare

The Possible Future Scenarios For Information Technology’s Role In Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The possible scenarios are; Peak, Plateau, and Canyon. Here’s how each scenario is defined:

 

  • PEAK – the Peak scenario represents a world of innovation, where information and communications technology (ICT) fulfills its potential to strengthen governance models, economies and societies

 

  • PLATEAU -  the Plateau scenario is a “status quo” world, in which political, economic and societal forces can both bolster and hinder technological progress

 

  • CANYON – the Canyon scenario is a metaphor for an isolated world, characterized by unclear, ineffective government policies and standards, rooted in protectionist stances

 

What is required of governments and policymakers in order for us to achieve a world that looks more like Peak than Canyon? Here’s what public and private sector leaders must prioritize if they truly want to work towards a Peak scenario:

 

  • Governance models that provide clear policy direction and a national or regional framework for cybersecurity. Ideally, these models will include commitments to an open, free Internet where privacy is protected, there is harmonization of cybersecurity laws and standards internationally, and global free trade is supported.

 

  • Talent development that is supported by strategic investments in infrastructure and research and development. These investments should balance talent mobility and retention, with an emphasis on educating a modern workforce that can sustain innovation.

 

  • Global cooperation that advances cybersecurity risk management and coordination among stakeholders both domestically and internationally, with a focus on developing global norms that support stability and security in cyberspace.

 

So what, you ask, does the above have to do with Healthcare and the Healthcare Industry? I think all you need to do is strategically insert a few words in each of the priorities above. For instance:

 

 

  • Governance models that provide clear health policy direction and a national or regional framework for health information cybersecurity. Ideally, these models will include commitments to an open, free Internet where health information privacy is protected, there is harmonization of cybersecurity laws and standards internationally, and global free trade is supported.

 

  • Talent development that is supported by strategic investments in infrastructure and research and development. These investments should balance talent mobility and retention, with an emphasis on educating a modern clinical workforce that can sustain innovation.

 

  • Global cooperation that advances health information cybersecurity risk management and coordination among stakeholders both domestically and internationally, with a focus on developing global norms that support stability and security for health data in cyberspace.

 

Despite all the hype around electronic medical records and the potential for information technology to transform health and healthcare delivery around the world, there remains an elephant in the room. That elephant consists of the need for the governance models, talent development and global cooperation required if we hope to achieve that which all of us who work in Health ICT know in our hearts is possible.

 

Otherwise, it is clear we will simply Plateau, or worse yet, Canyon in our quest to improve healthcare quality, access, and cost. Since the strength of our economies and the vibrancy of our countries is so closely tied to the health of our populations, we must surely not allow for a future that is anything but Peak. What are your thoughts?

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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

Going From Paper To Paperless 

Going From Paper To Paperless  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
Can Your Office Truly Be A Paperless Office?

Although many of us dream of a truly paperless office, the reality is that our world still revolves in large part around information printed onto physical documents. And even with a sizable number of medical practices transitioning to electronic medical records every year, most have still not taken the plunge (and, at this rate, may never do so). So when correspondence is received from an ‘analog’ practice, that paperwork must be converted to a digital format.

 

I’ll discuss some options for scanning equipment below but it is important to realize that the physical act ofscanning is only part of the process of digitization of paper documents. A real person, usually with at least a basic clinical understanding, must categorize and organize the scanned files into their proper place: within the right patient’s chart, within the right folder, and perhaps with the right tags or labels.

Scanning options For Small Practices 

A small medical practice may be able to use a consumer level scanner. If you use EMR, you’ll need a way to get the scanned files into the patient records, and then someone will need to put the files in their proper place. These should be sheet-fed scanners, not the flat-bed type of scanners used for copying books and bulky objects; the latter would be painfully slow way to scan paper documents.

 

NeatDesk scanner  This is a nicely-designed scanner with included proprietary software that can scan documents, business cards, and receipts – using three different chutes – and automatically categorize them into different folders. If you don’t want to think too much when scanning, the software can do the work for you; however, I found it a little too inflexible.

 

Also, the auto image adjustment that straightens images that were scanned crooked is usually needed because the central rollers don’t consistently pull documents straight through. NeatDesk has recently added the ability to scan to Dropbox.

 

Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 This has become my scanner of choice for the home office. It always pulls documents through straight and does so quickly. Unlike the NeatDesk, it does not have separate chutes for cards and receipts, so the guides have to be adjusted manually for those. But consistently straight scans makes up for that.

 

Another cool feature is the ability to scan directly to your phone or iPad via a wireless connection, in addition to Dropbox or email. I use this device to scan every piece of paper I receive, from bills to magazine articles to receipts (before shredding them).

Document scanning services

For those practices that are overwhelmed with the sheer volume of paperwork that needs to be scanned, the services of a document scanning company can be employed. They can be especially helpful in the beginning of EMR conversion, to give the practice a running start.

 

They can either simply scan paper documents into digital files or facilitate the actual conversion of paper patient charts directly into their electronic medical records. Some medical practices continue using their paper records and then scan them into a digital format at the end of each day, foregoing the EMR system altogether. While this is technically an electronic record of the document, realize that this is not a true electronic medical record system and thus would not qualify for Meaningful Use incentives.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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

eHealth Initiative: New Payment Models Driving Population Health

eHealth Initiative: New Payment Models Driving Population Health | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Value-based payment models aren't going away, making population health initiatives ever more critical, Tricia Nguyen, executive vice president for population health at Texas Health Resources, said during a webinar presenting results from the eHealth Initiative's latest population health survey. 

 

Nguyen, who also serves as president of the Texas Health Population Health, Education & Innovation Center, warned against the wait-and-see attitude some are taking.

 

Among 59 responses of individuals used from accountable care organizations, hospitals and health systems, physician practices, health insurance companies and elsewhere, 68.1 percent said they had created new roles or hired staff for population health.

 

Additionally, 68.1 percent said they had begun activities and 76.6 percent had purchased population health or analytics technology; 72.3 percent anticipate making such investments.

 

Nguyen said there's no single best technology for population health, but there are best-of-breed solutions from multiple vendors. Interoperability remains a huge problem, though, she added.

 

She also pointed to a study that found patients were contacted up to 15 times in the days following hospital discharge because various providers can't share data.

 

Population health management activities, according to the survey, are most often aimed at readmission risk (81 percent), multiple chronic conditions (79 percent), ER super users (77 percent) and specific diseases (70 percent).

 

Eighty-three percent of respondents said they measure success by intermediate outcomes and healthcare processes (72 percent), cost savings (70 percent) and patient satisfaction (70 percent). Thirty-seven percent said they're integrating patient-reported data.

 

These percentages far surpass the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services's goal of having 30 percent of providers in value-based payment models by the end of 2016, suggesting the results are skewed, said moderator Charles Kennedy, CEO of Accountable Care Solutions at Aetna.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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

Myth, Truths & Trends In Health IT For 2016 

Myth, Truths & Trends In Health IT For 2016  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

There is a floating myth out there that healthcare providers are unwilling to adopt new technology. It's just not true. In the last few months, I have spoken to dozens of healthcare leaders at hospitals small and large, and I am amazed at their willingness to understand and adopt technology.

 

Pretty much every hospital CEO, COO, CMIO or CIO I talk to believes two things:

 

They have to do more with less. With growing demand, rising costs and constrained supply, healthcare is facing a looming crisis unless providers figure out how to "do more with less."

Technology is a key enabler. The technology is out there to help save more lives, deliver better care, reduce costs and achieve a healthier America. If a technology solution solves a real problem and has a clearly articulated ROI, healthcare isn't that different from any other industry and is willing to adopt it.

Given my conversations, here are the five biggest IT trends I see in healthcare going forward:

 

1. Consumerization of the EHR. Love it or hate it, the EHR sits at the center of innovation. Since the passage of the HITECH Act in 2009 – a $30 billion effort to transform healthcare delivery through the widespread use of EHRs – the "next generation" EHR is becoming a reality driven by three factors:

  • Providers feeling the pressure to find innovative ways to cut costs and bring more efficiency to healthcare delivery
  • The explosion of "machine generated" healthcare data from mobile apps, wearables and sensors
  • The "operating terminal" shifting from a desktop to a smartphone/tablet, forcing providers to reimagine how patient care data is produced and consumed

 

The "next generation" EHR will be built around physician workflows and will make it easy for them to produce and consume data. It will, of course, need to have proper controls in place to make sure data can only be accessed by the right people to ensure privacy and safety. I expect more organizations will adopt the "app store" model that Kaiser pioneered so developers can innovate on their open platform.

 

2.Interoperability. Lack of system interoperability has made it very hard for providers to adopt new technologies such as data mining, machine learning, image recognition, Internet of Things and mobile. This is changing fast:

  • HHS's mandate for interoperability in all EHRs by 2024, so patient data can be shared across systems to enable better care at lower cost.
  • HITECH incentives and the mandate to move 50 percent of Medicare payments from fee-for-service to value-based alternatives by 2018 imply care coordination, and therefore, interoperability will become imperative.
  • Project Argonaut, an industry-wide effort to create a modern API and data/services sharing between the EHR and other systems using HL7 FHIR, has already made impressive progress.
  • More than 60 percent of the proposed Stage 3 meaningful use rules require interoperability, up from 33 percent in Stage 2.

 

3. Mobile. With more than 50 percent of patients using their smartphone to monitor health and more than 50 percent of physicians using or wanting to use their smartphone to monitor patient health – and seamless data sharing on its way –the way care is delivered will truly change.

Telemedicine is showing significant gains in delivering primary care. We will continue to see more adoption of mobile-enabled services for ambulatory and specialty care in 2016 and beyond for three reasons:

  • Mobile provides "situational awareness" to all stakeholders so they know what's going on with a patient in an instant and can move the right resources fast with the push of a button.
  • It radically reduces communication overhead, especially when you're dealing with multiple situations at the same time with urgency, and communication is key.
  • It can significantly improve the patient experience and reduce operating costs. Studies have shown that remote monitoring and mobile post-discharge care can reduce readmissions and unnecessary admissions significantly.

The key hurdle here is regulatory compliance. For example, auto-dialing 9-1-1 if a phone detects a heart attack can be dangerous if not done right. As with the EHR, mobile services have to be designed around physician workflows and pass regulatory compliance.

 

4. Big data. Healthcare has been slower than verticals like retail to adopt big data technologies mainly because the ROI has not been very clear to date. With more wins on both the clinical and operational sides, that's clearly changing. Of all the technology capabilities, big data can have the greatest near-term impact on the clinical side and operational side for providers and will be one of the biggest trends for 2016 and beyond. Successful companies providing big data solutions will do three things right:

  • Cleanup data as needed: There's lots of data, but it's not easy to access it and not quite primed "or clean" for analysis. There's only so much you can see, and you spend a lot of time cleansing before you do any meaningful analysis.
  • Meaningful results: It's not always hard to build predictive analytic models, but they have to translate to results that enable evidence-based decision-making.
  • Deliver ROI: There are a lot of products out there that produce 1-2 percent gains; that doesn't necessarily justify the investment. 

5. Internet of things. While hospitals have been a bit slow in adopting IoT, three key trends will shape faster adoption:

  • Innovation in hardware components (smaller, faster CPUs at lower cost) that create cheaper, more advanced medical devices, such as a WiFi-enabled blood pressure monitor connected to the EHR or RTLS for smoother patient care coordination.
  • General purpose sensors are maturing and becoming more reliable for enterprise use.
  • Devices are becoming smart, but making them all work together is painful. It's good to have bed sensors that talk to the nursing station, and they will become part of a top level "platform" within the hospital. More sensors also means more data, and providers will create a "backend platform" to collect, process and route it to the right place at the right time and create "holistic" value propositions.
Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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

Developing An App Or Solution For The Healthcare Enterprise?

Developing An App Or Solution For The Healthcare Enterprise? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Over the years, I’ve worked with dozens of startups as well as established companies that focus on developing apps and IT solutions for the healthcare industry. I’m always amazed, particularly in the startup world, how naïve developers sometimes are about very basic business principles.

 

A common example is how often bright young developers confuse a great idea with something that can actually be monetized. This is especially true in the healthcare industry where so many good ideas die because they just don’t fit well in clinical workflow, or because they are viewed as so disruptive that clinicians won’t embrace them. Then too, there are the rather unique business and reimbursement models in healthcare that don’t follow the usual rules of supply and demand. It is often very hard to figure out who pays, when and why in healthcare.

 

Add to all of this the unique privacy, security and regulatory mandates in the industry and you have an unruly mix of obstacles, behaviors, and cultures that must be tamed if you hope to develop a sustainable, scalable, mobile app or IT solution for the healthcare industry.

 

In a recent article in HealthcareITNews, Sherree Geyer explores the status of some mobile apps and other IT solutions in healthcare. While there’s plenty of action in the enterprise healthcare mobile app space, the proof points for many of these apps on scalability, efficacy and safety remain to be seen. Scientific proof is an obstacle that must be overcome for any company developing solutions that touch enterprise healthcare and patients. Proving that what you offer can improve care quality, safety, or lower costs in clinical care settings requires disciplined, and often costly studies. In clinical medicine there just aren’t any shortcuts for this.

 

So, what’s a developer to do? For starters, pay attention to the rules and be prepared to buckle down and do the hard stuff. If you do, the rewards can be immense.

 

In the HealthITNews article, Dr. Andrey Ostrovsky, CEO of a company that has developed an app-base care coordination system for the health industry, offers some sage advice to those who purchase health

IT apps and solutions for the enterprise. He says such technology should:

 

  • be evidence-based
  • validate quality improvement claims within six months of deployment;
  • support National Quality Forum Committee measurements;
  • produce positive outcomes for reimbursement;
  • identify risk factors for patients;
  • improve workforce quality and satisfaction;
  • be platform agnostic;
  • adhere to interoperability standards;
  • sustain long-term supports and services and
  • provide technical assistance for baseline capacity.

 

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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

The Medical Technologies That Are Changing Health Care

The Medical Technologies That Are Changing Health Care | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Not long ago, people started wearing wristbands that recorded the number of steps they took, their heart rates and sleep cycles. But if the now-ubiquitous bands and accompanying apps that stored biorhythms started out as novelties, they paved the way for a new generation of gadgets that have become serious tools to improve health care delivery and outcomes. These newfangled contraptions will change how and where care is delivered and will enable providers to stay continuously connected with patients wherever they may be — or at least connected to the devices that indicate whether a patient is abiding by prescription protocols, getting up and about safely, and eating regularly. In some cases, they may even provide an early-warning system for serious degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

 

The scope of these emerging technologies is breathtaking. High-tech sensors soon will monitor the at-home cardiac patient’s heart every minute of every day. A new type of chip, embedded in a pill will be activated at the precise moment it reaches a patient’s stomach, and will confirm for the medical record that he’s taking his medications. Straight out of science fiction, new gizmos will emerge that can scan a body for a host of symptoms without poking or prodding and, in seconds, they’ll make a diagnosis.

 

They may sound futuristic, but many of these devices already exist and, in fact, are being supplanted by a new generation of products that do it all faster and better.

 

For instance, wearable techno patches now can monitor a person’s heart rate, body temperature and other vital signs — a big leap over monitors that have to be hooked up — and their results read by the patient. The data are more robust and valuable because the patches provide “continuous monitoring instead of taking a periodic snapshot,” says Sean Chai, director of innovation and advanced technology services at Kaiser Permanente.

 

Another sensor under development will be capable of reading biomarkers, blood-borne chemical clues that signal the levels of stress and anxiety, which can affect health as much as disease, diet and daily activity do. If the stress-level data can be synchronized with vitals such as pulse and blood pressure, a patient will receive personalized feedback on what makes her tense and which relaxation techniques work for her. Steven Steinhubl, M.D., who directs the digital medicine program at Scripps Translational Science Institute, San Diego, calls this aid to stress control “the most exciting aspect of wearables, and I’m convinced it will happen. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome before it becomes extremely functional, but the capability is remarkable.”

Heart failure

This is Medicare’s most costly diagnosis, and the mortality rate is comparable to a new cancer diagnosis. The Scripps institute is testing three types of sensors — necklace, wristband and watch — that give both the patient and the care team continuous information on how a compromised heart is functioning. Medications can be adjusted and dietary recommendations can be made in real time that are specific to the individual. The sensors replace once-daily routines such as measuring a patient’s weight for signs of water retention, an indirect rather than direct measure of heart function.

 

Medication compliance

An ingestible — and digestible — sensor is being rolled out to record whether and when a patient takes a medication. Developed by Proteus Digital Health, London and Redwood City, Calif., the chip uses gastric fluids as a power source, which means it turns on when it reaches the stomach. The sensor transmits the identity of the medication and the time it was taken to a skin patch, which then sends that info to an app on the patient’s mobile device. The patch also detects and transmits heart rate, activity and rest.

3-D printing

Every geek’s jaw dropped at the sight of the 3-D printer when it first came to market. These days, medical researchers are harnessing its potential to vastly improve patient care. For example, Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center is perfecting the use of 3-D printers to produce exact, multidimensional models of trouble spots inside patients. Surgeons can scrutinize and handle the models, then simulate a variety of possible procedures before ever going into the operating room.

 

The innovation “allows us to develop a more specialized, personalized, precise treatment plan,” Chai explains. “Ultimately, that improves the quality and affordability of care.” The patient, by the way, came through the procedure fine and is recovering.

The potential and how to reach it

Much of the emerging technology is aimed at getting inside the body without actually goinginside it. “There is already significant interest in noninvasive data acquisition, whether that’s light imaging or infrared or sound waves,” says Peter Reinhart, director of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

 

Longer-range research is focused on capturing much more sophisticated information than current products can, Reinhart says. A promising example is a patch that uses a combination of electrical and chemical signals to identify either the predisposition to or the existence of a particular disease.

 

The promise of personalized medicine to meet the unique needs of individuals depends on establishing baselines for each patient. To assess anxiety, for example, “One person’s stressor is another person’s idea of just an average day,” Reinhart says. “So just differentiating across individuals will be huge.”

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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

The Medical Internet of Things: What You Need to Know

The Medical Internet of Things: What You Need to Know | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Gartner has estimated that some 6.4 billion connected things will be in use by the end of 2016, with some 5.5 million new things getting connected every day. There’s been a clear boom in health and fitness wearables, with healthcare consumers investing in tracking devices – sometimes with their employer’s encouragement – and the MedTech industry has jumped on this in a big way.

 

Fascinating IoT applications are being developed today, often through unlikely partnerships. For example, medical devices company Medtronic is developing an application that transmits wearables data to the IBM Watson cognitive computing and predictive analytics platform. And Swiss pharma company Novartis is joining hands with Qualcomm to develop an internet-connected inhaler that can send information to a cloud-based big data analytics platform for healthcare providers to use in treating patients. These are exciting examples of how technology and analytics can support personalized medicine.

 

 

However, there are a couple of big issues that the IoT movement has to contend with when it comes to the Medical Internet of Things (IoT). These issues concern us as consumers, and they also concern our employers and our healthcare providers equally.

 

 

Data security:

 

The medtech industry is widely seen as unprepared for the security risk and vulnerability to hacking that their devices can cause for the rest of the healthcare system. This has im

Gartner has estimated that some 6.4 billion connected things will be in use by the end of 2016, with some 5.5 million new things getting connected every day. There’s been a clear boom in health and fitness wearables, with healthcare consumers investing in tracking devices – sometimes with their employer’s encouragement – and the MedTech industry has jumped on this in a big way.

 

Fascinating IoT applications are being developed today, often through unlikely partnerships. For example, medical devices company Medtronic is developing an application that transmits wearables data to the IBM Watson cognitive computing and predictive analytics platform. And Swiss pharma company Novartis is joining hands with Qualcomm to develop an internet-connected inhaler that can send information to a cloud-based big data analytics platform for healthcare providers to use in treating patients. These are exciting examples of how technology and analytics can support personalized medicine.

 

 

However, there are a couple of big issues that the IoT movement has to contend with when it comes to the Medical Internet of Things (IoT). These issues concern us as consumers, and they also concern our employers and our healthcare providers equally.

 

 

Data security:

 

The medtech industry is widely seen as unprepared for the security risk and vulnerability to hacking that their devices can cause for the rest of the healthcare system. This has immediate repercussions for consumers who may be unaware of the exposure of their personal medical information to cybercriminals. In addition, as healthcare providers start using medical information from these interconnected devices in a cloud-based environment, their enterprise IT, specifically electronic health record (EHR) systems, could be seriously compromised and vulnerable to hackers. And this brings us to the other, emerging issue that is beginning to get some attention in the exchange of IoT data.

 

 

Privacy and legal concerns:

 

While there are undisputable benefits for healthcare consumers as physicians gain access to medical information from a range of connected devices, there is a real threat to privacy as well. We start with the question of who owns the data. State law in the U.S varies when it comes to this question, and device makers and other software providers may lay claim to the data which can be used against consumers. At the same time, collecting personal data through devices imposes a set of legal requirements on enterprises, starting with proper disclosures about the collection and use of the information.

 

Many healthcare providers are leery of collecting any IoT data because of a combination of these factors. In my recent conversations with CISO-level executives, I sensed a real concern around the potential for these connected devices to do harm to enterprises through cyberattacks. In addition, there may be unexpected consequences of collecting this data, such as employers being held accountable for wrongfully using the data in termination-related lawsuits.

 

Increasingly, these complex issues are drawing the attention of regulators who are mandated to protect consumer interests and safeguard privacy. Indeed, this may cause a dilemma to medical device manufacturers who want to provide consumers with a rich experience on the one hand but also need to comply with FDA rules and complex requirements. The recent case of FDA intervention in the case of lab test company Theranos is also a cautionary tale for companies looking to play “fast and loose” with new technologies that may put consumers at risk.

 

 

Eventually, all these challenges will need to be overcome, simply because the potential benefits of using IoT data for improving health and wellness far exceed the downsides and risks. However, the challenge we face is that technology is evolving at an explosive pace and the regulatory and legal infrastructures are unprepared for the sudden increase in complexity that all this causes. We are going to see very interesting times ahead.

mediate repercussions for consumers who may be unaware of the exposure of their personal medical information to cybercriminals. In addition, as healthcare providers start using medical information from these interconnected devices in a cloud-based environment, their enterprise IT, specifically electronic health record (EHR) systems, could be seriously compromised and vulnerable to hackers. And this brings us to the other, emerging issue that is beginning to get some attention in the exchange of IoT data.

 

 

Privacy and legal concerns:

 

While there are undisputable benefits for healthcare consumers as physicians gain access to medical information from a range of connected devices, there is a real threat to privacy as well. We start with the question of who owns the data. State law in the U.S varies when it comes to this question, and device makers and other software providers may lay claim to the data which can be used against consumers. At the same time, collecting personal data through devices imposes a set of legal requirements on enterprises, starting with proper disclosures about the collection and use of the information.

 

Many healthcare providers are leery of collecting any IoT data because of a combination of these factors. In my recent conversations with CISO-level executives, I sensed a real concern around the potential for these connected devices to do harm to enterprises through cyberattacks. In addition, there may be unexpected consequences of collecting this data, such as employers being held accountable for wrongfully using the data in termination-related lawsuits.

 

Increasingly, these complex issues are drawing the attention of regulators who are mandated to protect consumer interests and safeguard privacy. Indeed, this may cause a dilemma to medical device manufacturers who want to provide consumers with a rich experience on the one hand but also need to comply with FDA rules and complex requirements. The recent case of FDA intervention in the case of lab test company Theranos is also a cautionary tale for companies looking to play “fast and loose” with new technologies that may put consumers at risk.

 

 

Eventually, all these challenges will need to be overcome, simply because the potential benefits of using IoT data for improving health and wellness far exceed the downsides and risks. However, the challenge we face is that technology is evolving at an explosive pace and the regulatory and legal infrastructures are unprepared for the sudden increase in complexity that all this causes. We are going to see very interesting times ahead.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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

Optimize Your Sales Team's Productivity with 10 Cisco IP Phones

Optimize Your Sales Team's Productivity with 10 Cisco IP Phones | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Ten Cisco IP Phone Options for Your Sales Team

1) The Cisco 8865. Sales organizations seeking the latest in cutting-edge HD video communications will find the 8865 to their liking. Designed to function flawlessly in shared work environments, the 8865 offers a comprehensive collection of VoIP features. Key characteristics of 8865 include the following:

  • A 5-inch widescreen VGA color display
  • High-quality 720p two-way HD video for a superb visual experience
  • Superb video and VoIP clarity
  • An optional key expansion module that facilitates dialing
  • Flexible deployment options

Additionally, the 8865 is compatible with a variety of USB headsets, including models made by third-party vendors. This advantage enables companies with offshore call centers to easily and affordably replace headsets through local suppliers.

 

2) The Cisco 8845. The 8845 was designed for optimum user productivity. In addition to offering basic calling features such as transfer, conference, and hold/resume, the 8845 allows sales reps to employ its multi-call-per-line feature to handle multiple calls for each directory number. The most pertinent features for sales and customer service agents are as follows:

  • A 5-inch high-resolution widescreen backlit color display
  • High-quality 720p two-way HD video
  • Five programmable lines
  • Outstanding audio acoustics
  • One-touch access to applications

In addition to these key features, the 8845 is known for its integrated digital camera and outstanding encryption of voice and video communications.

 

3) The Cisco 7945G. Like 8845, the Cisco 7945G possesses an adaptable, dynamic design that facilitates organizational growth. Regular, unobtrusive software updates help to ensure that sales and customer service representatives maintain a competitive edge in efficiency and productivity. Key characteristics of the 7945G include the following:

  • A 5-inch graphical TFT color display with backlight and 16-bit color depth
  • High-quality 720p two-way HD video for a superb visual experience
  • Five programmable lines
  • Wideband support, including speakerphone, handset, and headset
  • One-touch access to applications

The 7945G is also known for its integrated support for over 30 languages, making it an excellent choice for organizations with employees in multiple countries.

 

4) The Cisco SPA303G. The SPA303G IP phone was constructed with utility and affordability in mind. It is the perfect option for organizations that do not require a large color display or other sophisticated features present on recently designed IP phones. Key characteristics of the SPA303G include the following:

  • A backlit monochrome LCD screen (128 x 64 pixels)
  • Three voice lines
  • Caller ID
  • A menu-operated user interface
  • Automatic redial of the most recent number called

Two final points to consider are the SPA303G’s simple installation process and secure remote provisioning tools. Software upgrades are easy to make and do not interfere with regular business, giving sales and customer service managers peace of mind.

 

5) The Cisco SPA504G. The SPA504G IP phone possesses the same robust collection of features as the 303G. However, the SPA504G also includes an additional voice line, Power over Ethernet (PoE) support, and other upgrades that make it a more attractive option for sales professionals who field a lot of calls. Key characteristics of the SPA504G include the following:

  • A backlit monochrome LCD screen (128 x 64 pixels)
  • Four voice lines
  • Illuminated buttons to signify on/off for audio mute, headset, and speakerphone
  • A menu-operated user interface
  • Support of optional features such as Cisco XML and VoiceView Express

 

6) The Cisco SPA514G. With its dual gigabit ethernet switched ports and secure remote provisioning, the SPA514G is a logical choice for call centers with single or multiple locations. Key specifications include:

  • A backlit monochrome LCD screen (128 x 64 pixels)
  • Four voice lines
  • Supports Power over Ethernet (PoE)
  • A menu-operated user interface
  • Automatic redial of the most recent number called

Like other models in Cisco’s SPA line, the SPA514G is known for its ease of installation and simple station moves, making it a favorite among sales managers and IT staff alike.

 

7) The Cisco 7940G. Designed with the needs of transaction-type employees in mind, the Cisco 7940G is a model for call center managers to consider. Additional benefits for call center agents include categorization of incoming messages for users and customizable network configuration preferences. The 7940G boasts a robust collection of capabilities, including the following:

  • The ability for hands-free changes, facilitating moves to any new network location without system administration
  • The availability of a variety of user accessibility methods, including soft keys, buttons, or direct access
  • More than 24 unique ringer sounds and volume settings
  • A dedicated headset port that allows the handset to remain in its cradle
  • Easy access to a variety of information, including stock market updates, weather, and other web-based news

In addition to these advantages, the 7940G features an ADA-compliant dial pad and HAC handset, facilitating compliance with industry regulations. The 7940G also has a foot stand that can be adjusted up to 60 degrees for optimum viewing and comfort.

 

8) Cisco 7912G. The 7912G offers outstanding value to companies facing tight budgetary constraints. A snapshot of the basic features of the 7912G is as follows:

  • Single voice line support
  • A monochrome, pixel-based display that displays the caller’s name and number
  • Call forwarding and call waiting
  • On-hook dialing
  • Four speed-dials

Because the 7912G is an older model phone, it is no longer available for purchase directly through Cisco, but may be purchased through online resellers.

 

9) The Cisco CP-8831-K9. The CP-8831-K9 is distinct from the other Cisco phones on this list because it is designed specifically for conference calls. The CP-8831-K9 provides an acoustically pleasing experience for a large group of sales representatives and call center agents. Boasting the following five strengths, the CP-8831-K9 is particularly beneficial to companies that regularly hold audio conference calls with customer groups or vendors:

  • High-definition audio performance
  • 360-degree coverage
  • Scalability to optimize conference calls in rooms and offices of every size
  • Flexibility and convenience through a mobile control panel
  • Expandability through the use of wired or wireless extension microphones

The CP-8831-K9 also includes a number of subtly impressive features such as echo suppression, noise reduction, and silence suppression. The inclusion of these premium features makes the CP-8831-K9 an excellent choice for sales organizations that require a dependable conference phone.

 

10) The Cisco 8800 Key Module. While this module is not a telephone in and of itself, it deserves inclusion in this list because of its progressive ability to transform Cisco’s 8851, 8861, and 8865 telephones. In addition to greatly enhancing productivity for phone users, the 8800 key module offers busy sales representatives one-button access to the colleagues with whom they communicate with the greatest frequency. Notable features of the 8800 key module include the following:

  • 18 programmable LED lines per module
  • A backlit, high-resolution 4.3-inch color display for easy viewing
  • Users can choose between Power over Ethernet (PoE) or a local power cube
  • A power save plus option to help companies save money and conserve energy.
Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
Scoop.it!

Establishing Information Security in Project Management

Establishing Information Security in Project Management | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

A person recently asked me if it was possible to implement ISO 27001 using a specific project management software product. They used the tool in the past to define project plans and make project reviews. While I told them this is entirely possible, the truth is one can implement ISO 27001 even without a project plan or any specific tools. But should they?

ISO 27001 and Information Security in Project Management

The point is that many people do not treat the implementation of ISO 27001 as a project. What is worse, the majority see this security standard as just another document kit. They believe information security could be established just by making their employees scan a set of documents. Of course, this is an entirely incorrect concept of ISO 27001. To establish information security within an organization, we need to implement a set of specifically defined procedures.

This is also analogous to establishing information security within project management itself. While most think that ISO 27001 is merely a document or a project plan a manager needs to quickly scan before the project starts, this could not be further from the truth. What we actually need to do is clearly define a guide for the implementation of information security during the entirety of the project management life cycle.

Unfortunately, a lot of people find it difficult to understand what information security in project management entails. But the concept is fairly easy to grasp – protect information related to project management from an information security point of view.

How Can We Establish Information Security in Project Management?

To properly protect information around any project, we need to focus on securing the information that is essential to the management of a specific project (information related to the project itself, business, resources, personal data, etc).

Furthermore, it is extremely important to identify the classification of the information because its value is not always the same. For example, names and surnames are treated as public, while information on employee salaries is considered private.

But even though some information is considered public, we need to protect it regardless. The obvious reason is it could be modified without our permission. For example, an e-commerce website would see a significant decrease in revenue if one was to modify their public information by increasing product prices by $100.

Therefore, one important thing to focus on would be the identification of information in your project, i.e. defining the classification of information and considering that not all information should be treated equally. Now let us take a closer look at how ISO 27001 helps with establishing information security in project management.

Managing Projects in Accordance With ISO 27001

The most important aspect of ISO 27001 is risk management, which is a crucial point if you want to manage projects according to this information security standard. Annex A of ISO 27001 includes a specific control regarding risk management (“A.6.1.5 Information security in project management”) according to which you would need to define the following points:

  • Clearly define roles and responsibilities related to information security (CISO, information security auditors, developers, systems administrators, etc.).
  • Define information security objectives. Reduce the number of incidents and improve confidentiality of external access to the information, etc.
  • Perform risk assessment and risk treatment. For example, risks related to a source code in software development or risks related to the entire IT infrastructure of a company, etc.
  • Develop specific policies for information security of a project. If the project is related to software development, it might be wise to develop a policy related to writing software code in a secure way.

Benefits of Information Security in Project Management

Clearly, there are a lot of risks when it comes to establishing information security in project management. Although these could be hazardous to your project, the good news is you can easily avoid them. You just need to clearly define information security throughout the entire project life cycle. Risk management is the ultimate tool to pinpoint what you need to change in your project to avoid problems and execute it securely.

Some might wonder whether it was possible to execute a project without considering information security. Obviously, one can manage a project without establishing proper infosec, but there will be a much higher probability of failure.

From a professional viewpoint, and since information security should be of the highest importance to any project manager, the main benefit of secure project management is painstakingly clear: avoidance of any potential breaches of information security within a project.

Fortunately, ISO 27001 is specifically designed to establish proper information security while having a specific control regarding the treatment of information security in project management. Therefore, ISO 27001 can be an excellent tool for executing secure projects within your organization.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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

Phone Systems that keep the Practice and Patient Connected 

Phone Systems that keep the Practice and Patient Connected  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Today’s medical practice office is increasingly concerned with patient satisfaction. Of course, the health and well-being of patients has always been a concern; but as revenue and billing cycles quickly shift to a larger percent of patient responsibility, it’s becoming important to focus on ways to keep the conversation between practice and patient open and customer-centric at all times.

 

Healthcare providers have begun looking to technology solutions to up their patient satisfaction game. One likely solution? Automated phone systems that keep the practice and patient connected. Here’s a look at some of the key pros and cons of using automated phone systems in healthcare.

 

Everyone can relate to being annoyed by automated phone systems that keep directing callers around in circles, never to reach a human voice. That experience doesn’t translate to high patient appreciation. But it’s important to note that a good automated phone system can be far easier to use and more personalized for your practice needs.

 

Pros of Automated Phone Systems

 

Save Money. Automated phone systems have the potential to cover all of the work of your standard receptionist. Calls can be directed to the right party fairly quickly and the practice is still saving on the man hours it takes to answer and direct those calls manually.


Easy Installation and Upkeep. Most phone systems can be installed and up and running in a short amount of time and they can be hosted by the provider, meaning that the office will not need to worry about troubleshooting problems.


Routing Calls. New systems are exceptionally advanced and calls can easily be routed to the right destination, as well as voicemail boxes.


Setting Up Call Options. If the office manager takes a good look at what patients generally call about, they can narrow down specific options so that callers are quickly directed to the right location. For instance, if the largest number of calls come in to schedule appointments, “Scheduling” should be the first item on the automated list.


Cons of Automated Phone Systems

 

Patient Approval. No matter how well designed the phone system is, there will always be patients who are opposed simply because they’ve had bad experiences with automated systems–potentially not even in healthcare, but in another industry altogether. Most patients will get used to a new system, though practices should definitely listen to feedback and adjust to better serve the patients.

 

Voice Recognition Mistakes. Voice recognition is exceptionally useful so that patients can speak their choices and be directed immediately, without punching in any keys. Many people prefer this method, but voice recognition does still have occasional issues in deciphering speech, especially with differing accents.

 

Managers should take some time researching the company and product before deciding on any system. Taking the patients’ needs into consideration can go a long way in making the decision, as well as breeding satisfaction with patients as they become better acquainted with the phone system. Looking to the future of healthcar, technology plays the biggest role in facilitating patient satsifaction.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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

Healthcare Compliance Consultants 

Healthcare Compliance Consultants  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

With the Affordable Care Act going into effect, the sheer number of hospitals, insurance companies, and other healthcare providers, that have struggled to successfully implement major changes in their working – without assistance – has increased drastically. Before that, most of the physicians were comfortable in their working. With the major reforms looming; many doctors decided to join hospitals, and by default – leave their private practice. If only they approached the correct issues by hiring the right team, or even the right person, everything would have been different. This is where a healthcare compliance consultant becomes the most useful.

Healthcare compliance consultants can notice the full potential of a practice, a hospital, or any other health facility. They base their strategies on data analysis, knowledge, professionalism, and dedication – while showing the right way to an efficient, low-cost working. Therefore, many healthcare providers since have decided to hire a healthcare compliance consultant.
The global healthcare consulting market is constantly growing. With a value of over $6 billion in 2014, the market amounts to 7% of the whole healthcare consultant industry. With the aspect of further growth, especially in the U.S. – which holds almost two-thirds (62%) of the whole $6.33 billion because of the reforms – the competition in the field is also rising. Meaning, finding the right consultant, whether an individual or an agency, can be challenging.

What to Look for in Healthcare Compliance Consultants

Due to the consultant’s high level of importance to their client, one might ask – what should you even begin to look for in a healthcare reform consultant? My first response to that question is knowledge, this is essential. You need an individual or a team that understands the emerging healthcare market. Reliable consultants have the tools to monitor trends and factors that influence the industry. They depend on data, but still develop their own view of the way the entire system functions. An independent thinker will always understand things better than anyone else. Look for someone that has a unique point of view. It can be wise to test the person’s or the team’s knowledge by having them around for a while. It is a small investment, but it will eventually pay off. Look for someone that will blend with your team and will be interested enough to see what’s beyond the medical practice. These individuals develop suitable strategies that will help you save, improve your management, and teach you how to stand on your own feet. Always look for a well-educated, experienced person. In the healthcare compliance consulting field, a Bachelor degree is the minimum criteria. In case you decide to hire a consultant company, inform yourself on their latest successful projects. Evaluate their views, approaches, and values. It is important for the company to invest in professional development and growth. Getting references can be helpful during the evaluation. However, consultants only show their success. Digging a little bit deeper, for example, spending time in networking can reveal some unexpected information.

Secondly, look for experience. In consulting, the power of experience can’t be underestimated. Many companies don’t include individuals with a minimum of 10 years of experience as their team members. While the size of the consultant company doesn’t make a huge difference, many years of experience are an advantage in solving big projects.

Finally, you must take into account the overall efficiency of your new consultant.The right consultant will have backup plans, but still get manage to finish the project on time. Simply because the team has failed to finish a project in a timely manner before; doesn’t mean that you should hesitate to hire another consultant now. Additionally, an efficient consultant will approach the problem with long-term goals in mind, offering quality work that will stay with your practice, even after the project is officially over. They will provide you with the necessary guidance that will help you manage your practice in a more profitable and efficient way.

Benefits that come from having the right consultant on-hand.

Now as you could imagine, there’s a vast amount of benefits that can come from having a consultant on your team throughout the healthcare reform and implementation processes. First and foremost, the overall easier managing of large projects is one of the main benefits that’s noticeable almost right away. Have you ever tried to fix a problem without a success? With the consultant’s management skills and technical expertise, your project has higher chances to succeed. It is of great value that a consultant develops a strategy by finding the causes of the problem. They will focus on the major issues that need to be solved and by making the project a priority, you will maintain profitability and improve patient service. The consultant is an outsider. Sometimes the issues you might not know you’ve had, will be revealed by a person that is not familiar with the situation and has a clear point of view. Meaning, you need an individual or a team that will commit and spend their time focusing their attention on a particular field.
The second benefit is huge: the increased ROI. The initial cost of the consultant won’t overweight the saving that you will make in the long run. Consultants develop an in-depth strategy that includes all your costs, research on your competitors, measures that you can take to save, and much more, that contribute to organized, effective, and improved practice. Keep in mind that bringing your practice to that level requires an individual or a team that is able to see the flaws and propose an efficient approach.

Watch your practice grow exponentially.

As well, you begin to learn how to run a practice as it is – a business. Many physicians and hospitals are dedicated and focused on providing the best medical service to their patients. Usually, they don’t think of running their practice as a business. This brings them to the point when they face many problems and hope to solve them on their own, or with a help of their team. Eventually, they realize that their team can’t solve all of those problems. Dealing with a complex issue that requires dedication, plan, and analysis can’t be solved by a non-expert team in the field. Healthcare consultants have the required tools and a team that not only will help you solve your problem, but understand the operating and management your business needs.
Next, you will save time figuring out everything by yourself. Implementing planning strategies in your practice is not your expertise. Even if you think you know the best way to run your business, trust me, there is someone that is much better. Spare yourself of all the struggles. You will save time, energy, and money. And save your team the extra effort of figuring everything out. Let them do what they do best. Serve your patients.
In conclusion, you will also improve the quality of your services and operations. Healthcare compliance consultants pay attention to every detail in your practice. They collaborate with your team, developing a new way to improve everyday operations, which leads to the final goal – helping patients. By improving the quality of your overall working, you have higher chances to reduce medical errors, improve patient safety, improve staff, and create a safe environment. Healthcare compliance consultants provide a plan with realistic goals for your organization, set a reasonable deadline, and finished the project successfully. They are well-informed, knowledgeable, innovative, and great leaders.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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

How EHealth Empowers Patients And Healthcare Providers 

How EHealth Empowers Patients And Healthcare Providers  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Over the last couple of years we have seen a great rise in the number of websites, mobile ehealth apps and in house devices. All offering patients new ways to take control of their health. This has resulted in more self-tracking and testing patients using ehealth products and services.Healthcare providers on the other hand are finding ways to use this technology to their advantage. Reducing costs, enhancing care management and improving outcomes.

Patients however need guidance. So they are not left to track and interpret the collected information on their own. This is why healthcare providers need to focus on engagement and education. Empowering patients will help them fully benefit from the patient generated ehealth data.
 
The Self-managing Patient

Today’s digital patient has unlimited access to tools to self-test, self-diagnose and self-treat. The number ofwearable health and fitness devices are growing by the day. Apple Health, Fitbit and Samsung’s S Health are just three examples of healthcare tracking platforms.

Users can measure anything from blood pressure to nutrition and activity levels. Putting valuable healthcare data in the hands of the patient. Allowing them to self manage their own health. And even check hydration levels, brain activity and sunlight exposure.

This data does not just affect patient empowerment – it’s also of great value to healthcare providers.

 

Patient Empowerment through eHealth

Technology offers patients great benefits. It gives them more valuable health insights and more control over the outcomes. Resulting in patients rapidly adopting technology as an important health asset.

High quality health data empowers patients to choose how, when and where they receive care. It allows them to choose the manner in which they receive care, diagnosis and treatment. And offers more options and increased convenience.

They can choose traditional service at a hospital if they prefer the in person approach. Or can decide on a more convenient virtual visit with a tele- physician or even request a house call.

 
As this trend seems to be here to stay, healthcare providers worry patients might be getting a little too independent. Patient empowerment through patient education and patient engagement has been a focus of hospitals for a while. Important now is to focus on patient empowerment outside the hospital. And ensuring patients can still reach professional help when needed.
 
Healthcare Provider Empowerment through eHealth

Patient empowerment through data, information and technology is a great thing. But patients should stay aware of the importance of physicians. There is still a strong need for professional guidance and intervention. Only professional healthcare staff can accurately translate and act upon the collected data.

Ehealth data doesn’t just empower patients, it empowers healthcare providers as well. Tracking this continuous stream of data can provide completely new insights into a patient’s health. Healthcare providers have to find the benefits of this valuable information. Incorporating the eHealth data into the care process and workflow.

This can massively increase efficiency – allowing for cost reduction. But it can also help move into a more preventative based model of care. Detecting possible health risks and issues before they’re visible.

 

There is no way we can keep patients from self tracking, diagnosing and treating. They will use the information they receive from their wearable or in-home device. But it provides healthcare providers with a great opportunity to lead the way – using patient generated data to improve patient outcomes and patient experience.

 
Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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

Will Healthcare Interoperability Become The Next Health IT Mandate? 

Will Healthcare Interoperability Become The Next Health IT Mandate?  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Lack of healthcare interoperability continues to throw its weight in the road of progress, stopping much traffic in its tracks.

 

But you know that already, don’t you; you work in healthcare IT. That electronic health records lack the ability to speak with their counterpart systems is no surprise to you. In fact, it’s probably caused you a great deal of frustration since the first days of your system implementation.

From my perspective, things are not going to change very soon. There’s not enough incentive for vendors to work together, though they can and in many cases are able to do so. The problem, though, is that vendors are not sure how to charge physicians, practices, hospitals and healthcare systems for the data that is transferred through their “HIE-like” portals that would connect each company’s technology.

 

The purpose of this piece is not to diverge into the HIE conversation; that’s a topic for another day. However, this is a piece about what have recently been listed as the biggest barriers physicians face when dealing with the concept of interoperability.

According to a recent report by Internal Medicine News, “Technical barriers and costs are holding back electronic sharing of clinical data.”

 

The magazine cites a study in which more than 70 percent of the physicians said that their EHR was unable to communicate electronically with other systems. This is the definition of a lack of interoperability that prevents electronic exchange of information, and ultimately will fuel health information exchanges.

 

It is notable that 30 percent of physicians said that their EHRs are interoperable with other systems. That makes me wonder if this is a verified fact or perception only verified by a marketing brochure.

Another barrier, according to the report, is the cost of setting up and maintaining interfaces and exchanges to share information. According to this statement, physicians are worried about the cost of being able to transmit data, too, which puts them in line with vendors, who, like I said, are worried about how they can monetize data transfer.

 

An interesting observation from the piece: “Making progress on interoperability will be essential as physicians move forward with different care delivery models such as the patient-centered medical home and the medical home neighborhood.”

What amazes me about this conversation is that given the purported advantage employees gain from the mobile device movement and how BYOD (bring your own device) seems to increase a staff’s productivity because it creates an always-on mentality. I don’t think it’s a stretch to think the same affect would be discovered if systems were connected and interoperable.

An interoperable landscape of all EHRs would allow physicians and healthcare systems to essentially create their own always on, always available information sharing system that would look a lot like what we see in daily lives with the devices in the palm of our hands.

 

Apparently, everyone wants and interoperable system; it’s just a matter of how it’s going to get paid for. And moving the data and the records freely from location to location opens up the health landscape like a mobile environment does.

Simply put, this is one issue that seems to resemble our current political landscape: a hot button issue that needs to be addressed but neither side wants to touch the issue because no one wants to or is able to pay for it.

 

One of the problems with this approach is that if we wait long enough, perhaps interoperability also will be mandated and we’ll all end up on its hook.

 

So, let’s take a lesson from the mobile deice world and allow for a greater opportunity to connect healthcare data to more care providers on behalf of the patients and their outcomes.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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

Getting Value From Technology In Healthcare Is All About People

Getting Value From Technology In Healthcare Is All About People | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

It was Steve Ranger’s piece on “Predicting the next decade of tech: From the cloud to disappearing computers and the rise of robots”. For anyone interested in technology, it’s a good read. I particularly enjoyed the back half of the article and its focus not on the predicted hardware and software breakthroughs of the next decade, but rather on what is all too often forgotten–how people factor into the equation.

 

I won’t belabor the technology predictions. Those are well enumerated in the ZDNET article complete with the obligatory Gartner Hype Cycle. But I do want to elaborate a bit on the human factors. The article quotes one of my Microsoft colleagues, Dave Choplin, who holds the title of chief envisioning officer. He says, “What we really need to figure out is the relationship between humans and technology, because right now humans get technology massively wrong.” He goes on to reflect on the fact that most people use technology to do things the way we’ve always been doing them. He says the point of new technology is to enable us to “do things fundamentally differently”.

 

While the focus of the ZDNET article isn’t about healthcare, I find what is being said is perhaps more true of healthcare professionals and the healthcare industry than perhaps most other sectors of the economy. In healthcare right now, the very ground underneath those who work in the industry is shaking violently. Clinicians are being asked to improve quality, see more patients, and lower the costs of care. Payment systems are shifting away from volume (getting paid for what you do) to value (getting paid for the quality outcomes you achieve). That means clinicians must be able to measure every thing they do and continuously improve upon it without adding to cost. The only way to do that is to also improve workforce productivity, and that likely involves an increasing reliance on technology. However, as Mr. Choplin points out, most people think productivity is just about improving processes when instead it should really be leading us to better outcomes.

 

I’ve been saying for some time now that information technology has matured to the point where it can actually add tremendous value in health and healthcare. It’s far from perfect, of course, but I don’t think it is technology that holds us back. What holds us back are the human factors. As stated by ZDNET, “the big stumbling block to IT’s bright future in any organization is their own staff and their ways of working. Figuring out where to invest in technology is a lot easier than persuading staff, and whole organizations, to change how they operate.” I find that particularly true in healthcare and especially for physicians. We spend our young adulthood immersed in the scholarly pursuit of a medical degree. We take four or more years in specialty training. We are indoctrinated in how to approach the patient, assimilate information, organize our thoughts and reach a diagnosis.

 

It’s all about following a certain process, a definitive kind of workflow. And, all too often today when we deploy technology into clinical workflow we are using it simply to “do things the way we’ve always been doing them” instead of doing things “fundamentally differently”.

Fortunately, many healthcare organizations around the world are beginning to use technology to do things differently. They are getting value from the digital data they are capturing by applying advanced analytics to deliver actionable insights to patient care. They are embracing mobile devices and applications to improve clinical workflow.

 

They are applying universal communications technologies to deliver care outside the walls of the organization. They are using these same technologies to train healthcare professionals how to think and do things differently, including how technology can improve the ways care teams communicate and collaborate. They are embracing cloud technologies to streamline IT resources and focus more of those limited resources on that which healthcare systems are all about—providing care to patients and increasingly, focusing on ways to improve population health and disease prevention.If you are deploying technology in your healthcare organization, ask yourself first if your people are ready.

 

If they are not, you are setting the stage for failure. Getting value from technology goes hand in hand with having a workforce that has been well prepared and is ready to improve the changes that technology will bring about. 

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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

Improving Health & Healthcare, A Global Perspective

Improving Health & Healthcare, A Global Perspective | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

If you live in America and work in the healthcare industry it is easy to assume that the issues we face in providing care to our population are uniquely American. While it is true that we spend more per capita on healthcare than other nations, and many would argue that we spend too much for what we get in return compared to other nations, our problems are anything but unique.

 

In my role at Microsoft I travel the world engaging with healthcare executives, clinicians, health ministries, government leaders and others who focus on health and healthcare. When I’m not traveling, I’m meeting with people in similar roles at our executive briefing center in Redmond. It doesn’t matter whether I’m in discussions with someone from Singapore, Sweden, Korea, Indonesia, Australia, or Japan; I hear the same themes over and over again.

 

Only the scale is different. It doesn’t matter whether a nation is spending 4 percent of GDP on health as they do in Singapore, or nearly 20 percent as we do in the U.S., industry leaders and executives tell me they must figure out how to provide their populations with greater access to care, while improving the quality of care, and lowering the costs. The only nuance is sometimes additional emphasis, as I hear from places like Singapore or Japan, on extra pressures coming from a rapidly growing population of elderly persons in countries with low birth rates and little immigration.

 

While technology alone does not address every issue on the plate, these same leaders are very focused on ways to leverage new technologies in their quest to achieve the so-called triple aim of access, quality and lower costs. In America, it seems most of the focus these past few years has been on “digitization” of health information via electronic health records and hospital information systems. Many countries I visit in Western Europe and Asia accomplished this “digitization” some years ago. They already know what we in America are slowly beginning to appreciate, that electronic records only lay a foundation for health and healthcare delivery system transformation.

 

The real transformation begins to happen when we use all that digital information we are capturing to inform us, and provide actionable insights to improve the quality of the care delivered by our health systems. Equally important is technology that improves access to information and care, as well as mobile technologies that improve clinical workflow and productivity. Finally, we must find ways to reduce the cost of technology (computing and storage) while making it ever more scalable, private, secure and compliant.

 

If you follow the industry (both tech and healthcare) as I do, you are fully aware of the investments being made that will help us truly transform and modernize health and healthcare delivery.

 

It’s a big job that involves making deep investments in massive data centers and “cloud” computing, analytics & business intelligence, universal communication and collaboration tech, mobile devices, wearable sensors, artificial intelligence, machine learning, machine vision, robotics, and health industry research. That is why almost every day you hear about a new startup or a well established company making health and healthcare a focus of their business. Some of the names you already know, other names are yet to be created.

 

One thing is for sure. Improving health and healthcare is a global mission with very similar themes no matter where you live. If I’ve learned anything during my tenure at Microsoft it is how that fact rings true around the globe.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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

Wireless Monitoring During Labor Offers Patients More Mobility, Eases Burden For Nurses

Wireless Monitoring During Labor Offers Patients More Mobility, Eases Burden For Nurses | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

A study of wireless monitoring of inpatient pregnant women yielded results similar to usual care, and both patients and nurses approved of the program, according to research published in Telemedicine and e-Health.

 

The study involved 30 women at Massachusetts General Hospital who wore the wireless monitors for 30 minutes. Their heart rate, respiratory rate and core temperature were captured and transmitted to a central monitor.

 

During labor, vital signs traditionally are taken every 30 minutes during active labor and every 15 minutes following delivery, which can be labor-intensive for staff. Wireless monitoring can maintain surveillance yet ease that burden while allowing flexibility and mobility for patients.

 

Patients found the device--sensors attached to the chest with two standard adhesive electrodes--comfortable (78 percent), likeable (81 percent) and useful (97 percent). Nurses rated the system easy to use (80 percent) and 84 percent would recommend it to a patient.

 

In this study, repeaters were used to extend the range and ensure transmission throughout the labor and delivery unit.

 

"Well-validated monitors of this nature could significantly alleviate the human resource burden of monitoring during labor and confer greatly desired mobility to laboring pregnant women, although incorporation of blood pressure monitoring will be critical," the researchers wrote.

 

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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

 Experience Digital Health Here.

 Experience Digital Health Here. | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Digital health is experiencing what I would characterize as its adolescence.  The rudimentary pieces are in place for adoption; Awareness of the technologies, the progressing maturation of mobile technologies, realization of its critical need in the marketplace, interest by large companies (though with widely variable levels of commitment and material projects), and development of breakthrough technologies. Changes occur slowly in healthcare but they need to accelerate because of the increased urgency.  There was once a time when patients would refuse to see a physician assistant or nurse practitioner. These providers are now integral parts of the healthcare team and patients value them. I will now touch on missing puzzle pieces which, if addressed, can substantially impact the mission of digital health.

 

 

  1. Comprehensive and standardized telehealth laws. According to The National Business Group on Health’s 2016 Health Plan Design Survey (free with sign up)  employees can expect “…More resources and tools to help…navigate the health care system: Care shopping tools, care decision support resources, and telehealth.” This increased acceptance and expansion of telehealth services must be preceded by regulatory and legislative changes addressing payment and professional licensing issues. Telehealth itself speaks to society’s mobility, direct and indirect costs of in-person care, and healthcare professional shortages. The time has come for telehealth to become the norm and in-person visits to supplement this under-appreciated and underutilized modality of interaction.  The immediate expansion of telehealth into mainstream care by all payers, public and private is necessary.  Healthcare professional licensing reform is also necessary to decease the red tape and expenses of telehealth. Patient safety will benefit with the increased transparency of professional  conduct bought about with a Federal license.
  2. Wearables as remote monitoring. The utilization of remote patient monitoring (RPM) is increasing.  RPM has entered the spotlight as a means of decreasing hospital readmissions which now result in Medicare payment penalties. However, the benefits in this regard to have not been demonstrated on a large-scale and the success might very well be tied to other factors mentioned in this piece. In addition, the reduction of readmission rates has not translated to improved patient outcomes. The proliferation of wearable sensor technology in the consumer realm has accelerated exploration in the traditional healthcare market for this technology, yet there are substantial differences between these markets.  Bolstering interest in wearables by strange bedfellows as sports equipment companies and medical device manufacturers is the desire of the healthy aging population of baby boomers for unobtrusive monitoring technologies.  Wearables can easily fill that order but according to a  survey on wearables by AARP as part of a six-week trial, “…participants also said the devices’ design and utility are lacking in features that would encourage long-term use or adoption. The gap between expectations and reality indicates a significant opportunity to better serve the 50-plus market, the study concluded.”
  3. Better payer-enterprise partnerships driving needed sharing of analytics and data.As the healthcare payment model in the USA shifts from fee for service to value- based (which considers quality performance measures, outcomes, and patient satisfaction), the importance of data analytics becomes clear. We will see a shift of responsibility for the collection and analysis of patient and care management data from the payer to the provider. Analytics will be the best way a provider can track performance quality, efficiency, and interventions affecting patient outcome. This de-identified data will benefit both payers and providers and might ultimately become a commodity sold to multiple payers by providers. This scenario dovetails with the massive consolidation we are seeing in healthcare. It remains to be seen how this all benefits the patient/subscriber. However, the hope is that the more available and granular the data, the more transparent the costs of care vs outcomes might become.
  4. Incorporation of social media in healthcare. Social media is the most underutilized resource available to all stakeholders in healthcare. While there are understandable concerns and barriers to unbridled participation in social media by healthcare enterprises, payers, Pharma and other stakeholders, there remain huge opportunities to help patients and caregivers via social media which can direct them to other sources of disease-specific educational content. The current focus on population health management as public policy as well as basis for payment could greatly benefit from data derived from social media discussions on healthcare. How that is designed and processed is a potentially powerful collaborative project among many stakeholders including patients.

 

Plans for improvement of the current healthcare system must consider technology a critical component.  Public healthcare initiatives and market stresses require it. All of the asks above are doable now. It is up to patient advocates to demand them and decision makers to implement them.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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

Healthcare Through The Looking Glass; Smarter Use Of IT

Healthcare Through The Looking Glass; Smarter Use Of IT | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

As a physician it pains me to say this, but the future of healthcare appears to be one of increasing consolidation of facilities, employment of physicians, and strategic staff reductions. It must also necessarily be a future work environment that is much better supported than it is today by technology.

 

As an industry, healthcare has been slow to transform itself with information communication technologies (ICT) as compared to other segments of the economy. Yes, the industry has made massive investments in information technology over the last few years thanks to an infusion of federal money to “digitize” our medical records. This was a necessary step, but by itself is hardly transformational. It’s what we do next that counts.

 

If you’ve been paying attention, you have likely noted an increasing number of large consolidations of hospitals, clinics and health systems around the country. If you are a practicing physician, you can’t help but notice how many practices, not only primary care physicians but specialists too, have been gobbled up by hospitals and health systems as they ring-fence their networks. If you’ve talked with newly graduating medical residents, you’ll note that nearly all of them are looking for the security, and perhaps more predictable lifestyle, of an employed position. These trends are irrefutable.

 

In the midst of all this, I’ve also been watching some financially strapped healthcare organizations begin to trim staff. While that might seem paradoxical in a time of increasing demand for healthcare services, it speaks to the cost constraints these organizations face as both private and public payors put the screws on reimbursement and start shifting from volume based payments to payments coupled to value.

 

So, if you are a leader of a healthcare organization faced with these shifting sands, where do you turn for help? How do you do more with less, or better said, how do you start doing new with less?

I won’t argue that more technology is the only solution, but I will certainly make a case that better, more efficient, more contemporary, and more strategic technology is absolutely essential to the future sustainability of any healthcare organization.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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

5 Amazing Health IT Trends In 2016 

5 Amazing Health IT Trends In 2016  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

As we look back upon 2015, we can reflect, review and based on that and other factors, make some predictions about what next year will bring us. John Halamka had an interesting postthat reflect on the bigger challenges, such as ICD-10, the Accountable Care Act and its implications on data analytics, the HIPAA omnibus rule and its impact on cybersecurity and audits and the emergence of the Cloud as a viable option in healthcare. We can expect to see some of these trends continue and grow in 2016. So based on these key learnings from 2015, here are a few predictions for 2016.

 

 

Cybersecurity will become even more important

 

In 2015, insurers and medical device manufacturers got a serious wake up call about the importance and cost of cybersecurity lapses. Healthcare data will increasingly be looked at as strategic data because we can always get a new credit card but since diagnoses cannot change, the possibilities of misuse are significant. Just as the financial industry has settled on PCI as the standard, expect the healthcare industry to get together to define and promote a standard and an associated certification. HITRUST appears to be the leader and recent announcements are likely to further cement it as the healthcare security standard. Given all that, one can safely expect spending on cybersecurity to increase.

 

 

IoT will get a dose of reality

 

The so-called Internet of Things has been undergoing a boom of late. However, the value from it, especially as applied to quantifiable improvement in patient outcomes or improved care has been lacking. Detractors point out that the quantified-self movement while valuable, self selects the healthiest population and doesn’t do much to address the needs of older populations suffering from multiple chronic diseases. Expect to see more targeted IoT solutions such as that offered by those like Propeller Health that focus on specific conditions, have clear value propositions, savings, and offer more than just a device. Expect some moves from Fitbit and others who have raised lots of recent cash in terms of new product announcements and possible acquisitions.

 

 

Interoperability will become a business requirement

 

No matter the point of view on value or benefits of EHRs, the fact remains that EHRs are here to stay. And because the information is now electronic, the promise of easy data exchange should be a reality. That is, however, not the case. Realizing that EHRs cannot solve all problems, health systems anticipate working with external vendors to fill the “white space” in the EHR solution suites. This implies that integration is now a business requirement. Add to it innovations like outcomes based agreements between pharma companies and health systems, and the evolution of modern approaches such as FHIR, 2016 is likely to be the year of significant progress in interoperability.

 

 

Telemedicine will grow rapidly

 

With a looming shortage of general physicians and the uneven distribution of specialists across the country, telemedicine has a clear value proposition. And its flexibility allows for it to be applied to acute conditions such asstroke, simpler conditions such as flu and strep, specialities such as dermatology, pediatrics and even private conditions such as sexually transmitted infection (STI.) Millennials are comfortable with this approach, so are seniors and others with more severe conditions who don’t want to trek to the nearest hospital for care.

 

 

Specialty EHRs will boom

 

This YouTube video is hilarious and a simultaneously sad, but perception of the impact that EHR implementations have had on care. Physicians and nurses aren’t fans of EHRs despite being the target audience. A one-size-fits all approach to product development and a primary focus on billing rather than patient care is at the root cause of this problem. Innovative companies have taken this fight on but intelligently, have focused their attention on creating EHRs tailor made to specialties such as dermatology, plastic surgery, pain management etc. Since these are significant revenue drivers for health systems and the specialists using it swear by them, we can expect adoption to boom in 2016. This will also lead to increased demand around interoperability and the ability to connect to any EHR via API.

Healthcare is a $2.1 trillion industry so the above should obviously be considered only a small set of possible trends in healthcare IT, but things like interoperability and security have wide ranging implications. Those two in particular will be universally applicable across all of healthcare.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

more...
No comment yet.