HIMSS 2015 – MU Stage III, security, and big data

This year’s annual HIMSS convention was attended by more than 40,000 people. I feel like I walked past every single one of them.

NEMT CEO Linda Sullivan

Major takeaways from the conference included helpful updates on Meaningful Use Stage III by Robert Anthony, deputy director of the quality measurement and health assessment group at Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Of particular note is what may be called the consolidation of the three stages as we move toward final adoption in 2018. He termed the changes as “simplification” in which 8 core measures, instead of the current 20, will need to be met.

There were a very large number of new vendors this year. Many addressed security issues in response to last year’s legislation around healthcare security measures. Penetration testing and vulnerability scanning were at the top of the list for vendors to the healthcare community. Protecting against patient identify theft also brought in many new vendors.

Given the ever burgeoning number of systems that healthcare facilities are juggling, it’s also not surprising that many new companies are offering interfacing/integration software services.

Finally, under pinning all the other themes is big data, a lot of the buzz being around decreasing the patient re-admission rate. To bring this around to transcription, the need for big data to improve patient outcomes is why NEMT continues to work with a platform provider who is now in the development phase of extracting discrete data from transcribed documents. Companies need to be able to say yes when they are asked to provide this functionality. The unknown is when that question will start to be asked.

 

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • PDF
  • RSS
Posted in Business, Meaningful Use, News and stories | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The system is broken

My father was recently hospitalized overnight and when the first round of bills arrived, they came to about $10,000. Like most health insurance companies, his had a deal with the providers, so the bill was lowered to $2,000. Of course if he hadn’t had health insurance, he’d have been responsible for the full $10,000. As it was, he was responsible only for his share of the $2,000.

Tara Courtland

Communications Director Tara Courtland

At the same time, his friend “George” suffered a severe (but fortunately treatable) injury and was airlifted to an area hospital, where he will remain for several weeks. This man has no health insurance so his cost will be roughly $10,000 a day, plus perhaps $40,000 for the airlift.

With no assets, no savings and no income, George won’t be able to pay it so the providers will end up eating the cost and passing it on to all of their other patients and health insurance companies — part of the reason for my father’s $10,000 price tag and for the high costs we all experience at hospitals.

Meanwhile, my friend “Rob” was taken seriously ill a few years back and racked up tens of thousands of dollars in hospital bills. He also had no health insurance but he’s got a decent job. His hospital cost reflects both the price of his own stay, but also his share of the thousands of others who don’t have the money to pay at all. Rob is now sending the hospital several hundred dollars a month — and will continue to do so for the next decade — to pay off his bill.

The end result is that the people with the best means — those with good health insurance like my father — end up with the lowest costs because not only does their insurance cover the majority of the fees, but the insurance company’s cost is lower than an individual’s to begin with. Those with no means, like George, pay nothing. Rob and the millions like him — those in the middle — end up with the highest burden.

We know that there are no easy answers, but the system is broken. Obamacare hasn’t fixed it. Private insurance hasn’t fixed it. And it’s getting worse, not better, over time.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • PDF
  • RSS
Posted in News and stories | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Multi-tasking versus singular focus

Multi-tasking versus singular focus — it’s obvious which is the better path to completing tasks, isn’t it?  Or is it?

NEMT CEO Linda Sullivan

Many of us assume that multi-tasking will leave us at the end of the day having accomplished more.  Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University, conducted a study of 263 students in which they were asked to work on homework for 15 minutes. By the end of the 15 minutes the students had spent only 65% of their time on homework and the rest answering texts, emails, looking at their Facebook feed, etc. Much research has been done on this and by-and-large, the findings clearly point to single focus being more productive.

In this always-on world of ours, it’s pretty tough to find that focus.  For example, it’s taken me a while to write this because an email notice pops up frequently in the lower left corner of my monitor, or the phone rings, or a text comes in, or … or …

I think it’s interesting though that once we’re able to find singular focus it is a great place to dwell. I have a necklace that has three strands of slightly different lengths joined together at each end near the clasp. The strands are made of small thin loops. The problem is the strands are hopelessly tangled up. I have it lying on top of my bureau and over the last several weeks I have spent at least a couple of hours trying to untangle it. The singular focus required is refreshing and compelling.  I could sit there and do it much more than I allow myself.

Lost productivity for students adversely affects the quality of their learning. Lost productivity in business affects the bottom line. There have been many programs developed to help us regain that focus. It behooves us all to make the effort and find one that works for us.

 

 

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • PDF
  • RSS
Posted in News and stories | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Get the facts

I was recently having a conversation with a doctor that I know. We don’t do business together, but he was sharing that they were using a new EMR. During the discussion he brought up some of the concerns he had about this transition.

NEMT President Linda Allard

In his case there were two major issues. Issue 1 was that not all patient records had transferred over so they were being forced to move a lot of records manually, and he wasn’t sure when they would all be moved. Issue 2 was the need for more training so they could all use the EMR successfully.

I wanted to write about this topic to remind everyone that when you are changing a vendor, software, hardware or anything in between, you need to make sure you get all the information needed to make an informed decision before proceeding. Included items should be things like:

  • Will the new software run on your current computers?
  • Will all your patient records be transferred over to the new system?
  • What kind of after-sale support will be provided?

 

Although these seem like questions we should all think of, it is very easy to miss some of the really important areas with all the new technology out there.  Not answering a few critical questions could cost you a lot of additional time and/or resources. And while it is most likely that, if the software doesn’t run on your current computers, they are probably old enough to already need to be replaced, wouldn’t it be better to budget ahead for that expense?

You should also make sure that part of your project plan for this type of project includes listing all the changes that might possibly be made. Enlist the support of all the different areas in your facility to help create a list of possible concerns, and then go over that list with your vendor.  As a vendor, we get asked these types of questions all the time, so we are prepared to provide the necessary answers.  And honestly, if a vendor doesn’t want to give you answers, that might be a red flag.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • PDF
  • RSS
Posted in Business, EMR/EHR, News and stories | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Save money on your next computer

At some point, you will need to buy a new computer.  Hopefully it won’t be because your old computer died.  Today’s blog is a suggestion about how you can get a new computer for less.

Andrew Clarke

I recently purchased a new laptop because my computer died, and I needed to be back up and running fast.  I checked Best Buy, and they had pretty good prices.  That’s when I remembered something called “open box” items.  These are items that have been returned for any number of reasons.  Normally the return is because the purchaser just decided that he or she didn’t like the computer.  All returns are thoroughly checked and returned to factory condition, so you’re not getting an inferior product.  The beauty of buying an open box item is that it comes with the same warranties you get with a new computer, you have the same return policy, and you save a minimum of 10%.  I was able to get a very nice laptop for about $200.  A few times a year, Best Buy has a special event where they offer these open box items for even less.  If you’re nice, the people at Best Buy may tell you when their next event is going to occur.

It is possible that other retail stores offer similar deals, so check around in your local area.  You should also make sure you check around for pricing, including on-line.  If you have a smart phone, there’s a free app called RedLaser that will help you find other sources for the product you’re looking at, including on-line.  Some stores offer price matching, so don’t be afraid to ask.  With this app, you can show them the pricing from other sources.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • PDF
  • RSS
Posted in IT, News and stories | Tagged , , | Leave a comment