Why cloud based EHR systems are better?


Healthcare providers all across the nation are shifting to modern Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems. Some of them are pure cloud-based while others are cloud enabled. True cloud EHR systems have remarkably reduced initial investments on hardware, hosting as well as for ongoing costs such as maintenance, upgrades, etc. Cloud EHR systems also improve accessibility; users can access the systems with just an internet browser from anywhere at any time and would enjoy more benefits then having a locally installed system.

Let’s discuss features of a cloud system.

Flexibility

When a medical organization needs more bandwidth than routine, a cloud-based service can instantly meet the demand because of the vast capacity of the vendor’s remote servers – something that is not possible with server-based systems.

Disaster recovery

When organizations rely on cloud services, they no longer need complicated disaster recovery plans. Cloud computing providers take care of most issues, and they do it faster. There is no need to maintain separate backups.

Automatic updates

Cloud-based EHR suppliers maintain servers and security updates themselves freeing up their customers’ time and resources for other tasks.

No capital investments

There is no need for capital expenditure at all when dealing with cloud-based EHR software. Since cloud systems are much faster to deploy, organizations have minimal project start-up costs and ongoing operating expenses.

Increased collaboration

Cloud computing EHRs increase collaboration by allowing all employees to sync up and work on documents and shared apps simultaneously. They can follow colleagues and records to receive critical updates in real time.

Security

Nearly 800,000 laptops are lost each year in airports alone. This can have some serious monetary implications, but when everything is stored in the cloud, EHR data can still be accessed no matter what happens to a machine.

Scalability and speed

Health enterprises can quickly scale up or scale down their cloud services as per demand, during hours of maximum activity, while launching campaigns, etc. Cloud services are most usually reliable, since many service providers have data centers in multiple locations for keeping the processing near users.

EHRs

New research on how to keep patients loyal


Keeping patients loyal is crucial. However, patient confidence in provider’s abilities and how the staff cares for them is critical to patient retention.

The two important indicators of patient loyalty to a medical practice are patient confidence in the provider along with quality of care coordination. These factors surpass other issues such as wait times, practice facilities and ease of access as revealed in a recent study by healthcare consulting firm Press Ganey.research

The study finds that growing amount of patient access to provider quality data could see more patients switching physicians. This will certainly be fuelled by the Affordable Care Act as patients will have more physician options to choose from.

Press Ganey highlighted five risk factors which could lead to patients switching providers. It developed an algorithm that can be used to benchmark the risk of losing patients and suggested steps practices could take to mitigate the risks.

The identified risk factors include:

  • Confidence in provider
  • Care coordination
  • Provider concern about patient queries
  • Listening
  • Courtesy

Press Ganey developed a Decision Tree Analysis in which patients with high or low degrees of risks for leaving their physicians were divided into groups. Patients with a 1.9% risk of changing practices had “high confidence” in their providers while those with a 75% risk had “low confidence”.

Patients who expressed high confidence in their providers and felt good care coordination had a 1% risk of leaving the practice while those who thought care coordination was not good, had an 11% risk of switching providers. Patients who lacked confidence in their providers but believed the practice was good at care coordination were at a 28% risk while those patients who did not have confidence in their providers and did not like care coordination had a 90% risk of switching practices. The same risk factor methodology was applied to the other three factors determining patient loyalty as well.

“This analysis suggests that coordination of care and demonstrating concern for the worries of patients represent key opportunities for physicians and their associated medical practices to improve patient care, while also enhancing patient loyalty and supporting financial viability,” the Press Ganey researchers say.

 

Global Healthcare Reform: The future of care


A recent study has found people being optimistic about advancing care though technology innovations, willing to participate in virtual visits and using sensors in their bodies and surprisingly, in their toilets as well.healthcare reform

Participants from eight countries were counting on technological innovations to cure fatal diseases – more than having additional physicians and research. The online survey had participants from Brazil, India, Indonesia, China, France, Italy, Japan and the United States with a sample size of 12,000 adults, aged 18 and above.

“This survey indicates very high willingness of people to become part of the solution to the world’s healthcare problems with the aid of all sorts of technologies,” Eric Dishman, Intel fellow and general manager of the company’s Health and Life Sciences Group, said in a news release. “Most people appear to embrace a future of healthcare that allows them to get care outside hospital walls, lets them anonymously share their information for better outcomes, and personalizes care all the way down to an individual’s specific genetic makeup.”

The research finds that people want personalized care based on their behaviors and biological characteristics in a setting of their choice.

Key findings include:

Improving personal care

  • More than 70% people are willing to use toilet sensors, prescription bottle sensors or swallowed monitors.
  • 66% respondents would prefer genetic profiles based personalized healthcare regiments.
  • 53% people would more likely trust a personally administered test than a physician.
  • 30% respondents would trust themselves to do their own ultrasound.

The results are surprising and reflect a monumental shift in patient preferences from traditional medicine to self care. It is amazing to see people trusting technology more than physicians and are inclined in taking control of their health.

Sharing personal health records

  • More people are willing to anonymously share their health records.
  • 76% respondents agreed to share their clinical information anonymously in order to help research.
  • Amongst the people most willing to share health information, respondents from India were more in number.

These findings mean people are trusting healthcare technology and are willing to help healthcare research. Countries with poor health facilities are preferring technology more for healthcare.

Increased in-home healthcare

  • 50% respondents would trust a video conference diagnosis with their physicians.
  • 72% people prefer to connect online with their physicians.
  • 43% people would trust themselves to take their vitals.
  • 57% respondents said hospitals would become obsolete in the future.

The findings mean that high-performance computing and big data analytics have the power to transform care as we see it now. People prefer taking control of their health. They want care to be delivered in their homes and not in a hospital or clinic.

ICD-10

UnitedHealthcare handed injunction by Federal judge


A Federal judge has ordered a temporary injunction against UnitedHealthcare based on the case filed by two Connecticut-based medical associations.

The decision came hours before the health insurer was set to drop thousands of physicians and patients from its rolls. This injunction prevented UnitedHealthcare from removing any of the doctors until the court can rule on the merits of the case.

US District Court Judge Stefan Underhill ruled Friday, December 6, that the Hartford County Medical Association and Fairfield County Medical Association have “met their burden of demonstrating that they will suffer harm that is imminent and cannot be adequately compensated through damages.”

The two medical associations from Connecticut were seeking a temporary restraining order against UnitedHealthcare to prevent the insurer from removing nearly 20% physicians on the panel from its Medicare Advantage networks. If it had gone ahead with its plans, nearly 30,000 patients would have been affected.

The court order means that UnitedHealthcare will have to start proceedings from the beginning. However, the insurer maintains that it plans to immediately appeal against the decision.

“We believe the court’s ruling will create unnecessary and harmful confusion and disruption to Medicare beneficiaries in Connecticut,” says Terry O’Hara, of UnitedHealthcare Group, in an emailed statement. “We know that these changes can be concerning for some doctors and customers, and supporting our customers is our highest priority. United Healthcare will continue to stay focused on the people we serve.”

This ruling will only affect members of Hartford County Medical and Fairfield County Medical associations. The affected physicians, more than 2,200 in number, reportedly belong to Hartford, New Haven and New London counties.

The judge ruled that UnitedHealthcare appears to have breached its contract with the physicians by removing them without cause or explanation, causing a violation of Medicare regulations.

For the time being, the injunction stays and only time will tell how this will shape up in the days to come.

Choosing a Medical Billing Service

Is BYOD going to improve coordinated care?


Bring your own device (BYOD) is going to revolutionize the way technology is looked upon, but what is BYOD? It refers to rules and procedures set by the practice allowing employees to use their personal mobile gadgets to access company data. It can improve coordinated care because it reflects future of the healthcare industry.

BYOD

Mobile devices are becoming common by every passing day. Mobile revolution is by all means is here and roaring. Practices’ use of smartphones and other gadgets is a common practice now.

A recent global survey conducted by PEW research of companies all around the world found that 28% of their workforce uses personal devices for work related tasks. The research further stated that this percentage is expected to rise to 35% in 2013. In general as of May 2013, 91% of American adults have a cell phone, 56% of American adults have a smartphone. This boils down to the fact that technological gadgets are extremely common, and using them in a work environment can not only be useful, but may very well generate a new market for employees in a work environment.

It can improve coordinated care because providers, nurses, healthcare staff and patients are generally more comfortable with their own devices as they have more control over it. Think of it like this, if a provider uses a mobile EHR device on his own smartphone, isn’t it convenient? It is way more efficient since he can take his device anywhere he likes and keep his practice in check.

BYOD can increase patient safety and reduce the risk of medical errors. Personal devices can patch the critical communication gaps and allow for easy access of clinical information at the point of care with other clinicians for coordinating care of the patient.

To provide security for all personal gadgets of the employees can become a huge challenge for the IT department of the healthcare facility but at the end of the day, standardization is also an issue. But look at this way, new rules, regulations and structures that are being formed will pave the way for innovation. It will provide coordinated care to their patients by allowing wide and convenient access to the patients. Apart from that, the sooner the challenges met in terms of diverse use of mobile devices the better it is, because in the future more and more unique personal devices will be produced.

Personal devices do not need to be set up in a certain way to function, instead the devices allows limited functionality. Downloading healthcare mobile EHR app from the store or accessing company’s email from your email browser doesn’t require using company services that are set up in a restrictive way. It essentially saves the setup cost.

ICD 10 5 steps to take now

How to change physician perceptions about EHRs?


The usage of technology for physicians has always been a challenge. This old myth is not a myth but a fact that physicians do not necessarily like technology. For them it is too clunky, to say the least, shoddy! But hold on, jumping to conclusions isn’t always right. Maybe, they are over thinking too much. Maybe, they do not know that technology in healthcare is the only way forward, all other ways, if any, are now defunct. The use of Electronic Health Records is the way for future healthcare providers. Let’s have a look into some of the steps that could be taken to change the outlook of physicians about EHRs.

Seeing the good side: Providers can earn financial incentives by showing Meaningful Use of EHR software as directed by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Why would government force the use of software that isn’t any good for providers? The answer is it is a common misconception that EHRs will slow down their practices’ output. Well over, $7 billion have been issued by CMS to professionals and hospitals, and an estimated $22.5 billion will be paid from 2011 – 2022 to eligible providers who adopt EHR technology. Considering providers can earn huge incentives, they should start using EHR as soon as possible.

Interoperability: Healthcare providers, hospitals, labs, pharmacies, patients and their families through the use of EHRs can be fed with real-time data. EHRs allow for the transfer of patient related data in different file formats too. One key feature of an interoperable system is the ability to provide patient data wherever the patient travels, that is, data across states can be accessed in real time along with the patient.

Cost effective: As a provider, what if you become stagnant? Will you be saving cost? These plethoras of questions rely on this very fact that data cannot be paper-based in the world of technology. It is an outdated way of maintaining patient medical records. With the use of EHR the practice saves storage space by maintaining all records on web. No need to open file cabinets upon cabinets to track a certain patient record. Paper cost money, while managing data electronically costs close to nothing. The staff needed to maintain records is multifold less than what a paper-based practice will require.

Lastly, providers are valid in fearing the fast pace of government in introducing EHRs. But to think it clearly will make them realize that there is no other way, the world has moved ahead in healthcare IT and we have to catch-up now. Scandinavian countries, especially Denmark is leading the way in EHR use. So, why should America remain at the back seat? The perception of the providers can change when they logically evaluate the points discussed above.

 

5 EHR workflow flaws to watch out for


Many US physicians have shifted to Electronic Health Records (EHRs) with others joining them at a rapid pace. However, usability and decrease in efficiency are some of the reasons for physicians’ dissatisfaction with the technology. As a matter of fact, providers need to play a pivotal role in fixing the issues for physicians and making their products more user-friendly.solution

Here are some of the workflow flaws which providers need to iron out in order to improve physician satisfaction through technology.

Unnatural: Most EHRs are built in a way that they do not match practices’ workflow. Instead of allowing physicians to customize the product in a way that it suits their needs, physicians complain that they are required to change their workflows to match technology. This is something that is leading to frustration and inefficiency.

Inconsistent: EHRs are built with a structure that is largely inconsistent. If physicians are looking to access similar information within one system, there may be two or more ways to do it based on which module is being used. This inconsistency is only adding to physicians’ problems.

Irrelevant: One of the most commonly faced problems by physicians is the interface. In most of the modules, only some information is mandatory while the other ones can be skipped. This results in overwhelming screens with aplenty tiny check boxes – sometimes almost unnecessarily.

Unsupportive: Many modern day EHRs fail to support user-shared mental models of workflow. One of the very few benefits of paper-based workflow is that documents and forms can clearly represent a workflow. If something is missing in a chart, it needs to be filled out by the person holding the document. Compare this to EHRs and we find that workflow state is hidden in databases and complex screens.

Inflexible: One of the biggest problems EHR users face is the lack of the software ability to be flexible. Users of the system have to make do with the inbuilt workflow or rely on the way it was installed when being deployed. They cannot easily be changed to become more flexible, natural, consistent and supportive.