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E-Patient Update:  Can Telemedicine Fill Gap For Uninsured Patients?

Posted on February 24, 2017 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

As someone who will soon will need to buy insurance through an ACA exchange – but doesn’t know whether that will still be possible – I’ve been thinking about my healthcare needs a lot, and how to meet them effectively if I’m ever uninsured.

Being an e-patient, the first thing that crossed my mind was to explore what Internet connectivity could do for me. And it occurred to me that if I had access to a wider range of comparatively-affordable telemedical services, I just might be able to access enough doctors and advanced practice clinicians to survive. (Of course, hospital and prescription drug costs won’t be tamed that easily, but that’s a subject for a different column.)

I admit that video visits aren’t an ideal solution for me and my husband, as we both have complex, chronic health conditions to address. But if I end up without insurance, I hold out hope that cheaper telemedicine options will get me through until we find a better solution.

Right now, unfortunately, telemedical services largely seem to be delivered on a hit-or-miss basis – with some specialties being easy to find and others almost inaccessible via digital connectivity – but if enough people like me are forced to rely on these channels perhaps this will change.

What’s available and what isn’t

This week, I did some unscientific research online to see what kind of care consumers can currently access online without too much fuss. What I found was a decidedly mixed bag. According to one telehealth research site, a long list of specialties offer e-visits, but some of them are much harder to access than others.

As you might have guessed, primary care – or more accurately, urgent care — is readily available. In fact one such provider, HealthTap, offers consumers unlimited access to its doctors for $99 a month. Such unfettered access could be a big help to patients without insurance.

And some specialties seem to be well-represented online. For example, if you want to get a dermatology consult, you can see a dermatologist online at DermatologistOnCall, which is partnered with megapharmacy Walgreens.

Telepsychiatry seems to be reasonably established, though it doesn’t seem to be backed yet by a major consumer branding effort. On the other hand, video visits with talk therapists seem to be fairly commonplace these days, including an option provided by HealthTap.

I had no trouble finding opportunities to connect with neurologists via the Web, either via email or live video. This included both multispecialty sites and at least one (Virtual Neurology) dedicated to offering teleneurology consults.

On the other hand, at least in searching Google, I didn’t find any well-developed options for tele-endocrinology consults (a bummer considering that hubby’s a Type 2 diabetic). It was the same for tele-pulmonology services.

In both of the former cases, I imagine that such consults wouldn’t work over time unless you had connected testing devices that, for example allow you to do a peak flow test, spirometry, blood or urine test at home. But while such devices are emerging, I’m not aware of any that are fully mature.

Time to standardize

All told, I’m not surprised that it’s hit or miss out there if you want to consult your specialists via an e-visit. There are already trends in place, which have evolved over the last few years, which favor some specialties and fail to address others.

Nonetheless, particularly given my perilous situation, I’m hoping that providers and trade groups will develop some standardized approaches to telemedicine. My feeling is that if a specialty-specific organization makes well-developed clinical, technical, operational and legal guidelines available, we’ll see a secondary explosion of new tele-specialties emerge.

In fact, even if I retain my health insurance benefits, I still hope that telemedical services become more prevalent. They’re generally more cost-efficient than traditional care and certainly more convenient. And I’m pretty confident that I’m not the only one champing at the bit here. Let’s roll ‘em out, people!

HIMSSanity Recovery Tweetstorm Chat and Health IT Insights – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on February 23, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

We’re taking a little different approach for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 2/24 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). Since this week many of the #HITsm community were busy at the HIMSS Annual Conference in Orlando, we wanted to give people a bit of a break from the regular chat and test out a simple, new approach to the chat in what we’re calling the HIMSSanity Recovery chat.

Instead of sharing 5 topics to discuss, we’re asking everyone in the #HITsm community to share a “Tweetstorm” (check out this article that describes a Tweetstorm pretty well.) that offers some insights into the healthcare IT community. Maybe it’s a story from your experience at HIMSS17, insights into a certain topic, a message of gratitude, a rant on an important topic, a deep look into a subject that matters to you, etc. Of course, you’re welcome to join us even if you didn’t participate in HIMSS in any way shape or form. As long as you have a viewpoint and perspective, you’re welcome to join and share a tweetstorm.

All you have to do to participate is

1. Select a topic, subject, story, or rant you want to share.

2. Share a series of tweets that are numbered (ie. 1.) and end each tweet with the #HITsm hashtag.

3. Check out other people’s tweetstorms and reply to their perspectives.

4. Repeat if you have more than one tweetstorm to share.

Here’s a simple example of a tweetstorm you might share in 8 successive tweets:

1. We need to improve the patient experience in healthcare #HITsm
2. Healthcare organizations that choose not to improve the patient experience are going to be at an extreme disadvantage. #HITsm
3. As value based reimbursement efforts get rolled out, the right patient experience is going to be essential. #HITsm
4. First, it will attract the best patients to your organizations #HITsm
5. Second, it will provide you the opportunity to truly engage with your patients which is necessary in value based reimbursement. #HITsm
6. Third, if you don’t do it, your competitors across the street will and you’ll have a challenge being competitive. #HITsm
7. If you’re not working on the experience your patients have in your office, you should start now. #HITsm
8. Focusing on patient experience is the right thing to do for your patients and your business. #HITsm

That’s all. Easy enough right? I look forward to reading everyone’s #HITsm tweetstorms! Don’t worry if they don’t all go out at Noon ET (9 AM PT). Feel free to share them throughout the full #HITsm hour or even after. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments.

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
3/3 – “Is it ground hog day with population health?
Hosted by @dchou1107 and @cschealth

3/10 – TBD

3/17 – TBD

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always let us know if you have ideas for how to make #HITsm better.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

Whitepaper: Is Windows 10 HIPAA Compliant?

Posted on February 22, 2017 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Steven Marco, CISA, ITIL, HP SA and President of HIPAA One®.
Steven Marco - HIPAA expert
HIPAA One has collaborated with Microsoft on a new whitepaper that addresses Windows 10 and HIPAA compliance.

The whitepaper, HIPAA Compliance with Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise, provides guidance on how to leverage Microsoft Windows 10 as a HIPAA-compliant, baseline operating system for functionality and security. Additionally, the paper tackles head on (and debunks) the myth that Microsoft Windows is not HIPAA compliant.
In light of the recent focus on HIPAA enforcement actions; hospitals, clinics, healthcare clearinghouses and business associates are trying to understand how to manage modern operating systems with cloud features to meet HIPAA regulatory mandates. Along with adhering to HIPAA, many healthcare organizations are under pressure to broadly embrace the benefits of cloud computing and manage the security implications.

Microsoft has invested heavily in security and privacy technologies to address and mitigate today’s threats. Windows 10 Enterprise has been designed to be the most user-friendly Windows yet and includes deep architectural advancements that have changed the game when navigating hacking and malware threats. For this reason, organizations in every industry, including the Pentagon and Department of Defense have upgraded to Windows 10 Enterprise to improve their security posture. However, as with all software upgrades; functionality, security and privacy implications must be understood and addressed.

The intersection between HIPAA compliance and main stream applications can often be confusing to navigate. This industry-leading whitepaper addresses the questions and concerns that are currently top-of-mind for healthcare IT and legal professionals responsible for managing ePHI and maintain HIPAA compliance.

Download your copy today and learn now Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise enables its users to meet and/or exceed their HIPAA Security and Privacy requirements.

About Steven Marco
Steven Marco is the President of HIPAA One®, leading provider of HIPAA Risk Assessment software for practices of all sizes.  HIPAA One is a proud sponsor of EMR and HIPAA and the effort to make HIPAA compliance more accessible for all practices.  Are you HIPAA Compliant?  Take HIPAA One’s 5 minute HIPAA security and compliance quiz to see if your organization is risk or learn more at HIPAAOne.com.

#HITsm and #hcldr Meetup at #HIMSS17 (And Online)

Posted on February 21, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I was excited to join forces with my friend Colin Hung and do a combined meetup with the #HITsm and #hcldr communities at the HIMSS 2017 conference. There’s so much overlap between the two communities, we didn’t see any reason to do something separately.

After a lot of discussions, we decided to go back to our roots and return to the old meetup style. So, we’re meeting in the lobby outside of Hall D on Tuesday, 2/21 at 10 AM ET (7 AM PT). We’ve also enlisted the help of some great people to facilitate those who show up for the meetup (Thanks @mandibpro, @shahidnshah, @sarahbennight).

There’s not really a formal agenda per se. However, we do have a fun social activity for people to participate in. Plus, even if you’re not at the event, you can participate remotely. Here’s the format if you plan to participate remotely.

At 10 AM ET (7 AM PT), you can start by introducing yourself, what you do, and a fun fact or something interesting about you.

Shortly after that, take out a piece of paper or a whiteboard in your office and answer the question “How can we #ImproveHealthcare?”. Once you’ve answered the question on paper or the whiteboard, take a picture of you with the answer and tweet it out with the question “How can we #ImproveHealthcare?” and the hashtags: #hcldr #HITsm and #HIMSS17.

The great news is that @JoeBabaian will be taking care of managing those that are participating remotely. Plus, those of us that are in attendance live will be doing the same. So, we will be able to see the remote messages and those people following along remotely will be able to see our messages from HIMSS.

That’s all. Simple and sweet. We hope you’ll join us. Plus, if are following along at home, you can check out all of the tweets people are sharing here.

Ginni Rometty Keynote at #HIMSS17

Posted on February 20, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This was the tweet I sent after the Ginny Rometty, CEO of IBM, keynote at HIMSS 2017. Needless to say, I was extremely impressed. She didn’t say anything groundbreaking. Although, I never expect that from a CEO from a large company that knows very little about healthcare. Her expertise is in management, leadership and in growing a large company. That’s what she can speak to since that’s her expertise. She isn’t an expert in healthcare.

With that in mind, I found these insights from her particularly interesting:


This was a really important message. Far too often I’ve seen healthcare companies with a valuable vision that makes sense and then they get skewed from it because they see how other people are defining the market. That’s generally a bad idea.

On a personal level, this is even more important and something that’s missing far too often today.


I agree 1000% that endless curiosity is a powerful thing. I’d like to see more of it in healthcare. Far too many people aren’t curious in healthcare. They’re just on auto pilot. The innovations that healthcare needs require more curiosity.

I have so much more to share from the conference, but it will have to wait until later. I like to spend as much time at HIMSS, learning, engaging, and experiencing things. Then, it’s fuel for the content I create over the next 6 months to a year. That said, check out @techguy to see many of the insights that were shared at the various meetups I did. Plus, there are a number of videos shared on there as well.

Pre-#HIMSS17 Fun Friday

Posted on February 17, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

It’s Friday and not just any normal Friday, the Friday before the 2017 HIMSS Annual Conference. So, this Fun Friday entry is especially appreciated. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have a conversation about this first cartoon many times next week.

Everyone travel safe to HIMSS if you’re going. If you’re grinding away at home, I’ll do my best to bring you some unique, interesting, and valuable perspectives from the conference across my network of Healthcare Scene sites.

#MakeHITCount

Posted on February 16, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ll admit I’m a bit of a sucker for a new hashtag. Especially one that points to moving healthcare IT forward. So, you can imagine I was interested when my friends at Iron Mountain let me know that they were working on a new hashtag called #MakeHITCount.

Throughout HIMSS 2017, Iron Mountain will be collecting any mentions of #MakeHITCount on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn and using those tweets to create a cool photomosaic like the one below (click on it to see it in action):

I love those photomosaics, but I love showing appreciation for people even more. I also love the idea of pointing out the parts of Healthcare IT that are making a difference in people’s lives. Here are a list of ways that you can participate in the #MakeHITCount hashtag:

  • Share your story of why it’s important to #makeHITcount now more than ever
  • Share your story of how you #makeHITcount in your job role
  • Share your story of how health IT can #makeHITcount for clinicians or patients
  • Share your Health IT Hero, the person who inspires you to #makeHITcount
  • Challenge others to tell you how they #makeHITcount

It’s too easy for us to complain about healthcare IT. We need to spend more time sharing about how IT makes our lives better and show gratitude to the people that are making it better. I’m not saying we should ignore the challenges of using healthcare IT appropriately, but we also shouldn’t take for granted all the benefits that IT can and should provide.

I look forward to what you all share on #MakeHITCount. Maybe a wave of good can open our eyes to new possibilities, inspire people who are working in healthcare IT, and make Health IT live up to its potential.

Full Disclosure: Healthcare Scene occasionally gets paid to write blog posts for Iron Mountain’s blogs.

Consumers Fear Theft Of Personal Health Information

Posted on February 15, 2017 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Probably fueled by constant news about breaches – duh! – consumers continue to worry that their personal health information isn’t safe, according to a new survey.

As the press release for the 2017 Xerox eHealth Survey notes, last year more than one data breach was reported each day. So it’s little wonder that the survey – which was conducted online by Harris poll in January 2017 among more than 3,000 U.S. adults – found that 44% of Americans are worried about having their PHI stolen.

According to the survey, 76% of respondents believe that it’s more secure to share PHI between providers through a secure electronic channel than to fax paper documents. This belief is certainly a plus for providers. After all, they’re already committed to sharing information as effectively as possible, and it doesn’t hurt to have consumers behind them.

Another positive finding from the study is that Americans also believe better information sharing across providers can help improve patient care. Xerox/Harris found that 87% of respondents believe that wait times to get test results and diagnoses would drop if providers securely shared and accessed patient information from varied providers. Not only that, 87% of consumers also said that they felt that quality of service would improve if information sharing and coordination among different providers was more common.

Looked at one way, these stats offer providers an opportunity. If you’re already spending tens or hundreds of millions of dollars on interoperability, it doesn’t hurt to let consumers know that you’re doing it. For example, hospitals and medical practices can put signs in their lobby spelling out what they’re doing by way of sharing data and coordinating care, have their doctors discuss what information they’re sharing and hand out sheets telling consumers how they can leverage interoperable data. (Some organizations have already taken some of these steps, but I’d argue that virtually any of them could do more.)

On the other hand, if nearly half of consumers afraid that their PHI is insecure, providers have to do more to reassure them. Though few would understand how your security program works, letting them know how seriously you take the matter is a step forward. Also, it’s good to educate them on what they can do to keep their health information secure, as people tend to be less fearful when they focus on what they can control.

That being said, the truth is that healthcare data security is a mixed bag. According to a study conducted last year by HIMSS, most organizations conduct IT security risk assessments, many IT execs have only occasional interactions with top-level leaders. Also, many are still planning out their medical device security strategy. Worse, provider security spending is often minimal. HIMSS notes that few organizations spend more than 6% of their IT budgets on data security, and 72% have five or fewer employees allocated to security.

Ultimately, it’s great to see that consumers are getting behind the idea of health data interoperability, and see how it will benefit them. But until health organizations do more to protect PHI, they’re at risk of losing that support overnight.

Enough talk, lets #GSD (Get Stuff Done) – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on February 14, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

We’re excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 2/17 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Hosted by Burt Rosen (@burtrosen) from @healthsparq. We’ll be discussing the topic “Enough talk, lets #GSD (Get Stuff Done)“.

One of the big challenges I’ve had with tweet chats in the past is that we engage in some really interesting conversation, but it’s not clear how that conversation translates into action. I know that many #HITsm chats have benefited my work, but I think we could still take the #HITsm community to a new level if we could get more stuff done.

Given this week’s topic, it seems like Burt Rosen agrees with me. This week’s #HITsm chat is designed to move beyond talk and has you make a personal commitment to doing something. Plus, we’re going to have Burt back to host a future chat to follow up and see how everyone is doing.

The Topics
Here are the topics to help flesh out the theme of ‘Enough talk, lets #GSD (Get Stuff Done).’

Introductions: If you could have any super power to change health care, what would it be? #HITsm

T1: How are you using that super power right now to make a real, measurable difference in health care? #HITsm

T2: What’s your kryptonite? What obstacles are you facing? #HITsm

T3: Does your work depend on other people? How are you connecting them/connecting with them to keep things moving forward? #HITsm

T4: Any advice to help each other out? #HITsm

T5: A year from now, will you have changed health care in a way you’re proud of? #HITsm

Bonus: Now that you’ve all committed to being health care heroes – what are you going to call yourself when you wear your cape? #HITsm

#HIMSS17 Meetup with #HITsm and #hcldr
If you’ll be at HIMSS, we’re doing a physical #HITsm meetup combined with the #hcldr community on Tuesday, 2/21 from 10:00-10:45 AM ET at the Orlando Convention Center Lobby Hall D. There will be many people participating in the meetup virtually using the #HITsm and #hcldr hashtags as well. So, if you aren’t at #HIMSS17, then you can still join anyway. Here’s a link to find more details on this meetup and other Healthcare Scene meetups at HIMSS17.

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
2/24 – HIMSSanity Recovery Chat
With #HIMSS17 happening the week of this chat, we’ll take the week off from a formal chat. However, we encourage people that attended HIMSS or watched HIMSS remotely to share a “Tweetstorm” that tells a #HIMSS17 story, shares insights about a topic, rants on a topic of interest, or shows gratitude. Plus, it will be fun to test out a new form of tweetstorm Twitter chat. We’ll post more details as we get closer.

3/3 – “Is it ground hog day with population health?
Hosted by @dchou1107 and @cschealth

3/10 – TBD

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always let us know if you have ideas for how to make #HITsm better.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

#FakeICDCodes for #HIMSS17

Posted on February 13, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In the world of Healthcare IT, we’re all consumed by the HIMSS Annual Conference happening next week in Orlando. You’ve probably realized that as you’ve read about my HIMSS17 Meetups, my HIMSS17 Conference and Social Media Resources, and my HIMSS17 Tips for Hospital Professionals. Oh yes, and of course my New Media Meetup Party (Be sure to register if you plan to attend). We’ll get back to our regularly scheduled programming after next week. Until then, we’ll try to give you a glimpse into the HIMSS conference experience along with insights, perspectives, and a little industry humor.

With that in mind, I was really excited when the brilliant Sarah Bennight, Marketing Strategist at Stericycle’s Enterprise Healthcare Group, shared the idea of #FakeICDCodes with me. In a lot of ways, this is a take off of the humorous ICD-10 codes list that were so popular, but applied to HIMSS17 and the healthcare IT industry as a whole with a little nod to the #FakeNews world.

Here are some sample #FakeICDCodes that I’m sure you’ll appreciate if you’ve taken part in HIMSS or some other large conference.

We’ll be sharing a bunch of other humorous #FakeICDCodes over the next couple weeks if you want to see them all on Twitter. Plus, this doesn’t just apply to #HIMSS17. These codes can apply to the industry year round. Feel free to join in and share your own #FakeICDCodes. We look forward to seeing what creative ones you come up with and share.