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It’s Not The Health IT You Choose, But The Way You Talk About It

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With system upgrades taking shape across the country, IT is no longer just another another department in the hospital. More than ever, it’s integral to how healthcare organizations work and get paid.

But you don’t always see this shifting landscape reflected in hospitals’ leadership structures or practices.

That’s unfortunate. Getting the most out of  the billions being spent on health IT will require clear vision and skillful communication at the top levels, according to a December article in the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association.

Doctors, nurses and other team members “must understand the nature of the changes—what the result of the changes will be, how their roles and work will be different, and why change is important,” author Tiankai Wang wrote.

Thoughtful language can go a long way toward minimizing staff resistance and making an implementation successful, explained Wang, a professor of health information management at Texas State University.

Leaders should practice “framing” by promoting the benefits of the technology, such as improved outcomes, lower costs and greater efficiency, Wang wrote. They should also use “rhetorical crafting” by using stories, analogies and other devices to make their message resonate.

Rhetorical crafting, according to Wang, “leverages a ‘show, don’t tell’ approach to frame leaders’ message in a form that will connect more easily with staff and help them to embrace the possibilities of the coming change.”

He also advises using words such as “we” and “should” rather than “you” and “must” when talking about IT changes.

At a more fundamental level, though, IT leadership isn’t always valued in healthcare to the extent that other roles are. In 2013, average total cash compensation for chief information officers was eighth-highest of all hospital titles at about $316,000, Modern Healthcare reported.

And despite the growing importance of health IT, it’s also uncommon for hospital CIOs to be promoted to the roles of chief operating officer, president or CEO.

It does happen, though, as David Raths wrote in Healthcare Informatics. In perhaps the best known example, Cincinnati-based Mercy Health, which operates several hospitals, earlier this year named Yousuf Ahmad, who had previously served as CIO, to the chief executive role. Ahmad had also held other management roles, including president of the system’s physician group.

It’s likely a sign of the front-and-center role that IT is now taking at healthcare organizations everywhere.

December 13, 2013 I Written By

James Ritchie is a freelance writer with a focus on health care. His experience includes eight years as a staff writer with the Cincinnati Business Courier, part of the American City Business Journals network. Twitter @HCwriterJames.

EMR and EHR Jobs

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I regularly hear from readers that are looking for a job in the healthcare IT and EHR field. It’s an interesting time in the EHR world because many organizations can’t find enough qualified EHR workers and yet there are many who would love to get into the EHR field of labor. Until now, very few organizations have been willing to train someone on the healthcare industry. We’ll see if that changes as meaningful use winds down and organizations don’t feel the same pressure they’ve felt chasing the government carrot.

4-5 years back I implemented an EMR and EHR job board into the sidebar of all of the Healthcare Scene websites. I’m always amazed at the number of views and applications that a job listed on it gets. Hopefully it’s helping both sides of the relationship (those searching for qualified people and those searching for jobs).

This week we’ve had a number of new job postings that I thought might be of interest to my readers:

EHR Information Scientist

Senior Analyst, EHR

HRIS/Benefits Manager

Take a look at those jobs and the others listed. Let your friends who are looking for EHR related jobs know about them. Hopefully we can help to make a difference in someone’s life.

If you’re someone looking for a job, feel free to leave a link to your online resume or LinkedIn page and a short description of your skills and what you’re looking for in the comments of this post. You never know who might be reading and see your comment.

June 10, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

EMR Workforce Shortage

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One of the longest running conversations we’ve had on this site is the shortage of qualified EMR workers. It’s a discussion that quite frankly is difficult on many levels. On the one hand you have the hospitals and clinics who are suffering because they can’t find the right people to work on their EMR. On the other hand, you have the unemployed but experienced IT worker that’s trying to crack into the healthcare IT and EMR world.

This later group breaks my heart about once a week. There stories and efforts trying to find a job in healthcare IT are hard for me to take. Sadly, I haven’t figured out a way to help them beyond pointing them to our EMR and EHR Job board which appears in the sidebar of each of our sites. Otherwise, I’m not sure how to bridge the gap between the EHR workforce shortage that many people describe and those looking for jobs in the EHR world.

Although, I was reading something recently that opened my eyes a little bit to why I hear two sides of the same story. This is what I read:

There’s always a shortage of the perfect worker.

This is a challenging idea to consider, but an important one. There are only a handful of perfect workers out there for each situation, so of course there’s a shortage of that talent. Plus, it’s amazing how the perfect workers always seem to have work. Yes, there are a few exceptions and much of job hunting is about timing and location. However, I wonder if the EHR shortage that many describe is the lack of the perfect worker and not an actual EHR worker shortage.

I thought it would be interesting to have a poll to see what people think about the EMR workforce shortage. Is there one or isn’t there? Select your answer below.

Feel free to elaborate on your poll response in the comments.

May 14, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

EHR Expert Jobs, Healthcare Social Media, MU Attestation Data

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I guess Cleveland Clinic doesn’t think the government trained EHR workforce. I know a lot of them that can’t get a job in any EHR position.


This story is a crazy one and spiral out of control is the right term. Although, this post by Amanda Blum is the best look at the issues from my point of view. Dr. Nick is right that you do have to be careful. In fact, the case above wasn’t even something that happened on social media. It was something that happened in person at a conference and then social media blew it up. So, I’d actually argue that it’s more important than ever for you to be involved in social media. That way if something does blow up, you see it and can deal with the situation before it spins out of control.

What I do hate most about the story is the lack of civility and not giving people the benefit of the doubt. I hate that part of the way society is heading. Communication can solve a lot of issues if people would just use it. Instead, we assume the worst in people. That’s unfortunate.


Evan’s opening line to the blog post says, “CMS just released the December 2012 attestation data, and one thing is abundantly clear—many EHR vendors will not be around to see Stage 2.” I don’t agree with his conclusion. I expect we’ll have nearly as many in meaningful use stage 2 as we did in stage 1. Meaningful Use stage 3 is likely where we’re going to see fallout. Although, it does beg the question of how many EHR vendors will stay in business without EHR incentive money?

I’ve often said that it’s surprising how good of a business you can run with just a few thousand doctors.

March 31, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Data Capture, Electronic Data, and Interoperability — #HITsm Chat Highlights

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Topic One: When can we seriously say the data being captured and stored in EHRs is leading to new opportunities for patient care?

Topic Two: Do hospitals prioritize complete data capture for max reimbursement or for an aid for clinicians in patient care?

#HITsm T3: Does electronic data entry really take more time than paper notes? What can improve speed?

 

#HITsm T4: Interoperability. What can be done to increase awareness of the CCD and CDA standards designated for data exchange?

October 20, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

EHR Reimbursement, Health Data Security, and Innovation – #HITsm Chat Highlights

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Every week, HL7 Standards, hosts a #HITsm Tweet Chat and poses four questions “on current topics that are influencing healthcare technology, health IT, and the use of social media in healthcare.” It’s always a great discussion and also a great chance to meet a wide variety of people that are passionate about healthcare IT.

In case you missed it, or are curious about what went on this week, we’ve put together the list of topics with some of the best responses for each topic. There were some interesting topics this week, as well as some great responses. If you have any opinions on any of these topics, feel free to continue the discussion in the comments. This chats take place every Friday at 11AM CST. You’ll find members of Healthcare Scene regularly participating in the chat under some of the following Twitter accounts: @techguy@ehrandhit@hospitalEHR, and @smyrnagirl.

Topic One: Politics #EHR reimbursement will likely reach $20 billion. Why is this big govt initiative exempt from critics?

Topic Two: Health data security: What does health data security look like and how is it different than financial data security?

Topic Three: Clash of the #Health IT Titans: What is most beneficial patients, #HIEs or #ACOs? 

Topic Four: Innovation in #healthIT: What are some examples of innovative groups/ideas that may disrupt the current system? 

September 22, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

MU Stage 2, ICD-10 Delay, Epic-Related Safety Errors, and Mobile EMRs – Around HealthCare Scene

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EMR Thoughts

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Final Rule Published

The long awaited MU Stage 2 final rule was published last week by CMS. No one will be required to follow the requirements until 2014, when the program is set to begin. The Stage 2 final rule is 672 pages long. The press release concerning MU Stage 2 mentions interesting facts, such as 3,300 hospitals have participated thus far.

ICD-10 Delay Finalized with New Unique Plan Identifier

In an announcement that was kind of lost in the midst of the meaningful use stage 2 final rule, the ICD-10 delay is official. As someone said on Twitter, you now have two years to get ready for ICD-10. You better get started now. The announcement of a Health Plan Identifier (HPID) is also very big news.

EMR and EHR

Nurses Raise Alarm Over Epic-Related Safety Errors

With any EMR, there is an adjustment period. However, there was an error recently at a prison clinic in California that could have been deadly that was related to the implementing of an Epic installation. Nurses have raised many concerns about the system, and have likely not been adequately trained. Is the issue with Epic because of the system, or because of inadequate training?

We Know What’s Right, but It’s Hard
Being healthy and overcoming illnesses takes works. And obviously, most of us know that if we don’t put in that effort, there will be negative consequences. Unfortunately, many people don’t put in that effort. Luckily, with the advent of being able to monitor health from home with smart phone apps and other gadgets, it is easier to do what we know is right. Is mHealth applications the answer to the question of how do we motivate ourselves to do what we know we should?

Happy EMR Doctor

Can We Talk? Challenges of SaaS Type EMR User Interfaces

SaaS EMR User Interfaces have a variety of challenges. The latest issue is ensuring that all the individual software work together in a way that doesn’t interrupt a practice’s workflow. This week, Dr. Michael West talks about how, when one component gets updated, it often causes others to work less efficiently. His office recently experienced this, and described the frustrating experience.

Smart Phone Health Care

Detecting Parkinson’s with a Phone Call

About 5 percent of adults over the age of 80 has Parkinson’s Disease. A new technology is being developed that supposedly can detect Parkinson’s Disease. And not only can it detect it, but with 98.6 percent overall accuracy. This raises the question, what can a smart phone not do? This is just the beginning of disease detection and treatment with smart phones. What’s next?

Five Health Communities Every Patient Should Use

It’s easier than ever to have a health problem. Okay, not really, but it’s easier to find support. There are many great communities online dedicated to helping patient’s find information about just about every health topic out there. Some offer free advice from medical professionals, and others implement social media. Here are five of the best communities everyone should join.

Hospital EMR and EHR

Survey: Virtually All Docs Want Mobile EMRs

9 out of 10 doctors want to be able to access their EMR on a mobile device, according to a recent study. It makes sense, since so many doctors are using iPads and smart phones nowadays. Luckily for these doctors, companies like Vitera and eClinicalWorks are working on mobile solutions for this. Hopefully these solutions will include things like reviewing and updating patient charts, and ordering prescriptions, which ranked among the top functions doctors are hoping a mobile EMR would include.

August 26, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Patient Engagement Platforms, iPhones Replace Doctors, and a Wireless Health Research Center – #HITsm Chat Highlights

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Every week, HL7 Standards, hosts a #HITsm Tweet Chat and poses four questions “on current topics that are influencing healthcare technology, health IT, and the use of social media in healthcare.” It’s always a great discussion and also a great chance to meet a wide variety of people that are passionate about healthcare IT.

In case you missed it, or are curious about what went on this week, we’ve put together the list of topics with some of the best responses for each topic. There were some interesting topics this week, as well as some great responses. If you have any opinions on any of these topics, feel free to continue the discussion in the comments. This chats take place every Friday at 11AM CST. You’ll find members of Healthcare Scene regularly participating in the chat under some of the following Twitter accounts: @techguy@ehrandhit@hospitalEHR, and @smyrnagirl.

Topic One: Payers are adopting more member/patient engagement platforms. How would you design these systems?

Topic Two: Group Health discussed their “learning health system.” What strategic decisions must a health system make to learn?

Topic Three: There’s a new noninvasive total cholesterol test using a digital camera. Could an iPhone replace your doctor some day?

Topic Four: NYU Medical Center opened a wireless health research center. What should their first research project be?

Grab Bag

August 25, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Community Versus Large Providers, Health IT Tools, Roadblocks to Success, and ACOs – #HITsm Chat Highlights

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Every week, HL7 Standards, hosts a #HITsm Tweet Chat and poses four questions “on current topics that are influencing healthcare technology, health IT, and the use of social media in healthcare.” It’s always a great discussion and also a great chance to meet a wide variety of people that are passionate about healthcare IT.

In case you missed it, or are curious about what went on this week, we’ve put together the list of topics with some of the best responses for each topic. There were some interesting topics this week, as well as some great responses. If you have any opinions on any of these topics, feel free to continue the discussion in the comments. This chats take place every Friday at 11AM CST. You’ll find members of Healthcare Scene regularly participating in the chat under some of the following Twitter accounts: @techguy@ehrandhit@hospitalEHR, and @smyrnagirl.

Topic One: Do community providers play larger role in population health than large providers? What is social media’s role?

Topic Two: What health IT tools are most essential for population health management? 

Topic Three: What is the likelihood that health IT can guide or manage an entire population of patients? What are the roadblocks to success? 

Topic Four: Compare and contrast accountable care with population health. Are they the same? What are the differences? 

August 11, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Healthcare IT Education Grants and the Workforce Shortage

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As many of you know, I get a lot of interesting emails. I generally try to respond to all the emails I get. In many cases, the topics work great for a post on this blog and will extend the discussion beyond the email. This is one such case. The following is an email from a student in one of the HITECH funded healthcare IT education programs and my response to them (published with permission). I’ll be interested to hear what others think about the topics we discussed and if you have any other suggestions for Jojo.

I would like to ask your opinion about what will the graduates of the HIT education grant do after fiishing the 6 month course ?

I am one of these students and I want to freelance after. I have 13 years of IT experience and none of heallthcare (except for my medical appointments where I make my own process workflow analysis). As for me, I have not seen much of IT companies specializing in HIT, in the Northern Sacramento / Placer county region. HIT does not even ring a bell to them, I think. IT companies know about Windows, Office, VMWare, networking, Sharepoint, etc. but not HIT. HIT is an old lurking industry given prestige nowadays because of the HITech act and the $19 billion fund. In 2 more months I will finish the HIT grant school and nowhere to go.

I want to plan ahead. So, I looked at the NorCal REC and I see that they have pay-for registrations for IT providers (IT companies). The IT provider list is supposed to be a match for clinics wanting to implement EMR. I look at these IT provider’s website and I don’t see much information about what they do for HIT. So, how does a REC know that an IT provider knows how to do HIT ? Sure IT companies know the IT part of HIT but not necessarily the H part (for healthcare). This was the same notion I have before I was a HIT student. How hard can HIT be ? Not until I went through the HIT education prgram then I understood that it is not as easy as I thought. HIT is much like specialty field of IT (akin to doctor specializing to a specific field of study).

Therefore, I may have to freelance; capture the smaller niche market in my rural region. Test the waters, apply my learned skills and grow from there. Yes, I would want to satisfy the HITECH goal of building a HIT workforce. But I do not have any information as who is out there (clnics wanting an EMR and HIT providers). My only assumption is that by the end of two years, ONCs calculation is that there will be about 10,500 HIT professionals nationwide. It does not seem to be a lot considering that the California REC is expecting about 10,000 clinic registrants.

The REC is not catering to the upcoming HIT workforce. At least , I have not seen any projects or system that will provide information for a HIT professional that will be graduating this March. I would imagine that a HIT professional should be able to login to the REC website and browse a list of clinic that matches his locality and expertise. Something like that will justify the fund given out for the HIT education.

What do you think?

Jojo Pornebo

My email response was the following:

Hi Jojo,
You bring up some interesting points and thanks for sharing. Are you sure you’re looking in the right places? I don’t know your area of the country that well, but I know a couple IT vendors here in Las Vegas that do a ton of healthcare IT support. Although, you shouldn’t be confused by their website. Many have healthcare as a strong area of focus, but don’t necessarily put it on their website. In fact, in some cases I’ve seen them put the EMR part of their company as a separate company so as not to confuse their existing IT clients.

I’d also suggest you see if there are any VARs in the area you want to work. Many IT companies become VARs for specific EMR vendors and so you could leverage both your IT and healthcare IT skills with a company like this.

Also, I’m not sure it’s best to rely on the RECs. I talked with an IT vendor today who said that he referred people to our local REC for meaningful use and they were suppose to get referrals back for IT support. Yet, he hasn’t gotten any referrals from the REC (yet?). I’d look beyond the RECs which have a limited life anyway if I was in your shoes.

Your training could apply beyond IT companies and the RECs. You could work for an IT vendor itself for example. You can also find full time employment with a specific clinic. Many medium to large size clinics have full time IT support. It’s a great alternative to working for an IT company since you get to know the clinic very well and can effect change over a long period of time. Of course, hospital IT departments also need a lot of skilled healthcare IT employees (and may have the most shortage).

There are lots of options out there. What really matters is you deciding which career path you want to take. Working for an IT company, a hospital, a clinic, an HIT vendor or freelancing for yourself are all viable career paths with their own unique pros and cons.

You could also check out my EMR and EHR job board. It has a number of possible job options so you could see some of the types of healthcare IT related jobs that are out there.

I hope this helps.

Note: Please feel free to share your thoughts for Jojo in the comments. If you have a job for Jojo let me know in the comments or on our contact us page too and I’ll be sure to connect you.

February 3, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.