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What’s Next in the World of Healthcare IT and EHR?

Posted on February 24, 2016 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 following video, Healthcare Scene sits down with Dana Sellers, CEO of Encore, a Quintiles Company. Dana is an expert in the world of healthcare IT and EHR and provides some amazing expertise on what’s happening in the industry. We talk about where healthcare IT is headed now that meaningful use has matured and healthcare CIOs are starting to look towards new areas of opportunity along with how they can make the most out of their previous EHR investments.

As we usually do with all of our Healthcare Scene interviews, we held an “After Party” session with a little more informal discussion about what’s happening in the healthcare IT industry. If you don’t watch anything else, skip to this section of the video when Dana tells a story about a CIO who showed the leadership needed to make healthcare interoperability a reality.

My #HIMSS14 Preview

Posted on February 21, 2014 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.

As most of you know, I’ll be heading on my annual pilgrimage to Health IT Mecca (otherwise known as HIMSS14). HIMSS 2014 is taking place in Orlando and I have another jam packed schedule with ~20 confirmed meetings and ~10 possible evening socials. Of course, this doesn’t count any of the sessions I plan to attend or time I’ve set aside to discover what’s in the enormous exhibit hall.

In case you don’t read EMR and EHR (shame on you, but this can be corrected), yesterday I posted Some Frank #HIMSS14 Advice (plus some cool preview pictures of the event). If you’re going to HIMSS, it’s well worth a read. I think it also illustrates how important the people at HIMSS are to me. Maybe that’s why I love Social Media at HIMSS14 so much. In fact, you’ll see in my preview below a great mix of social media and interesting companies.

Now for a preview of some of the things I’m looking forward to at HIMSS 2014 and a few things that caught my eye (Apologies in advance to those things I forgot to mention).

#HealthyHIMSS14
If you check out that link, you’ll see the unofficial HIMSS 14 5k, a HIMSS Dance Meetup, a HIMSS Tennis Meetup and the official Yoga and Wellness Challenge. I love that there’s at least some effort to be healthy and have some fun at HIMSS. Should be some fun events. I’ll be attending the ones that aren’t way too early for a west coast blogger like myself.

Stoltenberg Consulting
I found Stoltenberg Consulting’s idea to ask attendees “What If…” during HIMSS. They’ll be offering the option in their booth, but you can also get started on social media using the hashtag #WhatIf4HIT. I imagine Stoltenberg plans to take those questions and see how they can help solve the problems which makes the idea even better. There are always plenty of people at HIMSS asking What If, but not nearly enough people making those What Ifs a reality.

#SocialMedia and Influence Meetup
This meetup will include the spectacular Cari Mclean and Shahid Shah and I’ll be tagging along as well. This will be a real interactive discussion between all the participants. So, come to the event ready to ask questions, get answers, and share your experiences and viewpoints. I hope that this will be a sliver of a preview of the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference I’m organizing in April.

5th Annual New Media Meetup at HIMSS
Unfortunately, this event has reached capacity (as it does every year). Imagine 200 of the best and brightest in healthcare IT social media in the same room. Everywhere you turn you see an amazing blogger or someone you follow on Twitter. It’s awesome. A big thanks to Stericycle Communication Solutions for sponsoring the event.

Santa Rosa Consulting
Besides always having a great booth at HIMSS, they also offer a full suite of consulting services around all the topics you would expect: ICD-10, meaningful use, BI and analytics, and HIE. Plus, Santa Rosa Consulting’s part of the larger company which owns the HIE company, Sandlot Solutions. They’re announcing a new Sandlot Connect Lite product that serves as an entry-level electronic notification service, providing the first level of information sharing between ambulatory and inpatient healthcare settings as patients are admitted and discharged. You can find them at Booth 5689 and 5783.

#HITsm Meetup
Always fun to meet many of the people you’ve shared tweets with in person at the #HITsm meetup. I hear this year they’re going to do more interacting and meeting and less single stream discussion. This makes me happy. Plus, I hear they have some giveaways this year as well.

Capsule Tech
Props to KNB for holding a Google Plus video hangout HIMSS pre-brief with Capsule Tech. Then, I have to take the props away for them having me hold an embargo until Monday. However, Capsule Tech did provide me some insight that I’d never heard about hospital readmissions. Plus, I found their HIMSS announcement an interesting evolution in their work. Too bad I can’t tell you more. However, I’m hoping to have a post about it up on Hospital EMR and EHR on Monday.

Healthcare Analytics
You won’t have to look for this. In fact, this is a warning that this is going to be the top buzz word at HIMSS14. I don’t think it’s even going to be close. If someone has more time than me, I’d love to know what percentage of HIMSS exhibitors have a Healthcare Analytics package. I bet it’s huge. What does healthcare analytics even mean? I guess that’s why everyone has a package. No one knows what it means and so everyone has something that does “analytics.” I do analytics too, in excel spreadsheets.

Encore Health Resources
Over on Hospital EMR and EHR, I did an interview with Dana Sellers about the new product their launching at HIMSS: Encore Pay for Performance (P4P) Managed Services. You can read the interview for all the details, but I find it really interesting that a consulting company wants to start taking on some of the risk associated with an organization’s P4P program. I’ll be interested to hear attendees response to this approach and how this plays out over time. We’re at the really early stages of P4P. Also, the Encore Pub Nights at HIMSS are always a nice break after a long day as well. Check those out if you haven’t before.

NextGen Giveaways
Everyone likes a nice giveaway (unless you’re press and they don’t like to give stuff to you). I was impressed by the suite of giveaways that NextGen will be doing at HIMSS. The “selfie contest” is a fun one that leverages social media. I love the prize patrol one as well, but I prefer carrying my backpack instead of another bag. Plus, they’re giving out 4 Grand Prize Vacations. I’d personally want the 5 nights in Rome, Italy, but I’m biased since I lived in Italy for 2 years.

I’ll be interested to hear what other giveaways there are at HIMSS. In past years it seemed they weren’t giving as much away. Maybe I was just too busy in meetings. I did hear one vendor is giving out cool portable batteries to charge your cell phones. Those are nice if you don’t have one.

There you go. A few of the interesting things I’m looking forward to participating in and checking out at HIMSS. I’d love to hear what you find interesting and what you’re looking forward to see in the comments.

Full Disclosure: Santa Rosa Consulting and Stoltenberg Consulting both work with Healthcare IT Central posting jobs and sponsoring newsletters.

A Hospital Perspective on Meaningful Use from Encore Health Resources

Posted on February 18, 2014 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.

The following is a guest blog post by Karen Knecht in response to the question I posed in my “State of the Meaningful Use” call to action.

If MU were gone (ie. no more EHR incentive money or penalties), which parts of MU would you remove from your EHR immediately and which parts would you keep?

Karen Knecht
Karen Knecht
Chief Innovation Officer at Encore Health Resources

It’s an interesting question you’ve posed on MU, and I think you have generated some great discussion on this topic, such as last week’s response by Dr. Sherling from the perspective of an eligible provider.

My colleagues and I would like to provide an eligible hospital perspective.  The industry is now three-plus years down the path of implementing “certified EHRs.”  There was a need to kick-start the digitization of healthcare in this country and create a common infrastructure to drive change, and MU has done that.  For example, establishing standards for data capture is critical for unified reporting and analysis.  Would the industry establish and adopt these standards without a program like MU?

But working with many large healthcare organizations representing several hundred individual hospitals in their MU programs, there are clearly many lessons learned and opportunities to improve for the future, even if the MU program were to go away.

Overall, there are no MU objectives that we would discount as having no value.  However, there are some that have served their time and others that are ahead of their time.

For the parts to continue, we see a high level of value in the CPOE, Barcoded Medication Administration, Medication Reconciliation and Clinical Decision Support objectives, as they are making tangible contributions to patient care.  However, we would recommend timeline delay due to additional capital outlay as well as complexity of workflow.  This would give more time for deeper and broader adoption.

For the parts to no longer measure in the same way, we would start by simplifying and removing the objectives that are topped out: the ones that are already hardwired in most organizations such as Vital Signs, Demographics, and Smoking Status.  This is no different than the current process for removing quality measures from reporting requirements once they have been well adopted — and HITPC is in agreement about this.  In their meeting last week where they discussed proposed Stage 3 measures, they were saying much the same thing.  Even if you stop measuring these things explicitly, they will continue to be electronically documented.

Second, we could see removing objectives that are now standard for “certified” EHRs.  For example, the time and effort to document the Drug Formulary, Drug-Drug, and Drug-Allergy checking functionality, for the sole purpose of meeting the MU objective, is not well spent.  Another example is the lab results stored as discrete values, which are part and parcel of any lab system in existence.

Other objectives that are causing great concern among many hospitals are the ones dealing with providing and exchanging information electronically.  It would be helpful to reconsider the expectations for these objectives, since many are finding out that implementing a patient portal without a sound patient engagement strategy is not going to be enough to ensure that 5% of patients will actually access their records.  Hospitals should have a portal and secure messaging capability, but it doesn’t seem realistic to put thresholds on patient utilization.  As the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

Additionally, the requirement for Direct exchange to transmit summary of care is cumbersome and actually a step backwards for those entities who are part of an HIE and are currently exchanging data among members.  For most others, it is really only practical to implement with a physician ambulatory partner.  The sad fact is that nursing homes, SNF’s, and other entities where hospitals commonly transfer patients are not included in the EHR incentive program and do not have the technology necessary to participate in a direct exchange in a meaningful way.

And finally, we think all aspects of electronic quality measures should be rethought.  We love the idea of calculating these measures electronically, but they need to be appropriately validated and re-addressed in the context of the poor data collection that is occurring.  Perhaps CMS should consider another voluntary incentive program for facilities that have fully implemented all their clinical documentation.  Given the change that is proposed to the physician quality reporting programs as a result of the SGR fix, perhaps a similar refinement of the IQR and VBP programs along with MU should be considered.

See other responses to this question here and please reach out to us if you’re interested in providing a response to the question.

EMR and EHR Jobs

Posted on December 8, 2013 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 back again with our weekend Healthcare IT Central jobs post. Healthcare IT Central recently passed a really amazing milestone. The HIT Central jobs newsletter now gets sent to over 14,000 health IT professionals (See this week’s newsletter for an example). When I look through the list of people who read the newsletter, I’m in awe at the quality of professionals on the list.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when I look at the quality of jobs listed on the site. Not to mention the companies behind those jobs. Check out the Healthcare IT Central mini job site for these 3 companies to see what I mean:

If you’re looking for a particular type of Health IT job, you can always use this Health IT jobs search page. Also, here’s a list of links to some of our most popular search terms:

As always, I love to hear your feedback on the site.

Got Healthcare IT Jobs? We Do…Now

Posted on November 13, 2013 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.

When I first started blogging 8 years ago, I never thought I’d become a full time blogger. 8 years and 6000 blog posts later, it’s safe to say that blogging is a big part of my life. In fact, I’ll probably be a blogger until the day I die. If you asked me a month ago what I could do for organizations looking for healthcare IT talent or individuals seeking healthcare IT jobs, I wouldn’t have much to offer beyond advertising. Today, that all changes.

I’m really excited to announce Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today are now part of the Healthcare Scene family of health IT websites. You fan find the full announcement press release on EMR and EHR News.

I can’t tell you enough how exciting it is for me to start working with Gwen Darling, the founder and creator of Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today (Check out her thoughts on the acquisition here). Anyone that’s worked with Gwen or Healthcare IT Central knows how much she cares about those who’ve used Healthcare IT Central to find jobs or fill positions. Much like me, she takes a personal interest in so many members of her community. It’s thrilling to think about how Gwen and I together can help even more people find their dream jobs at the top healthcare companies.

Check out a few of the Healthcare IT Central stats that illustrate the size of the healthcare IT community Gwen created:
-9000+ Recent and Relevant Healthcare IT Resumes
-14,000+ eNewsletter Subscribers
-16,000+ Job Seekers Registered – Upload Your Resume
-750 Registered Employers – Post Your Jobs

On Healthcare IT Central, you can search for health IT jobs from top companies such as Beacon Partners, First Choice Professionals, Cipe Consulting Group, CTG Healthcare, Holland Square Group, Healthcare IS, and many others. Plus, I’m really excited that since Gwen and I started to working together, we’ve already added top health IT consulting companies ESD, Encore Health Resources, and Cordea Consulting and we’re just getting started.

The Healthcare IT Today blog is also a really impressive resource. Since January 2010, 18 of the top healthcare IT career professionals have created 504 posts. For example, take a look at a few of the top blog posts about Epic Certification (150 comments) and becoming a healthcare IT consultant.

What does this mean for Healthcare Scene? For most readers you won’t see much difference. We’re still planning to offer the same great content we’ve been creating for years. However, with the addition of the large Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today community, we’ll hopefully get even more engaging discussions in the comments from a larger variety of voices.

Plus, I know that there are many in the Healthcare Scene community that are either trying to find better jobs, looking for jobs, or looking to hire qualified health IT professionals. We’ve added a widget in the sidebar of each website for easy access to the latest Healthcare IT Central jobs. You might have also noticed some jobs being posted to our various social media channels. We’ll continue to look for ways to integrate all of the websites in tasteful ways.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the new additions to the family. We’re really excited by what we’ve already been able to accomplish and we’re just getting started. Plus, I feel lucky that Gwen is sticking around to continue running the site. I’m excited to work alongside her and learn from her. Let us know what else we can do to make sure we are the premiere destination for healthcare IT.

Do Hospitals Need an EDW to Participate in an ACO?

Posted on July 29, 2013 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.

The following is a guest blog post by Dana Sellers, Chief Executive Officer of Encore Health Resources. Dana’s comments are in response to my post titled, “Skinny Data Solves Specific Problems While BIG DATA Looks for Unseen Problems.” For more context, also check out my post on Skinny Data in Healthcare, and my video interview with Dana Sellers.
Dana-Sellers-Encore-Health-Resources
You did a great job of nailing down the kinds of problems our industry can tackle with BIG DATA on the one hand and smart, skinny data on the other in your blog last Thursday, “Skinny Data Solves Specific Problems While BIG DATA Looks for Unseen Problems.” We here at Encore Health Resources were particularly intrigued when you asked whether skinny data would be enough for ACOs, or whether hospitals will need full enterprise data warehouses – EDWs – to meet the demands of ACOs.

I’d love to take a shot at that. As I’m sure lots of your readers know, an EDW is a collection of enterprise data based on the best guess of what an organization thinks it will need over the long run. So it’s bigger than skinny data (only what we know we need now) but smaller than Big Data (every bit of data available). So now we get to your question…do hospitals need an EDW to meet the demands of participating in an ACO?

If you’ve got one, great! In large part, we know what measures ACOs want a hospital to report. If you already have a mature, well-populated EDW — fantastic! Pull the needed data, calculate the required measures, and go for it.

If not, start with skinny data. Many organizations find that they are jumping into ACOs before they have a mature EDW. So this is a great example of where skinny data is a great idea. The concept of skinny data lets you focus on the specific data required by the ACO. Instead of spending a long time trying to gather everything you might need eventually, focus on the immediate needs: quality, readmissions, unnecessary ED visits, controlling diabetes, controlling CHF, etc. Gather that quickly, and then build to a full EDW later.

Think about a skinny data appliance. One of the problems I’m seeing across the country is that organizations are rarely talking about just one ACO. These days, it’s multiple ACOs, and each one requires a different set of metrics. I talked with an organization last week that is abandoning its current business intelligence strategy and seeking a new one because they didn’t feel the old strategy was going to be able to accommodate the explosion of measures that are required by all the ACOs and commercial contracts and Federal initiatives coming down the road. The problem is that you don’t have to just report all these measures- you actually need to perform against these measures, or you won’t be reimbursed in this new world.

One way to deal with this is to establish a sound EDW strategy but supplement it with a skinny data appliance. I doubt that’s an official term, but my mother never told me I couldn’t make up words. To me, a skinny data appliance is something that sits on top of your EDW and gives you the ability to easily extract, manipulate, report, and monitor smaller subsets of data for a special purpose. As the demands of ACOs, commercial contracts, and Federal regulations proliferate, the ability to be quick and nimble will be critical — and being nimble without an army of programmers will be important. One large organization I know estimates that the use of a smart skinny data appliance may save them several FTEs (full time equivalents) per year, just in the programming of measures.

Bottom line – I believe skinny data will support current ACO requirements. Eventually, an EDW will be useful, and skinny data is a good way to get started. Many large organizations will go the EDW route, and they will benefit from a skinny data appliance.

John, as always, I love talking with you!

How Do You Improve the Quality of EHR Data for Healthcare Analytics?

Posted on May 8, 2013 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.

A month or so ago I wrote a post comparing healthcare big data with skinny data. I was introduced to the concept of skinny data by Encore Health Resources at HIMSS. I absolutely love the idea of skinny data that provides meaningful results. I wish we could see more of it in healthcare.

However, I was also intrigued by something else that James Kouba, HIT Strategist at Encore Health Resources, told me during our discussion at HIMSS. James has a long background in doing big data in healthcare. He told me about a number of projects he’d worked on including full enterprise data warehouses for hospitals. Then, he described the challenge he’d faced on his previous healthcare data warehouse projects: quality data.

Anyone that’s participated in a healthcare data project won’t find the concept of quality data that intriguing. However, James then proceeded to tell me that he loved doing healthcare data projects with Encore Health Resources (largely a consulting company) because they could help improve the quality of the data.

When you think about the consulting services that Encore Health Resources and other consulting companies provide, they are well positioned to improve data quality. First, they know the data because they usually helped implement the EHR or other system that’s collecting the data. Second, they know how to change the systems that are collecting the data so that they’re collecting the right data. Third, these consultants are often much better at working with the end users to ensure they’re entering the data accurately. Most of the consultants have been end users before and so they know and often have a relationship with the end users. An EHR consultant’s discussion with an end user about data is very different than a big data analyst trying to convince the end user why data matters.

I found this to be a really unique opportunity for companies like Encore Health Resources. They can bridge the gap between medical workflows and data. Plus, if you’re focused on skinny data versus big data, then you know that all of the data you’re collecting is for a meaningful purpose.

I’d love to hear other methods you use to improve the quality of the EHR data. What have you seen work? Is the garbage in leads to garbage out the key to quality data? Many of the future healthcare IT innovations are going to come from the use of healthcare data. What can we do to make sure the healthcare data is worth using?