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Top Five ICD-10 Pitfalls – “Top 10” Health IT List Series

Posted on December 30, 2011 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.

Today is going to be the last day looking at other people’s “Top Health IT Lists” since tomorrow I think I’ll create my own Top 10 Health IT 2011 List and then for the New Years I’ll see about doing a Top 10 Health IT in 2012 list. However, today let’s look at something that will likely make the Top 10 2012 Health IT issues: ICD-10. Government Health IT recently wrote an article what they call the Top 5 ICD-10 Pitfalls.

1. Reporting: I’m sure that many think that ICD-10 is just going to happen and be fine. They’ll assume that their reports are just going to work with ICD-10 since they worked with ICD-9. Don’t be so sure. Test the reports so you know one way or another. Diving a little deeper beforehand is a lot better than learning about the problems after.

2. Overlooking impacted areas: Much like an EHR implementation, don’t forget the other people that are affected by ICD-10. Involve everyone in the process so that they can share their concerns so they can be addressed. Plus, by having them involved you’ll get much better buy in from the staff.

3. Teaching old dogs new tricks: ICD-10 is a different beast and will require significant training even if you have an expert ICD-9 coder with years of experience. Don’t underestimate the cost to train your coders on ICD-10.

4. Preparing for impact on productivity: The article mentions Canada’s loss of productivity during their implementation of ICD-10. Do we think we’re going to be any different? Remember also that productivity loss can come in a lot of different places (which is kind of a repeat of number 2 above).

5. Communicating with IT vendors: It’s one thing to trust that your EHR and other health IT vendors are prepared to deal with ICD-10. It’s another to blindly follow whatever you’re being told. Remember at the end of the day it’s your organization that will suffer if your health IT vendor is not ready. I like to use the phrase, trust but verify.

Be sure to read the rest of my Health IT Top 10 as they’re posted.

Top 10 Medical Technology Hazards List – “Top 10” Health IT List Series

Posted on December 29, 2011 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 next list I found in my series of Top Health IT lists is going to be one that I think surprises quite a few people. It’s the list (PDF) of Top 10 Technology Hazards for 2012 by the ECRI. The Power Your Practice website did an interview with James P. Keller Jr. who works at the ECRI Institute about this list which is worth reading. Before the interview, they explain that the ECRI (Emergency Care Research Institute) was created in 1964 after a young boy in a Philadelphia ER passed away as a result of an improperly preserved defibrillator.

For this list, I’m not planning to go through each item, but I will list each item:
1. Alarm hazards
2. Exposure hazards from radiation therapy and CT
3. Medication administration errors using infusion pumps
4. Cross-contamination from flexible endoscopes
5. Inattention to change management for medical device connectivity
6. Enteral feeding misconnections
7. Surgical fires
8. Needlesticks and other sharps injuries
9. Anesthesia hazards due to incomplete pre-use inspection
10. Poor usability of home-use medical devices

The PDF document above goes into a lot more detail for each of these items including suggestions on ways to prevent these problems. I imagine many hospital safety organizations already know about these things and lists like this one.

Many are probably wondering why I’m bringing this list up on an EMR and HIPAA website. Besides the fact that the list is interesting on its own, I was also really intrigued that there’s nothing on the list that’s even remotely related to EMR & EHR software.

I’m sure if we sat down for just a little bit we could think of quite a few technology hazards related to EMR and EHR software. Not the least of which is EHR down time. I’m also reminded of this post I did earlier this year titled “EMR Perpetuates Misinformation.” Yet, EHR didn’t make the list…yet(?).

It will be interesting to watch this health technology hazards list over time to see if EHR software ever makes the list. I wonder how many hospital patient safety groups are worried about the safety of EHR software. I’ll have to get Katherine Rourke to dig into this over on Hospital EMR and EHR.

Be sure to read the rest of my Health IT Top 10 as they’re posted.

Top Health Industry Issues of 2011 – “Top 10” Health IT List Series

Posted on December 28, 2011 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.

Next up in our evaluation of the various end of 2011 Health IT lists series is one that takes a bit of a look back at 2011. In this list, PwC lists what they consider the Top Health Industry Issues of 2011. The list starts with an interesting comment about the health IT spending in 2011:

More than $88.6 billion was spent by providers in 2010 on developing and implementing electronic health records (EHRs), health information exchanges (HIEs) and other initiatives. This surge is a sign of technology’s critical place in health system improvement.

$88.6 billion is a lot of health IT spending and larger than most numbers I’ve seen. Although, most numbers I’ve seen are only the EMR and EHR market and doesn’t include HIE spending and other healthcare IT initiatives. It’s quite clear that the health IT spending is up, and up Big!

Their list of top Health issues isn’t that surprising, except possibly one of them:

Meaningful Use – This has to be topic number one for health IT in 2011. It’s had a trans formative effect on healthcare IT and EMR and EHR as we know them. Pretty much every EHR vendor I’ve talked to basically had to take an entire software development life cycle to meet the meaningful use and certified EHR requirements. This is the dramatic effect of meaningful use on EHR development.

PwC actually focuses on how meaningful use will encourage patient participation in their healthcare or “shared medical decision-making.” To be honest, I’m not sure meaningful use has done much to help this goal, yet(?). Possibly meaningful use stage 2 and meaningful use stage 3 will help to further these goals. MU stage 1 has done little to encourage this. Regardless of the impact of meaningful use, shared medical decision-making is going forward fast and furious.

HIPAA 5010 and ICD-10 – The interesting issue for 5010 and ICD-10 is that they’ve basically been overwhelmed by meaningful use and EHR incentive money. Either of these changes alone would have been a reasonable challenge for a normal year. However, clinical organizations are battling through 5010, ICD-10 and meaningful use all at the same time. Are there any other IT projects going on that don’t involved these three things? I’d say probably very few.

Electronic medical device reporting (eMDR) – I found this point quite interesting. There’s been a lot of movement in 2011 in regards to what constitutes a medical device and who should take care of tracking and collecting the adverse events that occur on these devices. I don’t think we’ve come to a final conclusion on what will be considered a medical device and how we’re going to deal with reporting adverse events, but finally getting electronic reporting of adverse events is a good step in the right direction.

Be sure to read the rest of my Health IT Top 10 as they’re posted.

9 Ways IT is Transforming Healthcare – “Top 10” Health IT List Series

Posted on December 27, 2011 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 is often common at the end of the year, a lot of companies have started putting together their “Top 10” (or some similar number) lists for 2011. In fact, some of them have posted these lists a little bit earlier than usual. This week as people are often off work or on vacation, I thought it might be fun to take one list each day and comment on the various items people have on their lists.

The first list comes from Booz Allen Hamilton and is Booz Allen’s Top 9 ways IT is Transforming healthcare. Here’s their list of 9 items with my own commentary after each item.

Reduces medical errors. I prefer to say that Health IT has the potential to reduce medical errors. I also think long term that health IT and EMR will reduce medical errors. However, in the interim it will depend on how people actually use these systems. Used improperly, it can actually cause more medical errors. There have been studies out that show both an improvement in medical errors and an increase in medical errors.

My take on this is that EMR and health IT improves certain areas and hurts other areas. However, as we improve these systems and use of these systems, then over all medical errors will go down. However, remember that even once these systems are perfect they’re still going to be run be imperfect humans that are just trying to do their best (at least most of them). Even so, long term health IT and EMR software will be something that will benefit healthcare as far as reducing medical errors.

Improves collaboration throughout the health care system. I’m a little torn as we consider whether health IT improves collaboration. The biggest argument you can make for this is that it’s really hard to be truly interoperable in really meaningful and quick ways without technology. Sure, we’ve been able to fax over medical records which no one would doubt has improved health care. However, those faxes often get their too late since they take time to process. Technology will be the solution to solving this problem.

The real conundrum here is the value that could be achieved by sending specific data. A fax is basically a mass of data which can’t be processed by a computer in any meaningful way. How much nicer would it be to have an allergy passed from one system to another. No request for information was made. No waiting for a response from a medical records department. Just a notification on the new doctor’s screen that the patient is allergic to something or is taking a drug that might have contraindications with the one the new doctor is trying to prescribe. This sort of seamless exchange of data is where we should and could be if it weren’t for data silos and economics.

Ensures better patient-care transition. This year there was a whole conference dedicated to this idea. No doubt there is merit in what’s possible. The problems here are similar to those mentioned above in the care collaboration section. Sadly, the technology is there and ready to be deployed. It’s connecting the bureaucratic and financial dots to make it a reality.

Enables faster, better emergency care. I’m not sure why, but the emergency room gets lots of interesting technology that no one else in healthcare gets. I imagine it’s because emergency rooms can easily argue that they’re a little bit “different” from the rest of the hospital and so they are able to often embark on neat technology projects without the weight of the whole hospital around their neck.

One of the technologies I love in emergency care is connecting the emergency rooms with the ambulances. There are so many cool options out there and with 3G finally coming into its own, connectivity isn’t nearly the problem that it use to be. Plus, there are even consumer apps like MyCrisisRecords that are trying to make an in road in emergency care. I’d like to see broader adoption of these apps in emergency rooms, but you can see the promise.

Empowers patients and their families to participate in care decisions. Many might argue that with Google Health Failing and Microsoft HealthVault not making much noise, that the idea of empowering patients might not be as strong. Turns out that the reality is quite the opposite.

Patients and families are participating more and more in care decisions. There just isn’t one dominant market leader that facilitates this interaction. Patients and families are using an amalgamation of technologies and the all powerful Google to participate in their care. This trend will continue to become more popular. We’ll see if any company can really capture the energy of this movement in a way that they become the dominant market leader or whether it will remain a really fluid environment.

Makes care more convenient for patients. I believe we’re starting to see the inklings of this happening. At the core of this for me is patient online scheduling and patient online visits. Maybe it could more simply be identified as: patient communication with providers.

I don’t think 2011 has been the watershed year for convenient access to doctors by patients. However, we’re starting to see inroads made which will open up the doors for the flood of patients that want to have these types of interactions.

Helps care for the warfighter. This is an area where I also don’t have a lot of experience. Although, I do remember one visit with someone from the Army at a conference. In that short chat we had, he talked about all the issues the Army had been dealing with for decades: patient record standards, patient identifiers, multiple locations (see Iraq and Afghanistan), multiple systems, etc. The problem he identified was that much of it was classified and so it couldn’t be shared. I hope health IT does help our warriors. It should!

Enhances ability to respond to public health emergencies and disasters. I’ve been to quite a few presentations where people have talked about the benefits and challenges associated with electronic medical records and natural disasters. They’ve always been really insightful since they almost always have 5-6 “I hadn’t thought of that” moments that make you realize that we’re not as secure and prepared for disasters as we think we are.

It is worth noting that moving 100,000 patient records electronically to an off site location is much easier in the electronic world than it is in paper. With paper charts we can’t even really discuss the idea of remote access to the record in the case of a natural disaster.

Possibly even more interesting is the idea of EMR and health IT supporting public health emergencies. We’re just beginning to aggregate health data from EMR software that could help us identify and mitigate the impact of a public health emergency. Certainly none of these systems are going to be perfect. Many of these systems are going to miss things we wish they’d seen. However, there’s real potential benefit in them helping is identify public health emergencies before they become catastrophes.

Enables discovery in new medical breakthroughs and provides a platform for innovation. Most of the medical breakthroughs we’ve experienced in the last 20 years would likely have been impossible without technology. Plus, I don’t think we’ve even started to tap the power that could be available from the mounds of healthcare data that we have available to us. This is why I’m so excited about the Health.Data.Gov health data sharing program that Priya wrote about on EMR and EHR. There’s so many more medical discoveries that will be facilitated by healthcare data.

There you have it. What do you think of these 9 items? Are there other things that you see happening that will impact the above items? Are there trends that we should be watching in health IT in 2012?

Be sure to read the rest of my Health IT Top 10 as they’re posted.