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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.

Rural Hospital EHR

Posted on April 2, 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.

As I mentioned in my previous post on EHR Penalties and Meaningful Use Failure, I had a really good discussion with Stoltenberg Consulting about rural hospital EHR at HIMSS this year. While Stoltenberg no doubt works with hospital systems of every size, I could tell that they had a real affection for the rural hospital EHR challenge. Plus, it was great to be educated some more on the challenges rural hospitals face when it comes to meaningful use and EHR since I’ve been doing a lot more writing about it on my Hospital EMR and EHR website.

I collected a few observations from my chat that I think are worth talking about when it comes to the unique rural hospital EHR situation. One of those ideas is the challenge that rural hospitals have in providing EHR help desk support. It’s worth remembering that hospitals are 24/7 institutions that need 24/7 support in many cases. Now imagine trying to staff an EHR help desk for a small rural hospital. From what I’ve seen, most can barely have an IT support help desk available, let alone an EHR help desk. Stoltenberg Consulting wisely sees this as a great opportunity for EHR consults to provide this type of service to rural hospitals. If you spread the cost of a 24/7 EHR help desk across multiple hospitals, the costs start to make sense.

Another interesting observation was that most rural hospitals are mostly Medicare and Medicaid funded. I’m not an expert on the pay scales of rural America, but when you look at the costs of living in the rural areas you realize that they don’t need to make as much money to live. Plus, I imagine in some cases there just aren’t that many jobs available to them. If they aren’t making as much money, then they’re more likely to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid. Why does this matter?

The amount of Medicare a rural hospital has matters a lot since if they don’t show “meaningful use” of a “certified EHR” then they will incur the meaningful use penalties. It’s simple math to see that the more Medicare reimbursement you receive the larger the EHR penalty you’ll incur.

There’s something that doesn’t feel right about the rich hospitals who’ve likely implemented an EHR before the stimulus getting paid the EHR incentive money while rural hospitals who can barely afford to keep their doors open getting not only penalties, but large penalties because of their large Medicare reimbursement. It’s probably water under a bridge now, but I could see why Stoltenberg Consulting suggested that rural and community hospitals should have been given more time to show meaningful use of an EHR.

As I mentioned, I’m still learning about the rural hospital EHR space, but I found these points quite interesting. If you have a different view or have experience that differs, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. No doubt there are thousands of unique rural environments and I’d love to learn more about them and how they’re approaching EHR. Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments.

EHR Penalties after Meaningful Use Failure

Posted on March 15, 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.

While at HIMSS I had a discussion with the consulting firm Stoltenberg Consulting. I was really intrigued by their approach to EHR consulting and will likely write more about it later. Plus, the started what in many ways became a theme of my HIMSS experience around rural healthcare EHR. You can be sure I’ll be writing about rural EHR here on this site and on Hospital EMR and EHR much more in the future.

In our casual introductory conversation we had a good discussion about how many of the smaller hospitals look at meaningful use and the EHR incentive money. Needless to say, many of these smaller institutions are faced with a huge challenge when it comes to adopting an EHR and showing meaningful use. Many of these rural hospitals barely have an IT staff and the CFO usually takes care of the IT environment. I heard one story at HIMSS where the IT person at a rural hospital started out as the janitor and his home IT skill made him the most qualified person to help.

Needless to say, rural and smaller hospitals have some real challenges facing them when it comes to EHR adoption and showing meaningful use of that EHR. Although, an even worse thought struck me in my discussions about these smaller hospitals.

Imagine many of these smaller hospitals making a good faith effort to adopt EHR and show meaningful use. It’s not that hard to see many of these hospitals falling short of the meaningful use standard. What will this mean to that organization? They’ve spent millions on an EHR. They won’t get the EHR incentive money they likely used as a justification for the EHR spending. To add insult to injury, now they’re going to get penalized for not being meaningful users of an EHR.

This scenario honestly makes me sick to even consider. Something similar could easily happen in small ambulatory practices as well. The scale of the damage will just be different. I expect in meaningful use stage 1 this won’t likely be a problem since it’s self attestation. However, this could become a much bigger issue in meaningful use stage 2.

Although, consider an organization who fails a meaningful use stage 1 audit. In most cases you can’t go back and fix whatever you failed in the audit. You’d be in a very similar situation where you have to return the EHR incentive money and would be open to the meaningful use penalties. At least that’s my understanding of how the EHR penalties will be implemented. If you know otherwise, I’d love to hear it.

While I think the above scenarios are brutal, hopefully this will also serve as a warning for those hospitals pursuing EHR and the EHR incentive money. Be sure you are able to show meaningful use or you’ll not only lose out on the incentive money, but you’ll also be open to the EHR penalties. Not to mention, are you ready for a meaningful use audit?