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Best Description of the CareCloud EHR Platform

Posted on August 31, 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.

In a post on EMR and EHR about Social Media and EMRs, Andre Vovan, MD MBA from Mitochon Systems offered an interesting insight into the comparison between EMR and social media.

Social media and EMR are a natural fit. Think about what social media really enables. The ablity to stay connected, following different strings of info/story weaved by connected people. Say for instance you and your friends went to the Grand Canyon, one person took pictures while the other did the cooking, planning, and was responsible for entertainment during the trip. When they try to retell the story to their friends, each will be able to add different aspect of the story and with social network platforms such as facebook, this is possible.

Now take the story above, and insert 2 doctors and change the trip taken to be a patient going from a diagnosis to a surgery and afterwards trying to tell other physician providers on went on. If we design the EHR with this capability, then medicine will be improved.
A social media version of electronic medical records would have EMHR, HIE and PHR as one product not as separate.

I know that this was actually Andre’s initial vision for Mitochon Systems EHR. He wanted to create an EHR that could bring a healthcare community together in this way. I’m sure he’ll keep grinding away until he can achieve that vision. I haven’t looked at the Mitochon Systems EHR recently, so I can’t say how close they are to achieving that dream, but when I read Andre’s description I couldn’t help but remember the demo of the CareCloud EHR platform.

Many of you might remember my previous (some might call scathing) post about the CareCloud EHR and an opposing view by David about the CareCloud EHR. That post and a recent trip to San Francisco made it possible for me to see the CareCloud EHR first hand.

I had a great time meeting with Albert Santalo and Mike Cuesta from CareCloud. That was good considering my previous devil’s advocate post about CareCloud. One thing is absolutely certain, Albert has a vision of what he wants CareCloud to be and he’s dead set on achieving that vision. I like that in a CEO and founder of a company.

When it comes to their EHR, I must admit that it kind of reminded me of a lot of other EHR out there. There were a few EMR subtleties that I noticed in the demo, but I can’t say I saw any real wow features that made it a must have EHR. Maybe a full demo and experience with the EHR would create a rainbow of EMR subtleties that would change my mind, but it was a relatively short demo.

Instead, the wow factor wasn’t in the EHR software, but was instead in the CareCloud platform that powers the EHR, PMS and CareCloud Community of users. The description above about an almost “social network of doctors” and the health stream of a patient seems like an apt description of what CareCloud has created. In fact, the social elements of the platform are integrated throughout all of the CareCloud software which makes for some really interesting possibilities.

The challenge that CareCloud has is that a social network or Care Platform if you prefer is only as good as the people and organizations that use that platform. If two doctors are seeing a patient, then both doctors need to be on the same platform to really see a lot of the benefits of a patient’s health stream.

I imagine this is part of the reason why CareCloud has to provide a solid PMS and EHR solution on top of the CareCloud platform. Doing so will seed the platform with users so that with each PMS/EHR sold the platform becomes that much more valuable.

It’s hard to predict the future. Maybe CareCloud won’t get outside of its Miami base and maybe they won’t reach their vision of a CareCloud platform (Maybe Andre and Mitochon Systems or some other HIT vendor will do it instead). However, I’m willing to predict that whether CareCloud wins the healthcare platform war or not, some company will create a healthcare platform like what CareCloud has started to create that will be too valuable not to participate.

Full Disclosure: Mitochon Systems is an advertiser on this site, but they didn’t know I was going to post Andre’s comment.

Top Considerations for Transitioning to ICD-10 – Guest Post

Posted on August 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.

Chuck Podesta is Fletcher Allen Health Care’s chief information officer.

ICD-10 would not be so daunting if the deadline was not occurring during the rush to get EHRs for meaningful use. Add in value-based purchasing, bundled payments and transitioning to ACOs, and you can see why many CIOs are retiring early or migrating to the vendor or consulting world. We are just over two years away from the October 2013 deadline, and there is much work to be done. ICD-10 contains 68,000 codes, as opposed to the 13,000 currently used in the ICD-9 world. There is a code for every condition that exists on the planet.

The revenue cycle system, which includes registration, HIM and billing/AR, will be the lynch pin to ICD-10 readiness. Having a solid vendor partner and a strong product is key to a successful transition. Many solution providers – like GE Healthcare, who recently launched the 5.0 version of their Centricity Business product – are updating their systems to better comply with ICD-10. GE Healthcare also allows existing Centricity Business customers to retrofit the new ICD-10 functions to the 4.6 version of the product. Strong vendor partners take the burden off you by being ahead of the game and delivering the appropriate technology in time so you are not racing to the finish line.

By now, you should have at least a steering committee in place. Your IT shop should have completed an inventory of all applications that are impacted by ICD-10, including reporting systems. You will be surprised by the number of applications, even if you have taken the one-vendor approach for most of your IT needs. You will need to contact all affected application vendors to see what the plans are for ICD-10 compliance. Most likely, upgrades will be required that will need to be scheduled.

Training of coders will be critical, along with implementing clinical documentation improvement programs. Documentation improvement programs are difficult to implement and will be viewed by providers as more work on top of an already busy schedule. New technologies such as computer-assisted coding will definitely help, but success will be a combination of process improvements and technology.

Lastly, remember that the deadline is for Medicare and Medicaid patients only. Unless the rest of the payer industry follows the same deadline (highly unlikely), you will need to run both ICD-9 and ICD-10 systems.

Meaningful Use: Patient safety and proven results with Dr. Christopher Tashjian

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In this special feature, Dr. Christopher Tashjian of River Falls Medical Clinic shares his story of choosing an EHR and attesting for Meaningful Use. He also shares his views of the importance of attestation and what drove him to be the 23rd physician in the nation to attest.

You can also read a meaningful use interview of Dr. Tashjian done by John at EMRandHIPAA.com.

 

 

Watch the video here.

Paper Based Check-in a Thing of the Past with the drchrono iPad App

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I hate checking in at the doctor’s office.  No matter what type of doctor it is, or how many times you have been to that very same office, it seems like there is always a stack of paper for you to fill out.  Having moved quite a bit in my life I have regularly had new doctors, dentists, and other medical providers.  That means even more forms for lucky little me.

With the development of the drchrono iPad app, all of that hand cramping writing may very well be a thing of the past.  According to an article from medGadget this new app, called OnPatient, will help reduce, or even eliminate all of that paperwork check-in hassle.

The new app is free, and only requires the purchase of the iPad units for patients to use.  The patient uses a simple touchscreen interface to enter personal and insurance information, and even to digitally sign the HIPAA consent form.

In terms of the healthcare provider, it is also convenient because the information automatically populates in the drchrono EHR.  Obviously that means you must be using their EHR, but this is definitely a feature with a tremendous amount of value added.

It is great to see the move of healthcare technology towards patient convenience.  In order for EHR/EMR to really take off, that is the move that needs to be made.  Patients are ultimately the customer in healthcare so this technology will not reach its pinnacle until customers see the value themselves.

Some of the Thinking Behind Meaningful Use Stage 2 – Meaningful Use Monday

Posted on August 29, 2011 I Written By

Lynn Scheps is Vice President, Government Affairs at EHR vendor SRSsoft. In this role, Lynn has been a Voice of Physicians and SRSsoft users in Washington during the formulation of the meaningful use criteria. Lynn is currently working to assist SRSsoft users interested in showing meaningful use and receiving the EHR incentive money.

Lynn Scheps is Vice President, Government Affairs at EHR vendor SRSsoft. In this role, Lynn has been a Voice of Physicians and SRSsoft users in Washington during the formulation of the meaningful use criteria. Lynn is currently working to assist SRSsoft users interested in showing meaningful use and receiving the EHR incentive money. Check out Lynn’s previous Meaningful Use Monday posts.

A great deal of work, discussion, and debate by the HIT Policy Committee and its Workgroup members went into developing the recommendations for meaningful use Stage 2 (discussed in the last two Meaningful Use Monday posts). Meetings were frequent and lengthy, but I tried to listen in on most of them to gain some insights into the thinking behind the decisions being made and the future direction of meaningful use. 

Committee members struggled with striking the right balance between aggressively pressuring providers so that adoption would be accelerated, on the one hand, and maintaining a realistic and practical view of their capabilities, on the other. Some committee members were adamant about staying on track to reach the Stage 3 end goals within the predetermined 2015 time frame, (i.e. remaining on the escalator, as the progression is often referred to), while others recognized that overburdening providers could lead to program failure, i.e., discouraging adoption by imposing unreasonable expectations that would cause providers to doubt their ability to earn the incentives and abandon the effort altogether. The debate led to an open question: does everything have to be accomplished under the umbrella of meaningful use?

 An issue that I think could have used more discussion is how to make meaningful use relevant for specialists—a subject raised frequently by Committee member Gayle Harrell. There was general agreement about the importance of having all types of physicians participate in the incentive program, and testimony from a variety of specialists was solicited. Other than suggesting a large number of new clinical quality measures, however, the basic recommendations are still predominantly primary-care focused. 

Lastly, there was a prevailing sense of frustration over the fact that the calendar did not allow time for an analysis of the experience of Stage 1 before requiring the definition of Stage 2.

MyCrisisRecords EMS Webapp Demo Video

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I recently wrote about the MyCrisisRecords system for providing critical personal health information during an emergency on our other blog, Smart Phone Health Care.  The following video is a demonstration of their EMS Webapp.  EMS is one area of healthcare that seems to be getting somewhat overlooked, but that could benefit greatly from recent improvements in technology.

In an emergency situation seconds can mean the difference between life and death, and new technological advances could save critical seconds for people who need it.

 

 

Watch the video here.

Nationwide EHR and Health Care in the Cloud

Posted on 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.

Time to touch on a few popular topics that I found being discussed on Twitter. First, I’ll put the tweets and then a little but of my own commentary on these hot button issues in healthcare IT.

@GovHIT
Does a nationwide #EHR lower healthcare costs? Social media reactions | #GovHIT Blog http://ow.ly/64DL1

I always love when people talk about a nationwide EHR. I actually think that it’s a bad title by Government Healthcare IT, but that it’s a very good question. To me a nationwide EHR implies that there is one EHR for the entire nation. I think a number of other countries which are much smaller and less complex than the US have proven quite well that a nationwide government run EHR is a bad idea. I think the Government HIT article actually refers more to widespread adoption of EHR. To that, I’m obviously amenable and can’t wait for that day. Although, we still have a very long way to go.

@ekivemark – Mark Scrimshire
Should Health Care Move to the Cloud – Absolutely (but carefully)! #EHR #HIT 2.healthca.mp/oMMtNA

Might as well cover the cloud in healthcare issue if we’re talking about hot topics in healthcare. Little by little, I’m really seeing the shift to “the cloud” when it comes to EMR and EHR software. There are certainly still instances where the cloud based EHR doesn’t make sense. We also can’t start counting the days to the death of the client server based EHR software. In fact, non-cloud based EHR software is going to be around for a LONG LONG time to come. There’s far too many millions of dollars invested in these systems. However, I still do sense a shift from in house servers to cloud based EHR solutions.

I do appreciate the comment in the tweet about moving to the cloud…”Carefully!”

Avoiding EHR Performance Issues in the First Place

Posted on August 26, 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.

In my post about the common EHR implementation problem of EHR slowness, I mentioned that I’d follow up with a post on how you can avoid the EMR slowness issue altogether. It’s better to avoid than fix problems.

The best way to approach EHR performance issues is to make them part of your EHR selection process. EHR performance issues could and should be a deal breaker for you when you’re evaluating EHR companies. How then can you identify EHR software that might have these performance issues?

Red Flag #1 – EHR Demo Slowness – Bring a red pen to your demo and every time they say something like, “It’s not usually this slow?” or “It must be slow because it’s running on my laptop.” make a BIG RED mark on your paper (or tablet if you’re advanced like that). Even one red mark should be cause for concern and investigation.

Certainly there are situations where environmental issues can cause slowness to an EHR. So, you can’t completely rule them out completely for this, but this is their demo. This is there one time to shine. If they can’t get their EHR demo running at full speed, what makes you think an EHR production environment will be much better?

You can make an extra red mark if it’s a SaaS EHR that’s providing the demo. They might say it’s just “the internet connection.” Well, guess what? Soon, that’s going to be you using that EHR and often on similar internet connections.

Of course, the message to EHR vendors is to make sure your demo runs as fast as your production system.

Red Flag #2 – Site Visit Slowness – While the demo can tell you a lot about an EHR software, it can’t necessarily tell you the speed of the EHR software. Just because the EHR is fast during the EHR demo, doesn’t mean that same EHR software will be fast in a production environment. Add this to the multitude of reasons why a site visit to a current user of that EHR is so important.

Make sure to do that site visit at one comparable in size and users to your clinic. You don’t want to look at the EHR responsiveness of a solo practice if you’re going to be a 6 provider multi clinic setup. Size matters when it comes to EHR speed.

Once on site, you can get an idea of the speed and responsiveness of the EHR software in two ways. First, observe the users of the EHR in the clinic. See if they exhibit any of the systems listed in the first section of this post. Another observation is to see how quickly they’re clicking around the EHR. If you see a lot of clicks in a row with little waiting in between clicks, that’s a great thing. If you see them click, wait, click, wait, click, click , wait. Be afraid.

The second way is to ask the EHR users. The problem with doing this is that only one response has value. If they say the EHR is slow, then you’ve gleaned some important information that’s worth checking on. If they say the EHR is fast, then you don’t necessarily know. The problem is that you don’t know what the user considers fast. What’s their frame of reference for saying it’s fast? Do they know what fast is? Have they just been using the EHR software so long that they’ve hit a rhythm that makes it feel faster than it really is? It’s a good sign if they say that it’s fast, but take it with a grain of salt.

Red Flag #3 – Use A Demo EHR System Yourself – Most EHR vendors will provide you a way to demo the product yourself. This isn’t a fool proof method to test EHR slowness, but it’s another decent test of the EHR’s responsiveness. Try it out using your internet connection and your computer hardware. Nothing like first hand experience documenting some patient visits to learn about the speed of an EHR.

EHR Speed Suggestion – Don’t Skimp on Hardware
Far too often I see a clinic skimp on the hardware requirements and regret it later. In fact, they often end up spending the money twice since they have to buy new hardware since they skimped in the beginning.

Of course, this suggestion can be taken too far as well. The computer and laptop manufacturers will try to sell you the whole kitchen and you might only need the stove and refrigerator. To put it in more practical terms, you’re going to want plenty of RAM, but do you really need the webcam, Blu-ray player, and special 100 in 1 media device?

Just because an EHR vendor says their EHR software can work on a certain hardware configuration doesn’t mean it should be used on that hardware configuration. In the middle there’s a spot between can and overkill that’s called optimal. Find that hardware configuration and you’ll be a much happier EHR user.

Conclusion
Don’t accept an EHR that’s slow. Make sure that the EHR performs at a satisfactory level. I know of nothing that frustrates a clinic more than a slow EHR.

$80 Android Phone Changing the Smartphone Market

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At first glance $80 for a smartphone doesn’t really seem like that amazing of a deal.  Especially when you consider that is has a smaller screen, less processing power, and fewer megapixels in the camera.  But, when you consider that this is the price for the phone without any type of contract it becomes a little bit more interesting.

The phone is the Android powered IDEOS from the Chinese company Huawei.  It was released earlier this year in Kenya and has already been bought by 350,000+ Kenyans.  In an area of the world that is stricken by poverty, this device is bringing the wonders of the smartphone to people who could never have afforded such a luxury in the past.

In comparison to the major smartphones on the market right now, namely the iPhone4, DroidX2, and Blackberry Bold, it does not have the same level of technology.  The screen is relatively small, though larger than the screen on the Blackberry Bold.  The RAM is half of that of the major smartphones, and the battery life is worse as well.

However, when you consider the cost it is incredibly reasonable.  The IDEOS sells for about $80 with no contract, compared to the iPhone4 at $800, the DroidX2 at $700, and the Blackberry Bold at $600 without a contract.  That means you can get a phone for 85-90% less than the big boys.

It is also uses the Android OS which means that the sky is limit with 300,000+ apps.  The open source software makes it possible for apps to be developed in developing countries in ways that would never be possible with Apple or Blackberry’s stringent requirements.  This makes these cheap phones even more useful in these poor countries.

Apps are being developed to help farmers better market their products, and even track diseases that can destroy farming which is a huge part of most African nation’s economies.

In the sphere of this blog, I have already written about all kinds of apps and gadgets being developed specifically with Africa in mind.  This phone makes those devices that much more useful.  One of the most exciting of these is Medkenya which is essentially the same as WebMD here in the states.  It provides information and resources to people that would never have had them in the past.

By encouraging the rapid spread of smartphone usage in Africa it is not unreasonable to think more apps could be developed to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases or maybe even an HIV-testing peripheral that would do wonders to help slow the spread of that terrible disease.

We already take a lot of technology for granted in the US, and that is understandable.  We use our phones for games, and news, and sports scores, and even to buy our coffee at Starbucks now.  The difference for the people in these developing countries is that his technology can save their lives quite literally by providing medical assistance at a level they never would have had without smartphones.  This idea is summed up quite well by Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Kenya’s Minister of Information and Communication:

In the beginning of the 21st century, the mobile telephone was the reserve of an elite few and the gadget’s sole purpose was to make phone calls and send text messages. Today, all this has changed and the mobile phone is no longer a luxury but a necessity. By morphing and adopting into various aspects of our lives, the mobile phone has gone beyond its original purpose of phone calls and text messages and it now serves as a bank, a computer a radio and a television set among other things. In a nutshell, it has penetrated every aspect of our lives.

Personally, I have never seen a cell phone as a necessity despite the fact that I have one and really value all of the features that it gives me.  The difference is that I live somewhere with plenty of doctors and hospitals, and everything else I could ever want.  These inexpensive cellphones are providing an improvement in the quality of life for these people that would otherwise take decades more of development.

Simplicity™ EMR / EHR – Physician & Mid-Level Provider Video

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SIMPLICITY™ EMR – a web based Electronic Medical Records software used to record and retrieve patient medical records instantly, anytime, anywhere. This video demonstrates the EHR/EMR for physicians and mid-level providers.

 

 

Watch the video here.