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Working with United Healthcare, Aetna, Humana and Walgreens

Posted on May 31, 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.

Today I had a unique experience attending the Life At 50+ event that AARP puts on. It turns out that life at 50+ revolves around healthcare and wellness in many ways. Plus, they put together the AARP Live Pitch event for healthcare companies to pitch their companies to a board of judges and then to the AARP members. The later was quite interesting to watch and who doesn’t love hearing from real customers.

After lunch, they also had a panel with executives from United Healthcare, Aetna, Humana and Walgreens to talk about what they look for when it comes to working with healthcare startup companies. There were some predictable things like “we focus on the team” and also some off the cuff remarks like the tweet embedded above about “stuff that actually works.”

One thing was clear that these companies were all in an evolution from their core business to something else. As one panel member said they were moving from a claims processing company to a wellness company. Another panel member said they didn’t see themselves as providing healthcare as much as enabling healthcare.

I was most interested to hear these executives talk about what they looked for in a company. The general consensus seemed to be that they wanted companies that understood their gaps and could fill their gaps. Although, when they were asked to talk about their gaps, the executives seemed to have a hard time describing their gaps. I think this is the core challenge. If they really knew their gaps, they’d be filling it themselves.

With that said, I did pull out a couple areas that seemed of great interest to the panel. Those two areas were medication compliance and getting patients to the right doctor. If you can help with either of those things, then your company would likely be of interest to these companies. Although, as the tweet at the top says, you better make sure it works before you think they’re going to work with you.

I also found it ironic that some on the panel wanted an end to end solution while another described them as looking for point solutions. At the end of the day, I don’t think they’d mind either solution if that solution provided value and had seen some traction. For example, one panelist talked about coordinated care, but they also said they wanted to see proof of the coordinated care in action and implemented in a hospital system.

I guess none of these things are too surprising. Find something where you have traction and provide value and you’ll have lots of opportunities.

Goggles Suggested for Stroke Monitoring

Posted on 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.

Now that we’ve talked about Google Glasses, I have found another interesting idea involving goggles. Anyone who is at risk for having a stroke, or knows someone that is, may want to listen up.

Did you know that many strokes go unnoticed? While yes, many times a stroke can be very severe, and even cause death, they aren’t always diagnosed as so. I’ve heard one too many times about someone who has been struggling from different health problems, specifically with their memory, only to find out they had suffered several mini strokes.

Not immediately diagnosing these strokes aren’t always the doctor’s fault – they can be difficult to diagnose. According to the Techpage article, between 50 and 70 thousand stroke victims are being diagnosed (and treated) for ear problems instead.

One of the ways to diagnose a stroke is through eye-movement tests. This can help to separate those who are experiencing ear problems or vertigo from those actually suffering a stroke. These tests can be better for identifying a stroke than doing an immediate MRI, however, they can be difficult to administer. That’s where the goggles suggested by a team at Johns Hopkins could prevent the misdiagnosis of nearly 10,000 strokes a year.

David Newman-Toker, professor of neurology at John Hopkins, has been heading up the group discussing these goggles. They would be “equipped with a high-speed webcam to record eye movements and an accelerometer to track movements.”

Although I don’t think these goggles have been created yet, it looks like it is definitely well on its way to production. Perhaps the creators of Google Glasses could work with Johns Hopkins, and create a superior product that could be used for this purpose – and maybe for other health related purposes. My paternal grandmother died from complications from a stroke, and my maternal grandmother suffered many mini-strokes that went undiagnosed for awhile, which have contributed to her dementia. Strokes are definitely serious, no matter how big or small they are, and these glasses could potentially save the lives (or the quality of life) of so many.)

300 Automatic E&M Coders in EMRs

Posted on May 30, 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.

Automated coding has been a popular topic ever since I first started blogging about EMR software 7.5 years ago. In fact, back then the discussion was usually around how great automated E&M coding was going to be for a doctor. Everything from increased coding levels to firing your billing person were talked about. However, I think the reality is that we’ve seen something much different happen.

Many people hate the automatic E&M coding in EMR because it is wrong so often. If they can’t trust it to do the right coding, then what savings are they really getting from the automation? To put it in the words above, they still need their billing person. Plus, the idea of coding higher is great because it can mean more revenue. However, it also can be seen as upcoding and give you plenty of grief as well. “My EMR told me to do it” isn’t a great defense for over coding a visit.

As I think about these automatic E&M coding engines, it makes me wonder why we don’t have someone who’s created a really great coding engine like we have with drug databases. Since there isn’t that means that every one of the 300+ EMR vendors has their own coding engine. That means we have 300 different E&M coding engines all with different ways to approach coding.

I imagine many would argue the reason the E&M coding engine needs to be part of the EMR is because it needs deep integration with the EMR data. This is true, but the same is going to be true as we enter the world of smart EMR software with deep CDS applications. EMRs aren’t going to build all of these pieces. They’re going to have to enable entrepreneurs to build some really cool stuff on top of their EMR. Why not do the same with E&M coding?

Although, it’s also worth consider, is medical billing one area where human touch is better than automated coding?

In The Trenches Tips for EMR Transitions

Posted on May 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.

Over on EMR and EHR recently, Anne Zieger wrote a post about three tips for EHR transitions. As is often the case, one of our passionate readers emailed me a response to the EHR tips that Anne wrote about. I don’t always post what people send me, but I do like to sprinkle in the comments of our readers to provide multiple perspectives on EHR. Especially when they’re passionate, heartfelt comments that may look at the issue different than I do.

The following comments come in response to Anne’s post from a pediatric office. Be sure to read the full post if you want the commentary for each EMR tip.

EMR Tip #1 – Make workflow changes gradual
Response:
Wake up and smell the coffee! If you have ever implemented an EMR, you know this isn’t possible. You are welcome to try, and I certainly recommend it, but get real. Your best bet is to hold on for dear life, remember that this too shall pass, and BRIBE THE STAFF LIBRALLY WITH GOODIES like (healthy) lunch and (healthy) snacks cuz it is cheaper than replacing staff.

EMR Tip #2 – Ask for feedback
Response:
Oh, believe me, you’ll get this — the trick is to make it specific and useful and then to execute on changes that will mollify providers and nursing. And it will all hit you at once, and a priority system is based on how loud the squeaky wheel is.

EMR Tip #3 – Educate patients
Response:
Ha! The frosting on the cake …

… thus leading to more patient phone calls, longer times in the exam room and as a result, more stressed-out staff. Just ask people to be patient and hope for the best…confusion is unavoidable.

Just keep saying to yourself “This too shall pass, this too shall pass, this too shall pass…”

iChemoDiary Helps Cancer Patients Track Symptoms

Posted on 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.

In Friday afternoon’s #HITsm Chat, the following Tweet caught my eye:

Although I don’t have cancer, and hope never to, many people that I know have been diagnosed with some kind of cancer. Because of this, I was interested in learning more about this app and see what it had to offer.

When you have cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy, it’s important to pay close attention to any symptoms or side effects that you may experience, as well stay on track with treatment. iChemoDiary makes that process a little bit easier, by giving several options to users for tracking this information. You can track your schedule, medicines that are being taken, and access your treatment plan easily.

In addition, the app allows you to track which symptoms you should be watching out for, and take notes throughout the day. Reports can be created concerning anything that you recorded in the app.

This app seems like an easy way to track chemotherapy treatment, and easily share the information with doctors and nurses. It’s free to download, and looks pretty easy to use. I think it would be nice to have an app dedicated to keeping track of this information, rather than having to worry about remembering the details, or carrying around a notebook everywhere you go. Similar to using a  food diary, sometimes it’s just easier to have something that is easily accessible and created solely for this puprose.

Are there any other apps available for people that are undergoing chemotherapy, or who have been diagnosed with cancer?

Download here for iOS devices.

Healthcare Marketing Google+ Hangout

Posted on May 28, 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.

Note: The following image will become the live video stream about 5 minutes before the start of the G+ hangout and then will be the embedded video after the hangout.

What: A Google+ Video Hangout with John Lynn, Don Seamons, and Shahid Shah discussing Healthcare Marketing.
Date: Thursday, May 30, 2013
Time: 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. EST
Location: About 5 minutes before the event, we’ll embed the video stream on this page or you can find the video stream on the Healthcare Scene Google+ page as well.

Details:
Mark your calendars to join the following healthcare experts as they discuss the latest happenings with hospital EHR, meaningful use and healthcare analytics.

The video will be available to view live on this page and the recorded video will be embedded on this page after the hangout as well.

If you have any questions you’d like to pose before or during the hangout, send them to @ehrandhit on Twitter and we’ll do our best to incorporate them into the discussion.

Are You Ready for ICD-10?

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.

We’ve been writing about ICD-10 for a long time now including the delay of ICD-10. Based on the CMS comments at HIMSS, there will be no more delays in the implementation of ICD-10. Barring something crazy, ICD-10 will go into effect on October 1, 2014. The question is, are you ready?

If you’re not ready or you’re not sure if you’re ready, check out this ICD-10 whitepaper. It’s a nice straightforward look at ICD-10 and provides 6 steps you can use to make sure you’re ready for ICD-10. Plus, it has some good background on ICD-10 and the basics of the ICD-10 code structure.

Of course, many of you might be wondering why I’m posting about ICD-10 if it’s still over a year away. If you’re asking this, then you must not have looked into ICD-10 very much. It’s not that I think the switch over from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is really that hard, but it takes some time to ensure that all of your systems are ready for the switch over and that your staff are trained.

As is discussed in the ICD-10 whitepaper I mentioned, the first step is to do an impact analysis so you know how you’re doing on your path to ICD-10. Maybe you won’t need a year to get there, but you’ll want to do that impact analysis now so you know either way.

I won’t be surprised if some EMR vendors aren’t ready for ICD-10. It’s kind of insane to consider, but I can see a few scenarios where this happens. Plus, you want to make sure your EMR is able to send proper ICD-10 codes to your billing systems. In some cases you may need to “ride” your EMR vendor to make sure they’re ready. This may take time.

The reality is that the provider is responsible for ICD-10 whether their various software and billing companies are ready or not. So each practice should be proactive in their approach to ICD-10.

ICD-10 Fact: We’ve been using ICD-9 since 1979 and ICD-10 was first brought to the US in 1994.

Memorial Day Tribute

Posted on May 27, 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.

Today I took my two older kids (9 and 6) to the store with me to pick up a few things for Memorial Day. When we walked into the store an older couple was sitting at the door collecting donations for veterans. I have a soft spot in my heart for veterans and the couple was so cute that on the way out I gave my kids some money to give to the couple. Plus, I figured it was a great lesson for my children and they loved it.

In fact, my daughter loved it so much so that she darted out of the store to make the donation. When I got there the lady was asking my children if they knew where the money was going. My son (9) replied that it was to a charity. The lady responded, “Yes, it was kind of a charity, but one for veterans. Do you know what a veteran is?” My son responded, “People in the military.” The lady then asked, “What do veterans do?”

At this point I’m on the edge wondering how my son might reply. He then responded, “The fight for Freedom.” I’m sure I was beaming after that response. I was really proud of him.

So on this Memorial Day I’m happy to honor and remember those veterans who fight for our freedom.

Healthcare IT and EMRs – Around Healthcare Scene

Posted on May 26, 2013 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.

There are different challenges that come with creating PHRs, especially with adolescents. Certain aspects of PHRs can be hidden from parents, such a pregnancy tests or information on reproductive health. Boston Children’s Hospital has created a special adolescent PHR, that will allow parent’s access to certain files, while keeping some available only for the eyes of the the adolescent.

EMRs are created to increase efficiency of care, eliminate paper records, and optimize care. However, when a person wants to access medical records, they often have to wait days, if not weeks, for the results. Is there a way to have EMRs help patients easily retrieve medical records?

There are many great EMR bloggers out there. John took a trip down memory lane to remember the blogs he first read when he started blogging 7.5 years ago. Do you recognize any of these legacy EMR bloggers?

Do you consider EMRs to be “cool” in the world of Health IT? In this light-hearted post, Jennifer reflects on different parts of Health IT, specifically EMRs, and what she would define as cool. Be sure to chime in on this conversation.

Some people really love their EMRs (or, at least, try to convince themselves that they do!) Two physicians from North Carolina made this clever video, as a way to express some of their frustrations with EMRs in a lighthearted, and fun way. You definitely won’t want to miss this!

The latest innovation from Google may have a big effect on the future of healthcare. Google Glasses, though not created specifically for the healthcare community, could prove to transform healthcare as we know it. From helping medical students learn material, to assisting in the ER, the possibilities appear to be endless.

Health IT and Cancer — #HITsm Chat Highlights

Posted on May 25, 2013 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.

Topic One: What are the unique #HealthIT opportunities to improve cancer patients’ experience during treatment?

Topic 2: How can technology improve the lives of post-treatment #cancer survivors?

 

Topic Three: Where do patients fit into emerging models of personalized medicine driven by #bigdata?

Topic Four: Is there a role that #HealthIT can play in cancer prevention and early detection?