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Dreaming BIG for Health IT – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on April 24, 2018 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 excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 4/27 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Erica Johansen (@thegr8chalupa) on the topic of “Dreaming BIG for Health IT”.

I’m from Texas and Texas is known for BIG things. Big skies, big ranches, and big hair… “Everything is bigger in Texas,” after all. Texas is no stranger to big ideas either and some exciting things are taking place in the Lone Star State, even as it relates to health IT.

I will be hosting the chat from onsite at the Texas Regional HIMSS conference from Dallas. The conference is a BIG deal for folks in the Texas region, and thanks to the beauty of social media, the conversation doesn’t have to be local. We invite you to dream BIG and discuss what makes health IT an exciting industry to be a part of.

Please join us for this week’s #HITsm chat as we discuss the following:

T1: What ideas are we not thinking big enough about? Should we expand our thinking? #HITsm

T2: What are we thinking too big about and should we think smaller? #HITsm

T3: Are healthcare organizations becoming too big? Should we have smaller organizations or larger ones? #HITsm

T4: Is healthcare data big enough? Why? Why not? #HITsm

T5: Where do you look for big innovations in and out of healthcare? What do you foresee as a big influencer to the healthcare space in the coming years? #HITsm

Bonus: Dream big about healthcare technology – What big things do you see materializing in the future? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
5/4 – Organization Structure: Should We Break Up the Traditional Pyramid?
Hosted by David Chou (@dchou1107)

5/11 – TBD
Hosted by TBD

5/18 – TBD
Hosted by Justin Campbell (@tjustincampbell) from @GalenHealthcare

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

The Power of Story – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on April 17, 2018 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 excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 4/20 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by @DesignInHealth (led by Kijana-Knight Torres), Burt Rosen (@burtrosen), and the #WTFix team on the topic of “The Power of Story”.

We are within one month of What’s the Fix? happening on May 17, 2018. What’s the Fix? (#WTFix) is a movement and an event that Healthsparq started in 2017 to help the industry learn from people. Most health care conferences focus on industry insiders talking to each other. What’s the Fix? highlights real people with real stories of overcoming health care challenges and driving change to the system as a result. The conference is about being human, being empathetic, and using story telling as a way to drive change in an industry that really needs help.

For the 2018 event, we’re excited to be accredited by Patients Included and to welcome new partners the Design Institute for Health at Dell Medical School. You can join the conference virtually for free, and new this year, we’ll also offer workshops on May 16th. If you LOVE the topic of story and want to learn more… One of the workshops is led by Kijana-Knight Torres of the Design Institute for Health is: “Lead with the Story: How to capture hearts, change minds, and inspire action.”

So let’s talk about the power of story.

There are numerous ways to convince people of our ideas. Stories have the power to open hearts and minds. Stories move people to action. Stories can help us breathe our intention into others so that they see what we see and feel what we feel. Stories can move people from “I know” to “I understand”.

Everyone has a story – yes even you! Your experience is the key to creating movement and change. Crafting compelling stories can enable people to escape their comfort zones and share a new perspective.

Let’s talk about what makes good stories tick and how stories help make meaningful connections with others, and how stories have the power to transform healthcare – and health.

A few of our favorite references on storytelling:

Please join us for this week’s #HITsm chat as we discuss the following:

T1: What makes a story compelling for you? #HITsm

T2: Has a story ever changed your mind or your perspective – or your health? #HITsm

T3: What’s the most effective way to share really personal stories on social media? #HITsm

T4: What fears arise when telling your story? #HITsm

T5: How can patients share their stories in a way that providers listen? What role does HIPAA play in patient storytelling? #HITsm

Bonus: You have the ear of people who can make change, what experience would you most like to transform through the power of story? Do you have one of these stories to share? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
4/27 – Dreaming BIG for Health IT
Hosted by Erica Johansen (@thegr8chalupa)

5/4 – TBD
Hosted by TBD

5/11 – TBD
Hosted by TBD

5/18 – TBD
Hosted by Justin Campbell (@tjustincampbell) from @GalenHealthcare

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

How to Evolve Healthcare Conferences in the 21st Century – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on April 11, 2018 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 excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 4/13 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Steve Sisko (@shimcode) on the topic of “How to Evolve Healthcare Conferences in the 21st Century”.

The general purpose of a conference is to bring people together in one place where they can discover and share information, insight and ideas on a specific theme. And then, hopefully, leave the event with energy and focus. Our brains can only take in a limited number of stimuli at any given time. With 1000’s and even 10’s of 1000’s of attendees – and 100’s or as many as 1,000 exhibitors at some events – today’s conference attendee can easily end up leaving a conference exhausted and overwhelmed.

But what really makes a good conference? Is it the content itself? The people who present the content? The location and venue of the conference? The atmosphere of the conference? The social events and opportunities for networking? Or something else?

Like with everything in life, different individuals have different needs and wants. And with advancements in presentation, collaboration and communication technologies, there are new options for enhancing and extending the conference experience. With an ever-increasing number of conferences, forums and events throughout the year, conference organizers MUST evolve if they want their events to remain relevant.

The purpose of this tweetchat is to share information and personal experience as to what constitutes a ‘good conference’ and offer ideas for addressing and improving the various elements that make up a conference.

A Little Reference Material

  1. Top Event Tech Trends for 2018: http://www.tsnn.com/blog/top-event-tech-trends-2018
  2. How Technologies Shape the Future of Medical Conferences: http://medicalfuturist.com/how-technologies-shape-the-future-of-medical-conferences/
  3. How to Plan and Run A Great Conference Experience: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/08/plan-and-run-a-great-conference
  4. 7 Secrets of Awe-Inspiring Events: https://www.studionorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/7-Secrets-of-Awe-Inspiring-Events.pdf

Note: For the purpose of this chat, “content” means any and all materials created, curated or otherwise originating from the organizers of a conference and the vendor exhibitors, speakers, panelists and others involved with a conference event.

Please join us for this week’s #HITsm chat as we discuss the following:

T1: What can conference organizers do to provide tangible value to conference registrants – and those considering registering for the conference – BEFORE the event starts? #HITsm

T2: What are some of the most interesting and useful ways you’ve seen conference speakers and panelists share information to, or interact with, conference attendees? #HITsm

T3: What technology-based approaches can conference organizers and exhibitors use to create new or enhance existing opportunities for content identification, acquisition, and dissemination? #HITsm

T4: How can those physically attending a conference and those ‘following along remotely’ originate, share and/or discuss conference-related content? #HITsm

T5: What can conference organizers and exhibitors do to provide additional value to conference attendees and others AFTER the conference is over? #HITsm

Bonus: What are some of worst examples of a conference organizer ‘dropping the ball’ that you’ve ever experienced or heard about? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
4/20 – The Power of Story
Hosted by @DesignInHealth (led by Kijana-Knight Torres), Burt Rosen (@burtrosen), and the #WTFix team

4/27 – TBD
Hosted by Erica Johansen (@thegr8chalupa)

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

Should Apps with Personal Health Information Be Subject to HIPAA?

Posted on April 10, 2018 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Erin Gilmer (@GilmerHealthLaw).

With news of Grindr’s sharing of user’s HIV status and location data, many wonder how such sensitive information could be so easily disclosed and the answer is quite simply a lack of strong privacy and security standards for apps.  The question then becomes whether apps that store personal health information should be subject to HIPAA? Should apps like Grindr have to comply with the Privacy and Security Rules as doctors, insurance companies, and other covered entities already do?

A lot of people already think this information is protected by HIPAA as they do not realize that HIPAA only applies to “covered entities” (health care providers, health plans, and health care clearininghouses) and “business associates” (companies that contract with covered entities).  Grindr is neither of these. Nor are most apps that address health issues – everything from apps with mental health tools to diet and exercise trackers. These apps can store all manner of information ranging simply from a name and birthdate to sensitive information including diagnoses and treatments.

Grindr is particularly striking because under HIPAA, there are extra protections for information including AIDS/HIV status, mental health diagnoses, genetics, and substance abuse history.  Normally, this information is highly protected and rightly so given the potential for discrimination. The privacy laws surrounding this information were hard fought by patients and advocates who often experienced discrimination themselves.

However, there is another reason this is particularly important in Grindr’s case and that’s the issue of public health.  Just a few days before it was revealed that the HIV status of users had been exposed, Grindr announced that it would push notifications through the app to remind users to get tested.  This was lauded as a positive move and added to the culture created on this app of openness. Already users disclose their HIV status, which is a benefit for public health and reducing the spread of the disease. However, if users think that this information will be shared without explicit consent, they may be less likely to disclose their status. Thus, not having privacy and security standards for apps with sensitive personal health information, means these companies can easily share this information and break the users’ trust, at the expense of public health.

Trust is one of the same reasons HIPAA itself exists.  When implemented correctly, the Privacy and Security Rules lend themselves to creating an environment of safety where individuals can disclose information that they may not want others to know.  This then allows for discussion of mental health issues, sexually transmitted diseases, substance use issues, and other difficult topics. The consequences of which both impact the treatment plan for the individual and greater population health.

It would be sensible to apply a framework like HIPAA to apps to ensure the privacy and security of user data, but certainly some would challenge the idea.  Some may make the excuse that is often already used in healthcare, that HIPAA stifles innovation undue burden on their industry and technology in general.  While untrue, this rhetoric holds sway with government entities who may oversee these companies.

To that end, there is a question of who would regulate such a framework? Would it fall to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) where HIPAA regulation is already overseen? The OCR itself is overburdened, taking months to assess even the smallest of HIPAA complaints.  Would the FDA regulate compliance as they look to regulate more mobile apps that are tied to medical devices?  Would the FCC have a roll?  The question of who would regulate apps would be a fight in itself.

And finally, would this really increase privacy and security? HIPAA has been in effect for over two decades and yet still many covered entities fail to implement proper privacy and security protocols.  This does not necessarily mean there shouldn’t be attempts to address these serious issues, but some might question whether the HIPAA framework would be the best model.  Perhaps a new model, with new standards and consequences for noncompliance should be considered.

Regardless, it is time to start really addressing privacy and security of personal health information in apps. Last year, both Aetna and CVS Caremark violated patient privacy sending mail to patients where their HIV status could be seen through the envelope window. At present it seems these cases are under review with the OCR. But the OCR has been tough on these disclosures. In fact, in May 2017, St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center Inc. paid the OCR $387,200 in a settlement for a breach of privacy information including the HIV status of a patient. So the question is, if as a society, we recognize the serious nature of such disclosures, should we not look to prevent them in all settings – whether the information comes from a healthcare entity or an app?

With intense scrutiny of privacy and security in the media for all aspects of technology, increased regulation may be around the corner and the framework HIPAA creates may be worth applying to apps that contain personal health information.

About Erin Gilmer
Erin Gilmer is a health law and policy attorney and patient advocate. She writes about a range of issues on different forums including technology, disability, social justice, law, and social determinants of health. She can be found on twitter @GilmerHealthLaw or on her blog at www.healthasahumanright.wordpress.com.

Apple’s Full-Court Move Into Healthcare – Game Changer or Flash In the Pan? – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on April 3, 2018 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 excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 4/6 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Joe Babaian (@JoeBabaian) on the topic of “Apple’s Full-Court Move Into Healthcare – Game Changer or Flash In the Pan?”.

The past week has been filled with excitement about @Apple’s move into healthcare. For the followers of #HITsm, #hcldr & #HITMC this has been one of our top topics! We all care about access and ownership of our healthcare data in a coherent and interoperable way. We hang on the various new initiatives, promises, and false starts offering the opportunity to finally pull all this together.

Apple has laid down the gauntlet: @chrissyfarr writing for @CNBC “Apple’s plan to put health records on your phone has huge implications for medicine”

  • Apple announced on that it has expanded its health records product to 40 health systems and 300 hospitals, and it’s opening it up to all iOS users.
  • “Doctors put patients in charge,” Apple’s news release reads.
  • “We view the future as consumers owning their own health data,” Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, said in a recent interview with CNBC.


The reaction has been enormous:

  • Apple is changing the game, breaking the mold.
  • Apple is hyping a partial measure to a select group only within a walled garden.
  • Apple is laying the groundwork for flipping the paradigm going forward.
  • Apple is promoting Apple.

These are just some of the comments I’ve been hearing. In some ways, the reaction is almost political and veers away from sober reckoning and gets close to Apple “fanboys” vs. everyone else. This isn’t the approach we should take during a time of disruption – we must dive more deeply and look for the pros and cons while putting aside our preconceived notions. With a powerful foundation, Apple is one of the few organizations with the ability to pull something like this off – both logistically (40 systems / 300 hospitals!) and technologically. By this same token, Apple has been known to embrace their own vision and expect everyone else to do the same – right or wrong.

Please join us for this week’s #HITsm chat as we discuss the following:

T1: How is Apple’s plan for health records truly altruistic and game-changing or just a flash in the pan? #HITsm

T2: How might Apple’s entry into 40 systems & 300 hospitals make this effort successful by the very nature of the massive roll out? #HITsm

T3: Why have so many other health record / access initiatives with similar goals failed to catch fire and truly succeed? #HITsm

T4: What will be needed for Apple’s push to reach the majority of patients in an effective way? Or is this impossible? #HITsm

T5: What will you do when presented with an iPad upon admission and instructions for using your iPhone for total access to your health records and care? #HITsm

Bonus: Does it matter if the solution for health records and data lives on iOS or Android? Shouldn’t we all get behind what works with the right vision versus looking to pick things apart? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
4/13 – How to Evolve Healthcare Conferences in the 21st Century
Hosted by Steve Sisko (@shimcode)

4/20 – TBD
Hosted by Burt Rosen (@burtrosen) and the #WTFix team

4/27 – TBD
Hosted by TBD

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

#HIMSS18: Oh The Humanity

Posted on April 2, 2018 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Sean Erreger, LCSW or @StuckonSW as some of you may know him.

It was a privilege to attend the 2018 HIMSS global conference this year. Having blogged and tweeted about Health IT for a couple of years, it was great to finally live it. By taking a deep dive, attending presentations, demoing products, and networking; I came to a greater understanding of how Health IT tackles the problems I hope to solve. From a social work perspective, I continue to be fascinated with the idea that technology can facilitate change.  Getting lost in artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, and predictive analytics was easy. It was exciting to learn the landscape of solutions, amount of automation, and workflow management possible. As a care manager, I believe these tools can be incredibly impactful.

However, despite all the technology and solutions, came the reminder that Health IT is a human process. There were two presentations that argued that we can’t divorce the humanity from health information technology process.  First was on the value of behavioral science and secondly a presentation on provider burnout and physician suicide.

The Value Of Behavioral Science

This was a panel presentation and discussion moderated by Dr. Amy Bucher of Mad*Pow including Dr. Heather Cole-Lewis of Johnson and Johnson, Dr. David Ahern of the FCC, and Dr. John Torous of Harvard Medical school. All experts were a part of projects related to Personal Connected Health Alliance. They asked attendees to consider the following challenges and how behavior science play a role…

Questions like how do we measure outcome and defining what “engagement” look like are key to how we build Health IT.  Yes, things like apps and wearables are cool but how do we measure their success. This can often be a challenge. It often feels like health IT is trying to outdo each other about who is coming up with the coolest piece of technology. However, when we get down to the nuts and bolts and start to measure engagement in technology, we might not like the results…

This presentation reminded me that technology is not often enough. Valuing the importance of “meeting people where they are”, may not include technology at all. We have to challenge ourselves to look ethically at the evidence and ensure that digital health is something a patient may or may not want.

Technology as a Solution to Physician Burnout and Suicide

It was reassuring to know even before I got to HIMSS that suicide prevention was going to be part of the conversation. Janae Sharpe and Melissa McCool presented on physician suicide and tools to potentially prevent it. This presents another human aspect of Health IT, the clinicians that use them. The facts about physician suicide are hard to ignore…

As someone who has done presentations about burnout and secondary trauma, I am acutely aware of how stressful clinical care can be.  It is unclear whether technology is a cause but it is certainly a factor, even in physician suicide. The research on this complex, but to blame the paperwork demands for burnout and physician suicide is tricky. To attribute a cause to things is always a challenge but my take away is that the Health IT community might be part of the problem but the presenters made a compelling case that it should be part of the solution. That not only reducing clicks and improving workflow is needed but providing support is critical.

They talked about the need to measure “burnout” and see how the Health IT community can design technology to support those at risk.  They have created a scale called the Sharp Index to try to measure physician burnout and also build technology to provide support. This seems to be striving for that right mix between measurement in the hopes of making space for human processes in a complex technology space.

Cooking The Mix Between Tech and Human Care

These presentations leave Health IT with many questions. Apps to provide a means of clinical care exist but are they working? How can we tell we are getting digital health right? How can we tell if technology is making a difference in patients’ lives? How do we define “success” of an app? Is technology having a negative impact on clinical care and clinicians themselves? If so, how do we measure that?

These questions force us to take an intentional look at how we measure outcomes but more importantly how we define them. Both presentations stressed the multi-disciplinary nature of health information technology development.  That no matter what the technology, you need to ask what problem does it solve and for who? As we consider building out AI and other automation we need to keep the humanity in healthcare.  So we can better care for ourselves as providers and ask what patients need in a human centered manner.

For a deeper dive into each presentation, I have created twitter recaps of both the Behavioral Science Panel and the presentation on Physician Suicide.

About Sean Erreger
Sean is Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New York. He is interested in technology and how it is facilitating change in a variety of areas. Within Health IT is interested in how it can include mental health, substance abuse, and information about social determinants. He can be found at his blog www.stuckonsocialwork.com.

Healthcare Dashboards, Data, and FHIR

Posted on March 30, 2018 I Written By

The following is a guest blog by Monica Stout from MedicaSoft

We live in a dashboard society. We love our dashboards! We have mechanisms to track, analyze, and display all sorts of data at our fingertips any time of the day or night and everywhere we turn. We like it that way! Data is knowledge. Data is power. Data drives decisions. Data is king.

But what about healthcare data? Specifically, what about YOUR healthcare data? Is it all available in one place where you can easily access it, analyze it, and make decisions about your health? Chances are, it’s not. Most likely, it’s locked up inside various EHRs and many tethered (read: connected to the provider, not shareable to other providers) patient portals you received access to when you visited your doctors for various appointments. In some cases, the information that is there might not be correct. In other cases, there might not be much data there at all.

How are you supposed to act as an informed patient or caregiver when you don’t have your data or accurate data for those you are caring for? When health information is spread across multiple portals and the onus is on you to remember every login and password and what data is where for each of these portals, are you really using them effectively? Do you want to use them? It’s not very easy to connect the dots when the dots can’t be located because they’re in different places in varying degrees of completeness.

How do we fix this? What steps need to be taken? Aggregating our health information isn’t just collecting the raw data and calling it a complete record. It’s more than being able to send files back and forth. It’s critical to get your data right, at the core, as part of your platform. That’s what lets you build useful services, like a patient dashboard, or a provider EHR, or a payer analytics capability. A modern data model that represents your health information as a longitudinal patient record is key.

Many IT companies have realized HL7 FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) is the preferred way to get there and are exploring its uses for interoperability. These companies have started using FHIR to map health information from their current data models to FHIR in order to allow information exchange.

This is just the beginning, though. If you want robust records that support models of the future, you need a powerful, coherent data model, like FHIR, as your internal data model, too.  Then take it a step further and use technologies similar to those used by other enterprise scale systems like Netflix and LinkedIn, to give patients and caregivers highly available, scalable, and responsive tools just like their other consumer-facing applications. Solutions that are built on legacy systems can’t scale in this way and offer these benefits.

Our current healthcare IT environment hasn’t made it easy for patients to aggregate their health information or aggregated it for them. If we want to meet the needs of today and tomorrow’s patients and caregivers, we need patient-centric systems designed to make it easy to gather health information from all sources – doctors, hospitals, laboratories, HIEs, and personal health devices and smartphones.

About Monica Stout
Monica is a HIT teleworker in Grand Rapids, Michigan by way of Washington, D.C., who has consulted at several government agencies, including the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). She’s currently the Marketing Director at MedicaSoft. Monica can be found on Twitter @MI_turnaround or @MedicaSoftLLC.

About MedicaSoft
MedicaSoft  designs, develops, delivers, and maintains EHR, PHR, and UHR software solutions and HISP services for healthcare providers and patients around the world. MedicaSoft is a proud sponsor of Healthcare Scene. For more information, visit www.medicasoft.us or connect with us on Twitter @MedicaSoftLLC, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

What is Patient – Centric Care? – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on March 27, 2018 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 excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 3/30 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Linda Stotsky (@EMRAnswers).

There was a lot of discussion about patient-centric care at #HIMSS18. What is it? Have we changed our approach to patient-centric design and communication?

Enabling patients to feel respected, valued as a person, is a multi-faceted task that involves more than HIPAA compliance. “Being treated with dignity and being involved in decisions are independently associated with positive outcomes”, according to a 2005 abstract in the Annals of Family Medicine. We talk about best practice guidelines and principals, yet how far have we come in the last 13 years since that statement was released?

Patient-centric care is defined as “respectful of and responsive” of individual patient preferences, needs and values. These values guide shared decision making, communication and treatment options, balancing clinical knowledge with patients’ wants, needs, and opinions. There is no “one size fits all” approach.

Patient-centric healthcare changes the paradigm from information and interactions that emanate with the provider, to information and interactions that begin and end with the patient, respecting his/her cultural values, practices and autonomy. Processes of care, progress and prognosis, plus an ability to recognize and respond to a patient empathically, communicate a desire to understand the patient perspective.

Do our present systems limit involvement from a time perspective?  Are we too busy clicking data boxes that we forget to pull away from the screen to engage in a two-way discussion?

Key patient-centered principals include:

  • Respect for the patient voice
  • Care coordination
  • Educational resources
  • Physical and emotional support (empathy)
  • Patient Safety
  • Access to all aspects of care (data, physical access, and communication)

Please join us for this week’s #HITsm chat as we discuss the following:

T1: What is a persistent patient centric approach? #HITsm

T2: Why are we still struggling to meet the educational needs of all patients? #HITsm

T3: How can we close the gaps in care management? #HITsm

T4: Who should carry the patient-centric care flag and lead the progress forward? Payers? DPC? HC Orgs? #HITsm

T5: What are a few “short wins” we can do NOW to improve patient-centric care? #HITsm

Bonus: What do you do when you experience care that is less than patient centric? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
4/6 – Apple’s Full-Court Move Into Healthcare – Game Changer or Flash In the Pan?
Hosted by Joe Babaian (@JoeBabaian)

4/13 – TBD
Hosted by TBD

4/20 – TBD
Hosted by Burt Rosen (@burtrosen) and the #WTFix team

4/27 – TBD
Hosted by TBD

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

AHA Health Forum – A Valuable Potential Partner for HealthIT Companies

Posted on March 26, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

In the hyper-competitive HealthIT market, getting to your target audience within healthcare organizations is critical to success. Cutting through the noise and gatekeepers, however, is difficult. One effective strategy is to partner with an organization that has a trusted relationship with healthcare organizations and collaborate with them to leverage those connections.

The team at the AHA Health Forum has been helping companies for years do just that. I had the chance recently to sit down with Kathleen Wessel, Vice President of Business Development at AHA Health Forum. I asked her about the Forum and what recommendations she has for breaking through the noise in HealthIT.

Kathleen will be a panelist and a sponsor at the 2018 Healthcare IT Marketing & PR Conference.

Tell me about AHA Health Forum and the work it does.

Kathleen: Health Forum is a strategic business enterprise of the American Hospital Association, dedicated to providing insights, resources and innovative services to support our hospital members . This position makes us an indispensable resource for businesses seeking to engage the hospitals we serve.

Can you give an example of how a company might work with AHA Health Forum?

Kathleen: In addition to event sponsorships, conferences, and networking opportunities that connect you with the c-suite, we offer a level of program sophistication and service that isn’t seen elsewhere in the health care space. This includes opportunities such as multi-channel behavioral campaigns to nurture highly targeted audiences, trusted health care data to identify market opportunities, intimate executive events with attendees who have pain points aligned to a vendor’s solution, and lead assist programs to pre-qualify sales ready leads.

What are three things Health IT marketers should do to help identify and deliver messaging to hospital decision makers more effectively? 

Kathleen:

  1. At a high level, educate yourself on latest health care trends and challenges. In account-based marketing, know what is important to the hospital or hospital system. Annual reports, press releases and other public information sources provide a good starting point for individual hospitals.
  2. A closer focus on data can help you learn more about your audience. Leveraging your own internal client data and trusted external health care industry data can lead to breakthrough thinking—helping you grow markets, uncover new opportunities, and can help sales engage in higher value conversations with prospects.
  3. This brings me to my next point. A solutions provider that knows its audience inside out can use this intel to make content that is relevant. As health care leaders face unprecedented change, they don’t just need any content, they need quality content and are looking for solutions.

How is Health IT marketing changing?

Kathleen: Marketers have their work cut out if they’re going to get their message and brand noticed by hospital leaders. In the age of content and information overload, to be heard, you have to be credible and intentional. Health care leaders pay attention to information coming from their peers and institutions they trust. This will require marketers to cultivate client champions and integrate their stories and voice into their marketing campaigns. Marketers would also be wise to make investments in co-branding with trusted associations.

Being a “partner” vs a “vendor” is something we hear a lot about in health care, what does that exactly mean? What makes a company a good partner? 

Kathleen: Vendors focus on why their solution is best in the category; and if the challenge doesn’t fit, a ‘vendor’ tells the client to change to accommodate their solution. In contrast, a partner understands what is important to the hospital and focuses on how their solution can help the hospital achieve its strategic objectives. A partner will work to adapt to a specific challenge. In addition, the hospital looks at the partner for thought leadership, as a trusted advisor who can help guide them through the changes and disruption taking place in the industry.

The Win-Win of Today’s Telemedicine Technology for All Practices

Posted on March 22, 2018 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Sean Brindley, Product Development Manager, Kareo Telemedicine

The healthcare profession has been talking about telemedicine and its potential benefits almost as long as there have been phones. Over the last five years, adoption of telemedicine programs has increased steadily, but for some practices, particularly smaller, independent offices, the questions loom larger. How disruptive will adopting telemedicine be to office workflow? Will telemedicine overburden office staff? What are the risks involved in trying it? How will they get reimbursed for the investment? And, most important, what benefits can telemedicine bring to the individual practice that offset the impact of the learning curve?

Unlike even one or two years ago, today’s answers are mostly positive.

Reimbursement Is Real

Let’s tackle the big question first – reimbursement. Starting at the simplest point, most practices today give away a lot of practitioner time in telephone consults that are not reimbursable. Finding a way to generate revenue on even some of those would be a boon to most practices. But the news is far more positive than that. Thirty-five states, plus eight more pending, have enacted telemedicine parity requiring certain payers to pay for telemedicine consultations just as they would reimburse face-to-face visits. Private payers have been at the forefront of telemedicine adoption, likely recognizing telemedicine as a highly cost-effective delivery system for healthcare.  At the same time, a recent bill (The Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017), has relaxed the restriction on Medicare reimbursements for telemedicine, and while Medicaid reimbursement varies substantially from state to state, there are places where the reimbursement practices go further than Medicare. All practices should carefully review the rules and regulations in their states. Parity doesn’t always mean parity. This is why it’s an advantage to have a telemedicine visit option that’s built into the EHR and practice management system, not a separate application. This ensures a smooth reimbursement process. For example, in Kareo when a video appointment is scheduled, the system automatically verifies that the patient is covered for telemedicine. This removes much of the burden from the office staff and greatly increases the chances that the telemedicine program will provide a revenue stream for the office.

What’s In It For Practices?

Beyond the potential for reimbursing telemedicine visits, how will telemedicine impact the operation of offices? First, telemedicine can increase the number of daily or weekly visits without increasing the practitioner’s work hours because visits conducted via most well-designed telemedicine systems take less time than an in-person visit. For example, a practice with three providers who each add two video visits per day, at an average reimbursement of $72, will earn an extra $103,680 in revenue over the course of a year. Telemedicine also greatly reduces the number of no-shows and cancellations. Patients with a telemedicine appointment are less likely to cancel because of work issues, transportation, child care, or just plain forgetting. An office appointment that has to be cancelled at the last minute can even be changed to a video visit, keeping the patient on track and not wasting the practitioner’s time. Having telemedicine available makes a practice more competitive against the rising number of “convenient” healthcare outlets like urgent care, walk-ins and on-demand care.

What’s In It For Patients?

Perhaps most important, telemedicine has the potential to improve patient health and increase quality outcomes since it provides an easy way to stay in ongoing touch with patients. The best use cases are for routine follow-up care where the appointment does not require a physical examination. For example, ideal cases for video visits are ongoing care for chronic conditions, observing treatment plans, reviewing slightly abnormal lab results, providing prescription updates, and discussing lifestyle changes for weight loss, smoking cessation and much more. Better quality outcomes also mean better reimbursement under today’s quality-driven healthcare system. Some of the specialties regularly using telemedicine are:

  • Primary Care
  • OB/GYN
  • Neurology
  • Nephrology
  • Mental/Behavioral Health
  • Gastroenterology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Pulmonology
  • Infectious Disease
  • Urology
  • Hematology/Oncology

How Much Impact on Staff?

Traditionally, many providers have offered separate applications for telemedicine, which required additional steps and training for office staff, making it more difficult to implement, especially for small practices. However, telemedicine is now more feasible for all practices because new technology from Kareo integrates telemedicine seamlessly into the EHR platform. For example, our customers can schedule telemedicine appointments directly in their practice management system, maintaining current office workflow for scheduling, charting and billing with no extra steps or training required. The automatic eligibility verification removes much of the financial burden and produces on average 10 times the provider’s cost per visit.  Patients can request appointments online and conduct the visit through a mobile device or desktop.

Removing the Risk

In busy practices, all changes can feel risky in terms of impact on staff, patients and investment costs. The integration of telemedicine with popular EHR platforms removes much of the impact on staff. Since more than 64 percent of patients say they would be happy to have a telemedicine video appointment, the offering to patients is far more positive than negative. Finally, the investment risk has dropped to minimal. EHR providers that offer software-as-a service, such as Kareo, are now giving practices a chance to pay per telemedicine visit, thereby being charged only for what they use. These low per-visit fees reduce the start-up burden on small practices, so the financial risk drops to negligible. In this way the office can implement a telemedicine practice at its own pace, allowing reimbursements to keep pace with usage.

Chances are good that even the overworked independent practice can use today’s telemedicine technology as an opportunity to increase revenue, unburden staff, and enhance patient satisfaction with the most minimal of investments. After years of promise, telemedicine has become a win-win

About Sean Brindley
Sean Brindley is product development manager for Kareo Telemedicine. More information can be found on Kareo’s Go Practice blog.  Kareo is a proud sponsor of Healthcare Scene.