Free EMR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to EMR and HIPAA for FREE!!

Identifying, Selecting, and Managing Healthcare Technology Products and Services – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on July 18, 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, 7/20 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Healthcare Scene (@HealthcareScene) on the topic of “Identifying, Selecting, and Managing Healthcare Technology Products and Services” and is an extension of last week’s #HITsm chat.

It should be no surprise to anyone who’s worked in the healthcare industry for any length of time that effective and cost-efficient information technology products and services are essential to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce runaway healthcare costs. And making a bad decision can be extremely cost-inefficient! But healthcare technology products and services are evolving faster than ever and even the most intelligent and focused individuals are challenged to stay abreast of and on top of all the new products and services. Properly selecting, implementing and using products and services to actually improve healthcare outcomes and reduce costs is not trivial task.

We’ve Got the Insights, Ideas and Opinions

Last week, #HITsm tweetchat participants shared their insights, ideas and opinions on what they believed could be the top technologies and services for healthcare stakeholders: Physicians & Medical Practices, Hospitals & Health Systems, Patients, Health Plan Members, Healthcare Consumers & Caregivers and Health Plans & Payers. Over 500 comments were collected from 45+ active participants.

Since last Friday, those 500+ insights, ideas and opinions have been culled, sorted, and curated into the topics for this week’s #HITsm tweetchat. An overview of this curated information can be found in this post titled ‘Recapping the #HITsm Crowdsourced List of Top Technology Services & Products for Healthcare Stakeholders.’  And the actual curated data from last week’s #HITsm tweetchat can be accessed here.

A Small Pivot from the Original Part 2 #HITsm Tweetchat Theme

To be sure, the original idea for this week’s #HITsm tweetchat was that participants would rank the technology services & products most important to healthcare stakeholders. While this week’s chat still includes a ranking of information crowdsourced in last week’s chat, topics for this week’s chat will shift to how healthcare stakeholders may best identify, select and manage the healthcare technology products and services that may best improve healthcare outcomes and reduce costs for ALL of healthcare’s stakeholders.

As you consider the topics of this week’s chat that are listed below, keep in mind the quote by Dr. Alkasab of @MassGeneralNews that @Jk_Jeffery shared last week: “We’re not buying from a vendor; we’re marrying them!”

We hope you can participate in this week’s #HITsm chat and share your insights, ideas and opinions.

Resources for This Week’s #HITsm Tweetchat

Topics for the 7/20/18 #HITsm Tweetchat

T1: What tangible and intangible ‘things’ must healthcare organizations selecting a specific healthcare vendor demand from a healthcare vendor prior to executing a purchase agreement? #HITsm

T2: What are the most important installation, configuration, operational and support requirements that must be considered when evaluating a decision to purchase a vendor’s service or product? #HITsm

T3: How can healthcare organizations and prospective vendor partners leverage 3rd parties – like healthcare patients, consultant, 3rd party research firms and other advisory sources – during the process of evaluating and selecting a specific healthcare product or service? #HITsm

T4: Let’s flip the inquiry: What must vendors of healthcare products and services demand from prospective purchasers of their products and services prior to executing a purchase agreement? #HITsm

T5: What are the surprises that Physicians, Medical Practices, Hospitals, Health Systems, Patients, Health Plan Members, Healthcare Consumers, Health Plans and payer often experience 6 to 12 months after purchasing a product or service? How could this have been solved in the purchase agreement? #HITsm

Bonus: In regards to the aforementioned quote that ‘We’re not buying from a vendor; we’re marrying them,’ what are key reasons why a healthcare organization may divorce their vendor partner? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
7/27 – Creating Loyalty in Healthcare
Hosted by Sunny Tara (@SunnyTaraVegas) and Janae Sharp (@coherencemed) from @CareCognitics

8/3 – TBD
Hosted by TBD

8/10 – TBD
Hosted by TBD

8/17 – The Cost Savings Opportunities on the Business Side of Healthcare
Hosted by Don Lee (@dflee30) and @CAQH

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.

Recapping the #HITsm Crowdsourced List of Top Technology Services & Products for Healthcare Stakeholders

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.

The following is a guest blog post by Steve Sisko (@ShimCode). Thanks to Steve for putting in all the time and effort to collect and analyze last week’s chat in preparation for this week’s chat.

Last week, the Health Information Technology Social Media (HITsm) tweet chat hosted by Jared Jeffery @Jk_Jeffery challenged participants to share their ideas on the Top 10 Technology Services & Products for Healthcare Stakeholders. Forty-six participants shared over 500 tweets on six topics supporting the theme of the tweetchat.

In an effort to explore new ways of leveraging the wisdom of the crowd, the information, insight and ideas shared by the 46 tweetchat participants has been culled, sorted and summarized. This summary and supporting detail is intended to provide the basis for the next #HITsm chat on Friday, July 20th.

The HITsm Crowd Shares Their Insight

This blog post presents this information shared during the 7/13/18 HITsm tweetchat. While appreciation goes out to chat host Jared Jeffery and all chat participants, special acknowledgement goes out to the following individuals who shared an above average amount of information, ideas and insight gleaned from the 521 tweets shared in the hour-long chat:

Name Handle
Aaron Jun @aaronjun_
Anthony Leon @anthonynotleon
Colton Ortolf @ColtonOrtolf
Heather S Lavoie @HSLavoie
Jeremy Coleman @jeremycoleman
Joe Babaian @JoeBabaian
John Lynn @techguy
Julie Maas @JulieWMaas
Lea Chatham @LeaChatham
Michelle Currie @mshlcurrie
ShereeseM, MS/MBA @ShereesePubHlth
Steve Sisko @ShimCode

 

Statistics from the 7/13/18 #HITsm Tweetchat

The following are some general stats regarding the content shared by chat participants. These stats are based on removing all retweets, introductions, logistical and greetings – a total of 189 tweets remained.

Top General Categories

Category Count Category Count
Analytics 6 Payer-Prior Auth 3
Care Gap Identification & Management 3 Precision Medicine 2
Collaboration 3 SDOH 8
Communication Tools 12 Tech-API 3
Consumerism-Related 13 Tech-Blockchain 2
Cost Reduction 5 Tech-Cloud 3
Cost Transparency 8 Tech-Data 4
Disruption/Innovation 9 Tech-Ecosystem 2
General 7 Tech-Interoperability 8
Hospital & Health Systems 4 Tech-Security 3
Insurance 3 Usability-Patient/Member 7
Multiple 5 Usability-Physician 6
Patient Advocacy 2 Value-based Care 2
Patient Engagement 9 Vendor Selection 33
Patient Experience 8

 

Services & Functions within General Category

Category Services
Analytics Artificial Intelligence
Analytics Automatically ID candidates that match clinical trials
Analytics Population Health
Analytics Predictive Analytics
Analytics Surveillance Systems
Analytics Turnaround time on analytics decrease considerably.
Care Gap Identification & Management Aggregating data across providers to truly determine care gaps
Care Gap Identification & Management Care Gap Identification
Care Gap Identification & Management Management platforms that leverage dedicated case workers to close care gaps
Care Gap Identification & Management Schedule optimization through automated outreach
Care Gap Identification & Management SDoH platforms
Communication Tools Communication Tools
Communication Tools Cross-discipline communication tools
Communication Tools Patient provider communication tools
Communication Tools Solutions to communicate, collaborate and connect with patients.
Communication Tools Text reminders
Communication Tools Unified Conversational #AI command & control systems
Consumerism-Related Consumer Loyalty Tools
Consumerism-Related Consumer Tools
Consumerism-Related Cost Transparency Tools
Consumerism-Related Healthcare literacy and advocacy assistance
Consumerism-Related Remote patient monitoring
Cost Reduction Medical devices to augment humans
Cost Reduction Patient flow improvement
Cost Reduction Revenue cycle management
Cost Transparency Cost Transparency Tools
Cost Transparency Medication Cost
Cost Transparency Patient schedule/wait time expectations
Disruption/Innovation Solutions that put the patient voice back into design & security
General Medical Record Documentation
Hospital Analytics for reducing hospital readmission
Hospital Digital outreach for clinical trials
Hospital Services and products that support growth of outpatient services
Multiple Analytics
Multiple CRM platforms
Multiple Physician communication tools
Multiple Populaton health case manager for at risk contract patients
Multiple Telehealth
Multiple Telemedecine video solution
Multiple Text-to-voice
Patient Advocacy On-demand diagnoses and advocacy services
Patient Engagement Cost Transparency Tools
Patient Engagement ‘Healthcare CRM’ tools.
Patient Engagement Patient itineraries/real time patient portal
Patient Engagement Products & services that improve patient communications & engagement
Patient Engagement Tools to enhance brand loyalty
Patient Engagement Tools to weave social media into customer engagement
Patient Experience Having all reports in one place so I can share between docs.
Patient Experience Health technology that creates a VIP like experience for patient
Patient Experience Patient itineraries.
Patient Experience Patient self-scheduling
Patient Experience Portal aggregator
Patient Experience Products to facilitate, track and report for patient interactions with physicians and medical practice
Payer-Prior Auth Prior Authorization
Payer-Prior Auth Voice assistants helping with scheduling
Precision Medicine Precision Medicine
SDOH Call a ride service
SDOH Help support health and improve outcomes by addressing Social Determinants of Health
Tech-API API
Tech-API Solutions that have an #API integration
Tech-Cloud Cloud-based applications
Tech-Data 3rd party data archiving
Tech-Data Patient access to medical records
Tech-Ecosystem Desktop virtualization
Tech-Interoperability Easier transfer of patient information
Tech-Interoperability Systems talk to one another.
Tech-Security Security enhancements for devices and data can reasonably be deployed
Usability-Patient Provider Directory Utility
Usability-Physician Products to help ensure physician, clinical and other user access to software applications
Vendor Selection Professional Services, with staff who REALLY understand what their product can do
Vendors Mentioned Diabetes behavior modification
Vendors Mentioned Helping the Hispanic/Latino community navigate the US healthcare system,
Vendors Mentioned Workflow automation

 

Company Reference by Topic

Topic Vendor Ref Category
T1 @AminoHealth Cost Transparency
T1 @CardiacInsight Cost Reduction
T1 @ClinicSpectrum Cost Reduction
T1 @HealthifyUS Care Gap Identification & Management
T1 @myopennotes General
T1 @practicemax Cost Reduction
T1 @SCIOanalytics Analytics
T1 @solutionreach Communication Tools
T1 @StericycleComms Communication Tools
T2 @CareCognitics Vendors Mentioned
T2 @cerner @lumeris Vendors Mentioned
T2 @CitrixHealth Tech-Ecosystem
T2 @Clara_Health Analytics
T2 @deep6ai Analytics
T2 @DellEMCHealth Tech-Ecosystem
T2 @DXCHealth Tech-Ecosystem
T2 @HolonSolutions Vendors Mentioned
T2 @infloio Vendors Mentioned
T2 @KLASresearch Precision Medicine
T2 @LBSolutions Vendors Mentioned
T2 @spectralink Communication Tools
T2 @spoktweets Communication Tools
T2 @telemediq Communication Tools
T2 @TigerConnect Communication Tools
T2 @voalte Communication Tools
T2 @voceracomm Communication Tools
T2 @wkhealth Analytics
T3 @AminoHealth Vendors Mentioned
T3 @ConsejoSano_US Vendors Mentioned
T3 @LivongoHealth Vendors Mentioned
T3 @Lumeon_ Vendors Mentioned
T3 @PicnicHealth Vendors Mentioned
T3 @solutionreach Analytics
T3 @StericycleComms Communication Tools
T4 @CapGemini General
T4 @OscarHealth Insurance
T4 @salesforce Patient Engagement
T4 @ziparico Patient Engagement
T6 @MEDITECH Vendor Selection

 

The Curated Tweets from the 7/13/18 #HITsm Tweetchat

You can access the curated list of tweets from the 7/13/18 #HITsm Tweetchat here.

Consider joining the #HITsm tweetchat later this week on Friday, 7/20/18 at 9:00am PT where additional topics based on the content shared during last week’s #HITsm chat will be discussed. You can see the topics and details for chat once their posted on the #HITsm chat page later today.

Alleviating “Pregnancy Brain” With Appointment Reminders

Posted on July 12, 2018 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Brittany Quemby, Marketing Strategist for Stericycle Communication Solutions, as part of the Communication Solutions Series of blog posts. Follow and engage with them on Twitter: @StericycleComms

Brittany Quemby - Stericycle

Picture this: I’m standing on the tradeshow floor watching as people try to grab as much swag as possible. I’m speaking to someone who really isn’t listening to my spiel because they are only in it for the free pen. Then, I get someone who is fairly interested in our appointment reminder service. Thinking I’ve hooked, lined and sunk them, I am met with a familiar objection: “We don’t need an appointment reminder service for our OBGYN clinic because women, especially pregnant women, don’t forget when their appointments are.”

Thinking back, I wish I knew then what I know now and could have countered that argument with some cold hard facts.

You may have heard about little bouts of forgetfulness during pregnancy. According to most experts, pregnancy does not change a woman’s brain, but some women don’t feel as sharp as usual when they’re pregnant. Although the science is still out on whether “pregnancy brain” is truly myth or reality, being seven months pregnant, I can testify that I am definitely not at the top of my game.

I have to check that I’ve locked the door three times. I forget simple words. I have a hard time remembering anything if I don’t write it down. Of course, I remember that I am due at the doctor once a month (I’m not an animal) and enter the date and time of future appointments into my phone. But between work meetings, presentations, ultrasounds, and other appointments, I inevitably forget when I’m supposed to go in and begin to question myself. Did I write down the date correctly? Did I already miss my appointment?

Every month, this confusion and second guessing always leads me to call my doctor’s office before my appointment to check the appropriate date and time.

What I do know is that this seconding guessing and additional effort could be completely eliminated if my clinic were to provide more patient-focused engagement before my appointments with the help of simple appointment reminders. With so many other things to worry about, I have come to appreciate these gentle reminders from places like my hair stylist, masseuse, and even prenatal class instructor, all of who send me a quick note including the following:

  • Appointment date
  • Appointment time
  • Location
  • Preparation instructions and,
  • Any additional “need to knows.”

Although it may seem like pregnant women would never forget an appointment that has to do with something as pivotal as bringing a child into this world, I can firmly say it happens. And something as simple as an appointment reminder goes a long way to ease a patient’s mind and elevate their overall patient experience. Now if only I could remember the name of the OBGYN clinic from that tradeshow I was at…..

Click here, to learn more about how Stericycle Communication Solutions is helping to create the optimal patient experience through our customized automated messaging solutions.

The Communication Solutions Series of blog posts is sponsored by Stericycle Communication Solutions, a leading provider of high quality answering services, online scheduling solutions, and messaging solutions. Stericycle Communication Solutions combines a human touch with innovative technology to deliver best-in-class communication services. Connect with Stericycle Communication Solutions on social media: @StericycleComms

Do We Sometimes Make Things Too Complicated?

Posted on July 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.

I know it’s not Friday yet (when I usually share fun cartoons), but I saw this cartoon shared by Pete Friesen and I couldn’t help but share it.

This parallels really well with this tweet I saw from ePatientDave as well:

Drugs have done amazing things. Look no further than all the lives saved by penicillin. However, sometimes we need to slow things down and consider all of our options (including drugs).

The problem right now is that there’s nothing really slowing things down for doctors and are care providers. Everything seems to just be speeding up.

I had a doctor today proudly share “I’m an internist can see 40 patients with rapid work on EMR side and also complete my MIPs clicks.”

He was trying to compliment his EHR software for working so effectively. However, you have to wonder what kind of care those 40 patients received and what kind of care they could have received if he only had to see 20. I’m not suggesting he gave them bad care, but I’m suggesting that the care would have been better if he only had to see 20 and not 40 patients. The problem is that doing so will cut his pay in half (literally).

This isn’t doctors fault specifically. They want to get paid for the work they do like anyone else. It’s why so many are excited by things like DPC (Direct Primary Care) and value based care. However, in terms of the later many are still skeptical and for good reason. Value based care could mean creating more of a relationship with a patient, but it could also mean more hoop jumping.

Maybe many of our stressed-out care providers could use some canine stress therapy as well.

#HITsm Community Identifies Top 10 Technology Services & Products for Healthcare Stakeholders – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on July 10, 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, 7/13 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Jared Jeffery (@Jk_Jeffery) on the topic of “#HITsm Community Identifies Top 10 Technology Services & Products for Healthcare Stakeholders”

At the beginning of each year, almost every healthcare thought leader, vendor and media company share a list of ‘Top 10 Healthcare Predictions and Trends.’ These lists get a lot of attention but rarely are these lists ever revisited or vetted by those who work in the healthcare industry. Nor are these lists updated or checked back on later in the year.

In an effort to change this pattern and to leverage the wisdom of the #HITsm crowd, the theme of the #HITsm chat on 7/13 will be to identify the healthcare technology services and products they believe are currently important to Healthcare Stakeholders:

1. Physicians & Medical Practices
2. Hospitals & Health Systems
3. Patients, Health Plan Members, Healthcare Consumers & Caregivers
4. Health Plans & Payers

Then, the information shared during the 7/13 chat will be curated to identify the top healthcare technology services and products identified by #HITsm participants. We’ll sort and curate the information shared in the 7/13 chat and then, in the #HITsm chat on 7/20, participants will rank and share their additional, hopefully unbiased, non-commercial insight into specific challenges, issues and opportunities pertaining to each of the healthcare technology services and products shared in the 7/13 chat.

Curated Summary of #HITsm Wisdom

As a unique service for chat participants and the healthcare social sphere in general, the information shared by #HITsm chat participants in the 7/13 and 7/20 chats will be assembled into a document, supplemented with additional information and shared publicly in the weeks following the 7/20 chat.

Reference Information

We hope you’ll attend these two-step #HITsm chat series and share your insight on the following topics:

T1: What are the most promising products and services that PHYSICIANS and MEDICAL PRACTICES may reasonably deploy and use in the next 12-24 months? #HITsm

T2: What are the most promising products and services that HOSPITALS and HEALTH SYSTEMS may reasonably deploy and use in the next 12-24 months? #HITsm

T3: Which products and services offer the most potential value to PATIENTS, HEALTH PLAN MEMBERS, HEALTHCARE CONSUMERS and/or CAREGIVERS over the next 12-24 months? #HITsm

T4: What are the most promising products and services that HEALTH PLANS and PAYERS may reasonably deploy and use in the next 12-24 months? #HITsm

T5: What are the most important considerations for deciding whether to move forward with purchasing and implementing a particular technology-related product or service? #HITsm

Bonus: What would you like to know more about regarding technology-related products and services for healthcare stakeholders? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
Note: The 7/13 & 7/20 #HITsm chats are part of a special two-part #HITsm chat series.
7/20 – #HITsm Community Ranks Top 10 Technology Services & Products for Healthcare Stakeholders
Hosted by Healthcare Scene (@HealthcareScene)

7/27 – Creating Loyalty in Healthcare
Hosted by Sunny Tara (@SunnyTaraVegas) and Janae Sharp (@coherencemed) from @CareCognitics

8/3 – TBD
Hosted by TBD

8/10 – TBD
Hosted by TBD

8/17 – The Cost Savings Opportunities on the Business Side of Healthcare
Hosted by Don Lee (@dflee30) and @CAQH

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.

Is Amazon Ready To Protect Patient Data?

Posted on July 6, 2018 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Late last month, a Connecticut woman found out that a third-party Amazon vendor she had done business with had exposed her personal medical data to the world, including her medical conditions, along with her name, birthdate and emergency contact information.

The story suggests that Amazon engaged in a bit of bureaucratic foot shuffling when called on the privacy lapse. According to the woman, an Amazon call center rep told her it would investigate the issue, but a further email told her they would not be able to release the outcome of this investigation. It’s little wonder she wasn’t satisfied.

Ultimately, it appears that she was only able to get immediate action once she contacted the third-party seller, which took the photos containing the information down promptly upon her request.

Though no small matter for the woman involved, the episode means little for the future of Amazon, in and of itself. However, it does suggest that the marriage of Amazon technology and healthcare data may pose unexpected problems.

For those who have been sleeping under a rock, in late June Amazon announced that it had acquired online pharmacy PillPack for what reports say was just under $1 billion. PillPack, which competes with services delivered by giants like CVS, lets users buy their meds in pre-made doses. News stories suggest that Amazon beat out fellow retail giant Walmart in making the buy, which should close the second half of this year.

Without a doubt, this was a banner day in the history of Amazon, which has officially stamped into healthcare in 10-ton boots. The deal could not only mark the beginning of new era for the retailer, but also the healthcare industry, which hasn’t yet seen a tech company take a lead in any consumer-facing healthcare business.

That being said, perhaps a more important question for readers of this publication is how it will manage data generated by PillPack, a store likely to grow exponentially as Amazon integrates the online pharmacy into its ecosystem.

While there are obviously many good things its staggering fulfillment and logistics capabilities can bring to PillPack, Amazon’s otherwise amazing systems weren’t built to protect patient health information.

When it comes to most any other company, I’d imagine these problems could be addressed by layering HIPAA-compliant technologies and policies over its existing infrastructure. However, given the widely distributed nature of its retail network, it’s not just a matter of rethinking some architecture. Sealing off health data could require completely transforming its approach to doing business. Just about every retail transaction could prove a chink in its armor.

Since it wasn’t itself required to meet HIPAA standards in this instance, Amazon won’t get any flack from regulators over the recent PHI exposure. Still, issues like this could undercut the trust it needs to integrate PillPack into its core business successfully.

If nothing else, Amazon had better put a strong PHI protection policy in place on its retail side. Otherwise, it could undermine the business it just spent almost $1 billion to buy.

How Hospitals Can Drive Revenue in Value-Based Care Using 7 Key Cycles of Their Data

Posted on July 5, 2018 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Richard A. Royer, Chief Executive Officer of Primaris.

Back in the day – the late 1960s, when social norms and the face of America was rapidly changing – a familiar public service announcement began preceding the nightly news cast. “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?”

Today, as the healthcare landscape changes rapidly with a seismic shift from the fee-for-service payment model to value-based care models, there’s a similar but new clarion call for quality healthcare: “It’s 2018. Do you know where your data is?”

Compliance with the increasingly complex alphabet soup of quality reporting and reimbursement rules – indeed, the fuel for the engine driving value-based car – is strongly dependent on data. The promising benefits of the age of digital health, from electronic health records (EHRs) to wearable technology and other bells and whistles, will occur only as the result of accurate, reliable, actionable data. Providers and healthcare systems that master the data and then use it to improve quality of care for better population health and at less cost will benefit from financial incentives. Those who do not connect their data to quality improvement will suffer the consequences.

As for the alphabet soup? For starters, we’re as familiar now with these acronyms as we are with our own birth dates: MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015), which created the QPP (Quality Payment Program), which birthed MIPS (Merit-based Incentive Payment System).

The colorful acronyms are deeply rooted in data. As a result, understanding the data life cycle of quality reporting for MACRA and MIPS, along with myriad registries, core measures, and others, is crucial for both compliance and optimal reimbursement. There is a lot at stake. For example, the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) is an example of a program that has changed how hospitals manage their patients. For the 2017 fiscal year, around half of the hospitals in the United States were dinged with readmission penalties. Those penalties resulted in hospitals losing an estimated $528 million for fiscal year 2017.

The key to achieving new financial incentives (with red-ink consequences increasingly in play) is data that is reliable, accurate and actionable. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to understand the data life cycle and how it affects healthcare organizations. The list below varies slightly in order and emphasis compared with other data life cycle charts.

  • Find the data.
  • Capture the data.
  • Normalize the data.
  • Aggregate the data.
  • Report the data.
  • Understand the data.
  • Act upon the data.


One additional stage, which is a combination of several, is secure, manage, and maintain the data.

  • Find the data. Where is it located? Paper charts? Electronic health records (EHRs)? Claims Systems? Revenue Cycle Systems? And how many different EHRs are used by providers – from radiology to labs to primary care or specialists’ offices to others providing care? This step is even more crucial now as providers locate the sources of data required for quality and other reporting.
  • Capture the data. Some data will be available electronically, some can be acquired electronically, but some will require manual abstraction. If a provider, health system or Accountable Care Organization (ACO) outsources that important work, it is imperative that the abstraction partner understand how to get into each EHR or paper-recording system.
     
    And there is structured and unstructured data. A structured item in the EHR like a check box or treatment/diagnosis code can be captured electronically, but a qualitative clinician note must be abstracted manually. A patient presenting with frequent headaches will have details noted on a chart that might be digitally extracted, but the clinician’s note, “Patient was tense due to job situation,” requires manual retrieval.
  • Normalize the data. Normalization ensures the data can be more than a number or a note but meaningful data that can form the basis for action. One simple example of normalizing data is reconciling formats of the data. For example, a reconciling a form that lists patients’ last names first with a chart that lists the patients’ first name first. Are we abstracting data for “Doe, John O.” or “John O. Doe?” Different EHR and other systems will have different ways of recording that information.
     
    Normalization ensures that information is used in the same way. The accuracy and reliability that results from normalization is of paramount importance. Normalization makes the information unambiguous.
  • Aggregate the data. This step is crucial for value-based care because it consolidates the data from individual patients to groups or pools of patients. For example, if there is a pool of 100,000 lives, we can list ages, diagnosis, tests, clinical protocols and outcomes for each patient. Aggregating the data is necessary before healthcare providers can analyze the overall impact and performance of the whole pool.
     
    If a healthcare organization has quality and cost responsibilities for a pool of patients, they must be able to closely identify the patients that will affect the patient pool’s risks. Aggregation and analyzing provides that opportunity.
  • Report the data. Reporting of healthcare data to registries and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is not new, but it is a growing need. Required reporting will become even more integral to health care quality improvement as private payers follow the CMS lead towards value-base care.
  • Understand the data. What was effective? What is the clinical point of view versus a dollars/cost point of view? How are these two points of view reconciled to get the “right” results?
     
    When Drug B is half the price but equally as effective as Drug A, that is an example of evidence-based medicine, which was the result of the data life cycle. When healthcare organizations and providers have data they can understand, a root cause analysis is an ideal way to achieve sometimes conflicting goals of quality and cost– and move forward – on solving deficiencies or other problems flagged by the data.
  • Use the data. There are other crucial facets of the data life cycle that must be dealt with, including data maintenance and management and purging or destroying data in a way that is compliant with HIPAA. But the most important function of data is using it to improve clinical processes and outcomes, the patient experience, and the financial bottom line.
     
    Data that is accurate and reliable is not all that useful until it is actionable. How is the data being used to manage quality of care and cost of care? The final stage in the data life cycle is certainly the most important. The technology and human capital needed to accomplish the other aspects of the life cycle are extensive, and expensive. But data gathering is a lost cause and, really, an exercise in futility unless the flurry of data and reporting activity leads to action. In the age of value-based healthcare, data is the key that will allow providers to be financially successful in the future as payments become more heavily based on value, and patients seek providers that meet their growing expectations.

About Primaris
Richard A. Royer, Chief Executive Officer of Primaris, a healthcare consulting and services firm that works with hospitals, physicians and nursing homes to drive better health outcomes, improve patient experiences and reduce costs.

What’s the Future of Patient Communication? – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on July 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, 7/6 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Lea Chatham (@LeaChatham) from @Solutionreach on the topic of “What’s the Future of Patient Communication?”

One in three patients is considering a switch in healthcare providers according the Patient-Provider Relationship Study. And, nearly 40 percent who have already switched said it was because of poor experience. Some of the top issues were poor communication, difficulty scheduling, and bad customer service from staff.

These are totally fixable issues. With the right tools, processes, and technology, practices can improve communication and streamline scheduling. And, we are finally beginning to see the industry get how important it is to improve the experience patients have. The fact is happy patients are healthier and more likely to show up and come back for the care they need.

We’re also seeing more practices get onboard with text as the way to reach patients. But what’s next? What will the future of patient communication and collaboration be? Voice? Integrated wearables? Let’s discuss!

Here are the topics/questions we’ll be discussing during this week’s #HITsm chat:

T1: Have we finally reached the place where snail mail and phone calls will go away? #HITsm

T2: Text is taking over? Will we start to see AI driven chatbots more in healthcare? #HITsm

T3: What’s next for communication? Voice like Siri and Alexa? Integrated wearables? AI-driven monitoring devices? #HITsm

T4: What privacy implications are there with some of these “cutting edge” options? #HITsm

T5: How can we address those privacy and security concerns? #HITsm

Bonus: What is the perfect future state for patient communication and collaboration? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
Note: The 7/13 & 7/20 #HITsm chats are part of a special two-part #HITsm chat series.
7/13 – #HITsm Community Identifies Top 10 Technology Services & Products for Healthcare Stakeholders
Hosted by Jared Jeffery (@Jk_Jeffery)

7/20 – #HITsm Community Ranks Top 10 Technology Services & Products for Healthcare Stakeholders
Hosted by Healthcare Scene (@HealthcareScene)

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.

Barriers to Patient-Centered Research Aired at Harvard Symposium

Posted on July 2, 2018 I Written By

Andy Oram is an editor at O'Reilly Media, a highly respected book publisher and technology information provider. An employee of the company since 1992, Andy currently specializes in open source, software engineering, and health IT, but his editorial output has ranged from a legal guide covering intellectual property to a graphic novel about teenage hackers. His articles have appeared often on EMR & EHR and other blogs in the health IT space. Andy also writes often for O'Reilly's Radar site (http://oreilly.com/) and other publications on policy issues related to the Internet and on trends affecting technical innovation and its effects on society. Print publications where his work has appeared include The Economist, Communications of the ACM, Copyright World, the Journal of Information Technology & Politics, Vanguardia Dossier, and Internet Law and Business. Conferences where he has presented talks include O'Reilly's Open Source Convention, FISL (Brazil), FOSDEM, and DebConf.

While writing about health IT, I routinely find myself at legal conferences. Regulatory issues about patient privacy and safety arise everywhere health IT tries to have an impact, so people promoting change must keep in touch with policy-makers and lawyers in the health care area.

Thus I went this past Friday to Harvard for a one-day symposium, “Putting Patients at the Center of Research: Opportunities and Challenges for Ethical and Regulatory Oversight,” sponsored by Harvard’s Petrie-Flom Center.

Audience at Patient-Centered conference at Harvard

*Audience at Patient-Centered conference at Harvard

Involving patients in patient care is a surprisingly recent concern. There was a time when doctors made all the decisions, delivering them as if they had come directly from the entrails of an oracular temple. Visitors were severely limited at hospitals, because family members just got in the way of the professional staff. And although the attitude toward engaging patients and their families has softened somewhat in health care, rigid boundaries still exist in research.

As project leader Joel Weissman pointed out at the beginning of the Petrie-Flom conference, patient rights weren’t considered by health care professionals until the 1980s, as outgrowths of the civil rights and women’s rights movements. Patient engagement languished still longer. It received a legal toehold in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which set up the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Although more researchers over the past eight years have warmed to the idea of engaging with patients in other ways than subjects of clinical trials, the Petrie-Flom conference highlighted how little progress we have made.

In a “nothing about us without us” era, it would seem odd to an outsider like me that patients should be excluded from the roles now being tentatively offered:

  • Joining the research team in some capacity
  • Recruiting subjects for trials and engaging the patient community
  • Helping disseminate results
  • Acting as consultants in some other way

But risks are certainly entailed by inserting non-professionals of any stripe into the research environment, so some criteria and processes need to be set up. Before filling non-traditional roles, patients should be required to undergo training in ethics, the science behind the study, and some of the methodology. There are particular risks when the patients have access to personally identifiable data. (I don’t see why this should ever be necessary, but the possibility was raised several times during the day.)

The panelists also cited conflicts of interest as a risk. Many researchers recruit engaged patients from the companies that make related drugs or other products, simply because those are easy places to recruit. This problem highlights the importance of casting a wide net and recruiting diverse populations as engaged patients. However, one could argue that merely suffering from the condition that the researchers are investigating leaves one with a conflict of interest: you want the research to produce a cure, so you may not be even-handed in your acceptance of negative results.

What spurred this conference? The Petrie-Flom Center and PCORI have spent the past academic year doing a study of patient-centered research, and recently published an article by a team led by Weissman. The center presented the results at Friday’s conference to an audience of some 80 members of the health care field and interested observers.

The study was narrow and intensive. It focused on the attitudes of those running Institutional Review Boards, which are notoriously conservative. Thus, in my opinion, the results focused on what was holding back patient-centered research rather than what was already working well. The process was quite drawn out: questionnaires sent to hundreds of medical schools, public health schools, and hospitals; six focus groups with an iterative process for evaluating recommendations; and a modified Delphi consensus process among 17 experts, including (of course) representative patients.

Respondents to the survey expressed strong support for patient-centered research, believing (at a rate of about 90%) that it would benefit patients and clinicians, as well as (at a rate of about 80%) researchers. Those IRBs who tried out patient-centered research were especially enthusiastic, likely to say that it improved the quality of research results.

But IRB heads also openly expressed confusion and frustration about the pressure to include patients in the “non-traditional” roles listed earlier. Some of their reactions were productive: for instance, large majorities of respondents called on the federal government to provide standards, guidelines, and training for patient engagement. But some of the immediate measures IRBs put in place were irrelevant and even counterproductive. For instance, some required patients to sign informed consent forms, even though these patients were not the subjects of trials and therefore had no reason to need to consent. As patient advocate Jane Perlmutter pointed out, patients in non-traditional roles don’t require protection but require training to ensure that they protect the subjects of the research.

Perlmutter emphasized the importance of financial compensation. Without it, researchers will recruit mostly unemployed patients with independent incomes. To reach out to multiple ethnic groups, age ranges, and economic strata, payment must be offered for the work performed.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see much at Friday’s conference about topics directly related to health IT, such as privacy and ownership of data. Researcher Luke Gelinas mentioned that patient-centered research is more likely to use sensors, networking, social media, and other modern technology than more traditional research, and that these raise issues of informed consent, privacy, and ownership of data.

On the whole, the Petrie-Flom researchers thought there was no need for a whole new approach. But they are working on several recommendations to improve the current situation. In summary, the takeaways I derived from the symposium include:

  • The value of patient-centered research is widely appreciated, and its benefits have been demonstrated where it has been tried.
  • However, progress implementing patient-centered research is slow.
  • Training for patients in non-traditional roles is required, but not so much as to be daunting and make it difficult to participate.
  • Researchers have not devoted enough effort to diversity.
  • Governments can offer support in typical ways, such as setting standards and funding programs.

I also predict that the growth of patient-centered research will place additional strains on IT systems. Bringing in new team members in scattered environments will require multiple systems to interact without friction. Data will need to be segmented and released carefully to just the right people. Interfaces will have to be intuitive (if such a thing exists) and easy to use without much training and without risk of errors. So the field has its work cut out.

Investors Competing For Health IT Opportunities

Posted on June 28, 2018 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

A new study has concluded that investors are hungry for health IT investment opportunities, in some cases battling competitors for particularly attractive companies. The report concluded that investment firms see health IT as a lower-risk way to get a cut of the healthcare market than other possible targets.

The analysis by Bain & Company, which looks at 2017 numbers, said that the number of health IT investment deals completed last year rose to 32 from 23 in 2016.

The value of disclosed deals fell from $15.5 billion in 2016 to $1.9 billion in 2017. This is not a sign of weakness in the sector, however. The 2016 deals volume was pumped up by two megadeals (acquisitions of MultiPlan and Press Ganey), which were valued collectively at $9.9 billion. Meanwhile, in 2017 only one deal exceeded $800 million.

Deal counts and volume aside, there’s no question that investors are still very interested in acquiring or taking a stake in health IT companies, Bain reports. According to its study, there are many good reasons for their excitement.

“Investors find HCIT target attractive not only because HCIT companies play a vital role in promoting technology adoption in healthcare but also because they bear less of the direct reimbursement and regulatory risk that affect other healthcare sectors,” the report says. “With a limited set of scale assets on the market and corporate buyers willing to pay premiums for those that do become available, valuations remain high and competition intense.”

The report notes that most of the health IT buyouts in 2017 involved biopharma investments, particularly among companies using IT solutions and advanced analytics to streamline development a testing of drugs. Such deals include the buyout of Certara, which offers decision support technology for optimizing drug development, and Bracket, which sells technology for managing clinical trials.

However, investors were also interested in EMR and practice management vendors. Given that just a handful of big vendors block of the market for hospital IT, they looked elsewhere.

In particular, investment firms were interested in consolidating some of the many vendors selling ambulatory care EMRs platforms supporting specialties like gastroenterology. For example, investors picked up a $230 million stake in Modernizing Medicine, which offers EMR and practice management systems for specialties such as dermatology and ophthalmology, Bain said.

In the future, investors will gain interest in revenue cycle management software. In addition to investing in or acquiring RCM tools for providers, investors may target RCM software helping patients pay their bills. For example, private equity firm Frontier Capital bought a majority stake in medical card company AccessOne last year.

Bain also predicts that Investors will pay growing attention to clinical decision support platforms, driven in part by legislation requiring doctors to use clinical decision support tools before ordering complex diagnostic imaging of Medicare patients.

In addition, investment firms are keeping their eye on population health management software vendors. It’s not clear yet which companies will dominate the sector, and how these platforms will evolve, so dealmakers are hanging back. Still, within a few years they may well begin to throw money at PHM companies.