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Around Healthcare Scene: EMRs and Health Technology Talk

Posted on March 10, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

EMRs are supposed to increase efficiency and patient care. However, because of the amount of data they contain, sometimes the opposite happens. Anne Zieger discusses a recent report in Modern Healthcare, which talks about how nearly 30 percent of PCPs claim that they missed notifications of test results, leading to a delay in care, thanks to the over-abundance of information the EMR collects.

Would the use of mHealth technology such as tablets and smart phones cause harm like this as well? We’re sure to find out soon with mobile technology advancing among providers. Research shows that some providers are “gradually shifting their use of smart mobile devices from business functions like e-mail and scheduling to a much wider range of activities. Be sure to read some of Anne’s thoughts on the matter, and find out if this growth will continue at this pace.

And speaking of tablets, around 4,000 home care staff will be receiving a brand new Android tablet. Bayada, a national home care agency has recently sent out Samsung Galaxy Tabs to therapists, medical social workers and other home health professionals. Considering the fact that iPads are often the tablet of choice, this was an interesting move. The workers can document information while at a patient’s home, as well pull up data before going to the house. Will more healthcare providers be taking on the Android tablets, because of their lower cost? Chime in over at Hospital EMR and EHR.

There’s always some kind of new app being created to help people keep track of their health. Now, people can use uChek, an at-home urinanalysis, to keep their health in check. The mobile app, along with the uChek kits, allow people to test their urine for a variety of different markers. While it shouldn’t be used to replace a necessary visit to the doctor’s office, it could help prevent certain issues from getting worse by catching them early on.

With all this talk of technology in the healthcare world, one might wonder how it affects patient engagement. We recently switched pediatricians for my house, and while the last office was very tech savvy, this new office doesn’t have a computer in the offices, they give out paper prescriptions, and they have paper files. And to be honest, I love this office way more because of how personal the visit was, with no technology to distract the doctor. At our old office, the doctor stood far away from us, only looked at the computer the majority of the time, and it just wasn’t personal. However, because a lot of the mHealth technology does a lot of good, Dr. West over at the Happy EMR Doctor has some suggestions. He has created a list of 7 tips to help improve EHR etiquette, and this is definitely something all healthcare providers should follow. Just because there’s technology, doesn’t mean the importance of patient engagement should disappear as well.

ACO’s Compensate for Something Doctors Influence Not Control

Posted on April 3, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In my previous post about the ACO Risks and Rewards, I suggested that providers do indeed take on a greater portion of risk in an ACO, but that also opens them up to larger reward possibilities as well. I think this is very much the case and will be an important aspect of healthcare going forward. Many are going to do very well with an ACO if they create the right partnerships.

However, that post on ACO risks and rewards didn’t address what could be physician’s biggest concern with ACOs. This concern is that the ACOs will compensate doctors for something that they they only influence as opposed to control.

Jim Brule, a past healthcare CIO, provided a good summary of this challenge on a LinkedIn thread that I started asking if EMRs were harder to use than paper as was asserted by Anne Zieger in the article linked. Here’s Jim’s comments about ACOs:

I think ACOs – in principle – provide the structure necessary for value-based healthcare. However, a lot of work is necessary to ensure that any given ACO is structured to actually reinforce better outcomes.

One of the key components of that is patient engagement, which many providers are nervous about, as it means tying their compensation to something they influence, not control. I understand their concern, but believe that we need to move in that direction.

It’s definitely a challenge to the ACO model, but like Jim Brule I think we need to and will move in that direction anyway. Jim Brule did also offer what might be the key to allaying physician concerns over an ACO:

Ultimately, though, we can’t do this without good, actionable information – and you’re not going to get that from paper – or free-text notes, electronic or otherwise.

One of the biggest trends we’re going to see in healthcare over the next five years is going to be around data with MUCH of that data coming from the EHR. Some will call it business intelligence. Others will call it data mining. Others will call it big data. I think there’s a few other names out there, but at the end of the day it’s all about taking this voluminous amount of healthcare data and making it actionable and produce results.

Nothing will depend on big data in healthcare more than an ACO. Those vendors who are able to make that data actionable are going to do very well and healthcare costs will benefit from the ACO as well.