Archive for the ‘Innovation’ Category

Healthcare Business in the Relationship Era: 5 Ways to Succeed

The healthcare industry is dramatically changing. It’s happening because of technology, politics, economics, and empowered consumers. Today’s consumer is connected, juggling multiple devices, on the go, and want their voices heard. They crave information and connections—practically in real-time. This is every organization’s new business reality.

Experts and pundits have coined it the “Relationship Era.” As empowered consumers access social and digital platforms to voice opinions, the days of mass, one-way marketing are gone. It’s a two-way relationship now. The healthcare industry, ironically, hasn’t exactly been the best in developing “relationships” with patients, members or consumers. It’s been a bit of a machine pushing you through the process. Whether its doctors with increasingly limited face time or the cloud of uncertainty over insurance fees and processes, the healthcare industry hasn’t gotten high marks in personal relations. But that’s …

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Connected Everywhere – from Hospital to Home to Pod

The HealthFlock team of experts has done an excellent job of outlining the factors that constrain, as well as offering solutions to help cure, our healthcare system. While the adaptation of technology in healthcare has been slowed due the fractured core of our healthcare ecosystem, inevitably, it will be technology that will drive forward the changes necessary for it to survive – and thrive. Building a more connected healthcare network will drive down costs and improve the overall delivery of care – from the hospital to the home to a free-standing pod.

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States Debating Innovative Approaches to Medical Malpractice Reform

med mal3From Arizona to Florida, state lawmakers are beginning to address medical malpractice reform. Rather than traditional caps on non-economic (so-called “pain and suffering”) damages, states are getting creative about the way they approach medical professional liability litigation reform.

In Arizona, for example, State Rep. Bob Thorpe of Flagstaff has introduced legislation which would require personal injury lawyers to be certified as a “medical malpractice attorney” before they could file suit against a physician or hospital. “The idea is to try to weed out the difference between good, legitimate attorneys that are practicing in the area of medical malpractice … from the ambulance chasers,” he said. Due to the complexity of the issue, Thorpe’s bill would also require that these cases would only be heard by judges who have been through special training in medical malpractice cases.

In Oregon, Gov. John Kitzhaber has taken an active role in trying to reduce healthcare …

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Protected Patient Information in the Digital Era

Believe it or not, the HIPAA Omnibus has not had a major overhaul since the late 1990’s. The original Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was released in 1996. An updated expansion of the Act is set for official release later this week (the contents of the expansion were unveiled last week). The Act, which covers the transferability and security of private health information, for all intents and purposes, was written for the “paper” era, prior to the transformation of today’s digital and mobile age. As such, there were many outdated rules by which the privacy of patient information was not accounted for – such as the dissemination of data via the information “super highway” and mobile communication devices. However, the recent omnibus rule does not adequately address the complexity of today’s digital ecosystem, but it attempts to piece together parts that make the whole run more proficiently.

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Healthcare Payment Reform Redefines Healthcare IT Solution Requirements

Healthcare payment reform is a work in process. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center is rolling out various test projects to identify how to bend the curve of healthcare costs while improving quality outcomes. These projects are gravitating towards a common underlying reimbursement theme, a fixed payment for services covering the episode of care (ambulatory, acute, and post-acute services) with a linkage to quality outcomes. Present healthcare IT solutions do not meet the anticipated needs of the market for this new form of reimbursement. There are two key requirements a healthcare provider’s IT solution needs to provide:

  • Episode of care (ambulatory, acute and post-acute services) integrated platform supporting the data acquisition, measuring and monitoring of total services delivered
  • Financial accounting system to forecast, measure and manage the distribution of a fixed payment to various providers participating in the episode of …

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Transforming Healthcare One Medicare Patient at a Time

teamAs we ring in the New Year, many features of the Accountable Care Act (ObamaCare) will begin to take shape. State Benefit (Insurance) Exchanges will begin to unfold. The Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Center within HHS will continue to examine and support promising models of care delivery. Cost containment programs like Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) will begin to reshape the way Medicare pays for healthcare services.

So what are Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)?

ACOs are organizations created by either groups of doctors or hospitals that improve quality measures in five key areas that impact affect patient care:
• Patient (caregiver) experience and satisfaction;
• Care coordination;
• Patient safety;
• Preventive health; and
• At-risk population health management.

HHS wants to improve the quality of care Medicare patients receive. ACOs are seen as a way to drive improved care through better coordination of healthcare …

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Healthcare Delivery and Care Coordination Changes on the Horizon

With the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the delivery of healthcare will transform in the near time horizon. These changes are driven by necessity. There are three key dynamics changing what healthcare will look like in the near future:

  1. Growing patient demand – increasing number of baby boomers going on to Medicare and the uninsured receiving medical coverage
  2. Declining number of physicians
  3. Reduction of reimbursement to healthcare providers

How the market responds to these dynamics is evolving though it will require a convergence of technology with a broader range of healthcare services.


Technology provides the infrastructure to support scaling of solutions. It will also be an enabler of delivering quality healthcare in a cost effective manner. Here are some examples of how technology is used today and we can anticipate expansion:

  • Telemedicine – Neurologist are on-call using a computer with a camera and live video feed …

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New Care Models – 3 Trends for mHealth in 2013

I spent a good part of the last week at the mHealth Summit in Washington learning how mobile technologies (cell phones and the like) are reshaping healthcare.  If you have a smartphone, this won’t be news to you.  I feel like there is an app for most everything health-related now.  You can be sure that every pound lost, mile run, and health question asked can be recorded, tracked, and answered through your cell phone.  The wave of health apps isn’t just for consumers though; clinicians are also part of this trend and are changing the way they practice medicine.  For example, the app MIM allows a radiologist the ability to use an iPhone to take, store, and share an x-ray in any environment.

Some of the most exciting innovations are happening at organizational and system levels.  In conjunction with the Summit, the trade association HIMSS provided a roadmap for the industry (one of our own HealthFlock’s own blogger Marcus Gordon was a contributor).  When looking at …

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Holidays . . . and Healthcare

It’s that time of the year again – leftover turkey and stuffing for lunch at the office, crowded streets around the malls which make afternoon commutes even worse, and the constant bombardment of messages about the latest technology products (on sale). It is also a reminder about the time we get to spend together as families as well as the joyous celebrations of the holidays and their traditions.

Holidays also suggest that there are healthcare related implications too – let’s call it “end-of-the-year planning for healthcare”. Perhaps you might have already gone through your insurance coverage election period known as “Open Enrollment” at work already (these typically occur in the mid-Fall, prior to the holidays).

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The Affordable Care Act is solidified with the election – Healthcare providers will need to accelerate their plans for payment reform

The recent reelection of President Obama solidifies the future of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). A number of healthcare providers (hospitals, physicians, post-acute services, etc.) sat on the sidelines awaiting the outcome of the Presidential election to determine if they needed to start rethinking their business model and what changes are required. Now that we have the answer the PPACA is here to stay, healthcare providers are starting to reassess how they need to redefine their businesses and strategic business relationships.

An underlying principle that all healthcare providers will base their strategic planning against is that the demand for healthcare will rise and the level of reimbursement will decline.  Various payment models are being tested by CMS, and we can expect more variations over the next year or two. With the power of the PPACA, CMS can rapidly adopt a payment model that demonstrates effective results reducing costs and make it a …

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