Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Raising Awareness of Behavioral Health Technology Adoption

There is a great need for further integration of health information technology into our mental health practices across the nation. If EHRs will truly make a quality difference, behavioral health care is an area of health care that may be in the most need. An overwhelming amount of the substance abuse, chronic illness, violent acts, and suicides are related to the health of the mind. Almost everything we do in and out of healthcare is related to the health of the mind if you think about it.

In 2012, an ONC Behavioral Health Roundtable Report stated that only 20% of the surveyed behavioral health organizations had fully adopted EHR. This is in comparison to a 40% or higher rate which is often reported among the general population of health care providers.

You may have heard the stories about the US Mental Health System and how it has evolved over the years from an inpatient focused model to providing treatment in our communities. Each day in our communities we are likely to see …

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Across the Globe, Similar Challenges and Solutions Exist in Healthcare

As I continue to interface with healthcare organizations around the world, the same challenges exist. At varying levels, whether a Country has a Nationalized/Universal healthcare program (Japan, UK, Taiwan) a Privatized healthcare program (U.S.), or a hybrid model (Singapore), key stakeholders are all faced with addressing fundamental issues – driving down cost, making healthcare more accessible, finding ways to improve patient outcomes, and ultimately improving the quality of care for their citizens.

These past few weeks I’ve had the honor of presenting at the Connected Health Asia Conference in Singapore and to the Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Association in Tokyo. And, a few overarching themes pervaded most of my discussions.

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Memorial Day and the Healthcare Connection

Memorial Day is a time to reflect – to thank our service men and women who have so bravely sacrificed in order to defend our moral virtues across the globe. It is also a day to recognize that on the battlefield, decisions are often made with both gut instinct and decades of experience and data. This also holds true for health related decisions in the field – and off of it – where real time data, previously not available to clinicians, help make the healthcare decision-making pathway much more conclusive.

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Achieving Personalized Healthcare from Big Data Analytics

big data 2For years now, we have held on to the hope that health information technology (health IT) solutions would translate into better health outcomes. We have indeed seen signs that physicians and hospitals which deploy health IT solutions like electronic health records (EHRs) provide better care.

We have also hoped that the day of an interoperable platform would allow healthcare professionals and facilities to access individual patient’s health information. Some progress has been made in a couple of states in terms of creating a legitimate health information exchange (HIE). However, the process of building, implementing and sustaining an HIE needs accelerating in most states including Georgia.

But as data is gathered, stored and analyzed, we have new, emerging opportunities which have promise. The term “big data” has surfaced as a new buzzword in healthcare.

Data is growing and moving faster than healthcare organizations can consume it. Most medical data is unstructured but …

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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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Is the Healthcare IT companies’ announcement of seamless interoperability marketing hype or a social awakening?

At the recent HIMSS trade show, six large healthcare IT companies (McKesson, Cerner, athenahealth, Allscripts, Relay Health, Greenway Medical Technologies) announced the formation of a not-for-profit company called CommonWell Health Alliance. The purpose of this organization is to create frictionless movement of patient-centered data across all settings of care and among all health care IT systems[1].

This is a profound announcement from companies that did not embrace the frictionless movement of data across systems within an acute care setting let alone outside the four walls of a hospital. This is great news for all of those organizations that lacked the clout or financial assets to interface their best of breed systems with the large name brand solutions. Historically, the price and effort of sharing data with the larger acute care vendors was cost prohibitive. The price and effort became a barrier to entry keeping best-of-breed competition out of a healthcare provider’s …

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A Good Time for ICD-10?

Is this a good time for ICD-10? Providers are mandated to implement ICD-10 for outpatient diagnosis coding by October 1, 2014. This could not be at a worse time for healthcare organizations especially small practices. ICD-10 diagnosis codes are used by your provider to describe your illness and are submitted to insurance companies for payment. Providers currently use an older version called ICD-9. ICD-10 will increase the number of available diagnosis codes from 13,000 to 68,000. Medical Economic journal recently estimated the cost per practice to be $83,000-$2.7million according to the practice size.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recently indicated that providers should not have to bear the economic burden of upgrading to ICD-10. Upgrading requires practice management IT system changes that can be expensive for providers at a time when they are already spending big bucks to implement and upgrade their electronic health records. Meaningful Use Stage II is …

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A Case for Improving Mental Health Services in Georgia

One of the outcomes of December’s tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School is a renewed interest in addressing behavioral health problems.  While the state of Connecticut has yet to release information about the shooter’s mental state, it is clear that he suffered from a mental health breakdown.  Half to two-thirds of spree shooters, like Adam Lanza, were formally diagnosed, hospitalized, or had shown rage, aggression, paranoia and/or delusional thinking prior to their attack.

Yet, horrific acts like that at Sandy Hook don’t mean that people with mental health problems are more likely to be violent.  In fact, experts argue that people with mental illnesses are much more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators.

Few people realize how commonplace mental health problems are in the United States.  It is estimated that approximately one in four adults and one in five children will be challenged with an identifiable behavioral health disorder every year. …

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Billions at Stake in CMS’s Pay-for-Performance Rankings

By Bart Foster, CEO & Founder of SoloHealth


Money is a powerful motivator. Look no further than the sports world for validation. The PGA’s FedEx Cup encourages golfers to earn “points” towards participation in playoffs that offer a big season-ending payoff. Tennis has a similar format with the U.S. Open Series where performance in a series of events equates to a huge prize purse. Both instances use hefty prize money to help ensure the top performers participate and at high levels. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have applied this sports theory to its rankings system of Medicare Advantage (MA) and Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) plans. And there’s billions of dollars up-for-grabs for healthcare plans.

CMS Ups the Ante on Star Ratings
Since 2007 the CMS has posted rankings of MA and PDP plans to give consumers an informational tool when comparing and selecting plans. It was designed to help identify poor-performing plans and provide …

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