Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

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 As such, there were many outdated rules by which the privacy of patient information was not accounted for – such as the dissemination of data via the information “super highway” and mobile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 care

These …

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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

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 the care …

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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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Do Healthcare Providers need to invest in more information technology or focus on leveraging existing information?

Healthcare providers today continue to invest and expand their information technology footprint to meet increasing demands of data. As we hear about healthcare provider financials put at risk due to RAC (Recovery Audit Contractor) audits, self-reporting appropriate use of ICDs (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator), pay-for-performance, Bundled Payments for episodes care, Accountable Care Organization, etc., there is an increasing expenditure of technology to meet these growing information demands.

Given the enormous amount of information presently collected at the patient, physician and procedure level, is the issue that healthcare providers are not collecting enough data to support these ever growing and changing business needs?

I would make the argument that the existing information platform for most healthcare providers collects more than sufficient information allowing organizations to measure their operational performance and address both the present and upcoming …

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Patient Information, Patient Trust and the New Generation Hacker

The nightly news presented some startling facts about HIT and patient privacy in prime time. To someone who is an HIT advocate, the news was disheartening. You may have seen the report; “Are your medical records really confidential”. I cringed as I thought about the millions of Americans sitting on their couch thinking about the security of their own personal information. I also thought about the thousands of Americans that are working so hard to educate, train and implement HIT in health care systems across this country.

The report simply stated that medical information is being stolen and sold to the highest bidder on the web. In the past, I always pictured these hackers (like you see in the movies) tapping into the HIE and stealing confidential information. This report did not mention that kind of hacker. They reported that the culprits ( new generation hackers) are within the medical practices; employees (could be employers in some cases) who download the info and sell to …

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Lance Armstrong and Healthcare – Who Can You Trust?

Lance Armstrong is also a patient advocate. As a Stage 3 cancer survivor, he has spent over a decade developing the resources cancer patients should have access to; and through his foundation, which provides support, information, and resources across a plethora of mediums – including websites, mobile platforms, Apps, events, etc. However, after bowing in “defeat” to the USADA, his reputation – and trust – is now tarnished. Needless to say his legacy as a philanthropist is not in question, but his personal moral and ethical values are. Which leads me to the question – when it comes to healthcare content on the web, who can you trust?

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Capital Continues to Pump into Healthcare Technology, What this Means for Georgia

As the healthcare industry continues coming to grip with the recently passed Obamacare legislation, we must now move on with other issues of importance that are contributing to the ongoing expansion of the industry, as well as economic development through jobs and new business growth.  There is perhaps no better place to observe this growth and the valuable contributions to the overall healthcare industry than what is taking place in healthcare technology, or “HCIT,” as it is commonly referred to in the industry.

HCIT has frequently been referred to as the fastest growing segment of the healthcare industry measured by revenues and investment activity, and one of the most rapidly expanding sectors in the entire US economy.  And as the industry has speculated about the changes that will come from Obamacare for some time now, HCIT companies are being pursued as some of the most influential and well-positioned players that will play a critical role in making those policies …

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Role of Clinical Integration in Question of Doctors’ Relevance

Recently, another columnist on this blog posed a very serious and very pertinent question that the healthcare industry has been facing for some time now.  The question relates to how the current evolution and changes of the fundamental healthcare delivery model is gradually moving physicians away from the center focus of that system.  This was posed in an article that Mr. Olsen alluded to from The Economist titled, “The Future of Medicine:  Squeezing Out the Doctor“.   Among other topics, the original article and Mr. Olsen on this blog continued to discuss the impact that technology is gradually having on the way healthcare is delivered, such that today much less of a patient’s primary point of care is exclusively provided by their actual physician.

One of the primary drivers that the original article discusses can be summed up with this quote:  ”To treat the 21st century’s problems with a 20th century approach to health care would require an impossible number of doctors”. …

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