Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Georgia’s Health Information Technology Industry: Making A Difference Everyday

health-info-techA couple of weeks ago, a group of health information technology leaders from around the state came to Atlanta to celebrate “Georgia Health Information Technology and High Tech Day at the Capitol.” Georgia State Senator Brandon Beach, Chairman of the Science & Technology Committee, welcomed over 100 Georgians to the State Capitol and talked about Georgia’s status as the nation’s “Health Information Technology Capitol.”

Georgia-based health information technology companies are a serious economic engine. The health IT industry generates more than $4 billion in revenue each year and provides over 15,000 jobs in Georgia. There are more than 186 health IT companies which call Georgia “home.”

And, the health IT industry in Georgia is growing. Georgia’s health IT businesses are growing at a phenomenal 40 percent rate, creating more jobs, more investment and more revenue for Georgia.

Georgia’s health IT industry boasts the likes of heavyweights McKesson Technology Solutions, Allscripts …

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Georgia Takes Center Stage at World’s Largest Health IT Conference

HIMSS is well known for putting on the largest conference in the world dedicated to health IT. For the third year in a row, the state of Georgia – the only state to do so – has had a pavilion in the exhibit hall to showcase just a few of its many health IT companies. I had a chance on the HIMSS show floor to talk with Carol Henderson, Director of Health Sciences and Advanced Technologies at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, about the advent and growth of the pavilion, and why it sets such an example when it comes to showcasing Georgia as the nation’s capital of health IT.

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It is that Time Again

It is that time again when the Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) publishes its Work Plan for the fiscal year outlining the areas of focus that it will investigate. The Work Plan highlights the OIG’s top priority to “fight fraud, waste and abuse”. The OIG’s strategic plan for fiscal year 2014 through 2018 specifically references using data analytics and risk assessments to identify suspected fraud, waste and abuse. The OIG also utilizes enforcement resources, including, but not limited to its partnership with the Department of Justice to impose penalties and potential criminal or administrative actions against individuals or entities who have allegedly committed fraud. All healthcare providers are subject to the OIG’s enforcement actions. Accordingly, it is imperative for each healthcare provider to establish an effective compliance program. Healthcare providers should utilize this Work Plan to establish what types of audits should be conducted during the year and to …

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Georgia’s Students are Essential to Success of Health IT

Being immersed in – and passionate about – the world of healthcare IT has led me to the realization that education is fundamental to its implementation, utilization and realization of clinical success stories. By education, I mean introducing to students at an early age the concept of healthcare IT and its role in improving access to quality care. I have been involved in several organizations that recognize this need and are working to bring healthcare IT-related curricula into classroom and after-school activities.

For example, the Institute for Health Information Technology recently issued a workforce readiness survey that highlighted the need for greater collaboration between Georgia’s educational institutions, and healthcare vendors and providers. By working together, these stakeholders can ensure workforce needs will be met with properly educated and trained students.

In addition, the Georgia Department of Education, and the Technology Association of Georgia’s Health and …

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FTC Enforces Data Security Practices

Providers beware! HIPAA is not the only law that requires adequate security safeguards for patient information. In today’s mobile environment, companies obtain and exchange patient identifiable information, including health related information constantly. Historically, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) required healthcare providers to implement administrative, physical and technical safeguards to protect the security of patients’ identifiable information related to their healthcare needs. HIPAA has been the floor of the safeguards that must be implemented to protect patient information. When a healthcare provider fails to comply with HIPAA, the Office of Civil Rights may impose fines and penalties which recently increased to $1.5Million.

Now in 2014, the government enforcement authority for security protections expanded. On January 16, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) found that it had the authority to penalize a company …

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Data Analytics Supporting Accountable Care Organizations Require a Different Mindset

An organization pursuing an Accountable Care model requires a different mindset of data analytics versus a healthcare delivery system. The challenge is to integrate a broad range of information across the ambulatory, acute, and post-acute healthcare settings. This integration is not at the same level as what healthcare delivery systems have been working towards for years. Healthcare delivery systems have been working towards the implementation of the longitudinal record. The goal of a longitudinal record is to measure the care path of a patient across the continuum and associated outcomes to ascertain the best practices. It also provides an extensive patient history enabling healthcare providers to assess a patient’s care, identify potential issues such as allergies or pharmaceutical contraindications, prevent unnecessary tests, and support deductive analysis to diagnose a patient’s condition. This is a critical dimension of data supporting accountable care analytics but it is …

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ACA Marketplace Enrollment

The Health Insurance Marketplace monthly enrollment report issued this week contained some interesting information. It is too early, and the information is too limited, to really make definitive pronouncements about the Affordable Care Act, but there some results that may be indicative of the health insurance markets of 2015 and beyond.

The big news was the rapid increase in enrollments in the health exchanges over the last month. Enrollment in the health care in Georgia grew from about 6,000 to 58,611 in the month of December. This increase reflects both the desire of consumers to have coverage by January 1, 2014 and the improved functioning of Healthcare.gov website.

Much of the coverage of the enrollment numbers centered on the age distribution trying to discern if Marketplaces were going to attract a sufficient number of younger healthier enrollees to balance out the older sicker enrollees who now have access to affordable coverage. In Georgia about 26 percent of the …

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Healthcare: The Customer Experience Imperative

We have all heard the phrase “customer experience” and the importance many organizations are placing on it. But what does that exactly mean? It’s more than just “customer service.” You might be thinking, “We don’t have a ‘customer experience’ strategy at our company.” Rest assured every organization has a customer experience … it just might be that yours currently stinks.

Forrester defines customer experience as “how customers perceive their interactions with your company.” Wikipedia defines it as, “the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods and/or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. This can include awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy.”

Of course both are correct. At its core, customer experience is how your customers feel about your brand or organization throughout every single interaction. And in today’s digital, social and mobile world, those interactions are …

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New Years’ Resolutions

NY resolutionsEach year, millions of us make so-called “New Years’ Resolutions” or a list of things that we would like to accomplish in 2014. While most of us include things like “eat less and exercise more” on our list of resolutions, this year, my New Years’ Resolutions include:

Advancing Intellectual Honesty: I work regularly in the public arena. I write and speak a great deal about the need for legitimate healthcare reform including transforming our medical malpractice litigation system. In advancing a proposal to eliminate all medical malpractice lawsuits and replace it with an administrative solution similar to workers’ compensation, there has been wholesale fabrication and outright deception involved by some of those opposed to the issue. In discussing public policy options, there needs to be transparency and those engaged in the debate should have facts versus conjecture.

Gallup, the polling people, asked Americans to rate the honesty and ethical standards of members of various …

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Healthcare Confidence Lessons from Target and PayPal

What type of healthcare facility would you rather put your personal health and financial information in the hands of? One like PayPal, who proactively reaches out to assure you its doing everything it can to protect your information, or one like Target, that alerts you to a breach several weeks after the fact? Health data breaches not only mean legal headaches and potentially very large financial penalties, but they also negatively impact a hospital’s brand, in turn causing …

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