Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Good Samaritan Clinic in central Honduras. The clinic supports the primary care needs of 90,000 people within the municipality. Access to specialists is few and far between so Good Samaritan recently implemented telemedicine technology (computer, camera, imaging, and internet) to connect with specialists in the US. Access to these specialists is made available at no cost through the “Global Partnership for TeleHealth (GPT).”
Telemedicine is often defined as “the use of information and communications technology to deliver healthcare, particularly in settings where access to medical services is insufficient.” Better overall patient care and improved outcomes are cornerstones of telemedicine. As a result, many hospitals and health systems are deploying telemedicine as a way for rural patients to have access to healthcare services that they would not be able to obtain otherwise. Continue reading
It’s about productivity and accuracy – anything else is a distraction
Guest blog by Dr. Arnold Raizon, MD, a physician consultant with 3M ChartScriptMD for Radiology.
One of my biggest frustrations as a radiologist is dealing with the quirks of the software tools I must use to create my reports. Some applications look like they were not really created from the ground up for radiology use, but merely a collection of patches over generic software that frustrate busy radiologists like me. Let’s examine in more detail some of the common annoyances that hinder radiologists’ ability to stay productive and, more importantly, how to address them.
In January the Minnesota RARE campaign received the prestigious Eisenberg Award for reducing avoidable readmissions. Over an 18-month period, the campaign helped hospitals and community partners prevent more than six thousand hospital readmissions.
Although each hospital faces its own unique challenges in managing readmissions, the RARE campaign demonstrates what a supportive and collaborative effort can achieve. It involves 82 hospitals, 100 community partners, and 3 operating partners, including the Minnesota Hospital Association. Continue reading
I’ve started reading a book by William Baumol called The Cost Disease, which raises an interesting question. Why in 2014 can I buy a laptop computer that is smaller, more powerful, and most of all, much cheaper than one I could have bought just ten years ago, but healthcare costs have risen from ten years ago? Why are some industries able to become more efficient, and produce more of their goods or services, faster and cheaper, while other industries are stuck in a spiral or are continually raising costs with stagnant efficiency?
I won’t give a full, in-depth review of the book, but in short, the analysis lays out the premise that in some industries, such as with computers or automobiles, manufacturers are able to continually improve on both their manufacturing processes and the quality of the goods they are manufacturing. This enables these manufacturers to produce better goods at lower costs. These lower costs then enable them to pass some of these savings on to their customers, as well as to pay their employees more money. Continue reading
If you need a coronary artery bypass graft, India might not be the first place you’d think of to have the surgery done, but you might want to think again. A coronary bypass graft in the U. S is likely to cost $88,000 dollars. The same treatment in a JCAHO accredited hospital in India only costs $9,500. Both the U.S. and India meet world-class quality standards, so why does the surgery cost so much less in India? It’s simple: Innovation in the healthcare delivery process.
A recent Harvard Business Review article studied seven hospitals in India that are delivering world-class care at a fraction of the cost in the U.S. These hospitals are able to deliver affordable, high quality care largely because they have adopted a hub-and-spoke model for delivery. They concentrate the most expensive equipment (PET scanners, cyberknives, and cyclotrons) and specialized physicians in the Hub. In the spokes, they keep general practitioners and lower cost equipment. Patients are diagnosed and care plans are created in the hub, and the treatment is delivered in the regionalized spokes. Continue reading
When I was a little girl, my mother had a book of two-minute talks for children. These talks were simple, and taught a quick moral lesson in a short poem or story. There is a line from one poem that was about appropriate behavior that I still think of sometimes. The line was, “What if everyone did just like you, and slammed the door like a dinosaur?” Every time that I am tempted to stay in my lane and merge at the very last minute or not return my grocery cart to the corral in the parking lot, that line pops into my head, and I think better of my behavior. Several events in the past few weeks have led me to believe that it might not hurt to have every vendor in healthcare IT memorize this poem, and think twice before they do some of the things they do.
The healthcare industry is one of the last to make the shift from analog (paper-based systems) to digital. As a result of healthcare reform, this transformation is happening quickly. The good news is that the availability of digitized data has opened up the landscape for new solutions and innovation. The bad news is that it can be hard for customers to discern the differences between vendor solutions. …
To continue reading, check out the personal blog of JaeLynn Williams, Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Client Operations for 3M Health Information Systems.
Another residual effect of technology changes, especially in recent years, is that the work “silos” to which we have all become accustomed start to become vulnerable and sometimes break down completely. For individuals in transcription, coding, clinical documentation improvement, and so on, it can be scary to think that someone else now has access to and can affect our turf. At the same time, however, trimming the walls between functional work groups provides many opportunities for collaboration towards improving quality and efficiency in the overall HIM function of the organization. Increased communication benefits the providers and patients on the front lines of healthcare with better outcomes and improved safety. And from the administrative standpoint, better flow of information through HIM means better cash flow—a win-win for all of us. As Henry Ford said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
As standards, technology, organizations, and roles change over time, you should never feel that you have to defend your value because your value as a health information management professional does not change. What does change is how that value is packaged and marketed so that it fits within the context of the current phase. After all, the goal of any change should be to take the best parts of ourselves and what we do from phase A to phase B, leaving behind what no longer serves us well and improving upon what makes us valuable as we move forward. Continue reading
When you are tempted to go negative about a situation that has arisen due to a technology or organizational change, remind yourself of the original intention or point of the change. Yes, there may be a negative consequence or two during a phase, but its appearance is an invitation to do something about it in preparation for the next phase. Don’t just settle for enduring an issue until it goes away—make it your mission to come up with a solution that will move you and the organization forward.
The best way get past pining for the way things used to be is to make the future your cause and put all of your energy there rather than in defending the past. Float with the current, but don’t resist unless Niagara Falls is up ahead, and in that case, paddle as hard as you can and scream your head off. Seriously though, if you have concerns or suggestions about a change that is in process or recently implemented, speak now or forever deal with the consequences. Continue reading
As I sit down to write, I can hear my three-year-old and seven-month-old nieces making a lot of noise in the other room. The three-year-old is protesting being told “NO,” and the seven-month-old wants to know where her lunch is. While my brother and his family are here, I really enjoy revisiting the fun parts of those young ages, but at the same time, I am reminded how glad I am that my son is well past diapers and the terrible twos. That’s not to say that a seven-year-old is low maintenance or anything, it’s just that the challenges and rewards of raising a child evolve over time. I’m sure many of you can relate.
Life is like that, too. While it’s fun to reminisce about the “good ol’ days,” if we are being honest, there are aspects of those days that we’d rather forget or at least never want to return to. And it’s also interesting to reflect on “if I knew then what I know now” and speculate on what we would have done differently and what we would do all over again. Continue reading
When troubleshooting technical problems, I recommend answering six questions regarding the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the situation. In this post, I will discuss WHEN and WHY.
When does the problem occur?
WHEN an issue occurs, it’s helpful to know the date and time of the onset, and if it is a recurring issue, how often it reappears. At what point did it go from working acceptably to not? Does it happen every time you perform a certain function? Does it occur at the same time every day? Is it constant? Does it get better or worse at certain times of the day? Continue reading