Blog by Sue Belley
This blog has been updated. You can view the update here.
A man from a small village in Guinea, West Africa, presented to his village health clinic with a severe headache, vomiting, diarrhea and severe pains in his back. He was initially thought to have malaria, but upon transfer to a special unit at a hospital in Conakry he was diagnosed with Ebola. The patient went on to develop disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, SIRS and shock. The patient was treated with intravenous fluid and electrolytes, vitamin K, oxygen and blood pressure support. He eventually succumbed. Assign codes for this inpatient encounter and sequence appropriately. Continue reading
Whether or not you can quote chapter and verse of the Medicare statute that first detailed medical necessity, most of us in healthcare are familiar with its premise1. But from this basic tenant we begin to diverge widely in our understanding of the concept. This is especially true for Medicare inpatient services since CMS does not have specific standards the industry can follow. This issue dates back to the late 1980s when then HCFA admitted, “Current regulations are general and we have not defined the terms ‘reasonable’ and ‘necessary’ nor have we described in regulations a process for how these terms must be applied…”2 Continue reading
Last week I attended my first CDI Summit. As a specialist in the document creation process, I knew that I was going into the conference with a different perspective on healthcare documentation than most attendees, but I was hoping to see how the goals and processes of clinical documentation improvement (CDI) align with the goals and processes of documentation capture and quality assurance.
I was happy that all of the sessions I attended related in some way to how the documentation is being captured in health care, either through traditional dictation and transcription, speech recognition, templates, or direct data entry. On several occasions I heard the CDI mantra, “If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen,” because the focus of CDI is on attaining accurate and timely documentation that reflects the scope of services provided to the patient. Continue reading
Yes. To achieve real success in population health we need health care consumers to actively engage in the behaviors necessary to secure their health. “Patient” engagement is the holy grail of health care. However, despite decades of research into health behavior and ways to change it, we don’t seem to be any closer. I think that is about to change.
Disruptive technologies are proliferating in response to the new cultural phenomena of the “quantified self.” This movement believes each of us is a rational creature responsive to data and if we can only get enough indisputable facts about our daily life, then we can manage/change our behavior. Therefore, everything in our lives must be tracked. This assumption is debatable — some people do not need a scale to know if they are gaining weight, a look in the mirror will do. However, for others, including myself, we seem to automatically airbrush that image in the mirror, so a little rude data every now and then may be necessary.
I wish I could claim this quote as my own! I attended the AHIMA CDI Summit in Washington, D.C. this week and our keynote speaker was Laura Zubulake. My two takeaways from her presentation were the quote above and the affirmation that we should always do the right thing…not the easy thing.
One of the more interesting presentations of the week was from a cardiologist who provided insights into the CDI and HIM query process from his perspective. He had an excellent grasp of what was needed for accurate coding–until that one moment. I am sure many of us have been there: listening to a presentation, engaged and learning until we hear something that makes us cringe. He described the following scenario: Continue reading
Last week I attended the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. This time around I was honored to serve as president, which meant I had the privilege of introducing keynote speaker Ronald Wyatt, MD, the Medical Director within the Division of Healthcare Improvement at The Joint Commission. He kicked off the conference by encouraging the medical transcriptionists and other healthcare documentation specialists to continue supporting clinicians in capturing and editing documentation so that quality is improved and errors are eliminated. He advocated for patient care documentation that is highly accurate, complete and reliable, and asked attendees to do all that they could to build an environment in which a zero error rate (and zero patient harm) is the expectation. Continue reading
Maintenance of Situational Awareness, or SA, is crucial to all of our endeavors. It is the perspective and sense of what is going on around us. One would like to say it is an appreciation and evaluation of all that is relevant to the target pursuit plus extra detail to be stored away for access at a later date – often without a direct application in mind. To appreciate all aspects of an endeavor or project is an aspiration, and, depending on the context, unrealistic. In such cases, we depend on team members to help create a shared mental model. Maintaining SA is an active and incessant process. Common speech recognizes this concept in remarks such as “…missing the forest for the trees” or “…functioning with blinders on.” Continue reading
This summer, I attended a nursing informatics conference that inspired me to believe that interoperability of nursing data is achievable. The Nursing Knowledge: Big Data Science for Transforming Healthcare Conference, hosted by the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, brought together nursing thought leaders from nursing practice, education and informatics. The goal of the conference was to “Advance a national plan for capturing nursing information for big data research aimed at identifying effective care interventions and improving patient outcomes.” So the question I asked myself: “How far away are we and is nursing interoperability within reach?” This blog discusses the current state of nursing interoperability and an initiative in progress to support interoperable nursing data. Continue reading
An interesting FierceHealthIT article just announced that New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYP) is renting space at a New York City-based technology “accelerator” called Blueprint Health, LLC. Blueprint Health focuses on helping new companies or IT startups connect with healthcare organizations to aid them in developing products and bringing them to market. According to the article, NYP will run computer systems out of Blueprint’s offices and have an “innovation space.” NYP’s goal is to create closer collaboration between healthcare-IT focused startups and the hospital, ultimately resulting in new technologies being used at NYP. Continue reading
American health care continues to rank as the least cost-effective system in the developed world. Why? You might be tempted to say that, until recently, there was no incentive to change. A purely economic view is that the costs to healthcare providers have been greater than the payoff.
The economic landscape is changing. Quality reporting, value-based purchasing, Meaningful Use, risk-based contracts, and other reforms have created rewards and penalties intended to improve the value of health care. Will they work? Well. . . Ask instead, “How could they fail?” Continue reading