Category Archives: Healthcare IT Implementation

Three Strategies to Fund Sustainable State IT Data Projects

Escalating healthcare costs have persuaded many states to redesign their Medicaid payment systems. Most of them are also developing innovative uses of their client data to help reduce Medicaid costs and improve health. The projects range from alternative payment models to all-payer claims databases, often funded by grants. Continue reading

Why So Many Coding Software Releases?

Take a glance at your phone, or your laptop screen, or your desktop monitor. Do you see an alert about downloading a new software release or system update? We ignore them, we avoid them, and we put off installing them for days. When we finally get around to it, inevitably a new alert pops up with yet another set of updates!

Many of you may have wondered… why does 3M provide so many releases for the 3M Coding and Reimbursement System? Well, in this blog I hope to address the question of updates in a way that will help you understand how these releases impact you and which ones are critical for you to perform to keep your coding system updated. Continue reading

Health Care is Getting IT-Entrepreneurial

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

The Patient’s Side of Telemedicine

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

Top 5 Report Creation Annoyances in Radiology

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.

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Want to Improve Safety? Choose the Right Metrics for Avoidable Readmissions and Complications

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

Healthcare’s Efficiency Challenge

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

Will Population Health Management Drive Innovation? It Depends on the Data

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

Now More Than Ever, We Need Ethics in Healthcare IT

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.

It’s Just a Phase: Reassess Contributions and Value

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