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Local doctor finds advanced technology useful when interacting with patients

NV Daily, 3/16/14

BEI Commentary: Even with EHRs, the doctor-patient relationship remains very important, as noted by this local physician

With the recent push toward electronic medical records, a local doctor has conducted a study to find out how the patients themselves feel about the updated technology. He found that it all goes back to the relationship.

Dr. Bill Kerns of Front Royal Family Practice led a research team of physicians, looking into how patients want to engage with their electronic records.

Kerns found that the technology can be useful — so long as it enhances the relationship between physician and patient. Read More



Electronic health records can be used to predict sepsis risk and mortality

HealthCanal, 3/14/14

BEI Commentary: EHRs are very good at looking at patient data and providing recommendations for algorithms determined by evidence based medicine. Here is a success story in that regard from UC Davis. How can you use your EHR in a similar manner?

UC Davis researchers have found that routine information — blood pressure, respiratory rate, temperature and white blood cell count — from the electronic health records (EHRs) of hospitalized patients can be used to predict the early stages of sepsis, a leading cause of death and hospitalization in the U.S.

They also determined that just three measures — lactate level, blood pressure and respiratory rate — can pinpoint the likelihood that a patient will die from the disease.

UC Davis researchers have shown that electronic health records can bring precision to the early identification of sepsis. Read More

A Busy Doctor’s Right Hand, Ever Ready to Type

NY Times, January 12, 2014

BEI Commentary:  Scribes have entered the scene in clinics and operating rooms, liberating physicians from the constant note-taking that modern electronic health records systems demand.

Amid the controlled chaos that defines an average afternoon in an urban emergency department, Dr. Marian Bednar, an emergency room physician in Dallas, entered the exam room of an older woman who had fallen while walking her dog. Like any doctor, she asked questions, conducted an exam and gave a diagnosis — in this case, a fractured hand — while also doing something many physicians in today’s computerized world are no longer free to do: She gave the patient her full attention.

Standing a few feet away, tapping quickly and quietly at a laptop computer cradled in the crook of her left arm, was Amanda Nieto, 27, Dr. Bednar’s scribe and constant shadow. While Ms. Nieto updated the patient’s electronic chart, Dr. Bednar spoke to the woman, losing eye contact only to focus on the injured hand. Read More

Hospital Halves Sepsis Deaths Using EMR

EMR & EHR, January 6, 2014

BEI Commentary: One of the purposes of an EHR is to provide better data at the point of care so that providers can make more informed clinical decisions.  Clearly that is the case here where a hospital has materially reduced its mortality rate due to sepsis.

Two years ago, New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital was struggling to catch cases of sepsis early enough to save lives. Since then, the hospital has almost halved the number of sepsis deaths taking place there thanks to use of its EMR, according to a piece in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Attacking sepsis deaths is critical for hospitals worldwide, which have been fighting what has been described as a losing battle against the condition. According to the CMAJ, hospitalizations for sepsis have more than doubled over the last 10 years, and an estimated 1/3 to 1/2 of those patients die as a result of the condition. Read More

Feds eye crackdown on cut-and-paste EHR fraud

Modern Healthcare, December 10, 2013

BEI Commentary: Cutting and pasting in patient records can be dangerous. This article summarizes the issues and discusses how the federal government is cracking down on the practice and associated fraud.

Federal officials say the cut-and-paste features common to electronic health records invite fraudulent use of duplicated clinical notes and that there is a need to clamp down on the emerging threat. That concern is enhanced by the fact that it’s too easy to turn off features of EHR systems that allow tracking of sloppy or fraudulent records.
In an audit report released Tuesday morning (PDF), HHS agencies confirmed that they are developing comprehensive plans to deter fraud and abuse involving EHRs, including guidelines for cut-and-paste features. The issue arises at a time when critics say federally subsidized digital patient record systems are sometimes being used inappropriately by providers to drive up reimbursement.

“Certain EHR documentation features, if poorly designed or used inappropriately, can result in poor data quality or fraud,” according a report from HHS’ Office of the Inspector General. Read More

Value-based Reimbursement Next Metric for Medical Practices

Physicians Practice, 10/23/13

BEI Commentary: An interesting point in this article:  although quality is often discussed, value is the real metric of the future.  You will need to be able to show proof of “value provide” through analytics from your EHR.

A new wave of change is occurring in healthcare: a seismic shift from volume-based payment to value-based payment. To succeed in adapting, your challenge is to catch the “right wave.” The wave you want to catch is not quality. That wave has crested. Value is the wave that successful medical practices will ride in the next decade. My challenge is to share tips from the experts to help you find the right wave. I’ll also offer advice on timing, for, as with body surfing, mistiming your approach means you miss the wave. Read More

Study: Patient Portal Use To Shoot Up 221 Percent

EMR & EHR, October 9, 2013

BEI Commentary: As would be expected, patient portal usage should increase significantly in the near future

The US patient portal market should grow at a blazing clip over the next few years, according to a new report by research firm Frost & Sullivan.
The new study, U.S. Patient Portal Market for Hospitals and Physicians: Overview and Outlook, 2012- 2017, concludes that the total US patient portal market for hospitals and physicians generated revenue of just $279.8 million in 2012. By 2017, however, the US patient portal market should reach $898.4 million, representing a 221.1 percent increase in revenue generated. Read More…

CMS awards contract to implement text4baby in four states

Fierce Mobile Healthcare, October 7, 2013

BEI Commentary: We are just starting to scratch the surface of electronic provider – patient communications.  Here is a good example of how text messaging can be put to use.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has awarded a three-year contract to support the implementation of text4baby, the nation’s largest and only free mobile health service for expecting and new moms, in four still-to-be-determined states.

According to the announcement, CMS is currently working with text4baby founding partners Voxiva and the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition to determine the target states for this pilot project. Read more

Doctor Loses Access to EHRs; Mirrors ONC EHR Contract Concerns

iHealthBeat, August 23, 2013

BEI Commentry: There are many things to consider when negotiating EHR contracts, even things that might not be related to technology.  Here is a story about who gets access to patient data when a physician leaves a practice.  It also has a link to best practices when negotiating an EHR contract, published by ONC.

A Canadian physician who left a medical group to start her own practice was not able to maintain access to 1,500 patient electronic health records, one example of the challenges of negotiating EHR vendor contracts, EHR Intelligence reports.

Dianne Smith left her position at the Didsbury Medical Clinic to begin her own practice, hoping to take patients with her. However, she was denied access to their records by Didsbury’s owner and its EHR vendor. Read More


When it Comes to Patient Engagement in Florida, Parrish Medical Center Shines Bright

Healthcare Informatics, July 23, 2013

BEI Commentary: Payment Patient Portals are becoming ever more important ways of communicating, and they are required for stage 2.  Reach the second half of this article to see how Parrish Medical Center is rated #1 in this area.

It seems that while everyone in healthcare is talking about patient engagement, many are struggling to come up with strategies to achieve it. 

Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use electronic health records (EHR) incentive program requires 5 percent of patients to log into and upload data via a portal or personal health record for providers to earn incentive payments from the program. And last year, the National eHealth Collaborative and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) created the Patient Engagement Framework, which was vetted by over 150 healthcare stakeholders, and is meant to help providers understand how to start and continuously improve a patient engagement initiative.  According to the lead authors of the framework, a properly implemented patient engagement strategy should transform the way a health system delivers care. Read More


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