BEI HIT Blog
New York Times, Octobe 8, 2012
BEI Commentary: A very interesting article about how some physicians are using social media. Obviously there are a lot of issues to work out, but it looks like these technologies can be put to good use in working with patients.
The teenager’s cellphone buzzes. Her doctor, Natasha Burgert, is texting her: “Better morning with this medication?”
Another teenager opens his phone. “Everything is great,” reads Dr. Burgert’s discreet text. “Go ahead with the plan we discussed. Please reply so I know you received.”
And on the morning of college entrance exams, a teenager who suffers from a roiling stomach reads Dr. Burgert’s texted greeting: “Prepared. Focused. Calm. Your body is healthy and well. Good luck today.” Read More
New York Times, March 9, 2012
BEI Commentary: Online reviews is a complicated subject that physicians are starting to grapple with. One thing is for sure: online reviews will become more and more part of the healthcare landscape and a workable system needs to be developed that is fair to doctors and usable for patients.
For all the debate about which Web sites have the best model for reliable reviews — paid or unpaid, anonymous or real name, Angie’s List or Yelp or TripAdvisor — one thing is certain: a robust ecosystem exists online for restaurant and hotel reviews that has changed those industries for the better.
So it is puzzling that there is no such authoritative collection of reviews for physicians, the highest-stakes choice of service provider that most people make. Read More
Bloomberg.com, February 9, 2012
BEI Commentary: Not only is Medicare focused on Fee-For-Value programs (also called outcomes based payments), United Health is getting in the game as well. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that United says that up to 70% of its members will be covered by some type of FFV plan by 2015. EHRs will play a key role in allowing physicians to participate in an FFV program.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH), the largest U.S. health insurer by sales, will pay doctors based on the quality of their care in a cost-cutting effort that also benefits the company’s consulting business.
UnitedHealth expects to save twice as much as it would spend on incentive payments for doctors because patients will be healthier, according to company documents forwarded by spokeswoman Cheryl Randolph. The program may cover as much as 70 percent of the insurer’s commercial members by 2015, from less than 2 percent now, the company said.
The nationwide expansion of the program follows similar efforts by the U.S. government and rival insurers to trim medical costs by shifting away from paying based on the amount of services provided. Optum, UnitedHealth’s services business, will be able to sell software, data and consulting to providers making the changes, Sam Ho, chief clinical officer of the insurer’s UnitedHealthcare unit, said in an interview. Read more
EHRWatch, January 30, 2012
BEI Commentary: Allscripts is the second major ambulatory vendor to partner with M* Modal. Greenway has done so already. With these new capabilities, physicians will be able to dictate into an EHR and have the note transcribed as well as abstracted, saving a lot of pointing and clicking. This should be a major productivity enhancement for clinical staff, when fully implemented.
One of the ongoing hurdles for providers moving to EHRs is the convenience, or lack thereof, of inputting data during patient visits.
One evolving solution to that hurdle is the development of voice recognition and recording technology.
On that front, M*Modal Inc., a provider of clinical narrative capture services, recently announced that it has entered into a strategic reseller and development relationship with Allscripts for its speech and language understanding technology, which will be available for Allscripts clients across all ambulatory and acute-care platforms. The relationship will provide capabilities to create content-rich, voice-driven narrative patient documentation within Allscripts electronic health record (EHR) systems. Read More
Healthcare Economist, January 16, 2012
BEI Commentary: As we have said many times before, HIT will become an integral part of an ambulatory practice in the future, and will need to be well implemented in order to support the new P4P initiatives. Here is the first volley on this that we have seen from Medicare.
In 2015, Medicare will begin implementing a value-based purchasing (VPB) program for physicians. Initially the program will target only certain physicians and groups of physicians, but by 2017 all physicians is participate in this program.
The VBP program will evaluate physicians along two broad dimensions: quality and cost. In the final rule:
Section 1848(p) of the Act requires the Secretary to ‘‘establish a payment modifier that provides for differential payment to a physician or a group of physicians’’ under the physician fee schedule ‘‘based upon the quality of care furnished compared to cost *** during a performance period.’’ The provision requires that ‘‘such payment modifier be separate from the geographic adjustment factors’’ established for the physician fee schedule. In addition, section 1848(p)(4)(C) of the Act requires that the value modifier be implemented in a budget-neutral manner. Read More
Providence Business News, December 12, 2011
BEI Commentary: As has been borne out with other studies, a recently completed pilot by BCBS in Rhode Island over three years found significant decreases in health care spending and increased outcomes for physicians using EHRs. Even the physicians were pleasantly surprised.
The use of electronic health records in a three-year pilot program lowered health care costs by an average of between 17 and 33 percent, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island announced Monday.
In addition, EHR use was found to have led to improved quality outcomes, with a 44 percent median rate of improvement in family and childrenâ€™s health, 35 percent in womenâ€™s care, and 24 percent in internal medicine in Rhode Island. Read More
US News & World Report, November 21, 2011
BEI Commentary: Comment: Doctors are starting to find innovative ways to use social media to promote their practices. Here are a few examples.
Thomas Lee’s business cards are stamped with the link to his Facebook page. The orthopedic surgeon actively tweets, checks in regularly on FourSquare, and maintains a GooglePlus profile. And he does it for his patients. “It’s an electronic way of extending the conversation,” says Lee, who practices at Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Center in Westerville, Ohio. “It creates a vibrant sense of community and a wonderful back-and-forth dialogue.”
Social media makes it easier than ever for patients and physicians to connect outside the exam room. And while most of the attention has centered on hospitals’ efforts, which are often driven by marketing and have relatively large budgets, primary care and other private-practice doctors are building an online presence. It’s too soon to take for granted that your personal physician will be on Facebook or Twitter, but some doctors say that may be the norm within a few years. More than 1,300 doctors have already registered with TwitterDoctors.net, a database of physicians who tweet. “These are powerful, tremendously influential tools,” says internist Kevin Pho of Nashua, N.H., a popular medical blogger who engages with his patients via Facebook and Twitter. “Doctors should be taking advantage of the opportunity.” Read More
Mobi Health News, October 20, 2011
BEI Commentary: We are sure to see lots of uses for Apple’s recently announced SIRI voice recognition system for the iPhone4S. What is interesting in this article is what patients can do for themselves. Maybe providers can encourage patients to use these capabilities to promote better outcomes.
When Apple announced its newest iPhone, the 4S, its most notable new feature was Siri, a voice-enabled virtual assistant. Apple acquired the company that created Siri in April 2010, just a few months after the startup’s app went live in the AppStore. Apple further refined Siri through a partnership with Nuance, a speech recognition company that should be familiar to those in healthcare. Dictation, transcription, and — more recently — speech recognition services, have long been staples of the practice of medicine.
Based on our own in-house testing here at MobiHealthNews, Siri in its current form could be helpful to both patients and healthcare providers alike. After asking Siri a number of questions, we were surprised how she answered some and that she was able to answer others. Read More
Security becomes a bigger IT issue everyday. Security is not just about protecting websites or servers; appropriate security is required for workstations as well. In fact, HIPAA requires it. Here are a few simple things to think about:
- Make sure each individual on your staff has a unique ID/Password for logging into the EHR. This may seem like a simple thing, but we have seen practices where a common ID/PW is used by people with similar roles. Unique ID/PWs are required to determine who has logged into the EHR and what changes they made.
- Passwords should be strong. Require at least 6 characters with at least one character being alphabetic and one being numeric.
- Place an inactivity timer on each workstation of five minutes. It is quite easy for someone to walk away from a workstation while forgetting that they are logged in. This gives a patient or other staff the opportunity to access the EHR using someone else’s ID/PW. This would result in unauthorized access to ePHI, which is a HIPAA violation.
- Encrypt your hard drives. Some workstations may have ePHI and some may not. Why bother figuring out which is which. If you encrypt the hard drive of each workstation, you will guarantee that you are HIPAA compliant. Encrypting the hard drive should not cost anything. If the workstation is lost, and you are not sure if there is ePHI on the machine, and the machine does not have encryption, that is a HIPAA violation that most likely needs to be reported to the Office of Civil Rights.
- Consider a privacy filter for workstations, especially those in public areas. Privacy filters allow only the user to view what is on the screen. Off angle viewing is blocked. They are very inexpensive and can be purchased for both laptops and desktops.
All of the items above are straight-forward and easy to implement. They can go a long way to protecting the ePHI in your practice!
From: BEI HealthcareIT Update, June 2011
This list hits the basics – the elements that you “must-do” to avoid having a website that is actually a detriment to your practice. Many more steps, including search engine optimization, will give you even better results!
- Contact info – a specific person’s name (preferred), phone and email
- Locations of your offices
- Directions to your offices
- Physician Profiles (photo, either professional taken or good quality showing the physician doing something they like to do – sport, hobby, etc.) There should also be a written narrative about the physician that talks about who they are rather than just what they have achieved. Think of this as an opportunity for a prospective patient to get to know the physician.
- Current copyright date and legal disclaimers
- Clear message about your specialty
- Insurance plans accepted
- Forms that patients need
- No spelling errors
- News (include only if you can keep it updated)