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Want to improve patient engagement? Start with the basics

mHealthNews, February 9, 2015

BEI Commentary: If you have not gone electronic with your patient registration process, here is further proof that you should.

Want to jump on the mHealth bandwagon? Start with the basics.

That’s the advice of Janie Tremlett, vice president of domestic and international business development for Vecna. And she’s not talking about that first phone call between doctor and patient. She’s talking about the registration process – that time-honored and laborious process of filling out forms and answering questionnaires before the patient even gets to see a doctor.

If a patient were to fill out all those forms online – either at home or on a tablet or kiosk in the waiting room – the registration process would be quicker, the information would be more accurate, the patient would be happier and office staff time would be used on more important duties, like interacting with the patient. Read More


Epic Ties MyChart App to Apple HealthKit

HealthData Management, September 22, 2014

BEI Commentary: This is the first in a series of announcements that we are expecting to come from Apple and EHR vendors. Here, Apple and Epic are announcing data sharing between Apple HealthKit and Epic’s MyChart EHR. This will allow physicians to track patients health when they are outside the doctor’s office.

Hospital and physician software vendor Epic Systems Corp. is integrating Apple’s HealthKit into its EHR systems, which serve more than 170 million patients per year. Specifically, Epic customers will be able to use HealthKit through Epic’s MyChart app, which the company says is the most popular U.S. patient portal.

MyChart provides patients with access to their lab results, appointment information, current medications, immunization history, and more on their mobile devices.  Sumit Rana, chief technology officer for Epic, told Health Data Management that the company has updated its MyChart app to—with a patient’s permission—access data from Apple’s HealthKit data repository and share it with their provider. And, on the provider side, Rana said clinicians can set rules as to what types of information they want access to. Read More

EHR payouts climb near $25 billion

Healthcare IT News, July 11, 2014

BEI Commentary: EHR Payouts are rising steadily, as are Medicare and Medicaid participants. But only 8 hospitals have attested to Stage 2 Meaningful Use.

Electronic health records incentive payments to eligible hospitals and providers have continued their upward trend, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services paying out a whopping $24.4 billion to date.

That rose steadily from June’s $23.7 billion, and May’s $22.9 billion.

Also on the rise are the numbers of participating Medicare eligible providers, which climbed 991 to 317,294, Medicaid EP’s increased 1,249 to 157,890 and hospitals inched up by 10 to 4,737. Read more


How Medical Practices Can Stay Ahead of EHR Adoption How Medical Practices Can Stay Ahead of EHR Adoption

Physicians Practice, July 9, 2014

BEI Commentary: This article summarizes the data from a survey of over 1,400 physicians and practice managers how they are using technology in their practices.

Hands down, EHRs are the largest piece of technology that medical practices purchase. Whether your practice is part of a large integrated delivery system or a small independent “shop,” EHR is the scaffolding that supports all other technology use. According to our 2014 Technology Survey, Sponsored by Kareo, which asked over 1,400 physicians and practice administrators how they are using technology in their practices, 53 percent of respondents say they have a “fully implemented EHR,” and another 17 percent use a system provided by a hospital or corporate parent. Only 20 percent of respondents say they do not currently have an EHR. When compared to past years, the trend is a slow but steady adoption of EHR: In 2010 (the year meaningful use became effective) 48 percent of responding practices had implemented an EHR, in 2014 that number was 70 percent. Read More

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


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