Leveraging Post-Acute Care Data to Improve Your Value Proposition

Valued-based care is the foundation for future care delivery.  Providers who can meet the interoperability needs across the healthcare continuum will stay one step ahead of the competition by connecting physician practices, laboratories, clinics and hospitals to produce a seamless flow of information.

EHRs allow acute care organizations to have access to patient information related to hospital stays, but do not typically include post-acute care documentation. One way to address this would be to expand patient records to include home medical equipment, as well as home health and hospice care data, which will give healthcare organizations access to patient information, progress, therapy compliance, and symptom exacerbation.

Proactive development of initiatives to minimize readmissions, management of chronic disease care and patient experiences can be significantly improved if providers have access to a holistic view of individual patients, as well as specific populations.

The three major strategies that healthcare organizations should implement in order to strengthen financial performance for all providers are:

  1. Building strong partnerships with post-acute providers
  2. Supporting relationships with the right technology
  3. Enhancing acute care data for quality improvement

As healthcare continues its transformation from volume-based to value-driven, patient-centric industry, the use of technology to enable collaboration across the entire healthcare continuum is critical.

For more information on how to leverage post-acute data to improve value proposition see the following link- http://www.healthcareitnews.com/blog/leverage-post-acute-care-data-improve-your-value-proposition

CMS Imposes New Rule Stretching Stage 1

Under a new rule by CMS, healthcare providers will be able to use the 2011 Edition software of their EHR for one more year. Providers scheduled to switch to Stage 2 will have another year to stay on the software and attest to the same requirements of 2013.

The head of the ONC, Karen DeSalvo, says the modified timeline will give new options to smaller providers and hospitals that could not make the transition within the original deadline.

For more information on ways Meditab helps its clients achieve Meaningful Use goals, visit http://www.meditab.com/company/ehr-meaningful-use/mu-readiness-program/.

Pros and Cons of ICD-10 Delay

Even with the ICD-10 conversion deadline being extended to October 2015, it is still a tight timetable for providers who have not yet prepared due to the work that goes into the conversion. The main reason for the change from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is to increase specificity and accuracy. With over 130,000 codes, the ICD-9 system is not providing the level of detailed diagnoses needed and the current codes do not reflect many new services and technology in CMS payment systems. ICD-10 will provide much more detailed clinical pictures and data, improving accuracy in all aspects of patient care.

Major benefits of the transition include:

  • Ability for physicians to determine the severity of illnesses more clearly
  • Codes will create an electronic trail of documentation, which can help physicians receive proper payment and ensure their reputation remains in good standing

While the delay might be seen as an inconvenience to those who have already made the transition, it is providing that extra preparation time for those who have not. The delay has sparked a controversy over whether it is inconvenient or helpful; below are the pros and cons of the delay, as outlined by our own VP of Sales, Mike Crider.

Pros

  • Directors can work with nurses and doctors more efficiently to improve patient documentation
  • More gradual transition for physicians
  • Additional practice time for coders
  • Testing can be more methodical so that by October 2015, many of the kinks would have been worked out
  • Financial preparations can be made

Cons

  • High costs for hospitals and health groups due to additional investments of time and money
  • As this is the second delay, it may cause physicians to think that the deadline will get pushed again and they will not work to comply timely
  • Students who have been trained in ICD-10 will have to revert back to ICD-9 when they enter the workforce
  • The delay may be seen as discouraging to Industry leaders who were dedicated to moving the transition forward to the point where they change fields or just become inactive

You can read Mike’s complete guest blog post on EMR Daily News here:

http://emrdailynews.com/2014/05/20/icd-10-delays-inconvenient-helpful-or-both/

Quickly Changing Healthcare IT Industry Challenges Professionals

According to the American Health Information Management Association, health information management professionals have a big decision to make – either cling on to the paper and pencil and go the way of the dinosaurs or embrace EHRs, data analytics, and ICD-10 so that HIM wranglers can flourish in the new era of health IT.

Mary Butler of the Journal of AHIMA writes that “The rapid adoption of EHRs, the transition to the ICD-10-CM/PCS code set, and intense focus on information and data governance all demand an upgrade of skills across the HIM spectrum.”

In order to stay on par with the top minds in the field, including nurses with informatics degrees and physicians with clinical informatics specialty certifications, HIM professionals need to invest in their own education if they want to hold their ground.  This is of utmost importance in order for the industry to continue its positive growth.

To read more on this topic, visit http://ehrintelligence.com/2014/05/12/him-pros-must-sink-or-swim-in-new-era-of-ehrs-ahima-says/.

Meaningful Use: Helping or Hurting EHR Adoption?

 

Seven months into the reporting period for Meaningful Use, only four hospitals and 50 healthcare professionals have achieved stage 2, which is raising concerns about whether stage 2 implementation is helping or hurting EHR adoption.

To qualify for stage 2 MU, eligible professionals must meet 17 core objectives and half of the six menu objectives. Eligible hospitals must meet 16 core objectives and half of the six menu objectives. And providers must order at least 30% of radiology, 30% of labs, and 60% of medication through CPOE.

When the CMS launched the EHR Incentive Programs three years ago, the goal was to reward healthcare professionals for adopting EHR and increasing efficiency. However, it has become more of a burden than a gift due to low attestation figures, hardships on execution, and growing EHR backlash.

Because the question of whether this is helping or hurting EHR adoption is so broad and in depth, the infographic included below identifies adoption trends and illustrates the challenges.

NueMD_Meaningful-Use_EHR-Adoption-Infographic

Healthcare Data Increases, Demands Updates for Technical Infrastructure

According to a new issue brief from the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT, the technical and administrative infrastructure that receives EHR data must be updated as the volume of data coming in continues to increase substantially.

More healthcare practices are adopting health IT tools as they realize the vast benefits such as reporting data faster, allowing for better communication, and more efficient recording. As these practices switch over to implementing health IT tools, the surge of data increases and the portals that process the information must be capable to collect all that information, in order for it to be used beneficially.

As things continue to move quickly, there are still some kinks to work out, such as establishing the proper infrastructure to support real-time data collection, making sure physicians are reporting correctly and not using unstructured free-text, and organizing the data in a uniform and structured way.

The goal is to harmonize HIT standards and implementation guides to improve communication between clinical care and public health entities for different types of reporting.

How Doctors View EHRs

Researchers from Baystate Health and University of Massachusetts-Amherst College of Engineering recently analyzed how physicians distribute their visual attention when reviewing electronic notes to see where their eyes spend more time reading and comprehending.

According to the study conducted by Applied Clinical Informatics, Clinical Innovation & Technology, physicians mainly focus on the impression and plan section of EHRs and do not give much attention to the other sections.

Ten physicians were tested used eye-tracking devices to measure their attention patterns as they read three electronic notes. Examined were their reading rates and the sections of the EHRs they read.

The results of the study showed that physicians read through the laboratory results, medication profiles, and vital signs very quickly, almost at a skimming rate and paid more attention to impression and plan sections.

The researchers concluded that optimizing the design of electronic notes may include rethinking the amount and format of imported patient data as this data appears to largely be ignored.

AHIMA: Providers Ignore Delay, Intend to Proceed with ICD-10 Implementation

Despite the congressional block, a majority of organizations have recently expressed their intent to proceed with the implementation of ICD-10. An American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) poll conducted during a two-day summit last week uncovered the industry’s disappointment with the delay, and frustration at the expense of money and energy the delay will cause. More than half of providers are prepared for ICD-10 and will go ahead with the plan on a voluntary basis, if they are allowed.

One reason for the mass disgruntlement is that many organizations have already spent too much money on the transition to stop now. According to the poll, 42 percent said that their organization has already spent more than $1 million on transition activities. Due to the delay, money allocated to make it to October 2014 must now be stretched, and augmented, to make it another full year.

The AHIMA sample is small, with less than 100 professionals responding to questions, but the results mirror other surveys conducted by Deloitte and EHR Intelligence in recent weeks. All surveys show that the overwhelming concern among providers is a loss of momentum and detrimental reallocation of resources as the cost of labor and maintaining the technology builds up.

For more statistics from the AHIMA poll and access to more information, visit http://ehrintelligence.com/2014/04/28/ahima-half-of-providers-plan-to-go-ahead-with-icd-10-anyway/.

ICD-10 Release Delayed, Not Dead

On April 1, President Barack Obama signed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act, delaying the implementation of ICD-10 until October 2015. This congressional move came as a surprise to members of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and members of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS.)

Yesterday at the AHIMA ICD-10 Summit, CMS’ Denise Buenning addressed the delay and answered questions from the audience. She expressed that CMS was just as surprised by the move as everyone else, and that it has been hard on CMS. Rumors had been circling that the cause of the delay was that CMS was not ready, but Buenning denies this and maintains she did not expect the delay from Congress.

Buenning stated that CMS is looking into the law and has plans to develop an option to take to the management level and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretary for approval.

In order to prevent any future delays, Buenning stated that CMS intends to communicate better with physicians on the benefits of ICD-10 and will work through various associations, as she believes that they will be much more effective with numbers on their side.

Even with the delay, it is important to be prepared for the transition. You can read more about ICD-10 readiness here – http://www.meditab.com/company/ICD-10-readiness/.

 

 

EHR Growth Creates Job Boom in Industry

The rapid growth of EHRs in the health IT industry has created a dramatic increase of jobs in this field. Hospitals have even expanded their budgets 35% specifically for retaining health IT personnel and technology. The most popular EHR related jobs range from entry-level medical record technicians to executive positions at hospitals and physician offices. Health organizations need people to install, design and implement EHRs, train and support, provide mobile health, integrate EHR data, redesign workflow, and maximize efficiencies.

There are even job opportunities before EHRs are rolled out, such as clinical transformation specialists who perform all the preliminary work to understand how the requirements are translated into software. Nursing jobs have also felt a boost because hospitals are recognizing their value in assisting with integration into clinical processes.

Additionally, since ICD-10 is delayed for another year, there is still a demand for people who can efficiently convert ICD-9 to ICD-10.

The following are eight of the most popular jobs in health IT right now:

  1. Security
  2. Consultant
  3. Training
  4. Director
  5. Chief nursing informatics officer
  6. Analyst
  7. Integrator
  8. ICD-10/ICD-9 project manager