Posts Tagged healthcare

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Natural Language Processing, First Steps Towards Telehealth, and a Single App to Read any EHR in another edition of Manage My Practice’s 2.0 Tuesday!

As managers, providers and employees, we always have to be looking ahead at how the technology on our horizon will affect how our organizations administer health care. In the spirit of looking forward to the future, we present “2.0 Tuesday”, a  feature on Manage My Practice about how technology is impacting our practices, and our patient and population outcomes.

We hope you enjoy looking ahead with us, and share your ideas, reactions and comments below!

  • Natural Language Processing Advances Allow for Improved Insight into Public Health

Writing for KevinMD, Jaan Sidorov, author of the Disease Management Care Blog highlights several examples of how Natural Language Processing- the idea of teaching computer programs to understand the relationship between words in human speech (teaching them to not just hear us, but understand us- like Watson understood the clues on Jeopardy) is being be applied to the Electronic Health Record to predict and prepare for public health trends, as well as to correct mistakes present in the electronic record due to human error. Recent developments like the CDC’s Biosense program allow public health officials at local, state and federal levels to monitor big picture trends in public health by the words and diagnoses reported in medical documentation- keeping an ear on health trends, by “listening” to data about reported health incidents.

  • 10 Best Practices for Implementing Telemedicine in Hospitals

Sabrina Rodak at Becker Orthopedic, Spine and Pain Management has put together a fantastic list of the steps and assessments involved in implementing a telemedicine program in a hospital setting. Although written with Orthopods in mind, the questions that need to be answered, and the steps that need to be taken to develop a strong, lasting program are similar across many different programs and specialties. With so much excitement in the field, it is very nice to see someone talk about the process of taking these technologies from drawing board excitement to nuts-and-bolts execution.

(via FierceHealthIT)

  • San Diego Health System Seeks to Develop Single App to Access Any EMR

Presenting at a Toronto Mobile Healthcare Summit Last Week, Dr. Benjamin Kanter, CIO of Palomar Pomerado Health presented the two-hospital system’s plans to develop their own native mobile application to view as many different Electronic Medical Records as possible from a single mobile interface. In other words, this fairly small health system, who has only devoted three employees to the project, is taking on one of the biggest, and toughest challenges in HIT by simply saying “We can do it ourselves!”, and from some of the reactions from the conference attendees who saw the presentation, they are off to quite a strong start. The first version of the program should launch for Android in March, and the system already has a deal in place with vendor Cerner to access their systems. Stay tuned!

(via ITWorldCanada)

 

Be sure to check back soon for another 2.0 Tuesday!

 

 

 

 

Posted in: 2.0 Tuesday, Electronic Medical Records

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Managed IT Services, HIPAA/HITECH Compliance and Changing IT Providers: Ed Garay from Lutrum Answers Your IT Questions.

Mary Pat: Where does the name of your company, Lutrum, come from?

Ed Garay: When I was developing a name for this company, I didn’t want to be like every other healthcare IT services company with health, md, medical, etc. as part of their name.  I wanted it to represent something deeper about what we do and who we are as an IT organization.  Although we are IT specialists, I realized that one of the things that I am always working with my team on is to listen and understand our client’s needs.  Which lead me to creating the name, Lutrum.  Lutrum is a slight variant of the Latin word Lutra.  Lutra means otter in English.  And the otter symbolizes empathy.

Mary Pat: What led up to you starting your own business?

Ed Garay: In late 2000, I worked as an IT Director for an organization that continued to downsize.  I came to a career crossroad.  With starting to support under 100 systems, and the network running in tip-top shape, there was really no need for me to be there full-time in the long run.  So, do I look for another job that can’t possibly be as fulfilling as where I was, or do I take a leap of faith and start up my own business and share my knowledge with the masses?  Through the feedback of mentors and other resources that knew me personally and professionally, I was highly motivated to take the leap of faith and have never looked back.  My business career has evolved over the years and has naturally lead me to Lutrum.

Mary Pat: What are Managed IT Services?

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Posted in: Compliance, Electronic Medical Records, General

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mHealth Gives Home Health a Whole New Meaning

a picture of a mobile phone with a red cross on its screen

One of the most exciting trends in modern healthcare can be found at the intersection of two larger societal changes: the shifting demographics of an aging Baby-Boomer population, and the fast adoption of smart mobile devices and mobile application platforms. As robust, secure and intuitive mHealth applications are adopted, patients are more empowered to monitor and share their health data outside of a traditional medical office or hospital setting. As healthcare delivery system already short on providers becomes even more taxed, mHealth applications will allow the system as a whole (patients, caregivers, loved ones, and payers) to navigate health decisions in a more efficient and informed way.

This quote from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions 2010 Survey of Health Care Consumers says it all:

“Boomers view tech-enabled health products as a way to foster control and ongoing independence for themselves, especially in light of the rise in incidence in chronic disease with aging, and their desire to reduce costs. Nearly 56% of boomers show a high willingness to use in-home health monitoring devices in tandem with care of their primary physician.”

What are the advantages of pushing home health medical data from the source to the care provider?

  • Minimum lag time between data collection and the clinician’s ability to review it.
  • Reduction in errors associated with human intervention in data entry.
  • Intuitive and simple interfaces promote active patient involvement and caregiver communication in healthcare management.
  • Secure sharing of PHI (Protected Health Information) with patient, family members, and approved internal and external stakeholders in health.

Here are just a few of the companies and products available now (or in the near future) that might change your mind about where and how health data is captured and shared. Each of these products automates the capture of health data and the transfer of the data in a usable format to an Electronic Health Record.

Near Field Communications

NFC (Near Field Communications) is a wireless technology that allows for quick transfer of data between two sensors that are fairly close (an inch or two) together. The secure transfer allows for seamless data tracking inside caregivers’ workflow. For example: medical supplies, drugs, injectables and fluids can be fitted with low cost sensors that are swiped past a patient’s sensor to indicate they will be administered to the patient, and then again past the provider’s sensor to indicate a finished procedure, capturing time of administration, dosage, and patient information without slowing down the care to enter this critical data by writing them down, typing them in, or just resolving to remember them for later entry.

Gentag makes the data sensors and applications that manufacturers can use to send data via cell phone to the hospital or physician for seamless inclusion in the electronic medical record (EMR). Monitoring of blood pressure, fever, weight management and urinalysis are just a few of the ways Gentag has improved data capture in healthcare.

iMPak Health makes a cholesterol monitor the size of a credit card that accepts a small blood sample to process for triglyceride levels. The data is uploaded wirelessly to a cell phone that transmits it to a health provider.

Smart Fabrics and Wearable Monitors

Researchers at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain developed a fascinating concept for an “Intelligent T-Shirt” that uses sensors woven into a washable fabric to create a hospital garment that does more than preserve the patient’s modesty. The sensors in the fabric can detect and record temperature, bioelectric impulses (for ECG monitoring), as well as the patients location, current resting position, and level of physical activity.

Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design graduate Pedro Nakazato Andrade has designed a dynamic cast called Bones that collects muscle activity data around a fracture area by using electromyographic (EMG) sensors to report the patient’s progress to physicians automatically. This could reduce the need for follow-up visits and imaging, or change the specifics of rehabilitation.

The Basis Band is a wristwatch-type accessory that monitors heart rate by directing light into the skin to image blood flow. It also uses a heat sensor for skin temperature changes, an accelerometer for recording movement and activity, and sensors for galvanic skin response. The band also gives customers access to a free, web-based health dashboard to oversee the data the device collects and transmits.

There are still some considerable hurdles to full adoption of mobile home health monitoring. Very few patients use only one medical device, so not only do monitoring devices need to work with networked EHR technologies, they have to be integrated with each other to present a comprehensive picture of health to providers and Health Information Exchanges (HIEs). Also, as patients navigate the system of generalists, specialists, and emergency care providers, the possibility of encountering multiple software and hardware platforms will require flexible, integrated solutions that can run on any device. As with any networked application of sensitive data, security and availability are major factors in a success deployment. Unless patients can count on the privacy of their data, and providers can count on the uptime of their software, healthcare systems won’t be able to realize the full benefit of mHealth installations. On top of that, more monitoring of patient health means that there will be even more data to be collected on each patient, and on the population as a whole. While more data means more opportunity for large scale research and analysis for the public benefit, it also means more data has to be secured and protected as a part of the health record, requiring even more security and storage resources. And finally, the Food and Drug Administration will have a large say in the future of mHealth application development through industry regulation. Device makers and application developers will certainly have to work within a governmental framework which will have a large say in the time-to-market of many possible products.

With all that being said, the opportunity to meet the demographic challenges of an already stressed healthcare system with mobile home health monitoring and Electronic Health Records will be one of the major themes of the future of both the heath and technology industries.

Posted in: Innovation

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The Best of Manage My Practice – November, 2011 Edition

In between polishing off leftover turkey and stuffing, we’re looking back over some of our most popular posts from the month in case you might’ve missed them the first go round. Thankfully Presenting, The Best of Manage My Practice, November 2011!

We’ve started this monthly wrap-up to make sure you don’t miss any of the great stuff we post throughout the month on Manage My Practice, but we also want to hear from you! What were your favorite posts and discussions this month? Did we skip over your favorite from November? Let us know in the comments!

Posted in: A Career in Practice Management, General, Leadership

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Stark, False Claims and Anti-Kickback Laws: Easy Ways to Stay Compliant with the Big Three in Healthcare

In health care, we are “blessed” with an abundance of rules, policies, standards and laws. In Health Care Regulation in America: Complexity, Confrontation, and Compromise, Robert I. Field, professor of health management and policy at Drexel University School of Public Health, observes the following:

 “Regulation shapes all aspects of America’s fragmented health care industry, from the flow of dollars to the communication between physicians and patients. It is the engine that translates public policy into action. While the health and lives of patients, as well as almost one-sixth of the national economy depend on its effectiveness, health care regulation in America is bewilderingly complex.”

Here are some of the most important regulations in health care that you should not only know about, but should be actively managing with a robust compliance plan.

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Posted in: Collections, Billing & Coding, Compliance, Day-to-Day Operations, General

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Steve Jobs, Social Media and iPad enabled voting: Welcome to 2.0 Tuesday! A look at what’s next in technology and healthcare.

At Manage My Practice, we have always been fascinated by the opportunities created when innovation and technical advancements are applied to the Healthcare system. The intersection of technology and medical practice has always been one of the most exciting spaces in research and development because the challenges of the Human Body are some of the most daunting and emotionally charged of our endeavors. Curing diseases, diagnosing symptoms and improving and saving lives are among our most noble callings, so naturally they inspire some of our brightest thinkers and industry leaders.

As managers, providers and employees, we always have to be looking ahead at how the technology on our horizon will affect how our organizations administer health care. In the spirit of looking forward to the future, we present “2.0 Tuesday”, a weekly feature on Manage My Practice about how technology is impacting our practices, and our patient and group outcomes.

We hope you enjoy looking ahead with us, and share your ideas, reactions and comments below!

  • Steve Jobs thought iCloud had the potential to store Medical Data

Apple’s recently announced iCloud service let’s you store pictures, movies, music, and documents in Apple’s “cloud”, or Internet storage system, and retrieve them with your iPhones, iPods, iPads, and Mac computers. Dr. Iltifat Husain, writing for the IMedicalApps blog notes that in the new biography of the Apple founder, Jobs mentioned that he thought even personal medical data would one day be stored in Apple’s iCloud. Cloud storage is all the rage right now in a lot of different areas of technology, but Jobs saying that medical data would be stored on the consumer end next to vacation photos and favorite songs represents a very bold vision of the future of patient data.

  • Researchers using Social Media to study attitudes about Public Health

A team led by Marcel Salathé, PhD at Pennsylvania State University published a study last month in PLoS Computational Biology that used “tweets” gathered from the social network Twitter to analyze how the public felt about the H1N1 influenza vaccine in 2009. Although Social Media research has limitations, Christine S. Moyer, writing for the American Medical Association’s Amednews.com notes that the results were similar to traditional phone surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, and provides some other examples of how Social Media has been used to understand public health trends.

  • Interesting EHR/EMR data from the Soliant Health Blog

Medical staffing specialist Soliant Health had very eye-opening list of statistics about EHR/EMR implementations on their blog last week. My personal favorite: Hospitals using EHR/EMR systems have a 3 to 4% lower mortality rate than those that don’t. Very interesting numbers.

  • HealthWorks Collective predicts changes in healthcare communications after ACA

Healthworks Collective‘s Susan Gosselin makes some predictions about how the communications between and among providers and patients are going to be changed by the Affordable Care Act (or Healthcare Reform)- and what both groups will demand from a changing system. Great stuff!

  • Oregon to help disabled voters cast ballots using iPads

In today’s local and congressional elections, five counties in the state of Oregon are going to be equipping local officials with iPads preloaded with special touch-interface software to accompany people with physical or visual impairments, or who would otherwise have a hard time making it to the polls. The 9 to 5 Mac blog is reporting that the pilot program features hardware donated by Apple, and could soon spread statewide by the next election.

Be sure to check back next week for another 2.0 Tuesday!

 

 

 

 

Posted in: 2.0 Tuesday, Electronic Medical Records, Innovation, Social Media

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The Best of Manage My Practice – October, 2011 Edition

As we finish off another month here at MMP, we wanted to go back over some of our most popular posts from the month and get ready for another busy,  productive, and meaningful month. Presenting, The Best of Manage My Practice, October 2011!

We’ve started this monthly wrap-up to make sure you don’t miss any of the great stuff we post throughout the month on Manage My Practice, but we also want to hear from you! What were your favorite posts and discussions this month? Did we skip over your favorite from October? Let us know in the comments!

Posted in: A Career in Practice Management, Collections, Billing & Coding, Day-to-Day Operations, Finance, General, Medicare & Reimbursement

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How Much Do Medical Practice Managers Make?

Read the 2011 update to this article here.

You’ve heard that healthcare is one of the few job markets that is still growing in a down economy and you think you might like to be a medical office manager.  The question is: how much do medical practice managers make?

The real answer to this question is  “it depends.”  Two people in different parts of the United States could have the same job description and one could make $50,000 and another could make $100,00.  Most experienced, capable medical practice managers make a good living somewhere in the middle.

What differentiates medical practice managers (and I use this term in a generic sense to cover the variety of titles used in the healthcare field) from other office managers is that they are expected to know something about almost everything.  A typical day in the life of a medical manager might well include tasks in the areas of:

  • human resources
  • risk management
  • coding and billing
  • credentialing
  • accounting
  • information technology
  • facilities management
  • conflict resolution
  • physician compensation plans
  • marketing
  • physician/provider recruiting
  • and more! (see my post on what managers do here.)

The medical practice manager is often in the unique position of both answering to the owners (physicians) and managing them – a phenomenon not seen in other industries.

What a medical practice manager earns relates to:

  • what the decision maker(s) believes the job is worth, or what they’re willing to pay
  • what a consultant or financial adviser has said the job is worth
  • what other local practices are paying their managers
  • what the previous manager made

Factors influencing the posted salary for a position are:

  • the specialty or specialties (single-specialty vs multi-specialty and primary care vs. sub-specialty care)
  • the number of physicians/providers
  • the number of sites or ancillary services (imaging, physical therapy , medical spa, ambulatory surgery center)
  • hospital-owned vs. non-hospital-owned
  • if hospital-owned, how the position is graded, or where it fits in the management structure
  • billing in-house or outsourced
  • financial soundness of the entity
  • the entity’s competition in the community
  • cost of living factor for region

Factors that might influence the salary ultimately offered YOU for a position are:

  • Years of experience in healthcare management
  • Years of experience managing the same or similar specialty
  • Years of experience managing the same or similar # of physicians
  • Stability of jobs over the past 10-15 years
  • Special degrees: Master’s, CPA, CPC, Compliance, RN, Lean, Black Belt (Six Sigma)
  • Having installed an EMR (electronic medical record)
  • References

Where does one look for specific information on what managers make?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) most recent information reports:

Median annual wages of wage and salary medical and health services managers were $80,240 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $62,170 and $104,120. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $48,300, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $137,800. Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of medical and health services managers in May 2008 were:

General medical and surgical hospitals$87,040
Outpatient care centers74,130
Offices of physicians74,060
Home health care services71,450
Nursing care facilities71,190

According to a 2009 survey by the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM), the median salary for health administrators in small group practices is $56,000; for those in larger group practices with 7 or more physicians the median is $77,000.

The silver-back of healthcare salary surveys comes from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). The Management Compensation Survey is one of the “golden trio” of surveys that I’ve used throughout most of my professional life.  You can view a sample page here: Sample Table (pdf).  The survey information is free if you are a MGMA member and participate in the survey yourself.  You can purchase the Compensation Survey here.

Many state MGMA groups also sponsor state salary surveys and sell them to non-members.  In addition, some local manager groups do limited surveys and make the information available for a fee.

Job descriptions for medical managers can be found under the Library tab at the top of the page.

More articles on medical management can be found under the category of “A Career in Medical Management” on the right-hand side of the page, including A Day in the Life of a Practice Administrator” and The 5 IT Skillsets Every Physician Practice Manager Needs to Succeed in 2009 and Beyond.”

Posted in: A Career in Practice Management

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A Memo to the Staff: The Preciousness of Patients

Sometimes in the midst of making changes to improve things,
we inadvertently lose the patient.

Sometimes we literally lose the patient because they say
“Everything is changing and I don’t like it.  I’m taking my business elsewhere.”

Sometimes we figuratively lose the patient because they feel a distance in not connecting with the staff, or not understanding why things are changing.

How do we hold on to our patients when all around us the world is changing, healthcare is changing and we are changing to stay alive financially and competitively?

  • Focus on each patient you come in contact with and look into their eyes. We forget to look into people’s eyes. If you find yourself not connecting with a patient, ask yourself what color eyes the patient has. In checking, you will connect.
  • Remind yourself of the preciousness of life and of each life you come in contact with.  The job is do are not just “any” job. We are fortunate to do jobs where we are entrusted with people’s most precious possession – their health and their lives.  We are not telemarketers, we are not selling widgets, and we are making a difference in this world. Don’t forget that YOU are making a difference. No matter how your job touches a life directly or indirectly, you are in healthcare, one of the most challenging and meaningful jobs out there.
  • Even though we sometimes shake our heads over patient expectations, we can still do our best to let patients know that we are sorry when we cannot do what they are asking. We can’t always see everyone who wants to be seen today.  We can’t always get their forms completed, or their medical records copied, or their test results reported back to them immediately, but we can express the understanding that their needs are important to us.
  • Give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  Believe they are human and doing the best they can.
  • Do not think I expect perfection. I don’t. I expect each of you to do the best you can, but I do not expect perfection of myself and I don’t expect it of you.

Thank you for being in healthcare with me.

Mary Pat

Posted in: Amazing Customer Service, Day-to-Day Operations, Leadership

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What Does a Medical Practice Manager Do?

clockWhether the title is manager, medical practice manager, physician practice manager, administrator, practice administrator, executive director, office manager, CEO, COO, director, division manager, department manager, or any combination thereof, with some exceptions, people who manage physician practices do some combination of the responsibilities listed here or manage people who do.

Human Resources: Hire, fire, counsel, discipline, evaluate, train, orient, coach, mentor and schedule staff. Shop, negotiate and administer benefits. (more…)

Posted in: A Career in Practice Management, Leadership

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