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                                            Management Technology News
November 15, 2013

In this issue:

Hospitals of tomorrow: 10 characteristics for future success

An apologetic Obama unveils fix on health law

AMA toolkits help physicians incorporate new standards that streamline payment

HHS awards Affordable Care Act funds to expand access to care

New cholesterol advice startles even some doctors


Hospitals of tomorrow: 10 characteristics for future success

Healthcare organizations are facing a variety of challenges that are forcing them to redefine the very way they do business – from focusing on heads in beds to delivering high-quality, low-cost and highly reliable care.

The ability to transition to this "new world order" requires specific capability and organizational characteristics, to be sure. But, what are they, specifically? At the Hospital of Tomorrow leadership forum that took place last week in Washington. D.C., Lindsey Dunn of Becker’s Hospital Review asked several leading health system executives what they believe are "must-haves" for health systems in the years to come. Their responses provide valuable insight regarding what areas hospitals and health systems must focus on developing, if they wish to sustain and grow their organizations. Here is the short list.

  1. Focused and dedicated leadership
  2. Coordinated care (for health systems)
  3. Focused-factory mentality (for individual sites of care)
  4. Openness to technology and acceptance of resulting workflow changes
  5. Efficient
  6. Transparent pricing
  7. Risk-based contracts
  8. Team-based care
  9. Patient-centeredness
  10. Nimbleness

Read the full Becker’s Hospital Review article.

Return to the table of contents >

Health Law

An apologetic Obama unveils fix on health law

President Barack Obama on Thursday tried to ease the biggest crisis of his presidency, acknowledging missteps with his signature healthcare law and announcing a plan to help those seeing their current health plans canceled because of it.

Obama, trying to limit the political damage to his presidency and fellow Democrats, said health insurers could extend by at least one year policies due to be canceled because they do not comply with new minimum requirements under the law.

With insurers complaining the fix could create new problems and lead to higher premiums, it was not clear whether Obama's plan would actually work, or soothe his party's concerns that the botched rollout has undercut Democrats facing tough re-election fights in 2014.

A chastened Obama said he had "fumbled" the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, his biggest domestic policy achievement, and said he would have to work to regain his credibility and the public's trust.

The move was in response to a rising anger from Republicans and fellow Democrats over the prospect of several million Americans having their policies canceled.

The furor has reignited a broad debate about the benefits of the health system overhaul that was enacted in 2010 in the face of huge opposition from Republicans who view it as government overreach. It is the most sweeping social legislation since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid the 1960s.

Read the Reuters article.

Return to the table of contents >

Electronic Transactions: EFT and ERA

AMA toolkits help physicians incorporate new standards that streamline payment

The American Medical Association (AMA) is offering free toolkits to help physicians benefit from new federal standards that can reduce administrative hassles, cut paperwork burdens, and free physicians to spend more time with patients.

The Affordable Care Act called for new rules that require health insurers to standardize business practices for electronic funds transfer (EFT) and electronic remittance advice (ERA) which could save physicians billions of dollars. The rules make it possible for physician practices to automate the time-consuming and manual process of matching medical claims with responses and payments from health insurers.

Health insurers must be in compliance with the new rules by January 1, 2014. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates approximately a third of industry-wide claim payments are made electronically, and insurer reliance on electronic fund transfers is expected to increase. Medicare rules already require physicians new to the Medicare program or who update their enrollment information to be paid via EFT.

“The new rules can benefit physicians by eliminating many mundane and costly manual tasks like depositing checks, while cutting red tape,” said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D. “This is a great opportunity for physicians to begin incorporating electronic transactions into their practice and reaping the benefits. The AMA's toolkits and resources will help guide physicians through the necessary steps.”

The AMA toolkits for electronic funds transfers and electronic remittance advice include informative sections on getting started with electronic transactions, key questions to ask vendors, guidance on information technology solutions, and an outline of the rules and standards for electronic transactions.

Learn more about the AMA toolkits.

Return to the table of contents >

Primary Care

HHS awards Affordable Care Act funds to expand access to care

The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $150 million in awards last week under the Affordable Care Act to support 236 new health center sites across the country. These investments will help care for approximately 1.25 million additional patients.

Community health centers work to improve access to comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services. Community health centers play an especially important role in delivering health care services in communities with historically high uninsurance rates. Community health centers are also on the front line of helping uninsured residents enroll in new health insurance options available in the Health Insurance Marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act, through expanded access to Medicaid in many states, and new private health insurance options and tax credits.

As community-based and patient-directed organizations, health centers are well positioned to be responsive to the specific health care needs of their community. Through the Affordable Care Act’s commitment to expanding access to high quality health care for all Americans, these grants will support the establishment of new full-time service delivery sites.

Health centers also link individuals to care through outreach and enrollment, assuring that individuals in their communities have the information and assistance they need to enroll in care through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Today, approximately 1,200 health centers operate more than 9,000 service delivery sites that provide care to over 21 million patients in every State, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin. Since the beginning of 2009, health centers have added 4 million patients and more than 35,000 new full-time positions.

Read the HHS news and see the Health Center New Access Point grant winners, listed by organization and state.

Return to the table of contents >

Personal Health

New cholesterol advice startles even some doctors

Steven L. Zweibel has been taking a statin drug to lower his cholesterol for seven years. It has worked, and he has suffered no problems or side effects.

But, like many patients taking these drugs, he is perplexed by new guidelines on preventing heart disease and stroke – despite the fact that he is the director of cardiac electrophysiology at Hartford Hospital.

“I am very happy to be on Zocor,” said Dr. Zweibel, 47, referring to the statin he takes. “But now the real question in my head is whether I need to be on it.”

The new guidelines, released on Tuesday by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, represent a remarkable and sudden departure from decades of advice on preventing cardiovascular disease.

According to the new advice, doctors should not put most people on cholesterol-lowering medications like statins based on cholesterol levels alone. And, despite decades of being urged to do so, patients need not monitor their cholesterol once they start taking medication. The guidelines do not even set target levels for LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol.

Doctors are also being told to stop adding other cholesterol-lowering drugs to statins, because those drugs have not been proved to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. For patients and doctors alike, all of this amounts to a surprising, and at times baffling, change in perspective.

The guidelines tell doctors and patients to use a new online risk calculator to determine whether they need treatment.

Dr. Zweibel would like to use the calculator to assess his own risk of heart attack or stroke. But it requires a person’s baseline cholesterol measurement, and Dr. Zweibel has no idea what his is without the statin.

Read the full NY Times article.

Return to the table of contents >


Continuing Education

Harvard’s Leadership Strategies for Information Technology in Health Care Course

Harvardís Leadership Strategies for Information Technology in Health Care Course
Improve quality, safety, and efficiency through health care information technology. This two week, four module executive course explores:

  • Information Technology Strategy and Governance
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Maximizing Quality & Safety Gains from EHRs
  • Clinical Informatics Strategy

Learn More | Register >



Surviving value-based purchasing in healthcare

Surviving value-based purchasing in healthcare
Learn what you need to know in a world measured by value-based care. Attend the hour-long webinar titled "A Road Map to Success Under the New Reimbursement Model." Bobbi Brown, vice president of financial engagement at Health Catalyst, discusses the new era of accountability for providers, including a review of the metrics defined by CMS for value-based purchasing and lessons learned from other hospitals.

View the On-Demand Recording of this Health Catalyst Webinar >

White paper

Fast, flexible, and thorough: Late-Binding explained

Fast, flexible, and thorough:  Late-Binding explained
You have options when it comes to data warehouses – but which one is right for your healthcare organization? Discover the difference of the late-binding data warehouse architecture. And see why this unique system offers quick time-to-value and the agility necessary to meet the changing demands of the healthcare industry.

Read the white paper >

View the NEW exciting White Papers and Webinars on HMT!

Surviving value-based purchasing in healthcare

Fast, flexible, and thorough: Late-Binding explained

Click here to read these white papers. >

November 2013
                                            HMT digital book

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