Best jobs in healthcare, skyrocketing hospital charges, RSNA coverage
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Health
                                            Management Technology News
December 3, 2013

In this issue:

12 Best Jobs in Healthcare 2013 report released by job site CareerCast

Stakes for Obamacare raised by U.S. report goals are met

As hospital prices soar, a single stitch tops $500

Coverage from the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting Dec. 1-6: RadSite, Calgary Scientific, Sony, Siemens


12 Best Jobs in Healthcare 2013 report released by job site CareerCast

Biomedical Engineer, Dental Hygienist and Occupational Therapist rank as the three best health care professions, according to a new CareerCast report on the top job opportunities in health care. Other hot careers in healthcare include optometrist, physical therapist, chiropractor and speech pathologist.

"The Affordable Care Act is expected to create a wide range of new jobs in the health care industry," says Tony Lee, publisher, CareerCast.com. "More insured people means an increase in the need for different types of health services, ranging from direct care to research and maintenance of medical records."

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies projects 31% growth in total U.S. health care employment in the next decade, which translates to roughly 4.6 million total jobs.

For example, consider careers for medical record technicians. An increase in the number of people with health care coverage means more people accessing medical care, which in turn generates more records. A medical records technician is crucial for the day-to-day workflow within a practice.

Biomedical engineer is still a fledgling field, but those who work in this profession are on the cutting edge of the health care industry. Innovations made in biomedical engineering research will be vital through the coming decade of treatment and preventative care. And in part because of dentistry's growing importance, dental hygienist ranks as one of CareerCast's best jobs in health care.

Occupational and physical therapists also are expected to be in high demand over the next few years, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections. Similarly, the demand for chiropractic care is expected to grow to assist with the health concerns of an aging population. The BLS projects 28% more working chiropractors by 2020.

"Before pursuing one of our best jobs in healthcare, as with any career, consider carefully all aspects of this industry," advises Lee. "Research the region in which you are applying to avoid an overly competitive market and know the qualifications an employer is seeking before applying."

Read the Reuters article.

Return to the table of contents >


Stakes for Obamacare raised by U.S. report goals are met

A day after President Barack Obama raised the stakes on his three-year-old health-care overhaul by declaring his online insurance exchange fixed, more than 800,000 people will test the website’s capabilities.

Healthcare.gov had 375,000 visitors today by noon New York time, Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said on a conference call with reporters. The agency expects to surpass 800,000 users by day’s end.

The website also appeared to be handling its stated new capacity of 50,000 simultaneous visitors, primarily through use of a queuing system that controls overflow. At the same time, an error rate of 0.9 percent per page today, a decrease from 6 percent in October, still means users may encounter problems in clicking through multiple pages to enroll in a health plan.

If consumers find continuing problems with the site “it is going to help drive this to a huge advantage for the Republican party, for a broader agenda which will not be just fixing the website; it’ll be scaling back the law,” said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public, in a telephone interview.

The full effect of the repairs may not be known until the middle of January, when the administration reports on enrollment in December. About 100,000 people signed up for coverage through the federal system last month, a roughly four-fold increase from October even as healthcare.gov was undergoing repairs, said a person familiar with program’s progress who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

The enrollment jump may be an encouraging trend for the administration, signaling that consumers are keeping an open mind about the U.S.-run exchange even as it suffered software glitches and breakdowns. Americans face a mid-December deadline to sign up for coverage beginning Jan 1.

In a report released yesterday by the Health and Human Services Department, the administration said it has fixed or improved more than 400 software issues and made the site between two and five times faster through a series of hardware upgrades, including new servers. The site’s average response time has fallen from eight seconds in October to less than one second over the past three weeks, the report said.

New monitoring tools were installed allowing technicians to keep an eye on the site’s traffic and any problems 24 hours a day, and a dedicated phone line called an “open bridge” connects programmers at different contractors’ offices to a command center in Columbia, Maryland.

“Healthcare.gov on Dec. 1 is night and day from where it was on Oct. 1,” said Jeffrey Zients, the management consultant President Barack Obama assigned to supervise repairs, on a conference call yesterday.

While the report cited the “dramatic improvements” in the website’s performance, others weren’t impressed.

“A good site will have a 100th of 1 percent error rate,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, an e-commerce analyst with Forrester Research Inc. (FORR), in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a telephone interview. “That’s not great.”

In addition, “the best sites are able to handle tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of sessions” by users at once, Mulpuru said.

Federal officials yesterday said they would continue working to improve the website. Technicians are now focusing on fixing the back-end systems that send data on customers and federal subsidy payments to insurers. Those systems, centered on a standard transaction form known as an “834,” are used to transmit key data about new customers to insurers.

Read the Bloomberg article.

Return to the table of contents >


As hospital prices soar, a single stitch tops $500

With blood oozing from deep lacerations, the two patients arrived at California Pacific Medical Center’s tidy emergency room. Deepika Singh, 26, had gashed her knee at a backyard barbecue. Orla Roche, a rambunctious toddler on vacation with her family, had tumbled from a couch, splitting open her forehead on a table.

On a quiet Saturday in May, nurses in blue scrubs quickly ushered the two patients into treatment rooms. The wounds were cleaned, numbed and mended in under an hour. “It was great – they had good DVDs, the staff couldn’t have been nicer,” said Emer Duffy, Orla’s mother.

Then the bills arrived. Ms. Singh’s three stitches cost $2,229.11. Orla’s forehead was sealed with a dab of skin glue for $1,696. “When I first saw the charge, I said, ‘What could possibly have cost that much?’ ” recalled Ms. Singh. “They billed for everything, every pill.”

In a medical system notorious for opaque finances and inflated bills, nothing is more convoluted than hospital pricing, economists say. Hospital charges represent about a third of the $2.7 trillion annual United States health care bill, the biggest single segment, according to government statistics, and are the largest driver of medical inflation, a new study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found.

A day spent as an inpatient at an American hospital costs on average more than $4,000, five times the charge in many other developed countries, according to the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insurance industries. The most expensive hospitals charge more than $12,500 a day. And at many of them, including California Pacific Medical Center, emergency rooms are profit centers. That is why one of the simplest and oldest medical procedures – closing a wound with a needle and thread – typically leads to bills of at least $1,500 and often much more.

The main reason for high hospital costs in the United States, economists say, is fiscal, not medical: Hospitals are the most powerful players in a health care system that has little or no price regulation in the private market.

Rising costs of drugs, medical equipment and other services, and fees from layers of middlemen, play a significant role in escalating hospital bills, of course. But just as important is that mergers and consolidation have resulted in a couple of hospital chains – like Partners in Boston, or Banner in Phoenix – dominating many parts of the country, allowing them to command high prices from insurers and employers.

In other countries, the price of a day in the hospital often includes many basic services. Not here. The “chargemaster,” the price list created by each hospital, typically has more than ten thousand entries, and almost nothing – even an aspirin, a bag of IV fluid, or a visit from a physical therapist to help a patient get out of bed – is free. Those lists are usually secret, but California requires them to be filed with health regulators and disclosed.

California Pacific Medical Center’s 400-page chargemaster for this year contains some eye-popping figures: from $32,901 for an X-ray study of the heart’s arteries to $25,646.88 for gall bladder removal (doctor’s fees not included) to $5,510 for a simple vaginal delivery (not including $731 for each hour of labor, or $137 for each bag of IV fluid). Even basic supplies or services carry huge markups: $20 for a codeine pill (50 cents at Rite-Aid or Walgreens), $543 for a breast-pump kit ($25 online), $4,495 for a CT scan of the abdomen (about $400 at an outpatient facility nearby). Plenty of other hospitals set similar prices.

Read the full New York Times article.

Return to the table of contents >


Coverage from the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting Dec. 1-6: RadSite, Calgary Scientific, Sony, Siemens

RadSite to Showcase MIPPA Accreditation Program at RSNA 2013

RadSite, a leading certification organization promoting quality-based imaging practices in the United States, will exhibit at the Radiological Society of North America’s (RSNA) annual meeting in Chicago, December 1-6, 2013, as part of the national launch of its MIPPA Accreditation Program (MAP). RadSite is an official accrediting body as designated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for MAP under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) of 2008.

To celebrate the recent CMS recognition of the MIPPA Accreditation Program, RadSite will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its booth (#8538) on December 3 at 11:45 a.m., located in the North Building, Hall B. Visitors to the booth will also have an opportunity to win a Kindle Fire tablet.

“RadSite is excited to share the benefits of its MIPPA Accreditation Program with members of the medical imaging industry at RSNA 2013,” says Angie Yasulitis, manager of marketing & education for RadSite. “Not only is this program easy to use and well-priced for the value, but it involves high-touch customer service,” she says.

“RadSite has always provided a true relationship-based process for working with our current and potential clients,” says Garry Carneal, RadSite president and CEO. “As we strengthen our leadership position in the quality field, we want to provide that same experience for MAP clients. Our attendance at RSNA will allow providers to get to know us a little bit better, and ask questions of key RadSite staff.”

Read the full press release.

Calgary Scientific Inc. to preview new ResolutionMD functionality at RSNA 2013

Calgary Scientific Inc., a company known for creating transformative technology for the medical industry and beyond, announced updates to ResolutionMD™ that will be showcased for the first time at RSNA, December 1-6, 2013 at booth 5509. ResolutionMD is an enterprise-wide image and report viewing solution that provides one simple interface for practitioners to securely access information from multiple archives in real-time. ResolutionMD is accredited by the FDA for diagnosis on web and iOS mobile devices and was first to be cleared for Android devices earlier this year.

The new functionality enables even quicker and broader access to valuable information by:

  • Offering a view of the entire patient record across disparate systems and geographies, including additional support for non-DICOM data types
  • Enabling seamless integration with any system currently in use, optimizing existing infrastructure
  • Facilitating secure notification and instant collaboration capabilities that connect practitioners regardless of their location or device they are using

“Calgary Scientific continues to demonstrate its leadership in enterprise and mobile image viewing for healthcare,” said Pierre Lemire, President and CTO with Calgary Scientific. “I think RSNA attendees will be excited to view our new capabilities as they address the challenges healthcare organizations have in quickly accessing images and other patient information across their enterprises.”

Read the full press release.


Sony highlights state-of-the-art display and imaging technologies at RSNA 2013

Sony Electronics’ Medical Systems Division is demonstrating its latest developments in 4K and 3D imaging technologies designed to re-shape visualization, training and education for a range of medical applications. The new works-in-progress technologies, a 4K professional 65-inch display, a 3D LCD secondary screen and OLED display -- are on display at the 2013 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting.

“From 4K to 3D to OLED, Sony has the right display technology to help deliver optimized results, whether reviewing a procedure or for training and education,” said Lida Trupp, marketing manager, Sony Electronics’ Medical Systems Division."

3D

The LMD-2451MT 24-inch display is part of Sony’s 3D medical display line, joined by a 32-inch model. At RSNA, the 24-inch version is featured for its use as a secondary monitor for 3D review of interventional procedures by GE Healthcare, taking signals from a GE Vivid E9 cardiac ultrasound scanner.

“For medical applications, the Sony 3D medical display significantly enhances depth perception and helps improve visualization of anatomical structures, letting us see details in new ways than we could have ever seen with a traditional monitor,” said Al Lojewski, GM of Cardiovascular Ultrasound at GE Healthcare. “This monitor is an excellent complement to our Vivid E9 4D technology.”

4K New Technologies

At RSNA, Sony is using a new 65-inch Pro BRAVIA 4K professional display to show 4K footage recently captured at the Anatomy Lab of the Duke School of Medicine. The Sony camera used was the F55, the same 4K camera model now in use on movie, TV and live event locations worldwide. The footage demonstrates how the clarity, resolution and detail of 4K images hold great potential for increased visualization. In addition to producing beautiful images, the display’s Multi-View feature lets medical professionals see a “quad-split” view of four full HD signals on one display, helping them view different angles simultaneously of the same procedure.

OLED

Sony’s OLED display technology is expected to deliver significant benefits for a variety of applications and combines all the noted advantages of Sony’s OLED technology -- true-to-life color reproduction and high resolution. With its much quicker response time than LCD, one of the greatest advantages of the OLED monitor is its ability to display quick motion with virtually no blur. Additionally, the monitor incorporates Sony’s revolutionary TRIMASTER EL technology (EL standing for electroluminescence), enabling it to achieve pure black, faithful to the source signal. By providing superb color reproduction, especially for dark images, healthcare professionals can observe subtle details such as the faint color difference between various tissues and blood vessels.

Learn more about Sony innovations.


Siemens offers “Answers for Life”

At the 99th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), December 1 to 6 in Chicago, Siemens Healthcare (Booth #1934, South Building/Lakeside Center at McCormick Place, Hall A) will provide “Answers for Life” by offering cutting-edge and accessible technological innovations designed to advance human health. With these systems and related solutions, Siemens will demonstrate its enduring status as a trusted partner that helps its customers fight the world’s most threatening diseases, elevate quality and productivity in health care, and enable improved access to treatment.

At RSNA 2013, Siemens will showcase the following innovations:

Angiography

The visionary Artis Q and Artis Q.zen angiography systems from Siemens feature a revolutionary X-ray tube and detector technology designed to improve minimally invasive therapy for coronary artery disease (CAD), stroke and cancer, helping hospitals improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. The Artis Q.zen product line combines the X-ray tube with a new crystalline silicon detector that permits imaging at ultra-low radiation levels, enabling utilization of doses as low as half the standard levels applied in angiography. Paired with CARE+CLEAR, a comprehensive portfolio of image quality and dose-saving tools that is standard with all Artis systems, Siemens is determined to provide the lowest possible dose to its customers. Its innovative technology, backed by the value it generates at various levels of the care continuum, has been recognized by Frost & Sullivan with the 2013 North American Award for Company of the Year.

Computed Tomography

Engineered to drive efficiency and reduce costs, the new 16- and 32-slice configurations of Siemens’ SOMATOM Perspective family of computed tomography (CT) scanners1 bring high-end technologies to a broader clientele, with the option of upgrading to the established 64- and 128-slice configurations. In addition to being suitable for routine oncology scans as well as head, neck, lung, and abdominal imaging, the 16-slice SOMATOM Perspective can help ensure that pain-relieving analgesics are delivered to the correct location during surgery. The 32-slice configuration is designed to provide more detailed imaging for bone fractures, inner ear examinations, and vascular applications. Both configurations of the SOMATOM Perspective feature the SAFIRE (Sinogram Affirmed Iterative Reconstruction)2 algorithm, which enables the user to reduce radiation dose by as much as 60 percent or improve image quality correspondingly.

Magnetic Resonance

At RSNA 2013, Siemens will debut revolutionary technologies designed to enable fast body magnetic resonance (MR) imaging for all patients. The technologies will be available on the MAGNETOM Skyra 3T and MAGNETOM Area 1.5T MRI systems. The new StarVIBE MR pulse sequence is designed to enable free-breathing, contrast-enhanced liver imaging for patients (including patients who are old, very ill, or young) unable to easily manage breath-holding. Siemens’ new TWIST-VIBE MR sequence is designed to enable correct contrast imaging in dynamic liver MRI for all patients and lesions, allowing fast, robust liver imaging with full 4D coverage. The sequences StarVIBE and TWIST-VIBE will be available as the FREEZEit package.

Also at this year’s RSNA, Siemens will introduce its Quiet Suite of applications, which covers complete, quiet neuro and musculoskeletal MR examinations with a minimum 70 percent reduction in sound pressure and no compromise in image quality. Optimized to make MRI more comfortable for patients and to improve the comfort of sensitive patients such as children and the elderly, Quiet Suite will be available with the MAGNETOM Skyra 3T and MAGNETOM Area 1.5T MRI systems.

Molecular Imaging

The new Biograph mCT Flow positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET·CT) system overcomes the limitations of conventional bed-based, stop-and-go PET/CT imaging with FlowMotion, a revolutionary technology that moves the patient smoothly through the system’s gantry while continuously acquiring PET data. Biograph mCT Flow with FlowMotion enables imaging protocols based on the organ’s need, leveraging the industry’s finest4 resolution. FlowMotion expands accurate, reproducible quantification in all dimensions for precise disease characterization in therapy monitoring, while enabling physicians to offer as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) dose to every patient. Additionally, the combination of a 78 cm bore with five-minute ultrafast scanning and a continuous sense of progress throughout the scan offers a more comfortable exam experience for the patient.

Symbia Intevo is the world’s first xSPECT system, combining the high sensitivity of single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) with the high specificity of CT. Completely integrating data from both modalities, Symbia Intevo generates high resolution and, for the first time ever, quantitative images for SPECT. Siemens’ new xSPECT modality reconstructs both the SPECT and CT portions of the image using the high-definition CT frame of reference for precise, accurate alignment that facilitates the extraction and deep integration of medically relevant information.

Read the full release.


> READ ALL NEWS AT HEALTHMGTTECH.COM


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