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Health Management Technology News
May 29, 2014

In this issue:
 

 HMT exclusive: Document management software can be the perfect Rx for healthcare offices

 Healthcare IT security worse than retail, study says

 Chuck Hagel, Pentagon Chief, orders review of military's healthcare system

 Why does AARP want you to say 'No' to healthcare?

 China healthcare reform to relax curbs on foreign investment in hospitals

 4 ways clinical analytics help sustain a successful ACO model


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HMT exclusive: Document management software can be the perfect Rx for healthcare offices

For clinics, physician offices and other facilities that provide medical care, thoroughly documenting the patient visit is crucial – both to ensure proper coordination of treatment and to support claim submissions and secure full reimbursement. Treatment documentation is increasingly moving into electronic formats, spurred in part by “Meaningful Use” incentives set up to encourage healthcare providers to use electronic medical records.

But on the business side of the clinical operation, many medical offices still use paper forms and print out patient correspondence, insurance information and financial data for filing, using outdated 20th century methods in 2014. In this scenario, keeping track of forms, data and paperwork becomes a constant worry for office managers, who frequently have to drop everything and conduct a physical search or go through pages of emails or electronic files to locate an important document.

Healthcare office managers who find themselves in this situation – with stacks of unfiled paperwork and unorganized email attachments and other electronic documents – face many unnecessary challenges when trying to manage their operations efficiently. And lack of administrative efficiency can eventually affect the quality of care by delaying reimbursements and distracting office personnel.

There is a better way. Today, there are software solutions available that can streamline paper and electronic document management. And fortunately for smaller offices that lack extensive technical resources, there are affordable document management solutions currently on the market that don’t require any specialized expertise – or a huge upfront investment.

However, before you select a paperless solution for your medical office, it’s important to make sure you understand exactly what features you’re getting and what it will take to convert your organization to a paperless document storage strategy. Here are some questions you should ask before you make a decision – and tips on what to look for in a new solution:

Read the full article from Health Management Technology here

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Healthcare IT security worse than retail, study says

Healthcare organizations are rife with insecurity, and it's only a question of when a Target-like attack puts millions of patient health information (PHI) files on the black market, a new study suggests.

A large-scale attack within the healthcare industry could put patients' safety and lives at stake, cautioned Stephen Boyer, CTO of security rating firm BitSight Technology, in an interview. Despite increasing awareness about these risks, healthcare organizations far behind their peers in other vertical markets, Boyer said, citing a BitSight study titled Will Healthcare Be the Next Retail?, released May 28.

Of four industries the study analyzed, healthcare saw the largest surge in attacks and was slowest to respond, taking more than five days to remediate security issues. By comparison, finance took about 3.5 days, and retail and utilities combated issues within approximately four days. Some healthcare organizations led the market, using best practices and adequate resources, but as a sector, healthcare is weaker than others.

According to Boyer, however, that may be improving. "I don't know of a major breach of healthcare records, but stay tuned. I know that certainly there's worry about privacy. I see more transparency going into the process and I think that's going to put the right incentives in place," he said. "The Target breach was just a watershed moment in the industry. It's changing conversations everywhere we go."

Read the full article from Information Week
here


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Chuck Hagel, Pentagon Chief, orders review of military's healthcare system

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a comprehensive review of the U.S. military's healthcare system after the head of an Army medical center was relieved of command over concerns about problems at the hospital, including two deaths.

The 90-day review, to be led by the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, comes amid an investigation of timely access to care in the separate medical system for U.S. military veterans.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the top Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement the review would examine "whether current access to care meets the department's standards" as well as "the safety and quality of care provided to all Department of Defense beneficiaries."

The announcement of the review came after the commander of Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was relieved of his duties on Tuesday, several weeks ahead of time.

The New York Times said the Womack shake-up, including the suspension of three of the center's top deputies, was triggered by two deaths at the hospital as well as problems with surgical infection control identified by an independent accrediting body.

The problems at the Fort Bragg medical center, one of the Army's busiest hospitals, come at a time of heightened concern about medical care for military personnel and retirees after the Department of Veterans Affairs started a probe of treatment delays at its hospitals and clinics.

Read the full article from The Huffington Post
here


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Why does AARP want you to say 'No' to healthcare?

Did you know that 30 percent of healthcare in the U.S. is unnecessary? According to the Institute of Medicine, our healthcare system generates approximately $2.1 trillion, and $700 billion of that is spent on waste every year.

In response to some doctors questioning the necessity and accruing costs of many of their prescribed procedures, the American Board of Internal Medicine developed the "Choosing Wisely" campaign to educate the community on tests and procedures that are often overused and sometimes provide little value to patients. This campaign is being championed by AARP Utah, Central Utah Clinic, and HealthInsight.

But why would patients ever say "no" to additional health care?

The answer is simple: To avoid unnecessary risks that medical procedures inevitably bring with them.

Read the full article from heraldextra.com here

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China healthcare reform to relax curbs on foreign investment in hospitals

China will ease curbs on foreign investment in joint-venture hospitals, the government said on Wednesday, as it deepens a sweeping overhaul of its healthcare system aimed at cutting costs and sprucing up overloaded public services.

China is an appealing market for pharmaceutical firms and medical-equipment makers, with spending in the industry expected to nearly triple to $1 trillion by 2020 from $357 billion in 2011, according to consulting firm McKinsey.

In a healthcare reform plan for 2014 published on its website, China's cabinet, the State Council, said it aimed to relax limits on foreign investment in hospitals on the mainland.

The plan would include "reducing restrictions on the percentage of foreign ownership in medical JVs and collaborations," it said.

The move would increase the number of locations where Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau investors could set up wholly-owned medical centers, and let overseas investors set up wholly-owned hospitals in areas such as the Shanghai free trade zone.

The statement gave no details on the timing of the move.

Read the full article from Reuters here

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4 ways clinical analytics help sustain a successful ACO model

From population health management to identifying gaps in care, clinical analytics play a vital role in accountable care. Dave Caldwell, executive vice president at Campbell, Calif-based Certify Data Systems, a subsidiary of Humana, provides four ways clinical analytics can be used to help sustain a successful accountable care organization model.

1. Care coordination. Clinical analytics tools can improve care coordination in accountable care relationships by "translating disparate healthcare data into real-time actionable health intelligence," says Mr. Caldwell. Analytics tools can offer care teams a true 360-degree view of an individual's medical profile to enable informed decisions at the moment of influence. By using clinical analytics, physicians participating in ACOs can "have a more complete discussion with their patients at the point of care, improving the physician-patient relationship and care coordination across the healthcare ecosystem," adds Mr. Caldwell.

"As more data sources are utilized for analysis, clinical corroboration/validation tools that filter out time decayed, irrelevant and non-corroborated data will become more critical in creating an accurate and comprehensive patient profile," says Mr. Caldwell.

2. Population health. It is important ACOs' clinical analytics engines have the ability to function in both real-time and in batch mode for population analysis. By using analytics, ACOs can run population reports "to detect compliance levels to specific quality measures and identify other areas of concern to improve health outcomes," says Mr. Caldwell. In addition, prospective analyses can be utilized to notify ACO care teams of possible interventions to avoid future medical or financial risks, he adds.

Read the full article from Becker’s Hospital
Report here


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