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Health Management Technology News
  June 11, 2014
In this issue:
 
 Additional ICD-10 delay provides opportunity to ‘reflect, regroup, revitalize’

 FDA, industry groups partner to form medical tech cyber standards

 Why healthcare reform might mean more jobs, less automation

 Review shows 100,000 veterans face long waits for healthcare

 The healthcare industry is pushing patients to help themselves

 Healthcare's big challenge: How to measure value

 Digital medical tech startup expanding

What you need to know about ICD-10
Download this white paper on switching from using ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes for all medical services. The deadline for completing the switch is October 1, 2015, which will be here sooner than you think. Healthcare facilities need to start planning their communication strategy now to be fully prepared to meet the upcoming transition.

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Seven Strategies to Improve Patient Satisfaction
Hospital reimbursements are now influenced, in part, by patient satisfaction scores. Read about seven areas to target in your hospital for happier, more satisfied patients.

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Additional ICD-10 delay provides opportunity to ‘reflect, regroup, revitalize’

The latest ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation delay should be used by healthcare providers to “reflect, regroup, and revitalize” as well as finally “get the transition right” and mitigate risks caused by inadequate preparation, said Sue Bowman, AHIMA’s senior director of coding policy and compliance, during testimony Tuesday to the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics’ Standards Subcommittee.

“We understand that many organizations did not leverage the opportunities presented by the last delay to prepare and transition to ICD-10,” Bowman said in her testimony. “It is essential for all stakeholders and organizations to take advantage of the opportunities provided by this recent delay.”

AHIMA was invited to testify to the subcommittee in Washington, DC on issues related to the one year delay of ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation enacted in April by the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014. The subcommittee asked participants to comment on the main challenges and risks associated with the ICD-10 delay, as well as the cost implications, contingency plans being developed by organizations to deal with the delay, and what can be done to ensure no further delay is enacted. In addition to the verbal testimony, AHIMA submitted written testimony answering all of the NCVHS subcommittee members’ questions.

Main challenges associated with the delay include a loss of forward implementation momentum and stakeholder attention, skepticism regarding the firmness of the October 1, 2015 compliance date, increased implementation costs, and a re-direction of ICD-10 budget to other activities, Bowman said.

Read the full article from AHIMA here  

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FDA, industry groups partner to form medical tech cyber standards

The Food and Drug Administration has partnered with industry groups to develop standards meant to help medical device firms protect their technology offerings from cyber security threats, MassDevice reported.

Arezu Sarvestani writes the FDA released formal guidance last year recommending that manufacturers document their cyber risk management measures in premarket submissions.

The agency has built a new laboratory that will use a Codenomicon Defensics-made technology to screen medical devices for any vulnerabilities before the products are released on the market.

Melissa Masters, engineering manager at Battelle, believes medtech developers need to factor cyber security in early phases of device development.

“Everyone has seen the guidance document and, if they’ve been around for a while, they know what that means,” Masters told MassDevice.

Read the full article from executivegov.com
here
 

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Why healthcare reform might mean more jobs, less automation

Using technology to automate business processes is a good thing that enhances operational efficiency and drive cost savings, right? Not always. Today’s health-care industry offers a counter-intuitive case in point.

As the Affordable Care Act continues to transform the health-care market, a growing number of health-care insurers are finding that maintaining and upgrading automated claims processing applications is becoming prohibitively expensive. In fact, decreasing automation and increasing investment in personnel can in many cases produce a more cost-efficient outcome.

In recent years, health-care payers have poured significant resources into developing software applications that automate the process of reviewing and processing claims for reimbursement of health-care costs – in some cases achieving auto-adjudication rates approaching 90%. At the time, this approach made sense, and these highly customized legacy systems were proven to be effective in relatively static environments.

Today, of course, it’s a different ballgame: health-care reform is driving fundamental and ongoing changes in regulatory and data reporting requirements. This means the myriad applications involved in auto-adjudication require constant upgrades, which not only drives costs but piles layer upon layer of additional complexity on to already highly customized and heavily engineered systems.

In this context, the commitment to maintaining high levels of automation results in higher costs and inflexible systems, making it more difficult to meet mandate deadlines.

Read the full article from The Wall Street Journal
here
 

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Review shows 100,000 veterans face long waits for healthcare

More than 100,000 veterans are experiencing waits of more than 90 days for appointments at medical centers run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, according to an internal audit released by the troubled agency on Monday.

The internal survey revealed that a scandal over cover-ups of long wait times at VA clinics, during which some veterans are alleged to have died, was broader and deeper than initially thought, prompting a new round of recriminations from lawmakers and veterans groups.

The agency said staff at 76 percent of facilities surveyed reported that they were instructed to misrepresent appointment data at least once.

The VA said it found that in mid-May, 57,436 veterans were waiting for appointments that could not be scheduled within 90 days, while about 43,000 had appointments more than 90 days in the future.

Over the past 10 years, 63,869 new enrollees in the VA healthcare system had requested appointments that were never scheduled, VA said.

The agency said it is working to contact all of these people to try to expedite their care. With more than 1,700 clinics, hospitals and other facilities serving some 8.9 million veterans, the VA operates the largest U.S. healthcare system.

Lawmakers from both parties expressed outrage at the latest findings, which deepen the political problems that the controversy presents to President Barack Obama and his Democrats as they try to keep control of the U.S. Senate in November elections.

"The results of the VA’s report are appalling and disturbing," said Senator Kay Hagan, a Democrat in a tight re-election contest in North Carolina, a state where many military retirees live.

Read the full article from Reuters here  

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The healthcare industry is pushing patients to help themselves

It's the last mile in the race to fix health care—getting patients more involved.

Hospitals, doctors and public-health officials are pushing patients to keep track of their medical data, seek preventive care and stay on top of chronic conditions. They're measuring how motivated patients are to manage their own health and adopting a wide range of strategies to help them do better, a concept known as patient engagement.

The federal government, for instance, is promoting new initiatives to give millions of Americans access to their medical records online, so patients can use them to better manage their health. Providers, meanwhile, are mining those records to find patients who aren't compliant with their regimens or missing preventive care, and nudging them to take action. And new mobile applications help clinicians keep a closer eye on patients' progress in things like diet and exercise.

Driving this effort is a pressing shortage of doctors that leaves medical teams scrambling to provide the care patients need, even as more people develop chronic conditions like diabetes that need regular attention. Meanwhile, costs are soaring, and the choices patients face over insurance coverage are getting more complex and demand much more informed decisions.

Read the full article from The Wall Street Journal
here
 

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Healthcare's big challenge: How to measure value

As the purchaser representative on the federal Health IT Policy Committee, David Lansky, PhD., is the voice of employers, insurers, and other organizations responsible for healthcare compensation.

It's a role he's handled for five years, one that complements his full-time position as CEO and president of Pacific Business Group on Health, a nonprofit business coalition that helps its 60 purchaser members provide coverage to more than 3 million employees by improving the quality and affordability of healthcare.

In both positions, Lansky focuses on improving the nation's healthcare delivery system by curtailing unnecessary spending and enhancing visibility by measuring outcomes and value. As healthcare providers move to care that is based on value rather than fees, it's imperative for payers to have tools to measure value, Lansky told InformationWeek. Without them, providers will default back to fee-based care and patients will again fall into a pattern of potentially unneeded tests, medications, and treatments.

"To assess value, we need to measure value in the way people who get care are treated," he said. "The goal is to measure what happens to the whole person across time and across space."

Read the full article from Information Week
here
 

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Digital medical tech startup expanding

Spartanburg County isn't quite ready to be the next “Silicon Valley.”

But local business leaders believe the rapid growth of the community's first homegrown digital medical technology startup—Core Care Medical LLC—is proof positive that the area's entrepreneurial soil is fertile.

“You've got to start somewhere,” said Steven Hahn, of the Spartanburg Entrepreneurial Resource Network (SERN). “Core Care Medical is the perfect example of what Spartanburg is capable of producing when the local entrepreneurial support community works together to help a business owner accomplish their goals.”

Core Care Medical was founded last July by Nils Bouwmeester, Stan McDaniel and Scott Montgomery. The company is focused on providing easy-to-use, “App”-style workflow solutions that make it easier for doctors to care for their patients and for patients to proactively manage their health.

In July, the company launched its first product from the accelerator at Spartanburg Community College's Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Development in Duncan.

The product, Core Care Wellness, is designed to simplify the Annual Wellness Visit benefit for Medicare patients. It was first made available to select practices in North and South Carolina.

Since then, the company has expanded its footprint to five more states and anticipates having a presence in 15 states by the end of 2014.

Read the full article from goupstate.com
here
 

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June 2014  HMT digital book

White Papers

What you need to know about ICD-10

Seven Strategies to Improve Patient Satisfaction

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