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Conn. Children’s Medical Center focuses on analytics to make improvements

Hospitals & Health Networks reports that “analytics are the heart of data-driven continuous improvement and performance excellence initiatives at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford.”  To read H&HN’s whole report, please hit this link.

Richelle deMayo, M.D., the hospital’s chief medical information officer, said: “Reporting, dashboards and registries permit us to examine relationships between process and outcome. We can also identify and address opportunities to achieve operational efficiency. Patient throughput, readmissions, timely discharge, clinical documentation improvement and charge capture have all benefited from our ability to benchmark and track key performance indicators.”

Hospitals & Health Networks reports that  the hospital focuses on:

  • “Developing reporting tools and dashboards for performance improvement.
  • “Using clinical and business intelligence tools to track patient and provider-level metrics and outcomes.
  • “Reviewing scorecards regularly by all clinical managers, directors and vice presidents.
  • “Using scorecards for early detection of potential problems and care redesign.
  • “Redesigning EHRs to remove features with questionable value that distract and detract from clinician-patient interaction.”






Epic launches patient-data-sharing platform that works without EHRs

Epic has launched a new global interoperability platform called Share Everywhere.

Healthcare Dive reports that it lets patients “grant access to their personal data to any provider with Internet access, regardless of whether they have EHRs. Providers can also send progress notes to the patient’s primary care organization, enhancing care coordination and continuity.

“The technology builds on Epic’s Care Everywhere technology, which allows organizations to exchange patient records between Epic and non-Epic systems. Some 2 million records move about on Care Everywhere on a daily basis, according to Epic.’’

Using their smartphones, patients can forward a view of their Epic chart to any clinician. The patient determines who has access and Epic records each exchange.

Such EHR vendors as Epic, Cerner and Allscripts are all starting to accept beginning  open platforms and thus a more connected digital experience for their clients. Healthcare Dive says “The move could open the door to more novel features and capabilities in areas like population health and data sharing.’’

To read more, please hit this link.



Some patients fear Trump administration may use EHRs to discriminate against them


With the relentless hacking and infamous cybersecurity breaches becoming increasingly worrisome, patients are quite right to be leery of  having their personal information go into electronic health records. And now, with the Trump administration about to take over in Washington, there’s even more fear.

Writes Marla Durben Hirsch in Fiercehealthcare,  “{T}here is a deeper, darker reason patients might withhold information: the apparent imminent change of our society and its laws post-election.

“President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on a promise he would crack down on immigrants and Muslims. The turn of the nation to the right will likely also affect the LGBTQ community.

“Now it’s not just the fear that an EHR breach will reveal a patient’s medical information and cause financial harm or medical identity theft. Now a breach could affect a patent’s personal safety if information is used against them.

“For instance, section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act prohibits providers from discriminating against patients on the basis of sex, including sexual identity. The rule implementing this provision was just finalized. Providers are being encouraged to add to their EHRs preferred names of transgendered patients if they differ from the gender on their drivers’ licenses and include other identifying information into the systems.

“But if the Affordable Care Act is repealed and LGBTQ people lose these protections, they may face discrimination or harassment. So what happens if patients don’t tell providers that they are LGBTQ? Physicians could miss conditions that affect their patients at a higher rate, such as depression and substance abuse. A physician might miss important cancer screening tests if transgender patients don’t feel safe sharing personal information.”

To read more, please hit this link.

‘Collaborative rounding’ and better workflows



Electronic health records have their place but they can’t cure poor hospital workflows by themselves. It’s essential to take human factors fully into consideration in establishing new workflows involving EHRs

“We see some pretty big failure rates around project management,” Melissa Swanfeldt, associate vice president for sales and marketing at EHR vendor Meditech, told MedCity News, citing research suggesting that 70 percent of large operational projects fail.

“Value the end-user experience,” Ms. Swanfeldt told the publication. “They {patients} need to understand how the technology impacts them.”

“Collaborative rounding,” involving  stronger, more frequent communication among patients, physicians and caregivers, is part of the solution.

To read more, please hit this link.

Public health systems’ special EHR needs


Frank Quinn writes in MedCity News that “it’s important to realize that regular EHRs are not exactly ideal for the needs of a public health system. Providers must understand the specific challenges of public health organizations, the ever-evolving healthcare industry and the requirements associated with the federal EHR Meaningful Use program in order to make the most of their practice.”

“Reporting requirements for local health departments have increased significantly, so it is absolutely important that these departments and providers register each patient into the right program. An effective public health EHR will allow a practice to slide each patient into a different scale for payment, based on variation in family members, income and other factors. Also, look out for a system that generates a declaration of income for the patient to sign electronically.

“For public health reporting, your EHR must contain all of the required forms. These include Bright Futures, maternal health, WISEWOMAN, family planning, sexually transmitted diseases and others.”

“A good public health EHR will automatically customize clinical forms for each department. Moreover, it will allow the data generated to be structured for reporting at both the state and federal levels. Make sure you end up entering the data just once, so the EHR itself flows the information through the entire system.”

To read the whole article, please hit this link.

Why physicians should join clinically integrated networks


Susanne Madden writes in Physicians Practice on why physicians need to join clinically integrated networks. She concludes:

“Many smaller practices and organizations are floundering as the healthcare market changes around them. Requirements for data reporting, care coordination, patient follow up, and so on, in order to meet new market and contracting demands is becoming too costly and cumbersome to support. Many smaller groups have little leverage in the market to secure good contract terms with both payers and hospitals that are building ACOs and limiting employee benefits to narrow networks —so coming together under these structures is a good way to share the load.

“Being part of a larger network of high performing (that is, ability to meet market quality metrics) providers improves leverage, minimizes participation costs, and allows for data to be managed centrally; which can help with CMS reporting, commercial payer pay-for-performance compliance, and patient tracking and management, for example. It is expensive to manage to metric-driven contracts, so utilizing CIN data mining across EHRs from multiple vendors helps to reduce that burden substantially. And if you can’t manage to the data, you can’t take advantage of performance initiatives and may be facing payment penalties in the months to come.

So if you are an independent physician, you may want to see what options are available to you to partner up with larger physician groups, hospitals, or health systems that can help you thrive in the big data market. Now is the time.

Ariz. hospital E.D. cuts wait times even as patients increase


This Modern Healthcare piece looks at how the Payson (Ariz.) Regional Medical Center has cut wait times in its emergency department even as the number of patients using it has increased.

The publication summed up the strategies as:

  • Allowing nurses to order routine lab and imaging tests.
  • Shifting schedules to make more providers available at the busiest times.
  • Hiring  medical scribes to enter notes into EHRs for physicians.
  • Promoting teamwork “with huddles at the end of each shift.”





Healthcare IT in 2016


This article  by John Halamka in tech-focused MedCity News makes predictions for health IT in 2016. They include, here in stripped-down form:

1. “Population health will finally be defined and implemented.”

2. “Security threats will increase.”
3. “The workflow of EHRs will be re-defined. ”

4. “Email will gradually be replaced by groupware.”

5. “Market forces will be more potent than regulation.”

6. “Apps will layer on top of transactional systems empowered by FHIR {Fast Health Interoperability Resources}.”

7. “Infrastructure will be increasingly commoditized.”

8. “Less functionality with greater usability will shape purchasing decisions.”

9. “The role of the CIO will evolve from provisioner/tech expert to service procurer and governance runner.”

10. “The healthcare industry will realize that IT investments must rise for organizations to meet customer expectations, survive bundled payment reimbursement methods, and create decision support/big data wisdom.”


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