Posts From October, 2016

AUC and the CVIS 

Leveraging Appropriate Use Criteria for Better Outcomes—and Collateral Benefits

Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) is intended to help physicians achieve the best outcomes using the most appropriate treatment plan for any situation. Ensuring that physicians comply with established AUC guidelines is crucial to the overall success of a facility. Demonstrated AUC excellence can impact: 

  • Patient outcomes and satisfaction
  • Hospital reputation
  • Reimbursement in the value-based care era

While the goal of all physicians is to provide best-quality, appropriate care for their patients, in the real world this can be challenging to accomplish—and to document—because of the lack of point-of-care access to complete, longitudinal patient information. Providing physicians with access to relevant patient data, and ensuring they have a clear understanding of AUC guidelines, can lead to improved outcomes—and cost savings as well. 


Rachanee Curry, LUMEDX Service Line & Analytics Consultant, explains how LUMEDX solutions help physicians access the patient data they need to comply with Appropriate Use Criteria.

Leveraging Appropriate Use for Cost Savings & More

With the shift to value-based care, service line leaders must seek out every cost-control opportunity. The good news is that there are collateral benefits to AUC compliance: In addition to improved clinical outcomes, collecting and serving up data so physicians can provide appropriate care helps heart and vascular centers improve their financial performance by:

  • Providing the right information, at the right time, to support appropriate clinical decision-making and best-quality care. When you deliver best-quality care, you are avoiding redundant or excessive treatment that can drive up costs; 
  • Delivering clinical workflows wherein quality data can be captured at or as close to the point of care as possible, optimizing efficiency and minimizing redundant manual work. This saves labor costs because clinicians spend more time on direct patient care rather than administrative tasks; 
  • Providing integrated clinical and operational data in near-real time so service line leaders can monitor their programs' performance and take action to improve.

In addition, when you demonstrate that your facility is consistently AUC-compliant, you are better positioned to work with payers on providing best-value care for that patient population. 

LUMEDX HealthView CVIS: Serving Up the Right Data at the Right Time 

HealthView CVIS helps heart hospitals navigate AUC and value-based care standards. The system collects point-of-care data and delivers actionable insights, facilitating better clinical decision-making and helping to improve business operations through increased efficiency and cost savings. 
HealthView CVIS can play a critical role in any hospital's move toward better patient care, greater efficiency, and improved fiscal performance. 


Early Reaction to MACRA Rule Mostly Positive 

Last weekend was a busy one for those trying to parse the new MACRA rule released on Friday. At 2,202 pages, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act rule wasn't exactly beach reading, and it gave the health IT community plenty to talk about on social media and in policy statements.

The dust is still settling, but it appears that early reaction to the rule was mostly positive. Healthcare organizations praised the CMS for being responsive to concerns they had raised during the comment period leading up to the rule's finalization. In fact, about 80 percent of the 2,000+ pages are comments CMS received and its responses.
The American Medical Association was pleased with the permanent elimination of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. "The new law," according to the AMA's press release, "gives many physicians the opportunity to be rewarded for the improvements they make to their practices and for delivering high-quality, high-value care to Medicare patients."
Other features that drew favorable reactions included:

  • The rule's overarching theme that improving the organization and payment models for medical care must stress quality over quantity.
  • Greater reporting flexibility for clinicians, as well as support for innovation in the delivery of care.
  • The formal adoption of a transition year during 2017, which makes major changes to the Quality Payment Program (QPP) reporting requirements, and provides a longer time frame for those transitioning to the QPP.
  • Emphasis on helping clinicians educate themselves about the rule.
  • Easing of the policy defining the Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM), which will allow additional programs to quality.

But the rule is not without its detractors. "It's disappointing that the flexibility provided for quality reporting in 2017 largely disappears in 2018 and beyond," the Medical Group Management Association said in a policy statement.
Other organizations complained that the nominal risk standard defining the Advanced APM remains too high.

Want to know more? Healthcare Dive has a great breakdown of the rule changes you need to know. And for even more information on the new rule, click here. 
What's your take on the final MACRA rule? Share your thoughts in our comment section below.

Clinician mobile device use increasing as healthcare organizations struggle to protect data 

The number of clinicians who use smartphones and other mobile devices on the job is rising rapidly, and so is the number of facilities that have created mobile device management strategies to cope. "Organizations with a documented mobility strategy have nearly doubled, and in-house use of pagers has increased slightly during the past two years," according to Health Data Management.

Almost 90 percent of physicians surveyed reported using smartphones, while about half of nurses and other staff members use them. In response, more than 60 percent of hospitals surveyed have a documented mobile device strategy. (The survey, by mobile messaging service vendor Spok, included responses from about 550 hospitals.)
The leading mobile devices used in hospitals are:

  • Smartphones (78 percent)
  • In-house pagers (71 percent)
  • Wi-Fi phones (69 percent)
  • Wide-area pagers (57 percent)
  • Tablets (52 percent)

Security and privacy, of course, are huge concerns for those setting mobile device policy, leading some organizations to forbid clinicians to use personal devices for work-related communication. About 80 percent of surveyed hospitals with such policies cited fear of data breaches as the reason behind their rules. 

Click here to download the survey.
What's the mobile device policy at your organization? Share your thoughts with the LUMEDX community by commenting below. 

Healthcare Cybersecurity Failings Draw the Ire of Accountability Office 

GAO Recommends Corrective Action by Department of Health and Human Services

More than 113 million electronic health records were breached in 2015, a year that saw a total of 56 cybersecurity attacks in healthcare alone. That's a 13-fold increase from 2006 to 2015.
The Government Accountability Office isn't going to let those cybersecurity failures go unremarked upon. The GAO last week came down hard on the Department of Health and Human Services, pointing out a number of weaknesses in efforts by HHS to help health plans and other providers protect data.
"HHS has established an oversight program for compliance with privacy and security regulations, but its actions did not always fully verify that the regulations were implemented," wrote the GAO in a report released Sept. 26. The report also called out HHS for giving technical assistance "that was not pertinent to identified problems" in cybersecurity, and for failing to follow up on cases it investigated. 
In short, the GAO found, loss or misuse of health information is not being adequately addressed by HHS. To help healthcare organizations comply with HIPAA and prevent further data breaches, the Office said, HHS should take the following corrective actions:

  • Update its guidance for protecting electronic health information to address key security elements.
  • Improve technical assistance it provides to covered entities.
  • Follow up on corrective actions.
  • Establish metrics for gauging the effectiveness of its audit program. 

HHS generally concurred with the recommendations and stated it would take actions to implement them.

UPDATE: On Oct. 4, HHS announced that it had awarded funding to help protect the health sector against cyber threats. Learn who received the funding, and how it is intended to help healthcare organizations.

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