Posts in Category: industry news

ACC, NCDR Events Coming Up This March in Washington, D.C. 

March will be a busy month for the health IT and cardiology communities. If you need an excuse to visit Washington, D.C., in the spring, these events are it. Here's what's coming up:

  • LUMEDX's ACC User Group: March 13, 2017, featuring complimentary education sessions for LUMEDX clients
  • NCDR's Annual Conference:  March 13-15, 2017, which brings together 1,500 registry professionals, quality experts, CV administrators and physicians
  • ACC's 66th Annual Scientific Sessions & Expo: March 17-19, 2017, featuring educational opportunities ground-breaking science and interactive debates and discussion

Both the User Group and NCDR Annual Conference will take place at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, Washington, D.C.  ACC.17, also in the nation's capital, will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Going to NCDR or ACC? Stop by the LUMEDX booth to say hi. We'll be at Booth 2411 for ACC; our NCDR booth number is 5.

Click here to register for any of these events.

Related: ACC says Trump's travel ban will prevent some cardiologists from attending its Scientific Sessions & Expo this March. 

Posted by Tuesday, January 24, 2017 4:47:00 PM Categories: ACC cardiology health information technology healthcare today industry news Lumedx NCDR

3 New Clients Join LUMEDX Family 

Hospitals in Alabama, Massachusetts and Texas begin CVIS implementation

LUMEDX is happy to welcome to our family three new clients: Marshall Medical Centers; Holyoke Medical Center; and Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest not-for-profit healthcare organization in Texas.

The first Baylor Scott & White location to implement the LUMEDX solution is Baylor Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital in Dallas. LUMEDX is providing the hospital with comprehensive cardiovascular data management that:

  • Connects isolated data sources,
  • Integrates with the enterprise electronic health record (EHR), and
  • Eliminates redundant data collection.

Holyoke Medical Center has gone live with our PACS with Echo Workflow software. After all phases of the CVIS deployment are completed, the secure, cloud-delivered software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution will provide the medical center-located in Holyoke, Massachusetts-with comprehensive management of its Echo, Nuclear, ECG, Holter and Stress workflows, and will offer remote access for physicians, allowing them to access data and complete reports from any location.

The deployment for Marshall Medical Centers is taking place at two hospitals: Marshall Medical North in Guntersville, Alabama; and Marshall Medical South in Boaz, Alabama. Both hospitals have implemented Echo Workflow and ECG-Holter software, which will help them improve performance and quality of care while containing costs and minimizing inefficiency.

We look forward to long and productive relationships with our new partners!

 

Meet Seema Verma, Trump's nominee to head CMS 

President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Seema Verma to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has been largely overshadowed by his choice of Rep. Tom Price for director of the Department of Health and Human Services. But for those reading the tea leaves about the future of healthcare, especially the Affordable Care Act, Verma’s selection is well worth examining.

Verma, a healthcare consultant who runs a national health policy consulting company, has extensive experience with Medicaid. As president, CEO and founder of SVC, she was involved in expanding Medicaid in Indiana under then-Gov. Mike Pence, the Vice president-elect. SVC also assisted in formulating Medicaid expansion plans in Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. Here are a few more things to know about her:

  • She is an advocate of making patients more financially responsible for their healthcare, and supports freezing coverage for those who don’t pay their premiums, even those living below the poverty line.
  • She worked across party lines to push the Pence administration’s positions into the Indiana Medicaid expansion, known as the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP.
  • She supports requiring that Medicaid enrollees look for work, and that they reapply for coverage on time. Those who don’t, she maintains, could lose coverage for up to a year.
  • Patient advocacy groups predict she may call for a replacement of the Affordable Care Act before agreeing to its repeal. Her potential push-back might help mitigate the loss of coverage for those who received coverage through Medicaid expansions in the ACA—about 12 million people.
  • Indiana Rep. Charlie Brown, a Democrat, opposed many of Verma’s positions during debate over the Healthy Indiana Plan, but told National Public Radio that she is “a smooth operator, and very, very persuasive.”
  • The Indianapolis Star reported in 2014 that Verma was paid millions by Indiana for her work on the Indiana Medicaid expansion, and was also paid by Medicaid vendor Hewlett-Packard, which was paid more than $500 million by the state.
  • The American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and America's Essential Hospitals support Verma’s nomination, which—like Price’s—must be approved by Senate.

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.

Enhancing the EHR 

Why Department-Level Systems Remain Critical to Quality 

The need for Electronic Health Records (EHRs) has become widely accepted, and methods to accelerate hospital adoption are proving to be successful, albeit resource-and cost-intensive. While EHRs are highly useful tools for collecting certain kinds of information and making that information available widely across services, cardiovascular care is complex; the data generated by this care is equally complex; and therefore cardiovascular service lines require systems that can match this complexity.


 

Chris Winquist, LUMEDX President and COO, explains how the CVIS augments the EHR to provide CV services with the deep data needed for clinical and business excellence.

Publicly Reported Measures & the Need for Deep Data

Even with the rapid pace of innovations in treatments and technologies, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.(1) Unsurprisingly, today a large percentage of publicly reported quality measures are CV measures. Further, new value-based payment models are making up-to-date tracking and managing of performance ever more critical. Demonstrating quality of care delivered has never been more central to cardiac and vascular departments. 

How can a hospital best report, monitor internally and improve quality performance in key measures like Mortality, Complications, and Appropriate Use? With discrete, queryable data. This data must be:

  • Acquired at the point of care so workflow is efficient and data is of high quality 
  • Made accessible to providers across the care continuum so they can make fully informed treatment decisions
  • Reported to the registries
Getting Actionable Information

It's not enough to report to the registries once a quarter and then hope for the best. A high-performing facility must monitor and drill-down into its own data to investigate any problems and take action-as quickly as possible. For this, service lines need systems that can capture information as queryable data elements. And these systems need to integrate with all the devices and clinical systems at work in the service line (ECGs, Stress, Holters, cardiac ultrasounds, hemodynamic systems--to name just a few). 

A dedicated departmental system-one that integrates with clinical-modality systems and the EHR, and offers automated registry data collection and submission to the full suite of cardiac and vascular registries-is the only way for complex environments like cardiac and vascular services to get the data they need to measure and improve performance (clinical, operational) in a substantive way.   

LUMEDX HealthView CVIS Enhances the EHR and Supports Operational Efficiency

With more than 30,000 discrete, queryable data points, HealthView CVIS offers the depth cardiac and vascular departments need for optimal clinical and business excellence. We've developed a powerful data engine that brings insight to every aspect of CV suite operations by drilling into details and reporting on both trending and outlier situations. 

The HealthView CVIS also accepts and transmits relevant data from and to the EHR, so that the enterprise and the service line can operate at the highest levels of efficiency, facilitating best-quality care, improved performance and cost savings.

(1) Go AS, Mozaffarian D, Roger VL, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics-2014 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2014;129(3):e28-e292.

Improving the Business Performance of Your Heart Hospital 

An effective CVIS strategy can improve the business performance of your hospital

The primary goal of any healthcare provider is to improve the lives of patients through effective treatment. However, because they are also businesses, hospitals have concerns that entail much more than this. To be viable in the long term, hospitals must manage their margins to fund their mission.
There are three main pillars of business concern for any hospital:

  • Clinical—health outcomes are measured with the goal of healthier patients leaving the facility.
  • Financial—the dollars must add up to keep the enterprise solvent.
  • Operational—staffing and facilities are measured against cost and need.

Ultimate success for a hospital demands strength in all three areas. It's incumbent upon clinicians and service line managers to work together to seek out efficiencies in each of them.


 

Praveen Lobo, VP Strategic Products

 
New Operational Realities

Payers' shift away from a fee-for-service model toward a value-based payment model demands that clinicians and administrators expand the above-mentioned pillars to include cost, patient outcomes, and patient satisfaction.

These changes aren’t easy. Providers have long been paid based on quantitative measures: the number of procedures performed. New operational realities demand new ways of measuring the qualitative value of those procedures. Reimbursement is linked to these metrics, and hospitals must find ways to leverage their investments in data technology in order to maximize their financial opportunities.


Granular Data Brings Actionable Insights

Data is critical to the shift to VBP. For example, if we know that extubation within six hours improves patient outcomes, it makes sense to monitor that metric internally on an ongoing basis. When outliers crop up, data points gathered from across the treatment spectrum can allow us to understand why. Perhaps a different treatment was needed at the outset, or some other patient health factor influenced that measure.

Over time, granular data can allow us to understand which type of treatment is best for patient outcomes in that circumstance.

It is discrete, granular data that can help providers fine-tune their processes in order to improve patient outcomes—and of course patient satisfaction. This same kind of close analysis can be applied to reducing costs. But for all three new, expanded pillars, efficient data collection, management, and analysis are needed. 

LUMEDX HealthView CVIS collects more than 30,000 discrete data points—from point-of-care devices to physician reporting. The robust analysis and reporting engine provides meaningful insights in the areas of treatment options, clinical evaluation and training, and service line optimization. HealthView CVIS is an important addition to any heart hospital's electronic records system.  

Spotlight on Analytics, Part 5 

Q & A with Gus Gilbertson, Product Manager for LUMEDX

Predictive Analytics

Q: How much of the healthcare industry has adopted predictive analytics?

A: By definition, negotiations between providers and payers are a game of who can better predict patient outcomes. Win-win scenarios can certainly be devised, but a lack of predictive ability puts an organization at risk for poor contract structuring.

Clinical outcomes are increasingly a game of predicting outcomes and identifying the levers that affect those outcomes so providers are able to improve on future outcomes. Operational predictions are also important, as misunderstanding patient care needs can lead to expensive outlier care patterns or care variations that break capacity management efforts and budgets.

Q: How do you see predictive analytics having an impact on healthcare organizations, and specifically on heart hospitals?

A: Outcome prediction and risk profiling will increasingly guide care pathway selection and tailor care patterns to targeted patient profiles. Predicting and applying the care pathway that leads to the best health outcome at the lowest cost is the foundation of healthcare in the value-based purchasing era.

The dynamics of heart health are increasingly being researched and documented, leading to continued technical evolution and improved outcomes. Being able to predict which technology will lead to the best patient outcomes per dollar spent--whether it be a TVR, and VAD, or an aspirin—is a crucial skill for providers.

Q: What is the role of predictive analytics in affecting areas like heart failure readmissions?

A: Estimates continue to suggest that as much as 20 percent or more of care is wasted. Access to predictive models for identifying patients at risk for readmissions--and providing better targeted treatment up front--are the keys to reducing readmission. Those who best understand their care pathways and patient risk profiles will be the ones who can provide the best value in heart failure care. They will be the ones who can best explain the risk factors inherent in their readmission outcomes to stakeholders from patients to community groups and regulators.

Stay tuned for Part 6 of this series!

 

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