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.

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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.
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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... read more
 

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... read more
 

Medical Errors Are Made at an Alarming Rate 

How Integrated Systems Can Help Medical errors are dangerous, deadly, and all too common. Research published in The Journal of Health Care Finance found that these mistakes cost the United States $19.5 billion in 2008 alone. A 2016 study estimated that medical errors cause 251,000 deaths a year in the U.S., where they are the third-leading cause of death (after heart disease and cancer). To Err is Human, the groundbreaking report by the Institute of Medicine, found that nearly half of all deaths attributed to medical errors were preventable. What's even more disturbing is the limited improvement that has occurred since the publication of that 1999 report. "The overall numbers haven't changed, and that's discouraging and alarming," Kenneth Sands of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center told the Washington Post. Mickey Norris, National Vice President of Sales for LUMEDX, discusses how a CVIS can help reduce medical errors. Medical errors can obviously result from... read more
 

Heart Attack Patients Get Faster Care When Medical Teams Use Smartphone Social Network System 

18-month study tracked 114 STEMI patients
New research shows that patients in need of a hospital transfer were treated 27 minutes faster when their medical teams used a smartphone app-based social network system (SNS) to set up the transfer, compared to medical teams who didn’t use the smartphone technology. The research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, monitored the time that patients with ST-elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI) suffered from ischemia (reduction in blood supply) while they waited to have a procedure opening their blocked arteries. On nights and weekends, the treatment time reduction was even greater than during the regular work week. One of the study’s senior researchers, Jin Joo Park, M.D., pointed out that there is a higher risk of death for patients who get to a hospital during off hours—a worldwide trend. “Transferred STEMI patients rarely achieve timely reperfusion due to delays in the transfer process, especially when transferred during off-hours,” Park told... read more
 

Spotlight on Analytics, Part 6 

Q & A with Gus Gilbertson, LUMEDX Products Manager
The Role of Mobile & The Cloud Q: What is the role of mobile and the cloud in the healthcare analytics industry? A: Cloud-based technologies hold the promise of delivering better technology solutions at reduced cost. Mobile will increasingly be the platform of choice for quick updates of the most relevant information for a specific situation. Mobile platforms provide an efficient and effective way to consume healthcare analytics. Q: What challenges and benefits do you predict will arise as mobile and cloud-based access becomes more prevalent? A: Security protocols will have to meet standards and may limit access to specific patient data. Analytics not at the patient level will become easy to access. Increasingly, caregivers will know how their organizations are doing at meeting care quality goals efficiently. Eventually, patients may get there too. Q: What use will healthcare organizations have for patient-generated data? A: Over time, biometric data... read more
 

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 ... read more
 

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 ... read more
 

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. ... read more