The Evolution of Health IT

Health IT is often considered a silent partner in healthcare – not seen by patients, but a critical part of the system. As we celebrate National Health IT Week, it’s important to realize that although health IT already has a long history, the constant and rapid evolution of this space continues to transform the market. Information has been collected and stored for years, but the promise of clinical decision support has us at the cusp of all this information becoming valuable in new and innovative ways.

Just a decade ago, I was documenting patient encounters in paper charts. Although the transition to electronic medical records (EMRs) has been perceived as slow, in the grand scheme of medicine it actually happened almost overnight. These systems were not designed with our continuously changing workflow in mind, with user interfaces and workflows that aligned to our practices. They served as repositories for patient information, but did little else. In fact, our workflow changed to support the EMR, sometimes to the detriment of the patient. Instead of focusing directly on the patient, we often must split our time and attention between the patient and the computer terminal.

Continue reading

Staying Ahead in a Technology-Driven Field

Since patient care and well-being is at the center of Rockdale’s mission, attracting the best and brightest clinicians in the region is an important effort for us. Part of distinguishing ourselves from our competitors is providing the resources and advanced technological support clinicians want. In fact, to support this shift, we formed the Information Technology Physician Engagement Group in 2013 to identify exactly what were the technology priorities for our physicians:

  • Improved cellular service
  • Improved physician Wi-Fi
  • Single sign-on access
  • Mobile technology for better efficiency

Continue reading

Cerner/Siemens and Blue Shield/Blue Cross: What Happens Next?

15240276_s

The industry is buzzing over the news that Cerner is buying the health information technology business unit of Siemens. The Siemens acquisition is the most recent high-profile example of consolidation that is taking place in all sectors of healthcare.

The consolidation trend is not new, of course. Providers reacted first, by aligning as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and clinical integration (CI) networks during the past five years. Then the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) accelerated the need for collaboration, forcing providers to acquire additional acute care and post-acute care facilities as well as physicians’ offices. This consolidation trend was the first to expose the obvious lack of interoperability amongst vendors.

Continue reading

Data-Driven Evaluation of Mobility’s Impact

nextgov-mediumHealthcare is rapidly evolving, and more than ever, hospitals are under extreme pressure to continuously identify ways to improve performance and justify every expense. In this type of environment, technological innovation alone will not prove sufficient. Instead, making sure technology is successfully implemented and processes are streamlined to ensure adoption and maximize value becomes the currency of improvement.

Continue reading

The Key to Success: Maximizing Information Technology

mitcon-photo01fullAs we gear up for HIMSS at the end of this month, we tend to think back to who has been dominating the healthcare conversations over the past several years. The answer is obvious: EMR vendors. Meaningful Use guidelines have been driving towards the adoption of EMRs and encouraging clinicians to adopt technologies to enhance patient care. But these tools are transactional, not transformative. For an industry that is cutting edge in so many ways, we’ve struggled to successfully crack the code with informational technology. Customers are constantly telling me that we need to find ways to make the data work for us, to improve healthcare.

As new technologies and the BYOD trend have worked their way into hospitals and health systems, we’ve begun to find patterns in what is necessary to launch successful programs. The key? Ease of use for clinicians and clear benefits to patient care.

Continue reading

Partnering for the Future of Healthcare

health-careFor hospitals and health systems to achieve the value of their EMR investments, they must be able to deliver information to the point of care and ultimately the point of making a difference with patients – whether the clinician is at the bedside, down the hall, in the office or at home. Industry paradigms like health system consolidation and the physicians shortage mean that clinicians will be increasingly mobile, relying on personal devices for the information they need to provide quality care.

What we know today is getting information into the hands of clinicians in the right place at the right time isn’t going to be easy. That’s why in July, Microsoft was pleased to announce that AirStrip will be the first mHealth company to be part of the Microsoft Apps For Surface program. Innovative leadership like AirStrip’s is essential to overcoming the challenges of mobile healthcare such as like compliance, regulations and interoperability.

Continue reading

Old is the New “New” – Engaging Physicians Through Mobility

ImageAs incentives increasingly align between physicians and hospitals for value-based care delivery, health system CMOs face an interesting challenge. The last one to two decades witnessed an extraordinary push to hyper-specialization and compartmentalization of care.

Physicians migrated from round-the-clock response to their personal patients to team call coverage models, and patients were handed over to hospitalists when admitted. Drivers for this shift included financial, efficiency, lifestyle and quality factors. Now, risk-based models are aligning incentives for greater care continuity by physicians for their patients both in and out of the hospital. In many ways, CMOs are asking for an old school approach to meet quality and cost goals. Providing innovative tools can help achieve this – systems can engage physicians for greater continuity while protecting lifestyle and workflow preferences, and mobility solutions will play a key role. Continue reading

Healthcare in the Heartland

Affordable-Care-ActWhen I’m not heads down in data points on how hospitals around the country are going mobile, I spend time volunteering as a clinician with the Rural Health Clinic of the Cumberlands, a free clinic for the underserved community in my neighborhood in Cumberland County, Tennessee. So, the challenges facing rural hospitals and health systems today are both a professional and personal interest of mine.

Today, the majority of STEMI patients – up to 80 percent – are unable to get to a STEMI receiving hospital within 60 minutes. The country’s rural healthcare facilities are critical to delivering care to a number of underserved communities. But with nearly 40 million new patients entering the system under the Affordable Care Act, and smaller community facilities under threat of acquisition by larger health systems, it’s time for rural hospitals to go on the offensive.

Continue reading