I grew up in a small town in Iowa and lived in and around my hometown for 30 years. It wasn’t unusual for my commute to work to be interrupted by a John Deere tractor driving down the highway. When I hit 30 I traded in my rural roots and headed off to the booming metropolis of St. Louis for a change of scenery. I, like many others, struggle to schedule routine and regular doctors appointments so when I moved, finding a new doctor was not a priority. I have been blessed with a relatively healthy life thus far and tend to view healthcare as sick care. (When I’m sick I will go to the doctor.) Needless to say, it took me a while to take the time to find a new doctor after moving to St. Louis. In fact, it didn’t happen until I had found a veterinarian and a groomer for my dogs, a hair stylist I liked and a car repair shop that was reliable and trustworthy. To be honest, I still may not have a doctor if it weren’t for the fact that I needed to get a refill on my prescription.
Who Uses FAX Machines? Doctors Do…
I took some time looking online to find doctor reviews and patient referrals and, of course, listened to word of mouth from my new friends in St. Louis. Once I settled on a doctor I made a call to schedule an appointment and then contacted my previous doctor back in Iowa to have my records FAXED to my new doctor. The fact that fax machines are still being used, not only as the primary technology but the only one, both humored and frightened me at the same time. But I thought whatever works to get my information to the new doctor, works for me. Having my previous medical history in the hands of my new doctor would save me time. I wouldn’t have to fill out the medical history paper work because I took the time prior to my appointment to have my records faxed to them…Right? Wrong, this didn’t save me any time at all.
A NEW Patient Again and Again…
I was advised to arrive 20 minutes early to fill out paperwork and when I arrived I checked in and was handed a blank stack of medical history forms to fill out. I began by filling in the easy stuff, name, social security number, birth date, address but when I got to the medical history part I felt like writing “check the records that were faxed to you.” I stumbled my way through the paperwork and turned it in, thinking to myself, if that were a test I would be happy with a C. I sat back down and waited for the nurse to call my name, and when she did, I followed her back as she proceeded to ask me questions about my medical history. The same questions that I had just struggled to answer on paper. And again, I felt like telling her to “look at the paper work I just wasted 20 minutes of my time filling out.”
At this point I was ready to see the doctor, get my prescription and be on my way. The doctor entered and I had a similar experience with her, a lot of repeated questions and answers, but I survived, got my prescription and set up another appointment for the following year. I was pretty proud of myself for scheduling a routine appointment! As painful as this visit was, I was glad that it is only a process that new patients have to endure, so I wouldn’t have to do it again…Right? Wrong, I received a letter in the mail that my doctor is closing shop, leaving me once again with the rigorous task of finding a new doctor and worse yet, becoming a NEW patient again.
Those Are MY Medical Records, Aren’t They…
As I began my search for a new doctor, I was able to seek additional referrals from friends now that I had lived in the area for a couple of years. I picked up the phone and called to make an appointment and the receptionist asked that I have my medical records faxed to them. After making the appointment I called my previous doctor and asked that my medical records be sent to my new doctor. I was told that they could fax the records from my single visit but that they could not fax my older records and that I would have to contact my doctor back in Iowa to have those faxed. Wait, aren’t those my medical records? I’m giving you permission to fax them, why do I have to contact the doctor in Iowa to fax them? The receptionist reiterated that she would be happy to fax my one record but I would need to fill out a release form in order for her to do that. She asked if I had a fax machine….seriously, why do all these doctors insist on the fax machine? I asked if she could email it, but email wasn’t an option. So I am now waiting for snail mail to deliver a release form that I have to fill out and drop back in snail mail in order for my request to be processed.Upon hanging up with her I called my doctor in Iowa and asked to have my medical records faxed to the new doctor. Again I was told that I would have to fill out a release form and that I could get that at my new doctor’s office. So, I now have to fill out 2 different release forms in order to get MY medical records faxed to my new doctor. And I am sure when I go to my new doctor I will have to fill out the same paperwork that I have jumped through so many hoops to get to them prior to my appointment.
I can’t wait for the day when all my medical records are stored in one place and I won’t have to get permission to have MY records sent to a new doctor. A secure and private location that is easily accessible by ALL of my doctors – both current and future!
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) as a model to deliver high-quality, cost-effective care across the continuum and improve population health management (PHM) has significantly increased. In an ACO, healthcare providers take responsibility for the health of a defined population, coordinate care across the continuum, and are held to benchmark levels of quality and cost. In 2015 ACOs will continue to be on the rise! Read the rest of this post »
In the spirit of the holidays Perficient is joining Partners In Health to help fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, by providing communication tools that enhance communication and collaboration for the more than 1.5 million users.
Founded in 1987, Partners In Health (PIH) works to strike at the root causes of illness by weaving together clinical and social support for poor and marginalized patients, by training local healthcare providers in the communities they serve, and by advocating for global policy change.
Resource allocation at PIH has always prioritized the needs of people over systems. While the current email system attempted to meet PIH requirements for 10 years, there were significant deficiencies and it was very expensive to maintain. It was common to lose email service for a period of days. PIH applied and received a grant from Microsoft for Office 365 subscriptions and they selected Perficient to help with the migration.
Perficient migrated PIH infrastructure to the cloud and developed and executed a comprehensive organizational change management (OCM) program . “When looking at technology solutions providers, Perficient’s proven track record in the healthcare industry and demonstrated Microsoft cloud services expertise stood out immediately,” said Dave Mayo, CIO, Partners In Health. “Thanks to our partnership with Perficient, we are adopting a consolidated, reliable platform for colleague interactions – one that enables us to more effectively serve our world’s most vulnerable. We are immensely grateful for Perficient’s generosity and support of our efforts.”
Office 365 will allow users to access email from anywhere in the world on any computer or mobile device with access to the Internet. OneDrive for Office 365 will enhance collaboration among all PIH users, both domestically and internationally. The platform will provide PIH with a reliable and secure communication toolbox, including storage and collaboration tools. Deployment of Office 365 across PIH sites in Africa, Haiti, Russia, and the U.S. will enable PIH’s mission to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care and will be an important tool to enhance communications as they respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
“The mission and values of Partners In Health firmly align with Perficient’s aim to be responsible, active corporate citizens in our larger community,” said Jeffrey Davis, Perficient’s chief executive officer and president. “We are honored to support Partners In Health’s mission as it works to attend to the needs of underserved populations and improve the quality of health for all.”
Read the entire press release here
Visit www.pih.org learn more about Partners in Health or to make a donation.
The healthcare industry is a $2.9 trillion business in the United States and providers account for more than 70% of the spend. Healthcare reform is looking to transform the traditional system to improve access and quality while tackling the skyrocketing costs. In addition to federal mandates, the healthcare industry is seeing a shift driven by a younger consumer. Healthcare organizations need to pay close attention to this consumer shift and realize age does matter.
Traditionally, healthcare consumers were a passive participant in their care and relied on caregivers to make decisions for them. Doctors were chosen based on qualitative measures such as education, rather than on how they performed in relation to patient outcomes and satisfaction. Today, however, if healthcare providers want to create loyal consumers, they must adjust their business and marketing models to adapt to the new healthcare consumer.
#1. Think Digital: To engage with patients, you have to think like a marketer. You define your target market and find out where they live, work and play. You position yourself to interact at those important moments when they are thinking about their health and wellness. Only 1% of a healthcare consumer’s time is spent in the clinical care setting, so, instead of just handing out instructions to sign up for the patient portal at the registration desk, there are other options that are more effective. To engage patients you must reach them where they are and that requires you to think digitally and to have a solid digital strategy.
#2. Mobile is a Must: With over 50,000 health apps and growing and more than 90% of the adult population adopting mobile technology it is clear to see that mobile health is shifting into the mainstream. Healthcare organizations that continue to ignore the mobile train are going to be left in the dust. A mobile strategy that integrates both external and internal components is key. A bring-your-own-device and a shared device strategy within your organization should be incorporated. Facilitating the use of mHealth enhances outcomes and communication and is more efficient and convenient for healthcare consumers and providers.
#3. Consumer Insights are Vital: Healthcare organizations by nature are filled with information and data that is collected from a variety of disjointed sources within and outside of the organization. But collecting information is pointless unless you can manage it. Data that is useful, operationally relevant, insightful and secure provides key insights about your consumers, but it can be overwhelming. It is important to focus on what decision-makers must understand and to only scale your analytics strategy to the capacity of your business. Too often organizations purchase and try to implement complex tools and they do not have the sophistication or resources to make them work.
#4. Convenience & the Experience: Last, but certainly not least, is perhaps the most important of them all: Consumer experience should be the umbrella for everything that you do as a service provider and it is critical to your success. Healthcare consumers use the Internet to shop for providers and treatments by reading online reviews and looking up doctor quality information. Social media, the web and word of mouth can help your business just as much as they can hurt it. Look for ways to enhance the consumer experience, offering telehealth is a great way to engage healthcare consumers by bringing the provider to them. It provides convenience and easy accessibility, two things today’s healthcare consumers are seeking. With more and more healthcare consumers turning towards retail medicine it is essential that you create a top-notch, cohesive, multi-channel experience to compete with the convenience of a CVS or Walgreens.
It’s that time of year when millions of consumers get hyped up about Black Friday. Retailers open at ridiculous hours and people obsess over the ads, mapping out their course of action to get the best deals!
We live in a time when healthcare costs are at an all-time high so wouldn’t it be nice to have a Healthcare Black Friday Sale?
The definition of wearable technology has changed as much as technology has in the last century. In the first waves of wearable technology we got the calculator watch, you know the one, featured in back to the future. Although we have yet to see a hover board, wearable technology has gone to unbelievable heights. From the iPhone 6, to Google Glass, the bar continues to be set higher.
After the Google Glass Project (smart glasses), several other companies broke into the smart wearables market, including Apple (iWatch), Samsung (Galaxy Gear), and Sony (SmartWatch) shortly after Google. Now you can buy all types of devices, including watches, glasses, headbands, wigs, rings, etc. Using apps for personal and business computing, practical everyday tasks, fitness tracking, and healthcare monitoring.
I recently, purchased a Nike Fitband, hot pink and black of course. Syncing my iPhone with the app was the easy part, however, I learned that there was minimal features of use to me and this was not something I would keep (for $129). I returned it to the store. After that, my need for quick and convenient health data continued. I fed into the buzz around the Apple Healthkit. iPhone is wearable technology that I already was utilizing. So how could I optimize this device? The first thing I noticed was that it was automatically tracking my steps! “Sweet!” I then realized there was a plethora of data analysis tools that could keep track of my health, medical history, my fitness, and my nutrition. “Sweet, times three!”
Even as a psudo-millenial, as I attempted to use the app, I could not figure out how I could get data to input automatically. After doing some internet research, I was led to a list of Apps that can work/sync with the Healthkit. I was disappointed in the list as I was hoping to use the apps I already use, and are familiar with. They were not on the list. This list of new apps didn’t give me any indication if I needed any additional wearable technology (equals more money) to make them work. Some of them are free, some not, so how was I to choose? If I could find this information in one place, I may be able to quickly decide which apps to download or which piece(s) of wearable technology I would like to gather or start collecting.
All of this wearable technology is overwhelming. And I am only digging into the personal use market these apps are not so difficult to understand, it’s how to use them all together that is confusing. This is not only a common problem with all of our personal devices. There is a large business driven market calling for this problem to be resolved. Technology management is taking off; Hospitals have wearable and wireless technology in use all over a hospital, in many medical devices. The ability to capture and manage all the data and have it at one’s fingertips is one of the fastest going industries.
I love my wearable technology, however, just as with any market has quick progression, it may get messy before it gets better. As my life will only get busier, I am looking forward to learning all the opportunities this technology can give me to streamline my life. I encourage any busy person to look into free applications, they can simplify your day to day life in a great way. Can Siri be close to a personal assistant?! Not yet, but we are close!
The healthcare industry is undergoing an extensive transformation and the changes are putting pressures and demands on organization leaders. Healthcare executives are searching for ways to improve measurable outcomes not only because of the impact they have on the financial health of their organization, but because it is the right thing to do.
Organizations are turning to an Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) to aggregate and organize data from disparate sources. An EDW makes information available for analysis by users in the clinical, financial, administrative, and research functions. Most healthcare organizations understand the benefits of a scalable EDW solution that provides the visibility to manage metrics, improve patient satisfaction and care and positively effects the bottom line. However, many organizations aren’t sure where to start, do they build it from scratch or buy one? What are the pros and cons for each approach? How long will it take to get up and running?
Are you interested in the buy vs build debate? Join us as we explore the pros and cons of building your own data model vs. buying one and look at real customer use cases to help weigh the pros and cons of this critical enterprise decision. During this webinar, we will discuss:
Webinar: Enterprise Data Model: Buy vs Build Debate
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 | 2:00 PM CT
Last Friday I completed my stint on an enterprise portal (intranet) project for a provider with nearly 60,000 employees. Having a national presence, the organization I worked with has complex internal collaboration needs. While the implementation of such a technology is complex, the content strategy needed considerable attention. It also just so happens that yesterday we published our primer on internal collaboration entitled The Connected Healthcare Enterprise. Combining these timely learnings, I account for you below three critical items you need to consider when developing your enterprise content strategy.
1. Content Governance
While content governance is oftentimes the least glamorous aspect of content creation, a good content governance process will ensure that the content found in the enterprise stays relevant, on message, and updated over time. The purpose of content governance is to ensure appropriate processes are in place for managing the contents of the intranet in a controlled and orderly way. Strong content governance starts at the strategic level and flows down through a series of key stakeholders throughout the content lifecycle. This requires a cross-functional committee, including a cross-representational group of employees by role, content creators, content approvers, and other stakeholders across the organization, to help guide the strategic content efforts of your enterprise portal into the future. This content committee can be a sub-committee to the larger governance efforts that surround the intranet.
2. Content Audit
To create a content strategy that is practical for the organization, it is important to understand current content. We took our customer through a thorough content audit process, which helped identify key content types as well as the complex taxonomy that would drive important tools such as search. This content audit also provides the opportunity for content creators to take a realistic inventory of current content and decide what stays, what goes, and what needs to be updated.
3. Content Creation Workflow
Creating a piece of content for the enterprise necessitates teamwork. The content authorship process requires a series of individuals to work together from creation to publication. The workflows for this content management process can be assigned within an enterprise content management tool for easy automation. Key considerations for this workflow include:
4. Content Consumption
Making healthcare work requires employees to digest a lot of information daily in order to provide quality care and services. This mass of data is too much for any given individual to do on their own. That is where the true power of an enterprise content strategy becomes apparent. Tools like enterprise social exist to help communities of people digest a lot of information quickly. Healthcare organizations view the benefits of internal collaboration as a way to take advantage of “crowdsourcing” to solicit input from thought leaders across the organization. Even better, it causes a dramatic decrease in the primary communication tool that is burying us all: Email.
So, there you have it. Be sure to check out the The Connected Healthcare Enterprise white paper to learn how you can transform the standard healthcare intranet into a powerful engagement platform for healthcare providers and health plans.
It is no secret that healthcare organizations are collecting more information today than ever before. They’re collecting information about their own operations, their patients and the communities they serve. The challenge for healthcare organizations isn’t collecting the information, but analyzing the data and efficiently and securely storing it. Healthcare organizations that can overcome the data challenges and gain faster, fuller data insights will have the tools to positively impact patient care and overall business.
When it comes to data storage, healthcare organizations struggle with finding a balance between “on premise” and the cloud. Many CIOs recognize the need to expand beyond the home port and are quickly moving information to public clouds. However, they aren’t completely abandoning their data centers for fear they won’t have control or access to timely information. The hybrid IT solution helps to solve the data storage problem but it also brings a unique set of concerns in regards to data control, data access and data compliance.
Data is much easier to control when it is housed in one central location. With a hybrid IT solution, however, you do not have that luxury. Data stored in multiple locations must be seamlessly connected, able to securely and efficiently move between locations and allow you to maintain full control across all platforms.
The key to collaboration and improved patient outcomes is ensuring everyone who needs access to data has it. On the flip side, broad data access needs to be secure and only available to authorized users. With a hybrid IT solution integrated data supports collaboration beyond the walls of the healthcare facility.
Changing regulations are putting added pressure on healthcare organizations. Keeping up with the evolving regulatory landscape is a challenge in itself and having information stored in multiple locations only adds to this complexity. Developing a strategy to protect data and manage it to ensure it meets regulatory requirements is critical to a hybrid IT solution.
Hybrid IT environments provide the best of both worlds when it comes to data storage and analysis. Leveraging a hybrid environment will lead to timely and accurate analysis of data which will result in the delivery of actionable insights for improved collaboration, better patient outcomes and overall lower cost of care.
Considering implementing a hybrid IT environment or just want to learn more? Join Perficient and UnityPoint Health for a discussion on the benefits of Power BI and Office 365, and how one technology-savvy healthcare provider is leveraging its hybrid environment of Power BI, Excel-enabled dashboards and SharePoint 2013.
The cost of healthcare is at an all-time high and many people feel the fee-for-service model is the main culprit for the skyrocketing costs. From a logical standpoint it makes sense, healthcare providers get paid more by providing more services. As humans we tend to consume too much and spend too much, therefore, ditching the fee-for-service model would result in fewer services and less spending, right?
Not so fast, as logical as that sounds I am not completely sold on that theory. When we look at our lives almost everything we do is based on a fee-for-service model. When we go out to eat, go to the movies, get new tires on our car, get a haircut, hire a baby sitter or hire someone to do our taxes, we do it on a fee-for-service basis. Those providing the previously mentioned services would like to sell us more, but we generally resist because we don’t want to waste OUR money on unnecessary services. Generally speaking when we pay with OUR money we try to get maximum value and good providers try to be as efficient as possible.
Fee-for-service is not unique to healthcare, however, in the healthcare sector we shop with other people’s money. We have very little out-of-pocket cost for additional services and someone else “picks up the tab” for OUR spending. The third-party payer is one of the big reasons for rising costs and inefficiencies in the healthcare industry. It is human nature not to concern ourselves with the total cost of care, but rather, how much WE have to pay. How many times have you received an explanation of benefits and glanced over it only to notice the part that tells you what you are responsible for?
If we implemented a third-party payment model in other service industries we would be faced with the same inflating costs that we are dealing with in healthcare. If you were only responsible for a $30 copay every time you visit your hair stylist you would be inclined to get unnecessary services in addition to a haircut. Why, because YOU aren’t paying for them, someone else is picking up the tab.
Better yet, you are traveling for work and need something to eat. If it were personal travel you would grab a chicken sandwich and call it a night. But work is paying for it, so you have a steak dinner. As far as you are concerned a steak dinner costs the same as a chicken sandwich because YOU aren’t paying for it, you aren’t accountable for payment.
Healthcare costs and inefficiencies are going to continue to increase until we address the third-party payment model. Healthcare consumers need to be accountable and more aware of the total cost of their healthcare. A more aware and accountable healthcare consumer may be the motivation needed to live a healthier life. Or at the very least eat more chicken sandwiches.
During the Connected Health Symposium last week, I noticed a significant trend that I have since been calling the “next big thing for the quantified self movement”. What is the next big thing in a world dominated by fitness trackers and mobile apps? That next big thing is biofeedback. I gained access to quite a few innovators while at the conference. They note that while clinicians have been using biofeedback for eons in order to understand any number of things about a human body, most of those tools do not come in a patient-friendly package. Thanks to these innovators, now they do. Here are four examples quantified self devices that use biofeedback to help patients understand and manage their health.
It is hard to make brain data real to a patient. As a result, up until now there has been virtually nothing a person can do to improve their brain health. Psychoanalysis is highly stigmatized, which causes an even bigger drift to form between patients and cognitive health. In order to fix this, clinicians have created a consumer friendly, clinical grade EEG to provide patients with their first real contact with their brain. The device is called Muse, and it is being dubbed “the brain sensing headband”.
By using the device, patient can improve their cognitive functions and see their outcomes in real time. This device has also shown promising in the treatment of depression and other mental illness. Since this treatment is wrapped in the quantitative self trend, it does not receive the same reluctance that stigmatized psychoanalysis does. This provides promising new treatment options.
During the Connected Health Symposium, it was noted that 75% of physician visits are stress related. Patients are often made to feel that they are “stuck with it” and there is nothing that can be done. However, a really neat connection between the heart and the brain can be used, through the power of feedback, to manage stress related illnesses such as heart disease.
I’m not sure if you knew this, but there is a “brain” in the heart that senses and responds to emotions and communicates through nerves to the brain. This heart-brain communication provides us with a way to manage our stress and get heart healthy through the use of biofeedback. Using biofeedback through tools like HeartMath, patients can gain windows into their hearts and brains to self manage their stress response. While this is certainly empowering for prevention of heart disease, heart disease patients have been studied, and have improved outcomes through using the HeartMath biofeedback system.
Stay tuned for an upcoming experiment that is set to merge the Muse and HeartMath technologies.
If you work in healthcare technology, and you go to a Connected Health Symposium, then you will get your fair share of interesting conference performances. In one such performance, we were introduced to Sensoree, which is a company that creates wearable technology that show visually, through light displays, what the individual wearing the technology is feeling. This proves incredibly helpful for patients with Autism and Alzheimer’s that do not have the ability to communicate their emotional states readily. Sensoree introduced these technologies by having circus performers wear them during an acrobatic dance routine. As they danced, you could see their emotional states changing as a red glow of nervousness as the performers began turned into a blue glow of of focus to a purple glow of bliss.
This last bit, called BioBeats, is a platform for merging entertainment with healthcare. In one very compelling move, BioBeats partnered with music crew Far East Movement in an attempt to connect millions of listeners to their health by way of mobile phone enabled heart beat sensors. As Far East Movement performed, they encouraged their fans to record their hard beats. By the time the song was over, they had collected over 1.5 million heartbeats that were, in real time, transformed into the beat that lived in the background of their performance. Check out this “Turn Up The Love” performance below.
Kent Larson, Director at Perficient recently posted a blog about Partners In Health (PIH) and the new Microsoft tools they are using to help enable their mission to provide a preferential option for the poor in healthcare.
PIH is one of many organizations leading a coalition to combat the Ebola outbreak, working alongside two other organizations – Last Mile Health in Liberia and Wellbody Alliance in Sierra Leone. To help enhance communication and collaboration both domestically and internationally, PIH is migrating to Microsoft Office 365.
Perficient is assisting PIH with their migration to Microsoft’s Office 365 (O365) solution. O365 will allow users to access their email from anywhere in the world on any computer or mobile device with access to the Internet. OneDrive for O365 will enhance collaboration between all PIH users, both domestically and internationally. The platform will provide PIH with a reliable and secure communication toolbox, including storage and collaboration tools. Deployment of O365 across PIH sites in Africa, Haiti, Russia, and the U.S. will enable PIH’s mission to provide a preferential option for the poor in healthcare and will be an important tool to enhance communication as they respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
To read Kent’s entire post and to learn more about the mission of PIH click here.