Perficient Healtchare Solutions Blog

Subscribe via Email

Subscribe to RSS feed

Archives

Follow our Healthcare Technology board on Pinterest

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Time for Chicken Sandwiches Not Steak Dinners In Healthcare

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 consumeIt's time for chicken sandwiches not steak dinners in healthcare 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.

Perficient Provides PIH New Tools In The Fight For Global Health

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.

Webinar: Healthcare Enterprise Data Model: Buy vs. Build Debate

Transformation is sweeping across healthcare in the United States at a rapid rate. Healthcare organizations, regardless of size, need to embrace new technologies in order to keep up with the quickly changing landscape and comply with evolving regulatory requirements.Healthcare Enterprise Data Model: Buy vs Build Debate

The solutions to these challenges have one thing in common, the need for accurate information. In some cases, the information required can be sourced from a single system, but in many situations, the need requires information from a wide range of systems that could include Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Claims, Financial and Human Resources.

The solution for many organizations starts with the creation of an enterprise wide data warehouse (EDW) that serves as their “single version of truth”. At the foundation of the data warehouse is the need for a data model that accurately organizes the data in meaningful ways. Many organizations will build their own data model while others will look to leverage an industry proven data model from an experienced vendor. This choice to buy vs. build, can be one that causes great debate within organizations both large and small.

At a high level, the pros to building your own enterprise data model will come down to flexibility and control. If you choose to build your own customized model, you will get to make each and every design decision based on how your organization operates, this can be very tempting.

The main advantage to buying a data model is the time to implementation. Many of the tough decisions are made for you, based on years of experience across a wide range of customers; purchased models are often much faster to implement.

As the debate continues you will need to weigh factors like experience, time to value, risk, integration accelerators and impact on your staff. Each of these topics needs to be considered as your organization decides whether to buy or build your enterprise data model.

Interested in more information on how to weigh the pros and cons of this critical enterprise decision? Join Perficient on November 18th for a complimentary webinar. We will examine critical factors that need to be evaluated when deciding whether to build or buy an enterprise data model. We will explore real-life client stories and discuss how they benefited from their decisions.

Upcoming Webinar: Healthcare Enterprise Data Model: The Buy vs Build Debate
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 @ 2:00 PM CT

The Problem with Health IT is in the Definition

There has been a lot of debate around the challenges within the healthcare industry. Much of the discussion stems from the fee-for-service model and the focus on services and reimbursement rather than the patient. Health information technology has its own set of challenges when it comes to addressing healthcare issues. The Problem with Health IT is in the Definition

If we truly want to put the patient at the center of their own healthcare experience than we need to take a step back and look at the relationship of the patient and the entire healthcare ecosystem. Healthcare should focus less on the products and services and more on the patient and provider relationship. Furthermore, health IT should support these relationships, however, by its own definition it doesn’t.

By definition,  Health information technology (IT) encompasses a wide range of products and services—including software, hardware and infrastructure—designed to collect, store and exchange patient data throughout the clinical practice of medicine.

The definition does not mention the patient and provider relationship and the emphasis is on products and services, software and hardware and does not reflect on the benefits of patient data exchange.

A better health IT definition: An automated approach that facilitates the relationship between the patient and the healthcare system through the accurate and secure electronic exchange of data, ensuring the right data is available at the right time for everyone that is engaged in the patient’s care.

This definition includes 3 critical components:

  • The importance of the patient relationship with the healthcare system
  • The importance of accurate and secure electronic data exchange
  • The benefits of data exchange in regards to patient care

A new definition will not solve the challenges of the healthcare industry, but it is a good place to start. It may be enough of a push to ensure technology developers are developing meaningful applications that improve patient outcomes, which should be the ultimate goal of health IT.

Upcoming Webinar: Combine Data to Enable Translational Medicine

The success of translational medicine is in the data and the ability to combine multiple sources of data to enable better patient care and outcomes. Unfortunately most academic research organizations (ARO) and hospitals have multiple systems that house data creating an inability to mine through the data to identify clinical insights, disease patterns or treatment options. Combining Patient Records, Genomic Data and Environmental Data to Enable Translational Medicine

Patient records, genomic data and environmental data need to be in sync to speed the process of bringing safer therapies to market and provide “bench to bedside” medicine. Combining multiple sources of data can enable complex and meaningful querying, reporting and analysis for the purposes of improving patient safety and care, boosting operational efficiency, and supporting personalized medicine initiatives. Integrated data will  enable implementation and delivery of translational medicine anytime and anywhere.

Please join Perficient’s Mike Grossman, a director of clinical data warehousing and analytics, and Martin Sizemore, a healthcare strategist, for a complimentary one-hour webinar in which they will discuss:
  • How AROs and hospitals can benefit from a systematic approach to combining data from diverse systems and utilizing a suite of data extraction, reporting, and analytical tools, in order to support a wide variety of needs and requests
  • Examples of proposed solutions to real-life challenges AROs and hospitals often encounter

To register for the webinar click here
Combining Patient Records, Genomic Data and Environmental Data to Enable Translational Medicine
Wednesday, October 15, 2014  | 1:00 PM CT

Budgets: Daily, Weekly, Monthly or Annually?

I think most healthcare entities are now moving to a more frequent budget cycle and if academic, they probably have to do a semi-annual legislative budget. They probably also at a minimum re-forecast based on updated actuals once a quarter.

Is their value though to gathering actuals daily or weekly and adjusting tactical plans based on current month trends? In today’s rapidly Budgets: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annuallyevolving healthcare environment, provider organizations must be able to identify financial performance gaps continuously and quickly change course when needed.   As we discussed in my blog: The Role of Finance Within the Hospital has been Elevated, this requires a partnership with operations to ensure that the correct metrics are correlated within the budget process. Agility is also influenced by the mechanism the hospital uses for budgeting and whether they use a rolling forecast to replace or supplement the annual budget process.

What is a rolling forecast? The rolling forecast is usually a quarterly budget with a two to three year horizon that keeps a close eye on the organization trajectory. Typically the forecast budget is not prepared at the department level but may instead focus on divisions or even at a hospital level. Global budget drivers and assumptions will typically be the same as the annual budget but those unique to a department or division may not be line items. The forecast is built using historical trends, current conditions and future assumptions for budget drivers. Some forecasts may be primarily driven by revenue drivers with expenses flowing from ratios defined to the model. Read the rest of this post »

Sure, it’s huge, but this is my favorite new iPhone feature

I’m having a good laugh at all of the memes floating through social on the “hugeness” that is the new iPhone 6.  Apple even wisely predicted the size sentiment (℅ super user research) and landed a spot featuring Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake that provides a few laughs.

So, while size-by-size comparisons are even a thing in my household (husband has the new phone while I’m skipping a version), I’ve found that my favorite features of the new release are actually a part of iOS8, and, therefore, I don’t need to get the new phone, and the extra inch of screen size that provides, to have them.

So what new iPhone feature has me all giddy and excited?  Safety.  FOSgNia

Let me explain.  I’m a big fan of the Quantified Self, and, as a runner and biking enthusiast, I like apps that help me track my progress.  I especially like when those apps are extensible and connect to provide an entire Quantified Self experience.  I’m not here to talk about HealthKit, though.   I’m here to talk about a lack of functionality I have found in these apps when it comes to safety.  I’m a woman running or cycling alone, and sometimes, if my work day creeps into the evening, the sun goes down before I get started.  I’ve combed the app store trying to find an answer, and there really aren’t good answers out there.  What I need is:

  • A way to alert loved ones passively if I run into trouble while I’m running or riding my bike.  It’s not really reasonable to expect that I can reach for my phone and make a call if I’m, for whatever reason, not able to complete those steps in the process.
  • A way to inform an EMT that may arrive on a scene when I am unable to communicate.

The iOS answers to these problems:

  • Share my Location: When I’m ready for a run, iOS lets me set up a window for when and who I want my whereabouts shared with.  I can set up the time parameters I have for my run, say 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., and share my location with my husband and best friend until I alert them that I am home.  If they don’t hear from me when they are supposed to, then they not only know something is up, but they know where I am as well. What I’d love for iOS to add is a way to send an alert if I fall during a run or ride.  I know, because of the ActivBeacon app, that this is possible.  The downside of ActivBeacon is that, for whatever reason, the app malfunctions and turns my volume up to full blast when I have both music and the app running at the same time.  Eye of the Tiger loses its motivational effectiveness at that volume.  Trust me, I know.
  • Medical ID:  The Medical ID, part of the Health App can be used by medical responders to know of any allergies or medical conditions I have and who to contact without unlocking my phone.   To do so, open the Health App and click on “Create Medical ID” that you see in red.  In the Medical ID you can add our name, birthday, height, weight, medical conditions, medical notes, allergies, medications, blood type, and organ donor status.  You can also add your emergency contact.   You will also want to make sure that you have the “Show When Locked” feature on.

So, there you have it.  If you know of any alternative options for exercise safety, then I’d love to hear about them!

The Key to Driving Down Healthcare Costs

Healthcare costs are rising at a faster pace than the economy is growing. Hospitals are often the focus of this concern, because they constitute the largest single component of healthcare spending. When looking at hospital costs, it is important to keep in mind that there are both direct and indirect expenses that contribute HighPerformanceCostingExpressway_largeto the total cost of care.

How do we understand total cost of care? Our team of experts leverages a proprietary technology for our clients called the Perficient High-Performance Costing Expressway, which enables transparency of fully burdened margin by service, patient and procedure. For decades, spreadsheets and costing software have been the best alternatives in determining cost of care. It is now more important than ever to transform these methods and leverage administrative, clinical and financial data in order to gain control of healthcare costs. Creating transparent costing models to indicate profitability across multiple dimensions of data is the key to driving healthcare costs down.

Embracing data-driven decision making in a provider setting requires agile thinking to pinpoint and respond to the short- and long-term needs of the organization. This shift requires finance departments to transcend from the typical focus on aggregating data to a value-added analytical view of hospital data. This new approach will provide greater visibility into changes in variables and assumptions and will require organizations to fully understand and ensure transparency exists for key performance indicators.

In evaluating supplies, labor, productivity or clinical effectiveness, the quality/cost/value equation requires an organization to truly understand its data. This includes not only considering the right product at the right place but also applying a broader perspective on clinical evidence for resources used and approaches employed. Data by itself doesn’t make a company successful; organizations must act on information and filter what is useful, appropriate, and above all else actionable. Those few organizations that are able to transform data into decisions and harness the power of insightful and timely analytics are ahead of their competition.

Perficient will be on hand to demonstrate the High-Performance Costing Expressway on display at OpenWorld 2014. Stop by and visit with our Healthcare experts at the Healthcare Solutions in Industry Central (Marriott Hotel 2nd floor).
Not attending #OOW14? Learn more about our costing solution here.

Follow me on twitter @teriemc

Knowledge Drives Precision

In recent years, dramatic advances in molecular biology, genomics, and related technologies have resulted in greater understanding of cancer at the molecular level. It is now possible not only to identify the genetic and molecular variations in each patient’s cancer cells, but to apply the results from the tumor profile, inKnowledge Drives Precision some circumstances, to begin to inform treatment strategies that target the molecular underpinnings of the specific disease in each patient.

“Precision medicine,” also known as “personalized medicine,” is the term used for this transformative new model of health care that involves the selection of diagnostic tests that have the potential to identify changes in each individual patient’s cancer cells. The use of that knowledge may help to prevent and treat cancer through the development of treatment strategies to target these specific molecular alterations. Ultimately, the goal of precision oncology is to improve patient outcomes. 1

I attended a conference session recently on this topic where an esteemed speaker panel took the audience though their vision of a time in our future when we could have a simple blood test on the way to our doctor’s office and arrive at the appointment to find our doctor fully prepared with a diagnosis and the ideal medication would already be identified based on our genetic makeup and perfectly formulated to avoid side effects for which you we are susceptible. Imagine this on a larger scale to speed up drug development, to create more precise therapies, faster and less expensively and apply this approach to improve the lives of people worldwide, at lower cost.

Perficient is helping clients such as the University of Colorado to establish a fully integrated informatics “highway” for precision medicine using the Oracle Health Sciences Translational Research Center platform to address formidable challenges such as:

  • Data Integration – the most foundational challenge is the need for an integrated data infrastructure spanning fully the genotype and phenotype (i.e., molecular and clinical attributes) of research subjects and patients
  • Individual Data Records – relevant data from the basic science, translational, clinical research, and health care domains need to be fully integrated at the individual data record, in order to produce “personalized medicine” models.2

Join us at #OOW14 to hear Michael Ames, MBI, Associate Director, Health Data Compass, Center for Biomedical Informatics and Personalized Medicine, University of Colorado and my colleague Lesli Adams, MPA @LesliAdams during the session “Creating a Digital Healthcare Safety Net with EHA and OBI for Care Transitions” located at the Marriott Marquis – Salon 10/11; Wednesday, October 1, 11:30am – 12:15pm.

We are an Oracle Platinum partner and we’ve gained valuable expertise from nearly 2,000 Oracle projects with our clients the past 15 years and we have amassed vast amounts of best practices and ideas to share. Stop by and visit with our Healthcare experts at the Healthcare Solutions in Industry Central (Marriott Hotel Atrium Lobby) at the Perficient kiosk (HMH-003) for a demo of the Translational Research Center.

Not attending #OOW14? Join our webinar Combining Patient Records, Genomic Data and Environmental Data to Enable Translational Medicine Wednesday, October 15, 2014 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CT.

Sources:

1 http://www.n-of-one.com/about/what-is-precision-medicine.php

2 Michael Ames, MBI, Associate Director, Health Data Compass, Center for Biomedical Informatics and Personalized Medicine, University of Colorado

 

Follow me on twitter @teriemc

ACA and QRS – Shoot for the Stars Part 3

In ACA and QRS – Shoot for the Stars Part 1, I laid out the overall domains that are going to be used to score QHP plans offered through the Marketplace. In Part 2, I discussed some factors to consider for the data derived measures. In this blog, we will take a closer look at the survey derived measures and what factors a QHP issuer should consider to achieve high scores.

surveyAgain, for reference all 43 of the required measures can be found on the CMS website (click here).

Now let’s take a look at some factors to keep in mind when dealing with the Enrollee Satisfaction Survey (ESS) derived measures:

Leverage CAHPS Processes
As mentioned in Part 2, it was required to get Health Plans Accredited to offer on-market. In addition, CMS aligned required QRS ESS measures with current CAHPS measures that are typically required during accreditation. And just as an organization should leverage HEDIS for data, make sure to leverage current investments in CAHPS to keep initial costs low while jump starting ESS efforts.
Read the rest of this post »

Patient Information Really Doesn’t Matter

We live in a world of information, everywhere we turn someone is collecting information about us. The technology advancements over the last 10 years are mind-boggling, but new technology is usually escorted by apprehension as our privacy continues to diminish and security is anything but secure. From cookies on Patient Information Really Doesn't Matterthe internet to a basket analysis at the supermarket, “big brother” is always watching.

The healthcare industry is no different. Healthcare organizations are surrounded by data: clinical, operational and financial; internal and external; structured and unstructured. There is so much information that healthcare providers don’t know what to do with it. The problem with healthcare is not a lack of information. The problem is healthcare organizations often have disparate systems that lack continuity. The absence of interoperability within IT infrastructures ultimately means that the right information is not available to the right people at the right time. Healthcare organizations can have all the information in the world, but if the information is not cohesive and can’t be used efficiently to improve clinical outcomes than information really doesn’t matter.

In order for healthcare organizations to improve outcomes, communication between systems is paramount. Despite industry standards such as EDI/X12, HL7 and CDA, information delivery is not effective. Most healthcare organizations understand the importance of untangling the interoperability web, but those same organizations don’t know where to begin.

Government regulations such as Meaningful Use Stage 2 (MU2) are putting additional pressure on healthcare organizations to improve the quality of care, coordination of care and population health management. A strong interoperability backbone that provides system connectivity is the key to attaining MU2. Interoperability transforms information into key insights that drive better clinical outcomes and improve the lives of individuals and communities.

Do you understand the importance of interoperability but not sure where to start? Perficient will be teaming up with technology partners IBM and Oracle to bring you 2 complimentary webinars:

Tackle Healthcare Interoperability Challenges and Improve Transitions of Care
Thursday, September 25th @ 12 CT
Learn More and Register

Engage Patients, Reduce Manual Processes and Drive Key Insights with Interoperability
Tuesday, October 2nd @ 2 CT
Learn More and Register

3 Questions Apple Must Answer to Reduce HealthKit Skepticism

There has been a lot of buzz around Apple’s announcement to enter the healthcare space with the unveiling of their Apple Watch and HealthKit app. HealthKit seems to be gaining momentum due in large part to Apple’s strategic partnerships with healthcare industry heavy-hitters. However, many questions remain 3 Questions Apple Must Answer to Reduce Skepticismunanswered and Apple must address them to gain buy-in from skeptics.

PRIVACY: How will patient information be kept private?
Having all patient information in one place seems like a necessary step to improve quality of care. A centralized location means the right person can have access to the right information at the right time. However, people are concerned about having all their private information in one location is too risky and makes them susceptible to hackers. Recently, Apple addressed privacy concerns by updating their privacy policy and their guidelines for app developers. Apps working with HealthKit, may not use the personal data gathered for advertising or data-mining uses other than for helping manage an individual’s health and fitness, or for medical research. Apple is also considering a “HealthKit Certification” for developers to help address the privacy concerns.

SECURITY: How will patient information be protected?
For years, there have been very little security concerns surrounding Apple, however, concerns over Apple’s security have risen recently after an alleged hack on iCloud led to several risque celebrity photos being published. According to cloud security vendor Skyhigh Networks, over 90% of cloud services used in healthcare pose medium to high security risk. Apple has promised to tighten up security on the iCloud to protect patient information. Healthcare consumers must regain confidence in Apple’s ability to keep their information secure and safe from hackers.

REAL-WORLD USE: How does the HealthKit work?
Lets face it, people are busy, Healthcare professionals are overloaded, and focused first and foremost on providing quality care to their patients. They do not have time to play with an iPhone app, needless to say,  HealthKit data must be streamlined. It must be convenient, provide accurate and timely information and integrate seamlessly into a patient’s electronic medical records. Simply put people aren’t just going to use HealthKit because it is an Apple app, they aren’t going to use it because it is a fad (at least not long-term), they will use it because it is convenient and can improve patient outcomes.

Apple continues to build on their partnerships with major players in the healthcare industry. They are preparing to launch trials with two prominent hospitals in the United States. The trials will focus on a group of people with diabetes and chronic diseases and will offer a glimpse on how the HealthKit will work. The HealthKit app will receive information from regulated medical devices such as glucose monitors and blood pressure meters.

Standford University Hospital is working with Apple to track blood sugar levels in children with diabetes and Duke University is helping to develop a pilot program to track blood pressure, weight and other measurements for patients with heart disease and cancer. The goal with both of these trials is to improve speed and accuracy of data reported. If these pilot programs run smoothly you can expect to see them rapidly expand to other hospitals.

It is still too early to tell what impact Apple will have on the healthcare industry, but they are certainly putting the right pieces together. More work needs to be done to address privacy and security concerns and gain trust from the healthcare community.  Their partnerships with hospitals, medical information services and medical device makers may be the perfect storm,  but the success of HealthKit will depend on those that actually “use” it.