IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
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IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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Cloud performance tests reveal the impact of location

Cloud performance tests reveal the impact of location | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

If a cloud-based EHR isn’t fast enough to meet the needs of hospitals and other medical facilities, quality of care will suffer, clinicians and support staff will become frustrated, and provider organizations operating on thin margins will have wasted valuable IT dollars on inadequate technology.

 

Several industry trends make it clear that providers are increasingly confident cloud-based EHRs can deliver data and applications at sufficient speeds because vendors have dramatically reduced latency. Epic Systems, the largest EHR vendor in the U.S., began offering cloud services in 2014 to medical groups and small hospitals. The company said in 2016 that it has seen a big shift among its customers toward cloud-based systems. One of those customers is University of California San Diego Health, which announced in August 2017 that it is migrating its Epic EHR to the cloud.

 

Cerner has also revealed that a number of healthcare systems are moving onto its hosted cloud environment. Inspira Health Network, a nonprofit healthcare organization that serves communities across New Jersey, and Bay State, an integrated health system in western Massachusetts health system, have both moved to Cerner’s cloud hosting model.

 

Another EHR vendor, Athenahealth, offers only cloud-based EHR services to its network of 56 hospitals and 106,000 providers that serves more than 100 million patients. Ellenville Regional Hospital in upstate New York, reports that running its EHR on a single network gives staff in all departments real-time access to patient records.

 

For health systems that will select their own cloud host, after considering the cost of strategic planning and security, the success of a migration ultimately rests on performance. Can EHR data, applications and services be delivered fast enough to support the needs of clinicians? Cloud performance is generally measured by average latency which represents the delay between the time when a client computer requests data and the cloud platform responds.

 

Tests have shown that distance between the cloud provider and the enterprise can have a significant impact on latency with delays of as much as 50 percent when the cloud is at a great distance.

 

Cedexis tested services and found distance was a leading indicator of performance

 

Monitoring company Cedexis performed tests throughout the United States that quantify this. Tests were performed on all of the major cloud platform vendors. The determining factor in latency performance was distance from the test client system to the servers at the cloud data center, with a deterioration of as much as 50 percent seen over longer distances within the same region.

 

For example, tests performed in the northwest region recorded latency was as low as 63 ms. when the cloud was near; a latency of 92 ms. was recorded on a cloud system at a greater distance from the test location. A test on cloud platforms in the northeast found 66 ms. latency on the low end and 78 ms. on the high end.

 

A number of vendors offer cloud performance tests that are free to be used during an evaluation process. One example is

 

CloudHarmony who offers a free service that will test performance for many of the leading vendors at a variety of their geographic locations. The test, at Cloud Harmony Speed Test will provide results for DNS query, downlink and latency.

Integration challenges


Migrating an EHR system to the cloud rarely is an all-or-nothing process. Rather, many healthcare IT managers are moving incrementally, evaluating the success of each application migration, learning from mistakes, and carefully preparing the next move based on need and experience. For example, some may decide to first migrate back-office or HR applications, and eventually, migrate clinical apps and billing data at a later date. Providers certainly can choose a one-shot migration to the cloud, but they run the risk of network and system disruptions, loss of productivity, and bandwidth limitations.

 

After cloud migration goals are set, computing models are chosen, and a migration plan established, healthcare providers can begin choosing a CSP (or more than one). For providers with concerns about potential latency issues, selecting a CSP with a hosted location close to the provider’s facilities makes sense. The provider’s IT staff and the CSP can then begin the cloud migration. This process involves addressing several integration challenges.

 

Perhaps the primary challenge is to prevent disruptions to systems or services during or as a result of the migration that would impact clinical care, staff productivity, or IT processes. Other challenges include protecting and backing up migrated data and connecting to and integrating disparate systems.

 

Integration may involve linking cloud-based apps and data with non-cloud apps in legacy systems. “An illustrative scenario could involve a multi-hospital operation which chooses to retain on-premises EHR for inpatient operations but wants to leverage public cloud services for geographically distributed outpatient clinics,” according to the Cloud Standards Customer Council (CSCC).

 

The CSCC argues that a successful cloud EHR migration depends on security and network connectivity.

 

“Whether you are ensuring insurance coverage for the public, developing the next generation of cancer drugs, or providing critical care/tier I trauma services, the new emphasis is being put on providing network availability, performance and security,” CSCC writes. “Although creating a highly available network might be expensive, those costs can be offset by the capabilities provided to the organization.”

 

The vast majority of healthcare providers today have moved or are moving applications, infrastructure, or development platforms to the cloud because they recognize the performance benefits and cost savings. For a cloud migration to pay off, providers must develop a realistic migration strategy and goals, choose the appropriate cloud computing and services models, find one or more CSPs whose services, support, and pricing match their needs and ensure that their networks have the bandwidth capacity to handle cloud-based workloads.

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What is telemedicine involved and how much does it cost? 

What is telemedicine involved and how much does it cost?  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Now that the use of telemedicine is surging to an all-time high, organizations can easily get lost in implementing the technology just to stay on top of the latest and greatest, but it is easy to get lost in the vast amount of telemedicine technology and equipment options available.

 

If you are researching your telemedicine options, applying for a grant or just need to put your budget plans together, here are six key elements and associated costs for you to consider.

1. Medical Devices for Specialties

The specific medical devices you need may vary depending on the specialties you plan to serve with telemedicine. The good news is you don't need to have all the answers right away because many equipment providers have scalable and modular telemedicine systems. This means you can purchase just what you need to get started and then add additional devices later on as your program expands into additional specialties. 

 

The cost of medical devices for basic primary care services can range from $5,000-$10,000, and this would include devices such as an examination camera, ENT scope, and digital stethoscope.

2. Communication Platform and Video Conferencing Needs

How you plan to manage the patient-to-remote encounter is also a key component to consider for clinical telemedicine applications. Since you are communicating a patient's critical diagnostic data, the optimal choice is to do it securely and in real time. After all, the beauty of telemedicine is the functionality to have a live interaction between a patient and a remote specialist.

 

AMD Telemedicine recommends using a Web-based encounter management portal to communicate and aggregate medical device data and share it live with the remote physician. This is truly the best way to offer telemedicine services that are as close to an in-person visit as possible. For video conferencing, it is best to first evaluate any video conferencing investments your organization might have already made to see if these can be leveraged for your current application. Many times they integrate seamlessly with encounter management platforms.

 

Depending on your video conferencing needs, you can complement a Web-based telemedicine portal with either software- or hardware-based video conferencing. To go the software-based route can cost as little as $1,500 per patient site with no cost for the remote provider. The cost for hardware-based video conferencing can start around $10,000 per patient site and increases with the number of remote provider sites you need.

3. Packaging Design and Mobility

Telemedicine carts, cases, wall mounts, and other equipment are all just various ways to package the telemedicine hardware and software. Although there is a difference in how aesthetically pleasing they are (or are not), the main thing to keep in mind is whether this packaging will fulfill your intended use, not just now but also in the near future.

 

Ideally, you want a telemedicine cart or case that is modular and can be easily configured for additional medical specialties so it can evolve with your program. For some applications, such as school-based health centers or long-term care facilities, it is helpful to select a telemedicine system that is an all-in-one package. This helps streamline the purchasing, maintenance, and support for those that don't have a dedicated IT team for their telemedicine programs. All-in-one telemedicine systems that include the telemedicine software, primary care medical devices and the mobile cart/case can range from $20,000 to upward of $28,000.

4. Bandwidth and Internet Connection Recommendations

You may be pleased to know that you don't need to invest in a significant infrastructure overhaul to make telemedicine a reality for your clinic. Of course, your specific needs will vary depending on factors such as location and size or your organization, but the most important consideration is not how much bandwidth you need, but rather how reliable and consistent your bandwidth is.

 

The most common Internet connections are shared with others, which can cause the upload and download speeds to lag and be interrupted at busy times. So finding a reputable Internet service provider with a commitment to reliable service is the first step. If possible, purchase a business-grade service so you experience a more consistent bandwidth capability to ensure your real-time data is not interrupted or compromised in any way.

5. Training

You already staff your organization or practice with top-notch doctors and nurses, so the next step is to provide these health care professionals with the skills and knowledge they need to best make use of your new telemedicine technology in daily operations.

 

Fortunately, clinical telemedicine equipment training isn't a complicated need to meet, especially if your staff has any familiarity with basic medical devices and modern communication technology.

 

There are two types of training programs to ensure the long-term success of clinical telemedicine programs: user training for clinicians and nurses, and technical training and installation for the IT staff. Training programs like these can range from $200 to $2,000 per site depending on the complexity of equipment, the number of users and other factors. Additionally, the American Telemedicine Association is a fantastic resource for training and education.

6. Support

Finally, the increased reliance on network connectivity and Internet technology at your office means that you'll need to ensure that you have adequate IT staff support. This is likely more of a concern for smaller practices that may not have an in-house IT department. It's a good idea to talk to your telemedicine vendor to determine if it provides installation services, as well as what technical support options are available if you don't have an IT staff of your own.

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Keep Your Appointments Afloat! 

Keep Your Appointments Afloat!  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Summer can be a busy time for sailing and boating businesses as people flock to the beach, bays, rivers and lakes for a fun day on the water. Online scheduling software from Appointment-Plus can be the perfect partner for operators looking to spend less time booking reservations and more time on the water with their customers.

 

Used by businesses coast to coast for scheduling sailing lessons and booking boat rental reservations, Appointment-Plus helps these operations automate and streamline their appointment-setting procedures with such functionality as online self-scheduling, which allows customers to view availability and book their lessons and reservations online, 24 hours a day; automated e-mail and text message reminders, which inform customers of their upcoming appointments and reservations; accurate recordkeeping and report-generating features; and e-marketing capabilities for sending current and past customers information on specials, discounts and other news.

 

“Sailing and boating businesses provide fantastic recreational opportunities for individuals and families throughout the nation,” says Jeff Fleming, marketing director at Appointment-Plus. “Our software helps automate and streamline the entire appointment- and reservation-scheduling process, allowing them to spend more time focused on their operations and their customers.”

 

A Software as a Service (SaaS) application, Appointment-Plus is Web-based and accessible from any Internet connection. This gives operators the ability to access their scheduling calendar from outside of their home or office. Additionally, Appointment-Plus does not require a Web site, expensive hardware or time-consuming installations to use. Pricing starts at $39 per month with no long-term contracts and free set-up assistance with a dedicated coach.

 

Businesses that utilize the online self-scheduling feature can expect a significant drop in the number of phone calls from customers looking to book appointments and check availability. This functionality is especially beneficial if the operator does not have an office or receptionist and routinely takes phone calls at the dock or on the water while giving lessons.

 

“Just think of the convenience of allowing your customers to schedule their lessons or reserve their watercraft at any hour of the day and at their own convenience,” Fleming adds. “Plus, you’ll spend less time answering the phone call and returning messages.”

 

Appointment-Plus supplies almost 4,000 clients throughout the United States, Canada and 10 other countries the tools they need to schedule customer and patient appointment times, book rooms, accept registrations and many other services. Geared primarily toward small businesses such as doctors’ offices, spas, health clubs and massage therapists, users of the service also include Fortune 500 companies; colleges and universities; healthcare agencies and facilities; federal and local government; and freight and delivery companies.

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Doctors Software for Clinic Management  

Doctors Software for Clinic Management   | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Clinic business is extra complicated than ever, with Doctors Software for Clinic Management, you get easy solutions for each part of your routine work, from scheduling appointments to billing. We take care of your business by providing the perfect solution so you take care of your patients more efficiently. Doctors Software for Clinic Management was designed with the help of a medical doctor and clinic staff to make it a fit choice for your working environment. Our Doctor’s module is easy to use. Connection with Labs, Pharmacies and more, make your work easy and quick and it works the way you work.

 

Doctors Software for Clinic Management is an efficient and automatic way of dealing with health facility with options like Doctor’s appointments, administrative activities, patient’s treatment history, diagnostics information, and billing, etc. Doctor’s software for clinic management is good for a hospital with single/multiple locations. It was developed keeping in mind the small and medium-size polyclinics too, and the focus was especially on portability and ease of use. Doctors Software for Clinic Management covers most of the standard features often found in software made for clinics or hospitals.

 

Ease of use, manageability, multi-user functionality, the fast information retrieving in Doctors Software for Clinic Management are exemplary as compared to other such programs. Deciding to use Doctors Software program based on the cloud platform is very cost effective for the clinics. Doctors Sofware for Clinic Management is a good choice for the small as well as huge hospitals or clinic setup. It requires no much expenditure on equipment, hardware or trained IT staff. Those are the resources that a health facility, assisting an in-house IT setup to have to utilize, which are costly. This optimized Doctors Software for Clinic Management is updated, configured and maintained within the cloud through the skilled IT professionals. The users are, hence, free from the burden. It results in price saving and the staff pays attention to the main functions of the Clinic.

 

Easy to use, and Efficient

Doctors Software for Clinic Management gives rapid, simple and easy solutions for the Hospitals or Clinics to manage daily tasks. It allows for streamlining report generation, inventory management, patient management, employee’s attendance and other tasks. Doctors Software for Clinic Management smoothly integrates with your workflow. This cloud-based software program easily distinguishes scheduling for different physicians and a simple interface that consists of tabs for speedy switching across different features and functions. With these features, an easy to use patient portal, detailed reporting, and customizable workflow, Doctors Software for Clinic Management covers the various aspects of clinic management and administration.

Doctors Software for Clinic Management is very easy to use, and effective software program to control the management process of clinic or hospital. This Software Program is one of the best for individual Doctor Clinic or a hospital. In case you are looking for easy to apply and easy to keep software in your clinic or small health center, this software program is best for you. At a very affordable price, you not only get the software but also free training and support from our company.

A Product of EVision Techno Services

Doctors Software for Clinic Management is a Module of EVision’s Hospital Management System.

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Avoid Clinical Data Loss

Avoid Clinical Data Loss | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Have you checked your clinical data backups in the last four weeks? Do you have a signed document from your IT vendor agreeing to your patient confidentiality policy? Finally, as a business owner or manager, do you know what security policies and technologies are in place to protect your patients’ data?

 

If you’ve answered no to any of those questions, then you’re not alone and unfortunately, your business might be at risk.

 

43 percent of the health businesses audited by REND Tech Associates in 2013 believed they implemented adequate security measures in their businesses. However, our audit results told a different story.

 

One of the costliest technology risks to a healthy business is the failure to recover current patient data easily and promptly. The inability to do so can have severe medico-legal implications for health businesses and their patients. Such risk is always linked to the backup policy that businesses chose to implement.

 

To minimize the risk of not being able to recover your patients’ data when you need it most, I suggest contracting an eHealth engineer to design and tailor a backup plan unique to your business and available technology.

 

The second major source of data loss risk is the unauthorized access to clinical patient data by IT vendors. Whilst we can agree that not all IT vendors actively choose to access clinical patient data, there have been cases reported where practices and health businesses have faced legal actions due to their inability to provide signed confidentiality agreements from their IT vendors and staff.

 

If you don’t have a signed document from your eHealth engineer stating that they meet your patient data access policy then you need to obtain one now.

 

If you’d like a confidentiality agreement template then please feel free to call us and we’ll be able to send you a generic template.

 

The third security risk to health businesses is the unauthorized access of patient data, which we all commonly know as hacking. However, most health business owners or managers aren’t aware that half the hacking cases reported aren’t external hacks but internal ones.

 

An internal hack is when an unauthorized staff member or stakeholder within the business is able to access clinical or business data that they are not supposed to.

 

To remove the internal hack risk from your business you can implement a few simple steps. The first step is to ask the clinical staff not to share their passwords with other staff members. The second tip is to ensure that no one except the business owner, manager and IT vendor can access the server. The third tip is to audit your business IT platform every 12 months. It is important to have an external eHealth engineer audit your current IT platform and check the level of service that your IT provider is delivering.

 

Ongoing regular audits ensure that your business is protected from downtime due to technology failure, medico-legal complications due to unauthorized data access and most importantly, ensuring that you can always use your backups when needed.

 

If you enjoyed this article and would like more useful tips, then I’d encourage you to visit our website for more useful articles, tips, and recommendations.

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Tips to Make Your Clinic More Efficient

Tips to Make Your Clinic More Efficient | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Business process engineering or business workflow optimization are terms used to describe how an organization and its staff are able to achieve more by changing or improving the way they do things.

 

By ’achieving more‘ we mean either getting the same results from a previous process but by doing less or delivering better results by doing things in a new way.

 

Ultimately business process engineering makes the clinic more efficient AND more productive. We surveyed some of our existing customers (specifically for this blog) to find out areas that they had improved on in their business. The key areas were:

  • Reducing administration work
  • Simplifying the patient journey
  • Reducing staff error
  • Reducing the workload on management and the team in general
  • Promoting a better culture at work by making it less stressful

 

Now for the fun part, below are the top five workflow changes our clients implemented (by using technology) that made them and their staff more productive:

 

Systemise the business via an online portal: We touched on this last week and it’s no surprise that systemizing the business in a way that makes it easy for the staff to follow the processes helps both business efficiency and staff productivity. Our clients (specifically those in the management layer) have found more time to focus on more important tasks by directing the staff to visit the online portals for answers they may require in terms of completing a business task. Systemising all business processes and delivering them in an interactive method will certainly reduce the number of times you will hear “How do I do this?” and the number of times you will think “Why can’t they just do it?”.

 

Technology on the go (Cloud Computing): Are you one of those doctors/practice managers who travel or work from different locations? You see your patient, write your notes then drive (or fly) back to the office to enter the notes into your clinical system? Cloud computing allows doctors to access their clinical software from anywhere. This simply permits you to enter the patient data while you are still with the patient which in turn, cuts down your administration work dramatically.

 

Social media at work: Sure, some managers will say “No Way” to have a chat program at work but the reality is that all high-efficiency organizations are implementing work-specific chat programs to allow their staff to communicate quicker. Whilst Skype is an option, there are many other programs that permit staff to chat and share information with each other easily.

 

Let the website reduce inbound inquiries: This isn’t something new or revolutionary but we still work with businesses on changing their website from a business card to a new staff member. Here’s the tip, write a list of the 10 most common inbound inquiries your staff receive and then put the answers to those inquiries on the contact us page on your website. You’ll notice that the inbound calls you receive are now more relevant and direct. If you could use short videos to answer those questions then you have just saved yourself and your staff a lot of time, freeing them up to complete more important work.

 

Online timesheets: You’re probably thinking, huh? What do you mean by online timesheets? Well, those who work on a contract basis are generally required to submit a timesheet. It’s generally printing out a spreadsheet, filling in the hours, signing the form and popping it into the manager's pigeonhole. We believe it’s easier to complete the time sheet and submit it online. It saves the payroll staff and management a lot of time and processing work. General practice clinics (same as all health businesses) have adopted this technology to reduce user error, payroll issues and most importantly, reduce the time it takes to remind staff to complete their timesheets.

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Is it ok to store my clinic data in the cloud?

Is it ok to store my clinic data in the cloud? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

If like me you enjoyed gazing out of the window at school, watching the clouds go by during double maths this is for you. Everything seems to be in the cloud these days; music, pictures and all the app things I use to try and make my life a little easier. But as much as I enjoy gazing upwards what is it all really about? What does it mean for you and your clinic? Let’s start at the beginning.

What is the cloud?

In the simplest terms, the cloud means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. That’s probably almost as much as you need to know but please read on!

 

When you store data on or run programs from the hard drive, that’s called local storage. Everything you need is physically close to you, which means accessing your data can be fast and easy, for that one computer. But there are downsides. When information is only stored on your computer’s hard drive you are at risk from all of the usual dangers in life; coffee spills, loss of computer …. computer dying, I’m sure we all have stories along those lines. So what does it mean to have your information in the cloud?

 

Well, “The Cloud” is a buzzword that suggests everything is floating in the sky. But the reality is that the cloud is not floating above our heads, it is a physical infrastructure, its many computers all over the world. Unsurprisingly many people don’t take the time to wonder where their data actually goes or how it gets there they are just happy that it works.

What are the benefits to working in the cloud?

Working in the cloud can allow your clinic to be nimble, efficient and cost-effective. If your clinic quickly needs access to more resources, it can be scaled up quickly in the cloud. Also, if you experience any of the events mentioned above which would have a serious impact on your business your information will be safe as it’s not directly inside the damaged or lost computer. I hope that all makes sense now? Now for the really clever TM3 bit.

Cloud and Data storage

At Blue-Zinc we have a systems team who manage and develop the TM3 business cloud and as we are always trying to improve things we came up with the best possible solution available. The team has taken the flexibility of the cloud but rather than having your information roaming on random servers somewhere your data is stored in the UK (data centres certified with ISO 27001 and ISO 9001) on dedicated servers which Blue-Zinc own and the guys lovingly maintain and polish on your behalf. Security patches are regularly applied to our servers to ensure that any vulnerabilities are patched as soon as they’re identified. In addition, the SQL server database with encrypted VPN services gives users the highest levels of security available and all data is automatically backed up for you!

Feature-rich private practice software

So, with TM3, you have flexibility and safety all in one. It also means that you have access to our other cloud services Pronto, Online bookings and many more features which 10,000 practitioners worldwide enjoy on a daily basis. So, for now, my head might be in the clouds but at least I know where my data is!

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8 Health IT Trends to Watch

8 Health IT Trends to Watch | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

“We’re in the middle of an incredible moment in the healthcare industry, where expectations and standards are shifting.”

 

That statement was part of the opening remarks from Cerner’s Senior Vice President of Population Health John Glaser at the 2017 Cerner Health Conference. His position was a strong one: The industry, he says, is shifting from reactive sick care to proactive health management, from fragmented niche care to a cross-continuum care system and from reward for volume to reward for quality, efficiency, and safety.

 

Today, we’re watching as the physician, long considered to be at the center of the healthcare universe, is moving aside in favor of the consumer.

 

These shifts aren’t happening in a vacuum: They’re touching in every area of the industry, and they are reshaping the way the business of healthcare is done. Here’s a look at some of the top trends that will push the industry forward in 2018.

 

Consumer-centered health care


We talked a lot about the rise of consumerism in health care over the last year, and that train is not going to slow down in 2018. Increasingly, we're seeing people wanting to have a more active role in managing their own health and care (this is particularly clear when we consider the rise of mobile health apps and wearables). They expect the same level of information, detail, and options that they have in other industries when it comes to making purchase decisions, and there is a rising call for data transparency and access.

 

While there have been some great strides toward empowering the individual with healthcare organizations working to improve the patient experience, we're still waiting for the healthcare industry to wholly adapt to the needs of the consumer.

 

At Cerner, we recognize this as a new era, where the consumer will, at last, join their own health care team. That's why, at this year's CHC, Cerner President Zane Burke announced that we’re making a free consumer-directed health record available within our clients’ enterprise portals, providing individuals more control over how their data is used and shared. Each patient will have his or her information compiled on their behalf and can direct the use of that information to create their own experience.

 

The era of the consumer is here – and it’s time for the healthcare industry to embrace that.

 

IoT


From controlling the thermostat on your phone to monitoring your health with technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the way we work, live and interact with the world around us. IoT has been a popular phrase in health care for the past few years, but today, the conversation is shifting. The primary issue now is understanding how we can take the plethora of big data available from connected systems and tailor it to provide person-centric care.

 

Moving forward, we need to harness the potential of IoT to drive better efficiencies. From a data collection perspective, the advantages of connected medical devices are vast. When we can provide data bridges from disparate health care systems within a single organization, we’re making critical patient information more accessible to clinicians and care teams and ultimately impacting patient outcomes.

 

Through the use of IoT devices, we have the opportunity to deliver true virtual care for chronic condition management, virtual visits, and other care coordination activities to streamline and benefit the patient. Connected devices enable more real-time insights and health status for a person.

 

“IoT is tied to consumer enablement, which ranges from remote patient monitoring to mobile applications,” Hamilton says, “and it certainly includes the ever-increasing trend of telehealth, which isn’t going to go away.”

 

Artificial Intelligence


“Intelligence isn't a new idea,” Glaser said at CHC. Our cars tell us when the oil is low, and they’ve been doing that for years. But we’re about to take a significant leap in the intelligence of our devices. We’re already seeing this with products from companies like AWS, Azure, and Google.

 

We're in the early stages of seeing how artificial intelligence will play out in the healthcare industry. One example is in precision medicine, an approach for disease treatment and prevention that accounts for individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person. This approach relies heavily on big data analytics, where machine learning algorithms and precision molecular tools make it possible to understand the mechanisms of disease and match up individual problems with personalized treatments. The implications for genomics and precision oncology are significant.

 

We’re also beginning to see AI algorithms affect and enhance medical imaging. These algorithms find patterns in images, identifying specific anatomical markers and scoping details that the human eye can’t – while simultaneously combing through a patient’s history, helping clinicians make efficient and quick diagnoses. The future of AI in health care won’t see clinicians being replaced by machines but rather empowered by them.

 

Big Data


“Data is the new oil,” Andreas Weigend, Amazon's former Chief Scientist, said recently. It’s a bold statement, but he has a point: Big data and cloud technology are changing how we interact with data, and previously untapped data sources are now attainable.

 

One of the greatest examples of big data’s implications for the healthcare industry is in predictive analytics, where data is used to identify behavior patterns in a patient or population and forecast outcomes. For example, when EHR data is organized into meaningful groups, such as social determinant factors, it can help predict hospital readmissions and can shed some insight on strategies to improve readmission rates.

 

This power to affect additional value and efficiencies within a hospital setting is no small thing. Perhaps most critically, these newfound big data insights are pushed to those that can make a difference: clinicians and care team members. Acute and ambulatory decision support, for example, can be enhanced by creating an empowered care team with a clear picture of the patient, thanks to increased access to patient data that's built directly into the existing daily workflows. And big data has exciting implications for precision medicine.

 

Whatever route organizations hoping to take with big data, it's clear that it will be a catalyst for change for the better good and health of society.

 

Data governance


As organizations begin to share data across departments and with other health systems, there can be a few questions: Who owns this data? Have the appropriate parties consented to its release? What are the rules, conditions, and terms of data sharing?

 

“Data governance is a huge thing that organizations are struggling with right now, even as they try to solve for it,” says Hamilton. In a recent survey, only 44 percent of hospital leaders said they had data governance capability across their entire organization, while 56 percent said they had inefficient governance standards.

 

What organizations really need is a governance strategy that everyone understands and can abide by, Hamilton says. In the future, we’ll see more and more healthcare organizations looking for help from external experts to create and refine their data governance protocol and practices.

 

Open platform development and API usage expansion


Open data access and increased interoperability are continuing to clear the road for development in health IT (HIT) – particularly when it comes to academic medical centers and rural health care systems. This trend will only continue to grow as open standards, like SMART Health IT and the HL7 FHIR standard, encourage a new level of collaboration and innovation.

 

As the FHIR standard matures, we’re going to see an explosion of new apps that can integrate with EHRs to help improve workflow efficiencies and achieve better outcomes. Application programming interfaces (APIs) offer direct programming access to the underlying health IT system and enable 'app' developers to create tools that can ingest EHR data and provide new services to consumers.

 

In a previous blog post, Cerner's Dr. David McCallie discussed how, through projects like SMART® on FHIR®, providers are becoming familiar with APIs that support customization of the EHR experience. However, API access is not limited to providers. A new class of APIs will give consumers the ability to access their health information on demand via apps of their choice. These APIs are emerging thanks to consumer demand, and they are also driven by major regulations coming into effect – particularly Meaningful Use Stage 3.

 

Consumer-directed access will place control of personal health information in the consumers' hands. APIs that allow the transfer of discrete data will help drive the advancement of interoperability by delivering more specific data where it makes sense within the workflow, in a way that positively impacts outcomes.

 

UX and health IT


On the coattails of the rise of consumerism in health care is a growing emphasis on integrating user-centered design into healthcare products and solutions. To optimize any solution, user experience (UX) must be engineered in at every step of the solution design process. This way, the experience for the HIT user – be they a clinician or a patient – should meet or exceed their expectations.

 

Cerner's Vice President of User Experience, Paul Weaver, discusses the integration of UX design thinking and health IT through the example of mobile health apps. "When you think about consumer apps today, there is a huge amount of competition to get people's attention," Weaver says. "If you search for a notes app on the Apple store, for example, there's probably a few hundred for you to choose from. So, if I'm an app developer, how do I design the app of choice?"

 

The answer, Weaver says, is by providing a quality user experience.

 

"In the health space, historically, this has been a little bit of a walled garden," he adds. "You go to a health provider, and they give you a link to the app they want you to use, and there's no choice in the matter." It's the responsibility of the UX team to think about that application in the context of all their other solutions available so that whatever they're designing sits alongside its contemporaries in an equal level of quality.

 

UX is about more than just creating user-friendly applications. It’s a state of mind – a perspective that favors taking a human-centered approach to creating solutions. "That's what we're starting to achieve here," Weaver says, "and we're on the cusp of it becoming real for our end users, which is fantastic. How there be anything more exciting than an application that actually helps your health?"

 

Payer-provider convergence


One of the most significant trends in today’s market is the blurring of roles between providers and payers. As the industry shifts toward value-based care, it should become increasingly easy for payers and providers to collaborate at the point of care. A person’s relevant medical history, including medications and treatment plan, should be available to both the healthcare provider and payer – that way the patient’s insurance benefits are included in the provider network and are in sync. Shared access to this data means that clinicians are empowered to provide the right care at the right time to the right patient.

 

That’s payer-provider convergence in theory – but the reality is that there are two dynamics happening in tandem.

 

“You've got providers trying to take on characteristics of a payer because they’re doing at-risk relationships, and you’re seeing the payers making a direct play into the provider market,” says Ryan Hamilton, Cerner’s Senior Vice President of Population Health. Recent moves, such as UnitedHealth’s Optum purchasing DaVita Medical Group and Amazon’s push into pharmaceutical distribution, suggest that the trend of payers and providers merging together will continue to rise.

 

Along the same lines, there’s a lot of interest right now around provider network management – and that focus is only expected to grow. “How you actually recruit, manage and maintain a high-quality network of providers is and will continue to be a huge focus for our client base,” Hamilton says.

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Online Scheduling Software Is Revolutionizing the Wellness Industry

Online Scheduling Software Is Revolutionizing the Wellness Industry | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Appointment-Plus, the industry leader in online customer self-scheduling software, announced several major additions to its growing wellness and health screening client base. Major program providers such as Lifecare, Inc., which serves more than 4.5 million individuals, have quickly implemented Appointment-Plus web-based scheduling software to solve many of the thorny scheduling issues often associated with corporate wellness and health screening programs. Appointment-Plus seamlessly manages these large appointment volumes by allowing corporate employees and healthcare members to self-schedule via a secure Internet portal.

 

In addition to Lifecare, Appointment-Plus was also recently selected to be the online scheduling solution utilized by Self-Insured Schools of California (SISC), a health insurance group of over 300 school districts in the California education system. SISC will use Appointment-Plus software to allow thousands of school district employees and dependents to schedule health screenings across the State of California. With the integration of both the online self-scheduling software and the call center services offered by Appointment-Plus, SISC will maintain a comprehensive scheduling solution that meets all aspects of the employee and dependent scheduling process.

 

The appointment-plus software offers wellness providers the ability to customize the system to meet very specific scheduling needs, including the option to private label both the member scheduling view and the administrative view of the system. In addition, Appointment-Plus offers an enterprise solution if required for large projects. The enterprise solution allows wellness providers a web services toolkit to interface Appointment-Plus information with other systems.

 

Because Appointment-Plus operates on a software as a service (SaaS) model, wellness providers can implement the system with virtually no up-front or capital costs. In addition, because the member self-scheduling process eliminates much of the traditional manual scheduling process, using Appointment-Plus is a cost-saving measure for programs. Appointment-Plus accounts are scalable to allow scheduling across multiple client-companies and client-locations. With its robust reporting functionality, Appointment-Plus also effectively manages wellness project information needs.

 

“The flexibility and functionality of the Appointment-Plus system have been a key factor in its success for wellness providers,” said Jeff Fleming, Director of Business Development for Appointment-Plus, “Wellness providers, their clients, and their members really appreciate the simplicity of member self-scheduling and the corresponding business efficiency.”

 

Appointment-Plus is a technology firm that specializes in the development of web-based scheduling and appointment software for a wide variety of applications and industries. Appointment-Plus software clients include Fortune 500 companies such as Pepsi and Comcast, federal and local government, universities and schools, and small/medium sized businesses worldwide. In 2007, Microsoft Corp. selected Appointment-Plus software as its referral source for all appointment manager software clients.

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Making your clinic & staff more efficient

Making your clinic & staff more efficient | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Data collection on staff activity allows managers and leaders to determine how their team is spending their time and which activities take up the most of their working day. This post will help make your clinic and staff more efficient.

 

Data collection tools give you a clear picture of how your staff spends their time at work and how they can become more productive.

 

This is important in health businesses, as you are able to determine where your front desk and administration staff are spending their time.

 

I will use one of our clients as an example, they have two clinics and the managers found that there was always a workload on the weekend staff for scanning and administration. The staff that worked during the week were never able to complete the scanning, filing and other administrative tasks during their working day, resulting in a backlog of weekend staff.

 

By using the activity tracking software, they found out that the weekday staff was spending all of their time on the clinical software booking appointments and taking calls. This confirmed that the workload during the week was too much for the staff and allowed the client to justify hiring a new front desk staff member to complete the scanning and filing during the week.

 

You can use the data to:

  • Challenge your staff to spend an hour less a day on emails and use this hour to work on a project
  • Determine the average time staff spend on social media whilst they are in the office and raise alarms if, for example, a staff member has spent more than two hours on Facebook
  • Set yourself some goals, for example, spend less time on administration and more time using the clinical software.

 

A product that we use and is RescueTime. It is installed on all the devices in the workplace and it gives both staff and management a report of their efficiency, productivity, and areas of concern.

 

We use this software to determine processes in our workflow that need to improve and find out how productive we are compared to other staff members.

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Simple Tips to Ensure Clinical Data Security

Simple Tips to Ensure Clinical Data Security | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

While we are aware of the importance of the integrity and security of clinical data, recent onsite surveys conducted by REND Tech showed that more than half of the health businesses in Sydney did not implement strong security policies to protect clinical data.

There are a number of steps that will help you increase the security policies around your clinical data. Below are our top five tips:

 

  • To stop unauthorized internal data access, the server must be protected by an administrator password known only to the management team.
  • To ensure that no viruses or malware products are downloaded on your workstations, all computers must be protected with a business grade antivirus product (not the free version of AVG). We recommend NOD32.
  • Management and IT staff should be the only people allowed to access the server. This includes providing server access to pathology companies, Medicare Local staff and so on. If access is required you need to authorize it first and then notify your IT team.
  • To avoid network hacking, change your router password from the generic password to an administrator password. – If you have a Windows XP machine then you need to consider changing it. Recent studies showed that they are six times more likely to be hacked.
  • Never install software on your business computers that have not been approved and authorized by your IT team. Work computers must host clinical and business applications only.
  • If you access your clinical data remotely then you need to ensure that the remote access application you use is secure and password protected. Never share those details with anyone, including your colleagues.

 

By following the processes above, you should be confident in the security of your clinical data. It is highly recommended that you arrange for a security audit every six months to ensure that all the relevant security policies are in place. Take the opportunity to rate your level of data security.

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Design Of A Mobile Health Clinic

Design Of A Mobile Health Clinic | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

A mobile clinic allows the health provider or health business to deliver its services from multiple locations. Simply put, you go to the patient, they don’t come to you.
The concept of mobile and virtual health clinics has grown rapidly and both are now key business models for health businesses in Australia.

Mobile health clinics have certainly grown in both numbers and services offered, as you now have clinicians and health practitioners flying into towns to hold a clinic or even doing a roadshow-like journey through rural and remote areas.

Mobile health clinics are also increasing in metropolitan areas where health practitioners or health businesses are going into the corporate, government and educational sectors to offer their services to the staff of those organisations.

Simply put, doctors, allied health professionals and community workers are now becoming more mobile and as such, are having a bigger reach.

Most health practitioners agree that the biggest challenge in a mobile health clinic is to be mobile. In order words, the ability to access all the necessary clinical and business tools and offer the same service as an in-house health clinic is the greatest challenge.

Below are some tips on how to design a mobile health clinic (from an IT perspective)

Know what tools you need to complete your tasks in a mobile environment, this includes:

  • The clinical software applications you currently use (MD, BP, Genie, Pathology)
  • The billing applications you currently use (BP Management, eClaims)
  • The communication/messaging applications you currently use (Argus, Healthlink)
  • The administrative tools you currently use (Outlook, calendar)

Ask your current eHealth IT consultant to perform some research on

  • Cloud solutions specific to the health industry
  • Remote desktop solutions
  • Remote access solutions

At REND Tech, our Cloud for Health solution allows mobile, virtual and FIFO businesses to access their complete clinical IT environment from anywhere (home, office, mobile office), at any time and using their preferred device (iPads, tablets, laptops).

Before agreeing on a solution/vendor, ensure that

  • You have thoroughly tested the solution and it meets your requirements
  • Your data and applications are hosted in Australia
  • Your data, applications and complete IT environment are backed up daily
  • You are happy with the security levels provided
  • There is ongoing IT support and maintenance to ensure that your solution is always available.
  • You have tested the solution using wireless, networked and 3G/4G connections

By following the steps above, you should be well and truly on your way to having an excellent IT foundation for your mobile health clinic.

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