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News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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FDA Clears IlluminOss Medical's Bone Stabilization System

FDA Clears IlluminOss Medical's Bone Stabilization System | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

IlluminOss Medical, a privately held, commercial-stage medical device company focused on minimally invasive orthopedic fracture repair, announced that it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) de novo clearance for the IlluminOss Bone Stabilization System for treatment of impending and actual pathological fractures of the humerus, radius and ulna from metastatic bone disease.

The IlluminOss System incorporates the use of a thin-walled PET balloon that is infused with a liquid monomer and delivered in a minimally invasive fashion into the intramedullary canal of the bone through a small incision.

Once the balloon is infused with monomer, it conforms to the shape of the patient’s specific bone. The surgeon then activates a light source which delivers visible light to the PET balloon, polymerizing the monomer. The cured, hardened implant provides longitudinal strength and rotational stability over the length of the implant, stabilizing the fracture.

The IlluminOss System, which has been commercially available in international markets and been in clinical use since 2010, will now be available to patients in the U.S. for the treatment of pathological fractures of the humerus, radius and ulna.

“The FDA marketing clearance marks a significant milestone for IlluminOss Medical, allowing us to bring our products to the U.S. market,” said Robert Rabiner, chief technology officer, IlluminOss. “The IlluminOss System was developed with an aim to provide improved patient experiences and outcomes when treating pathologic fractures. There is a critical need to make less invasive orthopedic fracture repair options available to an aging and underserved market segment.”

Surgeons’ experiences with the product in the international markets have reported smaller incisions, shorter procedural times, faster return to patient’s daily living activities, with reduced hospital stays and lower complication rates for patients.

“The IlluminOss System has significantly changed the way we are able to approach the treatment of certain impending and actual pathological fractures resulting from metastatic bone disease,” said Dr. Richard McGough, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “We were able to offer patients a quick, reliable surgical option that minimized pain and hospitalization. We were also able to consolidate their treatments; in some cases, we moved from two-day admissions to outpatient surgery, and we were ultimately able to complete radiation much more quickly.”

“I am delighted that we now have an improved option to help patients with metastatic bone disease of the humerus,” said John Healey, Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Since this device doesn’t violate the rotator cuff and can be inserted with reduced operative time and blood loss, it relieves pain and restores function more effectively than alternative treatments, in my experience. Furthermore, this new technology is versatile, and I anticipate that new applications will follow.”

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Nerve-on-a-Chip Platform Makes Neuroprosthetics More Effective

Nerve-on-a-Chip Platform Makes Neuroprosthetics More Effective | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Neuroprosthetics—implants containing multi-contact electrodes that can substitute certain nerve functionalities—have the potential to work wonders. They may be able to restore amputees' sense of touch, help the paralyzed walk again by stimulating their spinal cords and silence the nerve activity of people suffering from chronic pain. Stimulating nerves at the right place and the right time is essential for implementing effective treatments, but still a challenge due to implants' inability to record neural activity precisely. "Our brain sends and receives millions of nerve impulses, but we typically implant only about a dozen electrodes in patients. This type of interface often doesn't have the resolution necessary to match the complex patterns of information exchange in a patient's nervous system," said Sandra Gribi, a Ph.D. student at the Bertarelli Foundation Chair in Neuroprosthetic Technology.

Replicating—and Improving—How Neuroprosthetics Work
Scientists at the lab run by Dr. Stéphanie Lacour, a professor at EPFL's School of Engineering, have developed a nerve-on-a-chip platform that can stimulate and record from explanted nerve fibers, just as an implanted neuroprosthetic would. Their platform contains microchannels embedded with electrodes and explanted nerve fibers faithfully replicate the architecture, maturity, and functioning of in vivo tissue.

The scientists tested their platform on explanted nerve fibers from rats' spinal cords, trying out various strategies for stimulating and inhibiting neural activity. "In vitro tests are usually carried out on neuron cultures in dishes. But these cultures don't replicate the diversity of neurons, like their different types and diameters, that you would find in vivo. Resulting nerve cells' properties are changed. What's more, the extracellular microelectrode arrays that some scientists use generally can't record all the activity of a single nerve cell in a culture," said Gribi.

The nerve-on-a-chip platform developed at EPFL can be manufactured in a clean room in two days and is able to rapidly record hundreds of nerve responses with a high signal-to-noise ratio. However, what really sets it apart is that it can record the activity of individual nerve cells. The research has just been published in Nature Communications.

Inhibiting the Activity of Specific Neurons
The scientists used their platform to test a photothermic method for inhibiting neural activity. "Neural inhibition could be a way to treat chronic pain like the phantom limb pain that appears after an arm or leg has been amputated, or neuropathic pain," said Lacour.

The scientists deposited a photothermic semiconducting polymer, called P3HT:PCBM, on some of the chip's electrodes. "The polymer heats up when subject to light. Thanks to the sensitivity of our electrodes, we were able to measure a difference in activity between the various explanted nerve fibers. More specifically, the activity of the thinnest fibers was dominantly blocked," said Gribi. And it's precisely those thin fibers that are nociceptors—the sensory neurons that cause pain. The next step will be to use the polymer in an implant placed around a nerve to study the inhibiting effect in vivo.

Distinguishing Between Sensory and Motor Nerve Fibers
The scientists also used their platform to improve the geometry and position of recording electrodes, in order to develop an implant that can regenerate peripheral nerves. By running the measured neural data through a robust algorithm, they will be able to calculate the speed and direction of nerve impulse propagation—and therefore determine whether a given impulse comes from a sensory or motor nerve. "That will enable engineers to develop bidirectional, selective implants allowing for more natural control of artificial limbs such as prosthetic hands," said Lacour.

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'Dual Mobility' Hip Replacement Implant Reduces Risk Of Dislocation

'Dual Mobility' Hip Replacement Implant Reduces Risk Of Dislocation | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Hip replacement surgery is highly successful in relieving pain, restoring mobility, and improving quality of life. More than 330,000 procedures are performed each year in the United States, and that number is expected to almost double by the year 2030.

As with all surgical procedures, the possibility of a complication exists, and dislocation is the most common problem. The risk of dislocation is higher in patients who have had a second hip replacement, known as revision surgery. Some people need revision surgery many years after their first hip replacement when the original implant wears out. Hip instability after joint replacement is another reason a patient might need a revision surgery.

Research conducted by Dr. Geoffrey Westrich and colleagues at Hospital for Special Surgery and other joint replacement centers indicates that a newer type of artificial hip known as a "modular dual mobility" implant could be a good option for patients who need a revision surgery. Their study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons in Dallas this month.

"Although the concept of dual mobility was originally developed in France in the 1970s, the technology is relatively new in the United States," said Dr. Westrich, director of research of the Adult Reconstruction and Joint Replacement Service at HSS. "Our study found that the newer technology with modular dual mobility components offered increased stability, lowering the risk of dislocation, without compromising hip range of motion in patients having a revision surgery."

"Dual mobility" refers to the bearing surface of the implant—where the joint surfaces come together to support one's body weight. A hip replacement implant is a ball-in-socket mechanism, designed to simulate a human hip joint. Typical components include a stem that inserts into the femur (thigh bone), a ball that replaces the round head of the thigh bone, and a shell that lines the hip socket.

Modular dual mobility implants provide an additional bearing surface compared to a traditional implant. With the dual mobility hip, a large polyethylene plastic head fits inside a polished metal hip socket component, and an additional smaller metal or ceramic head is snap-fit within the polyethylene head.

"Currently, there are few large-scale outcome studies on the modular dual mobility device in revision hip replacement," Dr. Westrich noted. "We set out to determine the rate of dislocation and the need for another surgery following revision hip replacement using this implant and report on the functional outcomes."

The study included 370 patients who underwent revision hip replacement with the dual mobility implant between April 2011 and April 2017. The average patient age at the time of surgery was 65.8 years. Clinical, radiographic, and patient reported-outcome information was collected.

To be included in the final report, patients needed to be seen for follow-up for at least two years after their surgery, and the average follow-up was 3.3 years. "At the latest follow-up, we found that surgery with the dual mobility implant resulted in a very low rate of instability for the revision patients, namely 2.9 percent, with good functional improvement and a low rate of reoperation," Dr. Westrich noted. "While longer-term follow-up is needed to fully assess the newer device, in our study there was clearly a benefit provided by the dual mobility implant in the first few years following revision surgery."

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Information Technology in Today’s Veterinary Practice -

Information Technology in Today’s Veterinary Practice - | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

5 Common challenges of the traditional veterinary practice

  • Paper record keeping, appointment scheduling, service reminder distribution
  • Increased labor cost due to inefficiency
  • Difficulty in accurately managing inventory and accounting
  • Lack of advertisement avenues and initiatives
  • No connection with necessary modern medical equipment, associated practices, or specialty practices

We will now discuss the advantages of moving to a cloud based practice management system.

Why should a practice utilize cloud based technology?

Accuracy of records, reporting, and scheduling

In a paper record practice, patient files can be difficult to locate, reference, and store. Staff may be frequently disorganized, and it may slow the process of patient care. Your staff will likely spend more time shuffling paperwork than providing medical attention.

With a cloud based practice, patient files are easily accessible, updated real-time, and require no physical space for storage. The ability to schedule appointments is streamlined and accurate, reducing client wait-time and cancelled visits.

Increasing client compliance

In a paper record practice, staff is responsible for tracking services due which may lead to missing service reminders or sending redundant communications. But with a cloud based practice, the system does the work for you.  It allows you to send reminders in a variety of ways; postcards, emails, and text messages.

Reducing costs of operation

In a paper record practice, the cost is obvious. The physical storage demands are large and those costs will only continue to grow over time.  The inefficiencies in finding records, tracking service due dates, and communicating with the client is large and are frequently error prone. And in an installed system, you have to worry about the cost of purchasing equipment and updating that equipment.

 

With a cloud based practice, no servers or backups are required which frees up the staff and resources to allow them to provide better patient care. Cloud based systems usually have a low upfront cost with a reasonable monthly subscription price. The monthly price includes the system, automatic updates, support, and training.

Staff productivity and satisfaction

Let’s be honest, most veterinary clinic staff members joined this industry to spend time with animals and to help provide quality care. Managing paper records or an installed system isn’t something they bought into. However, they can leverage their system to help with the quality of care.

 

With a cloud based practice, staff can become more efficient giving them more time to do what they love which is being with the patient and providing that care. A happier staff normally translates to higher revenue.

Client interaction and communication

For a paper record practice, client interaction is limited to office visits, phone calls, and direct mailings. But with a cloud based practice, you get all those plus the ability to email, text message, client portal (pet portal), and social media.

Business growth and expansion

The record keeping process with which you run your practice shouldn’t prevent growth. Using paper records will take a toll on resources and will stifle growth.  An installed system will require more upkeep as hardware becomes outdated.  It is also very common to start with a hardware setup to support your clinic, but then grow out of that hardware setup. This would require new hardware and servers.

With a cloud based practice, servers are managed by the software vendor and are set up to grow with the business.

Medical technology and cross practice connectivity

For a paper record practice, there is no option to seamlessly pull in lab results, radiographs, or specialists’ reports – they must all be stored separately.  Coordinating this with a multi-location practice is near impossible.

With an install system, you can at least connect your software to external devices like lab analyzers and x-ray equipment. However, you can’t easily connect multi-location practices.

With a cloud based system, you can do both and do both well. In a multi-location practice, you can easily access one or more clinics from the same computer or device. You can also share clients and patients across locations reducing double entry. In most cases, you can run reports that show a group practice view which is near impossible with paper or installed systems.

Eddie Heinz is the CEO of eVetPractice.com, a leading provider of veterinary practice management software. Founded in 2011, the company’s clientele spans more than 40 states within the United States, as well as Canada and Australia.

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4 Industries That Find Blockchain Technology Useful

4 Industries That Find Blockchain Technology Useful | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

 

By 2024, the global blockchain market is expected to be worth $20 billion, and according to a recent study by IBM, one-third of C-level executives are considering adopting these technologies. Does that surprise you? Is your organization exploring blockchain or distributed ledger solutions?

 

Recent reports indicate that blockchain has the potential to reduce certain industries’ infrastructure costs by 30 percent. Additionally, there’s a $8-12 billion annual savings for certain industries that use blockchain technology. Let that sink in.

 

Companies of all industry types are using blockchain technology to help them improve transparency, traceability and trust; but here are four industry-specific benefits.

 

  1. Healthcare: Hospitals are now able to seamlessly access patient data shared between member hospitals and participating hospitals.
  2. Banking: Financial institutions are able to simplify and speed up the transfer of funds, while ensuring the identity of the user.
  3. Supply chain: Manufacturers can ensure the authenticity of goods and products with better transparency and accountability.
  4. Insurance: Companies can eliminate common sources of fraud, and use smart contracts to improve efficiency and improve customer experience.

 

With all of these sample use cases, blockchain helps companies increase efficiency and reduce friction. Sirius offers various services to help organizations define and develop their blockchain solution.

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5 advantages of cloud computing and how they can benefit your practice

5 advantages of cloud computing and how they can benefit your practice | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

While the specialty may vary, practices of all sizes across Australia are turning to the cloud to run their business. With the launch of Clinic to Cloud (C2C) in early 2015, over 1200+ healthcare professionals, operating from hundreds of different practices are now computing with our cloud-based platform. With new clinicians joining C2C daily, benefits of the cloud services are now being widely recognized and accepted as the norm.

 

So if you’re looking to open a new practice for the first time or hoping to migrate your existing practice to the cloud, let’s look at 5 advantages of cloud computing and how your practice can benefit:

 1. Staying in touch

Cloud computing is storing and securely interacting with data over the internet, rather than your computer or local server. That puts connectivity and real-time data as the clearest advantage of working on the cloud. Yes, someone changed the WIFI password without telling you or the careless construction worker nearby didn’t check before drilling. However, one can argue that servers fail and files get lost. The internet is truly an essential resource, which is why it has become so readily accessible and available from multiple sources, smartphone, portable WIFI device, personal connection, net hubs at cafes, offices and even some commercial planes will essentially keep you connected.

 

What does this mean for the clinician? Not only that your data is stored in state of the art datacentres, as long as you are connected, but you can also run your practice.  Control you practice on-site, from home, hospital, on break at your favorite café or even on the flight to your next medical conference from a desktop or mobile device. Full connectivity anytime, anywhere – this is the cloud.

 

  1. Tools of the Trade

Smartphones, tablets, and ultrabooks are essential tools for any busy working professional. With top cloud services offering dedicated mobile apps, working on the go also means working with your indispensable devices. Like the stethoscope to the physician or the scalpel to the surgeon – The Clinic to Cloud App gives you the tools to stay conveniently connected with your practice whilst on the go. For time-poor clinicians, buying time during your super busy schedule comes from having your entire practice visible from your smartphone.

 

  1. That new software smell

Top cloud providers are regularly updating and improving their software. The moment updates are released, they are made available for the benefit of all customers. You would have noticed those design changes and new features on your social media account without you manually needing to install or upgrade anything. Simply log in and updates are there. Clinic to Cloud follows suit, we typically update every 3 to 4 weeks to better user outcomes and reduce practice costs. On release date, all our subscribers then benefit with the best part being at no extra cost. For the clinician - you are not wasting time having to update your practice software or pay for often expensive IT support to run updates. It’s cloud and it’s simple.

 

  1. Soft on the Wallet

Moving to the cloud can save you large capital expenditure, as you do not have to purchase expensive servers and other I.T hardware to host your data or run your software. Accessing your cloud application, in many cases, simply requires an internet capable device (smartphone, tablet, or computer) and an internet connection. Not to mention, local servers also have expensive on-going maintenance and repair costs and backup requirements as well. Clinic to Cloud does not require complex IT infrastructure and server equipment with messy cabling disrupting the feng shui of your practice. A modern desktop or laptop computer and you are on your way to the clouds.

 

  1. Security and Data

One of the concerns with Cloud is typically security and many are concerned about the safety of Cloud hosted software applications. Although we understand the feelings behind the concern, studies have shown that the cloud is safer than on-premise servers that are susceptible to virus and hardware failure and data loss daily. Cloud solutions can be compared to Airline travel; they remain the safest way to do business.  At Clinic to Cloud, we have taken additional security measures such as to Factor Authentication and high levels of encryption.

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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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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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7 Must-Have Features For Your Medical Clinic Website

7 Must-Have Features For Your Medical Clinic Website | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

In 2016, we are all plagued with an overabundance of information. For most of us, we want to find out only specifically what we need to know, and ignore the rest.

This is especially true for patients who are searching for a doctor online. According to the Pew Research Center, 80% of Internet users look for health information online, including 44% who search for physicians or health professionals.

 

When a patient visits your medical clinic website, they really want three things:

 

-To find out the important details they need to visit
-To feel in control of their experience
-To get a sense of who you are, and see if they trust you

With this in mind, here are 7 essentials you need to have an engaging, attractive medical website:

 

1. Patient Forms 



Make it easy for patients to schedule appointments, register and access important forms before they arrive at your office. Placing the registration form under a “New Patient” tab will make it easy to find.

 

2. News and Updates

Refreshing your site with recent news and updates will help build an online presence and allow patients to feel comfortable that their doctor is up to date on current issues. It will also help your practice rank higher in search engines, making it easier to find.

 

3. Contact Information

Prominently display contact information on every page, preferably in the top right corner, or at the bottom of the screen in the footer. Ensure also that you have entered your details onto Google Maps so that your clinic is showing up in location searches.

 

4. Patient Resources 



Providing patients with valuable content on popular health topics and link to trusted resources to give your patients the most up-to-date facts available. If there is a recent topic that is concerning people, you can also provide some general tips on these. This will help you build trust with your patients and show you as an up-to-date expert.

 

5. Services, Insurances, Payment Options

Most visitors will be interested what services you provide or insurances you accept. Making this information easy to find by having tabs at the top of the screen listing ‘Services’ and ‘Insurance’. You can also note whether there are special financial arrangements available, and whether you take cash.

 

6. Mobile Friendly Interface

According to an article by Search Engine Land, more searches now occur on mobile devices than any other platform. For this reason, your website should be viewable on all mobile browsers. Most website templates these days offer a mobile view, so this is not usually an issue, but is very important that your website is easy to navigate on a cellphone as it is on a computer screen.

 

7. Social media links and plugins. 



In a recent article by Forbes it was shown that Facebook now drives more online traffic than google searches. By having clearly displayed links to web site to your clinic’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube channel if you have any or all of these.

 

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The Healthcare Internet Of Things: Becoming A Reality

The Healthcare Internet Of Things: Becoming A Reality | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Technology is becoming more sophisticated:

 

 As connectivity expands, new mobile devices and wearables – that offer far more sophisticated biometric, fitness and wellness tracking – are entering the market. For example, these more advanced technologies are tracking and reading muscle activity; utilizing spectrometers to measure nutrition in food; keeping tabs on electroencephalogram (EEG) levels; and measuring exposure to ultraviolet light. What is even more interesting, however, is the fact that consumer electronics, wearables and clinical devices are continuing to take on new physical forms – including digital tattoos, under-skin implants and smart contact lenses.

 

Additionally, devices are beginning to better communicate with one another, as we build out interoperable networks. This is the key principle behind the Internet of Things, in general. The possibilities for this growing interconnected network of devices are endless and include:

 

  • Connected refrigerators monitoring food input and output;
  • Connected thermostats that self-adjust temperatures to body heat metrics;
  • Televisions that can connect to real-time data dashboards breaking down your health and recommending consultations with your physician, dietician, therapist or personal trainer;
  • Light bulbs that automatically adjust the emission of UV light to stress levels and time of day.

As these innovative technologies collect a broader array of clinical and fitness data, the information gathered is becoming even more vital for health care companies.

 

Data is being integrated and converging to create a holistic picture. Devices passively capturing more data (biometric, activity, etc.) will continue to integrate together to give a comprehensive overview of a person’s health. In the future, when bringing together biometric data with detailed activity data that extends far beyond what wearables and devices currently offer, insights not previously thought possible will emerge.

 

For example, data from a car related to erratic driving combined with speech patterns from a smartphone can provide detailed insights on a person’s stress level. Taken a step further, analytics programs could integrate that data to help predict a manic episode in a person with mental health issues.

 

Technology partnerships are proliferating. Technology partnerships are vital to creating an interconnected world of devices and interoperability.  Companies are relying on specialized technology vendors to add increased capabilities to their products instead of building it all on their own. Case in point: Polo Ralph Lauren created a connected t-shirt. But the company did not build the sensor technology that already exists. Instead, they focused on their core competency, apparel, and partnered with a technology vendor to add the health tracking sensors.

 

Non-technical and consumer companies will continue to partner with technology companies to add health-focused capabilities to their product or services. We have seen these partnerships are regularly emerging with phone companies, sports teams and automotive companies. 

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Healthcare IT Is Getting Sexy & Fashionable 

Healthcare IT Is Getting Sexy & Fashionable  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Many of us have been following the wearable industry in healthcare.  Many of us have been influencing the wearable industry in healthcare.  Whichever the case, it’s true that HealthIT is getting sexier each day.

 

Some people will wear gadgets because of the practicality of them.  For example, some wear watches because it gives them the current time and date.  

 

Others wear watches because they make them look cool or rich.  And others do it for both reasons.

I belong to the latter group.  I like the practicality of the wearable but I also like the looks.

 

As of today, I’ve owned most of the modern wearables: Fitbit, Moto 360 and several Samsung Gear devices.

 

The Fitbit is OK but it’s still not a gadget I can show off.  Moto 360 is the one I hide under my sleeve in order to not be perceived as an eccentric geek (which I am).

 

There are few health management apps on it but I’m expecting them to grow.  Personally, I’m creating an app for diabetes self-management.  Of course, I am not going to market this app due to regulatory restrictions but I’ll try to get it into a proper product development work stream in the near future.

 

But like everything in technology that breaks bad:  I just can’t wait to see what the Apple iWatch will look like.  But it must be the sexiest thing in the world of gadgets.

 

Apple did it with the music gadgets.  Remember the Walkman?  Apple turned it into the sexy iPod.  Remember the Blackberry?  Apple turned it into the sexy iPhone.

 

I can bet on this fact:  Get the people to wear the gadget because it’s cool and sexy and then all other applications of it will follow through.

 

But don’t ever think that your cool and sexy health application will on its own be adopted if it doesn’t help conquer the next loved one!

 

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Is TeleMedicine the future of healthcare ?

Is TeleMedicine the future of healthcare ? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

A 61 year old man comes into the room complaining of his feet slowly changing shades to a brownish red.  On examination there is swelling of both feet, the marks are scattered brown flecks on otherwise normal colored feet, however it is definitely spreading from the toes upwards.

 

The doctor will collect a history, which tells us that the patient had an Inguinal hernia procedure three years ago, it was corrected by placing a mesh to keep things in place.

 

There is also history of a Transient Ischemic Attack ( Stroke ) two years ago, this was handled by blood thinners.  The patient remembers being allergic to one of them.

 

Carrying on the examination the heart and lungs are fine, all nerve reflexes are in place and the patient has sensation on the tips of toes on both feet.  Circulation is also fine.

 

If the patient has his records things like these become important;

 

  1. Which medicine was he allergic to

 

  1. How was the mesh placed, do the scans show any slipping

 

  1. Blood clotting variation ( INR/PT/PTT blood tests ). Given that the patient had a stroke these would be regularly monitored.

 

  1. Any infections in the area and what antibiotics were used to treat them.

 

If he doesn’t have records, then the diagnosis can still be made to a skin deposing of iron, not before things like a venous Doppler, MRI of the lower leg, and a few other inconclusive tests will be done.  Chances are the dermatologist will be one of the last people consulted if the records are not at hand.

 

Medicine is the integration of clinical practice as a doctor would see it with the story each patient presents.  Telemedicine takes this entire interface and places it online for easier access, diagnosis, something that can be working twenty four hours a day, anywhere in the world if so needed.

 

The integration of various parts of healthcare are becoming more and more important now that there is so much travel, leading to different doctors and scattered records.

 

Most important of all, now diagnostic medicine has developed a virtual arm where a complete health capsule of the patient can be portrayed, making for peace of mind to distant loved ones or even a second opinion from a family doctor.  All it takes is internet access to lead to better diagnosis wherever a person is.

 

It is often important for doctors to know the past history of a patient.  Knowing things like the last series of blood test results makes it easier for doctors anywhere to monitor and adjust doses for things like diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol etc. medication.  This often gives people the security to travel in peace.

 

Healthcare is an ever changing thing, and often not one we can plan.  Telemedicine helps a little in that area by keeping a complete set of your records online. This makes things easier for the entire healthcare community, not just the doctor.

 

In case of emergencies it is good for the nearest hospital to have prearranged access to your records.  Paper degrades, ECG’s will fade away within a year.  Good health goes on a lot longer.

 

There are several reasons why Telemedicine is the wave of the future.  To summarize here are a few scenarios where it would be of use.

 

 

  1. Elderly parents in another city.
  2. Chronic disorders like diabetes, hypertension, where the medical records become the size of novels.
  3. Emergencies for things like blood group, allergies, current medication assuming the patient is not conscious.
  4. Frequent travelers with issues that need monitoring.
  5. Second opinions from doctors in different cities.

 

From a doctors perspective it is important to focus on the complaint which the patient has currently, it is however invaluable to have the history on hand for all the reasons above.  This leads to quicker diagnosis.

 

The advantage of quicker diagnosis is quicker treatment, the advantage of quicker treatment is that the wear and tear on the body while treating the problem is reduced.

 

If a diabetic can be monitored better no matter where he or she travels then the chances of long term damage to the eyes, kidneys or other sensitive organs are dramatically reduced.

 

Where does telemedicine fit into all this?  It’s best compared to traffic policemen at intersections of the doctor, pharmacy, laboratory and hospitals.  Making sure the right information is being passed on from one to the other. Reducing the chances that the wrong dose of medicine isn’t given in a different city or that all tests in the long lists of blood tests are done.

 

Healthcare is a serious business, there are always new pillars being added to the foundations of good health and the quicker easier access of personal health data in a secure manner is definitely one of these pillars.  It will save lives.

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EMPOWR Porous And Complex Primary Knee Systems

EMPOWR Porous And Complex Primary Knee Systems | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

DJO, a provider of medical technologies designed to get and keep people moving, introduced the EMPOWR Porous Knee System and EMPOWR Complex Primary Knee System at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS). These new additions to the EMPOWR Knee Platform expand one of the industry’s most modern total knee replacement systems, which now offers primary, cementless primary, complex primary, and tibial revision solutions for surgeons and patients.

EMPOWR Porous Knee System is based on two decades of clinical experience and highly porous materials designed to enhance early implant fixation, while creating an ideal environment for both immediate and long-term biologic fixation.1 DJO’s surface coating technologies, including DJO’s proprietary, highly porous coating, P2 aids in bone apposition for superior in-growth performance.1 EMPOWR Porous’ bladed keel has a bone sparing geometry optimized for cementless application.2 The bladed keel of the asymmetric baseplate was developed to provide robust fixation, while the cruciform pegs provide initial component fixation and durable rotational stability.2

EMPOWR Complex Primary Knee System, with the EMPOWR Universal Tibial Baseplate and EMPOWR Varus Valgus Constraint (VVC) Tibial Insert expand the utility of the EMPOWR Knee Platform and provide a wider range of solutions for complex primary and revision knee arthroplasty. These new implant technologies are designed to provide an efficient and seamless transition from standard primary to revision knee procedures, with a minimal number of additional instruments and trays. The EMPOWR Universal Tibial baseplate maintains the EMPOWR System’s characteristic asymmetric footprint which maximizes cortical coverage and prevents component overhang to ensure long-term fixation without tissue irritation4. This baseplate also provides the ability to stem and augment when more supplementary fixation is required. The VVC insert is offered in e+ polyethene, formulated to reduce long-term wear3, while the insert is designed to provide the necessary support and stability in knees with supportive soft tissue deficiencies.

“DJO has a proven record of bringing high-quality products to market with incredible cadence—faster than any other implant company today,” said Dr. Eugene S. Krauss, an orthopedic surgeon with Northwell Health. “In 2018 alone, the EMPOWR Porous Knee and EMPOWR Complex Primary Knee launches have significantly expanded our ability to treat a wide variety of patients in our practices.”

“The efficiency of DJO’s instrument trays and the streamlined instrumentation enables my surgical team and I to perform up to 12 knee replacements in a single day, making the system well-suited for both hospital and ambulatory surgery center environments,” said Dr. Krauss.

Over the past decade, the science of highly porous metals, including DJO’s P2, has significantly advanced, helping to improve implant longevity and ultimately patient outcomes. These scientific advancements coupled with a younger, healthier patient population, have resulted in a resurgence of cementless knee arthroplasty. Therefore, the contemporary design of the EMPOWR Porous Knee, is certain to have a meaningful impact on the market.

“DJO Surgical’s strong growth over the past few years is a reflection of our commitment to developing products and solutions that help improve clinical outcomes and enhance patient experience,” said Jeffery A. McCaulley, Global President of DJO Surgical. “Our continued expansion of the EMPOWR Platform reflects the overwhelmingly positive reaction we’ve received from surgeons and patients since the first EMPOWR Knee System was launched here at AAHKS in 2015.”

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Robotic Arm Offers Self-Help Mobile Rehab For Stroke Patients 

Robotic Arm Offers Self-Help Mobile Rehab For Stroke Patients  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) recently developed a robotic arm to facilitate self-help and upper-limb mobile rehabilitation for stroke patients. The lightweight device enables the patients to engage in intensive and effective self-help rehabilitation exercise anywhere, anytime after they are discharged from the hospital. The robotic arm, called “mobile exo-neuro-musculo-skeleton,” is the first-of-its-kind integration of exoskeleton, soft robot, and exo-nerve stimulation technologies.

Stroke is the third leading cause of disability worldwide1. In Hong Kong, there are about 25,000 new incidences of stroke annually in recent years2. Research studies have proven that intensive, repeated and long-term rehabilitation training are critical for enhancing the physical mobility of stroke patients, thus helping to alleviate post-stroke symptoms such as disability. However, access to the outpatient rehabilitation service for stroke patients has been difficult. Due to the overwhelming demand for rehabilitation services, patients have to queue up for a long time to get a slot for rehabilitation training. As such, they can’t get timely support and routine rehabilitation exercises. Stroke patients also find it challenging to travel from home to outpatient clinics.

The “mobile exo-neuro-musculo-skeleton,” developed by Dr. Hu Xiao-ling and her research team in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) of PolyU, features lightweight design (up to 300g for wearable upper limb components, which are fit for different functional training needs), low power demand (12V rechargeable battery supply for 4-hour continuous use), and sportswear features. The robotic arm thus provides a flexible, self-help, easy-to-use, mobile tool for patients to supplement their rehabilitation sessions at the clinic. The innovative training option can effectively enhance the rehabilitation progress.

 

Dr. Hu Xiaoling said development of the novel device was inspired by the feedback of many stroke patients who were discharged from the hospital. They faced problems in having regular and intensive rehabilitation training crucial for limb recovery. “We are confident that with our mobile exo-neuro-musculo-skeleton, stroke patients can conduct rehabilitation training anytime and anywhere, turning the training into part of their daily activities. We hope such flexible self-help training can well supplement traditional outpatient rehabilitation services, helping stroke patients achieve a much better rehabilitation progress.” Her team anticipated that the robotic arm could be commercialized in two years.

The BME innovation integrates exoskeleton and soft robot structural designs—the two technologies commonly adopted in existing upper-limb rehabilitation training devices for stroke patients as well as the PolyU-patented exo-nerve stimulation technology.

Integration of Exoskeleton, Soft Robot, and Exo-Nerve Stimulation Technologies
The working principle of both exoskeleton and soft robot designs is to provide external mechanical forces driven by voluntary muscle signals to assist the patient’s desired joint movement. Conventional exoskeleton structure is mainly constructed by orthotic materials such as metal and plastic, simulating external bones of the patient. Although it is compact, it is heavy and uncomfortable to wear. The soft robot, made of air-filled or liquid-filled pipes to simulate one’s external muscles, is light in weight but very bulky in size. Both types of structures demand high electrical power for driving motors or pumps, thus it is not convenient for patients to use them outside hospitals or rehabilitation centers. Combining the advantages of both structural designs, the BME innovative robotic arm is light in weight, compact in size, fast in response and demands minimal power supply, therefore it is suitable for use in both indoor and outdoor environment.

 

The robotic arm is unique in performing outstanding rehabilitation effect by further integrating the external mechanical force design with the PolyU-patented Neuro-muscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) technology. Upon detecting the electromyography signals at the user’s muscles, the device will respond by applying NMES to contract the muscles, as well as exerting external mechanical forces to assist the joint’s desired voluntary movement. Research studies found that the combination of muscle strength triggered by NMES and external mechanical forces is 40 percent more effective for stroke rehabilitation than applying external mechanical forces alone.

Rehabilitation Effect Proven in Trials
An initial trial of the robotic arm on 10 stroke patients indicated better muscle coordination, wrist and finger functions, and lower muscle spasticity of all after they have completed 20 two-hour training sessions. Further clinical trials will be carried out in collaboration with hospitals and clinics.

The robotic arm consists of components for wrist/hand, elbow, and fingers which can be worn separately or together for different functional training needs. The sportswear design, using washable fabric with ultraviolet protection and good ventilation, also makes the robotic arm a comfortable wear for the patients.

The device also has a value-added feature of connecting to a mobile application (APP) where users can use the APP interface to control their own training. The APP also records real-time training data for better monitoring of the rehabilitation progress by both healthcare practitioners and the patients themselves. It can also serve as a social network platform for stroke patients to communicate online with each other for mutual support.

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Health Care Providers Face More Direct Billing, More and Tougher Collections

Health Care Providers Face More Direct Billing, More and Tougher Collections | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Opponents figure that they pretty much killed the Affordable Care Act in December when they ended the individual mandate. They may be right. The mandate – the part of the ACA that required Americans to buy health insurance or face a minor penalty – was a key to trying to broaden and deepen the insurance pool, mitigate payers’ risk and, not least, keep premiums at least remotely tethered to people’s ability to pay.

 

Another part of the ACA is also under threat. The law allowed states to agree to an expansion of Medicaid that was meant to help people who couldn’t afford to meet the mandate on their own.  Still another: it also offered subsidies to help payers meet the expenses of covering all the previously untreated people they’d have to insure and of covering everyone’s pre-existing conditions. 

Premiums in fact did not grow as fast in states that accepted the Medicaid expansion during the past three years and as an estimated 40 million more people gained some form of health insurance.

The end of the individual mandate, the junking of one of the subsidies for health insurers and last year’s drastically truncated open enrollment period for the remaining Exchange plans, however, have again started to reduce the number of Americans with health insurance.

 

These changes affect more than practice volume. They impact operations for practices that retain patients, too.

For without increased attention to “revenue cycle,” all health care providers can expect to be doing more direct billing of patients, doing more collections work and assuming more bad debt from people with higher, tougher-to-pay deductibles in the coming months and years.

 

Here’s why: No one yet knows how many people who bought insurance only because they were required to. There’s reason to believe the end of the individual mandate will start making them drop out of all kinds of plans during the next open enrollment period.

A federally truncated open enrollment period October-December, 2017 has already reduced the number of insured people in the nation.  A number of forces are leading fewer people – and fewer younger, healthy people – to buy plans, and some predictions have premiums rising an extra 10 percent this coming year.

 

More shrinkage is coming. Newly permitted work requirements for Medicaid coverage promise to push still more people into the ranks of the uninsured. Kentucky’s new rules, for example, will drive an estimated 40,000 people out of Medicaid coverage during the next five years. As of this writing, nine other states are considering imposing new restrictions on who can qualify for Medicaid coverage.

 

The increase in the numbers of the uninsured obviously has disturbing implications for the nation’s health as a whole. It will also force payers to raise premiums to make up for the rising costs of being able to spread their risk across smaller, riskier customer pools.

 

The uninsured aren’t the only ones threatening practice finances.

Rising premiums, in turn, are leading employers to offer employees more high-deductible health plans. These HDHPs have lower premiums but higher risk for patients, who in addition to their premiums must pay an average of the first $2,400 of their families’ medical bills out of their own pockets. Some plans have deductibles as high as $10,000.

 

The lower premium costs, however, are attracting more and more people.

 

They are also higher risks for physician practices, which have a harder time collecting from patients with HDHPs. Thirty-seven percent of the people working for employers who offered plans in 2017 chose high-deductible plans. That’s up from 28 percent in 2016. The same year, that accounted for 39.3 percent of all Americans on employer-based health plans. All told, up to 37 percent of insured Americans, regardless of where they bought it, were using HDHPs.

 

But there have been dire unintended consequences. With the costs of care so high, 64 percent of those with high-deductible plans say they’ve put off care because they didn’t want to or couldn’t pay the deductible. And 62 percent said that, despite the lower premiums, they end up spending more on health care than under their previous plan.

 

People with the high-deductible plans thus tend to be bigger financial risks for providers.

Of HDHP customers, 15.5 percent reported having trouble paying medical bills in 2016 (versus 10.3 percent of those with “traditional” plans).

 

In sum, this means everyone in health care – providers, hospitals, practices – are going to chance offending more patients by billing them directly and, at minimum, going to have to devote more resources to revenue cycle and collecting what patients owe them.

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4 Advantages of Maintenance Support

4 Advantages of Maintenance Support | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Managing your hardware and software maintenance contracts can be overwhelming. Most IT assets are under contract and need ongoing support, and with every contract comes a tremendous amount of administrative work to keep those assets covered. As your assets grow in numbers, so does the total across your entire IT infrastructure, making it difficult to track properly.

 

Whether you are managing the contracts on your own, overseeing asset turnover, handling aging assets, or monitoring service levels compliance, it requires continuous effort. This is true for both hardware and software components. As more and more products move from hardware-based to software-based, it creates even more tracking challenges simply because there is no longer a physical asset. Tracking all of these assets with so many moving pieces and multiple manufacturers—from individual asset stop dates to maintenance coverage—can get confusing, convoluted, and leaves a margin for error.

 

Mistakes made could lead to a lapse in contract coverage, costing more money to renew in the long run. When you work with a maintenance support services partner, your assets are effectively managed so you can use them to drive more business.

 

Four Benefits of Having Your Maintenance Handled for You

 

1. Better analysis

With many individual assets to manage, it can be difficult to find the time to identify what needs to be done to remain compliant and run most effectively. With maintenance support, you no longer have to worry whether the information looks right or wrong. Instead, you will receive a thorough analysis of all of your information so you can make the best decisions for your business based on that analysis.

 

2. Cost savings

Not only does a proper analysis provide more accurate data management, it is also a friend to your bottom line. Ongoing asset analysis tackles the complexity of maintenance contracts, including multiple manufacturers, so you can prioritize what’s most important for your business. Not only is someone monitoring your assets for you, but they are also determining if the information is up to date and, in turn, identifying areas that can be reallocated, ultimately cutting costs.

 

3. Time savings

With cost savings, comes time savings. You can remove hours of time from your day, while getting a clearer depiction of your assets. When a maintenance support services partner is tasked with analyzing your assets, you’ll receive more efficient reporting, allowing you to make better and faster decisions for your business.

 

4. Lifecycle management

Get the help you need with lifecycle management and streamline your current support to be as efficient as possible based on your specific assets. With a coverage methodology, you can rest easy knowing that your assets and devices are subject to a thorough analysis, which ensures that everything is functioning optimally. By understanding your inventory and how everything is working together (including aging devices) you will be positioned well for future budgeting and remove any roadblocks if there are specific support issues.

 

Get the Support You Need to Focus on Business Priorities

Having the support you need can help you focus on your business, instead of dealing with the logistics and tracking associated with complicated maintenance contracts. Take advantage of better, more efficient analysis so you can make more informed decisions about your hardware and software devices, save on time and costs, and improve your lifecycle management capabilities.

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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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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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Professional Development Advice from Technology Leaders

Professional Development Advice from Technology Leaders | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

This edition of AppointmentPlus Radio brings together two industry leaders within the tech sector. Raymond Wiley, a general manager with Sun-Tec America, shares the story of how he landed his current position, as well as the philosophy that shapes his professional interactions. Dhruv Bhate, a senior technologist who works in 3D printing, offers insight into how reflection on your true values can lead to a meaningful work life. The two also discuss:

 

  • The importance of finding your professional “sweet spot”
  • How to understand, and communicate your professional value
  • Why defining what you do also mean defining what you don’t do
  • Plus: 5 must-have personal technology recommendations and 2 must-read books to overhaul your professional mindset

 

 

About Raymond and Dhruv: 

Raymond Wiley is the general manager at Sun-Tec America, LLC where he is responsible for the go-to-market strategies for Sun-Tec’s high precision lamination, labeling, and taping equipment portfolio for the Americas and European markets. He is the primary interface between the customer and the Sun-Tec design engineers located in Japan and is charged with overseeing the entire sales process through every phase of the project. Previously, Raymond spent 21 years at Motorola in the Semiconductor Products Sector serving in a variety of increasingly responsible positions including operations manager for the Small Signal and MEMS Sensor Businesses in Japan.

 

Dhruv Bhate is a Senior Technologist at Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) where he leads R&D efforts in Additive Manufacturing, with a focus on high-performance polymers and metals. Prior to joining PADT, Dhruv spent 7 years at Intel Corporation developing laser-based manufacturing processes. Dhruv has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and a Master’s from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he developed fracture models for ductile metal alloys and to simulate adhesion in MEMS.

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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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Protecting Your Personal Data Stored In The Cloud

Protecting Your Personal Data Stored In The Cloud | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

IT professionals, healthcare executives, and clinicians in hospitals, health systems and clinics around the world are expressing great interest in moving more of their organizations’ IT applications and services to the public cloud. The concept of having a more flexible, scalable, cost-effective means to provide information communications technologies for their business both today and well into the future is very appealing. However, in order to make such a move, these same organizations must be extremely confident that any cloud service provider they do business with maintains the highest possible standards for data privacy and security.

 

This week, Microsoft announced a major milestone. Microsoft is the first major cloud provider to adopt the world’s first international standard for cloud privacy. That standard is known as ISO/IEC 27018. It was  developed  by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to establish a uniform, international approach to protecting the privacy for personal data stored in the cloud.  That Microsoft meets the new ISO/IEC 20718 standard for Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online has been independently verified by the British Standards Institute (BSI). Similarly, Bureau Veritas has done the same for Microsoft Intune.

 

ISO 27018 assures enterprise customers that privacy will be protected in several distinct ways. Adherence to the standard means that enterprise customers are in control of their data according to the instructions that they provide Microsoft as their customer. It means that they will know what is happening with their data at all times. In addition, the standard provides a number of important security safeguards. It also affirms Microsoft’s longstanding commitment not to use enterprise customer data for advertising purposes. The standard also requires that law enforcement requests for disclosure of personally identifiable data must be disclosed to an enterprise customer unless this disclosure is prohibited by law. Microsoft has already adhered to this approach (and more), and adoption of the new standard reinforces this commitment.

 

For health organizations, Microsoft has also been a model for meeting the information privacy requirements of HIPAA and for signing Business Associates Agreements with health customers who use the company’s public cloud resources. All of this should give healthcare customers who entrust Microsoft with their data the highest levels of confidence.

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Philippe Thuaud's curator insight, July 12, 2016 10:20 PM
A new ISO/IEC 27018 standard for cloud privacy. Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM meets the requirement and has adopted this new standard
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How To Reduce Healthcare Consumers' Anger ?

How To Reduce Healthcare Consumers' Anger ? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

However, I am not angry at my doctor, my insurance company, the government, or with "the computer." I'm exasperated with the so-called professionals who installed the computer system in my doctor's office. Unfortunately, the incident I'm about to describe isn't one-off.

 

American healthcare's reliance on information technology is an unprecedented and relatively recent change. To make sure that this change is not only "meaningful" but transformative, means it must be done right. Sometimes, more often than necessary, it isn't. Healthcare IT professionals are frequently at fault, and I'd like to recommend how we can do better.

 

A few weeks ago, I called my physician's office and requested that it send a drug refill to my mail order pharmacy, because I would run out before my next office visit. Soon the office called to say that my doctor had sent the order. Great! I would have my prescription in a couple of weeks. Worry free, I could continue my road warrior job traveling to hospitals to help them make sense of the rapidly changing health IT environment. Or so I thought.

By the day before Thanksgiving, I still had no drugs. I was about to run out.

 

I went to my pharmacy's web site and learned -- ouch! -- that it had never received a prescription. Of course, I could not contact my doctor because of the holiday, not even by the following Monday; the staff had been given an extra day off to enjoy their leftover turkey.

 

"Worry free" time was over. On Tuesday, the office receptionist instantly discovered the issue. "Oh! I see what happened. We just changed computer systems and some people's pharmacies didn't get converted right. Your prescription went to the wrong mail order pharmacy." After various back-and-forths, guess what else she uncovered? The new system had reverted me to a three year old address.

 

Now I was angry and still am. This isn't personal. Of course, I "fixed" the immediate problem, forking over an extra $25 co-pay after a few days of heightened cholesterol. No, my anger is about professionalism, or lack thereof, in my chosen field – healthcare IT.

 

As an IT professional, I KNOW this should never have happened. The fault is not with the physician's office, the mail order pharmacy, nor even with the physician's parent health system -- because converting all their physicians to an EHR platform shared with the hospital was a very good idea. No, my finger is pointing at the implementation project manager for a software vendor that I won't name, and a project manager at a consulting firm that I can't name either. One or more of these people bungled their jobs in at least one of these ways:

 

  • Deciding to convert data from the old system to the new system and not doing it right.
  • Neglecting to review the results of the conversion before loading it into the new system.
  • Not having a valid testing/quality methodology to catch the mix-up, or more likely just not making sure it was properly applied.
  • Deciding to go live before the time was right. The project manager perhaps didn't know this, and so failed at his/her job. Worse, perhaps he knew of the conversion issues and didn't have the backbone to call them out and fix them before a go-live that would potentially put patients' health at risk.

IT vendors and consultants must be trusted partners in hospitals' solutions, not perpetrators of needless mistakes and risk. This is healthcare, not Macy's. When we get IT wrong, people can die!

Over my 20+ year career, I've seen a lot happen in healthcare IT. Most of it has been good, but some of it was scary, like the folly described above. When it's scary, it's usually also needlessly expensive. Those expenses eventually roll back to consumers. Hmmm…aren't ever-increasing costs a central element to consumers' anger with our healthcare system? Aside from their frequent frustration with scenarios such as my Thanksgiving experience?

 

Healthcare IT professionals can do better and should. Those who are passionate about their work care whether prescriptions get filled, diagnoses are correctly recorded, and the right healthcare is delivered. They do not see themselves as technicians, but as accountable care-delivery partners with physicians and clinicians. But many consultants and project managers don't go that additional mile or two of accountability -- one that should never be considered "extra." Let me share some principles I've learned that everyone in healthcare IT can benefit from if they really want to contribute to better US healthcare.

 

1. In healthcare IT, be careful with the Pareto principle. There's not a project I've been on where design decisions about how to get an 80% bang for our 20% buck weren't considered. This happens, especially in workflow design, where the healthcare environment is so complex you just can't get to the 100% level.   But you cannot take the same shortcuts with data. If the healthcare data isn't right, bad things happen:

 

  • Physicians rely on inaccurate (and missing) data to make clinical decisions that can injure or kill. There are many reasons for morbidity and mortality in healthcare. Information technology shouldn't be one of them.
  • Incorrect bills that exasperate patients and payers get submitted, which take time and money to fix. If too many of those bad bills get to CMS, it won't be heaven that breaks loose.
  • Items get missed. For example, charges go AWOL, causing the hospital not to be reimbursed. CFOs want to know why their revenue has dropped…CEOs and Boards want to know a lot more.

2. Eliminate unwarranted data conversion costs. Hospitals often spend ten to 100 times what it would have cost to get it right the first time. I'm working with a hospital now that experienced a flawed patient records conversion from their previous billing system. This blunder has required the hospital to maintain their previous billing platform for six years, just to have a place to look up that data. They've paid hardware and software costs, spent immeasurable IT hours just keeping the old platform running, and wasted easily as many billing hours sorting out master patient index issues. Maintenance of this legacy mess is not sustainable. Doing the right thing now – switching to a new platform and converting exactly no patient data is going to be painful, especially when reregistering patients for the first time. The hospital is wisely making this move, after immense unnecessary spending.

 

3. Watch for what you can't see. It's as important as what you can, but a lot harder to verify. It's much easier to find a duplicate charge -- even the payers will be nice enough to point these out – than a missing charge. Once you find the latter, you have to go looking for others like it, and you're likely to discover far more than you feared. A while back, during a random quality audit, my team discovered one account that appeared to be incorrectly adjusted. While the account was in the right queue to be worked, no one had noticed the problem because the payer's incorrect adjustment put the account at zero balance. Because work queries were set to ignore $0 balance accounts, this issue would not have been found were it not for the random audit.

 

4. Outliers are the most critical data. That account I mentioned previously? Once we looked further, we found almost 7,000 accounts over two years that had the same issue. We could have fixed about 90% of them with a query. It was the 10% outliers that hurt. The billing team had to touch all of the affected accounts to correct the write-offs, and refund several hundred patients who were mistakenly billed a balance after the primary payer's error rolled to the secondary payer. Assumptions that all the cases fit a certain pattern lead to dangerous shortcuts.

 

5. It doesn't matter how good your systems are if your processes are poor. I can't count the times I've been called to fix a system issue that actually was a data issue, and that the precipitating problem was the process set up to maintain the data needed by the system. Some examples:

  • Security issues where employees who were terminated had their accounts removed, but physician accounts were left active, because physicians weren't "employees."
  • Hours spent researching why something isn't working, only to learn that the test and production systems (their lookup data) were different, because no one was maintaining the test system.
  • Issues where a queue of missed charges piled up (unseen, of course) because apharmacy interface required a perfect match between the pharmacy system and the charge master, and no one was working the interface rejects list.

6. Finally, it's just as important to push for no-live as for go-live. No question, this is a difficult scenario. You're putting in a new system. You've worked nights and weekends and equally pushed your team in order to make the go-live date. Now, you have to walk into a formal go/no-go decision meeting, complete with all the hospital's executives champing at the bit. As the project manager, you are responsible for making sure that the no-go option really is an option. Remember my previous points: bad data = big costs, and in healthcare if we don't get it right, people can die. Letting a system go live before it's ready is as close to malpractice as letting a patient go home who isn't ready. I've made the no-go decision twice. I even lost my job one of those times. No one died, and the company is still in business. 

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The IT Benefits Of Cloud-Based EHR Systems

The IT Benefits Of Cloud-Based EHR Systems | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

With cloud-based EHR systems, practices benefit from economy of scale. Many providers use the same system to minimize or eliminate redundant costs.

 

When choosing an electronic health record (EHR) system, providers have the choice of hosting the software on their own network (client-server) or an EHR system where the software is hosted on a remote server accessed through the Internet (cloud-based). While both systems have advantages over paper records, cloud-based EHR systems offer significant benefits to small practices over the client-server model. Let’s examine some of the IT advantages cloud-based EHRs bring to the table.

REDUCED STARTUP COSTS

The cost of setting up a client-server EHR is a significant hurdle to a small practice.  The startup costs can range upward of $40,000 just for a single practice. With cloud-based EHR systems, practices benefit from economy of scale. Since many providers use the same system, redundant costs are minimized or eliminated.

LOWER INFRASTRUCTURE AND IT COSTS

Client-server EHRs require the practice to purchase or lease expensive hardware. Practices must hire IT staff or pay for the services of IT personnel to set up, test, maintain and upgrade the hardware and software.

With a cloud-based EHR, all of the costs of running the system are covered by the EHR vendor or hosting company. There are no hardware, network or maintenance costs to the practice over the typical equipment setup required to run a medical care business.

COST PREDICTABILITY

The costs of a client-server system can lead to unpredictable costs. If the server crashes or an upgrade goes wrong, the practice’s emergency fund takes a hit, or worse. Cloud-based EHR systems have consistent costs that allows the practice owner to feel confident in their financial projections. The practice simply pays a monthly or quarterly access fee, much like the fee for phone or Internet.

SIMPLER IMPLEMENTATION AND SCALABILITY

The process of setting up and testing a client-server EHR is more complex than cloud-based systems, and scaling up as your practice grows usually requires additional equipment or licensing costs. Under a cloud-based EHR the practice personnel access the system through a secure web site or client software installed on their computers. Gaining capacity is simply a matter of contacting the EHR vendor and adding more users.

BETTER PATIENT DATA SECURITY

If your practice currently relies on paper records for storing patient data, imagine what could happen if you had a fire, flood or other disaster. Insurance covers new equipment, but patient data is irreplaceable. While practices with client-server EHRs generally have off-site backups, the data is vulnerable during transport and the practice must pay extra for storage costs. Cloud-based EHR records are transferred using secure encryption and backed up in multiple locations automatically at no extra cost.

 

While it might make sense for a large medical institution with a network and IT staff already in place to adopt the client-server model, we believe new practices and small health care providers looking to move away from paper records or change EHR systems will receive the greatest benefit in going with a cloud-based solution.

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