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ICD-10 : Are you Ready?

by System Administrator - Friday, 7 August 2015, 7:46 PM

ICD-10 : Are you Ready?

Loaded with all the resources, tips, and training approaches you need, prepare your practice for the ICD-10 deadline with the ICD-10 E-Book brought to you by Pulse.

Please read the attached eBook.

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ICD-10: 5 Steps to Take Now

by System Administrator - Saturday, 2 August 2014, 12:51 AM

ICD-10: 5 Steps to Take Now

In order to reflect advancements in medical knowledge and technology, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has mandated all health organizations begin use of the ICD-10 code set no later than October 1, 2014. This conversion will require tremendous effort from the health care community. The conversion to ICD-10 is daunting.

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ICD-10: Delay Surprises

by System Administrator - Thursday, 4 September 2014, 8:50 PM

Reader/CHIME survey reveals 12 ICD-10 delay surprises


by: Don Fluckinger | News Director

SearchHealthIT survey results show varied responses, and measures the financial impact of delaying ICD-10 until 2015.

As varied as one can imagine the providers in the U.S. healthcare system, so is the impact of Congress's forcing CMS to levy an ICD-10 delay. While some welcome the extra time, others find Congress's gambit onerous in cost and inconvenience, according to survey results conducted over six weeks in July and August.

The SearchHealthIT reader survey, in cooperation with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) drew 326 responses, 269 of them were IT workers at healthcare providers as well as 57 more from payers and accountable care organizations.

Some of the surprises may catch even seasoned ICD-10 experts and observers off-guard, as they reveal a healthcare system quite divided over the implementation of the diagnostic coding language:

1. More than 59% of respondents indicated they have not begun testing.

2. Of that 59%, more than three quarters have not yet completed software upgrades on their networks to support ICD-10.

3. The good news: 11% of respondents indicate they're ready for ICD-10.


ICD-10 readiness

4. The ICD-10 delay will incur additional consultant retainer costs for 41% of respondents, which will take away resources from other health ITimplementation initiatives because there was no budget for such cost runovers.

5. How much will that cost? While 10% of respondents indicated less than $10,000, 45% said more. Gauging the final tally won't happen until much later, as another 45% couldn't yet estimate what the delay will add up to in dollars.

6. Respondents are divided on whether the ICD-10 helps or hurts. Some 37% said it would help, 23% said it will worsen preparedness efforts and a full 40% said it will neither help nor hurt.


Respondents that feel positively about the ICD-10 delay will use their time making these improvements (they could select more than one).

7. Similarly, 55% said the ICD-10 delay won't allow for IT staff to implement more IT systems for better documentation, coding, etc. But 45% will.

8. For the 45% that indicated it will help them implement ICD-10 more thoroughly, half said clinical documentation systems would be improved, and half said they would be able to conduct more sophisticated ICD-10 testing.

9. Happy about the delay? Then you're with the majority of respondents -- but it's not a landslide by any means (56%-44%).

10. Two-thirds indicated the ICD-10 delay will not negatively affectmeaningful use stage 2 attestation.

11. However, 31% said they will consider skipping a year of stage 2 incentivesto make ICD-10 work, because there aren't enough resources to accomplish both.

12. Respondents were split 52%-48% as to whether or not they believe ICD-10 will be further delayed beyond 2015. The "yes it will be delayed again" camp squeaked out a slim majority.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Don Fluckinger, news director or contact @DonFluckinger on Twitter.


Hackensack CIO tells personal tale of health data interoperability woe

by: Don Fluckinger | News Director

Editor's note: This podcast and a companion interview with Michael Archuleta, director of IT and PACS administrator for Mt. San Rafael Hospital in Trinidad, Colorado, respond to the results of the 2014 Health IT Purchasing Intentions Survey from and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). Download your copy here.

Shafiq Rab is an M.D., as well as the VP and CIO of Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. More importantly, he's a husband and father.

In the days leading up to this podcast interview, one of Rab's family members had a healthcare episode that started out looking like an emergency situation but that turned out to be nothing more than a close call.

While all's well that ends well, Rab found out firsthand about the very real health data interoperability woes in the U.S. healthcare system, as he struggled to get an EKG from one provider to another. He finally took matters into his own hands by shooting a picture of the EKG with his smartphone and texting the picture back to a Hackensack cardiologist himself. It led Rab to declare at the HealthImpact East conference that you should keep copies of your medical records on your smartphone for now, "if you want to live."

This story and some of Rab's other opinions -- informed by his recent personal foray into the nuts and bolts of health data interoperability -- feature heavily in this podcast. We discuss the many health IT requirements for meaningful use stage 2, ICD-10 implementation, the ramifications of the ICD-10 delay, and 2014 and 2015 ONC certification standards. More importantly, we also cover how a CIO can budget for all the tech transitions currently piling up for U.S. healthcare providers.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Don Fluckinger, news director, or contact @DonFluckinger on Twitter.


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ICD-10: Forget the Fear and Panic

by System Administrator - Friday, 1 August 2014, 11:48 PM

ICD-10: Forget the Fear and Panic

ICD-10 is one of the hottest topics in the electronic healthcare management industry today. As such, Pulse Systems is here to help your practice focus on the transition, not the hype.

Pulse is on a mission to de-mystify ICD-10 so that you can understand how it will impact your documentation, claims processing, and most importantly, cash flow. Pulse wants you to understand what ICD-10 means for your specific specialty (it's not 69,000 codes) and help you prepare your practice by being well educated and prepared for the big change.

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ICD-10: Key Changes for Primary Care

by System Administrator - Friday, 28 August 2015, 10:10 PM

ICD-10: Key Changes for Primary Care

By Mary Jean Sage | Physicians Practice

Transitioning successfully to the new ICD-10 code set will be particularly important for primary-care physicians. ICD-10 will allow primary-care specialists to more accurately depict chronic conditions as well as other commonly reported diagnoses.

Physicians will need to be more specific in their documentation than they likely have been in the past. Because there will be a greater number of code choices in ICD-10, physicians should have to choose an unspecified code less often. The greater specificity in diagnostic coding should help improve disease management and reporting overall.

Practices should examine their top diagnoses and compare how those codes will change once ICD-10 goes into effect: Oct. 1, 2015. Here are some diagnoses to which primary-care providers should pay close attention. This is certainly not an all-encompassing list, but is an example of some of the common diagnoses often reported by these physicians.

Converting to ICD-10 may be a challenging transition for many practices. However, it's likely that physicians will recognize its benefits over time. ICD-10 is certainly more complex than its predecessor, but in this changing world of health care economics, its increased specificity should prove beneficial to you and your practice.

To view the slideshow in PDF format, click here.

Mary Jean Sage is president and founder of The Sage Associates a leading multispecialty provider of health care management services. Sage can be contacted at

Please read the attached slideshow.


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iHealth expands its retail, connected medical device empire and looks to move into corporations, hospitals

by System Administrator - Thursday, 23 July 2015, 5:36 PM

iHealth expands its retail, connected medical device empire and looks to move into corporations, hospitals

By Stacy Lawrence

iHealth has been fast on its feet with a whole lineup of inexpensive, connected products targeting cardiovascular and diabetic health. And while the company has its roots in device manufacturing, it's angling to nab massive consumer sales and starting to look toward corporate wellness and even hospital sales.

Before the year is out, iHealth expects to announce a number of new devices and a new app, as well as additional U.S. retail and enterprise partners, the company's director of marketing, Yelena Kozlova, told FierceMedicalDevices in an interview.

iHealth was early to the party for smartphone- and cloud-connected medical devices. It was started in 2010 as a subsidiary of Chinese medical device manufacturer Andon Health ($XSHE). The main mission of the iHealth business has been to market personal mobile health devices primarily to U.S. consumers.

The company launched its first mobile-app-enabled blood pressure device in 2011, adding a wireless blood pressure monitor in 2012 and a wireless blood glucose monitor in 2013. It had the first health device sold in Apple retail stores, and its products are carried by major retailers including Walgreens ($WAG), Best Buy and Amazon.

Wireless Blood Pressure monitor--Courtesy of iHealth

iHealth now has a whole lineup of connected products that all funnel data to the cloud as well as healthcare providers, and can be viewed and analyzed in concert. They include a smartphone-connected plug-in blood glucose monitor as well as a wireless glucometer, in addition to other connected devices such as blood pressure monitors, body analysis scales, pulse oximeters and an activity and sleep tracker.

Part of the company's strategy is to clear its devices with the FDA, which will likely make it easier to expand into the hospital and corporate settings, as well as to reassure consumers and physicians relying upon the data. All of its devices are cleared already by the agency, except for the scales and the fitness tracker. Providing monitoring to patients with hypertension and diabetes, groups that tend to overlap, is core to iHealth.

Kozlova offered a recent case in point in its relationship with the Fire Department in Satellite Beach, FL. The city has a number of elderly residents, many of whom frequently resorted to 911 calls to resolve health crises. In an effort to better manage the needs of its population, the firefighters bought some of the iHealth devices at Best Buy to try them out. They then contacted the company to work with it more closely, she said.

Now, it's an "exciting collaboration focusing on telehealth and remote monitoring," Kozlova said. "They were receiving high instances of 911 calls from patients not taking their medication who were suffering from diabetes and hypertension."

Wireless Smart Gluco-Monitoring System--Courtesy of iHealth

"The paramedics give the devices to their patients, they train them on it. The elderly population finds these devices easy to use and paramedics get daily email reports on the vitals of their patients," she said, adding that often a simple phone call with a medication reminder was all that was necessary to get patients with aberrant readings back on track.

Summed up Kozlova, "We really believe that we can get more out of technology. It's a way to help manage chronic conditions. Smartphones are enablers for that, but we do have some devices that have wireless connections directly to the cloud. … Allowing many inputs can enable better management of chronic conditions--that's the strategic vision of the company."

Related Articles:


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Improve Patient Satisfaction

by System Administrator - Saturday, 13 September 2014, 6:11 PM

9 Things Health Care Professionals Can Do to Improve Patient Satisfaction


As more individuals require the assistance of the emergency department and hospitals in general, the increase in demand for services results in more crowded conditions, longer wait times, and physicians practicing hallway medicine.

Hospitals need to continue to show the community that they are interested in quality care and find ways to improve in order to remain competitive.

Here are nine points that hospitals and healthcare professionals should consider to stay on point for achieving the highest patient satisfaction.

1. What you put in, is what you get out.

This is a tried and proven theory that also applies to patient satisfaction. Prompt scheduling, involving the patient and family in treatment and follow-up, and having nurses get a good night’s sleep so they perform at their best seem like quick fixes but do a lot to improve outcomes.

2. Focus on, and improve, your systems.

Determine how long it will take to transfer a patient between appointments and adjust your system, by hiring industrial engineers to evaluate, to optimize performance and make patients happy.

3. Have smiling, helpful and empathetic employees.

When patients don’t fit into the systems you’ve just put in place, everyone in your organization needs to learn how to handle customer concerns and complaints. By simply delivering an apology when something goes wrong or directing patients to officials who can help answer their questions rather than just ignoring their requests changes everyone’s day.

4. Interact with your patients.

Avoiding eye contact, hurrying past patients in halls and ignoring patients simply because you’re not on the clock are all cues to indifference that need to be changed. Additional examples are opposing radios playing in two different administrative areas interfering with one another, doctors speaking loudly about personal issues in the hallway and vending machines left out of service indefinitely.  

5. Transfer to an automated system if needed.

Reduce wasted time, inefficiency and typos by moving some tasks over to automations. Patient-related forms are one example where you should make this change and patients have continued to have positive experiences with online forms.

6. Reduce system delays.

Aim to have same-day appointments for patients who call in. Do this by delaying the distribution of lab results and implement technologies that allow patients to reach nurses directly rather than waiting for someone to answer the phone.

7. Speed up your systems, but don’t rush your patients.

Doing so can lead to unnecessary frustration, noncompliance and outcome problems.

8. Step into your patients’ shoes.

By parking where they park or taking a tour with someone who doesn’t know the building and letting them guide, you are able to witness first hand where your infrastructure falls short and more importantly, where you can improve.

9. Let positive experiences overshadow negative ones.

You can’t be perfect at everything, but you can aim to do so. Your patients will take notice and their overall positive experience with your medical facility or organization will convince a patient to cut you slack in some areas that you may have fallen short in. 

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by System Administrator - Tuesday, 28 April 2015, 5:25 PM


In pursuit of its mission, The Joint Commission audits and accredits  more than 20,000 healthcare organizations and programs for clinical excellence and patient safety. The organization also publishes an annual list of National Patient Safety Goals highlighting specific areas of focus for improvement within the healthcare environment. Improving communications is included in the list as a high priority because communication delays and errors can have serious consequences, for patients as well as hospitals.

 "To continuously improve healthcare for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating healthcare organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value."

The Joint Commission's Mission

Please read the attached whitepaper.

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Infographic: Five Agile Data Imperatives for Healthcare Payer CIOs

by System Administrator - Tuesday, 16 September 2014, 12:50 PM

Infographic: Five Agile Data Imperatives for Healthcare Payer CIOs

Healthcare reform is transforming the US health insurance sector, creating a dynamic and competitive new market with compelling opportunities for growth. Does your IT organization have what it takes to capitalize on these opportunities? Here are 5 ways technology investment delivers the agility you need - and how.

Please read the attached whitepaper.

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Infographic: Patients Want Access To Their Electronic Medical Records

by System Administrator - Thursday, 7 August 2014, 6:26 PM

Infographic: Patients Want Access To Their Electronic Medical Records


84 percent of US consumers believe they should have full access to their electronic medical records while only a third of physicians (34 percent) share this belief, according to an Accenture survey.

The survey found that 41% of consumers are willing to switch physicians to gain online access to their EMRs highlighting the growing trend towards patient engagement. The online survey included more than 9,000 people in nine countries ages 18+ to assess consumer perceptions of their medical providers’ electronic capabilities across nine countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States. The survey, which included 1,000 U.S. consumers, was fielded by Harris Interactive in July 2013.

To highlight the findings, Accenture has released an infographic that illustrates the key findings of the Accenture Consumer Survey on Patient Engagement and explores whether doctors are delivering on the growing patient demand for access to EMRs and other electronic capabilities.

Please see the attached image

Source: Accenture

Featured image credit: Zeusandhera via cc

Infographic: Patients Want Access To Their Electronic Medical Records by Fred Pennic



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