The Hurdles to ICD-10 Implementation

As we draw closer towards Oct. 1, 2014 the last date for compliance to ICD-10, achieving the target is proving to be an arduous task for the practices. The root cause of the problems being encountered has been identified as the lack of communication and coordination between practices and their partners which include clearinghouses, Electronic Health Record and Practice Management Vendors. The required software updates and testing which need to be done have not been happening at the pace at which they are required to. Since there are other federal policies which are scheduled to be implemented around that time, Stage 2 of Meaningful Use Incentive Program and Health insurance exchanges, the matter is getting complicated even further.

Practices fear being compelled to use systems which are not full proof and might potentially lead to their payment getting stuck or even worse not getting paid for some of the services rendered post Oct. 1, 2014. At the current stage if one were to actually make an analysis of where the project stands the results might not be too encouraging. There is a potential risk of disruption taking place in the healthcare system unless fast paced corrective measures are taken up. Of the many concerns which have been brought out through various surveys, the most disheartening has been the lack of confidence amongst the stakeholders to meet the deadline. They seem to have almost reconciled to the fact that an extension is the only way out. For the practices, the overall cost seems to be a concerning factor.What would Big data in Healthcare mean Not only will they have to account for the upgrades which will need to be made in the EHR and the PMS but also the required training and productivity cost involved. Also extensive changes are expected to happen in the mode of operation simply to accommodate dealing with 5 times the number of codes in ICD-10 compared to its earlier version.

The healthcare software development practices are under a lot of duress for having to handle activities such as coding, documentation and administrative tasks as a result of the changes which are expected to revolutionize the healthcare landscape. There is a strong belief that all is taking a toll on patient care which is where most of the time and energies are supposed to be channelized. Since there is no alternative to this, many practices are in the process of devising ways by which they feel they will be able to handle the situation moving forward .Some of the common approached being followed include adoption of better information systems, augmenting workforce, better billing and collection process. A recent survey done by the American Health Information Management Association, to gauge ICD-10 preparedness revealed certain startling facts. One-fourth of the companies have not even formed the steering committee considered as one of the first steps in the process. Also, fifty percent are stuck in the beginning phases of the migration. Followed by some analysis, AHIMA identified some of the focus areas which need to be addressed immediately if the timelines are to be met. They include

  1. Computer-assisted coding (CAC)
  2. Clinical documentation improvement (CDI)
  3. Education and staffing.

If these are not to be implemented religiously then it would only result in last minute rushes in either installing software upgrades or having to switch vendors both of which not necessarily can promise results given the lack of time. The national coordinator for Health IT however is not acknowledging any possibilities of an extension and feels that since there will be a lot of business proposition for healthcare vendors in helping physicians adopt ICD-10, the dynamics will ensure that the target is achieved on time. Also, in one of his addresses he emphasized on the greater benefits the various initiatives are going to bring in the industry. He feels that one has to look at them not just in terms of the investments that are being made but in terms of the transformation that will be brought about.

We provide healthcare software maintenance services. If you would like to know more about our certified healthcare app developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

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Growing Use of Cloud Analytics in Healthcare Raises Security Concerns

Cloud Analytics in HealthcareA gradual increase is noted in the number of companies moving their resources into the Cloud. Similar to other industries, healthcare also wants to avail a number of benefits offered by Cloud computing. Many medical practitioners, nowadays, use a specialized cloud computing service known as health care cloud. The innovative service makes it easier for health care providers to store, manage and access the personal health information (PHI) of patients.

The healthcare analytics further allow hospital administrators to carry out a variety of functions without putting any extra time and efforts. As many reports have highlighted, the health care analytics can be used for creating quality reports, capturing revenue and meeting specific requirements. Many clinics also use the analytics to exchange and use sensitive personal health information in different ways.

However, one cannot avail the advantages of Cloud healthcare analytics simply by investing in the technology. It is also important for each healthcare practitioner to use the analytics comfortably, and integrate these functions seamlessly into his operations. At the same time, the healthcare providers also need to comply with the security requirements according to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

As the Cloud computing facilitates smooth exchange and access of crucial personal health information, it becomes more prone to various types of security threats. A number of recent rulings have further extended the medical security responsibilities to all concerned parties. The healthcare providers as well as their business partners will be responsible for keeping the personal health information of clients secure and inaccessible. So a company providing backup, support or any other IT services to the healthcare providers also have to implement a comprehensive strategy to safeguard the patient data.

It is also important for a Clinical software development provider to trust his business partners and technology vendors. The mutual trusts will make it easier for each party to keep the patient data safe and secure without putting much effort. Many healthcare business intelligence experts even advise healthcare providers to change their technology vendor, if they do not have faith in the information security strategy implemented by the company. However, each healthcare practitioner must monitor and evaluate the security strategy of its technology vendor constantly to ensure that it has put the required technical safeguards in place.

Along with building mutual trust, the healthcare providers also need to concentrate certain points. When you are hiring the Cloud analytics vendors, it is important to check if the patient data is stored and processed in encrypted format. You can even conduct periodic security audit to ensure that the vendor is consistently following the data security protocols. Also, you can consider availing the services of private Cloud analytics vendors based on your specific needs.

If your organization is handling a huge amount of personal health information on a regular basis, it is a good idea to store the data and access the analytic functions by setting up your own private Cloud. The process will require you to invest some amount of time, effort and funds, but the investment will make it easier for you to make and implement a comprehensive security strategy by including all key data security protocols.

But no one can deny the advantages offered by public Cloud. Once can avail public Cloud to configure, setup and run healthcare analytics without putting any extra resources. The public Cloud is also the most affordable option to smaller hospitals. So you can still hire one of the public cloud vendors, but the company must be selected only after evaluating its security strategy based on the information gathered from several reliable sources.

While evaluating the security policy of the Cloud analytic vendor, you also need to concentrate on the amount of storage space required to store all your patient data. As per legal requirements, you have to store the patient data securely over many years. Specific patient data even need to be stored for more than a decade without being accessed and used. So you must consider security protocols to keep the unused patient data secure and accessible. It is also advisable to implement a comprehensive data security strategy that includes measures to secure the regularly processed and used patient data.

We provide Healthcare software development services. If you would like to know more about our certified Healthcare software developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

What If EHR Doesn’t Live Up to Promises?

EMR EHR Software developmentMany doctors upgrade from their paper patient records to store, manage and access the data in a smooth and convenient way. The federal mandates also require medical practitioners to use electronic health records (EHRs) to avail several incentives. The growing popularity of EHRs has further encouraged many companies to launch new systems with additional features and functionality. But many EHR models become obsolete within few months of their release due to rapid change in technologies.

A number of doctors also hesitate to use EHRs due to lack of adequate support from the provider, and compliance issues. According to a report posted on Ehrintelligence.com, “Failed EHRs are a growing concern for providers. A white paper by Coker Group and Greenway Medical Technologies states that half of EHR systems sold today are intended to replace unsatisfactory software, up from 30% last year, and many practices are changing their systems due to compliance issues or discontinued packages. For some companies, discontinuing a system is simply cheaper than trying to revamp it, leaving practices to choose between significant migration fees or searching for a new EHR provider all together.” EMR EHR Software development thus is picking up steam.

A medical practitioner has a number of options to replace his existing EHR system, if it does not live up to promises. Along with installing another EHR that meets the compliance requirements, you can also consider some of the meaningful alternatives to electronic health record keeping systems. However, you must keep in mind certain points, while transitioning to a new EHR system. When you prepare a proper strategy to choose the right EHR system, it will reduce the operational costs, and improve your productivity while making you eligible for government incentives.

Points You Must Keep in Mind while Transitioning to a New EHR System

    • Time Required for Implementing the New System: You have options to choose from a variety of EHRs to suit your specific needs and budget. But you must remember that transitioning to a new system often takes times. So you must prepare a schedule to incorporate the advanced features and technologies. You can a save time by upgrading your existing system through additional development and remediation. Once you decide the timeframe to implement the new system without affecting the way you manage the valuable health data of your patients.
    • Option to Integrate with Other Systems: Often your EHR system has to be integrated with other systems to get better results. Also, the EHR system that can be integrated with other seamlessly will make it easier for you to overcome certain performance issues. You can easily integrate the EHR with any internal or external infrastructure to avail the advantages of the advanced systems available in the market. Further, the feature will help you in using the same EHR system over a longer period of time by connecting it with advanced devices and solutions.
    • Amount of Training Needed to Use the New EHR System: Often people need specialized training to use a new system smoothly. Also, your employees will need guidance in the initial stages about various aspects of the new EHR system. So you must consider the amount of training required to help your staff in seamlessly using the system. Based on your choice, you can train your employees in a number of ways. You can always ask the vendor to conduct training sessions to explain your staff about the features and functioning of the new EHR system. Also, you can include the EHR training as part of your employee induction process to properly prepare the new employees.
    • Constant Support: Unlike other information and data, the medical history and health information of your patients are very crucial. In case your EHR system does not operate for a few minutes, it will have a huge impact on your professional reputation. So you must buy the new EHR system from a vendor that offers immediate support to resolve the issue. At the same time, you can also evaluate the information collected from various sources to determine if the provider is concerned about your issues, and how he responds to your service requests. You can always improve your productivity if the vendor provides you quick solutions along with suggesting the best alternatives.

Many experts even recommend medical practitioners to consider several meaningful and inexpensive alternatives to the EHR systems available in the market. You can even consider using some of the inexpensive and less-disruptive IT components to avail the advantages of an EHR system. It is also advisable to choose an EHR system that does not offer you loads of features, but it is customized to meet your specific needs.

We provide Healthcare software development services. If you would like to know more about our certified Healthcare software developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.