Why is US Healthcare Spending Always Increasing?

According to yearly evaluation from the government regulated research group and other worth mentioning survey projects, health expenditure has increased by five percentage point lately. The figures are yet to be validated but apparently health-care expenditure during 2014 would represent the biggest rise since the last formal recession of 2008. The Affordable Care Act, debated in 2010, highlighted some measures to reduce health-care costs, constituting penalties for health-care givers whose patients are retreated after spending a month in a hospital.

Why is US Healthcare spending always increasingThe rise in medical care expenditure for 2014 was totally a surprise. Americans in tens of millions have been able to avail health insurance via Affordable Care Act, state funded Medicaid programs, and employment opportunities created by medical institutions. According to economists all of them combined are driving the rise in people being covered by medical care coverage and in turn increasing the spending. The US centre for disease control has anticipated that the rise in spending would somewhat stop in the on-going year, with the aggregate health care expenditure growth of approximately 6 %. Confirmed statistics for last year reconciles with everything regulators, institutions, and professionals have been saying so there remain to doubt to their analysis.

Number of people who availed the recent Obama Care package primarily focused on public servants and other insurance coverage available are said to be the reason for the rise. Drug prices have also been on the rise forcing the people to spend more. Despite the fact that medication constitutes about only 10% of the all states health care bill, expensive new treatments of diseases like hepatitis C and cancer have found a place in the market. A wave of revolutionizing drugs lost patent rights in recent time helping to ease drug costs but phenomenon is not likely to continue in the future. The question arising now is whether a rise in spending is stimulated by rise in drugs only or there are other factors at play. From the healthcare professionals’ standpoint, not only drugs but other factors involved like doctors, hospitals, nursing homes all would play a role in minimizing the spending and easing the burden on end users. In totality, spending is a mixture of how expensive any test and treatment is and cost incurred by institutions in delivering it. Despite the volume of medical care service being delivered is going up as more people are availing health insurance, there are indications that providers are dealing with intense pressure to maintain the prices they charge in control. A rough estimate of price being charged by service provider and regulatory body included in the Consumer Price Index report indicates that hospital rates on the whole reduced when compared with earlier years. Several companies who provide healthcare software solutions have been trying to mitigate the complexities by developing healthcare applications that streamlines the processes involved in healthcare.

To analyse the impact of how medical care cost growth is having an effect on the pocket of a standard US family, researchers gathered data from all the available avenues to project the effects of increasing health care costs on an average-income family of four covered by coverage provided by the company. The data made a contrast of the household health care cost share in 1999 with that in recent times. Many thought provoking findings came out of research. Even though household income was on a rise, the trickle down benefits that they should have accrued were largely offset by growth in health care thus retaining only $95 on monthly basis. If costs traced by the rise in the CPI index had remained stable, an average US family would have had an extra $450 per month that they could have utilized on other things.

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Should You go for Development of Your Mobile Website Using HTML5?

Telemedicine is a method which uses all the advanced digital technologies. Telemedicine has moved way beyond the tele-radiology systems which has been in use over the past many years. Nowadays, telemedicine features a range of applications as well as services using video conference, smartphones, email, wireless tools and various other types of telecommunications technology which help doctors serve remote patients. Many healthcare areas have increasing healthcare expenses or limited accessibility to physicians, to ensure the healthcare service in that region doesn’t work at the most effective level. Though, the telemedicine is the solution for the physicians and the patients who want to communicate better and also get better results more simply and efficiently.

The growing importance of telemedicine in healthcareThere are numerous forms of telemedicine. One simple standard of telemedicine involves those who have access to internet. Lots of patients can easily go to a medical provider’s website in order to confirm an appointment. A medical provider can use a camera to interact without any patient’s presence or without the need to meet him or her in an office. The telemedicine system could also be used by world renowned physicians who want to contact one another and discuss various treatments. A professional can arrange for one more professional to hear on a patient condition without the need of physical presence in an office.

Telemedicine has many benefits on local, national, or even on international levels. Telemedicine has the ability to gather the very best healthcare professionals in order to resolve a number of world’s most complex medical issues. In developing nations, telemedicine helps the medical professionals who have reduces resources and doctors. Specialists who operate in countries having significant medical resources helps less privileged professionals who are in need of help and support for medical diagnoses and the treatments. Telemedicine, currently has helped doctors’ to evolve the idea online. This particular care health management solution has helped in saving many lives even at the time of severe conditions, particularly when patients find it hard to get to the hospital timely.

Telemedicine is simply not depending on phone calls. Video conferencing turned out to be an important part of telemedicine. Patients and local healthcare professionals are getting online diagnosis quite easily. Patients are even getting experts’ advice and also are getting suggestions and ideas for handling a particular case. These types of technological progress have certainly helped people to receive a wide range of beneficial measures timely. One of the main benefits of this type of care health management services is that it facilitates people to obtain easy accessibility to high level of healthcare services. Telemedicine solutions are mostly excellent for the rural areas, in which advanced healthcare medical facilities are rare to find. Telemedicine, hence, enable people get good medical advice through phone or Internet to further improve on their health. This idea of care health management services has helped millions of US people those are based in villages and are not able to reach advanced healthcare services.

More than 50 percent of U.S. medical centers currently use some sort of telemedicine, growing communication with clinics at remote areas, which consequently provides health access to a lot of people. In addition telemedicine gives a chance for growth of physician practices. Indeed, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) reports the volume of present networks of telemedicine in the usa are around 200, giving connectivity to above 3,000 sites. Telemedicine can transform nursing homes, prisons, schools, rural health centers and many other institutions which could take advantage of remote healthcare. Not just the telemedicine will significantly save doctors’ travel expenses and the amount of time to reach patients, however it will even reduce overall medical or pharmacy expenses by minimizing hospital admissions as well as.

Telemedicine provides doctors and the patients’ enhanced mobility, which indicate that saving both time and the money. Health care professionals even are getting benefit by greater outreach. Numerous studies have always indicated that the standard of healthcare services provided from telemedicine is actually as good as those offered in usual in-person consultations. In certain areas, especially in mental health as well as ICU care, it offers an excellent service, along with better results and the patient satisfaction. Consumers demand telemedicine. The most effective results of telemedicine are seen in the patient, family members and their community. Making use of telemedicine technologies minimizes travel time along with related challenges for the patient. During the last 15 years, one after another study has reported the patient satisfaction and the support for the telemedicine services. These types of services are offering patients the access to the providers which could never be available usually, and additionally health services without having to travel long distances.

At Mindfire Solutions, we have been providing custom healthcare IT development services to our esteemed clients for more than 11 years now. Our healthcare team can help you with development of custom EMR, HER, PMS, CPOE and mobile healthcare mHealth app development to name a few, or we can customize your existing products as per requirements. Please feel free to write to us in case of any custom healthcare needs and we will revert back in one business day. You can also avail our limited period Risk-Free Trial offer.

Is Telemedicine on Track to Fulfill Its Potential?

Telemedicine seems to be the biggest development within the digital health this year. Skip Fleshman, Partner at Asset Management Ventures (AVM), put in plenty of time talking to the top healthcare providers and the insurers regarding their technology requirements. He found that the telemedicine is the most interesting area for both providers and the insurers. Hospitals, extending telemedicine services is an approach to cut costs when offering consumers with the benefits and the convenience they desire. According to Andrew Watson, CMD of Telemedicine in University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Telemedicine is evolving very speedily. We are capable of doing a lot more than what we used to do in the past, he added. Faster Internet connections along with much better software, enable much better video chatting than in the past. Through widely used mobile devices, many people are now able to gain access to consultations from anyplace. As well as the introduction of electronic health records (EHRs) has probably improved the convenience of getting digital.

Is Telemedicine on track to fulfill its potentialTelemedicine has enhanced to feature asynchronous messaging, through which patients are more and more at ease using it and also enables doctors to use their time in a better way. A doctor now is able to advise many patients in regular issues, freeing up much more time to give attention to in-person on more difficult or complex cases. During the last couple of years, progressively more number of patients have turned to retail pharmacies within their areas for regular healthcare services as that is easier as compared to see their doctor and will certainly not need to leave their houses in any way.

Initially, it appeared that this convenience might attract largely to the younger patients, who supposed to have the ability to access facilities online, it certainly does. However the community where it has the most impact is probably to the older group. According to Dr. Steve Ommen, Associate Dean in the Center for Connected Care in the Mayo Clinic, older patients to get enthusiastic in adopting the facility. The fastest raising group to social media certainly is the above 60 years group. They are certainly not technology-averse in addition they experience the greatest mobility concern as to going to a doctor. A telemedicine solution might be what exactly they need, he added. According to the provider’s point of view, telemedicine has got the potential to save lot of money and has ability to increasing the value of a doctor’s time. Nowadays, doctors devote considerable time with patients who don’t have to be at the office, added Dr. Ommen.

Hospitals when implement telemedicine, it can help in keeping consumers involved to their primary care providers and include to their present medical record. Like, Carolinas HealthCare System in recent times rolled out one virtual visit program which allows any one of their 1 million eligible patients to gain access to a provider anytime with a one-time fee. Whereas the provider to the virtual consultation can observe the patient’s medical record as well as their notes could be accessed from the primary care physician and the care team. Dr. Greg Weidner, MD of primary care innovation and proactive health as Carolinas, mentioned that, they are able to afford to offer convenience and efficiency, even though not compromising on any of the advantages of carefully coordinated care.

According to the providers, their main challenge in telemedicine is finding out the ways to cover the cost. But also as they are being paid for the outcomes instead of procedures, they are incentivized to offer care at the most effective way possible and also telemedicine is less expensive compared to in-person care. Skip Fleshman, appreciates the startups such as Doctors on Demand and the HealthTap, telemedicine has already been accessible to consumers across the country. He pointed out that someday, providers might partner with such platforms in order to connect their doctors to patients. And also, such apps can be provided by the organizations or insurance firms in reducing costs or even help improve the quality of care. In reality the potential in telemedicine is noticed long back, but now he believes that it’s going to take hold. People are enthusiastic about the service and also the providers ultimately get both financial incentive as well as the technological ability to turn it into a reality. He concluded expressing that not only he has an interest in this particular trend, but he is expecting that it’s going to change the relationship of doctor-patient.

At Mindfire Solutions, we have been providing custom healthcare software development services to our esteemed clients for more than 11 years now. Our healthcare team can help you with development of custom EMR, HER, PMS and CPOE development to name a few, or we can customize your existing products as per requirements. Please feel free to write to us in case of any custom healthcare needs and we will revert back in one business day. You can also avail our limited period Risk-Free Trial offer.

Telemedicine A Global Demand

Telemedicine is a fast growing application regarding healthcare treatment wherein healthcare details are moved across the phone or even the Internet and quite often to different networks meant for consulting, and often distant medical procedures or perhaps check-ups. Telemedicine technology is definitely building healthcare industry a lot more interactive simply by implementing the most advanced technology along with telecommunication by offering healthcare services. The market is observing colossal growth because of enhanced remote monitoring of patients. The main idea of telemedicine is to try and abolish the distance aspect in offering life saving medical healthcare. Telemedicine is quite an effective use of communications and also information technologies for any delivery with proper clinical care.

Telemedicine A Global DemandTelemedicine could be categorized on the basic upon technology along with services utilized. Telemedicine could be split into three categories remote monitoring, store-and-forward and interactive services. Telemedicine is quite easy for two health care professionals dealing with any case over the phone, or perhaps complicated just as utilizing satellite technology along with Video-conferencing device in order to carry out any instant consultation among the healthcare professionals in two different nations. As per an announcement by the University of California-San Diego Health System the telemedicine pilot program which they launched will decrease wait time in emergency room for the patients. The program is designed in such a way that whenever the ED happens to be busy, it is possible for the doctors to view through video. Cameras will be utilized to carry on-call physicians who will be away from the hospital for the patient in need of help. In such situation, off-site doctors tend to be paged who perhaps remotely link to a telemedicine station to view patients. The telemedicine physician has the ability to examine patient’s eyes, ears, nose, throat and skin, and additionally the doctor will be able to listen to heart and lung sounds with this module. Moreover, laboratory and imaging tests could be ordered and results can be reviewed. According to Adam Darkins, M.D.at M.P.H.M, in VA netwoks “there are around 90,000 veterans have chronic health condition. However, they lead their lives independently at home due to the support of telemedicine.

The use of telemedicine during the nighttime could probably be the most beneficial occasions. It is very ideal when used in which physician help and advice is hard to find. Patient care is actually time sensitive as well as service volume might allocated throughout a network. Nighttime telemedicine services are really encouraged by telemedicine within the emergency unit and also in the ICU. Nighttime coverage is generally very challenging for the hospitalist practices providing care around the clock. Hospitalist programs, among a couple of physicians doing work at the same time through the day time, usually minimize staff or man-power during the night starting from 7:00 p.m. Nighttime coverage is normally higher priced or more costly compared to daytime coverage as a result of reduced amount of billable services.

A survey by the 2011 Society of Hospital Medicine-Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), revealed that medical expense rise to 30% during nighttime. A lot of hospitals have a problem with nighttime coverage since staff-to-patient proportion tend to be inefficient. In specific circumstances, the quality of care during the nighttime has also reported to become less compared to daytime care. These types of instabilities are definitely unsatisfactory. Rotating shifts starting from days to nights are dissapointing a lot of physicians quite often. Telemedicine is quite often the effective use of communications and also information technologies for any delivery with proper clinical care. Healthcare mobile app development teams can help you build projects within allocated budgets and time schedules.

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Is ICD-10 Implementation on Track?

Is ICD-10 more difficult to use compared to ICD-9? Well, first and foremost there is no choice available; all stakeholders covered under HIPAA, e.g. Patients, Providers, Laboratories etc., are required to start using ICD-10 codes if they are to stand a chance of getting reimbursed for their claim after October 2014. Worker’s Compensation and Auto Liability claims are the only exceptions to the rule. The only similarity between these 2 approaches is the process of looking up for codes. The differences otherwise start right from the format. While ICD-9 codes uses are generally numeric with 3 to 5 digits, the ICD-10 codes are alphanumeric with 3 to 7 characters. Most important difference lies in the fact that ICD-10 will require additional documentation to be which in order to provide more information for the codes chosen. External circumstances and the location of injury or accidents need to be captured. Thus from a current number of 13000, when ICD-10 gets implemented the number of codes will go up to 68000.Is ICD-10 implementation on track

All this is being done with the intention of capturing the exact details of the cause of ailments of patients. The higher the precision of diagnosis, the better the chances of administering the best possible treatment. Thus, rolling out an ICD-10 is not to be looked upon as an update to the ICD-9 code set. The lack of specificity in the former is what might have triggered of the need for the later but its implementation is a comprehensive process. A coder for example cannot necessarily handle the job in isolation unless all the relevant information is available in detail. In any case, the best person to program manage the roll-out of ICD-10 coding standards in a healthcare setup has to be either of the three – the physician, the practice administrator/office manager, or the billing manager. The concerned person has to have the confidence of all the staff and the required level of authority to ensure a smooth transition. Each of the stages – assessing, budgeting, planning, communicating, training, implementing, and monitoring requires good astute leadership to drive the implementation. Although there are mapping tools now available, they do not necessarily provide a definitive code for a situation because a one-to-one mapping is not always possible.

Surprisingly, inspite of its binding nature, the implementation of ICD-10 has not been at the pace at which it is expected to be. Practices have expressed their concerns, with the top three being:

  • The high cost of implementation
  • Need for changes in clinical documentation
  • Loss of productivity

Some other concerns expressed include the difficulty of documenting patient encounter and the difficulty in choosing the right diagnosis code. One of the surveys conducted indicated that cost for a 10-physician healthcare setup to overhaul its practice management system and electronic health record software was approximately going to be more than $201,000. This can act as a huge deterrent, given the high amount of investment needed, for setups of similar or larger sizes. A few providers though are hopeful that their respective vendors for PMS and EHR would handle the cost of upgrading since they will not be left without a choice.

However, the starting point of all this – co-ordination among the stakeholders has unfortunately not at the level at which it is expected to be. ICD-10 implementation is not just changes to be made to software; it will require a lot of healthcare software testing and training on the part of providers. Unless enough time and effort goes into the last 2 areas , providers might have to deal with a shock when they take a look at their cash flow post Oct 2014.

One of the reasons why the implementation could be a tough one of achieve is because it is being planned simultaneously scheduled with the Stage 2 Meaningful Use of EHR and state Health insurances exchanges. Besides the financial angle, the sheer amount of time and energy that all such parallel implementation will require from all concerned people in healthcare setups is going to affect their ability to meet their primary responsibilities – that of providing good care to their patients. But inspite of all the uncertainties, physicians do not have a choice but to see that they themselves are aware of the coding fundamentals and are actively driving their teams towards a planned implementation. If not, a rude shock seems inevitable.

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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.

Latest Trends in Healthcare Industry Today

Some physicians are starting to make conscious efforts towards slowing down the pace of their operations and looking at an alternate approach to providing high-volume, insurance led healthcare services. These physicians do not accept insurance and instead charge the patients an amount commensurate with the kind of treatment that they need. The important point to be taken into account here is that the patients have to see some real value, both in terms of expenditure and care, which would attract them to choose this option. Understanding the importance of this point, physicians have been taking various steps. For instance some of them have put a cap to the number of patients they would like to provide treatment to. Besides charging a nominal fee for providing care they make it a point to avoid unnecessary tests and visits. These things go a long way in convincing patients of the real intent of these physicians. The defining step in this approach, which has been commonly agreed upon by participating physicians, is a change in their disposition in treating people as people only and not as healthcare consumers and spending qualitative time with each of them. No technological advancement in the field of medical science can substitute for these 2 factors. Although this initiative might be looked upon as rebellious, one cannot deny the fact that for a physician to shift to this mode of operation, he/she has to derive happiness out of connecting with patients and ensuring that their unnecessary expenses are kept at a minimum.

This new approach stands to contradict the common perception which people generally hold of higher-cost meaning higher or resulting in better-quality care. Because such a thing is going to result in patients under financial constraint being rendered unable to get proper medical care, many physicians have started advocating and practicing this new method of operation. For them, the best way to ensure the appropriate use of information is done by thoroughly engaging with their patients in discussions and taking appropriate actions subsequently. They also feel that the current medical system needs to be overhauled simply because it kind of unnecessarily penalizes doctors for caring. They feel that the main reason for most of the issues cropping up in current healthcare model is lack of proper patient-physician communication resulting in not only low satisfaction scores but also malpractice suits .Technological advancement should be used to facilitate the processes, making them faster and reducing errors but they cannot be expected to act as a substitute to direct interactions. They feel that the current model does not make allowance for factors like creating a rapport with patients, eliciting their views, demonstrating empathy and accessing the ability and willingness of the patients to actually follow recommendations – all of which are critical in the care process.

Although patients will have a lot of appreciation for Physicians willing to spend some extra time with them and having their full attention, there are also some issues to be dealt with if as a physician you have a desire to change in to this clinical minimalism approach of operating. For instance, it is highly likely to be running late on schedules with no upper cap as such on a per schedule time. Patients in queue might have to wait a little longer for their turn to come if a Physician requires to spend additional time with a patient who has an appointment. There would be a need to put a cap on the total number of patients a physician will like to be mapped to in order to ensure that the quality of care provided is good .Now all of this is going to have an effect on the finances. In short, how profitable a Healthcare facility operating on this model would be is a question which remains unanswered. Only if this practice is accepted in a broad way and a number of physicians participate in this approach that a concrete decision can be arrived at after recording and analyzing financial details of healthcare setups over a period of time. However, it cannot be denied that at present the physicians who are convinced about the success of this approach do not have financial benefits topping the list of deliverables they want to achieve through this model. Their ulterior motive is to provide better and affordable care to their patients which they strongly feel the current system fails to deliver. This brings us to the next quest of finding an efficient Medical Software development company.

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