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Posts Tagged ‘Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’

4 Strong Pillars for Healthcare

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on June 8, 2012 at 8:00 am

According to a recent publication from the Institute of Medicine(IOM), Health care in the United States is at a critical point. Excessive costs are no longer tenable and mediocre outcomes are no longer tolerable. For 32 of the past 40 years, health care costs have grown faster than the rest of the U.S. economy. Federal health care costs—expected to reach $950 billion in 2012—will become the largest contributor to the national debt.

Change is highly needed. Policies and procedures needs another look. Strategies and management from the Healthcare leaders need to be well defined. We need strong pillars to sustain current healthcare and to build the future ones.

The 4 pillars of  a strong and long-term viable organizations are as under.

Foundational elements
• Governance priority—visible and determined leadership by CEO and Board
• Culture of continuous improvement—commitment to ongoing,
real-time learning
Infrastructure fundamentals
• IT best practices—automated, reliable information to and from the point of
care
• Evidence protocols—effective, efficient, and consistent care
• Resource utilization—optimized use of personnel, physical space, and
other resources
Care delivery priorities
• Integrated care—right care, right setting, right providers, right teamwork
• Shared decision making—patient–clinician collaboration on care plans
• Targeted services—tailored community and clinic interventions for resource-intensive patients
Reliability and feedback
• Embedded safeguards—supports and prompts to reduce injury and infection
• Internal transparency—visible progress in performance, outcomes, and costs

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25 Ways to Sky-Rocket Patient Experience in any Medical Practice

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on June 6, 2012 at 8:00 am

Most healthcare practices struggle on getting their bottom line met in current economic times with everyday changing healthcare trends. Very few of them are using some basic techniques to improve patient satisfaction and outcomes.  I have complied a list of 25 golden principles that a medical practice can adopt to improve their overall turnover and patient experience.

1. Remind patients of their upcoming appointment at least 24-48 hours prior.

2. Patients should be reminded of any paperwork to bring at the time of appointment.

3. Check-in process should be easy and quick.

4. Manage the schedule in a way that patients do not have to wait longer than 10-15 minutes.

5. Rooms should be well lighted.

6. Patients should be told about their vital signs in comparison to the old ones by the Medical Assistant when putting information in.

7. Staff should greet them with a smile.

8. Be a good listener.Let them finish their talking before you start talking.

9. Address the key issues and give specific written recommendations. Provide patient handouts when necessary.

10. It is good to address one more issue as a bonus. Patients feel good about it.

11. Follow up recommendations should be clear and concise.

12. Easy Checkout is must. If it is going to take some time, have patients sit in waiting area and address their needs as soon as possible.

13. Inform the patients of any abnormal labs and actions to be taken as soon as results are obtained.

14. Engage family members in case is Older patients and patients with special needs.

15. Try to know their social engagements. This makes them friendly.

16. Reassure, Manage and Recommend sensitively.

17. Review charts before patients visit so that you may mention what you talked about last time.

18. Offer Same day appointments.

19. Offer access to their own records including lab work and radiology reports.

20. Send them a Satisfaction survey to see what their experiences are and how you can improve.

21. Make them part of the decision-making. Always give them options when possible and guide them to choose one for themselves.

22. Send Periodic Health maintenance reminders. This include follow-up screening tests.

23. Provide Online resources and references to patients to get educated about their health conditions.

24. Have a well-designed and well informative website for the practice.

25. Most Importantly, be clear about your policies and procedures, what services you offer and what you don’t,  before even patient shows up, to avoid any surprises on patient’s end. Patients have  unreasonable expectations sometimes, which can be avoided by giving them clear understanding of what you can provide and what you cannot.

All the above mentioned tips are very easy to follow and the results are amazingly good. See your practice Sky-rocket in few weeks after applying these principles.

Social Media In Healthcare

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on May 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Social media in healthcare gives a substantial promise, including the construction of valuable information sprung from collaboration, patient-to-patient social supports, and more sustained and collaborative patient-provider relationships across the continuum of care. The benefits of integrating social media into healthcare marketing efforts are priceless – from improving patient care to gaining media coverage to attracting new patients and staff. If your healthcare organization hasn’t already taken advantage of social networking channels, now is the time.

The rise of social media has been phenomenal.

Use of social networking sites has grown from 5% of all adults in 2005, to half of all adults (50%) in 2011.For example, Facebook, which began with 5 million users in 2005, today has 845 million participants, more than the entire population of Europe. Twitter has also shown tremendous growth, reporting 460,000 new accounts created on average per day. More than 1,200 hospitals participate in 4,200 social networking sites.

 Current Obstacles

  • Privacy and security are top consumer concerns when sharing their health information through social media. Consumers are most concerned with personal health information being shared in public and information on social media being hacked or leaked . The main stumbling block is the lack of a set of accepted best practices that would enable organizations to become less risk-averse.
  • Ethical questions are a major concern. Are we violating patients’ privacy by listening in or soliciting comments online? Are we ignoring the people who don’t participate in social media?
  •  Return-on-investment questions present another barrier. Should we devote scarce resources to explore this unmapped territory? What risks do we face if we embrace social media, and what if we don’t? Will social media really help us reach the people we want to reach?
  •  Healthcare organizations are also concerned about practical questions. How ready are we to use social media? How should we use it most productively for our own goals, and what is the best way to start? What policies do we need to support this work and what level of the organization should approve them?
  • Negative effect on workplace productivity.
  •  the risks of exposing the hospital’s networks to viruses and malware,
  • HIPAA concerns and
  • Consuming the hospital’s bandwidth.Image

Despite the issues,Social media is here to stay in health care. It will evolve quickly. Patient engagement will continue to characterize this change. Organizations will use social media tactically within their overall marketing and communications efforts — videos and mobile technology will likely dominate these approaches.  Online patient communities will expand and will become a rich source of information for others. Physicians and other health care providers will discover social media, which will have the potential of progressing medical research.

EHR Ownership: Doc Vs patient…A WAR waiting to start

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on May 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm

The stage two meaningful use places a much greater emphasis on patient engagement and set high standards for making data electronically available to patients. Physicians should think about these requirements as they work to implement a new EHR system. The new rules state that a professional must make electronic records available to 50 percent of their patients. Furthermore, 10 percent of a physician’s patients must actually view and download these records.

Multiple state statutes, regulations, and cases govern the ownership of health information and the information contained in medical records. The classic statement of the rule concerning ownership of medical records is that the provider owns the medical records maintained by the provider, subject to the patient’s rights in the information contained in the record.

But,under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), every person “has a right of access to inspect and obtain a copy of protected health information.” The Meaningful Use regulations require that outpatient providers give patients clinical summaries within three business days for at least half of all office visits, if requested. Hospitals have to provide an electronic copy of discharge instructions upon request.

EHR ownership has been a hard pill to swallow for Health care providers and patients. It is hard to point out which one should be the owner when the contribution is the same. Patients’ health events and their information is what make the medical record. Healthcare providers on the other hand manage and form the formatted record to help patient and other providers get the right information when needed. Personally, I feel that ownership should be divided into both. Although, being a health care provider and knowing the risk of certain information disclosures which I do not want the patient to see, I feel that EHR should have a system in place to put in that confidential information to help other providers provide the best care under legal framework.

This way, we eliminate the risk of patient frustration of not being able to see what goes in their medical record. I also feel that this will help patients make better and wiser decisions for them when they can see what different healthcare providers think about their care. It will also reduce the medication error risk which is a major current issue in US Healthcare. It will make the care transparent which will ultimately lead to better healthcare status in country.

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