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At the center of the transformation of our healthcare system is a key realization that excessive costs, inefficient processes and disparate systems are impeding our ability to optimize delivery of care. Information Technology professionals have long understood the potential that exists in better integrated and more reliable systems. Government mandates and incentive programs are providing significant impetus for change. The timing of so much simultaneous change is challenging the industry and stressing limited resources for providers and vendors alike.
It has never been more important to make the right technology decisions quickly and correctly in order to support new requirements and unprecedented growth. Comport Healthcare Solutions is a proven partner that can help your healthcare system plan and prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.
Crystal Run’s Director of IT discusses their growth and strategic partnership with Comport.
In 2009, newly elected President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka “The Stimulus Package”). This $768B spending package included $20B specifically designated to promote “meaningful use” of Electronic Medical Records for hospitals and physician practices. While the program has succeeded in accelerating the adoption and development of EMR technologies, early adopters of the program are finding themselves with more difficult requirements to achieve in new stages of the program – on a very aggressive timeline. Also, tolerance for system downtime has become almost non-existent, as patient care and provider work-flows are increasingly dependent on information technology working on high availability platforms.
While the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has been with us since 1996, new enforcement rules are providing severe penalties for non-compliance and breaches of protected health information (PHI). Storage solutions for today’s healthcare environment must provide the ability to secure data, audit access and ensure that replication and backup strategies are integrated into the fabric of the healthcare enterprise.
The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is a list of medical conditions used in coding medical claims for billing. ICD-9 has been used in the United States since 1979. ICD-10 is an enhanced set of codes (68,000 codes as opposed to 13,000 in ICD-9). The theory behind the transition to the new code set is to support more granular coding, statistical tracking of disease and to enhance the way health plans are administered. This government mandate must be completed by October 1, 2014 and represents an enormous effort of software modification, educating coders and providers, and testing billing processes to ensure that revenue management is not compromised.
The role of IT strategy is expanding beyond the “four walls” of a hospital or practice. The scope of data exchange now includes other organizations with disparate IT systems and processes. Collaboration is expected for healthcare providers to work together to share information at a regional level. As patients go through “transitions of care” from one care setting to another, data is expected to be normalized and made available from organization to organization. Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) are becoming commonplace in the care continuum.
A significant paradigm shift in healthcare reform is the focus on care management across a population as opposed to individual settings of care. Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are examples of new care models designed to encourage collaboration between hospitals, physician practices, long-term care, insurance carriers and patients in an attempt to manage the health of individuals collectively and share savings in the efficiency of such care. The underlying technologies needed to support such trials include data analytics that can cross a variety of settings and the secure data networks to ensure that data is safely moved across the community.
Ensuring that the right information is in the right place at the right time is essential to providing quality healthcare. Easy-to-use tablets and smart-phones are essential tools in accomplishing this goal. Challenges in securing protected health information (PHI) and providing appropriate tools and apps that can integrate with sophisticated EHRs requires the right infrastructure and a well-conceived strategy that combines ease of use with safety and security.