2018 HIT Leaders,care coordination,clinical communications,HIT Lists

HIT Leaders articles graphic image.

2018 best secure communications platforms – HIT Leaders Awards

HIT Lists graphic image.Our staff polled clinicians on today’s most innovative care team communications solutions to determine which product/service line yields the most effective results from their day-to-day use. We asked about alert integration, secure messaging, cross platform support, enterprise-wide directories, ease of use, analytics and reporting tools and cost. We surveyed 19 separate solutions. Below are the top 10 HIT Leaders for 2018.

  1. Telmediq logo graphic image. @Telmediq
  2. Halo Communications logo graphic image. @DocHaloApp
  3.  @VoceraComm
  4. Patient Safe Solutions logo graphic image. @PatientSafeSoln
  5. Spok logo graphic image. @spoktweets
  6. Imprivata logo graphic image. @Imprivata
  7. Tiger Connect logo graphic image. @TigerConnect
  8.  @PerfectServe
  9.  @Cerner

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care team communication strategy,clinical communications,Voalte,Voalte User Experience conference,VUE16

A call for healthcare IT to establish a culture of community

Contrary to popular opinion, healthcare is not the only industry that took the misguided “ready, fire, aim” approach to incorporating technology into their workflows and business processes.

It was not long ago when finance, utilities, retail, and education were extremely awkward (to put it nicely) in their utilization of emerging IT. It took years of missteps and countless conversations amongst a host of stakeholders before leaders could get their bearings and create the technology-integration strategies that are now second nature within their given fields. Without openly sharing their successes and mistakes, and actively gathering as many perspectives as possible, our banks, stores, and schools would still be marred within the “paralysis by analysis” phase of adoption where many feel healthcare is still trapped.

I’ve spent the past several months covering a variety of healthcare conferences and executive forums where I have heard many IT integration discussions that are similar in nature to those previously conducted in other industries. These presentations and meetings examined a wide range of historically persistent concerns, but I left each event feeling a new sense of optimism that I see growing within our industry as a whole.

At the heart of this positive change is a renewed emphasis on collaboration within our field. When healthcare providers are able to leverage more technology within their workflows, they share their positive results with their colleagues. When vendors are able to develop new equipment and applications, they influence the marketplace’s direction as well as future iterations of today’s solutions. This constant exchange of ideas is vital for the development of new healthcare IT practices. Without it, we cannot see beyond our own foxhole and effectively attack industry-wide issues.

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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center,Experience Innovation Network,Hackensack Meridian Health,High reliability organizations,HROs,Institute of Medicine,Intermountain Healthcare,Providence St. Joseph Health,Quadruple Aim,To Err is Human,Vocera

Unifying improvement through the highly reliable human experience


Liz Boehm, Director of Research, Vocera Communications and Director of Vocera’s Experience Innovation Network

Editor’s Note: This blog originally appeared on the Vocera View blog, which focuses on stories about how to make life better for patients and care teams.

Leaders in healthcare are working to make everything better. They boost safety by adopting best practice bundles and asking patients consistently for two forms of ID to make sure the right care is delivered to the right person. They embrace Lean Management principles and do value stream mapping to strip out waste. They work to improve outcomes by designing new care models that cross traditional silos and undertaking population health initiatives that follow a patient proactively beyond the traditional periodic follow up visits. They seek to improve care experience by teaching communication skills and making sure every clinician introduces him/herself and his/her role to the patient to help build relationships.

Despite continuing efforts to make everything better, healthcare organizations still struggle.

One of the biggest challenges in implementing these changes is that much of the responsibility falls to frontline staff, who are already overwhelmed by increasing demands, regulatory requirements, and the inherent stress of caring for patients. These same physicians, nurses, and frontline leaders are now suffering from initiative fatigue in the face of so many change efforts.

Organizations need greater alignment across improvement efforts so that every new care model, process change, and skill-building effort encompasses all aspects of the Quadruple Aim. They need to rationalize and drive alignment from the top, instead of bombarding frontline staff with dozens of single-issue changes.

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Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,CMS,Texting,The Joint Commission,Vocera

When I think about secure texting, I think about patient lives


Gautam M. Shah, Vice President, Product Management, Vocera Communications

(Editor’s Note: This blog originally appeared on the Vocera Communications’ newly launched Vocera View blog, which focuses on stories about how to make life better for patients and care teams.)

Earlier this year, The Joint Commission announced a plan to lift its ban on secure texting of physician orders. Then over the summer, Commission leaders decided to delay lifting the ban in order to collaborate with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to further strengthen the guidance and ensure alignment with the Medicare Conditions of Participation. They said at that time that they hoped to release the updated guidance later this month (September 2016).

I considered some of the language from the announcement that explained the reasoning for the delay: “to ensure a safe implementation involving the secure texting of orders for those organizations desiring to employ technology supporting this practice.” It struck me that while The Joint Commission seems to be talking about a secure texting problem, what they are really talking about is something more important: The need to make sure each order is received, followed, and recorded in an appropriate manner.

This brought to mind a story I recently heard.

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Six things you might not know about RAIN RFID

Impinj - Wendy Werblin

Wendy Werblin, Product Lead, Healthcare Solutions, Impinj

Hospitals are increasingly looking to RFID to help solve some of the operational challenges in healthcare. RFID solutions can provide organizations with in-depth information about the identity, location and authenticity of important assets, devices, medical supplies and people as they move around their facilities – ultimately with the goal of increasing efficiency and reducing costs. And, RFID is making life a lot more efficient for organizations and safer for the patients who depend on them.  What is RFID technology and how is it used? In this article, we’ll take a look at six things that are not commonly known about RFID.

But first, how does RFID work?

There are two main types of RFID: active RFID, which requires battery power, and RAIN RFID, which is battery-free (passive), wireless technology that uses a single, global standard (UHF Gen 2v2 or ISO/IEC 18000-63). In this article, we’ll take a look at RAIN RFID.

A RAIN RFID tag is attached to or embedded in an item. This tag contains a unique number that identifies that item. RAIN RFID readers and gateways wirelessly power and communicate with these tags and provide the connectivity between tag data and the hospital systems and software that needs the information. Readers can be held by a person, embedded in cabinets, installed in doorways, hallways or ceilings to keep track of tagged items in large spaces.

Data from the tags is sent to a software  application that analyzes the information and applies an action or designated business process. For example, once a hospital staffer moves a tagged IV pump into a designated room, a biomedical team would then be notified to pick up the pump for cleaning. By tagging all the equipment needed for a surgery, surgical staff can validate that the necessary equipment is in the room before the surgery begins.

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care transition management,post-discharge,Six Communication Best Practices for Transitional Care Management,West Corporation

Post-discharge communication tips to help patients avoid readmission

Fonda Narke, West Healthcare

Fonda Narke, Director of Product Integration, West Corporation Healthcare Practice

Experienced healthcare professionals know that effective communication with patients is key for successful care transitions between the hospital and home or rehab. Time and again, patients stop adhering to meds or abandon therapies altogether if follow up from providers isn’t consistent. As such, a number of communication best practices are recommended for today’s care transition management (TCM) programs, spanning from prior to discharge, to the focus of this article, after the patient leaves the hospital.

Best practice #1: Provide constant contact

Per CMS guidelines, providers must make two attempts to connect with a patient within 48 hours of discharge. These initial attempts at contacting the patient are essential to qualify for a TCM reimbursement. Note that CMS will allow providers to collect for a TCM visit without having made contact within the first 48 hours so long as they can prove the attempts at outreach were made. Definitely reach out the first time within 24 hours, and if the patient cannot be reached, follow up the second day with another outreach.

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Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services,CMS,discharge,HIPAA waivers,Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program,Six Communication Best Practices for Transitional Care Management,West Corporation

How pre-discharge communication with patients can prevent readmission

Fonda Narke, West Healthcare

Fonda Narke, Director of Product Integration, West Corporation Healthcare Practice

In the era of chronic illness and historically long lifespans, patient care transitions to home or another facility have become commonplace. Unfortunately, what lies between these exchange points is a kind of gray area, a healthcare limbo where risks for lapses in communication, coordination, quality, and safety are at their highest. The result, too often, is that patients lose the level of care management they need, which can result in a return trip to the hospital or worse.

Additionally, provider organizations are left vulnerable to considerable financial penalties for failing to reduce preventable readmissions – a key goal in the shift to value-based care. In a notable example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program docks hospitals with a 3 percent reduction in Medicare payments for high rates of 30-day post-discharge readmissions for a defined set of diagnoses. According to some estimates more than 2,600 of the 3,400 hospitals subject to the program will be penalized by CMS in 2016.1

One very effective way hospitals can assure transitional care success is to engage the patient in discussions about the imminent transition while the patient is still in the hospital. Read on for the top discussion points and strategies.  

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HIPAA,HIPAA audit,HIPAA Compliance,Office for Civil Rights,privacy,Revation Systems,secure communications

Why secure communications should be a part of the HIPAA compliance strategy

Perry Price, XXX

Perry Price, Founder and President, Revation Systems

With the rise in attacks across the healthcare industry, it is critical for organizations to reassess the measures that are being taken to remain compliant. Although the fear of having private health information (PHI) exposed is increasing, there are several steps that can be taken to ensure that confidential patient data is secure.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is continuing to conduct Phase 2 of its HIPAA audit program to “uncover promising practices, or reasons health information breaches are occurring.” The goal of the OCR audits is to “improve the privacy and security of health records.”

While OCR’s HIPAA audit program may seem intimidating on the surface, there are ways for healthcare organizations to ensure that they are remaining compliant with HIPAA procedures, thereby avoiding any repercussions of violations detected in audits.

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alarm fatigue,patient monitoring

Overcoming barriers to continuous patient monitoring

Betty Ann Davis

Betty Ann Davis, R.N., M.S.N, C.N.E.

With healthcare costs increasing and budgets shrinking, hospital administrators are faced with the challenge of providing the best possible care while keeping their facility in the black. As a result, in an effort to stem the tide and maintain a high standard, new technologies are being brought into hospitals. However, despite the clinical and financial incentives these technologies offer, they are not always adopted with ease.

One such technology is continuous patient monitoring in non-Intensive Care Unit (ICU) settings, where the nurse-to-patient ratio makes constant monitoring by staff challenging. Continuous monitoring reduces workload on staff by providing constant real-time data with minimal false alerts as well as early detection of potential adverse events.   

Below, we’ll examine some of the potential barriers medical facilities see in continuous monitoring solutions, and how modern devices are overcoming these hurdles.

Alarm fatigue

In some hospitals, patient to caregiver ratios can be as high as 6 to 1. This means that when using traditional monitors in non-acute settings – intended for ICUs or operating rooms where the ratio is far lower – nurses are often responding to alarm after alarm, of which 85-99 percent typically do not require clinical intervention. This phenomenon, known as ‘alarm fatigue,’ puts patients at risk as staff become apathetic to the alarms, and adversely affects the work environment for healthcare providers.

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GlobalMed,live video,patient visit

Welcome to the world of live video

mark stevens

Roger Downey, Communications Manager, GlobalMed

In increasing numbers, healthcare providers are becoming involved in clinical telemedicine programs without understanding how patients on the remote end are viewing them.

If you’ve Skyped or used Facetime to videoconference with a relative, it’s easy to convince yourself you know all there is to know about it.  You are probably familiar with the studies that have shown patients don’t always retain the important medical information you provide them. Part of this is due to distractions. (Squirrel!) My reason for writing this article is to suggest some subtle improvements on your end that would minimize distractions and allow patients to focus on what you are saying to them during telemedicine visits.

Let’s begin with the Web camera, the one in your laptop.  As I look at my laptop camera at the top of the monitor here on my desk, it is about eight inches below my eye level.  During a videoconference, the person on the other end would be “looking up” at me, and the background he or she sees will include the neon light fixtures in the office ceiling.  The angle is not only distracting, but it’s also downright unflattering.  You need to bring the top edge of your laptop to your eye level.  Fifteen years ago, I would have suggested using a couple of telephone directories, but who has those anymore!  Find some coffee table books and place them under the computer.  If you have a “dock,” you will either have to raise it as well or disconnect the laptop, at least during the visit.  If you are still using a standalone Web cam, make sure that it is right next to the monitor, or better yet, just above it.  Otherwise, patients may wonder if you’re really speaking to them because you seem to be looking away.

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