(Online) Reputation is Everything… Even for Healthcare Providers
September 11, 2017
(Online) Reputation is Everything… Even for Healthcare Providers

Today’s patient population is dominated by healthcare consumers who want to make informed decisions based off digital resources readily available to them. As customers, we rarely buy products without first reading customer reviews on the product website, Amazon, or other websites such as yelp, and even various social media outlets. So why would healthcare be any different?

We are dealing with a generation of digital way finders who prefer to be well-informed and equipped with the knowledge needed to avoid a negative experience and wasted time or money. Realistically, patients prefer to see providers they can find online reviews about.

Categories: Discoveries
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CMS Meaningful Use Overpayments – The Potential Impact to You and Your Practice
July 11, 2017
CMS Meaningful Use Overpayments – The Potential Impact to You and Your Practice

Many healthcare organizations were shocked to find that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) overpaid more than $729 million worth of incentive payments to eligible providers that failed to meet meaningful use requirements. This discovery was brought to light after a report was released by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG).

This is almost a quarter of a billion dollars, taxpayer dollars to be specific, awarded to some providers who didn’t deserve it and now all eyes are on CMS to fix the problem.

If you find yourself asking how in the world could this have happened? You are not alone. Thankfully the Office of Inspector General has provided us with a three word explanation: Lack of documentation.

Categories: Discoveries,Latest News
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MACRA: Pick Your Own Pace… Just Do It Quickly!
April 17, 2017
MACRA: Pick Your Own Pace… Just Do It Quickly!

The majority of providers thought they could breathe easy after the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, or MACRA, legislation was finalized last October. Their prayers had been answered; quality reporting programs had been eliminated and the burden of reporting data at the risk of a hefty penalty had been lifted… or so they thought. Once the praise and excitement settled, providers realized these programs weren’t going away at all they were just being rebranded. There is no doubt the new Quality Payment Program established by MACRA has improved, but little has been done to truly ease the reporting burden thrust upon our providers. Until that is, our friends at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the Pick Your Pace option for those participating under MIPS in 2017.

Categories: Legislation
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Ransomware Incidents may be a Reportable HIPAA Breach
November 17, 2016
Ransomware Incidents May Be a Reportable HIPAA Breach

Ransomware is a sophisticated piece of malware designed to block access to user files.  In some cases, the malware encrypts data and demands a ransom, while in others data may be destroyed or transferred to another location (exfiltrated). The earliest record of ransomware dates back to 1987 when floppy disks were used to infect systems and demand a $189 payment to an offshore post office box. The introduction of electronic payment and evolution of encryption technology have enabled the proliferation of this epidemic. New strains are discovered at an alarming rate making them more difficult to defend against. 

Ransomware finds its way onto systems by users visiting untrusted sites or launching attachments received in email. Years ago, these emails were more easily spotted due to grammatical errors and oddly formatted graphics. Today’s polished cyber criminals make it very difficult to distinguish their emails from those from legitimate sources. Equally concerning is the rate ransomware spreads once able to infect a system. In most cases the malware will begin encrypting files within a few minutes of infection. Once the system is compromised, the only options are restoring data from backups or paying the ransom. 

Categories: Legislation
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An Intern's Perspective: HIPAA Audits - Helping or Hindering?
June 27, 2016
An Intern's Perspective: HIPAA Audits - Helping or Hindering?

After completing my last exam, I began a nostalgic walk through campus (Go Buckeyes!) to pick up my cap and gown from the bookstore. I was starting the final week of my internship at Itentive Healthcare Solutions before immersing myself in the professional healthcare world. As I was about to cross to High Street, I watched a fellow Ohio State student walk across the street in between the gap of cars; I was about to follow her lead, tired of staring at the red hand in the crosswalk across the street, when I saw a police car turn on their flashers and pull up beside her. I watched her get a jaywalking ticket, and firmly kept my feet planted on the sidewalk as a result. When it was finally time to cross I couldn’t shake the parallel of the jaywalking ticket to a HIPAA audit. What can I say, as a health information management graduate HIPAA is on my mind all the time!

Categories: Discoveries
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An Intern's Perspective: Technology in Healthcare
May 16, 2016
An Intern's Perspective: Technology in Healthcare

With little regard to the technology illiterate or novice, the healthcare industry has been pushing towards full technology immersion.  In response to that, there is the “run or get off the tracks” argument that our world is rapidly advancing and that those who don’t use technology need to catch up or be left behind.  If I am fully honest with you, I have occasionally felt sympathy for that sentiment (usually after showing my grandfather how to start Microsoft Word for the 20th time), but doesn’t seem fair in the healthcare industry light.  Many of these patients that struggle with technology are part of the Silent Generation (people born from the mid-1920s to early-1940s, so 71 years and older), which means that they are frequently ones who need more extensive medical assistance and could benefit from telemedicine and online health resources. 

Categories: Discoveries
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Ransomware Attack Shakes (Down) the Industry
March 31, 2016
Ransomware Attack Shakes (Down) the Industry

In the last month, the healthcare industry has received a wake-up call in the form of multiple practices being the target of malicious cyber attacks.  These viruses present a new kind of threat attack where hackers encrypt a computer network's data to hold it "hostage”, providing a digital decryption key to unlock it for a price.  These attacks are referred to as ransomware or crypto viruses and they are malign.  They can infiltrate an entire system no matter what security features are in place, and can take many different forms, making it difficult for even the most seasoned IT expert to detect before it’s too late.  These methods of entry can include an attachment in a legitimate appearing email perhaps from someone you know such as a vendor, a friend or even a pop up from your favorite shopping site.  Once that button is clicked, this malware gains entry and the damage can be devastating.  A house with a state-of-the-art alarm system is protected against a burglary when it is armed; but if you leave the front door open a thief can sneak in.  If this is the case, then what can we do? 

Categories: Latest News
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Patient Education—Whose Responsibility Is It?
February 4, 2016
Patient Education—Whose Responsibility Is It?

We always talk about empowering the patient, increasing patient engagement in their care, and having it be patient centered, but I don’t think researching and finding information that is accurate, reliable, and answers patient-specific questions is the patient’s responsibility, nor is it the provider’s; it should be the EHRs.  Many people don’t know where to look on the internet and have trouble locating reliable information.  The patient may not know what’s fact or fiction or whether the author is a “quack” or accredited, and likely aren’t aware of the most trustworthy places to find information.  The physician knows what’s valid and most likely knows the best places to look, however they don’t have time to sit down with every patient just to research with them, so whose left?  The EHR.  The technology should be doing the work for us — and that’s where Meaningful Use comes in.

Categories: Discoveries
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A New Year Brings a New Outlook on the Ideal Patient Experience
January 15, 2016
A New Year Brings a New Outlook on the Ideal Patient Experience

This concept of the ideal patient experience has long been debated over in healthcare, but still I find myself wondering, what is the ideal patient experience? Is it each individual encounter or is it the sum of all interactions between the patient and the physician? I think it is both. If so, what are the key components in building the foundation for such an experience?  Some say the building blocks to the ideal patient experience are things like patient-centered care, a sense of connection, efficiency and effectiveness, or courteous and respectful staff. I say all of these play a factor. None of us will argue with the fact that a patient will have a better experience if they receive efficient and effective care, are treated with empathy and share a connection with clinical staff, and are shown respect. So how do we get there and still maintain a healthy practice?

Categories: Discoveries
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Is Data Privacy and Security Taking a Backseat to Convenience?
December 22, 2015
Is Data Privacy and Security Taking a Backseat to Convenience?

The face of healthcare as we know it is changing and so are the tools that we use to coordinate and facilitate care. When you go to the doctor, there isn’t a paper chart in a bin outside the exam room anymore.  Instead, there’s a computer sitting on the counter or a tablet in the doctor’s hands with your health information on it. We have internet access to our records and forms are submitted electronically through a patient portal prior to your visit.  But it doesn’t end there; now we have personal sensors for in-home patient monitoring, wearable technology tracking our daily functions, personal health apps on our smartphones, the list goes on and on.  It is widely accepted that paper-based anything is a notion of the past, but all of this new technology is being incorporated into our existing healthcare infrastructure and I’m not sure we are ready for it. 

Categories: Discoveries
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