Category Archives: Patient Satisfaction

Better Data Leads To Improved Care And Higher Profits

Meeting the various reporting and measurement standards imposed by CMS is no cakewalk. On one hand, clinicians must be adept at change management. On the other, they must be technically proficient and knowledge rich.

There can be no doubt that successfully practicing medicine today requires clinicians to overcome several significant challenges. It’s our job to reduce at least one challenge—and we do, by clearing the path to payment under value-based care.

Shiv Gopalkrishnan, GE Healthcare’s General Manager of Enterprise Financial Management Solutions, addresses one problem head-on when he asks, “How can we deliver solutions faster through the cloud?”

In busy clinics, resources are limited, which puts an extra onus on technology to do more of the heavy lifting. As Centricity migrates to the cloud in 2018 and beyond, physicians and practice managers will begin to benefit from the “no touch, low touch solutions” that help drive automation, which leads to optimized workflows and a notable reduction in workloads around the clinic.

Gopalkrishnan says, “Whether it is clinical outcomes, financial outcomes, or operational outcomes, we know with value-based care, these are all going to be tied together. You’re going to get paid because you demonstrate clear clinical outcomes and quality of clinical outcomes.” He adds, “It’s very important that we deliver a solution suite that helps clinics achieve these net financials.”

In order to deliver the results our partners in clinics count on, GE Healthcare and HealthCo bring a true understanding into provider workflows and reporting requirements. Thanks to our years of experience working in clinics and with clinics, we also understand the pressures involved (in making big changes) and how to relieve them.

Let’s recap. The “Triple Aim” of value-based care can be summarized like so:

    1) Reduce the cost of healthcare
    2) Enhance the patient experience
    3) Improve population health

At HealthCo, we are on board with all of the above. We also come to work each day ready to deliver on these core promises:

    4) Enhance care quality
    5) Improve provider efficiency
    6) Strengthen financial performance

We know the move from fee-for-service to value-based care is a big change, and the entire transition cannot normally be made all at once. It takes time, a solid plan, and reconfiguration of systems to properly record the numerous measures of quality that help determine the overall health of your patient population.

Remember, you need to demonstrate improvement to get paid today.

According to RevCycle Intelligence:

Value-based reimbursements are calculated by using numerous measures of quality in determining the overall health of populations. Unlike the traditional model, value-based care is driven by data because providers must report to payers on specific metrics and demonstrate improvement. Providers may have to track and report on hospital readmissions, adverse events, population health, patient engagement, and more.

We are happy to help you refine your tracking procedures and update your workflows to meet the need of value-based care. Measuring the full set of outcomes that matter most to patients is indispensable to better meeting patients’ needs. It is also one of the most powerful vehicles for lowering health care costs. Let’s work on it together. Better care at a lower cost is a promise for the future that is within reach today.

Protect Your Patients and Your Clinic with Centricity™ Practice Solution

A clinic’s EMR is like its circulatory system—damage it in any way and everyone in the clinic, including your patients, suffers the consequences. Alarmingly, there are thousands of clinics running faulty EMR software today.

You might have heard that the executives at eClinicalWorks agreed to pay $155 million in fines—rather than face trial—in order to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice?

The lawsuit claims that the company willfully “caused the submission of false claims for federal incentive programs,” among other serious violations.

At a time like this, it’s only natural to ask:

  • Can you trust that your patient data is accurate?
  • Is patient safety in question?
  • Is my EMR vendor a partner or a potential liability?
  • Can the clinic successfully attest?
  • Will your technology partner be around tomorrow?

To complicate matters, some eClinicalWorks customers are now complaining that the company is not supplying the clinic’s patient data when asked to do so. “We’ve been held hostage for a year and a half. I battled them,” said Laura Williams, practice administrator at North Spokane Women’s Health in Washington. “It’s a nightmare with them.”

“The IT people at eClinicalWorks never were able to fix the program errors, but our IT guy came up with a solution that at least has us able to access our patient records,” Williams said. “If I can get my patient data migrated to Centricity that will be enough.”

If you’re currently finding workarounds for your EMR, it’s time for a new EMR. Put eClinicalWorks behind you. We’re here to help steady your clinic’s healthcare IT infrastructure today, earn your trust, and support your clinic for years to come.

Schedule a Centricity demo today. It’s the first critical step on the path to clinical and financial well being.

Previously on the HealthCo Blog: Clinics Trust GE Healthcare for Good Reason

Clinics Trust GE Healthcare for Good Reason

Trust between physician and patient is sacred. Trust between clinic and EHR provider is as well. That’s why news that top executives at EHR software provider, eClinicalWorks, willfully manipulated their software to achieve federal certification has rightfully sent shockwaves across the industry.

Clinic admins and physicians are now all asking the tough questions:

  • Are quality incentive payments at risk for my clinic?
  • Has my EHR vendor done something similar?
  • Should I consider moving to another platform?

Let’s admit that we sometimes compete with eClinicalWorks. Let’s also admit that we’re nothing like them. HealthCo is a value-added reseller for GE Healthcare’s Centricity Practice Solution. GE Healthcare is not a startup, nor the kind of firm that risks its reputation. GE Healthcare is a multi-billion dollar division of GE and a globally respected brand with way too much to lose to play fast and loose with the truth or federal regulation.

The False Claims Act lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice alleges that eClinicalWorks hardcoded drug codes into its EHR software to comply with certification testing; did not adequately manage imaging orders or drug interactions; and failed to meet data portability requirements. In addition to a $155 million fine, the company has entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA).

Making matters worse, the company also settled a case that stated eClinicalWorks paid customers in exchange for recommendations of its software to potential customers, a violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute.

“Electronic health records have the potential to improve the care provided to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, but only if the information is accurate and accessible,” said Special Agent in Charge Phillip Coyne of HHS-OIG. “Those who engage in fraud that undermines the goals of EHR or put patients at risk can expect a thorough investigation and strong remedial measures such as those in the novel and innovative Corporate Integrity Agreement in this case.”

The CIA requires eClinicalWorks to give customers the option to transfer their data to another EHR software provider without penalties or service charges. While current eClinicalWorks customers don’t necessarily need an added incentive to make the move, this savings is helpful to take the first step.

When trust is violated in this manner, it can cast a shadow on the entire industry. We welcome any and all questions that you might have about the case, and how the overall quality and safety of your clinic’s medical records are assured through HealthCo’s hands-on consulting and GE Healthcare’s superior technology and corporate integrity.

Healthcare Connections Solves A Massive Interoperability Problem

We have the technology to solve many of the world’s most threatening diseases. Why do we still struggle to make disparate EMRs “communicate” to each other? The good news is those dark days are fast coming to a sunny end.

Thanks to Healthcare Connections—important new complementary functionality from GE Healthcare—clinics who use Centricity will now be able to send and receive medical records to and from EPIC, Cerner, and other EMR vendors that participate in Carequality.
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Due to the inherent promise of better patient care, many clinics are eager to adopt this new software bridge. Currently, HealthCo is rolling out Healthcare Connections in a handful of beta sites. The second such clinic in the nation to adopt the technology is Swedish Urology in Seattle, WA. Our installation of Healthcare Connections now enables the clinic to seamlessly transfer data between their Centricity EMR and the Swedish Hospital system, which uses EPIC.

Today, patients are ultimately responsible for the transfer of any medical records from a hospital admission to their primary care physicians and specialists or by cumbersome faxing. By adding Healthcare Connections to Centricity, clinics will be able to seamlessly receive electronic transfer of patient records. Healthcare Connections takes an imperfect and labor-heavy process and turns it into a push-button process that takes seconds.

This critical new functionality is an outcome of GE Healthcare’s membership in The Sequoia Project’s Carequality initiative, and focus on improving patient care and outcomes through Project Northstar. Carequality provides a way forward by utilizing a nationwide, consensus-built common interoperability framework.

In the bold new Carequality world, patient’s charts are seamlessly integrated between systems. This is the continuity of care that physicians and patients have longed for, but haven’t had access to until now. It’s another big step toward true interoperability and value-based care. We are excited to bring Healthcare Connections to our beta testers like Swedish Urology, and to all of our clients in 2018.

How To Meet the Needs of CMS’ New Quality Payment Program

If your clinic participates in Medicare Part B, you are part of the dedicated team of clinicians who serve more than 55 million of the country’s most vulnerable Americans.

The new Quality Payment Program (QPP) from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (first announced as “MACRA” in January 2015) provides new tools and resources to help you give your patients the best possible care. The Quality Payment Program achieves the following:

  • Repeals the Sustainable Growth (SGR) Formula
  • Streamlines multiple quality reporting programs into the new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)
  • Provides incentive payments for participation in Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs)

What does this mean for your practice? It means adopting new policies and practices to help you monitor and care for patients at a group level. Like any change, QPP requires both business and clinical leadership to state the goals and achieve them.

Don’t let this new program sneak up and surprise you. In these first weeks of 2017, HealthCo team members have been speaking with our partners in clinics that are now starting to see their first penalties associated with abstaining from Meaningful Use programs, and some are shocked at the adjustments. Thankfully, the HealthCo team is ready to answer your questions and help you adjust workflows, as needed. There are also great resources to help you navigate QPP, including this New White Paper from GE Healthcare.

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In lieu of a future deep dive into the topic, we have a few quick tips to get you started:

  • Determine which providers are eligible: Research the rules to make certain you understand which of your providers meet the criteria to participate in QPP.
  • Assess how quickly you want to move: CMS has given you several options for participation from submitting nothing to submitting partial or full-year data.
  • Assess group or individual participation: When reporting as a group there are additional methods for reporting on Quality and Advancing Care measures, so make sure you are clear on your clinic’s reporting status.

Wading through white papers on legislative changes can be time-consuming and dense reading. Remember, we are just a phone call away. Our team of rock star trainers can walk you through the all the various QPP steps and get you heading in the right direction.

Five Healthcare Trends To Monitor In 2017

It’s a new year and time to take a close look at the changes and challenges ahead. Healthcare is a dynamic field that requires constant learning and collaboration—it’s one of the things we love about it. In this spirit, the HealthCo team put our heads together and came up with five big topics that we are keeping our eyes on in 2017.

1. The MACRA/MIPS transition: Another year, another name for quality reimbursement programs. For those clinics that have already attested to Meaningful Use in the past, we see this as a seamless transition. As groups look to move into federal quality programs for the first time, there are lots of questions. Health and Human Services has a great website available to help guide your participation. Additionally, the consulting team at HealthCo is already hard at work with clients who want some additional support during this transition, and we are happy to help your team as well. If you would like to discuss how we can help, send us a quick email and we will have a consultant contact you.

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2. Will they, or won’t they…the ACA under fire: The new leadership in Washington, DC has promised a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Repeal is easy, replacement is not. While statistics vary, most experts on the subject agree that without replacement, a simple repeal of the ACA would eliminate coverage for over 20 million Americans. What will be done to provide coverage to these individuals? This has not been explained by those looking to repeal and their answers will be the key legislative development to watch for in 2017.

3. Continued Payer/Provider Collaboration: As quality programs continue to advance, we are looking at 2017 as a year where improved care data will flow between clinics and payors, allowing physicians to provide the required care to patients at the time of treatment, improving RAF scores and quality ratings. Current GE Centricity customers are going to see Payer Provider Connect become available in 2017. It’s our answer to breaking down the walls that exist today between physician and insurance carriers.

4. Data Integrations and Interoperability make real progress: Locally, the HealthCo team is looking to build off the successful integration of Centricity and EPIC that was launched here in Portland at the Oregon Clinic in 2016. As we move into 2017 a HealthCo customer in the Seattle market is moving forward with this same integration. This effort will expand and grow during the next year. On a national level, 2017 looks to be the year that Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, or FHIR, goes mainstream, providing a new and expanded standard for the electronic exchange of healthcare data.

5. Telehealth moves from niche to mainstream: Providers continue to look for ways to more efficiently help their patients while patients want fast answers for the most common health concerns. Thankfully, technology is ready to help provide the solution. Telehealth has continued to expand in the U.S. and we are now seeing progress at the Federal level that should allow for dramatic improvement in adoption of telehealth services in Medicare programs. As provider and patient needs continue to converge, telehealth programs should grow exponentially in 2017.

As the changes to our industry continue to roll in like mysterious rain clouds, we continue to build resiliency to sudden change. Adaptability is how the species survives. I think we can say the same for ambulatory clinics and their IT providers. Together we adapt and thrive in whatever new regulatory and market environments we find ourselves in.