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Digital Overload of Healthcare Information and Looming Deadlines Driving New Challenges for IT Executives

Independent Study Commissioned by Level 3 Reveals Confidence Lacking in Network Security as Infrastructure Demands Continue to Increase

Broomfield, CO — Network security issues, vital infrastructure upgrades, Electronic Health Record (EHR) implementation and impending federal deadlines will guide priorities this year, according to an independent research study of 100 healthcare provider CIOs and senior IT executives commissioned by Level 3 Communications, Inc. (NYSE: LVLT). At the same time, healthcare CIOs and IT executives are less inclined to focus on mobile-enabled healthcare (mHealth) and slow to adopt cloud computing based on survey responses.

Research highlights and IT challenges for 2013 include:

—56 percent were only “somewhat confident” in their ability to prevent a privacy or security breach on their network
—76 percent of respondents are planning to upgrade their network infrastructure in the next two years
—24 percent reported they are using cloud-based computing, much lower than other industries
—Only 17 percent believe mHealth will have a significant impact on the healthcare industry
—80 percent agree that EHR-based systems will improve patient care
—More than 60 percent of respondents suggest EHR and Meaningful Use mandates are a “good idea” to support better quality patient care

Confidence in Security Lacking
The research study found that many healthcare organizations might not be prepared to deal with the scale of the security challenges headed their way, as more and more critical patient information is digitized. (Reference Exhibits 1 & 2.)

While 80 percent reported their organization had not experienced a security breach in the past 12 months, more than half (56 percent) of those respondents were only “somewhat confident” in their ability to prevent a security breach on their network. This indicates a strong lack of confidence for an industry that experiences a significant number of security breaches each year. In fact, a 2012 survey of 80 healthcare organizations from the Ponemon Institute found that 94 percent of the organizations had a least one data breach in the past two years, at an average cost of $2.4 million per data breach.

Security concerns are also a critical component of EHR implementations. Seventy-seven percent of respondents cited security breaches as either a major or moderate EHR implementation issue. The second top-rated concern with EHRs is patient safety, followed third by privacy issues. Security breaches and patients’ privacy issues were slightly more likely to be of “major concern” among large organizations, due to the sheer volume of patient information at risk. Lower on the list of EHR implementation concerns was penalty costs – 35 percent said security and compliance-related penalties were of little to no concern. (Reference Exhibit 3.)

“Patient privacy and the security of health records are weighing on the minds of healthcare CIOs,” said Karl Strohmeyer, Level 3 group vice president. “The ‘Future of Healthcare IT’ study reinforces that there is no room to take chances when patients’ privacy is at risk – ensuring the confidentiality of patient data should be a top priority. As more and more healthcare-related information is digitized and shared remotely, the need for secure networks and services to protect this data will continue to grow.”

Slow to Adopt Cloud Computing
Although many respondents recognized that cloud computing can offer cost-savings and capacity benefits, just 24 percent reported they are using cloud-based computing, which is a relatively low uptake compared to other industries.

Little Traction For mHealth
An even smaller percentage – 17 percent – believes mobile-enabled healthcare will have a significant impact on the healthcare industry, suggesting the healthcare IT industry may not yet be fully primed for a widespread move to mHealth technology and applications.

Telehealth Care Still Growing Trend
The survey results showed that telehealth is a growing trend, with two-thirds (67 percent) of organizations indicating that they currently have telehealth capabilities. The driving factor behind telehealth is patient care. Respondents believe these capabilities will offer both providers and patients better access to EHRs and, as a result, improve patient care. (Reference Exhibit 4.)

Additionally, more than one-third (37 percent) of respondents believe interconnectivity of healthcare facilities will have the greatest impact on the healthcare industry, and another one-quarter (27 percent) believes EHRs themselves will have the greatest impact.

Constant Infrastructure Upgrades In the Works
The study also showed that network infrastructure demands will continue to grow as healthcare organizations try to prepare for increased interconnectivity of healthcare facilities, security demands and other healthcare-related technology advancements. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents are planning to upgrade their network infrastructure in the next two years driven by implementation of EHRs, interconnectivity between providers and facilities, and medical imaging demands. (Reference Exhibit 5.)

“The expansion of network infrastructure that we anticipate will allow healthcare organizations to store massive amounts of patient information securely,” said Strohmeyer. “Providers can access digitized information from any location in real time, ultimately resulting in substantial efficiencies in patient care. Interconnectivity and network security are essential to meeting the growing demands of the digital healthcare world.”

“EHR Deadline is Feasible”
The research also revealed that, despite feeling pressure to implement EHRs to meet new federal regulations under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), most healthcare CIOs and senior executives support the efforts and believe ACA timeframes are feasible. More than 60 percent of respondents suggest EHR and Meaningful Use mandates are a “good idea” – due primarily to the fact that EHRs are expected to support better quality patient care with increased access to medical records and information by providers. In addition, 79 percent believe the 2015 EHR deadline is feasible.

Study Methodology & Demographics
Level 3 commissioned Corona Insights to conduct the “Future of Healthcare IT” study in November 2012. The 100-person respondent base was comprised of CIOs and other c-level and senior IT executives who are employed by hospitals, medical centers and physicians’ offices. The size of the organizations managed by these CIOs and executives range in revenues from $10 million to $1 billion.

To Learn More
To learn more about the research findings and Level 3’s solutions for the healthcare industry, please visit http://www.level3.com/en/solutions/industry/healthcare/.

About Level 3 Communications
Level 3 Communications, Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) provides local, national and global communications services to enterprise, government and carrier customers. Level 3’s comprehensive portfolio of secure, managed solutions includes fiber and infrastructure solutions; IP-based voice and data communications; wide-area Ethernet services; video and content distribution; data center and cloud-based solutions. Level 3 serves customers in more than 450 markets in 45 countries over a global services platform anchored by owned fiber networks on three continents and connected by extensive undersea facilities. For more information, please visit www.level3.com

February 9, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

MEDHOST Launches PatientFlow HD to Improve Hospital-wide Patient Throughput and Enhance Overall Operating and Financial Performance

New enterprise software helps hospitals proactively manage financial outliers and high-impact patients and meet The Joint Commission’s new patient-flow requirements

PLANO, Texas – Feb. 4, 2013 – MEDHOST, provider of leading healthcare throughput and emergency department software, today announced general availability of PatientFlow HD, its powerful enterprise-wide patient throughput solution.  PatientFlow HD is Web-based, easy to use and provides hospital executives with real-time, mission-critical facility, clinical and patient-centric data so they can identify process management and patient-flow issues before they become problems.  Providers can also leverage PatientFlow HD to comply with new patient-flow requirements issued December 2012 by The Joint Commission.

“MEDHOST developed PatientFlow HD to break down widespread information silos, a major contributor to patient-flow bottlenecks, and give executives a clearer picture so they can make real-time, data-driven management and patient-flow decisions,” said Craig Herrod, president of MEDHOST.  “MEDHOST is best known for helping hundreds of EDs improve operations and patient flow, often turning this busy department into the most efficient and profitable area of the hospital.  With PatientFlow HD, we’re bringing our expertise to the rest of the hospital to eliminate systemic issues that can cripple operating and financial performance.”

PatientFlow HD’s graphically driven and highly intuitive user interface makes current information, such as 30-day readmissions, patients exceeding their reimbursed length of stay, observation status patients, and patients occupying higher acuity beds than necessary, available to hospital leaders at all times, so they aren’t making decisions with old data.  The easy-to-use system also offers visibility at the unit and bedside levels, and with onscreen and push notifications, everyone involved in patient care stays informed, which creates a culture of accountability and helps improve patient care and safety, the objective of The Joint Commission’s patient-flow requirements.

The new system has already generated meaningful business, financial, patient care and workflow improvements across the enterprise in beta trials with providers including Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital in North Carolina.

“Before PatientFlow HD, healthcare executives lacked the ability to proactively detect and manage financial outliers and high-impact patients, so any data collected and reviewed was retrospective.  That isn’t practical, especially considering the importance of immediately solving patient-flow challenges,” said Don Trippel, CFO of Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital.  “The benefits of PatientFlow HD became evident very quickly.  It created transparency at our hospital never before thought possible, and we’re now able to easily manage day-to-day operations and the wide assortment of factors and influences that affect patient flow and the hospital’s bottom line.”

PatientFlow HD features include:

  • ·         At-a-glance, real-time, visual representation of hospital capacity and financial/operational outliers to better manage and streamline admissions and discharges
  • ·         Quick identification of high-impact patients (core measures, observation status, 30-day readmissions, etc.)
  • ·         Color-coded key performance indicators, including patients approaching or over length-of-stay thresholds, so hospital leaders, case managers and unit supervisors can more effectively coordinate care
  • ·         A simple way to view all on-duty staff, isolation patients, outpatient and inpatient procedures, and more
  • ·         A user-friendly administration utility for customization to meet your needs

MEDHOST will demonstrate PatientFlow HD at the annual HIMSS tradeshow March 4-6 in booth #7013 along with its beta-site Customer, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, which is based in Elkin, N.C.  To schedule a demo, please email MEDHOST at Leslie.McAninch@medhost.com.

About MEDHOST

MEDHOST is dedicated to advancing healthcare IT by developing user-friendly software solutions that improve house-wide operations, patient flow, financial performance, and patient care and satisfaction.  The MEDHOST product suite includes EDIS, OpCenter and PatientFlow HD and has been deployed by leading institutions throughout North America.  Its intuitive, easy-to-use solutions align with end-user workflow, and that’s why clinicians, as well as executives, prefer MEDHOST over anything else.  MEDHOST’s EDIS has transformed hundreds of emergency departments into models of efficiency and profitability, and versions 4.2 and 4.3 are ONC-ATCB certified by Drummond Group.  OpCenter streamlines the admission of patients by breaking down communication silos and patient flow bottlenecks between the ED and inpatient units.  PatientFlow HD provides a real-time, enterprise-wide view so executives and hospital leaders can easily manage day-to-day operations, proactively identify house-wide process management and patient flow issues, and detect financial outliers and high-impact patients.  MEDHOST is headquartered in Plano, Texas.  More information is available at www.medhost.com.

MEDHOST is part of HealthTech, a health information technology company that also operates Healthcare Management Systems and Patient Logic.  HealthTech’s mission is to manage technology companies that are focused on creating value for the healthcare industry.  More information is available at www.healthtechholdings.com.

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The Children’s Care AllianceTM Announces Launch of “Virtual Health VillageTM”

The New Pediatric Health Information Exchange is Designed to Improve the Healthcare of Children in the Lehigh Valley

Lehigh Valley, Pa. (January 28, 2013)….The Children’s Care AllianceTM announces creation of its Virtual Health VillageTM that will allow seamless exchange of student electronic health records between different hospital emergency rooms, clinics, physician offices and school districts in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.  The rapid exchange of information between partner organizations will assure more complete, up-to-date information is available to healthcare providers, including school nurses, when a child is treated in an emergency room, clinic or doctor’s office or when the student visits the school health room. The pediatric health information exchange (HIE) will create more complete health records, while rapid access to a student’s health information will save time, eliminate duplicate tests and procedures and greatly improve initial and follow-up care.

The Children’s Care Alliance (CCA) governance body currently comprises three separate hospital systems –Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Network, Lehigh Valley Health Network and Sacred Heart Health System and two school districts, Bethlehem Area and Allentown, with a combined student population of over 32,000. The HIE represents a first-of-its-kind collaboration between healthcare organizations and the education community that share a common goal – improving the healthcare of children in the region.

The innovative project will assure better care of chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes and will boost immunization rates. The Children’s Care Alliance anticipates greater patient and provider satisfaction and lower heath care costs by reducing duplicate tests and procedures. In addition to cutting student absence from school, parents and regional employers will benefit from fewer missed workdays.

“I am really pleased by this collaborative effort on the part of hospitals, doctors and school districts to improve the continuity of care of our children,” states Thomas Coyle, President of the Lehigh Valley Business Coalition on Health Care. “This is something employers can really get behind. Not only will it cut the time parents miss from work, but potentially it will reduce employer healthcare costs by eliminating duplicate tests and procedures.”

While full implementation of the project is expected to cost about $2.3 million, initial phases addressing governance, legal, security and privacy issues as well as infrastructure, hardware, software and training are being funded by grants – $300,000 from the Harry C. Trexler Trust, and $600,000 from the Kresge Foundation. In addition to the grant funding, all three hospital systems and both school districts are providing in-kind services to move the project forward.

A big plus for the school districts is that participation in the project is at no cost to them. Grant monies have been used to purchase approximately fifty iPads for the school nurses in both Allentown and Bethlehem Area school districts.

“At this point we are teaching the school nurses how to use the iPads,” states Kathy Halkins, Department Chair for District Nurses in the Bethlehem Area School District. “I just spent the day with one of our nurses measuring, weighing, and checking the vision and hearing of our high school students. After screening only two classes she had it mastered. The best part was, when we were done, we were done. We no longer had to pull each student’s file, handwrite the data, enter it into the computer and re-file the paper records. The computer savvy students even helped her out with the iPad, building a better connection between the students and the nurse.”

Halkins also has downloaded other applications to her iPad such as an animated instructional program for children on brushing and flossing teeth. “While most high school students already know how to brush and floss correctly, this is great for our lower grades, especially our underserved students. It also helps to foster relationships between the nursing staff and students.” With completion of training on the iPads, the school nurses are converting student health records into an electronic format so that they can be shared within the school districts and ultimately with hospitals and care providers within the Virtual Health Village.

“We’ve achieved another milestone and have just signed a contract with Alere Wellogic as the CCA HIE technology vendor,” states Michael Cirba, CIO, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Network and the newly-elected CCA steering committee chairperson.

“Work now is underway to create the health information exchange capabilities. Later phases of the project will seek to expand the number of participating school districts as well as hospitals and physician groups.”

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Two Intelligent InSites Customers Win Intelligent Hospital Awards

US Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Integrated Service Network 11 (VISN 11) and Group Health Cooperative recognized by the RFID in Healthcare Consortium (RHCC) and Intelligent Hospital.org for their leadership in advancing healthcare by integrating advanced healthcare technology solutions


Fargo, ND – February 1, 2013 –
Intelligent InSites, Inc., the leading provider of real-time operational intelligence in healthcare, has announced that two of its customers have been recognized as Intelligent Hospital Award winners for 2013, presented by the RFID in Healthcare Consortium (RHCC) and Intelligent Hospital.org.

According to Dr. Paul Frisch, President and CTO of the RFID in Healthcare Consortium, “The objective of the Intelligent Hospital Awards is to highlight the changing healthcare patient environment and recognize those who are advancing healthcare by integrating advanced technologies, such as auto-ID, NFC, RFID, RTLS, sensors and wireless along with point-of-care information delivery and communications devices.”

Improving Regulatory Compliance was awarded to US Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Integrated Service Network 11 (VISN 11) and Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System Sterile Processing Services (VAAAHS SPS). The recipients are VAAAHS SPS Chief, Robin McLeod and VISN 11 Biomedical Engineering Point of Contact, Michael McDonald (Indianapolis, IN).

Most Innovative Use Case was awarded to Group Health Cooperative (Seattle, WA). The award will be received by Donnell Coomes, Enterprise Project Management, Senior Project Director.

Award recipients have been invited to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2013 Conference and Exhibition to participate in the Intelligent Hospital Awards Ceremony, which will be held March 4, 2013, at 5:30pm in Booth 8711. During the event, recipients will be honored, and the 2013 RHCC/Intelligent Hospital Grand Award will be announced.

The judges for the first annual Intelligent Hospital Awards are as follows: University of California-San Francisco Professor Donna Hudson; Georgia Tech Institute Professor Gisele Bennet; University of Wisconsin Distinguished Researcher Alfonso Gutierrez; and RFID 24-7 Journalist and Editor-in-Chief John Johnson.

The Intelligent InSites’ software platform—which collects and processes data, in real-time, from healthcare IT systems, electronic health records, nurse call systems, communications platforms, building management systems, and wireless sensory networks, including multiple RFID and RTLS hardware technologies—empowers multiple healthcare operations applications, including asset management, patient flow, bed management, environmental monitoring, infection control, surgical instrument tracking, rentals management, and consumable asset management, with real-time, actionable information. This ability to leverage real-time information across the enterprise enables healthcare organizations to improve operations and care delivery processes, resulting in more affordable care and improved patient satisfaction.

Healthcare providers can learn more about Intelligent InSites’ real-time healthcare platform at HIMSS13, March 3-7, in New Orleans, LA. Intelligent InSites can be found in booth #8025 and in the Intelligent Hospital pavilion.

About Intelligent InSites
Intelligent InSites helps transform healthcare operations with real-time operational intelligence that improves care, enhances the human experience, and increases efficiency. Through its open, flexible, secure, and scalable technology and business platform, Intelligent InSites automatically collects and processes data from any real-time location system (RTLS), environmental sensors, EHRs, building systems, and other healthcare IT systems, then delivers meaningful information to the right person, at the right time, on the right device. Intelligent InSites’ customers gain enterprise-wide visibility and insights for continuous process improvement, resulting in remarkable financial and quality of care outcomes. For more information, visit www.IntelligentInSites.com.

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.