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Dialysis Clinic, Inc., Selects Sandlot Solutions to Support Comprehensive End-Stage Renal Disease Care Initiative

New technology platform will aid a company-wide initiative to improve quality and care coordination across all facilities.

DALLAS and NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 14, 2014 - Sandlot Solutions, a leading community health interoperability and analytics provider, today announced the beginning of a five-year contract with Dialysis Clinic, Inc. (DCI), a nonprofit corporation providing comprehensive care for patients with kidney disease.  Sandlot’s health information technology solutions will help DCI achieve effective clinical interoperability. The ability to exchange clinical data and share information across health systems will enable DCI to deliver exceptional care management and improved patient outcomes.  A certified Medicare dialysis provider operating in 28 states, DCI will implement two Sandlot modules, Sandlot Connect, for comprehensive data gathering and exchange, and Sandlot Dimensions, which combines a data warehouse with business intelligence tools.

“We are honored to partner with Sandlot Solutions to improve the coordination of care for our patients.  Currently many providers often operate in separate silos and are unable to see the care given by other providers to patients with kidney disease.  With our new partnership with Sandlot, different providers in each community will be able to obtain a better view of the overall care of patients with kidney disease and will be able to communicate in a secure manner as they partner to improve care for patients with kidney disease.  In addition, we will have the capacity to evaluate the cost of care and determine which of our new interventions are most effective at providing better care, at a lower cost to patients with kidney disease,” said Doug Johnson, MD, Vice Chairman of the DCI Board of Directors.

The technology solutions provided by Sandlot will also support DCI’s long-term goal of becoming a CMS ESRD Seamless Care Organization (ESCO).  ESRD patients make up 1.3% of all Medicare beneficiaries and nearly 7.5% of U.S. Medicare spending. This CMS initiative is designed to test new payment and service delivery models in order to achieve higher quality and more patient-centered care for the ESRD population.

Sandlot Solutions trustee, Fred L. Brown, 2014 inductee into Modern Healthcare’s Health Care Hall of Fame and Past Chairman of the National Kidney Foundation remarked: “I am delighted that Sandlot is working with Dialysis Clinic, Inc. to address the complex clinical challenges of patients who require essential dialysis treatment. Sandlot’s ability to create a comprehensive and longitudinal clinical view of a patient with kidney disease will undoubtedly lead to better care and quality of life.”

“Since its inception, DCI has been an innovator in the delivery of care to dialysis patients. DCI’s goal to become a CMS ESCO builds on this strong tradition and culture of quality improvement. At Sandlot, we are proud to partner with companies like DCI and see firsthand our technology’s role in changing healthcare. We look forward to working together to achieve DCI’s goals of better patient care and outcomes,” said Joseph Casper, CEO, Sandlot Solutions.

Sandlot Solutions and DCI began working together in March 2014. Today’s announcement marks the most recent collaboration between Sandlot Solutions and progressive healthcare providers, payers and accountable care organizations (ACOs) to improve the health of patients and communities while also bending the healthcare delivery cost curve.

About Sandlot Solutions

Sandlot Solutions, founded in 2006, is a leading provider of clinical interoperability and community health management solutions focused on: the exchange of clinical and claims data across the care community, population data analytics and enhanced care coordination. Sandlot provides the tools and technology that enable healthcare organizations to improve the quality of care, understand and manage risk, reduce costs, and transition to new business models. The configurable technology streamlines data-sharing and provides physicians with actionable patient information and analytics, within their existing workflow through a proprietary digital envelope, including prompts to proactively address gaps in care at the point of care.

Based in Dallas, Texas, Sandlot Solutions is jointly owned by Santa Rosa Holdings Inc. and North Texas Specialty Physicians (NTSP). For more information, visit www.sandlotsolutions.com.

About Dialysis Clinic, Inc.

Started in 1971, DCI is a nonprofit provider, caring for patients with kidney disease.  We currently care for 14,000 patients on dialysis in more than 215 clinics in 28 states.  DCI is the only leading dialysis provider to have remained under its own control since its founding. DCI has been recognized 11 years in a row by an independent government survey, the United States Renal Data System (USRDS), for having the lowest mortality and hospitalization ratios among national dialysis providers.  In addition, since inception DCI has allocated over $200 million to support research, education and other activities that benefit patients. Visit www.dciinc.org for more information.

April 14, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

National eHealth Collaborative’s HIE Learning Network Makes Significant Progress in Finding Solutions to Some of the Toughest Issues Faced By Industry Today

Workgroups recommend a formula for HIE sustainability, a framework for measuring interoperability, bundles of high value/low cost HIE services and critical success factors for supporting new payment and delivery models

Washington, DC (November 28, 2012) – The National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) Health Information Exchange (HIE) Learning Network today presented a groundbreaking set of suggested solutions for some of the most challenging HIE issues at the inaugural Technology Crossroads Conference.  These recommendations are the culmination of five months of work by a group of over 450 stakeholders.

“Health information exchange can improve healthcare quality and help to contain costs – something our health system is under enormous pressure to achieve.  Progress is being made to bring successful widespread HIE and all of its benefits to providers and patients nationwide, but challenges remain.  The NeHC HIE Learning Network has worked collaboratively to tackle tough issues and develop solutions that we hope will continue to advance HIE,” said NeHC CEO Kate Berry.

Created as a result of feedback from contributors to NeHC’s HIE Roadmap: The Landscape and a Path Forward, the NeHC HIE Learning Network launched in July 2012 by convening four workgroups: addressing variations in interoperability standards, phasing and prioritizing implementation of HIE services, HIE functions to support new payment and delivery models, and business models for sustainability.  An expert team of co-chairs led each of the workgroups, with overall strategic direction provided by an extraordinary group of national and regional health IT thought leaders.

“It has been eye-opening to serve on the NeHC HIE Learning Network Leadership Council and to see the dialogue and workgroups progress,” said Laura Adams, CEO, Rhode Island Quality Institute and member of the NeHC HIE Learning Network Leadership Council.  “HIE is an important function to enable improvements in healthcare outcomes and this work will help us continue to make progress in the right direction.”

The Business Models for Financial Sustainability workgroup conducted an in-depth study of the financial performance of HIE initiatives to identify and recommend strategies that can lead to financial sustainability.  The workgroup gathered detailed financial information from HIE initiatives serving 38 million people, produced an income statement representing the current financial position of the HIE community and compared a group of HIE initiatives that are currently profitable to those that are currently unprofitable.  The average profitable HIE realized a higher revenue from operations per capita due to a more aggressive pricing strategy, greater market share/penetration, and higher investment in product development.  The workgroup was able to define the magnitude of the “sustainability gap” and develop recommendations for how to address it.

“We read and hear frequently that HIEs lack a sustainable business model and are failing.  The Sustainability workgroup collected and analyzed HIE financial information and can state with confidence that it is premature to conclude that health information exchange is ultimately doomed.  Based on this groundbreaking work, we know the level of revenue and investment at which HIE sustainability should be achievable.  Further, it is clear that some HIEs are progressing toward sustainability,” said Jeff Rose, Venture Partner, ICG Group, Inc. and Co-Chair, NeHC HIE Learning Network workgroup on Business Models for Financial Sustainability.

Achieving interoperability between inter-related software systems in a way that does not require steep technical interface costs is also a major challenge.  The NeHC HIE Learning Network workgroup on Addressing Variations in Implementation of Interoperability Standards reviewed current interoperability efforts, identified gaps, and recommends that the industry come together to develop consensus on a method for defining and measuring interoperability.  The key conclusion was that doing so would ultimately lead to better coordinated efforts and accelerated progress in reaching the ideal state of interoperability.

“With the increased focus on HIE in Meaningful Use Stage 2 and potentially more in Stage 3, and an ever-increasing need to ‘do more with less,’ it is time to determine whether the standards and tools we have developed thus far are actually meeting interoperability objectives.  There is much work being done in this area, but as an industry, we have yet to measure progress.  If we do not start to measure, how will we know that we are truly moving forward in making a difference for our patients and providers?” said Richard Wang, Director, Product Marketing, RelayHealth and Co-Chair, NeHC HIE Learning Network workgroup on Addressing Variations in Implementation of Interoperability Standards.

The NeHC HIE Learning Network workgroup on Best Practices for Prioritizing and Phasing Implementation of HIE Services worked to identify options for how HIEs should prioritize and phase implementation of technology infrastructure and exchange services.  The workgroup recommends that HIE organizations first clearly understand the needs of their community and consider whether a comprehensive set of HIE services is required.  In communities that need a full set of HIE services, the workgroup recommends implementing a series of high value bundles of services built on the lightest possible technology infrastructure.  In communities that may not need comprehensive services, the workgroup recommends possible niche strategies that fulfill a specific need, such as offering HIE services to support meaningful use, respond to a specific government or market requirement such as Social Security disability determinations or Veterans Administration benefits determinations, or support transitions of care.

“Depending on the needs of community stakeholders, HIE initiatives can do a lot or a little.  But regardless of the strategy that best serves the community, offering high value, low cost services is critical to success.  The recommendations of the workgroup on Prioritizing and Phasing Implementation of HIE Services are on point with WHIE’s philosophy to start simple, demonstrate value and then move forward,” said Kim Pemble, Executive Director, Wisconsin HIE (WHIE) and Co-Chair, NeHC HIE Learning Network workgroup on Best Practices for Prioritizing and Phasing Implementation of HIE Services.

Economic pressures, health reform, and a healthcare system that is transitioning from “pay for volume” to “pay for value” are driving the establishment of new payment and delivery models and HIE will be a critical foundation of these new models.  The NeHC HIE Learning Network workgroup on HIE Functions to Support New Payment and Delivery Models recommends that in addition to providing basic, but critical, care coordination services (e.g. results delivery, continuity of care summaries, immunization reporting), HIEs should be prepared to provide analytic tools, including business intelligence and comparative analytics, and to develop the infrastructure necessary to perform quality reporting and referral processing.  The workgroup has also outlined a set of characteristics and actions that are necessary for HIEs seeking to support new models.  Some of these characteristics include a focus on providing timely, usable and valuable data that can drive decision making and behavior change; open, transparent and trustworthy governance that encourages competitors to share data; services that are patient-centered and easy for providers; and serving as a collaborator to bring together broad stakeholder groups involved in exchanging both clinical and non-clinical data to support whole patient care.

“HIE is a critical component to transform healthcare.  New payment and delivery models are still evolving, as is the role of HIEs in supporting them.  That said, the New Models workgroup believes HIEs can be an important enabler of healthcare transformation,” said Jeri Kirschner, Federal Health Liaison, Orion Health and Co-Chair, NeHC HIE Learning Network workgroup on HIE Functions to Support New Payment and Delivery Models.

In addition to the presentation of findings and recommendations at the HIE Learning Network symposium at the Technology Crossroads Conference, each NeHC HIE Learning Network workgroup has prepared a detailed whitepaper documenting their work, including the process, landscape, survey analysis, conclusions, recommendations and case study examples that bring the recommendations to life.  These whitepapers will be released in conjunction with a deep dive webinar on the findings of the workgroups during the week of December 3, 2012.  Additional information on this webinar will be available soon.

Specific information on each workgroup’s project scope, work plan, leadership and stakeholder participation is available on the NeHC website at http://www.nationalehealth.org/hie-learning-network/#workgroups.

About National eHealth Collaborative

National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) is a public-private partnership that accelerates secure and meaningful use of health IT through education and stakeholder engagement to advance health and transform healthcare.  Through its NeHC University online education program, its Consumer Consortium on eHealth patient engagement initiative, and its ongoing study of critical success factors for health information exchange through the HIE Learning Network, NeHC works to educate, connect and encourage healthcare stakeholders in efforts to promote the successful deployment of health IT and health information exchange nationwide.

NeHC is a cooperative agreement partner with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

About the NeHC HIE Learning Network

The NeHC Health Information Exchange (HIE) Learning Network is a group convened by National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) to collaboratively develop and recommend solutions for some of the biggest challenges faced by those implementing electronic health information exchange.  Born out of feedback from expert contributors to NeHC’s HIE Roadmap: The Landscape and a Path Forward (released in April 2012), NeHC kicked off the HIE Learning Network in July 2012.

December 20, 2012 I Written By

Jefferson Radiology Deploys Just Associates’ Repair™ for Ongoing MPI Maintenance

Remote management service improves data integrity by speeding identification, elimination of duplicate and overlaid patient records

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Nov. 26, 2012 – Just Associates, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in data integrity and data quality solutions for healthcare organizations, announced today that Jefferson Radiology will deploy its Repair™ remote master patient index (MPI) management service.

Part of the firm’s comprehensive outsourced patient identity management suite, Repair leverages Just Associates’ highly trained staff and proprietary IDMaster® Duplicate Workflow Software for cost-effective ongoing management of the duplicate validation and reconciliation process. Jefferson Radiology will rely on Repair to maintain the integrity of its patient database, which contains approximately 750,000 records as well as an additional 26,000 referring provider entries.

“Data integrity is Just Associate’s core business. As such, we are confident they have the expertise to deploy effective record-matching, duplicate elimination and audit processes to ensure the integrity of our patient database,” said Michael Quinn, CTO, Jefferson Radiology. “Repair also eliminates the need for us to dedicate internal resources, which are better utilized elsewhere, to the complex task of reconciling duplicate patient records.”

Based in East Hartford, Conn., Jefferson Radiology is the largest radiology private practice group in Connecticut and includes 10 private offices and affiliations with seven regional hospitals. Its fellowship-trained physicians are supported by a sophisticated business and technological infrastructure and offer the full spectrum of diagnostic imaging and interventional services. This includes cardiovascular, neuroradiology, oncology, pediatric, orthopedic imaging and women’s services.

Utilizing Repair provides Jefferson Radiology with several significant benefits over internal MPI management, including:

  • An experienced team providing efficient duplicate validation and resolution seven days a week
  • Ongoing monitoring to prevent new duplicates and other issues from negatively impacting data integrity
  • Elimination of backlogs, overflows and staffing challenges, such as turnover and leave time, that impact productivity levels
  • Significant cost savings or cost-neutral expenses by eliminating the need to  recruit, train and retain qualified internal staff
  • A more accurate count of unique patients to accelerate compliance with several key meaningful use criteria

“A duplicate-free patient database is crucial to Jefferson Radiology’s ability to provide quality care,” said Beth Just, MBA, RHIA, FAHIMA, Just Associates’ CEO and president. “By leveraging Repair and our data integrity expertise, Jefferson Radiology ensures its clinicians have continuous access to accurate patient information, eliminating unnecessary costs and enhancing patient care and safety.”

About Just Associates, Inc.

A recognized leader in health information data integrity and management, Just Associates, Inc. (www.justassociates.com) is a healthcare data integration consulting firm that delivers superior value to its clients through improved data integrity. Just Associates has the process expertise and systems knowledge to deliver tailored, value-added solutions that improve clients’ financial outcomes and business processes, support delivery of quality patient care, and meet the expectations of diverse stakeholders through improved data integrity.

December 3, 2012 I Written By

Sharecare and the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance Join Forces to Advance Connected Health Innovations

Coinciding with the annual mHealth Summit, Sharecare and the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance (WLSA) announced today a unique partnership that will help advance awareness for mobile and wireless health technologies in a joint effort to empower consumers with the tools to better manage their health and wellbeing.

Together, Sharecare and the WLSA will collaborate on interactive initiatives and co-develop content and events to elevate the dialogue between, and collaboration among, all players in the healthcare ecosystem. Additionally, the partnership will deepen and broaden their relationships with healthcare technology professionals and connect consumers with key experts to answer their questions about the health innovations of today and in the future.

As Digital Health Leaders Gather at the mHealth Summit, Partnership Advances Awareness of Mobile and Wireless Health Technologies

Atlanta, GA – December 3, 2012 – Aligned in their commitment to improve people’s health locally and globally, Sharecare and the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance (WLSA) today announced a strategic partnership to collaborate on interactive initiatives and co-develop content and events to elevate the dialogue between, and collaboration among, all players in the healthcare ecosystem. The partnership will focus on advancing understanding, development and adoption of wireless and online health technologies and how they are increasingly supporting positive health and lifestyle change.

“Wireless technologies are fast becoming a defining factor in the delivery and management of personal   healthcare on a local and global level by simplifying the way vital patient information is collected and leveraged,” said Jeff Arnold, chairman and CEO of Sharecare. “By aligning Sharecare’s expert social platform with the WLSA’s thought leadership, membership and community, we can help individuals and medical professionals gain a deeper understanding of how wireless technology will advance medical treatments, procedures and care.”

Through the partnership, Sharecare and the WLSA will deepen and broaden their relationships with healthcare technology professionals and connect consumers with key experts to answer their questions about the health innovations of today and in the future. The key goal of the partnership is to empower patients to better manage their own health and wellbeing by using the best new tech-enabled products, applications and services. Additionally, Sharecare and the WLSA will work together to increase consumer access to digital health technologies and provide educational initiatives on how to manage one’s health responsibly with personal data and direct communications to physicians in real-time via wireless, remote care.

“The WLSA bridges the gap between the technology, healthcare and consumer sectors and between industry, academia, government and foundations. While we connect these global communities to accelerate the development of better solutions for health problems, we must also engage and empower individuals to use them. Success in achieving our mission will come from partnering with like-minded people and organizations who believe that managing one’s health and wellness is our personal responsibility,” said Robert McCray, president and CEO of the WLSA. “A grassroots approach can have a global impact, which is why we are proud to partner with Sharecare – a forward thinking, action-oriented organization that is forging a path in personal health and wellness responsibility.”

As one of the many collaborative projects of the partnership, Sharecare and the WLSA will produce a dynamic and innovative video series featuring interviews with today’s foremost luminaries and leaders driving healthcare innovation over the next decade. “HealthMakers 250: Conversations on the Leading Edge” will launch in early 2013 and consist of a robust online repository of more than 2,000 HealthMakers interviews on Sharecare.com’s existing video channel.

About Sharecare

Sharecare is a health and wellness social media platform that connects people with top-ranking experts, ranging from doctors and specialists to hospitals, healthcare companies and health-conscious consumers. The power behind the site’s unique Q&A format is its collective wisdom, providing health-seeking consumers with answers reflecting multiple expert perspectives – greatly simplifying the search for quality information. Created by Jeff Arnold and Dr. Mehmet Oz in partnership with Harpo Productions, Sony Pictures Television and Discovery Communications, Sharecare allows people to ask, learn and act upon questions of health and wellness, creating an active community where knowledge is shared and put into practice – simply said, sharing care. Launched in 2010, Sharecare is based in Atlanta, GA.

About Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance (WLSA)

The Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance (WLSA) is a trade association dedicated to improving health globally by accelerating the development of connected health solutions.  Its members and affiliates include global companies and start-ups, foundations and providers, scientists, and policy makers. The WLSA is committed to accelerating the adoption of connected health to create value, improve health and wellness for consumers, caregivers and all sectors of the life sciences and technology ecosystem. WLSA members and affiliates are creating wireless and connected health innovations to simplify the management of chronic conditions, preempt disease and improve lives around the world.

I Written By

Dell Helps Centegra Health System Streamline Management of Clinical Imaging Data

Dell announced that Centegra Health System is utilizing Dell’s Unified Clinical Archive(UCA) solution to address its long-term storage needs with an application-neutral, secure, cloud-based archive.

Currently Centegra Health System generates some 233,000 images per year.  With Dell’s flexible UCA solution, Centegra will store images long-term in the Dell Cloud Clinical Archive while maintaining five years’ worth of images on-site for instant access. The cloud archive stores two copies of every image at geographically separate locations, providing an efficient disaster recovery strategy without the need to maintain and manage a second data center.

According to David Tomlinson, Centegra’s CIO, “With the vendor-neutral archive and the ability to support both DICOM and non-DICOM data, Dell has greatly simplified medical image management for Centegra.  We expect to see significant cost savings with Dell’s pay-as-you-go pricing model, as well as better control of our long-term storage infrastructure and data management costs.”

ROUND ROCK, Texas, Nov. 19, 2012 — Centegra Health System has selected Dell’s Unified Clinical Archive (UCA) solution to manage its growing archive of diagnostic images.

Centegra, a two-hospital system with multiple clinics serving northern Illinois, needed to consolidate existing Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS) for cardiology and radiology, and was seeking a way to reduce or eliminate the costs associated with migrating images and adding hardware to meet growing storage capacity demands. Centegra also wanted to future-proof its medical image archive and retain the strategic freedom to switch imaging applications as needed. Currently the health system generates some 233,000 images per year.

With Dell’s flexible UCA solution, Centegra will store images long-term in the Dell Cloud Clinical Archive while maintaining five years’ worth of images on-site for instant access. The cloud archive stores two copies of every image at geographically separate locations, providing an efficient disaster recovery strategy without the need to maintain and manage a second data center.

Based on its recent analysis of the enterprise imaging informatics market, Frost & Sullivan recognized Dell Healthcare and Life Sciences with its 2012 North American Company of the Year Award, noting that “Dell’s Unified Clinical Archive has set the standard for cloud-based enterprise-wide management of medical images.”

The Dell Cloud Clinical Archive is now managing more than 78 million clinical studies and more than 5.4 billion diagnostic imaging objects, and supporting more than 800 clinical sites in one of the world’s largest cloud-based, vendor-neutral medical image archives.

Since 2008, Centegra has also been engaged in a full IT outsourcing relationship with Dell Services. Dell Services manages and maintains a sustainable infrastructure IT environment to support Centegra’s growing organization. Through this partnership, Dell Services provides application management, infrastructure management, project management, datacenter hosting and service desk capabilities. Dell’s healthcare consulting team is also providing Centegra with skilled staff, strong best practices, and a proven delivery model for the implementation and optimization of its McKesson Paragon information system.

Quotes

“With the vendor-neutral archive and the ability to support both DICOM and non-DICOM data, Dell has greatly simplified medical image management for Centegra,” said David Tomlinson, Centegra’s chief information officer. “We expect to see significant cost savings with Dell’s pay-as-you-go pricing model, as well as better control of our long-term storage infrastructure and data management costs.”

“The ever-growing volume of clinical imaging procedures is demanding more storage on multiple systems, and hospitals require technology solutions that can do more than simply store electronic patient data,” said James Coffin, Ph.D., vice president and general manager of Dell Healthcare and Life Sciences. “Dell is pleased to be working with Centegra to tailor a long-term image archiving solution that meets their unique needs.”

Learn more: Visit www.dell.com/UnifiedClinicalArchive or stop by booth #8908 at RSNA 2012, the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, Nov. 25-30 in Chicago.

About Centegra Health System

Centegra Health System is committed to meeting the healthcare needs of the residents of greater McHenry County and to making services available in multiple and convenient locations, including hospitals in McHenry and Woodstock, Immediate and Physician Care Centers, Centegra Sage Cancer Center, Health Bridge Fitness Centers and more. As the region’s leading healthcare provider, Centegra Health System continues to bring the latest treatments and technology, along with the skills of nearly 4,000 medical professionals, to meet the needs of the growing McHenry County community. For more information on Centegra Health System visit centegra.org, search Centegra Health System on Facebook and Twitter or call 877-CENTEGRA (877-236-8347).

November 28, 2012 I Written By

PIH Health Hospital Taps Just Associates’ Repair™ for Outsourced MPI Maintenance

Remote monitoring service speeds identification, elimination of duplicate and overlaid patient records for improved data integrity

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Oct. 16, 2012 – Just Associates, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in data integrity and data quality solutions for healthcare organizations, announced today that it will deploy Repair™ at PIH Health (formerly Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital) to provide the facility with remote master patient index (MPI) management services.

Part of the firm’s comprehensive outsourced patient identity management suite, Repair leverages Just Associates’ highly trained staff and proprietary IDMaster® duplicate workflow software for cost-effective ongoing management of the duplicate validation and reconciliation process. Previously, the firm provided comprehensive MPI clean-up services to PIH Health in preparation for deployment of an enterprise-wide electronic MPI system that receives and links patient information between PIH Health Hospital and approximately 101 primary care and specialty care physicians and 23 advanced practice professionals.

“Just Associates was instrumental in ensuring the integrity of patient data in our MPI and all downstream systems. That experience and their familiarity with PIH Health’s systems made the decision to turn ongoing MPI maintenance over to them an easy one,” said Lois Miller, RHIA, director of health information management, PIH Health. “Not only will Repair ensure rapid elimination of any new duplicates, but its business intelligence tools and the expertise of the Just Associates team will allow us to target resources to ensure any weaknesses in training, workflows and processes are addressed.”

Utilizing Repair provides PIH Health with a number of significant benefits over internal MPI management, including:

  • An experienced team providing efficient duplicate validation and eradication seven days a week
  • Ongoing monitoring to prevent new duplicate records and other issues from negatively impacting data integrity
  • Elimination of backlogs, overflows and staffing challenges, such as turnover and leave time, that impact productivity levels
  • Significant cost savings or cost-neutral expenses by eliminating the need to recruit, train and retain qualified internal staff
  • A more accurate count of unique patients to accelerate compliance with several key meaningful use criteria

“A duplicate-free MPI is crucial for an effective data integrity strategy,” said Beth Just, MBA, RHIA, FAHIMA, Just Associates’ CEO and president. “The power of Repair coupled with our data integrity experts will ensure that PIH Health’s clinicians have access to accurate patient information, which will help drive patient safety and quality care.”

About Just Associates, Inc.

A recognized leader in health information data integrity and management, Just Associates, Inc. (www.justassociates.com) is a healthcare data integration consulting firm that delivers superior value to its clients through improved data integrity. Just Associates has the process expertise and systems knowledge to deliver tailored, value-added solutions that improve clients’ financial outcomes and business processes, support delivery of quality patient care, and meet the expectations of diverse stakeholders through improved data integrity.

About PIH Health

PIH Health is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) regional healthcare delivery network that was founded in 1959 by volunteers who went door to door with coffee cans to raise funds to build a local healthcare facility. Over 50 years later, PIH Health has maintained that same sense of community and family-like culture where patients are the top priority, and employees and volunteers are proud to be affiliated with such an organization. PIH Health serves residents of LA and Orange Counties, as well as the San Gabriel Valley area, offering a wide range of services, including utilization of primary care teams to provide general medicine and preventative care, access to emergency and urgent care, home health services and hospice, and a network of over 180 specialists in accessible and welcoming neighborhood locations. PIH Health is committed to remaining at the forefront of healthcare advances, including technology, equipment and top-notch facilities and amenities to benefit patients and staff alike. Its highly trained and compassionate physicians, nurses, clinicians, staff and volunteers work tirelessly and collaboratively every day to be the communities’ health and wellness partner. Those who are interested in supporting PIH Health in carrying out its charitable purpose are invited to make an in-kind gift by visiting PIHHealth.org and clicking the “Donate Now” button or calling the PIH Health Foundation at 562.698.0811 Ext. 14120.

November 21, 2012 I Written By

Tigermed Selects Merge eClinical to Improve Study Management Efficiency

CTMS Solution Provides Single Platform for Management of Clinical Study Activities

CHICAGO, Oct. 22, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Merge Healthcare Incorporated (Nasdaq:MRGE), a leading provider of clinical systems and innovations that seek to transform healthcare, today announced that Tigermed Consulting Co., Ltd. has selected Merge eClinical’s CTMS solution for Sponsors and CROs to streamline clinical trial management (CTMS) and maximize operational efficiency across its studies.

Based in Shanghai, China, Tigermed is a leading Contract Research Organization (CRO) providing regulatory, clinical and data management services. With several offices located in Asia, including China, South Korea and Japan, partnering with Merge for CTMS will support Tigermed’s expansion of operations into Europe and North America.

“We were seeking a CTMS system that was cost-effective, scalable and easy to use,” explained Dr. Xiaoping Ye, Chairman and General Manager at Tigermed. “With Merge CTMS, we expect to see a significant improvement in our study management efforts, allowing us to pass on cost savings to our clients.”

“With Merge, our clients can be assured that we will track study enrollment and other critical study details in an easy to learn, intuitive interface, accessible via the web by our staff throughout the region,” Dr. Ye continued. “This will allow us to improve study management by ensuring we have reliable, quality data.”

“We are pleased to have been selected as a CTMS partner for Tigermed’s global clinical trial needs,” said Justin Dearborn, President of Merge Healthcare. “This is the largest single transaction Merge has entered into in China to date. With increasing demand for site and data collection solutions in the Asia-Pacific region, we believe our eClinical solution will continue to gain traction. Our straight-forward interface and simplified user experience allows studies to be managed in a fraction of the time of other solutions. Bundled with the industry’s best training and support, Tigermed now has a complete study management solution in Merge CTMS.”

About Merge

Merge is a leading provider of clinical systems and innovations that seek to transform healthcare. Merge’s enterprise and cloud-based solutions for image intensive specialties provide access to any image, anywhere, any time. Merge also provides health stations, clinical trials software and other health data and analytics solutions that engage consumers in their personal health. With solutions that are used by providers and consumers and include more than 20 years of innovation, Merge is helping to reduce costs and improve the quality of healthcare worldwide. For more information, visit merge.com.

About Tigermed

Tigermed Consulting Co., Ltd. is a leading Contract Research Organization (CRO) in China dedicated to providing regulatory affairs, Phase I–IV clinical trials, data management, biostatistics, medical translation and GCP training services for healthcare products. Since its inception in 2004, Tigermed has been committed to accelerating product development timelines while reducing R&D costs and risks, helping to bring the miracles of new products to market effectively.

November 20, 2012 I Written By

Large Pioneer ACO Outlines Role of Clinical & Business Intelligence in Value-Based Care

CHICAGO (November 15, 2012) – As patient care models evolve to value-based care, clinical and business intelligence (C&BI) tools are playing a central role for organizations operating under new payment models. HIMSS Analytics published a new white paper titled “Banner Health Network Pioneer ACO Clinical Intelligence & Business Intelligence Approaches” that looks at how Banner Health Network is designing and implementing C&BI to effectively operate in a value-based care model.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., Banner Health Network (BHN) is one of 32 organizations selected in 2011 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for its Pioneer Accountable Care Organization program. BHN stood out as a Pioneer candidate since it had experience coordinating care across multiple patient care settings. BHN expanded an existing ACO relationship with Aetna to include full technology and analytics support for its ACO patient populations. The report covers the results of in-depth interviews with BHN executive staff to explore the organization’s progress and multi-layered approach to C&BI.

Banner Health Network – the Organization: With the overall mission to provide excellent patient care, BHN followed three key drivers, identified as the “triple aim,” from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. BHN had an existing infrastructure to support claims payment, medical management, customer service and other health-plan-like activities, which gave it several critical components needed to support the Pioneer ACO model. In addition, senior leadership viewed existing healthcare fee-for-service payment models as unsustainable. As noted in the white paper, “We are moving from an acute care system to a more comprehensive delivery system that is more viable and stable,” says Dr. Tricia Nguyen, Chief Medical Officer.

Clinical & Business Intelligence in Action: Because BHN is transitioning from fee-for-service payment and incentive methodology to a value-based methodology, physicians must receive the right information at the right time to drive more efficient patient care that results in higher quality outcomes.  Adhering to this philosophy, BHN used C&BI to:

  • Implement payment codes that encourage and reward physicians to spend more time reviewing patient risk scores and profiles based on data gathered from BHN information systems that inform physicians about the status of their patients.
  • Manage and refine communication with specialists to help motivate them to follow processes that align and coordinate patient care with BHN standards.
  • Leverage business intelligence to track gaps in care, healthcare risks, communication plan effectiveness, and to benchmark progress toward the desired change in physician and patient engagement.
  • Establish executive level support and leadership through a Business Intelligence Data Governance program, managed by the Executive Steering Committee, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities for each level of data governance to avoid information silos.

“Our research with Banner Health Network provides valuable insights into how this health system leverages clinical and business intelligence in transitioning to a new model of accountable care.  The BHN executive team supports the use of C&BI tools to better understand patient populations and offer patient-level care coordination with high-quality, standardized information,” says James E. Gaston, Senior Director, Clinical and Business Intelligence, HIMSS Analytics.

Collaboration for a Technology Solution:  At Banner Health Network, the distinction between clinical and business intelligence often overlaps, impacting business performance and optimizing patient care.  To better manage C&BI efforts, BHN expanded its existing ACO relationship with Aetna to include technology to better support its value-based care models and patient populations. This support covers population health management and patient services for more than 200,000 Banner Health Network patients, including more than 50,000 Medicare fee-for-service patients who are part of the Pioneer ACO savings program.

The Aetna Accountable Care Solutions (ACS) technology helps physicians see patient data at the individual and population level, and predict risk and opportunities for health and wellness programs. It also enables them to track, monitor, coordinate and report on patient health outcomes.  BHN provides physicians a comprehensive care management model supporting Pioneer ACO efforts so that patient engagement happens in a more meaningful way, including nursing home and palliative care. Using the Aetna ActiveHealth technology care management programs and outreach, BHN is at the early stage, but leading edge, of building and designing true population-based health management tools.

“Value-based care requires physicians to understand and impact the health of individuals and populations of patients, particularly those with chronic disease where intervention and management is key to better health outcomes and cost. The range of technologies from our Aetna companies complements Banner Health Network’s technology to empower full clinical integration and intelligence,” said Charles D. Kennedy, chief executive officer, Accountable Care Solutions from Aetna.

Read “Banner Health Network Pioneer ACO Clinical Intelligence & Business Intelligence Approaches” at www.HIMSSAnalytics.org/research on the HIMSS Analytics website. Contact James E. Gaston at James.Gaston@HIMSSAnalytics.org for more information on this research.

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 37.3 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services and health information technology services. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.

About HIMSS Analytics 

HIMSS Analytics is a wholly owned not-for-profit subsidiary of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).  The company collects and analyzes healthcare information related to IT processes and environments, products, IS department composition and costs, IS department management metrics, healthcare trends and purchase-related decisions.  HIMSS Analytics delivers high quality products, services and analytical expertise to healthcare delivery organizations, healthcare IT companies, state governments, financial companies, pharmaceutical companies, and consulting firms.  Visit www.himssanalytics.org for more information.

November 18, 2012 I Written By

Coding Compliance Policy A Must Have

AHIMA Examines as Part of Thought Leadership Series

CHICAGO – October 31, 2012– Does your organization’s coding compliance policy address upcoming challenges in clinical documentation?

AHIMA explains why a coding compliance policy, updated at least once a year, is essential to an organization’s overall compliance program in a just released white paper, Defining the Core Designated Clinical Documentation Set for Coding Compliance, authored by past president Bonnie S. Cassidy, MPA, RHIA, FAHIMA, FHIMSS. The policy should provide instructions for the entire process – from the point of service to the billing statement or claim form.

“A well-thought out coding compliance policy anticipates the questions and issues that your organization will address. It is an essential resource to any organization’s overall compliance program,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA.

Significant points and recommendations from the white paper, part of AHIMA’s Thought Leadership Series, include:

  • A coding compliance policy must identify medical records and clinical documentation that require a mandatory review by your coding staff or the outsourced providers of coding for your organization.
  • All coders should review this clinical documentation to identify all diagnoses and procedures requiring coding to increase the accuracy and specificity of coding.
  • When coding is outsourced, the HIM professional should direct the outsourcing partner to follow your organization’s best practice or coding compliance policy.
  • If your organization uses or explores computer assisted coding (CAC), the HIM team should direct the CAC vendor as to which documents or clinical documentation are to be used in the CAC for accurate and compliant discharge clinical coding.

About AHIMA

Representing more than 64,000 specially educated Health Information Management professionals in the United States and around the world, the American Health Information Management Association is committed to promoting and advocating for high quality research, best practices and effective standards in health information and to actively contributing to the development and advancement of health information professionals worldwide. AHIMA’s enduring goal is quality healthcare through quality information. www.ahima.org

November 17, 2012 I Written By

New Consulting Company Exsede Brings Unparalleled Expertise to Meet Critical Demand for Healthcare IT

Announces Partner Network of technology providers that share vision for patient-centric, value-based care

AUSTIN, TX. – October 3, 2012 Exsede today announced its launch as a recently formed healthcare IT consulting company providing technical and business development services to facilitate successful adoption of technologies for improved quality of patient care. Founded by healthcare IT experts Emma Cartmell, Phillip LaJoie and Erin Scales, who have more than 30 years combined experience, Exsede’s mission is to become the leading facilitator of innovation within the healthcare domain, enabling adoption of transformative technologies by healthcare delivery organizations and providers.

Healthcare IT growth is skyrocketing. A report from KLAS, “Shifting Demand for Consultants: Who’s Hot, Who’s Not, and Why,” found that demand for healthcare IT consulting is also booming, with 70 percent of healthcare providers surveyed expecting to hire a firm to help implement meaningful use, the qualification for federal funding. Much of this is to meet federal mandates for electronic health records (EHR) and data interoperability. In Texas alone, according to the Texas Medical Association Electronic Health Records Report 2012, 60 percent of state physicians are using EHR, up from 43 percent in 2009, and 22 percent more plan to implement EHR, the majority within the next year.

“The healthcare industry is at a tipping point, and technology is paramount to getting costs under control while improving quality of care. As healthcare organizations plan their strategies, Exsede strives to be the company they rely on to bring forth the right technologies in the right ways to meet their goals and facilitate growth,” said Cartmell, co-founder of Exsede, and co-founder and vice president of the Austin chapter of the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS).

“We have the knowledge, experience and passion to help them select the most advantageous technologies for their missions and, in turn, manage implementation to comply with mandates, or to make them more competitive,” she added.

Industry veterans Cartmell, LaJoie and Scales founded Exsede on the belief that technologies can enable healthcare industry transformation, improve patient service and facilitate value-based care. Their experience spans management of technology selection and implementation for leading global healthcare organizations; design and development of interoperability strategies and architectures between health systems; business development and sales management for health IT enterprises; and contributions with HIMSS to health IT legislation.

“As people are entering healthcare consulting, few have the breadth of experience to make informed decisions on project management execution, as well as the knowledge base of what technologies to bring forward at a time when there’s a lot of noise and confusion,” said Nora Belcher executive director, Texas eHealth Alliance. “Exsede’s level of expertise is a welcome addition to the space and to the state of Texas with its booming healthcare industry of $103.6 billion.”

Technical Services

According to Gartner analyst Thomas J. Handler, M.D., in “Agenda For Healthcare, 2012” published February 29, 2012, “If healthcare organizations are to manage, evaluate and transform healthcare delivery under radically evolving market conditions, IT is more essential than ever before. The goal is to have all stakeholders work to better coordinate care for patients, making it easier to deliver high-quality care, while spending healthcare money more wisely.”

Exsede technical services assist healthcare organizations in developing their plan for future technology investments and integration with existing assets, and provide project management through implementation. Backed by Exsede, organizations are able to make effective decisions regarding IT compliance and for attraction, education and retention of patients.

Business Development Service

Exsede business development services enable existing and emerging technologies to successfully enter the healthcare marketplace. The company leverages its years of business development and sales experience in commercial and federal healthcare, in addition to industry knowledge and relationships, to help technology companies by assisting with strategy, advising on technical roadmap and generating a tactical pipeline.

Exsede Partner Network

Exsede works with only best-of-breed technology service providers that meet the highest industry standards and support the vision of patient-centric, value-based care. Partners include Austin-based OnRamp, which provides highly secure HIPAA compliant hosting services for healthcare businesses, as well as “social patient acquisition” platform company BrightWhistle and enterprise master patient index (EMPI) company NextGate, which identifies, matches, links and coordinates patient data across healthcare platforms, among other emerging technology companies.

“Exsede is aligning itself with companies meeting growing industry needs, and we are pleased to be a part of the network,” said Chad Kissinger, founder, OnRamp. “Healthcare IT is cluttered with vendors, making it hard for organizations to know what technologies will truly benefit them and their patients. Exsede cuts through the noise to what’s next and most important, and is the perfect partner as we continue to grow our business.”

About Exsede

Exsede is a new healthcare IT consulting company that provides technical and business development services to facilitate successful adoption of technologies for improved quality of patient care. Located in Austin, TX, and founded by healthcare IT experts with more than 30 years combined experience, Exsede aims to be the leading facilitator of innovation within the healthcare domain, enabling adoption of transformative technologies by healthcare delivery organizations and providers.

November 6, 2012 I Written By