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Amazing Charts Launches Partner Community

Company Curates Third-Party Services and Solutions to Create Greater Value for Users

NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI–(Marketwired – May 21, 2015) – Amazing Charts, a leading developer of Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Practice Management (PM) systems for physician practices, today announced the Amazing Charts Partner Community, an online marketplace of innovative third-party services and solutions seamlessly integrated with the Amazing Charts platform.

The Amazing Charts Partner Community features a broad spectrum of value-added offerings for medical practices, including solutions for document management, patient engagement, care coordination, and revenue cycle management. Users can filter by product category, compare vendor offerings, and submit inquires. A few of the solutions listed, such as NoteSwift and Updox, are already utilized by Amazing Charts’ customer base, while most are new services curated from dozens of applicants.

“Now there is one place where Amazing Charts users can conveniently find trusted partners who have been pre-approved by our rigorous vetting process,” said Matt Pierce, Vice President of Sales and Business Development for Amazing Charts. “We will continue to expand the program as we identify new customer challenges and shifting market trends, forging partnerships with companies that are best positioned to meet those needs.”

About Amazing Charts

Amazing Charts provides Electronic Health Records (EHR/EMR), Practice Management, and other Health IT solutions to healthcare practices. Based on number one user ratings for usability, fair pricing, and overall satisfaction, Amazing Charts EHR has been adopted by more than 10,000 clinicians in over 6,800 private practices. Founded in 2001 by a family physician, today Amazing Charts, LLC operates as a subsidiary of Pri‐Med, an operating division of Diversified Communications (DC) and a trusted source for professional medical education to over 260,000 clinicians since 1995. For more information, visit: www.amazingcharts.com.

May 21, 2015 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.

Kareo Announces Apple Watch App To Improve Medical Practice Efficiency

Helps physicians streamline care delivery with appointment reminders, scheduling updates, and secure messaging

Irvine, CA – May 19, 2015Kareo, the leading provider of cloud-based medical office software for independent medical practices, today announced the launch of its Apple Watch App. Kareo’s most recent innovation extends the functionality of the company’s EHR to Apple Watch, streamlining care delivery and enhancing the patient experience by improving communications, reducing patient wait times, and increasing practice efficiency.

Kareo is launching this new Apple Watch App in response to the growing demands on physicians to increase their focus on all aspects of patient engagement. “Physicians are on their feet attending to the needs of patients for the majority of the day, leaving little time to check their schedules and prepare for the next appointment,” said Dr. Tom Giannulli, CMIO of Kareo. “Recognizing this demanding care delivery environment, Kareo’s Apple Watch App will help doctors better manage their schedule while enabling enhanced communication throughout the day, improving their ability to deliver a great patient experience.”

Kareo’s Apple Watch App provides the most relevant, practice-oriented information necessary to improve care and increase practice efficiency. Key functionalities of the App include:

  • Secure messaging that allows the user to send, reply, and read messages via dictation. Messages can be sent to staff or patients using Kareo’s secure messaging system, improving overall patient engagement and practice communication.
  • An agenda that allows the provider to quickly reference their schedule and see the status of appointments checked-in, no show, late, checked out, etc., helping reduce wait times and improve practice efficiency.
  • Appointment reminders that can be sent five minutes before the next scheduled appointment. The notification subtly vibrates the watch, indicating that the doctor has an impending appointment.
  • Appointment information that is accessible within a notification or through the agenda, allowing the provider to review details such as the patient’s name, time of appointment, visit type, and reason for the visit.
  • “I’m Running Late” pre-set messages that allow the doctor inform other staff members when they are running behind and how much longer they expect to be. This improves practice communication and enables the front desk to give patients a more accurate wait time estimate.
  • Apple “Glances” that provide a quick overview of key practice metrics, including how many patients are scheduled throughout the day, how many patients are waiting to be seen, and which patients are currently waiting in an exam room.

All features of Kareo’s Apple Watch App are HIPAA compliant and secure, ensuring all data are private, yet easily accessible.

“Independent physicians need new tools to grow strong, patient-centered practices, and Kareo’s Apple Watch App is another example of Kareo’s focus on helping physicians leverage innovative technology to drive their success,” said Dan Rodrigues, founder and CEO of Kareo. “With key practice and patient information accessible on their wrists, physicians are able to discreetly and efficiently provide updates to staff while staying focused on what matters most – the patient.”

Kareo’s Apple Watch App will be available for download on the Apple Watch App Store at the end of May. For further information regarding Kareo’s Apple Watch App, please visit Kareo’s mobile EHR page.

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About Kareo

Kareo is the only cloud-based medical office software and services platform purpose-built for small practices. At Kareo, we believe that, with the right tools and support, small practices can do big things. We offer an integrated solution of products and services designed to help physicians get paid faster, find new patients, run their business smarter, and provide better care. Our practice management software, medical billing solution, practice marketing tools and free, award-winning fully certified EHR help more than 30,000 medical providers more efficiently manage the business and clinical sides of their practice. Kareo has received extensive industry recognition, including the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, Inc. 500/5000, Red Herring Top 100 Company, and Black Book #1 Integrated EHR, Practice Management and Billing Vendor. Headquartered in Irvine, California, the Kareo mission is to help providers spend their time focused on patients, not paperwork. For more information, visit www.kareo.com.

May 19, 2015 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.

Overwhelming Majority of Payments to Doctors and Hospitals in New York State Are Still Made Using Fee-for-Service

New Scorecards Show One-Third of Payments in the Empire State Now Tied to Value

April 30, 2015 (New York) – An independent review of health care payments to doctors and hospitals reveals that the vast majority of payments in New York State continue to flow through a fee-for-service mechanism in both the commercial (94%) and Medicaid (73%) sectors. However, a significant proportion of payments are “value-oriented”—that is, designed to boost the quality of care patients receive. Approximately one-third of health care payments to doctors and hospitals in New York State are value-oriented.

Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR) released the findings today in two Scorecards, commissioned by the New York State Health Foundation.

New York State is currently organizing an ambitious reform effort through its Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program and the State Health Innovation Plan (SHIP). DSRIP’s primary purpose is to restructure the health care delivery and payment systems through reinvesting in the Medicaid program. Similarly, a key goal of the SHIP is to ensure that, within five years, 80% of New Yorkers are cared for under value-based payment arrangements, rewarding providers who help patients stay healthy and achieve quality health care outcomes at an efficient cost.

“The shift toward value-oriented payments is critical for improving the quality and affordability of care in New York State,” said James R. Knickman, President and CEO of the New York State Health Foundation. “While we clearly have some work to do to move away from our antiquated fee-for-service system, it’s encouraging that a large proportion of payments are tied to quality and value. New York State is on the right path.”

The Scorecards, based on comprehensive surveys of commercial health plans and Medicaid health plans that collectively insure 16.3 million New Yorkers, found that:

  • Among commercial health plans, 34% of payments are tied to value; similarly, among Medicaid plans, 33% of payments are tied to value.
  • In the commercial sector, less than 15% of payments place health care providers at financial risk for their performance (that is, they stand to lose financially if they overspend or do not meet quality targets); in Medicaid this grows to 46%.
  • In the commercial sector, the most common form of value-oriented payment is pay-for–performance, which is typically traditional fee-for service payment with a bonus for meeting quality or efficiency goals (23%).
  • In Medicaid, the most common form of payment reform is a combination of some kind of non-fee-for-service base payment along with a shared savings agreement (13%). These arrangements are most often put into place to support patient-centered medical homes, or accountable care organizations (ACOs) for which providers may receive a care coordination fee or other per-member per-month payment and have an agreement with payers that they will share in any savings they produce.
  • In the commercial sector, less than 3% of payment arrangements contain “shared risk,” which means providers are financially responsible for any financial losses and have the opportunity to gain financially if there are any savings. In Medicaid this jumps to nearly 13%, likely because Medicaid health plans that are provider-owned are in a better position to hold providers financially responsible for exceeding cost targets.

In 2013 and 2014, Catalyst for Payment Reform produced National Scorecards on Payment Reform, measuring value-oriented payment in the commercial sector across the United States.

“These New York Scorecards released today are groundbreaking because it is the first time we have looked at payment reform by Medicaid in contrast to the commercial sector,” said CPR’s Executive Director Suzanne Delbanco. “We know health care providers need stronger and more consistent signals from payers. These Scorecards help public and private payers identify where there are opportunities for further alignment in their approach to payment.”

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About the New York State Health Foundation

The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) is a private, statewide foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. Today, NYSHealth concentrates its work in three strategic priority areas: expanding health care coverage, building healthy communities, and advancing primary care. The Foundation is committed to making grants, informing health care policy and practice, spreading effective programs to improve the health system, serving as a neutral convener of health leaders across the State, and providing technical assistance to its grantees and partners.

About Catalyst for Payment Reform

Catalyst for Payment Reform is an independent, non‐profit corporation working on behalf of large health care purchasers to catalyze improvements to how we pay for health services and to promote better and higher-value care in the U.S.

About the New York Scorecard on Commercial Payment Reform and the New York Scorecard on Medicaid Payment Reform

All data in the New York Scorecard on Commercial Payment Reform and the New York Scorecard on Medicaid Payment Reform come from commercial and Medicaid health plans, respectively. CPR collaborated with the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) to collect data from health plans. DFS issued a request for information pursuant to Section 308 of the New York Insurance Law to ensure participation by all health plans within the scope of the project. Ten commercial health plans and fifteen Medicaid plans completed a survey, from which CPR aggregated results. For additional information, please see the relatedMethodology documents.

April 30, 2015 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.

CareCloud Strengthens Operations with $15M in New Funding and Appointment of Silicon Valley Leader Ken Comée as CEO

Investments Follow a Record First Quarter Amid Accelerating Adoption By Large Ambulatory Medical Groups

MIAMI, FL April 23, 2015 – CareCloud, the leading provider of cloud-based practice management, electronic health record (EHR), and medical billing software and services, today announced that it bolstered its operations with new funding and a new CEO to take its market momentum to the next level. The company disclosed $15M in additional funding from its investors, which will be used to further advance product innovation and customer success. It also appointed Ken Comée, a proven leader of enterprise cloud technology businesses, as its Chief Executive Officer, replacing Albert Santalo who will remain at CareCloud as Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer.

“Since its inception, CareCloud has achieved incredible success and growth by delivering an unparalleled platform to help healthcare organizations run better than they ever have before through connected technologies. Ken has been a supporter, friend and confidant for a number of years now and I’m confident that the team, under his leadership, will reach new heights and continue to drive CareCloud’s mission,” said Santalo.

During the past three years, Comée has helped steer CareCloud’s industry-leading growth in his role as a Board member and operational advisor. Comée assumes the CEO role at CareCloud following a successful track record of helping cloud-based technology innovators to secure and extend market leadership.  As CEO of Cast Iron Systems, he grew the company into the #1 brand in cloud integration, leading to its strategic acquisition by IBM.  Most recently, he was CEO of PowerReviews, a leader in product ratings and reviews, and oversaw the scaling of its operations and fast growth in the market.

The company’s investments follow the achievement of record contract values in the first quarter of 2015 – driven by increased demand from large medical groups replacing legacy systems. CareCloud signed seven of its largest deals to date in Q1, as average contract value tripled over the prior year. Among the nearly 50 new clients to select the CareCloud platform in Q1 was a large, multispecialty urgent care group practice with locations across the Southwest.

“The health information technology landscape has changed dramatically in the past year,” said Comée. “Regulatory considerations once drove many purchasing decisions. Today, large ambulatory medical groups demand a true platform of choice that offers superior ease of use and better business results in support of patient care. As the first quarter of 2015 demonstrated, no company is better positioned than CareCloud to lead the charge in replacing legacy systems.  I look forward to leading this team in support of that mission.”

About CareCloud

CareCloud is the leading provider of cloud-based practice management, electronic health record (EHR), and medical billing software and services for medical groups. The company’s products are connecting providers to one another – and to their patients – through a fully integrated digital healthcare ecosystem that can be accessed on any browser or device.

CareCloud is helping thousands of physicians increase collections, streamline operations, and improve patient care in 48 states, and currently manages more than $4 billion in annualized accounts receivables on behalf of its revenue cycle management clients. To learn more about CareCloud, visit www.carecloud.com.

April 23, 2015 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.

CMS Releases First Ever Hospital Compare Star Ratings

Comparison Ratings that Help Consumers Compare and Choose Among Hospitals

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for the first time introduced star ratings on Hospital Compare, the agency’s public information website, to make it easier for consumers to choose a hospital and understand the quality of care they deliver. Today’s announcement builds on a larger effort across HHS to build a health care system that delivers better care, spends health care dollars more wisely, and results in healthier people.

The Hospital Compare star ratings relate to patients’ experience of care at almost 3,500 Medicare-certified acute care hospitals. The ratings are based on data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey (HCAHPS) measures that are included in Hospital Compare. HCAHPS has been in use since 2006 to measure patients’ perspectives of hospital care, and includes topics like:

•           How well nurses and doctors communicated with patients

•           How responsive hospital staff were to patient needs

•           How clean and quiet hospital environments were

•           How well patients were prepared for post-hospital settings

“The patient experience Star Ratings will make it easier for consumers to use the information on the Hospital Compare website and spotlight excellence in health care quality,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, Acting Principal Deputy Administrator for CMS and Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality. “These star ratings also encourage hospitals and clinicians to strive to continuously improve the patient experience and quality of care delivered to all patients.”

The Hospital Compare ratings are just one example of how CMS is committed to helping consumers make informed health care decisions. The Nursing Home Compare site already uses star ratings to help consumers compare nursing homes and choose one based on quality. Physician Compare has started to include star ratings in certain situations for physician group practices, and CMS recently added star ratings to the Dialysis Facility Compare site to help to make data on dialysis centers easier to understand and use. Star ratings are planned for Home Health Compare later this year.

These ratings continue to move the health care system toward the Affordable Care Act call for transparent, easily understood and widely available public reporting. They also are a part of the Obama Administration’s Digital Government Strategy by providing content in customer-centric ways.

Consumers will now see 12 HCAHPS Star Ratings on Hospital Compare, one for each of the 11 publicly reported HCAHPS measures, plus a summary star rating that combines or rolls up all the HCAHPS Star Ratings. These star ratings will be updated each quarter.

For more information on today’s announcement, please visit here:

http://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2015-Fact-sheets-items/2015-04-16.html

For more information about the HCAHPS Survey please visit the official HCAHPS On-Line Web site, here:  www.HCAHPSonline.org.

April 16, 2015 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.

IBM Acquires Explorys to Accelerate Cognitive Insights for Health and Wellness

Armonk, NY and Cleveland – 13 April 2015: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it has acquired Explorys, a healthcare intelligence cloud company that has built one of the largest clinical data sets in the world, representing more than 50 million lives. The acquisition strengthens IBM’s leadership position in healthcare analytics and cloud computing, and will help bolster its ability to extract and share deep insights to improve wellness and benefit patients.

Since its spin-off from the Cleveland Clinic in 2009, Explorys has secured a robust healthcare database derived from numerous and diverse financial, operational and medical record systems comprising 315 billion longitudinal data points across the continuum of care. This powerful body of insight will help fuel IBM Watson Health Cloud, a new open platform that allows information to be securely de-identified, shared and combined with a dynamic and constantly growing aggregated view of clinical, health and social research data.

Explorys provides secure cloud-based solutions for clinical integration, at-risk population management, cost of care measurement, and pay-for-performance. Headquartered in Cleveland, Explorys clients include some of the most prominent healthcare systems in the United States, together accounting for over $69 billion in care, 360 hospitals and more than 317,000 providers. Explorys’ HIPAA-enabled cloud-computing platform is used by 26 healthcare systems and clinically integrated networks to identify patterns in diseases, treatments and outcomes. Its network includes Cleveland Clinic, Trinity Health, St. Joseph Health System, Mercy Health, Adventist Health System and many others with patients across the country. Market intelligence firm IDC just named Explorys global leader in Healthcare Clinical and Financial Analysis.

“As healthcare providers, health plans and life sciences companies face a deluge of data, they need a secure, reliable and dynamic way to share that data for new insight to deliver quality, effective healthcare for the individual,” said Mike Rhodin, senior vice president, IBM Watson. “To address this opportunity, IBM is building a holistic platform to enable the aggregation and discovery of health data to share it with those who can make a difference. With Explorys, IBM will accelerate the delivery of IBM Health Cloud and IBM Watson cognitive solutions to model and apply medical evidence and large scale analytics to data.”

“Every encounter that a patient has across the continuum of care spins off a meaningful piece of data that can help tell the whole story about an individual’s health to improve the quality and effectiveness of their care,” said Stephen McHale, CEO and co-founder, Explorys. “Information is changing the way care is delivered and paid for. The combination of Explorys technology with IBM’s powerful Health Cloud and Watson cognitive capabilities will expand the reach of health insights so that Big Data can finally be used more easily to transform healthcare. This relationship will not only accelerate but enhance many of the projects underway with our provider organizations.”

Explorys is now part of IBM’s new Watson Health unit, launched today. Its offerings complement and strengthen the IBM Watson Health Cloud platform and will empower IBM’s vast ecosystem of clients, partners and medical researchers to surface new connections among diverse and previously siloed healthcare data sets. Access to these insights is expected to spur the creation of a new generation of data-driven applications and solutions designed to advance health and wellness.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

About Explorys

Originally inspired by physicians and informatics leaders, Explorys combines the most powerful healthcare computing platform in the world with turnkey solutions for clinical integration, at-risk population management, cost of care measurement, and pay-for-performance solutions. Explorys addresses the national imperative to leverage Big Data in healthcare for the improvement of medicine and delivery of care. For more information, please visit www.explorys.com.

About IBM Watson Health

IBM and its vast ecosystem of clients, partners and medical researchers are accelerating the development of a new generation of data-driven applications and solutions built on IBM Health Cloud and IBM Watson cognitive solutions to advance health and wellness. For more information, please visit ibm.com/watsonhealth.

April 15, 2015 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.

Ambir Technology Introduces Innovative Solutions for Capturing and Harnessing Patient Information at HIMSS15 Annual Conference & Exhibition

Chicago, April 9, 2015—Ambir Technology, an industry leader in digital capture and document management solutions, introduces new solutions at HIMSS15 Annual Conference & Exhibition April 12-April 16 in Chicago for capturing, transferring and managing patient information. Visitors to the Ambir Technology booth (number 2819) will see demonstrations on how the new solutions can impact operational efficiency and productivity.

“Helping healthcare providers efficiently capture and manage patient information is a cornerstone of Ambir Technology’s product development,” said Mike O’Leary, CEO of Ambir Technology. “Today, our signature pads, ID card scanners and document scanners assist many practices in capturing information. At HIMSS 2015, we are introducing new, innovative solutions to push the envelope in regard to patient information capture, transfer and management, boosting office operational efficiency and productivity in meeting Meaningful Use Requirements.”

Ambir nForm  Ambir nForm solution enables totally paperless, convenient and secure capture and transfer of forms and signatures through the Ambir 410x wired tablet and iOS or Android tablets.

The groundbreaking tablet-based solution is available immediately as a yearly subscription. In addition, Ambir introduces Ambir nForm 410x. This dedicated tablet features a larger screen area than signature pads currently on the market.

nForm is easy to use and practices can use existing forms—no requirement to purchase special or customized forms.

Users simply send forms and documents to the Ambir 410x, iOS or Android tablet using the Ambir Document Printer print driver or through nForm Connect (to which users can upload and save their own forms), input information and upload the forms using their scanning application or as a PDF file to their information management solution. There is zero integration needed to use nForm with commercially available EHR or document management applications as it employs nForm by Ambir Technology TWAIN driver known for its plug-and-play ability.

New Generation Sheet-Fed Document and Card Scanners Ambir’s new generation scanners open new doors in operational ease, maintenance, and provide real time solutions for capturing and organizing information by doing more at capture—in office and mobile applications.

The new scanners consist of four models:

  • Ambir ImageScan Pro 490 ix Scanner is a duplex document and card scanner. It scans both sides of a document in about 10 seconds.
  • Ambir ImageScan Pro 687ix Scanner is a duplex card scanner for scanning two-sided identification cards, scanning both sides of a card in approximately 3 seconds.
  • Ambir ImageScan Pro 667ix Scanner is a simplex card scanner for scanning one side of an identification card in about 3 seconds.
  • Ambir TravelScan Pro 600ix Scanner is a simplex document and card scanner designed for mobility and speed. It scans one side of a document in approximately 10 seconds.

The scanners come with AmbirScan Lite Capture Software, elevating document and ID card scanning to a true information capture and management solution by enabling users to save scanned information as PDF, TIF and JPEG files, automatically saving the files to any folder on a computer and/or popular cloud services including Box, DropBox, Evernote and Google Drive.

Having one button operation, the scanners are easy to use.

All are USB port-powered, eliminating the need to find an electrical outlet or carry an AC adapter and enhancing the ability to work wherever and anywhere. They are Energy Star compliant.

Featuring lightweight, compact designs, the scanners are ruggedly constructed for continuous use. In addition, all models have a Kensington Lock Slot to keep them securely on desks or mobile carts. The scanners feature flip-open tops to give unrivaled access for thorough and quick cleaning of the transport area.

All are factory calibrated, requiring no calibration upon installation providing high-quality image quality right out of the box —simply plug in the scanner, install the drivers and start scanning.

The scanners have industry standard TWAIN drivers to provide quick installation and compatibility with thousands of commercially available electronic healthcare record solutions.

For information about Ambir Technology products and solutions, access www.ambir.com.          

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About Ambir Technology

Ambir Technology, Inc. is an industry leader in digital capture and document management solutions. Combining professional-grade ID card and document scanners, unique digital imaging software and expert-level customer service, Ambir provides their customers with comprehensive, enterprise-level business solutions. Specializing in the healthcare, legal and financial sectors, Ambir helps organizations reduce costs, increase productivity and strengthen data security. For more information, visit www.ambir.com.

April 9, 2015 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.

WEDI Submits Comments on ONC Interoperability Roadmap

12 action steps identified for ONC, based on industry interoperability survey findings

RESTON, Va. — April 07, 2015 — The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), the nation’s leading nonprofit authority on the use of health IT to create efficiencies in healthcare information exchange, released the survey results of its March 2015 interoperability survey along with an April 3 letter of recommended action steps to the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT.

As a response to the call for comments to the interoperability roadmap released by the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT, WEDI issued an industry survey in March 2015 to gauge current electronic information exchange efforts, pinpoint challenges to interoperable exchange, and measure support for a national patient identifier among healthcare stakeholders. Based on the survey responses from 372 organizations, including health plans, providers, health IT vendors, health information exchange organizations and other participants, WEDI relayed the following key observations from the survey findings:

Universal Patient Identifier (UPI)

  1. Current patient matching methodologies are insufficient and ineffective. Healthcare providers report that only 25 percent of electronic patient records are successfully matched on the first pass without manual intervention.
  2. Stakeholders appear to be generally favorable towards a universal patient identifier. A UPI would be supported by 68 percent of organizations surveyed, including providers (62 percent), health plans (79 percent), and health IT vendors (70 percent).
  3. Health data is encrypted when in‐transit to external organizations – however, organizations continue to lag in encrypting data internally and at‐rest. Healthcare providers report that some electronic health data, i.e. 51‐100 percent, is encrypted when in‐transit externally (49 percent), in‐transit internally (35 percent), and at‐rest (36 percent).

Exchange Capabilities

  1. Direct is the primary method currently used by organizations to electronically exchange health information. Direct is used routinely or occasionally by providers for internal exchange (81 percent) and external exchange (63 percent).
  2. Healthcare providers are unable to easily exchange clinical information electronically with non‐affiliated healthcare organizations. With the exception of sending to pharmacies, less than 25 percent of provider organizations are able to easily send information to most non‐affiliated healthcare organizations.
  3. Health plans are also unable to easily exchange clinical information electronically with other organizations. Less than 33 percent of health plans are able to easily send information to most non‐affiliated healthcare organizations and less than half are able to easily receive clinical information electronically from other organizations.

Barriers and Challenges

  1. Organizations have difficulty with leveraging electronic data – particularly the process of blending structured and unstructured data. Provider and health plans report difficulties with blending structured and unstructured data (56 percent) and integrating different types of data (44 percent).
  2. The majority of organizations find financial barriers to be a challenge to electronic data exchange, from developing capabilities to ongoing maintenance and fees. Provider organizations are challenged by financial barriers such as infrastructure costs (67 percent), connection and set‐up fees (64 percent), ongoing transactional fees for exchanging data (63 percent), training staff (61 percent), and ongoing membership fees for participating in an HIE (59 percent).

Impact

  1. To date, the electronic exchange of health information is slow to yield strong improvements among healthcare stakeholders. Less than half of provider organizations report that electronic information exchange has improved performance measures such as care coordination (48 percent), information flow (42 percent), quality of care (40 percent), and safety (40 percent).
  2. Organizations are optimistic that electronic exchange of health information will contribute to improvements in the next year. Providers expect exchange to improve care coordination (69 percent), quality of care (66 percent), and information flow (66 percent), and worsen cost of care (7 percent) and provider satisfaction (7 percent).

Health IT Market

  1. Vendor systems provide mixed levels of exchange functionality with other health IT products. Vendors report that their systems (self‐built or in partnership with other vendors) currently facilitate external data exchange of data types such as demographics (84 percent), insurance enrollment/eligibility status and benefits (77 percent), hospital ADT (68 percent), and summary of care records (65 percent).
  2. Vendor systems are still nascent in their patient‐centered capabilities. Little functionality is available to facilitate exchange of patient‐centered information such as patient‐reported data (38 percent) and advanced directive (43 percent).
  3. Vendor systems can generally offer strong data exchange capabilities. Systems are equipped to exchange structured clinical data (81 percent) and administrative data (88 percent), as well as unstructured clinical data (74 percent) and administrative data (81 percent).
  4. A minority of vendors have developed revenue models from providers sending and receiving electronic health information, including transactional, monthly, and annual fee structures. Among the EHR vendors surveyed, the most common form of revenue is a monthly fee (33 percent); no EHR vendors reported other fee structures.
  5. More alignment among vendors is needed to advance interoperability. Vendors report a number of barriers to the electronic exchange of health information, including the lack of interoperability with other vendor systems (67 percent), unstable market (62 percent), cost of development (63 percent), and lack of consensus around required data standards (59 percent).

The full reporting of survey results is available on the WEDI website along with the complete letter to ONC. Based on the survey results, industry stakeholders appear to continue to move forward in their efforts to exchange clinical information, but growth is inhibited due to implementation costs and limited visible impact on clinical and business outcomes.

“WEDI applauds the work of ONC to develop a common framework for interoperability in our nation through the release of the recent roadmap,” said Devin Jopp, Ed.D., WEDI president and CEO. “However, what we’ve found — from not only this industry interoperability survey, but also from our discussions around concerns from key groups — is that there are significant barriers to interoperable electronic data exchange that remain to be addressed across providers, health plans and vendors alike. We want to ensure that the roadmap is one that is realistic and viable for all entities involved, so that the industry can rally together around the work, rather than be discouraged or hesitant.”

About WEDI

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) is the leading authority on the use of health IT to improve healthcare information exchange in order to enhance the quality of care, improve efficiency, and reduce costs of our nation’s healthcare system. WEDI was formed in 1991 by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and was designated in the 1996 HIPAA legislation as an advisor to HHS. WEDI’s membership includes a broad coalition of organizations, including: hospitals, providers, health plans, vendors, government agencies, consumers, not-for-profit organizations, and standards development organizations. To learn more, visit www.wedi.org and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

April 7, 2015 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.

Healthcare IT Leaders Continue to Expect Budget Increases in 2015

TEKsystems’ Review of Three Year Trends Illustrates Rolling, But Positive Budget Expectations; Operational Issues Cited as Biggest Challenges to Success

Hanover, Md. – April 6, 2015 – Leading into HIMSS15, TEKsystems®, a leading provider of IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services, today highlighted results that explore the current state of IT operations at healthcare organizations. The findings identify key objectives and challenges for healthcare IT teams, the skills most needed to meet those demands, as well as expectations for spending and confidence. The data is gleaned from information captured within TEKsystems’ 2013–2015 annual IT forecasts as reported by IT leaders (CIOs, IT VPs, IT directors, IT hiring managers) at healthcare organizations.

Key findings from the data include:

Expectations for IT Budget Growth Decrease in 2015; Yet Confidence Continues to Increase

  • Fifty-one percent of respondents expect their organization’s healthcare IT budget to increase in 2015, down from 68 percent that said the same entering 2014, and returning to levels seen entering 2013 (52 percent). Thirty-eight percent expect IT budgets to stay the same, a significant increase over 2014 (23 percent) and similar to levels of 2013 (41 percent).
  • Sixty-four percent are confident in their IT department’s ability to satisfy business demands in 2015, an increase over the 59 and 58 percent that felt confident heading into 2014 and 2013, respectively. Ten percent indicated they are unconfident in 2015, the same percentage as 2014 and down from 2013 (13 percent).
  • TEKsystems’ Take: Expectations for budget increases began to normalize last year. Following the ICD-10 extension by Congress, IT leaders felt less pressure to seek additional funding to meet those deadlines. Confidence has continued to grow even as budget increases have leveled out, now that organizations have core personnel in place or have developed other plans, such as outsourcing, to address workload concerns.

IT Support Aligns with Business Challenges; Focus Is on Improving Operations and Efficiency

  • From 2014 to 2015, operational issues (81 percent) moved up from No. 2 to No. 1 as the biggest organizational challenge. Risk management (79 percent) dropped from No. 1 to No. 2. These were followed by revenue (67 percent) in third, workforce management (59 percent) in fourth and customer attraction, retention and satisfaction (22 percent) in fifth, maintaining their previous rankings.
  • Over the last three years, operationally focused areas (e.g., improving efficiency, reducing costs, improving existing IT applications and infrastructure, and managing risk) have all been cited within the top five business objectives that most need IT support.
  • In 2015, improving efficiency (49 percent) was cited as the top objective followed by reducing costs (42 percent), improving existing IT applications and infrastructure (37 percent), managing risk (34 percent) and delivering operational results (29 percent).
  • TEKsystems’ Take: Now that healthcare organizations have identified the biggest challenges facing them in 2015, they are working to align IT support priorities to address those challenges.They have laid the foundations for their large IT initiatives and must shift focus to ensure that they are implementing new projects and establishing best practices in a way that allows them to make the most of existing investments. Increasing efficiency and making the most of these implementations will better position them to take on other projects in the future.

Most Impactful Technology Trends Include Business Intelligence (BI) / Big Data, Security, Mobility, Consumerization and Cloud; Expected Spending Increases Mirror These Areas

  • Over the last two years, healthcare IT leaders listed BI / Big Data, security, mobility and consumerization of IT / BYOD as the top four trends impacting their organizations.
  • From 2014 to 2015, BI / Big Data (61 percent) moved up from No. 4 to No. 1, security (54 percent) moved from No. 3 to No. 2, while mobility (42 percent) dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 and consumerization of IT / BYOD (38 percent) dropped from No. 2 to No. 4. Cloud computing (31 percent) increased from No. 6 to No. 5.
  • The majority of healthcare IT leaders expect to see spending increases in security (70 percent), mobility (61 percent), BI / Big Data (60 percent) and cloud (55 percent).
  • TEKsystems’ Take:These expectations for spending increases make sense considering that security, mobility, BI / Big Data and cloud are all cited as the most impactful areas and tend to have some interdependencies. These areas play a large part in how healthcare organizations can increase operational efficiency and risk management.

Hands-on Roles Still Most Critical For Success, Also Most Difficult to Fill with Exceptional Talent

  • “Doers” continue to be cited as the most critical positions for an organization to achieve success. In 2014 and 2015, project managers, help desk / technical support and programmers and developers were cited within the top four roles most critical to enabling success.
  • From 2014 to 2015, project managers (51 percent) moved up from No. 2 to No. 1 and help desk / technical support (47 percent) moved from No. 3 to No. 2, while programmers and developers (45 percent) dropped from No. 1 to No. 3. IT managers (40 percent)—the only “leader” position in the top five—moved from No. 7 to No. 4 and software engineers (37 percent) moved from No. 6 to No. 5.
  • In terms of the most difficult roles to fill, project managers rank as the No. 1, climbing two spots up from No. 3 in 2014. Security (No. 2), programmers and developers (No. 3), software engineers (No. 4) and architects (No. 5) also ranked within the top five most difficult positions to fill. BI (ranked No. 11 in 2013) ranks as the sixth most difficult position to fill, down from No. 5 in 2014.
  • More than half of healthcare IT leaders expect salary increases for project managers (55 percent), software engineers (53 percent) and programmers and developers (52 percent). Approximately one-third (34 percent) expect increased salaries for help desk / technical support.
  • TEKsystems’ Take: It’s not surprising that project managers and programmers and developers remain in the top four most difficult positions to fill, as these staff members are in the trenches ensuring that organizations continue to make the most of their IT investments to increase ease of use and efficiency. This value translates into greater expectations for salary increases as organizations seek to retain their developed talent.

Vast Majority Expect Staff Salaries to Rise; More Than Two out of Five Expect Full-time and Contingent Hiring Increases

  • Seventy-three percent of healthcare IT leaders expect overall IT salaries to increase in 2015, up from 69 percent who said the same in 2014. The remaining 27 percent expect salaries to stay the same, with no respondents expecting salary decreases.
  • Forty-three percent of healthcare IT leaders expect hiring for full-time IT staff to increase (a decrease from 44 and 50 percent in 2014 and 2013, respectively), while 52 percent expect hiring to remain the same. Just 5 percent expect to see a decrease.
  • Forty-two percent of healthcare IT leaders expect hiring for contingent IT staff to increase (a drop from 48 and 52 percent in 2014 and 2013, respectively), while 52 percent expect hiring to remain the same. Only 6 percent expect to see a decrease.
  • TEKsystems’ Take: As more work is done to make the most of investments in BI / Big Data, security, mobility and consumerization of IT / BYOD, organizations will need to at least maintain their full-time and contingent workforces in order to cultivate efficiency and make progress. While retaining top talent by increasing salaries will be a key tactic, new staff will need to be brought on as projects expand.

“Last year, we saw an early surge in the numbers of healthcare IT leaders expecting to see budget increases due to the overarching mandate to meet the former ICD-10 implementation deadline and to get new healthcare technology initiatives off the ground,” said Ryan Skains, executive director of TEKsystems Healthcare Services. “We are seeing those numbers level out as organizations not only make headway on the projects they have begun, but as they increasingly become confident in their staff’s expanding expertise and ability to meet major deadlines. Moving forward, the focus will be on refining systems and processes to increase efficiency and growth opportunity.”

TEKsystems’ Ryan Skains is available for additional commentary. For more information about the survey or to schedule an interview, please contact Rick McLaughlin at TEKsystems@daviesmurphy.com.

About TEKsystems®

People are at the heart of every successful business initiative. At TEKsystems, we understand people. Every year we deploy over 80,000 IT professionals at 6,000 client sites across North America, Europe and Asia. Our deep insights into IT human capital management enable us to help our clients achieve their business goals—while optimizing their IT workforce strategies. We provide IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services to help our clients plan, build and run their critical business initiatives. Through our range of quality-focused delivery models, we meet our clients where they are, and take them where they want to go, the way they want to get there.

April 6, 2015 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.

WEDI Survey Suggests Mixed Industry ICD-10 Readiness

Responses from more than 1,100 vendors, health plans and providers indicate ICD-10 delay has slowed some readiness activities; compliance date uncertainty cited as top obstacle

RESTON, Va. — April 6, 2015 The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), the nation’s leading nonprofit authority on the use of health IT to create efficiencies in healthcare information exchange, announced the release of its findings from its February 2015 ICD-10 Industry Readiness Survey.  In its March 31 letter to the HHS Secretary, WEDI reported concern with the current level of industry preparedness noting that many organizations did not take full advantage of the additional time afforded by the one-year delay.

“Unless all industry segments take the initiative to make a dedicated effort and move forward with their implementation work, there will be significant disruption on Oct. 1, 2015,” said Devin Jopp, Ed.D, president and CEO of WEDI.

Highlights from the latest survey findings include:

  • Compliance date uncertainty: Uncertainty around further delays was listed as a primary obstacle to implementation, appearing on more than 50 percent of all responses for vendors, health plans and providers.
  • Health plan testing: More than 50 percent of health plans have begun external testing, and of these, a few have completed testing. This is a slight improvement from the prior survey.
  • Vendor product availability: About 60 percent indicated their vendor products were available or they had started customer testing. This is a slight decrease from about two-thirds in the August 2014 survey. However, the number that responded ‘unknown’ decreased from one eighth to just a handful.
  • Provider testing: Only 25 percent of provider respondents had begun external testing and only a few others had completed this step. This is actually a decrease from the about 35 percent of provider respondents that had begun external testing in the August 2014 survey.

“Based on the survey results, it appears the delay has had a negative impact on some readiness activities—especially external testing. Uncertainty over further delays was listed as a top obstacle across all industry segments,” said Jim Daley, WEDI past-chair and ICD-10 Workgroup co-chair. “While the delay provided more time for the transition to ICD-10, many organizations did not take full advantage of this additional time and many providers are falling further behind.”

About the Survey
The survey results are based on responses from 1,174 respondents, consisting of 796 providers, 173 vendors and 205 health plans. The number of responses more than doubled from the last ICD-10 survey WEDI conducted in August 2014.

This is the tenth ICD-10 readiness survey WEDI has conducted since 2009, all of which were done in an effort to gain a broad perspective on the readiness status for different sections of the industry, and to gauge how quickly they are progressing towards the Oct. 1, 2015 implementation deadline. The full survey results are contained in WEDI’s letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). More information on WEDI events and ICD-10 work products are also available on the WEDI website atwww.wedi.org/workgroups/icd-10.

About WEDI

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) is the leading authority on the use of health IT to improve healthcare information exchange in order to enhance the quality of care, improve efficiency, and reduce costs of our nation’s healthcare system. WEDI was formed in 1991 by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and was designated in the 1996 HIPAA legislation as an advisor to HHS. WEDI’s membership includes a broad coalition of organizations, including: hospitals, providers, health plans, vendors, government agencies, consumers, not-for-profit organizations, and standards development organizations. To learn more, visit www.wedi.org and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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.