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Online Learning for Health Informatics Simplified

CHICAGO (February 21, 2012)  – Many people prefer the option of virtual learning, especially busy healthcare professionals, interested consumers, faculty and students who want to better understand health informatics, but need a flexible and on-demand environment easily adaptable to their own schedules.

Now, the Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform – known as TIGER – introduces its Virtual Learning Environment. The TIGER Initiative Foundation’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) provides an interactive web-based learning opportunity with  resources and information about health IT and related topics for health professionals and consumers.

Online learners can find out more about topics in an interactive environment with ongoing updates and resources. Topics covered include:

  • electronic health records,
  • usability,
  • clinical decision support,
  • health information exchange,
  • care coordination,
  • meaningful use,
  • standards and interoperability,
  • consumer health information,
  • mobile health,
  • privacy and security,
  • health IT and nursing practice, and
  • other related topics.

This convenient format provides real-time accessibility to online content through a variety of formats, including webinars by industry experts, in-depth education sessions, fact sheets, white papers, and other educational materials. All materials can be accessed on the VLE site and downloaded into a virtual briefcase.

“The TIGER Initiative Foundation brings together interested professionals to develop a shared vision, strategies and specific actions for improving nursing practice, education, and the delivery of patient care through the use of health IT.  Through a collaborative effort, this group studied both the benefits and challenges of a virtual learning environment, a process that resulted in the introduction of this new educational platform,” says Sally E Schlak, RN, MBA, Senior Director, TIGER Initiative Foundation.

Go to http://www.thetigerinitiative.org/ to learn more and access the TIGER Virtual Learning Environment.

About TIGER

TIGER was formed in 2004 to bring together stakeholders to develop a shared vision, strategies and specific actions for improving nursing practice, education, and the delivery of patient care through the use of health information technology (HIT). With support from over 70 contributing organizations and a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2006, TIGER Phase II emerged with over 1,500 volunteers in many collaborative working groups.  In July 2011 the TIGER Initiative Foundation was formed as a 501(c) (3) organization operating for charitable, educational and scientific purposes.

February 23, 2013 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.

American Sentinel University Details How Cloud Computing Has the Potential to Revolutionize Health Care

– Cloud-based Applications Benefit Nurses and Patients at Point of Care –

AURORA, Colo. – February 12, 2013 – Cloud computing has the potential to revolutionize health care administration by allowing providers to access information from a patient’s medical file at anytime from any where and that means patients receive better and more efficient quality care.

“Everything in health care today is so dependent on computers and cloud computing is the repository for all of these transactions,” says Suzanne Richins, DHA, MBA, FACHE, RN, chair, health information management and health care administration at American Sentinel University.  “Cloud computing benefits nurses at point of care because no matter where the patient has a diagnostic test, the cloud ensures that data is available everywhere.”

The ‘cloud’ is an intangible, but ubiquitous presence in our tech-laden lives, allowing health care professionals to access all patient data across multiple devices and from any location with an Internet connection.

As an IT strategy, cloud computing took the business world by storm, allowing companies to store massive amounts of data virtually, rather than making a huge investment in developing and maintaining their own information system storage. Yet, health care has been a relative latecomer to cloud computing, largely because of the industry’s unique data security, regulatory, and patient privacy concerns.

“Laws require protection of pertinent information to ensure both confidentiality and privacy and before a health care organization contracts with a cloud organization, management needs to ensure that the cloud can meet the requirements of both HIPPA and meaningful use,” says Richins.

The mandate to widely adopt electronic medical records (EMRs), however, is expected to change that and a recent report by research firm MarketsandMarkets projected health care-related cloud computing will become a $5.4 billion global industry by 2017, encompassing both clinical and non-clinical applications.

Health Care Benefits from Cloud Computing
The most significant benefit cloud computing offers health care is data access.

When patient information is stored in the cloud, providers can access lab results, imaging scans and other pertinent test results at anytime and in any place, allowing for improved care coordination and better decision-making.

“As the move toward accountable care organizations (ACOs) drives the need for a better flow of information between primary care providers, specialists and case managers, clinical use of the cloud is likely to expand to include mobile applications that deliver data to tablets and smartphones,” adds Richins.

Most importantly, cloud-based platforms can allow collaboration between providers in real-time, from nearly any device that can connect to the Internet so health care organizations can manage data with more agility when working in the cloud.

Cloud Computing at the Bedside
Cloud computing benefits IT staff, nurse informaticians involved with EMR implementation and even the hospital’s bottom line. But Richins points out that health care will start seeing innovative, cloud-based applications that benefit nurses and patients at the point of care.

One example is Ultimate Caregiver, a nurse call system which merges pull cord technology with the power of cloud computing and mobile devices to allow for wireless paging and generated staff response reports.

When a patient rings for a nurse, the call signal is processed in the cloud and alerts are sent to nurses in the form of texts, e-mails, pages, or phone calls. This allows nurses to be more efficient on the floor, as the closest staff member can respond quickly to the patient and no one is tied to a nursing station to track patient call signals.

The use of cloud computing will also have a positive impact on career nursing opportunities in nursing informatics.

Richins notes that all of the third-party payers, including the government require reporting of quality measures and nurse informaticists are responsible for analyzing the data for reporting to these organizations.

“Nurse informaticists are critical to identification of problems, the root cause and identification of solutions and now that the payers do not reimburse for certain diagnoses, readmissions and hospital-acquired infections, nurse informatics are critical to the process as all decision-making requires evidence that comes from the data,” says Richins.

Cloud-based computing is also a boon to home health nurses, giving them easy access to accurate data, allowing them to document visits and update charts in real-time and freeing them from the cumbersome daily synchronization routine.

Richins notes that health care is in need of nurses who can analyze technologies from both the bedside and IT perspectives.

“Health informatics is the new frontier of health care and one of the fastest growing fields today. Nurses with a nursing informatics specialization will be in high demand to manage health information systems critical to the mission of health care delivery,” says Richins.

She points out that while opportunities in nursing informatics are plentiful, nursing informatics is not an entry-level career.

“RNs who find work in this specialty typically have several years of experience and professional education in both information systems and nursing,” adds Richins.

A registered nurse with an associate degree in nursing can purse a nursing informatics degree by taking the RN to BSN courses or RN to MSN courses. If a nurse already has a BSN, they can enter directly into the MSN program with a concentration in nursing informatics.

American Sentinel University helps prepare nurses for a variety of careers in nursing informatics with an online Master of Science in Nursing, Nursing Informatics specialization degree program that emphasizes understanding the infrastructure necessary to improve practice while safeguarding the security and privacy of data.

Learn more about American Sentinel University’s CCNE-accredited Master’s of Science in Nursing, Nursing Informatics program at http://www.americansentinel.edu/health-care/m-s-nursing/m-s-nursing-nursing-informatics.

About American Sentinel University
American Sentinel University delivers the competitive advantages of accredited online nursing degree programs in nursing, informatics, MBA Health Care, DNP Executive Leadership and DNP Educational Leadership. Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The university is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). The Accrediting Commission of DETC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

February 14, 2013 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.

Just Associates to Provide Remote Duplicate Record “Repair” Services to Sharon Regional Health System

During the upcoming AHIMA conference, Just Associates will announce that Sharon Regional Medical Center in Pennsylvania will be using the consulting firm’s new Repair outsourced MPI maintenance service for managing its day-to-day duplicate record validation and reconciliation.

The data integrity consulting firm is featuring its innovative, comprehensive outsourced MPI management service in Booth #325 at the 83rd AHIMA Convention & Exhibit

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Sept. 30, 2011 – Just Associates, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in data integrity and data quality solutions for healthcare organizations, announced today that Sharon Regional Health System has extended its relationship to include Repair™, the firm’s remote master patient index (MPI) maintenance service. Part of Just Associates’ comprehensive outsourced patient identity management suite, Repair leverages the firm’s highly trained staff and proprietary IDMaster® Duplicate Workflow Software for cost-effective ongoing management of the duplicate validation and reconciliation process.

Just Associates is dedicated to meeting the data integrity needs of the health information exchange (HIE), health information management (HIM), health informatics and health IT markets. It is featuring Repair, along with its comprehensive outsourced MPI management service, in Booth #325 at the AHIMA Convention & Exhibit, taking place in Salt Lake City Oct. 1-6, 2011.

Based in Sharon, Penn., Sharon Regional Health System is a comprehensive health system consisting of a 241-bed hospital, 17 satellite centers and more than 1,750 employees. It first utilized Just Associates to conduct a comprehensive MPI cleanup in preparation for its May 2012 electronic health record (EHR) system implementation. But while existing issues were eliminated, Sharon Regional still faced a problem common among many hospitals — a lack of resources to maintain a clean MPI.

In fact, a typical hospital has between 3 percent and 15 percent patient record duplication. Left unchecked, this creates serious patient safety issues, including delayed diagnosis or treatment and/or redundant diagnostic procedures when the correct or complete record cannot be located in a timely manner. It is also costly, with repetitive testing alone adding 20 percent to 30 percent to clinical costs.

“We needed a way to continuously identify and correct duplicates before they created confusion among our clinical staff or impacted care,” said Barb McKee, director of business office operations, Sharon Regional Health System. “However, multiple registration points made it difficult to pinpoint when and where potential errors entered the system and staffing limitations made it difficult to quickly evaluate and reconcile possible duplicates once they were identified. When we heard about Repair, we knew immediately it was the long-term solution we needed.”

By outsourcing its daily MPI maintenance to Just Associates, Sharon Regional benefits from a more efficient duplicate record resolution process. Repair also helps overcome the resource challenges that impact many hospitals’ efforts to attain and maintain a clean MPI, such as difficulty maintaining productivity levels due to staff turnover, planned and unplanned leave time, and insufficient training. Reports generated by Repair also help identify areas of weakness where additional education or process adjustments can help prevent duplicate creation at the front end.

“With Just Associates protecting the integrity of our patient data, we can focus our attention and resources on other areas to ensure our patients continue to receive the highest quality care possible,” said McKee.

Repair remote MPI maintenance services are modeled after the same process Just Associates uses in completing its historic MPI cleanup projects. Leveraging its trained staff and IDMaster, Repair reviews daily reports on potential duplicates or other data integrity issues and validates possible duplicates. Confirmed duplicates are then reconciled via remote access to Sharon Regional’s systems.

In the case of Sharon Regional, daily feeds are generated by the facility’s third-party monitoring service. However, Repair works equally effectively with reports generated by systems that feature the robust analytics capabilities to accurately identify potential duplicate records.

“When the integrity of patient data is compromised due to duplicate, incomplete or inaccurate records, it can impact safety and quality, increase costs and decrease clinician and staff productivity. Unfortunately, the challenge for many facilities is dedicating the resources necessary to maintain a clean MPI,” said Just Associates CEO and President Beth Just, MBA, RHIA, FAHIMA. “That is why savvy hospitals like Sharon Regional are outsourcing MPI management to Just Associates. It is a cost-effective way to overcome staffing and resource issues to ensure that duplicate records are identified and eliminated before they cause problems.”

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 client’s financial outcomes and business processes, support delivery of quality patient care, and meet the expectations of diverse stakeholders through improved data integrity.

September 30, 2011 I Written By

With New Health IT Standards in Place, HIMSS Completes Tenure as ISO/TC 215 Secretariat

After eight years as the Secretariat for ISO/TC 215, the international technical committee focused on the development of health informatics standards, HIMSS will relinquish its role on June 30, 2011. In addition, HIMSS will step down as administrator of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO/TC 215, which is responsible for coordinating U.S. technical experts and developing national positions on committee matters.

In 2003, HIMSS became the Secretariat for the International Organization for Standardization’s Technical Committee 215 on Health Informatics – known as ISO/TC 215

After eight years as the Secretariat for ISO/TC 215, the international technical committee focused on the development of health informatics standards, HIMSS will relinquish its role on June 30, 2011. In addition, HIMSS will step down as administrator of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO/TC 215, which is responsible for coordinating U.S. technical experts and developing national positions on committee matters.

During the past eight years, ISO/TC 215 has grown to:
• Represent 32 participating member countries, 20 observers and 39 liaison organizations;
• Develop 89 standards and harmonize 7 standards;
• Initiate 129 projects, now in process; and
• Expand U.S. TAG membership to 13 associations, 5 government agencies, 16 vendors and 5 universities.

The standards developed by ISO/TC 215 interact with all areas of healthcare, but focus primarily on health informatics. The committee meets twice each year, including once in a formal plenary session, where voting takes place (one country – one vote) and resolutions are written determining the direction of the work program, and once in an informal joint working group session.  In completing its responsibilities as the Secretariat, HIMSS successfully convened the May 2011 ISO/TC 215 meeting in Kuopio, Finland, as well as four additional plenary meetings during its eight-years as secretariat.

“The development of health IT standards is a primary focus for HIMSS and for quality and interoperable healthcare delivery,” said Carla Smith, CNM, FHIMSS, Executive Vice President for HIMSS.  “We are honored to have worked with this international standards technical committee and will continue to follow the future standards development and harmonization activities of ISO/TC 215.”

As the U.S. member body to ISO, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) was awarded the Secretariat position of ISO/TC 215. In 2003, ANSI delegated the Secretariat to HIMSS, and accredited HIMSS as administrator of the U.S. TAG. Now, ANSI is managing the transition from HIMSS to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the new Secretariat sponsor for ISO/TC 215 and administrator of the U.S. TAG.

“HIMSS has done an exemplary job as Secretariat of ISO/TC 215 and U.S. TAG administrator,” commented Fran Schrotter, senior vice president and COO of ANSI. “On behalf of the U.S. stakeholder community, we thank HIMSS for its many years of leadership, dedication and tireless effort on international health informatics standards.”

About HIMSS:
HIMSS is a cause-based, not-for-profit organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare. Founded 50 years ago, HIMSS and its related organizations have offices in Chicago, Washington, DC, Brussels, Singapore, Leipzig, and other locations across the United States. HIMSS represents more than 35,000 individual members, of which more than two thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations. HIMSS also includes over 520 corporate members and more than 120 not-for-profit organizations that share our mission of transforming healthcare through the effective use of information technology and management systems. HIMSS frames and leads healthcare practices and public policy through its content expertise, professional development, and research initiatives designed to promote information and management systems’ contributions to improving the quality, safety, access, and cost-effectiveness of patient care. To learn more about HIMSS and to find out how to join us and our members in advancing our cause, please visit our website at www.himss.org.

June 30, 2011 I Written By