Why Your EHR May Have Been Doomed From The Beginning

Why Your EHR May Have Been Doomed From The Beginning

How does your current process work?

Health organizations often start implementing an EHR (electronic health record) system with the best intentions. But somewhere along the way things go awry. And in some cases, it was doomed from the beginning.

EHR systems are intricate, detailed, complex projects that change all the time. No matter when you started implementing, the results have to change to meet your ever-changing needs. And just when you think you have it all figured out, the rules begin to change again.

Start With A Map

From the smallest offices to the largest care centers, the only way to ensure a solid system is to map it out from the beginning. The level of detail your mapping reaches depends on your business requirements and your workflow processes. Where do your employee contacts exist? Where do your client contacts occur? If you don’t proactively account for every component, it can hinder the optimal solution once implementation has begun.

Your Map Helps Select The System

It’s easy to get excited about the “bells and whistles” of a system as you go through a demo. But what seems like a good idea in a demonstration often has little bearing on how it works in the real world. Do the “bells and whistles” even matter to your office? Are they something you’ll ever use? With a fully outlined map in hand, you can evaluate the system for how well it matches your distinct needs.

Design Team

In many busy offices, specific divisions or key players handle the entire process. They plan, they evaluate, they select, they implement, and only then do they discover gaping holes exist in the process. How thorough your map was created depends on who designed the map. How many people were involved? Did you have representation from every aspect? If IT will support it, were they involved in the process? How about office staff? How about clients? While all of this may sound expensive and overwhelming, just think about how much effort it costs to replace a system that never worked correctly from the moment it was installed.

Success with an EHR or another type of enterprise project isn’t by chance. Failure always stems from not planning thoroughly for the entire process. In the vast majority of the time, failure stems from management making decisions in a closed environment, not taking everything into account. The more questions you ask from the beginning, the better your outcome will perform.

The Biggest Security Threats We’ll See In The Coming Years

The Biggest Security Threats We’ll See In The Coming Years

Every day, new apps make their way onto the marketplace; new programs are introduced online. What once was difficult, even impossible to create, can now be generated in a few days, often with open source code. It’s so easy, even a child can manage.

While each of those changes brings new possibilities, it also brings on the opportunity for new threats.

Hacks into mobile payment systems

As smartphones continue to become the payment of choice in all kinds of financial transactions, they will also continue to be at the forefront of security hacks. Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and other mobile payment systems are increasingly becoming a standard of payment in all kinds of businesses. And as attackers learn how to easily sidestep security measures and get into the wallets of individual consumers, they’ll quickly use their knowledge to tap into corporate networks as well. Emails, websites, apps and authentication measures are all becoming more sophisticated, fooling even top level security personnel. And as they move past security, they have access to a phenomenal amount of intellectual property, insider information and other confident business data that can be used or sold for sizable treasure.

Struggling infrastructure will continue to fail

The Internet is quickly coming of age. And while we can all still think back to the moment when the Internet first entered our lives, it’s still a relatively new playing world for businesses and criminals alike. The Internet infrastructure has long since been somewhat of the Wild West. We piece things together as new technologies are born. But in many cases, we add to existing data, patch up holes, rather than completely replace. A review of the Alexa 1000 top websites revealed a significant number of them are not up-to-date with their certificates. And if the biggest names are struggling to keep up, the smaller companies are losing the battle. That means at any given time, people are pulling sites with broken Javascript versions, end-of-life challenges with core software programs, and new applications that were simply built on recycled code. All of which can open up your business to significant vulnerabilities.

Data destruction will continue to increase

Sometimes hackers don’t want to use your data just for malicious activities; they also want to make sure you never have access again. Data destruction can bring a company down to its knees, which is why we’ll increasingly see the largest companies have significant portions of their databases wiped clean. When malware enters a system and wipes the data and master boot records to render the systems inoperable, it can spell disaster. Good backup systems can prevent an attack like this from impacting you for the long term. Rebuilding can be time-consuming and expensive; ensuring you have a proper backup that can allow you to restore and thoroughly disinfect so that lingering malware won’t re-wipe systems once they are restored will be key.

Is your company doing everything it can to protect your data?

The Advantages of Using VoIP Technology For Your Business

The Advantages of Using VoIP Technology For Your Business

Phone systems tend to be one of the things in the office that follow an “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” philosophy.

Yet today’s technology has upgraded virtually everything we do, including the way we use our office phones. With your smartphone in hand, you probably can’t imagine taking a step backward and replacing it with an old flip phone. The same concept applies to what’s available for use today using VoIP technology to operate your business communications.

VoIP – voice over Internet protocol – is a type of Internet telephone that has been in use for about a decade now. It has the ability to increase the productivity of businesses many times over.

But what makes it better than what you’re currently using? Why should you make the switch?

Makes You A Better Business

Right now, you probably use statistics and business reporting functions in many areas of your business. If you send out email marketing campaigns, do you know your response?

What about the effectiveness of your phone system?

By using VoIP, you have data on every call throughout your organization. You can:

  • View all call activity. Drill down to individual phone numbers, or track based on divisions or groups
  • Keep records of all activity, both incoming and outgoing
  • Have access to all data, including incoming call records, fax information, and more
  • Create customer reports
  • Track statistics and be able to provide historical data
  • Create customized reports for team motivation and training

This can be used to improve customer service and increase communication skills, while helping you prepare for the future.

Give You More Flexibility

The world is going mobile. That means both your customers and your employees will be accessing data from anywhere in the world.

By using VoIP, an employee can use their office phone number anywhere, at any time, keeping professionalism in place as they connect with your customer base.

VoIP integrates itself with all major software programs, including email, fax, and even video conferencing. That gives an employee accessibility to do multiple things at the same time, collaborating on a video call while working in Google Documents together for instance. As long as a venue has Internet access, you can use your system from anywhere.

Lower Costs

In many cases, you can bundle together cloud services with VoIP and Internet connectivity, making it a business system you simply can’t live without. And once installed, you’ll find even more uses that can impact the way you make daily decisions, the way you design your daily productivity.

Getting started can be overwhelming if you’re facing these decisions alone. That’s where we can help. We work with businesses just like yours, helping establish the best online services that can make your job easier and more efficient.

How can you function better using VoIP technology?

What Artificial Intelligence Brings To The Office

What Artificial Intelligence Brings To The Office

Whatever technological processes and systems you are learning about today will be all but obsolete in just a few short years. Why? Because technology changes things so quickly, we barely have time to learn about it before it changes once again.

Technology automates processes and increases our capabilities, creating time savings for us that can be applied to more important tasks. Welcome to the world of AI – artificial intelligence. A world that allows machines and humans to work side by side to accomplish far greater things than we could ever do on our own.

But with this change comes the need to manage the process to be able to utilize it in the best way possible. And that falls on you, the person implementing artificial intelligence into your current processes.

Leadership has to be willing to lead by example. They have to be ready to embrace new things, change quickly, and welcome new roles as they come into play. If leadership isn’t willing to do it, employees never will.

For the IT department to thrive, that means management must shift thinking from finding ways for humans to do a job, to finding ways to automate more processes with the use of technology. With this line of restructuring, there will be resistance. People fight back when they see their position being taken over by a machine. It’s important to remind people that jobs are fluid; what they handle today may not be in their job description for tomorrow. Technology takes away repetitious jobs and makes way for people to do more important, more skilled jobs that offer far greater benefits to the overall cause.

Managing AI is different than managing people. Artificial intelligence brings the ability to process vast amounts of information in short periods of time. It creates repetition for the most common processes and accelerates the speed at which we can do things. But it never will take away our ingenuity and creativity, the ability to think outside the box to add newness to every process we create.

Yet taking initiative means learning how to work alongside technology rather than fighting it and making it more difficult than it has to be. That involves learning how systems work, and how to make processes easier by managing the data as it’s produced. Because machines are good at following rules and people are good at breaking them, training employees how to use this data to prevent problems before they occur will be key. Our future jobs will include improving functionality and business performance to do our jobs even better, to help narrow in on problem areas before they occur and create a system that will help us do even better.

The job of the IT department will no longer be limited to purchasing new technology and securing data already in place. It will stretch into implementing and automating procedures and transforming company data to make it work harder, faster and better than ever before. The IT department will have to see the bigger picture, find opportunities in ways of improvement that may never have existed before that moment in time. That takes a lot of training. That takes a lot of skill.

While that may pose challenges in growing a business, it also provides a world of opportunity. As a business, realizing early on that you don’t have to have the appropriate skills on staff to thrive is crucial. There are many ways to reach out into your community and find what you need to further your growth. We can help.

How will you incorporate artificial intelligence into your daily processes?

How To Maintain Security With Telemedicine Employees

How To Maintain Security With Telemedicine Employees

According to the US National Center for Health Statistics, the term “chronic disease” is defined as a disease lasting three months or more. In general, it cannot be prevented by a vaccine, nor cured by medication. It won’t just disappear. Therefore, the only way to live with it is to find ways to alleviate the suffering and make the condition not as severe.

IT security works in much the same manner. No silver bullet will eliminate the need for security altogether. To keep your data safe and secure, it requires ongoing treatment, testing, and re-evaluation, again and again. The goal will never be to remove the problem; instead, it’s about lessening the possibilities and lowering the risk.

In the healthcare industry, things change daily. While in-person patient care has always been the norm, advances in telemedicine are making patient care better and more accessible to all. It helps keep medical costs as low as possible, and can allow medical staff to go where their skills are truly needed the most.

But telemedicine comes with its own costs. Medical privacy and confidentiality issues extend to the telehealth industry. And under HIPAA, telemedicine clinicians have the same responsibility to protect medical records and keep information on treatment confidential. This extends to all files and processes used, including electronic files, images, video and audio recordings. They must be stored with the same guidelines as traditional paper documentation.

If you are incorporating telemedicine practices into your organization, at a minimum you should be:

Conducting annual HIPAA security risk analysis
Think of it as your own annual exam. Many changes take place each year, such as new system requirements, new system integration, IT infrastructure enhancements, organizational reconstruction, and employee turnover. And every time a change takes place, your data is at risk. Annual exams take a picture at a point in time to discover how well you’ve performed over the past year, and where improvements can be made in the coming year.

Encrypting all data on portable devices
Today, everyone has a variety of portable devices they use every day. Telemedicine practitioners will use their own devices. And if they leave them vulnerable and insecure, it puts your entire organization at risk. Over the last six years, loss or theft of unencrypted portable devices has made up over a third of all large breach incidents and put as much as 50 percent of all health data at risk. Requiring all devices that are used to access sensitive data is the first step in keeping data safe.

Running frequent assessments and testing
Hackers sole purpose is to break in, cause havoc, and get the information they are looking for. They don’t stop with one try; they work at it again and again. And because more of our data is being put online all the time, the level of intensity is only going to rise. If you’re not paying attention to the latest technology, the newest risks, and determining if your system has holes and weaknesses, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Frequent assessment and testing is the only way to stay ahead of hazards.

Training your workforce on security awareness
Your employee base stretches beyond those that come to the office every day. Do you have a formal training program for those that work out of their homes? Those that telecommute? Those that see patients via audio and video resources? Engagement is needed at all levels in order to create a secure wall around all sensitive data. And it can come in many forms, from internal training, daily reminders, or visual cues.

Are You Ready For Cognitive Computing In Your Practice?

An amazing thing is happening in the healthcare industry. It’s experiencing an explosion of information, which is bringing about opportunity in many ways.

By 2020, it is estimated that almost half of American adults will have some form of chronic disease. It is also estimated that up to half of all healthcare related encounters will take place virtually.

We’re on a very fast learning curve for both, developing and using technology in new ways. Both patients and the health care systems are in the process of generating millions of data entry points on every device imaginable. Yet technology dies almost as quickly as it is produced, meaning we’re in a constant uphill battle of regenerating and replacing.

Cognitive computing is the next evolution of technology that allows systems to learn and grow as they move forward. It generates insight and advice from existing data that up until this point has widely been ignored. It captures a full range of data from a person’s experiences, organizes it and uses it to maintain and improve health for optimal living.

That means bringing together the right technology, the right data, the right delivery systems, the right analysis, and the right programs to make sure the entire process is managed correctly.

Is your organization ready for cognitive computing?

Is your organization doing everything it can with the data it has?
Right now technology is being created and implemented at warp speed. The volume of clinical, personal and research data available continues to increase at a breathtaking pace. Yet there are many things you can be doing today to allow patients to take more control. Are you using apps and programs? Do you communicate through various means of technology? The more you understand now, the easier it is to integrate in the future.

Do you know the best places to allocate your resources to eliminate waste?
Knowing where you could do better is different than having the ability to accomplish it. Getting each patient just the right care requires a careful balance between prior knowledge base and the hundreds of interactive data points that determine the right path today and in the future. With this in place, it’s the perfect use for cognitive computing. And for learning things you may not know are possible – yet.

How adaptable are you at managing care?
There’s the approach that everything has its place, its checklist, its best way of doing things. Then there’s the approach that things change all the time. With millions of resources, hundreds of opinions, and many approaches to a single problem, the more open you are to accepting change, the more you’ll be ready for cognitive computing. Cognitive computing works best when learning what factors were used to reach decisions, and how they can be interpreted to help make smarter recommendations in the future.

Cognitive computing isn’t an all or nothing approach. The important aspect is in realizing there might be a better way.

Is your organization ready for cognitive computing?

Connected Health and How Digital Is Transforming Health

Connected Health and How Digital Is Transforming Health

Want to know a secret? Your patients are getting most of their medical information from the Internet.

Not really a secret anymore, is it?

But there’s an inherent risk with patients heading online to do research, gaining access to information, then using it to treat their own conditions. The advice is more than likely wrong. And depending on how they use it, it could even be harmful or deadly.

It’s no longer about having access to information; it’s about controlling the information a person uses to make healthy decisions. And as healthcare providers merge technology with what is available to their patients, better decisions can be made by all.

The healthcare playing field is changing rapidly.

  • Smartphone penetration is well above 70 percent of the population and increasing rapidly
  • Top pharma companies increased their production of unique apps by 63 percent last year
  • The number of health apps has more than doubled over the past two years
  • Chronic conditions are on the rise

And with even small amounts of change in the way healthcare operates, we see significant changes in the day to day practice of medicine.

Health care providers can significantly reduce the amount of time spent on paperwork by being connected and using mobile as they move through their days. Which means they have more time to spend with a patient, and on average can see more patients per day.

Patients are turning to mobile for one very important reason: information. They want trustworthy, accurate data. They want something that’s easy to use. And they want security. They aren’t afraid to use mobile, but it better help them make the right decisions and do so in the most secure way.

There is increasing potential to support the shift from “hands on” and “face to face” contacts with digital communication, such as e-visits, e-prescriptions and remote monitoring. Home telehealth can be used effectively across many practices and fields. Ripe for discovery and change are long-term care treatments and therapies, from mental health, to residential and nursing homes, to chronic illnesses.

Yet both sides of the equation – providers and patients – have to be prepared for the outcomes. That means as providers; it’s our job to think and build from the ground up, structuring the most efficient path possible for both internal and external communications. Ask yourself these questions.

  • Why would my patients want or need digital health solutions?
  • Today’s wearables produce a lot of data, how can I harness that for my patients?
  • Are the apps and wearables used today really secure?
  • With tens of thousands of apps available, how do I know which to choose?
  • Who’s liable if anything goes wrong?
  • Who must pay for this technology?
  • How do I know I can trust the data?
  • How do I use this technology to the best of my ability?

The future is coming at us full speed. By staying ahead of the game and finding the very best solutions available today, you’ll be ready for all that is coming tomorrow.