Archive for August, 2013

There are several trends to monitor closely when working with organizations in the areas of health and wellness. Patterns emerge from data that can steer organizations’ priorities when it comes to their population’s health; paying attention to these patterns is what will ensure success for both the organization and the people who rely on them. According to Mark Emkjer, there are four of these wellness trends that are particularly important for the ever-changing realm of population health management. Here is what he recommends focusing on:

  1. Incentives – Recent health reform has changed incentives for programs that reach specific health outcome goals. The government has finalized regulations on the highest amount of rewards that employers can give starting in 2014 based on wellness programs. The maximum reward has been raised to 30 percent of the total cost of coverage for health-dependent wellness programs and 50 percent for programs targeting smoking cessation.
  2. Transparency – The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will make a few routine services for preventative care mandatory. Because of this, patients need to be more aware of the pricing of the procedures before hand to make a true informed decision. Wellness should include education and information along with quality of health.
  3. Condition Management – About 15 percent of the population that is currently employed has or will have a chronic condition. This section will produce 75-80 percent of the health care costs, according to WebMD Health Service’s data.
  4. ROI – Return on Investment is very important, even to wellness based businesses. Two types of ROI’s are emerging: claims based and risk based assessments. This is taking place of just basing success on participation rates.

Front-line staff, administrators and practitioners can be excellent brand ambassadors to a practice or health system. When facilities are searching for avenues to increase social interaction, employees can be the most apt and effective audience. Here are examples of health systems using their employees in marketing and advertising campaigns:

  1. Tennova’s Rebranding Campaign. Created in 2011 when Health Management Associates (HMA) bought Knoxville, TN–based Mercy Health Partners, this six-hospital system was renamed Tennova. But, instead of just announcing the new name with a press release, HMA used it as an opportunity to kick off a full-scale branding multimedia branding campaign that featured physicians, chaplains, and volunteers in its ads.
  2. P4 Health at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. This campaign, launched at the end of 2012, was aimed at “4 P’s” of health and wellness: Predictive, Preventative, Personalized, and Participatory, hence the name, P4 Health.
  3. Advocate Sherman Hospital’s Heart Healthy Facebook campaign. To celebrate American Heart Month this past February, Sherman Hospital (formerly Sherman Health Systems) launched a daily heart health tip.

Read more about each example at:


With technology continuing to advance on a daily basis, it may be time for your practice to begin the transition to Electronic Medical Records.  Although it may be somewhat difficult to convince every member of the practice of the importance of this conversion, we will now present 8 tips for increasing EMR adoption.

1.)           Study and Minimize the workflow impact:  Gain an estimation of the daily workflow at your practice to allow for customized how you can efficiently implement the shift to EMR.  This will minimize the disruption and give you areas that can receive immediate upgrade.

2.)           Deploy in phases and find advocates:  Instead of trying to accomplish the tasks all at the same time, possibly causing the practice to temporarily close and loos revenue and patient satisfaction, conduct the transition in chunks that will allow continued operation of the business.  In addition, you should identify those in the practice that believe in the success of the transition and allow them to be your advocate for the transition.

3.)           Use physicians to train physicians:  Who better to train those who will be using the new  systems than those who speak the same “language?”  Often that best person to train someone  else is a person who understands the workflow, causes, needs, and desires of the individual being trained.  Also, consider a small training environment that allows for better understanding and more intimate learning.

4.)           Eliminate password problems with single sign-on:  Every application that relates to privacy requires a password.  It can be a daunting and unnecessary challenge to remember all of these passwords.  This can be a solution that the IT department or professional can arrange that allows all programs, applications, and tools to be unlocked at the same time with one username  and one password.  This is not only easier than the constant call to IT when a password is   forgotten but also an efficient way to access the applications necessary to continue the workflow.

5.)           Simplify authentication and online signing with No Click Access:  Due to HIPAA security and compliance regulations, it is important to remember that passwords can be easily compromised and this should be considered when aiming to keep sensitive patient information secure.  Consider applying some form of biometric or other physical measures to prevent fraudulent  access to the EMR.  Some examples may include fingerprint biometrics and passive proximity badges. 

6.)           Simplify re-authentication for E-prescribing and CPOE:  Stage 1 Meaningful Use objectives  include requirements that physicians re-authenticate with the application when executing electronic prescriptions or ordering medications using CPOE. Offering the same, No Click Access described above for re-authentication reduces the burden of this requirement for physicians.

7.)           Automate logoffs from shared workstations – Secure patient data:  When we consider how busy our practices can be at times, it is sometimes difficult to ensure that each shared workstation is logged off each time it has been used.  Providing an automatic logoff at designated time-out periods can dramatically reduce the potential for unauthorized access.

8.)           Support clinician roaming with a virtual desktop:  This tip would allow a physician to be working with a patient record on one terminal, logoff, and pick up where they left off on another terminal without having to reload data.  This is an efficiency solution that allows us to remain focused on the task we are performing. 

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