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Healthcare Data in 2017

IT executives in healthcare face an expanding array of challenges in 2017 as the industry takes initial steps away from transactional-based, fee-for-service models and toward reimbursements tied to measures of value and quality. The clock has started ticking on Medicare reform’s implementation, with provider performance data gathered this year providing the basis for physician payments in 2019.

“To succeed in the value-based environment, health systems need to invest heavily in technology,” reports the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

The following areas should see significant impact.

IT as a key enabler

Healthcare organizations are recognizing IT’s mission-critical role in ensuring continuous high availability of systems and support of operational commitments, according to the 2016 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey. Fifty-two percent of healthcare CIOs expect their IT budget to increase over the next 12 months, compared to 45 percent across all industries. The boards of healthcare companies also place a higher priority than their counterparts in other industries on increasing operational efficiencies, improving business processes and delivering business intelligence/ analytics. Additionally, the report finds that “cloud and other collaborative digital technology enhancements have improved health IT access, scalability, reliability and sustainability.”

Interoperability essentials

Healthcare CIOs are enthusiastic about the transition to value-based models of care, but they admit it will be a tough task to actually implement population health management programs that can pull data from multiple organizations and analyze that information with a predictive component. Interoperability of data and technology will be an essential lever in making population health and wellness a reality. “Continuity-of-care documents, electronic health records (EHRs) and other types of data must all come together in an organized, orderly marriage,” observes Transcend Insights, Humana’s population health subsidiary. “A health information exchange for data and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) for application interfacing [will be] the easiest route forward.”

Interoperability also tops the list of EHR development projects slated for 2017, according to a Healthcare IT News survey of health technology executives. Specifically, respondents say top EHR projects will be geared toward improving interoperability, workflow and usability, as well as adding population health tools and migrating to the cloud. “EHRs were put in basically as dumb data communication systems without emphasis on exchange and workflow,” explains John Halamka, MD, CIO at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess health system. “But because of payment reform, we have incentives to do data exchange. Different things are bubbling to the top.”

Opportunity in digital health

Digital health tools such as health-related apps, activity trackers and smart watches have the potential to help consumers become more engaged in their own health. Unfortunately, that’s not happening yet. For instance, 75 percent of consumers who use mobile or Internet-connected health apps are willing to share the data they collect with their provider; however, only 32 percent say that type of exchange actually takes place, according to a digital health survey conducted by HealthMine. Additionally, 60 percent of digital health users say they have electronic health records, but only 22 percent use them to make medical decisions. HealthMine CEO Bryce Williams says, “Digital health is still crossing the chasm from lifestyle and fitness management to chronic disease and holistic healthcare management.” Williams looks for that gap to close during 2017 as health plan sponsors apply collected consumer health data to gain insights and manage populations toward improved health.

Tamper-proof technology

On December 12, Quest Diagnostics revealed that an unauthorized party obtained protected health information of approximately 34,000 individuals via an Internet application. Accessed data included names, dates of birth and lab results — but not Social Security numbers or credit card, insurance or other financial information. As such, it was a relatively mild intrusion measured against other data breaches during 2016. In comparison, a hacking of health insurer Anthem compromised tens of millions of patient records, all of which were stored unencrypted in a centralized database. In a New York Times op-ed, cybercrime expert Kathryn Haun and healthcare futurist Eric Topol call for a move away from health systems “storing and owning all our data.” They advocate for an encrypted data platform known as blockchain, which would “give patients digital wallets containing all their medical data, continually updated, that they can share at will.” The co-authors note that the private and academic sectors are working on the emerging technology.

Data in motion

Girish Pancha, CEO and founder of data flow management company StreamSets, views data as “the final frontier in the quest for continuous IT operations.” Pancha predicts 2017 will bring recognition of data management “as a living, breathing operation that must run reliably and automatically on a continuous basis” — on par with how IT oversees applications, networks and security. Organizations will need to analyze potential changes to their processes, tooling and structure to ensure the availability and accuracy of data in motion, he adds.

All told, it will be an eventful year with healthcare organizations planning for important challenges in their respective data and integration environments. NetDirector stands ready to assist with its proven cloud-based HealthData Exchange, which moves clinical records between providers and all trading partners in their ecosystem.

For more information, please contact us or request a free demo.

Healthcare Year in Review: The Data Perspective

As 2016 comes to a close, major developments in health information technology reveal continuing storylines for the year to come. Here’s a brief overview of progress made and ongoing opportunities for health information exchange to surmount pending challenges.

Value-based care

Medicare and commercial insurers are moving quickly toward valued-based payment models, leaving fee-for-service behind. Nonetheless, the implementation of supporting technology remains a work in progress. The 2016 HIMSS Cost Accounting Survey reveals that about half of healthcare provider organizations participate in some type of alternative payment model, but only 3 percent believe they are highly prepared to make the pay-for-value transition. “It will be critical that the industry reaches some level of consistency in terms of how providers should manage the exchange of clinical and financial information between all parties involved in an episode of care, regardless of whether they are part of the same healthcare delivery system,” explains Pam Jodock, HIMSS’ senior director of health business solutions.

Legislation

On December 13, President Obama signed into law the broad-reaching 21st Century Cures Act, which makes significant investments aimed at solving some of the nation’s biggest health challenges. Among its many varied provisions, the Cures Act seeks to improve health IT interoperability by promoting complete access, exchange and use of all electronically accessible health information for authorized use under applicable state or federal law. The legislation puts a priority  — and calls for a Government Accountability Office study — on patient-matching technology that would accurately identify patients for electronic exchange of health information among providers.

Cloud computing

The shared-resources, data-on-demand model known as cloud computing continues to evolve as a trusted healthcare technology core component “underpinning the continued development of electronic health records and big data analytics,” reports HIT Infrastructure. This aligns with increased use of software-as-a-service offerings in areas such as clinical data systems and technical support desks as organizations look to lower costs and improve overall operations, according to research firm Gartner. Cloud security and compliance concerns remain in play, however, especially in the handling of health data and protected health information.

Data sharing

Data is seemly everywhere these days, continually growing, with much of it available to be shared. Despite concerns about the privacy and security of health data, 77 percent of respondents to Rock Health’s 2016 Digital Health Consumer Adoption Report are interested in sharing their health information — especially to get better care from their doctor. Among those surveyed, 79 percent said they would divulge their health history, physical activity (76 percent) and genetic data (64 percent) with a physician. On the flip side, in regard to accessing health information, it matters most to those in poor health. Twenty-eight percent of respondents who self-rated their health status as poor or bad highly desired an electronic copy of their health records, while only 19 percent of those in good health were as interested.

Behavioral health and special care innovation

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects treatment spending on mental and substance use disorders will total $280 billion in 2020. Including individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and those who require long-term services and support because of chronic medical conditions or physical disabilities, more than 35 percent of U.S. annual healthcare expenditures flow toward care for groups that constitute less than 20 percent of the population. Efforts to understand population health risks and intervene with preventive care models that reduce costs and improve care have started to gain traction, reports CIO. In one such initiative, Quest Diagnostics is working with University of California San Francisco to tap a database of 20 billion lab test records, combined with a five-minute cognitive assessment, for early detection and treatment of dementia.

NetDirector’s cloud-based HealthData Exchange comes into play in many areas of the developments that have shaped health IT during 2016. The service not only facilitates EHR integration and streamlines clinical workflow and communications with the extended provider community, but also complements existing IT investments.

For more information, please contact us or request a free demo.

New Transaction Type: Invoice Status Request/Response

Transaction Spotlight: Fees and Costs Request

Additional Events for a Variety of Servicers

HealthCare Cloud Computing Before It Was Cool

Like its atmospheric modifier, cloud computing comes together in boundless shapes and sizes. Some say it’s a simple feat — accessing and storing data and programs over the Internet instead of on a hard drive — but a mind-boggling combination of data processing, synchronization, communication, and protection takes place beyond the individual user’s confines.

In any case, it’s big business, with public cloud companies projected to stake out an estimated $500 billion in market cap by 2020. “The depth and breadth of cloud progress is pretty shocking,” investor Byron Deeter of Bessemer Venture Partners told Forbes.

That’s a long way from the roots of the dot-com era, when Application Server Providers (ASPs) connected people via the Web to software hosted in offsite data centers, and thereby offered businesses a viable alternative to buying hardware and hiring people to manage it. Still, the drawbacks at the time — sluggish connections and sky-high ASP operations costs — kept traditionally late-adopter industries like healthcare mostly on the ground rather than in the cloud.

Healthcare’s ascent

As recently as 2014 only about 22 percent of healthcare organizations surveyed by HIMSS Analytics were planning to use cloud computing for back-office functions. In 2016, nearly 47 percent of respondents have cloud usage in their back-office plans. The same holds true for business continuity/ disaster recovery functions and health information exchange: the former rising from 31 percent in 2014 to 47 percent in 2016, and the latter from 20 to 41 percent.

“In 2014, the cloud was primarily seen as a model that could support HIE and data storage, whereas, in 2016, it is being leveraged for a full range of functions including patient empowerment,” according to the survey report.

Indeed, healthcare entities cite the following factors (in order of importance) in their move to the cloud:

  • Cost savings
  • More complete disaster recovery capabilities
  • More scalability for internal requirements
  • Speed of deployment
  • Improved user access to applications
  • Plans to scale information and virtual care to patients
  • Freeing up internal storage/compute cycles
  • Accommodation of mobile workforce
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Accessibility to compute cycles

Another way to say it is that core health IT components, such as electronic health record (EHR) systems, cannot be at risk for downtime with vital patient care considerations hanging in the balance. With technologies coalescing in the background, tens of thousands of EHR users across multiple vendor platforms now use the cloud daily with complete trust.

Additional “hot spot” cloud applications in healthcare continue to emerge in the areas of telemedicine, medical imaging, public health and patient self-management, hospital management, therapeutic interventions, and secondary use of data for analysis and clinical research.

In response, cloud service providers “need to ensure uptime and performance, deliver on compliance and service level agreements, and offer reliable technical support,” the HIMSS Analytics report states.

NetDirector, one of the originators of the cloud-based integration platform, has built its healthcare business by ensuring the movement of clinical records between providers, helping them achieve a safer and more efficient level of care. The company’s HealthData Exchange combines cloud-based technology with world-class security levels to enhance workflow — which, in turn, allows providers to focus on patient care.

Learn more about the further emergence of cloud-based healthcare data integration or request a free demo.

 

 

NetDirector makes Inc. 5000 for 6th Consecutive Year

TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — NetDirector, a leading cloud-based integration and data exchange provider, has been named as a member of the prestigious Inc. 5000 list for the 6th consecutive year, a recipient of the GrowFL “Companies to Watch” award, and a member of the Gulf Coast 500 by Business Observer FL.

Companies like NetDirector that are included on the Inc. 5000 list are among the top companies in the nation, having demonstrated the highest growth in revenue over the last three years. The companies with the highest percentage growth and who meet the other qualifications are then published by Inc. as the Inc. 5000. It is an honor for NetDirector to be included in this list for the 6th consecutive year. With only 4.6 percent of the companies on this year’s list making it on for six consecutive years, it is a very rare accomplishment. NetDirector intends to continue the trend in the coming years with their expansion of integration offerings in the healthcare market.

Florida Companies to WatchSM chooses the 50 companies statewide that are expected to see significant growth over the next several years. NetDirector was among more than 500 nominees for Florida Companies to WatchSM, which is a statewide program managed by economic development group GrowFL, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation. This is the first year NetDirector has been named as one of the Florida Companies to WatchSM.

The Gulf Coast 500, published by Business Observer FL, is awarded to the Top 500 ranked companies in nine counties along the gulf coast, as decided by total revenue. NetDirector earned a spot in the Gulf Coast 500 for the fourth consecutive year thanks to their steadily increasing client base and revenue.

By linking disparate systems with “plug-and-play” style connectivity, NetDirector eases the operations of companies in the mortgage banking and healthcare industries by allowing data to flow seamlessly from one party to another. Maintaining security and data integrity has been another key focus of NetDirector from the beginning. GrowFL, Business Observer FL, and Inc. recognize the importance of these key factors in today’s evolving mortgage and healthcare technology environments.

“To be included on these lists and receive these awards really tells us that we’re doing things right,” said NetDirector CEO Harry Beisswenger. “NetDirector is committed to the success of a variety of organizations in healthcare and mortgage banking, and we know the secret to that lies with seamless integration workflow.  We owe all of our achievements to the NetDirector team, our customers, and our strategic partners/vendors.”

For more information on connecting to NetDirector’s ecosystem contact us at 813-749-7131 or info@netdirector.biz to explore how NetDirector fits in your organization.

On the Road to Connected Healthcare & Interoperability

Key measures of healthcare interoperability — electronically sending, receiving and finding clinical information — grew significantly between 2014 and 2015, the most recent period studied by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

An ONC Data Brief, published in May 2016 based on American Hospital Association survey data, reveals a marked upswing in interoperable exchange activity among U.S non-federal acute care hospitals. The ability to electronically send clinical information reached 85 percent in 2015, up 7 percent from the prior year, while receipt of such information jumped to 65 percent, a 9 percent increase over 2014. Fifty-two (52) percent of surveyed hospitals said they could electronically find clinical information in 2015, a 4 percent bump from 2014.

In practical terms, 82 percent of surveyed hospitals said they could electronically exchange lab results, radiology reports, clinical care summaries or medication lists with ambulatory providers or hospitals outside their organization in 2015, up 6 percent from 2014 and 20 percent higher than in 2013.

However, rates of integrating clinical information did not significantly change during the study period, with only about 4 in 10 hospitals able to incorporate data from outside sources into their electronic health records (EHRs) without manual entry. Most commonly, hospitals said they did not use patient health information received electronically from outside providers because such information was not available to view in their EHR as part of clinicians’ workflow. Another sizable segment reported difficulty in integrating the information in the EHR.

Overall, about half of surveyed hospitals reported that their providers “often” or “sometimes” used information electronically received from outside sources when treating patients.

ONC expects increases in the interoperable exchange and use of health information from outside sources, according to the data brief. In 2015, significantly fewer hospitals reported exchange partners’ lacking EHR systems or systems without the capability to receive data as barriers to interoperable exchange, the data brief notes.

“Our chapter ahead is to bring it all together to make it usable and actionable for everybody who wants it,” said ONC’s National Coordination Karen DeSalvo, MD, during the agency’s annual meeting at the end of May. “The people of this country are ready for electronic health information to be available when and where it matters to them.”

At the moment, hospitals that engage in all core domains of interoperability have necessary patient information electronically available from outside sources and providers at about twice the national average, ONC’s report states.

The policy and technical actions needed to enable ubiquitous interoperability by the end of 2018, as outlined by ONC’s Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap, should address current barriers between hospitals and their electronic trading partners, according to the agency.

NetDirector’s healthcare strategy aligns with ONC’s interoperability objectives and direction. The cloud-based HealthData Exchange enables hospitals and physicians to reduce the time, cost and effort needed to achieve EHR integration. The technology streamlines clinical workflow and communications with the extended provider community while supporting automated processes for paper-based processes in transition to full electronic connectivity.

For more information, contact NetDirector or request a free demo.

 

Improving Data Usage in the Healthcare Environment

HealthcareDataUsage2016At University of Colorado Health (UCHealth), continuous process improvement relies upon effective data usage and integration with the enterprise EHR system. Over the past year, UCHealth has leveraged data science to significantly improve resource utilization in cancer treatment. Now the health system is taking a comparable approach to operating room (OR) scheduling in a project that will roll out through the latter part of next year.

At a cancer treatment infusion facility, UCHealth optimizes scheduling to “level load” patients throughout the day and maximize chair usage. Daily reports, shared during staff huddles, indicate where unexpected patients can be added and when to expect peak loads. Additional performance reports include historic data and highlight areas for further improvement.

This merging of Lean production practices with data analytics has yielded 15 percent lower waiting times for cancer treatment patients — 33 percent lower at peak hours — amid a 16 percent increase in patient volume. What’s more, staff overtime dropped by 28 percent due to optimized scheduling.

The OR project will similarly mine data to maximize surgical resources across five hospitals.

And the forward thrust will lead to new opportunities, according to CIO Steve Hess: “So, inpatient is the natural next place to go after OR. But don’t stop there, think about radiology and imaging, think about lab tests, pharmacy needs, ambulatory clinics … Frankly, the canvas is blank in terms of what you can do with machine learning combined with process improvement philosophies.”

Areas of improvement

Sue Schade, recently identified as one of the “most powerful women in healthcare IT” by Health Data Management and currently interim CIO at University Hospitals in Cleveland, is a strong believer in “visual management” techniques that can help identify systems’ priorities. Her Lean-rooted philosophy takes aim at areas such as reducing cycle times, eliminating preventable incidents, decreasing variation, and increasing coordination and communication between teams.

Data derived from tracking systems helps hospital leadership zero in on the causes of major incidents to prevent reoccurrence and provides performance metrics that can be shared across departments.

Schade quotes from the book The Lean IT Field Guide, “If a picture is worth a thousand words, information made visible in the workplace is priceless.”

Simplifying healthcare data integration

However promising any improvement strategy may be, it would not be possible without properly formatted and integrated data. NetDirector’s HealthData Exchange meets this challenge by moving clinical and financial data among disparate systems within the healthcare ecosystem.

HealthData Exchange uses a “map once, use many” method — as opposed to custom point-to-point interfaces — to enable the sending and receiving of data to/from all of an organization’s providers and vendors. Connected hospitals and physician practices instantly have access to dozens (and potentially hundreds) of providers and vendors through pre-defined integrations.

And because it’s built and optimized for cloud deployment, HealthData Exchange incorporates redundancy and security at every level. The network currently processes more than 10 million data and document transactions per month, while enabling individual users with the means to proactively monitor all connections.

For more information, contact NetDirector or request a free demo.

NetExtract – DeedExtract Spotlight/Updates

NetDirector_NetExtract_Transparent1Learn More about NetExtract Services

NetExtract is a service provided by NetDirector which processes various incoming documents to extract predefined data. The basic service under NetExtract is to extract the legal description from a deed or mortgage. The data is then provided back to the submitter in an XML document which allows for an easy import into your case management system.

We’ve also made some recent improvements to our Referral Extraction – this is a process that extracts and manipulates referral data from the Bank of America MFR spreadsheets.   We have found several of our clients looking for ways to incorporate this data seamlessly into their processing and now NetDirector’s NetExtract Suite has a way to do that.

Additionally, we offer a service called DeedExtract which includes additional fields from the deed/mortgage as well as the legal description.   Fields of a document that can be scanned and included via DeedExtract include, but are not limited to:

  • County
  • Borrower Names
  • Original Lender
  • Loan Date
  • Deed Book, Page
  • Original Amount
  • Property Address
  • Rank, Trustee, Recorded Date, Parcel ID, MIN
  • and many more…

The NetExtract services have a same-day response time if submitted before 3 PM EST.   All of these services utilize OCR technology to extract information from the mortgage documents or the deed, including handwritten information! This requires no additional hardware or software on the firm’s part.  In addition, NetExtract and Deed Extract include a human audit on 100% of data generated.

Take a look at some featured examples and screenshots below:

Invoice Integration 1

This is the scan of the original document we used for our example.

Invoice Integration 2

Here is a quick look at some of the field information pulled from the scanned document via OCR – you can see the fields have been labeled and tied to data labels.

Invoice Integration 3

An example of the long-form text typically included in a deed, like the legal description of the property.

For more information  and to schedule a free demo, please fill out our contact us form or call your integration analyst.