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Editor's e-Note
While it can be argued that health care is slothlike when it comes to keeping pace with other industries, there are cases where it’s pushing boundaries.

For example, despite significant roadblocks—namely those related to reimbursement—telehealth is shaping up to be a game-changer in terms of the relationships between providers and patients.

This month’s E-News Exclusive examines the phenomenon, providing real-life examples of where the technology is making a difference on several fronts.

Lee DeOrio, editor
e-News Exclusive
Live Video Reshaping Patient Encounters
By Delbert L. Arrendale

Until 2016, live video technology had been bulky, expensive, insecure, and often unstable. Most state laws did not reimburse for video encounters between providers and patients. This is changing, as the passage of new “parity” laws authorize Medicaid and private insurance payments at the same rate (parity) as an office visit. More than 40 states have passed parity laws and as a result, use of live video telehealth delivery is poised to explode.

In 1979, experts predicted televideo encounters between patients and their doctors would significantly expand care to underserved rural populations where patients are most in need of wellness, behavioral, and critical care. Live video has not progressed as quickly because of costs, payment, and security concerns. Will Medicaid, Medicare, the private insurance sector, or the patient pay? Is patient health information secure and treated in a HIPAA-compliant manner? Use of non-HIPAA-compliant platforms, such as Skype and Facetime, created concern; poor video connectivity made for negative clinical efficacy.

Recently, entrepreneurs have released affordable, HIPAA-compliant video applications as parity laws are passed state by state. Until recently, video within an EHR—or on premise, site-to-site video conferencing—was so costly that only the biggest EHR companies or the most exclusive health delivery systems could afford to add integrated video to their continuum of care.

Full Story »
HFMA 2018 Conference Shines Amid Year of Unpredictability
By Beth Friedman

Irregular weather patterns. Unstable insurance exchanges. Capricious presidential tweets. 2018 has been quite an unpredictable year. Amid all the turbulence, the recent Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) 2018 Annual Conference stood strong and lived up to its reputation for educational excellence. The keynote speakers inspired, the breakout sessions informed, and the exhibit hall entertained.

This year’s event was held June 24–27 at the Venetian-Palazzo Sands Expo in Las Vegas. Key themes included collaboration, innovation, and performance. Kevin Brennan, FHFMA, CPA, chair of HFMA’s 2018–2019 board of directors, encouraged attendees to resist the fear of failure and create new business models for optimal revenue cycle efficiency and effectiveness.

Brennan emphasized the need for collaboration, new tools, and changes to existing workflows as key ways to improve performance. He called for greater collaboration with other departments, providers, payers, consumers, and the government. New health care bridges were also being built in the exhibit hall where hundreds of revenue cycle vendors touted technology and services to improve patient satisfaction, payer relationships, and clinical partnerships.

Read more »
AHDI Preview
AHDI Conference to Celebrate 40th Anniversary in Orlando
By Emily Senesac

The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) Annual Conference will be held from August 16–18 in Orlando, Florida. The conference is located just outside of SeaWorld and is only a few minutes from many other renowned attractions in the Central Florida area. For instance, conference attendees will have the opportunity to purchase special AHDI-discounted tickets to Disney World, with a variety of options and parks to visit.

This year’s conference, with the theme “Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Present, Shaping the Future,” is designed to bring together a diverse group of health care professionals, including medical transcriptionists, educators, clinical documentation improvement specialists, transcription platform vendors, and more. Thursday night’s Welcome Reception, inviting guests to “Wear Red” in honor of AHDI’s 40th anniversary conference, offers attendees the chance to network with other professionals within the health care field. AHDI members can also get together on Friday night to see Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando Resort, with advance ticket purchasing options available online.

Read more »
Products & Services
Partnership to Incorporate 3D Presentation Into EHR Applications
Health Level Seven International (HL7), the global authority for interoperability in HIT, and Web3D Consortium (Web3D), an international organization for the delivery and integration of 3D standards between applications and web services, have partnered to cooperatively build cohesive standards to support web-based 3D visualization of health data. HL7 and Web3D standards complement each other, each addressing different problems to meet the needs of data management, visualization, and analysis of health data. This Statement of Understanding enables HL7 and Web3D members to collaborate across their respective Working Group development activities and vote on ballot items.

The goal is to integrate Web3D’s Extensible 3D and Humanoid Animation standards within the HL7 framework to improve the 3D visualization and archiving of health data. The purpose of this partnership is to improve the interchange of health data and 3D Web portrayal services to support both patient and provider in the health care industry. Learn more about HL7 and Web3D

AHDPG Announces Availability of Medical Scribe Specialty Training Series
The American Healthcare Documentation Professionals Group (AHDPG) announces the launch of two new medical scribe specialty training courses: Medical Scribe Training for Cardiology and Medical Scribe Training for Dermatology. These are the first two courses in what will be a series of approximately 15 to 17 courses in AHDPG’s Medical Scribe Specialty Training Series. These courses are designed for practicing medical scribes and/or graduates of AHDPG’s Medical Scribe Professional or Medical Scribe for Practicing Allied Health Professionals training programs.

Each specialty-specific course trains each scribe candidate in the areas of anatomy and physiology, diseases, terminology and abbreviations, medications, procedures, billing/coding requirements, and charting. Each course is online and self-paced with instructor feedback and assistance as needed, includes approximately 20 hours of instruction, and is designed to be completed in less than 30 days. The price for each training course is $295; quantity discounts are available to organizations looking to enroll 10 or more scribe candidates in each medical scribe specialty course. Learn more »
In this e-Newsletter
Recently in For The Record
Value-Based Payment Model Faces Familiar Barriers
Apparently, interoperability woes have no bounds, threatening even the industry’s transition to value-based care. Read more »

Joint Maneuvers
Adroitness and flexibility—plus a hefty knowledge of anatomy—can help coders master the nuances of shoulder and knee procedures. Read more »

Deidentification Done Right
The growing use of artificial intelligence has some industry experts questioning whether HIPAA needs to be adjusted. Read more »

Informatics Takes Off
The discipline continues to rise to the forefront of health care operations. Read more »
Other News
Epic Systems Buys Ella’s Carousel and Collection of Whimsical Art and Toys
The décor of a recently closed Madison restaurant, including a historic carousel, will find a new home at Epic’s campus, reports the Wisconsin State Journal.

Cass Regional Ransomware Attack Leads to MEDITECH EHR Downtime
A Missouri-based medical center’s EHR is down as a precaution until a ransomware attack is resolved, according to EHR Intelligence.
Industry Insight
High User ‘Star Ratings’ Don’t Mean a Mobile Medical App Works

By screening 250 user reviews and comments for a once-popular—but proven inaccurate—mobile app claiming to change your iPhone into a blood pressure monitor, Johns Hopkins researchers have added to evidence that a high “star rating” doesn’t necessarily reflect medical accuracy or value.

Their analysis found that even the presence of app disclaimers warning users not to rely on the app for medical monitoring, diagnosis, or treatment effectiveness failed to uniformly dissuade people from doing so or stop health care professionals from recommending the app. That app, Instant Blood Pressure, made by AuraLife, was withdrawn from the market in July 2015.

“People tend to trust user reviews when shopping online and use them to decide which products to purchase, but that doesn’t cut it for medical apps,” says study author Timothy Plante, MD, MHS, a former fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and current assistant professor of medicine in the Larner College of Medicine at the at University of Vermont. “There are certain thresholds of accuracy that need to be maintained, and a five-star rating doesn’t replace clinical validation studies and FDA review.”

The researchers say that unregulated mobile health app use could give people a false sense of security, which could lead to dire health consequences.

Read more »
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