Home  |   Subscribe  |   Resources  |   Reprints  |   Writers' Guidelines

Industry Insight

Physician Satisfaction With EMRs Declines

Press Ganey Associates’ “2009 Hospital Pulse Report: Physician Perspectives on American Hospitals” found physicians’ satisfaction with EMRs is decreasing. Many physicians actually consider this increasingly common technology to be time consuming and fear it may compromise patient safety. The report also finds that, for the third year in a row, physicians’ No. 1 issue is a gap in the physician-administration relationship. Physicians continue to report a need for better communication between administrators and medical staff.

“Many, if not most, hospitals are just now implementing EMRs that the physicians have to use for order entry or to access information,” says Christina Dempsey, RN, MBA, CNOR, senior vice president for PatientFlow at Press Ganey Associates. “The lower satisfaction may indeed simply be the learning curve associated with this new tool and may improve as physicians become more accustomed to the technology and the technology is updated and adapted to meet physicians’ concerns.”

The report examines the experiences of 27,328 physicians practicing at nearly 300 hospitals and facilities across the country. Other significant findings from the report include the following:

Findings have shown physician satisfaction levels improve when hospitals put targeted programs in place, such as a monthly newsletter from the CEO to physicians, a 1-800 number for physicians to call with concerns (and a 48-hour return call guarantee), and a commitment to take simple steps such as including physicians in communication regarding hospital finances.

— Source: Press Ganey Associates, Inc


Security Tips for Protecting Sensitive Patient Data

SecureWorks, Inc, a provider of information security services, has outlined a set of guidelines to help the healthcare industry protect sensitive patient data from cyber attacks and other data breaches. SecureWorks expects these solutions will also assist healthcare organizations in demonstrating their adherence to the requirements outlined in the HITECH Act.

SecureWorks’ recommended information security guidelines include the following:

— Source: SecureWorks, Inc


Alabama Rural Health Institute Receives Telemedicine Grant

The University of Alabama’s Rural Health Institute for Clinical and Translational Science has received funding from the USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program to expand telemedicine efforts in rural Alabama.

The Rural Health Institute was awarded $99,800 for one year and was one of 191 applications that competed for funding. The institute is part of the University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences and conducts research to improve health in rural Alabama.

Through the grant, the Rural Health Institute will assist the college in increasing the availability of clinical telemedicine in rural areas in Alabama, especially in regard to psychiatry and obstetrical services. The project will also enable medical students and residents to learn more about telemedicine and its application in rural areas, according to John C. Higginbotham, PhD, the institute’s director who also serves as the college’s associate dean for research and health policy.

The college provides telepsychiatry services to rural mental health centers in west Alabama. Through a program with the West Alabama Mental Health Center in Demopolis, mental health centers in that city and in five surrounding counties are directly linked to psychiatrists at University Medical Center, which the college operates.

The USDA grant will enable the college to purchase more cameras, monitors, and other special digital equipment and add four more rural primary care clinics to its telemedicine efforts, Higginbotham says.

— Source: University of Alabama


Air Force Awards Coding Contract to HCRS

HealthCare Resolution Services, Inc (HCRS), a provider of program integrity support, HIT services, and professional medical and technical staffing services, announced that it has been awarded a contract with the U.S. Air Force’s Commodities Council to support the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) with medical records coding and analysis, auditing, and provider training. The multiple-award contract has a performance period of one base year and two option years and is valued at $7.9 million if all options are exercised.

HCRS has worked with the AETC, the Air Force’s primary provider of air, space, and cyberspace education and training since 2002 to support data quality efforts for outpatient, inpatient, ambulatory procedures and emergency department services. Under this contract, HCRS will code and validate approximately 360,000 medical records annually at 13 AETC medical treatment facilities, ensuring their accuracy and the viability of their EHRs.

HCRS will continue to analyze and audit the coding data to identify trends and will now also focus on conducting documentation training for physicians and clinical staff. Ultimately, the data analysis and provider training will help AETC staff better utilize EHRs and ultimately provide improved care to patients.

— Source: HealthCare Resolution Services, Inc