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Industry Insight

NEMT President Named AHDI Advocate of the Year

Linda Allard, president of the Maine-based medical transcription firm NEMT, won the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity’s (ADHI) prestigious Advocate of the Year award.

The industry’s top advocacy award recognizes an individual for outstanding efforts in the advancement of the health care documentation profession. CEO and owner Linda Sullivan was on hand at AHDI’s national convention in Las Vegas where the award was announced.

“We’re extremely proud of Linda and her efforts on behalf of the industry,” Sullivan said. “She works tirelessly to promote awareness of clinical documentation issues, information security, and education. We’re very pleased that AHDI has recognized her value to the industry.”

Allard’s passion and goal is creating job opportunities for others and ensuring those opportunities are fair and beneficial. Allard has been a supporter of the industry since 1987. She has contributed to many advocacy-related projects, including lobbying Congress on behalf of the industry, teaching, participating on an advisory board, presenting credit-worthy continuing education sessions, publishing papers and other works on HIPAA, initiating a voice recognition training program for students, and creating an externship program for clinical documentation students.

— Source: NEMT


Education Through Simulation Shown to Improve Outcomes

The use of simulation techniques, including lifelike mannequins and computer systems, in medical education results in improved patient care and better outcomes, according to a study led by William C. McGaghie, PhD, director of the Ralph P. Leischner Jr, MD, Institute for Medical Education at Loyola University Chicago, health sciences division.

McGaghie and colleagues analyzed 23 medical education studies that measured the effects of simulation-based mastery learning. A qualitative synthesis of these studies found that simulation-based mastery learning improved outcomes in four areas: the educational laboratory, patient care practices, patient outcomes, and collateral effects such as reduced health care costs.

Simulation-based mastery learning “is a powerful educational model that improves clinical skills and has important downstream effects on health and society,” McGaghie and colleagues report in Medical Education.

Simulation-based medical education involves devices, trained personnel, lifelike virtual environments, and contrived social situations that mimic real-life professional encounters. Simulations include task trainers, mannequins, multimedia computer systems, and standardized patients who are trained to portray actual patients’ physical symptoms and behaviors.

McGaghie and colleagues performed a qualitative synthesis of 23 simulation-based mastery learning studies published between 2006 and 2013. These studies examined the impact of simulation-based mastery learning on clinical skills, including management of ICU patients on ventilators, catheter insertion, lumbar puncture (spinal tap), laparoscopic surgery, and communicating with a chronically ill patient about care goals. Outcomes included improved procedural and communication skills in simulated settings and the bedside, reduction in complications, shortened hospital stay, fewer blood transfusions, fewer ICU admissions, improved quality of surgical care, reduced catheter-associated bloodstream infections, and reduced health care costs.

“Simulation-based mastery learning is beginning to produce strong and lasting educational effects when it is implemented, managed, and evaluated with thought and rigor,” McGaghie and colleagues wrote. “We believe the mastery model, with or without simulation technology, holds great promise to help medical learners to acquire and maintain a broad array of technical, professional, and interpersonal skills and competencies. Continued research is needed to endorse or refute this assertion.”

The authors added that implementing simulation-based mastery learning as a new paradigm will not be easy. Educational inertia, conventional thinking, financial disincentives, and adherence to time-based education schedules are barriers that must be breached before simulation-based mastery learning can be adopted in medical education. But these barriers can be overcome, they wrote: “We cannot continue to educate 21st century doctors using 19th century technologies.”

— Source: Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine


AOD Software Acquires Stratis

AOD Software, an integrated software solution provider, recently announced its acquisition of Stratis Business Systems, a provider of home health and home care cloud-based software, increasing clinical and financial efficiencies across the spectrum of care.

By combining, these technology providers are primed to address a growing need for a combined senior care and home care solution. According to a December 2013 Harris Williams & Co study, home health spending will grow by 80% by 2019, with the pending retirement of the baby boomer population as a factor contributing to the increasing demand for at-home and senior care. These trends suggest a growing need for an integrated, complete solution that reaches beyond what is currently offered.

The combined entities will comprise one of the largest software companies in South Florida and one of the largest HIT companies focused on seniors. Together they will employ more than 200 professionals and serve more than 3,000 senior care and home care sites, impacting hundreds of thousands of seniors in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

— Source: AOD Software