For any business, ensuring that your information is secure is vital. For the health care industry, the risk of disaster is doubly important because it is not only the life of your business that is at stake, your patients wellbeing as well. In order to provide a layer of protection from possible data breaches, health care facilities must properly prepare for potential critical system failures in disaster situations.
It's "Prime" Time - PCT's Cloud Computing Blog
The entire health care industry – particularly long-term care – has long been powered by paper. Think of the numerous files, charts, forms, and binders you’ve seen that follow patients from doctor to doctor and hospital to nursing home to home health agency. But we’re finally seeing a shift in this paradigm as the health care sector adopts and embraces IT. Here are two of the latest trends driving this shift.
Data mining represents wealth, a wealth of opportunity, action, and success. Directly put, data mining (the process of centralized data management and retrieval) helps LTC providers find hidden treasures of knowledge, not just data. Just as rare gems or precious minerals are only valuable when processed from the ore that is unearthed, so too is knowledge when refined from countless bytes of data. Refined data transformed into information becomes knowledge and knowledge – the power to act. Data mining, therefore, helps executives discover what is happening now, track trends, anticipate with some accuracy what may happen in the future, and explore the strengths of possible actions.
Leaders who are really successful are those who are accountable and hold others accountable. Over the years I have served in several leadership positions in this amazing industry/profession, we call Long Term Care, and have observed many who live the principle of accountability. The more precise the terms of the accountability, the more effective the leader and the team he or she leads. You may think it odd that in a technology blog, you would read about leadership, but be patient. There is an IT-related point to this.
You’re about to make a major decision regarding clinical and financial software, recognizing the need to move into the next generation of applications. With competitive pressures, new reimbursement opportunities and restrictions, electronic medical records, health data and information interoperability, and quality care accountability, your team recognized that the status quo will not suffice. However, with a new clinical software application decision also comes the need to reexamine your IT infrastructure. To ignore that consideration, you run the risk of putting “new wine into (an) old (bottle)” and “the new wine doth burst the (bottle).” Cloud computing is the "new bottle of IT and continues to grow as a viable option that is cost effective and offers agility of service. It is scalable and helps you to focus on what you do best - operate your business. (Read our previous blog, How the Cloud can help you meet today’s opportunities more rapidly, for more details.) With virtualization leading the way, cloud computing affords businesses an entirely new IT paradigm. Assuming, cloud computing is your infrastructure of choice, how do busy executives, like you, best leverage cloud computing providers?
According to experts, disaster recovery (DR) is how a business restarts itself following a disruptive incident that is natural, man-made, or a systems failure. On the other hand, business continuity implies a more comprehensive consideration of how your business continues to operate not only following a disaster, but also the departure of a key member of your management team or department head or any other incident or event which could interfere with daily operations.
Ignorance is no excuse. Over the last few months, like me, I’m sure you’ve seen headlines and read articles about the federal crackdown on Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Millions of dollars have been identified as fraudulently paid for services either not rendered or with limited justification. I acknowledge that there are unscrupulous practitioners and providers out there who should be identified, indicted, convicted, and sentenced to the fullest extent the law allows. However, while I don’t have the numbers, I wonder to what extend “fraud” was committed by those who unwittingly engage in poor billing practices, such as miscoding and/or absence of support documentation for procedures provided. The old adage, that if you didn’t document it, it didn’t happen, may put providers and practitioners at risk of investigation and indictment with all the attendant negative results, such as loss of reputation, decline in confidence, and possibly business failure.
A Major Health Care IT Paradigm Shift
“Best Practices” in the old days – paper pushing.
Historically, health care in general and long term care specifically, has been intensively paper based - forms, spindles, chart tables, racks, and binders. Documentation was (and still is) the name of the game and pushing paper was the only way. Even regulatory enforcement surveys were based on paper compliance with bedside visits to verify the documentation. Paper-based documentation consumed a lot of trees and filled a lot of storage files and storage units.
Prime Care Technologies wishes you a Happy New Year. I once had a boss whose mantra was, “All problems can be viewed as opportunities.” That being the case, then 2012 should be an amazing year of opportunities for business in general and long term care specifically. I encourage you to look at all of your “opportunities” and to explore how IT can help you convert those opportunities into gains.
Over the last several months, this blog has covered topics focusing on various aspects of IT and its impact on long term care. In our Thanksgiving Day blog, we observed how important IT has become to all of us – in how we work, how we communicate, how we entertain, how we educate, how we conduct business; IT is everywhere. Although slow in adopting technology, LTC providers have made significant progress in understanding, valuing, and embracing IT as a powerful tool to meet ever-changing challenges. For example, twice we demonstrated this fact as we momentarily digressed from IT-specific topics to alert readers about changes to billing therapy services to Medicare and avoiding workforce-related lawsuits.