• Principle Healthcare Associates


    Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates stand head and shoulders above the competition.

    Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website

  • Like PHA

Leveraging Health IT to Strengthen Patient Engagement

Leveraging Health IT to Strengthen Patient Engagement

In the spirit of moving innovation forward, I found relevance in the following article about engendering trust using healthcare technology.  In the crossfire of my own struggles with technology, I can appreciate the very salient points outlined by the author.  Specifically, he asserts that healthcare IT can be the lever for improving the physician-patient relationship through the following means.

In the first instance, he points out that technology can help a physician provide SMARTER care.  With escalating numbers of insured patients attempting to be seen by a shrinking provider pool, new delivery methods must be sought to meet this demand.  While the article addresses wellness and preventative care, it is a natural extension to mention patient’s interest in mobile visits.  Incorporating SMS, video and email into the physician toolbox is tantamount; however, certain touch points require a face to face interaction…and the mobile visit solves this dilemma.  In fact, I would dare say that all mediums should be utilized to ensure that the patient’s particular learning mode is engaged and the provider’s message is reinforced.

Secondly, healthcare IT can optimize physician workflow and remove administrative shackles draining resources and diverting attention from the more complex tasks at hand – treating chronically ill patients.  As noted, “technology can take over for clinicians when it comes to some of the more benign data capture and aggregation roles.”  While this can cover items such as first time visit paperwork, it can also be employed for personal health records, population health management, as well as the patient”s & provider’s modification of the medical record.  And by lightening the physician’s load, they are free to pursue clinical partners and engage them in community health and prevention efforts.  At minimum, in celebration of National Public Health Week, there should be a focus on data exchange for immunization and prevention.

Thirdly, one of the core means of establishing trust occurs through the delivery of personalized messages in a format most conducive to each individual patient’s learning and retention style.  Using technology to engage patients and stay connected during their care demonstrates concern and establishes trust – an integral component to the healing process and a competitive edge for a practice seeking to maximize efficiency and minimize cost.

Last, but not least, the author stresses that technology must be implemented in a safe and secure manner in order to protect and preserve the relationships with one’s patients.  Specifically, “being aware of the security of the larger ecosystem of which an organization is part is a way to quell data loss and enhance the trust of patients.”  Perhaps one of the most difficult things to do today, but arguably should not be forgotten in the quest to do no harm.

 

Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse PractitionerPhysician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates that stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website

Advertisements

Designing Healthcare Innovation

Designing Health Care Innovation

By now you know that I have a distinct interest in healthcare innovation, so it should come as no surprise that an article about the recent Healthcare Experience Design Conference caught my eye.   Kicking the day off with a battle cry from Dr. Jacob Reider, chief medical officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, he challenged the crowd, “to help this industry do better”.  And by better, he is referring to development of user friendly processes for patients and providers alike.

Albeit, being a do-it-yourself techie hamstrung by programs on a regular basis, I was encouraged to hear that this conference stretched beyond the traditional confines of user-centered design to include workflows, patient engagement and population health.  Having designed a website myself, I can appreciate the tips outlined for engaging individuals in the digital realm; however, what I found most intriguing was Nir Eyal’s discussion about how people choose to engage with habit-forming technology.  According to Eyal, “the key to developing habit-forming technology is to understand end-users’ “internal triggers” – the emotional drives that motivate them – and develop technology that begins as “vitamin” and then “turns into a painkiller.”

Cassie McDaniel, of the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation at Toronto’s University Health Network also pointed out that examining research, usage patterns and prototyping are key elements for user-centered design.  And similar to the role that technology has played in the modernization of healthcare service delivery, McDaniel suggests that user-centered design bears the potential to catalyze the healthcare innovation movement.

One company, breaking down barriers to patient engagement and collaboration, is currently employing user-centered design. Iora Health, an accountable care organization (ACO), maintains its own team of designers and developers that routinely visit member practices to work with clinicians and staff to rethink the relationships between people, processes, IT and health reform. As a result, physicians now project the EHR onto a screen for patients to view/query and provide access to OpenNotes, thereby allowing individuals to access and update their charts.  With the onset of meaningful use stage 2 and the voices of the impatient growing louder, will this impetus be enough?  While I suspect that they have merely scratched the surface, time will only tell how far these right brain thinkers push the needle for transformation.

 

Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse PractitionerPhysician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates that stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website

Collaborating for Community Health Innovation

Collaborating for Community Health Innovation

With the recent Super Bowl festivities and Fat Tuesday fast approaching, New Orleans conjures up images of pomp, circumstance and regalia.  While the ragin’ Cajuns will always welcome celebration, the reality of everyday circumstance pales in comparison to these high dollar, high revenue activities.  As noted in The 2013 Healthcare Informatics Innovator Awards: Co-Second Place Winner: The Louisiana Public Health Institute, New Orleans is beset by poverty and poor health status.  And with the onset of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, these difficult situations were magnified.

As noted in the article, one entity that has taken purposeful steps to improve the health of the people in this community is the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI).  Established in 1997, the LPHI’s mission is “to promote and improve health and quality of life in Louisiana through diverse public-private partnerships with government, foundations, community groups, academia and private businesses at the community, parish and state levels.”  After applying for participation in the federal beacon communities project, the group was granted Beacon status and awarded a federal grant, under the auspice of the Crescent City Beacon Community (CCBC) initiative.  Armed with $13.5M, the group is working steadfastly towards the development of a metro area-wide patient centered medical home (PCMH) model.

Tackling dual goals of community quality improvement and long-term healthcare investment, the group is developing a foundation for a patient-centered, accountable, community-wide focus for care.  In order to achieve these goals, they are redesigning care management, employing the new role of care manager to facilitate communication between physicians, administrators and patients in the 20 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in the metro area.  And through the use of health information exchange (HIE) and electronic health records (EHR), these re-engineered teams aim to connect patient visits from the ED, hospital, primary care and specialty physician office.

Moving beyond the physical exchange, the group also remains intently focused on improving clinic processes for meaningful use of the shared data.  Instituting regular visits with community stakeholders has allowed for providers to share protocols and other tips for delivering safe, quality healthcare while maximizing workflow.  As a Healthcare Informatics Innovator winner, LPHI has successfully leveraged healthcare technology for community quality improvement.  And while my hat is off to Dr’s Anjum Khurshid, director of the LPHI’s Health Systems, Eboni Price-Haywood, co-ED/CMO for Tulane Community Health Centers and Maria Ludwick, associate director LPHI’s Health Systems, I would be curious to know how they are engaging other providers – pharmacists, schools, social services, long-term care, first responders, etc – and most importantly, patients, in the design process?  Sounds like a great opportunity for the pending 2013 HIMSS conference, coming soon to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, located smack dab in the heart of New Orleans.

Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse PractitionerPhysician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates that stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website

Engaging Consumers for Improved Cost, Quality and Outcomes

Engaging Consumers for Improved Cost, Quality and Outcomes

Following closely on the heels of the mHealth Summit, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) recently released the research report, “Improving Quality and Reducing Risk in Health Care:  Engaging Consumers Using Electronic Tools”.  Arriving in the shadows of the fiscal cliff discussion, the report notes that healthcare spending currently places a considerable burden on our economy.  And with a focus on cost reduction, implementing the right measures to improve quality and individual health remain tantamount as well.

Originally identified in the 2001 report, “Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century”, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) promoted patient-centeredness as one of six key aims for the nation’s health care system, thereby making it well-established and widely embraced today.  And building on the January 2012 report, Transforming Health Care: The Role of Health IT, the BPC identified six attributes that emphasize patient engagement’s role in supporting high performance organizations:

1. Organization-wide focus on the needs of the patient

2.  Strong organizational and clinical leadership

  • Bring the patient’s perspective to the design, delivery, and management of care.
  • Patients are involved in governance and advisory boards to provide input.
  • Create organizational culture that focuses on the needs of the patient and encourages continuous learning and improvement

3.  Access to information to support efficient, coordinated care

  • Successfully coordinate care across providers, settings, conditions, and time
  • Care teams and patients have access to an individual patient’s records across settings in which care and services are delivered.
  • Patient preferences and status are included in the record to inform clinical decision-making
  • Reminders and alerts for both clinicians and patients help eliminate medical errors as well as gaps and duplications in care
  • Privacy and security are carefully managed

4.  Timely access to care

  • High-performing organizations provide multiple avenues for patients to receive timely care.
  • Care teams are available when needed, whether by phone, by mail, online, or in person, including nights and weekends.

5.  Emphasis on prevention, wellness, and healthy behaviors

  • Recognize that providing educational resources and self-management tools to promote prevention and wellness, as well as management of chronic conditions can lead to better health outcomes

6.  Accountability, alignment of incentives and payment reform

  • High-performing organizations continuously measure and take actions to continually improve performance on the cost and quality of care, including patient experience of care and health outcomes.
  • Clinical, administrative, and patient-generated data inform goal-setting, the identification of areas needing improvement, and the effectiveness of interventions.
  • Financial incentives are aligned with better outcomes in cost, quality, and patient experience.

In efforts to support cost and quality goals, there have been a number of new models being tested by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMSI), including the Medicare Shared Savings, Advanced Payment and Pioneer ACO models, as well as the, Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative Demonstration.  Together with the Partnership for Patients:  Community Based Transition Care program, these arrangements are helping demonstrate that patient engagement, activation and communication are all associated with lower cost and better outcomes.

Despite the forward movement, significant challenges continue to exist for patient-centered care and patient engagement.  Such challenges include the need to expand patient engagement in medical education, post-graduate training and continuing medical education.  Making a fundamental shift in practice and reimbursement will not only improve physician-patient interaction, but also help to align participant goals with health, wellness and prevention.  And as Susannah Fox, Associate Director, Digital Strategy, Pew Internet & American Life Project, outlines below – organizational culture should embrace the “e” in e-Patient, since engagement is an instrumental step towards achieving the IOM goals.

Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates that stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website

There’s a new sheriff in town – who is the CIO (not information) and do you need one?

There’s a new sheriff in town – who is the CIO (not information) and do you need one?

In the face of looming healthcare reform, healthcare organizations are searching for creative ways to control costs.  Not to be confused with the chief information officer, a growing breed of “chief incentive officers” are infusing the healthcare industry with a new-found emphasis on cost savings through better health management.  According to a recent Fierce Healthcare article, the chief incentive officer examines ways to change behaviors toward a particular goal.  Applied to general health and wellness, incentives can work for both patients and caregivers in promoting better care management across all fronts.

Not only can the new CIO role incentivize a number of organization-wide initiatives for process improvement, but they also can also boost the health of both patients, employees and providers by encouraging them to engage in wellness activities such as taking their medications or maintaining a healthy diet.

 How do they do this? Through the art and science of incentives.  More specifically,

  •  Identify what type of behavior you’re trying to incent – clearly define the goal and why you are trying to reach that goal. In this case, it might be to improve the health of your medical staff in one specialty.
  •  Understand what will motivate your population and what won’t – according to IncentOne, to achieve a desired participation rate of 60 percent in wellness programs, it would take an incentive value of at least $356. For each increase of $100, researchers found that participation would increase by an additional 7 percent, with a maximum of 100 percent participation for an equivalent $900 incentive value.
  • Identify your preferred method of incentives – the incentive can take other forms besides pure cash, such as a gift card, food, personal services, or discounts. Often, cash or another financial equivalent may prove the most impactful.
  • Communicate – clearly communicate the goals and rewards to them. Remember to start early and to keep the rules simple so that the goal is achievable. Regular, systematic reminders about appointments, medications, episodic monitoring and other wellness activities will be key.

Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website

Given the demise of Steve Jobs’ personal health, what better way to perpetuate his lasting legacy?

Given the demise of Steve Jobs’ personal health, what better way to perpetuate his lasting legacy?

After reading the insightful commentary in Trickle Down Health or Health 2.0 Impressions  from John Moore at Chillmark Research, it got me thinking.  In reviewing the recent Healthcare 2.0 presentations, Moore concludes that these passionate innovators, while dedicated to making a difference, are still missing the mark.  Specifically, he states,

“Looking around at the Health 2.0 audience one sees a sea of almost exclusively upper, middle class professionals that are tapping away on their iPad, smartphone or laptop. When one sits back and thinks about the many demos seen, virtually all of them seem to be designed for this audience. Maybe the most disturbing part of the event was the on-stage interview with a mother of eight kids (she was white, middle age and clearly upper middle class) showing how her family is tapped into the quantified self movement with the various Apps they use to track their health and fitness. This is not representative of the broad swath of the American populace who are the ones that will drive our healthcare system off the proverbial cliff. It is that grandmother in Indiana who is caring for her diabetic, overweight husband, two grandchildren, a daughter suffering from an addiction and a son-in-law who is unemployed and has no health insurance that we need to talk to, have up on stage to tell us what they need to better manage their health and interaction with the healthcare system. “

What, are you asking, does this have to do with Steve Jobs?  With the recent launch of the Apple iPhone 4S, it is likely that the iPhone 3GS has met virtual extinction.  What better way to make use of this technology than to donate it to providers that are working with the very population identified above?  The National Association of Community Health Centers leaps to mind and there are, no doubt, many other deserving institutions.   With the development of  AT&T ForHealth, this carrier would be the perfect partner to successfully implement  this meaningful project.  While telehealth offers countless ways to improve health care delivery, the iPhone technology exists today – so what are we waiting for?

Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website

Should your medical practice implement social media?

Should your medical practice implement social media?

Similar to the website boom in the early 2000s, social media has grown exponentially in popularity over the past two years.  Once upon a time relegated to the tech savvy, social media has evolved from an interesting fad to a global force with intrinsic value.  Facebook alone grew over 145% last year with more than 250 million users.

Unfortunately, many physicians still do not understand what they can do with social media or how they can use it for their practice.   According to Brandon Betancourt, Practice Administrator, social media can:

    • Provide the ability to influence communities while simultaneously finding new ways to overcome challenges
    • Create a vehicle for MD’s to express their views and educate their patients
    • Deliver the means to curate, manage, filter and organize the most relevant patient information from the internet
    • Help promote provider content and reach – just imagine patient education videos going viral!

Ultimately, social media allows a medical practice to brand itself as a trusted purveyor and conduit for communication.  And once the dialogue begins….you are on the path to building stronger, enlightened and engaged communities.

Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website