Wearables are getting some major hype recently, especially since the release of Apple’s HealthKit and with the growing popularity of Fitbit. Eventually, the technology will be widely used by providers to receive medical data from patients, helping to promote disease prevention and to improve treatment compliance. Wearables will allow for more frequent collection — and organization — of accurate and objective medical information.
Despite patient care being the primary focus in healthcare, a lot more than direct medical attention is required for a thorough medical service. This is especially true of organizations that desire to support and improve their surrounding communities. As leaders in the field it’s imperative that providers consider the "non-medical topics" like finance, logistics, administration, and regulation. Less obvious are the environmental implications of providing care, but not insignificant by any means.
It’s the 21st century, and we are all dependent on our electronic devices to help us with our everyday tasks… probably more so than we should be. Regardless, it’s important that you manage these devices properly. Today we’re going to run through a list of items you may not have thought about.
Whether the practice or the employee owns the device, these controls need to be applied to meet HIPAA requirements.
How to manage those pesky devices:
My fiancée and I just returned from Spain. We had left our phones at home, as the purpose of this trip was to spend a few weeks focusing on one another while planning our future together and enjoying Spanish cuisine. Without a cell phone to distract our minds we spent the whole trip holding hands while perusing the markets during the day and enjoying the sunsets by night. At night, our faces were not glued to an iPhone screen, but rather absorbed in one another’s eyes throughout late dinners. When we got into bed, there was no temptation to seek a new Facebook post to troll.
Telemedicine is emerging quickly. Physicians in dermatology and cardiology seem to be leading the way, but other fields of medicine will soon catch up. One of the most impactful groups to implement this new technology will be primary care providers, those on the front lines of healthcare. It is often said that the main goal of primary care is to keep patients from getting sick enough to end up in the hospital. This could not be more true and with today’s technology, those providers will only be more successful.
In recent news, Doctor on Demand, a company focused on telemedicine visits, closed $21 million in Series A funding. I’m not an oracle, but this is certainly a pivotal moment for healthcare. The company is aggressively promoting its flat fee of $40 per 15 minute video visit, without any waiting time and accessible 24/7 in most parts of the U.S. The service will likely thrive on minor illnesses like colds and rashes, but what is this telling us as physicians?
In a country where people can view information about their entertainment options, investments, and latest shipment in real time, we can no longer consider a 15-minute appointment once per year sufficient for monitoring our health.
With the adoption of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a few months ago, the U.S. healthcare system is now serving the needs of more patients. The hopes for this changing of the guard is that we will finally see an improvement in overall health outcomes in our country.
Let's face it, physicians are already in the background of patient care. Nurses, medical assistants, case managers, social workers, and cafeteria employees probably all see the patient more than the doctor does. In fact, most work is done prior to or after the patient encounter, especially in hospitals. With exception of a quick subjective summary from the patient and the physical exam, nearly all of the physician progress note can be completed without even seeing a patient. The remaining information is already readily available within the electronic records. So why not push it one step further?
When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched their EHR Incentive Programs back in January 2011, the main goal was to reward healthcare practitioners for adopting electronic health records and increasing efficiency within their practice. But one question we found ourselves asking was whether or not the incentives have actually encouraged EHR adoption?