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A beginner’s guide to MACRA

MACRA is perhaps the most significant piece of proposed healthcare legislation I’ve ever seen. We’ve had a series of webinars to help clients understand the key points, and distilled them here in a Q&A format. What is MACRA? MACRA stands for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. It is Medicare payment reform designed to help lower the cost of health care, while delivering better quality and improving health outcomes. It creates a more comprehensive value-based framework for payment and combines different quality-based measures into one system. Is MACRA final? No. MACRA was enacted in April 2015, but a public comment period has been open from April through June 27, 2016. The government is estimating the final rule will be available in October 2016. If it’s not final, why should I worry about this now? MACRA includes many […]

When there’s a customer support issue – with our cell phones, cars, banking or online shopping – the answers are not always on a website or app. Sometimes we want or need to call. The experience can quickly get exasperating if we’re transferred multiple times, repeating account information, security questions or other information. Based on previous experiences, there are companies I don’t mind calling for an issue, and those I never want to speak to again. Healthcare providers want to create an environment where patients have a great experience. It doesn’t matter if they are a new patient calling to get information on the practice, or an established patient calling to schedule an appointment, ask a question about a health-related issue or follow up on results.  Whatever the reason for the call, providers want their patients to avoid the pitfalls […]

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HIT Leader Q&A: Lessons learned from systems and Starbucks

  • Fatima Paruk, M.D., MPH
  • 06/21/2016

Editor’s Note: Health Data Management recently named the 2016 Most Powerful Women in Healthcare IT, including Allscripts Analytics Chief Medical Officer Fatima Paruk. This post features insights from one of these women leaders. When great minds come together, great things happen. At the Most Powerful Women in Healthcare IT conference, leaders from across the industry addressed some of today’s most pressing issues. Kate Pavlovich, director of strategy and data analytics at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (New York City, New York, U.S.A.), participated and shared insights in a follow-up interview, including what she learned from working at a hectic espresso bar. Here are highlights from that conversation: Describe your current role and the path you took to get there. I’m focused on data governance, which sits in the office of strategy, not IT. It’s a new role, intended to provide a link between our […]

Editor’s note: On June 7, 2016, Allscripts client Stephen Nuckolls, CEO of Coastal Carolina Health Care (New Bern, North Carolina, U.S.A.), was a panelist at a Congressional briefing on interoperability hosted by the EHR Association. This blog post shares some of his comments at the briefing, which covered successes and areas for improvement with health information technology. It’s an honor to share with Congress a first-hand account of how we’ve used electronic health records (EHRs) to reduce spending and improve quality. Our medical group, a practice with 45 physicians mostly specializing in primary care, operates a Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) Accountable Care Organization (ACO) that has about 11,000 attributed beneficiaries. Our ACO has accomplished several positive outcomes since being accepted into the program in 2012, including: Earned recognition as the top performer in the program for cancer screening rates […]

Readers have responded with interest to our new magazine, Continuum. Created for healthcare professionals, it features industry insights and Allscripts client success stories. In the 2Q 2016 issue, you’ll find articles that address some of healthcare IT’s most pressing questions: How can we help deliver safer medications? Teams of clinicians at Atlantic General Hospital used Allscripts Sunrise™ to standardize and automate several processes, reducing medication errors by 86% over three years. What is FHIR and what does it mean for me? Has FHIR “kindled” your interest? Learn about this emerging interoperability standard through most frequently asked questions. Which capabilities will lead to truly integrated care? Senior Vice President and General Manager of Population Health Martha Thorne describes population health technology and which capabilities will ultimately lead to success. What does it take to provide patient-centered care for people with autism spectrum disorders? […]

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“Improve usability…but don’t change anything!”

  • Ross Teague, Ph.D.
  • 06/08/2016

Organizations and users in the Health IT world desire products with better usability and efficiency, but they hesitate to embrace changes to familiar interfaces and interactions. Humans don’t like change for many reasons. In Health IT, changes to interaction models, layouts and workflows can mean retraining, which costs money and takes time away from work. There are also concerns that users will be less efficient using something different, or that it will reduce satisfaction. Many times what we are comfortable with is not what is best for us, even though we have adapted to it. Users may not realize the physical, mental and safety “costs” of sticking to what is most familiar. While familiarity associated with software is often related to steps in a workflow, it can also be familiarity to icons, colors and layouts. Users may not see how a change in […]

Ambulatory practices juggle many priorities, but everything is ultimately about providing high-quality care for patients. Every new tool, every new task must help meet that goal. Before adding a new data reporting solution, it’s important to know that it really works. Data reporting – It’s more than utilization We’ve extended our partnership with Meridian Medical Management to offer Allscripts TouchWorks® EHR clients a robust option for reporting through PrecisionBI. TouchWorks EHR Reporting is a powerful solution that has a proven track record helping physician practices achieve strong clinical and financial results. Organizations can use it to create sophisticated ad-hoc reports with simple point-and-click tools without impacting the EHR. Physicians choose how to summarize and display their individual data, per provider preference, including list reports as well as chart and graph views. This transparency with clinical data – along with the […]

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8 seconds or less: How physician input improved usability

  • Jeanne Armstrong, M.D.
  • 05/24/2016

Physician input is vital for good Health IT design. The only way we can continue to improve adoption, usability – and ultimately patient safety – is to engage users early, often and through all stages of software design. Involving users is one of the guiding principles of Allscripts’ user-centered design (UCD) process, the subject of a recent white paper. When building new products or improving existing solutions, we follow those best practices. Formative testing catches mistakes before it’s too late All too often, users don’t get a chance to weigh in until Health IT solutions are about to be released. But we take great care to conduct formative testing for our new features and solutions. This type of testing occurs with early versions of solutions, such as wireframes, sketches or prototypes. Designers hold one-on-one sessions with actual users. They provide […]

Technology is one of the biggest paradoxes in health care. On the clinical front, modern day technologies offer patients life-saving therapies and improvement in quality of life. But communication among providers has seen little evolution over the past decades, still relying on pagers, fax machines and paper printouts. So we shouldn’t be surprised by a recently published study that revealed preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. The majority of medical errors are due to poor ability to effectively communicate as a team of providers about the patient’s health. These sobering statistics, coupled with the day-to-day struggle to deliver high-quality care with outdated care coordination tools, inspired a group of Harvard-trained physicians and engineers to join forces. Together, they created a unique mobile care coordination platform for the hospital setting, called Yosko. […]

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Saving children’s lives with data

Data and reports are unlikely tools for heroes. But the team at Texas Children’s Hospital (Houston, Texas, U.S.A.) is analyzing patient information and tracking clinical results to help improve care for vulnerable, critically ill children. A recent success story outlines some of the many ways Texas Children’s is using Allscripts EPSi™ to support clinical initiatives throughout the organization. One example of these efforts is helping infants who have difficulty swallowing. Better evaluation of babies with swallowing difficulty, to reduce risk of aspiration Children who do not swallow safely are at risk for feeding and respiratory problems. Unfortunately, the primary tool to assess swallowing disorders is invasive and its radiation may have long-term negative effects. Occupational therapists approached Senior Decision Support Analyst Mary Watson with a request to develop a way to identify infants at risk for aspiration. Using EPSi, Watson […]