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 These sobering statistics, coupled with the day-to-day struggle to deliver high-quality care with outdated care coordination tools, inspired a group of Harvard-trained physicians and engineers to join forces.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. […]

This week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced 2014 results for 333 Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). It’s pretty exciting news; 56% of ACOs reduced costs and improved quality measures and reporting, which is up from 40% in previous years. The downside of the report is that only 29% of ACOs participated in shared savings, which is simply not enough. The ACOs are saving money, but they’re not earning revenue at the same rate. It’s clear that we, as in industry, have to do more to facilitate success. Think like a payer To earn shared savings, ACOs need to think more like payers. Unlike traditional fee-for-service models, new value-based-care models require providers to balance risk scores and quality measures for better patient care. They have to manage patient coding to account for risk, which is what payers do […]

When I meet with Allscripts TouchWorks® EHR* clients, I’m impressed with how they use it to create value for their organizations. We found great examples in a recent interview with Dr. David Graham, chief information officer and chief medical information officer at Memorial Health System (Springfield, Illinois, U.S.A.). Memorial Health System is one of the clients leading the way in its use of TouchWorks EHR data. Here are some of the highlights, in Dr. Graham’s own words: 1. Improve clinical results “I can use examples in all the specialties we have in our primary care, from mammogram screening rates in our obstetrics group to hypertension care in our internal medicine practice…Incredible improvements we’ve done through partnering with our physicians and putting that data that comes out of TouchWorks EHR in front of them.” 2. Spend more time with patients “[TouchWorks […]

Leaving the hospital is good news, yet it can be difficult for patients to manage their own care at home. The task may be especially challenging for elderly patients who have complex medical issues. University of California Irvine Health (UCI) recently piloted a program to improve transitions of care for older patients. UCI’s focus on care coordination with remote home monitoring helped improve outcomes for participants. UCI shared its story at our recent annual user group event, Population Health University. “We wanted to make sure patients were getting the care that they needed,” said UCI’s Senior Project Manager of Health Reform Joan Hoppe, RD, CDE. Addressing needs of a growing elderly population UCI serves the people of Orange County, California, where the population is aging. In 2010, there were 360,000 seniors, and that number will double by 2030. One in […]

One of the things I love most about working with partners is seeing their dedicated work to solve specific problems for our clients, using integration tools and expertise available in the Allscripts Developer Program.  They make it look simple and seamless, even though their “overnight success” may have been years and years in the making. Our App of the Month, from eDoc4U, is an example of a company laser-focused on solving problems and creating innovative new software.  Last year, it was one of the five finalists of the Open App Challenge, chosen by a panel of clients, industry experts and Allscripts representatives as an application that could potentially revolutionize health care. Since then eDoc4U received a patent on its NCQA-certified population health management technology and worked with Allscripts clients and developers to refine its integration, making it as streamlined and robust […]

There are more than 7 billion people on the planet today. Our growing global population has triggered some of the biggest healthcare challenges we’ll ever face. Listening to clients in Australia, Canada, Singapore, United Kingdom and United States, I believe many of these issues are universal. This post is one of a five-part series that explores the clinical, population health, financial, regulatory and technical challenges we share as a global healthcare community. What should we call it? There is a concept emerging in healthcare that – despite its universal nature – does not have a common, global name. Called “population health management” in the United States, it’s an approach many healthcare organizations are taking to improve outcomes for groups of patients in their community. In Canada, people often call it “chronic disease management.” Others may refer to it as community […]

With the rise of wireless health monitoring devices, people are collecting more data about themselves than ever before. When this information feeds the electronic health record (EHR), the results can be pretty powerful. We’re helping connect this data through our newest solution, FollowMyHealthTM Achieve. It provides opportunities for patients and caregivers to work together to set goals, mark progress and achieve better health. How FollowMyHealth Achieve works We designed Achieve to help manage health for all patients, particularly those with high-risk, high-cost chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Here’s an overview: 1. Caregiver enters orders into Allscripts TouchWorks® EHR, with rules that trigger alerts. For example, a physician may require a patient to weigh herself every day. Patient-specific rules define expectations for frequency (e.g., daily), and a target for maintaining, gaining or losing weight within […]

A pilot program to improve primary care is showing signs of success at SAMA Healthcare, a family practice serving southern Arkansas. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) selected SAMA as one of 497 practices to participate in its Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative (CPCI). Funding from the program enabled SAMA to make several improvements, including new color-coordinated care teams.   What the CMS is doing to improve primary care CPCI is a four-year pilot project. It is a collaboration among public and private payers to strengthen primary care. By investing more in primary care practices, the partners hope to achieve better health, better care and lower healthcare costs. The CPCI aims to improve primary care in two ways: 1)      Practice redesign. These providers must comprehensively address five primary care functions: risk-stratified care, access and continuity, population health management, patient engagement, […]

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month in the United States. Hospice caregivers help people facing terminal illness by providing pain management and support tailored to individual needs and wishes. This model requires tremendous compassion, coordination and customization. We recently talked with two of our clients to learn more about how they use Allscripts HomecareTM to meet the unique demands of hospice care. To learn more, check out this video: Thanks to both Patti Nichols, Clinical Records Team Lead, Pathways Hospice (Fort Collins, CO, USA) and Jill McKinnie, HIM Director, Cornerstone Hospice (Tavares, FL, USA) for sharing their experiences. Hospice program for pet-owners: Pet Peace of Mind Our hospice clients excel at many things, especially the three C’s. Jill gave a great example of how her team created a program to help care for patients’ pets: An interesting aspect […]

Speeding past the farm fields of central Illinois, you’ll find the exit for Litchfield. The 7,000-person town is home to Litchfield Family Practice, an innovative rural health system that just achieved a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Certification from the NCQA.  It scored an impressive 97.5 out of a possible 100 points. In this video, the team at Litchfield Family Practice describes how it is advancing population health in a rural community.   “Small step” approach leads to success It all started in 2009, when Litchfield Family Practice and the local hospital, Hospital Sister’s Health System (HSHS), explored the medical home concept. “We felt the PCMH model was similar to the way that we were already practicing medicine,” said Daniel Wujek, MD. Litchfield is home to seven busy practices under one roof. While they had worked as a team […]