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Are you ready for the e-health invasion?

February 19th, 2015

by Jonathan H. Burroughs

Disruptive innovation may be described as the introduction of a new technology or paradigm that while not as good as the original, provides easier, lower cost accessibility to services that many cannot or will not obtain due to economic or other restraints.

Think of the hotel industry. The Marriott Corporation has different brands that provide a hotel experience to different market segments based upon the public's willingness to spend a higher amount to experience greater luxury and service. At the top is the Ritz-Carlton, which provides luxurious surroundings in addition to world-class service. One can argue that this should be the only hotel brand in the Marriott Corporation and that anything else would be a compromise. However, there are those for whom a JW Marriott, full-service Marriott, Courtyard or Fairfield is not only adequate but appropriate to their specific lodging needs.

Healthcare is finally succumbing to the need to segment its markets. Physicians and healthcare executives traditionally had the attitude of being unwilling to compromise the provision of high-quality services outside of a hospital or office-based setting. Hence, the entry of disruptive innovators and the opportunity to provide more convenient, cost-effective services.

E- or telehealth has been around since the invention of the telephone. Telemedicine has been extensively used for teleradiology, telepsychiatry, and teledermatology to name a few. What has changed is the recent development of mobile and web-based platforms that permit significant functionality and interactivity between provider and patient so that the diagnosis and treatment of low risk, commonly occurring conditions can be made in real time and at a far lower cost with greater convenience than before.

=> Read more!

Patient experience: Healthcare's shared global conversation

February 18th, 2015

by Jason A. Wolf

In 2011, The Beryl Institute launched its exploration into the state of patient experience to better understand a topic that was taking hold in the language of healthcare. Just a few months earlier that year, we introduced a community-developed definition of the patient experience as the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization's culture, that influences patient perceptions across the continuum of care.

In the time since that first study, and subsequent research in 2013, we have seen an increasingly rapid expansion of the conversation on patient experience from one isolated in pockets of efforts driven by visionary leaders or those early adopters in addressing evolving policy issues, to a true global discourse encompassing much more than mandatory actions and reaching across the full continuum of care. This is also seen on the commercial side with the explosion of patient experience consultants, vendors and resource providers. As I shared in a recent blog, the idea of experience in healthcare represents a true macro concept, one that encompasses many of the critical efforts central to healthcare today.

If we view the healthcare experience from the eyes of those we care for and engage with--patients, residents, families and support networks--we have a tremendous opportunity to reset the lenses through which we consider, explore and address this issue. From the eyes of those on the "receiving" end of care, there are not crisply delineated segments of care, i.e., quality, safety or service or even aims regarding cost, outcomes or care experiences. These ideas are all part of one experience in healthcare. People want safe, quality encounters where they are treated with dignity and respect, and they worry about costs and are impacted by broader population outcomes, which drive the choices involved in their own care experience.

=> Read more!

8 best practices for payer data security

February 11th, 2015

by Brian Eastwood

By now, you know the gory details: Hackers gained access to personal data for 80 million Anthem customers. You know the response, too: "Why wasn't the data encrypted? The data should have been encrypted!" (Partial credit if you said, "It wasn't a matter of if, but when.")

Yes, encryption would have ensured that the information looked like gobbledygook and not names, birthdays Social Security numbers and the like. But a deadbolt on the front door does no good if the windows are wide open and the back door is unlocked. A deadbolt is useless if you invite the robber in and offer him a cup of tea. A deadbolt doesn't matter if you store your valuables in an unlocked shed in the front yard.

Payers are particularly vulnerable to data breaches, given the value of the sensitive information they possess. (Medical data is worth much more on the black market than a Social Security number.)

They don't have to be.

In an email, Shaun Greene, chief operating officer of Salt Lake City-based Arches Health Plan and a member of the FierceHealthPayer Advisory Board, offered up eight best practices for protecting against potential hackers at what he calls a "sobering" time for the industry.

>>Read the full commentary at FierceHealthPayer

Hospital-community partnerships: Be the spark

February 11th, 2015

by Scott Kashman

One day, I was speaking with my colleague, Joan Odorizzi, our Healing Environment Business Partner. She shared her vision of having a connecting pathway across our campus, reflecting the connecting relationships inside our organization and across our community. What started out as an aspirational concept moved toward a simple walking pathway. As the concept developed, we reached out to community leaders to share our plans to promote healthier lifestyles through the lens of an optimal healing environment (OHE).

A similar concept can be found in a recent FierceHealthcare article, which describes the American Hospital Association's blueprint for hospital-community partnerships and touches on the Triple Aim--better care, better health and lower costs.

=> Read more!

The safety impact of caregiver-patient feedback

February 11th, 2015

by Anthony Cirillo

Superficially, many people look at the intense focus on patient experience as an effort to keep patients satisfied (however that is defined) and worse, making them happy. Happy people do not always make for happy outcomes even if your Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers scores mislead you otherwise.

Patient experience is about four things in this priority order: patient safety, clinical quality, patient satisfaction and value received. Get the first two right and chances are you will achieve the third, while scoring where you want in retrospective data.

=> Read more!

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