The Treatspace Referral Management Blog

Insight, ideas, and resources for high-performance referral management

Data Silos Are an Underappreciated Medical Tragedy

Posted by Jeremy Guttman on 9/26/16 5:48 PM

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Healthcare reform is very real. Only primary care practices who prepare now will be ready for big changes in reimbursement and quality metrics. According to Dr. Danyal Ibrahim, the Chief Data Analytics officer at Saint Francis Care in Connecticut, identifying gaps and bringing data together is crucial to overcoming isolated silos in healthcare and to delivering the kind of outcomes that meet and exceed performance metrics.

Providers who don’t harness data for the new era of healthcare “have at least a vague, nagging feeling that they should probably start developing the data-driven competencies.” In a recent HealthITAnalytics article, Dr. Ibrahim described identifying and overcoming data silos as the biggest hurdle of creating a streamlined data analytics infrastructure. “[T]here are so many times when our data ends up siloed, and pieces of information end up going to all different places that cannot communicate with one another...So one big component goes to the finance department, and other to IT, and another to the quality improvement team.

Forbes magazine weighs in on poor data sharing as “a medical tragedy of underappreciated dimension. Valuable, even vital information often remains uncaptured, unanalyzed, and, especially, unshared.”

Overcoming health data silos is proven to lead to cost savings. A McKinsey Global report estimated that the efficient use of data in healthcare could create more than $300 billion in value every year and quintuple hospital profits.

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Topics: Referral Management, Healthcare Data, Referral Management Analytics

Don't Tumble Blindly as You Make Your Way Across the Continuum of Care

Posted by Jeremy Guttman on 9/8/16 2:13 PM

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Value-based care models are said to represent “policymaking at 80,000 feet.”

Healthcare leaders who were once optimistic about value-based reimbursement models are becoming doubtful after seeing the performance of several programs. Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are achieving modest gains and a meager 28% of Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) participants have generated cost savings.

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Topics: Care Coordination, Referral Management, Population Health

Getting Hands-On With Handoffs

Posted by Jeremy Guttman on 8/31/16 2:45 PM

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Image courtesy of flickr

Problems with handoffs are a big deal in clinical practice. Defective handoffs lead to patient harm, treatment delays, inappropriate treatment, and longer stays in the hospital. In a typical patient handoff between physicians, important patient information is often not given to physicians who take over care of a patient. In a hospital, “[s]hift changes, also known as handoffs, are prime opportunities for key information about a patient’s condition to get lost in the shuffle,” according to a recently released study about patient handoffs in JAMA Internal Medicine [1].

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Topics: Care Coordination, Healthcare Analytics, Referral Management, Healthcare Data, Care Transitions

Online Referral Management is a Piece of Cake Compared to EHR Rollouts

Posted by Jeremy Guttman on 8/25/16 1:54 PM

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Electronic health record (EHR) rollouts are huge undertakings. It cost Massachusetts General Hospital $1.2 billion to shift towards Epic Systems’ EHR over the last three years. And the rollout has been complicated. They had to keep their old, homegrown systems running at the same time while they switched to their new EHR system. On top of that, they had to conduct extensive data conversions, testing and staff training.

Outpatient physician practices don’t fare much better with EHR rollouts. Outpatient EHR system implementations are estimated to cost $46,569 per physician. And one study of 49 PCP practices determined that the average 5-year return-on-investment of an EHR system was a loss of $43,743 per physician. 73% of the surveyed primary care practices demonstrated a negative ROI from EHR systems over 5 years.

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Topics: Referral Management, EHR

Come Together, Right Now, Over Referrals

Posted by Jeremy Guttman on 8/18/16 8:04 AM

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Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine recently championed the concept of primary care physicians and specialists working closely together as partners, rather than continuing disconnected referral relationships.

Partnering with Primary Care

H&HN’s article touts the increased efficiency and improved patient care in organizations with tightly aligned specialty and primary care partners.

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Topics: Referral Management, Interoperability, HIT, Referral Management Application

Why Don’t More Doctors Electronically Share Records Outside of Their Practice?

Posted by Jeremy Guttman on 8/16/16 5:00 AM

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Healthcare practitioners want to provide the best care for their patients both during and after office visits. But one major stumbling block is that the majority of physicians in the United States aren’t capable of sharing information electronically outside of their practices. Data shows that the majority of primary care practices are struggling to seamlessly share patient information, efficiently manage referrals, and facilitate interoperable communication with specialist partners.

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Topics: Referral Management, Interoperability

Referral Management Applications That Go Beyond the EHR Are a “Light at the End of the Tunnel”

Posted by Jeremy Guttman on 8/10/16 12:00 PM

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A recent article in technology and business magazine Fast Company heaped praise on user-friendly applications that go beyond electronic health record (EHR) systems. The beginning of the article detailed a number of the pitfalls of EHR systems:

1. EHRs were not set up for patient care

One pitfall of EHRs outlined in the Fast Company article is that they “weren't designed to help their providers treat patients.” The article states that EHRs are more geared towards meeting regulatory requirements, maximizing billing and avoiding liability. The Meaningful Use program was implemented by the government in 2011 to incentivize adoption of EHR systems, but Meaningful Use has been criticized for rewarding usage of EHRs rather than rewarding better patient outcomes.

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Topics: Referral Management, Referral Management Application

Half of Physicians Have Never Heard of MACRA, but They Will Soon

Posted by Jeremy Guttman on 8/4/16 6:32 PM

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Healthcare reimbursement is undergoing “the most dramatic shift in Medicare payments in the program’s 50-year history,” from fee-for-service to value-based care. But most physicians aren’t familiar with the important law that is establishing these changes for the future, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). Proposed details for MACRA were released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) a few months ago, in April 2016.

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Topics: Referral Management, Value-Based Care, MACRA

Using Healthcare Data to Distinguish Your Practice From Your Competitors

Posted by Jeremy Guttman on 8/2/16 5:05 PM

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Journalist Fareed Zakaria is certain that those who prevail in tomorrow’s health care arena are the ones who figure out how to use the troves of data at their fingertips to distinguish themselves from competitors.

“[W]hat you do with that data will probably be the key differentiator going forward,” Zakaria explains at a recent healthcare conference, the Health Forum and American Hospital Association Leadership Summit.

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Topics: Healthcare Analytics, Referral Management, HIT, Healthcare Data

Miss Cleo and Colorectal Cancer

Posted by Jeremy Guttman on 7/28/16 12:00 PM

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Courtesy of Youtube

You may have seen the news that well-known infomercial psychic Miss Cleo, whose actual name was Youree Harris, recently passed away from colon cancer at the age of 53. She died while she was surrounded by her friends and family after entering into hospice care.

Here’s an old commercial of hers:

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Topics: Patient Adherence, Colorectal Screening

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