Answers for a Healthier World

There's a lot of talk these days about how "clinical optimization" can be used to improve the workings of electronic health records (EHR) in healthcare. But what exactly is clinical optimization, and why is it important? 

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Razor-thin operating margins, rising costs and declining reimbursement have left hospitals with a critical need to improve quality and financial performance to achieve lasting success.

Four key areas present the greatest room for process improvement, according to Jeff Tennant, national director of revenue solutions for Leidos Health, and Steve Furry, founder and CEO of Catalyst Healthcare Advisors. During a June 12 webinar sponsored by Leidos Health and hosted by Becker's Hospital Review, Mr. Tennant and Mr. Furry named the four targets: workforce productivity, nonlabor supply chain efficiency, revenue cycle optimization and clinical effectiveness.

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Enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act aimed to "promote the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology" in clinical practice. Nearly a decade on, HITECH has succeeded in at least one respect: According to federal data, by 2015 some 84% of hospitals surveyed reported they had adopted at least a "basic" level electronic health records (EHR) system — more than an eightfold increase from the less than 10% level of EHR adoption reported in 2008, before HITECH became the law of the land.

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The benefits of skilled portfolio management are vast. If done properly, portfolio management can add visual control of an organization’s enterprise and unit level application portfolio to their Information Technology (IT) space. More importantly, portfolio management empowers organizations with analysis and visibility into the current state of their operations, whether that is vendor product management or application management, customer satisfaction or operational performance levels.

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In part one and part two, I laid out my thoughts on barriers to entry centered around how we pay for telemedicine, some policy issues that exist, and potential solutions. In part three, I want to continue to discuss solutions in relation to state lines.

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In part one, I laid out my thoughts on barriers to entry centered around how we pay for telemedicine and some policy issues that exist. In part two, I want to discuss potential solutions.

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As a board-certified emergency medicine physician, I have had the opportunity to personally experience the joys of providing virtual care. I have seen positive outcomes and happy patients and families. I have seen local communities thrive from the extra support. Overall, I am thankful for the opportunity to provide virtual care to a network of nearly 150 hospitals in 10 states. I firmly believe every virtual shift I work; I am helping us move a step closer to the promise that geography should not dictate the standard of care a patient and family receives.

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EHRs have profoundly impacted the healthcare industry. The EHR was initially seen as a way to digitize the patient’s chart and record, but by doing so EHRs have impacted the healthcare industry through the exponential increase in the amount of data that is now available to clinicians. The healthcare community is at the early-stages of trying to figure out how to use this onslaught of data to change and improve patient care. Organizations are trying to leverage the EHR as a database, not only for quality improvement and safety, but also for general population health.

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