Answers for a Healthier World

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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Strategy is everything in healthcare. If you think about it, regardless of your industry, strategy is what makes every company function across the board. The foundation of successful strategy is effective leadership - particularly in the healthcare industry when dealing with optimizing and managing an electronic healthcare record (EHR).

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Strategic planning is essential in healthcare- particularly when implementing and operationalizing an EHR. One key extension to proper strategic planning is project and portfolio management. According to the Project Management Institute, 89% of high-performing organizations value project management and 81% of high-performing organizations actively engage sponsors.  An overall Portfolio Management Framework, however, is a necessary component to effective project management since it can instill a programmatic but practical approach towards implementation and optimization initiatives. To sum it all up, portfolio management helps projects align with overall enterprise strategies.

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A regulation-based, seismic change recently hit the healthcare industry. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), a Medicare payment reform, went into effect January 1, 2017. MACARA and the associated Quality Payment Program (QPP) regulation will shift the reimbursement model from a straight fee for service model to a more comprehensive value-based framework.

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Many of the technologies as well as the business processes and even best practices that have been a bedrock for industries are being washed away by a phenomenon called digital transformation (DX). Cleverism.com defines digital transformation as the use of digital technology in every aspect of human society and living. They see digital transformation as the third step of a long process, coming after achieving digital competence and then becoming fully digital literate. This definition, however, doesn’t address what this means for hospitals.

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