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 The Health Information Technology Landscape for Long-Term and Post-Acute Care

Eight industry executives were invited to participate in a stakeholder discussion of today’s landscape for health information technology for long-term and post-acute care. The discussion took place in June 2012 concurrent with AHIMA’s 8th annual LTPAC HIT Summit, and was sponsored by WoundRounds®, the point-of-care wound documentation and prevention solution.

 

AUTHORED BY:

Linda Kloss, RHIA, Kloss Strategic Advisors, Ltd.
Former CEO of AHIMA

IN COLLABORATION WITH:

WoundRounds®, a service of Telemedicine Solutions, LLC

Modern Wound Care Blog

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Mayo Clinic Case Study

 


The recent issue of Telemedicine and e-Health published a case study which praises the benefits of telemedicine. In the study, doctors at Mayo Clinic in Arizona used telemedicine technology to treat concussions through the use of live video evaluations.

“When a community doesn’t have ready access to providers trained in the recognition and management of concussion, concussed athletes sometimes go unrecognized or returned to play prematurely potentially subjecting them to more serious injuries,” says Bert Vargas, M.D., neurologist and assistant professor of Neurology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Doctors in more rural areas embrace telemedicine as advanced technology is bringing quality care to patients regardless of their location in the world.

“Despite the current culture of increased awareness and recognition of concussions, concussed athletes go unrecognized – even at the professional level,” Dr. Vargas adds. “Many professional sports organizations have voiced the need for neurologists to be on the sideline to make rapid authoritative decisions regarding return to play for athletes suspected of having a concussion. Teleconcussion may eventually be a way to address the logistical issues associated with having a neurologist on the sideline of every professional and collegiate level sporting event.”

The use of telemedicine to treat concussions is great news for the 40 percent of Arizona  residents that do not live in an area where stroke specialists are readily available.

Source: omglobe.com
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Universal Benefits of Telemedicine

 


Technology is changing the world of health care as large amounts of information and resources are becoming more readily available and accessible. Telemedicine is defined as the use of electronic devices to provide high quality patient care. According to CIO.com, telemedicine is changing health care in several ways. Here are a few of the ways they listed:

1.  Strokes. Telestroke services provides information to care providers that allows stroke victims to receive treatment as quickly as possible, helping to raise survival rates.
2. Second Opinion. Tele-ICU provides ICU Physicians and nurses the opportunity to get a second opinion from a medical professional that is not onsite, allowing the recipient to diagnose the patient without distractions.

3. Home Care. Portable electronic patient monitoring devices allow patients to recover from the comfort of their own home.

4. Empower Patients. Telemedicine allows patients to monitor chronic conditions by utilizing the technology available to them, rather than having to depend on medical professionals for every single step.

5. Improve Rural Care. Medical technology allows medical specialists access to patients including live chats, videos, and images - without having to physically be in the same room. This allows people in rural areas to receive the same quality of care as people who live in more populated areas.

The potential of telemedicine is undeniable. WoundRounds focuses on the latest technology in order to prevent, diagnose, and treat wounds, especially pressure ulcers. For more information on the benefits of telemedicine, visit woundrounds.com.

To read the full source article, visit cio.com

Data Organization Important to Health Care

 

The Health 2.0 Boston Code-a-thon, a website coding competition, has proven just how valuable data organization can be to the health care industry. The competition, held in May, included 80 participants including IT and medical professionals. The goal of the competition was to create an app that would turn large amounts of data into accessible and valuable information.

A four person team won the contest with their website about sleep apnea, nosleepkills.org. The team included Guy Shechter and Amber Zimmermann of Philips Healthcare.

"The whole goal of getting more health data digital is so you can start doing meaningful things with data," Shechter said. "If we can get access to Athena Health data on actual patients we can extract some of the risk factors we are looking at."

The relationship between health and technology is growing rapidly as organizing patient information in new ways become more and more important. The documentation and organization of large amounts of data in an easy and effective way can save health care professionals time, money, and frustration. At Woundrounds, the prevention and care of pressure ulcers can be digitally documented right at a patient’s bedside and immediately stored electronically. For more information on the latest technology and wound care, visit woundrounds.com.

Source: www.cio.com

Stop Pressure Ulcer Day

 
logo stop pressure ulcers2The European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel has invited the world to participate in an international “Stop Pressure Ulcer Day” on November 16th, 2012. The website has several promotional materials available including a poster, fact sheet, and patient guide. The EPUAP also has a “Stop the Pressure Ulcer Day” video available on YouTube. 

The goal of this event is to bring people together from all over the world in the fight against pressure ulcers.This international event will provide educational and awareness materials in several languages in order to reach as many people as possible. The events calendar is currently unavailable but will be posted in the next few days, according to the site.

For more information on how to prevent and treat pressure ulcers, visit woundrounds.com.

Source: http://www.epuap.org/

Pressure Ulcers and Nursing Home Liability

 
Liability is a major issue when it comes to pressure ulcers, especially in nursing homes. As caregivers know, it is very difficult for a family to watch a loved one suffer. Sometimes when a loved passes, the family will turn the blame on the caregivers. This has the potential to lead to legal problems that can cost time, money, and reputations.

There is even a non-profit advocacy group called the Long Term Care Community Coalition that conducts federal inspections of nursing homes. The most common problem? Bed sores. Specifically, staff not taking the proper measures to prevent bed sores-- or at least not being able to prove they performed all of the proper measures. [1]

In some cases, pressure ulcers are not preventable. In all cases, proper preventative measures can be documented in order to avoid any liability. One software-based prevention solution, WoundRounds, makes it easy to for staff to assess and track patient risk, identify the hot spots for each patient, and efficiently deliver preventive interventions appropriate for each patient. For more information on how to effectively prevent and manage pressure ulcers, visit woundrounds.com.


[1] Levin & Perconti. “Nursing Home Fined For Failing To Prevent Bed Sores”. Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Blog. Web. 06 December 2012.

Patients hospitalized with pressure ulcers are high risk

 
Hospital room ubtPatients who enter the hospital with a pressure ulcer are at a higher risk for developing additional ulcers, worsening their current pressure ulcer condition, and even mortality. This is bad news for long-term care providers, as most elderly patients are frequently hospitalized. According to a recent study released by UCLA, out of  51,000 Medicare beneficiaries 16.7% of patients who entered the hospital with a pressure ulcer developed an additional sore during their stay. In addition, 4.5% of patients that did not have a bedsore prior to their hospitalization, developed one. [1]

Proper documentation can help facilities communicate the condition of a patient during and after a facility transfer, as well as prevent any liability which could become associated with a pre-existing bedsore.  Common causes of bedsores include incontinence and immobility. However, any sign of a bedsore should be documented and treated immediately.

“Pressure sores and incontinence in elderly and immobile individuals often come hand-in-hand,” said Mercer, president of National Incontinence, “Hospital staffs and caretakers need to be aware of how and when bedsores form and what can be done to prevent them. Any sign of redness on the body should raise a red flag.”

Woundrounds technology can help long-term care providers by providing them with the resources to prevent, treat, and document pressure ulcers with the latest mobile technology. For more information, visit woundrounds.com.

[1] Ashton, MD. “Hospital Pressure Sores May Increase Patient Mortality and Readmissions.” PRWeb. Web.  01 November 2012.

The Benefits of WoundRounds Featured on Nurse.com

 

Nurse.com recently featured Woundrounds and the benefits of mobile devices in longterm care facilities. WoundRounds provides a hand-held device that provides nurses and caretakers the information and resources they need to treat hard to heal wounds - right in the palm of their hand. The device, which is the size of the average smartphone, electronically saves all records and time stamps all images. 
"It makes the charting so much easier," said Phyllis Bergquist, RN, director of nursing at Durand (Mich.) Senior Care & Rehab Center. "All the records are kept automatically instead of having to transfer to paper. The direction we’re going in nursing is electronic charting and the elimination of paper. This gives us everything we need to accurately track wound care."
The user is able to access the patient’s last assessment and Braden score right at their bedside in order for quick comparison. In addition, the user can also perform an 11-point assessment based on guidelines from the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society and the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel. 
Bergquist said the device has proved itself useful and practical. When asked if she would recommend WoundRounds to other facilities. She responded, “Definitely.”
For more information on WoundRounds and how to treat and prevent hard to heal wounds with the latest technology, visit WoundRounds.com for a free consultation. 
To read the full featured article, visit nurse.com.

CMS Focusing on Health IT

 

Health IT is the focus of a new four year project initiated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A CMS official told InformationWeek Healthcare that the organizations are looking for ways to connect long-term-care facilities electronically with other healthcare providers and reduce avoidable hospitalizations.

"All selected organizations will have on-site staff to partner with the existing nursing facility staff to provide preventive services as well as improve assessments and management of medical conditions," said the CMS announcement. "Participants will also work toward more seamless beneficiary transitions of care, and leverage use of emerging technologies, among many other activities."

CMS' solicitation of proposals for the project stipulates that no grantee can spend more than 10% of its total award for health IT equipment and that the agency must approve the purchase of any IT-related gear that costs over $5,000. In addition, the initiatives proposed that nurses and nurse practitioners work to improve the monitoring and care of patients within the long-term-care facilities. Currently, there is little exchange of electronic data between acute-care hospitals and post-acute-facilities.

The CMS estimates that 45% of the readmissions of Medicare and Medicaid patients receiving care in nursing homes could be avoided. In 2011, total costs for these readmissions were estimated to be between $7 billion and $8 billion.

To read the full article, visit informationweek.com.

2012 Election Particularly Important to Long-term Care Providers

 


The presidential debates have included a variety of important social issues, but few have been argued as much as healthcare. On Monday, before the last presidential debate, LeadingAge President and CEO Larry Minnix made it clear whom he thought long-term care providers need to vote for. [1]

“The race is very much paying attention to our issues,” Minnix said to a media gathering at his group's annual meeting Monday at the Denver Convention Center. “Obama's agenda is continuing forward with the Affordable Care Act. Our organization supports the ACA. The early signs are it is making a difference” with things such as community–based care, housing services and PACE programs.

A Romney presidency “would mean more dramatic [funding] cuts downstream,” Minnix added. “Most nursing homes are not reimbursed adequately now. What [the Republican platform has] put out we can't fathom.What we've seen so far of the numbers, [their] things are worse. The ACA might not be perfect, but we've seen some things we like.”

Regardless of who is elected president in November, Long-term care funding won't be sufficient going forward. Minnix emphasized: “You can't throw enough money at the current system to make it work. We believe our only way out is innovation. We support that.”

[1] Nursing home chief: An Obama victory would be better. McKnight’s Long Term Care News. Web. 1- 23 2012.

Mayo Clinic Study Confirms the Benefits of Smartphones and Telemedicine

 

 A study released by the Mayo Clinic confirms the positive benefits of using smartphones to evaluate medical images in remote locations through telemedicine. The MAyo Clinic study is the first to test the effectiveness of smartphone teleradiology applications in a real-world telestroke network. [1]

"Essentially what this means is that telemedicine can fit in our pockets," says Bart Demaerschalk, M.D., professor of Neurology, and medical director of Mayo Clinic Telestroke. "For patients this means access to expertise in a timely fashion when they need it most, no matter what emergency room they may find themselves."

The study compared the quality of medical images using a particular smartphone application to the same images viewed on a desktop computers. The scans were reviewed by radiologists in Yuma and a separate group of neurologists to determine the level of agreement between the traditional interpretation routes and the new images and scans on smartphones. The study shows that 92 to 100 percent of reviewers were in agreement.

"Smartphones are ubiquitous, they are everywhere," Dr. Demaerschalk says. "If we can transmit health information securely and simultaneously use the video conferencing capabilities for clinical assessments, we can have telemedicine anywhere, which is essential in a state like Arizona where more than 40 percent of the population doesn't have access to immediate neurologic care."

The study was funded by the Arizona Department of Health Services and the technology and technical assistance was provided by Calgary Scientific, the maker of ResolutionMD.


[1] “Smartphone technology acceptable for telemedicine.” Science Codex. Web. 01 October 2012.  

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