Down the Ransomware Rabbit Hole We Go

Ransomware attacks on hospitals, small practices and clinics are an increasing problem. There are headline cases around the world, and many smaller cases of clinics and practices being compromised. Many don’t even make the news because they don’t actually get reported, for apparent reasons.

Recent headlines surrounding the spate of ransomware attacks against hospitals have highlighted again the complexity of maintaining security in any large scale technology environment. By nature, any open and interconnected system has many points of vulnerability. A permanent connection to the Internet means attackers have the chance to probe network defenses around the clock. Wi-Fi access, a great bonus for legitimate users, allows 24/7 connection via cell phones and tablets - that attacker could just as easily be sitting in your parking lot, or even in your waiting room drinking your coffee, using their own cell phone or tablet to begin that breach. It's a dangerous world, technology.

Some Home Truths About Eating Disorders

While some eating disorders have physical causes and associated treatments, it is important to realize that the majority of eating disorders are mental health issues which can best be treated by approaching them as such.

Bulimia and Anorexia are arguably the two most common disorders, or at least they are the two which are most widely known to the general public. It is common to put labels on sufferers. Common to throw out a dollar store diagnosis that 'they' have a poor body image, or that 'they’ are seeking to regain control of their lives. If it was only that simple, a couple of sessions of therapy would be enough to resolve things, and everybody would be happy. But they are not that simple. Far from it.

CMS and Big Data Development

Back in June of 2015 the CMS announced a new policy to allow third-party access to CMS data (such as Medicare claims) as part of approved research into population health at national levels. The goal was to develop new insights from the huge pool of anonymized patient information (AKA Big Data) which would showcase health trends and potentially help develop new diagnostic techniques and treatment insights, using new tools and technology developed along the way.

Getting Clean, With A Little Help From our Friends

January 29 marks the release of a David Bowie tribute issue of Rolling Stone magazine. Following Bowie's death on January 10, a great many artists spoke of the influence this controversial musician had made on their lives, their musical choices and their careers. That in itself is inspirational.

But it goes much deeper. Beyond the musical influence, beyond the stardom and the Fame (I had to get at least one Bowie song reference in somewhere), Bowie himself has a well-documented history of drug abuse and was well along the path to self-destruction as far back as the Ziggy Stardust days of the seventies. There are many stories of wild excesses and behaviour that follow the traditional rock star pattern. But unlike many others that were chewed up and spit out by the intensity of living their lives in the media spotlight, Bowie somehow turned it around and came out the other side, stronger than ever.

Meaningful Use. Still Here.

In the wake of the J.P. Morgan conference and CMS' pro tem administrator Andy Slavitt's bombshell announcement that "In 2016, MU as it has existed - with MACRA - will now be effectively over and replaced with something better", speculation has been rife. But nothing has reached my ears concerning the specifics. In fact, the CMS web site has been conspicuously silent on the subject.

Such an impactful change should not be like a magician pulling a dollar out of your ear. I for one don't want to experience the surprise of being presented with such sleight of hand. I personally would prefer to know what, where, when and how. The mechanics. Does anyone out there have anything concrete to offer on this subject, beyond guesswork? I find the silence deafening.

Regarding The Question Of Meaningful Use

It is no longer breaking news that during the recent J. P. Morgan conference in San Francisco, the acting administrator of CMS, Andy Slavitt, announced that Meaningful Use (MU) is going to be replaced in 2016 with, quote, 'something better'.

The questions this raises are too many to enumerate, but I think they can be boiled down to three basic ones: When? With what? And "What about my incentive payments?"

Unfortunately, nobody has the answers.

House Bill Takes Aim At Obamacare

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), AKA ACA, or more commonly Obamacare, came under fire again yesterday when the House of Representatives passed another bill to repeal the controversial legislation. Since the ACA was introduced in March of 2010 it has been barraged by efforts to get it off the statute books, having faced over sixty direct challenges during the last five years. This latest challenge looks set to fail as well, as President Obama has promised to veto any bill landing on his desk which aims to derail ACA, the plan intended to overhaul and improve healthcare provision at a national level.

Obama has an Achilles heel, of course. After November he will not be able to veto anything. Whether or not to veto future bills will be a choice which falls on the shoulders of his presidential successor, making this something of a political hot potato and quite an electioneering platform.

Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays to all!

As 2015 comes to an end, we want to wish everyone a happy holiday season and hope that you will each have a healthy and a prosperous New Year.

Best wishes, from the team at Sigmund Software.

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The Gratitude Contest is Now Closed. And the Winner Is...

gratitudequotesOur recent contest drew much interest and many expressions of gratitude were shared. We wish to thank everyone that participated for taking the time out of their busy days to have a little fun with us.

Of course there can only be one winner in a prize drawing, and the name drawn out on this occasion was...

Brad Cohen. Congratulations, Brad!

Brad will shortly receive the prize of a brand new Gratitude / Wishing ball, and we hope that it takes pride of place wherever it can bring the most enjoyment.

May it be a repository of happy thoughts and wishes for many years to come.

Being grateful for all that we have, instead of being ungrateful or jealous of what is missing, can have many benefits. It allows higher levels of optimism, more frequent happy moods and a higher sense of belonging (Source: The Greater Good Science Center UC Berkeley, 2011)

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The Future of Profitable Healthcare Is Marketing

The rate of change in medical technology is astounding. Practitioners and providers alike have more tools available to them now than ever before and this trend looks set to continue well into the foreseeable future. That trend is one which applies to our patients use of technology, too.

Prospective patients routinely review online forums, review and ratings sites, before selecting their healthcare provider. They look at the experience of other patients of yours and determine from those reviews whether they want to be the next one to enter your waiting room. Or not. If your overall patient experience is good, this can drive prospective patients through your doors. Of course, if the overall patient experience is bad, it can drive the same prospective patients through your doors. Only, of course, in the other direction. One bad review (whether justified or not) can stop your door from opening at all. What can you do about that?

Sigmund Software 2014 Edition Certification Anniversary Approaches

Sigmund Software ICSA Cert 2014 Compliant-EHR-AmbulatoryOn 29 December 2014, Sigmund Software became officially ONC 2014 Edition Complete Ambulatory certified. As our first anniversary approaches, we reflect that over the past year this certification has helped Sigmund clients successfully comply and attest to Stage 2 Meaningful Use, in turn releasing additional Medicare incentive payments to eligible professionals.

The core objectives met to achieve this certification included extensive testing in the areas of CPOE and eRx, both of which form critical parts of the Safety-Enhanced Design Attestation process, which allows secure interaction between the Sigmund EHR and pharmacies and labs. They are also pretty handy to have in the workplace.

For Sigmund Software, and our clients, secure interoperability between systems has been in large part achieved. What does this mean for you?

Secure Mobile Health in 4..3..2..1..

Mobile health apps which measure all aspects of the wearers' daily activity from distance walked to blood sugar levels are seeing a huge growth rate this year. Additionally, remote connectivity from phones and tablets to desktop software such as electronic health record (EHR) systems is increasingly popular among healthcare professionals and practitioners, allowing as it does greater flexibility by freeing users from their desktop environment. They can achieve more, faster, while on the move.

This growth in mobile healthcare (often abbreviated to mHealth) promises fantastic opportunities to change the whole way of working, of delivering and receiving treatment. Healthcare itself is changing due to this game-changing phenomenon. Of course, there is a 'but'.

Let's Go To Disney!

Take the family and enjoy a better work/life balance at the Caribe Royale Hotel, Orlando. Right next door to Disney World.

Take the opportunity to get away from your typical conference on medical billing while brushing up on your ICD-10 and other critical coding skills. If the mood takes you, grab some mouse ears and go have some fun. Why not?

The Sigmund Software EHR contains mapping tools to convert ICD-9 to ICD10. And of course, our team is always there to help when needed. But you still need to know best practices, and the best codes for your specialty.

Patient Assessment and Progress Notes with AURA EHR from Sigmund Software


Leverage flexible Content Management Controls in AURA to develop organizationally defined instrumentation that has intelligence.

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Custom User Interfaces with Administrative Dashboards in the AURA EHR from Sigmund Software



Enjoy greater controls over the vital signs of your organization with personalized custom administrative Dashboards from AURA.

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