Sigmund Software, LLC is part of the VSS Medical Group
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?
On 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?
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'.
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.
Good or bad, ICD-10 launched on October 1st 2015. Many are scrambling to make sense of the change and adapt to the huge increase in the numbers of diagnostic codes now available. The ICD-9 codes, which many know by heart, are no longer valid - they need an ICD-10 code instead.
To help address this, many vendors have provided General Equivalency Mapping utilities, GEM for short. Sigmund Software includes a GEM as part of our own EHR suite. GEM utilities enable care providers to input a known ICD-9 code, and then select from a broad range of matching new ICD-10 codes.
So, are GEM's also good, or bad? Our clients unanimously agree, definitely good. We worked hard to make ours user-friendly and intuitive. Our GEM helps Sigmund users make sense of the transition between ICD-9 and ICD-10 and speed along the migration process. Terrific!
But of course, it's not that simple.
With ICD-10 due to hit the streets on October 1st, the already reeling healthcare industry was rocked again when on September 28, 116 members of Congress wrote a co-signed letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging a delay of the implementation of Stage 3 rules for Meaningful Use.
The nine page letter comprises one and a half pages of writing - and seven and a half pages of congressional signatures.
The clock is ticking ever louder as we race toward October 1st and the official launch of ICD-10. Less than one week remains. Many are prepared. More are not. Some have no plans whatsoever and will wait to see what happens, while some refuse point-blank to accept the change and will fight against it to the bitter end.
Whichever camp you fall into, now is the time to make sure you are certain of the implications and how they will affect you.
Sigmund Software is ahead of the curve.
Pharmaceuticals are expensive. Very expensive. Some of that cost is due to patents on drugs and medications, which force drug manufacturers to pay high licensing fees just for the right to be able to use a particular methodology or base material to get their products off the production line and into pharmacies: Patenting molecules is big business.
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine believe this may be about to change. Their recent study indicates that patents on several commonly used antipsychotics are due to expire shortly, opening the door for manufacturers to create generic alternatives. Alternatives which will come in significantly cheaper, reducing the cost of medications across the board. Treatment facilities, hospitals, community care patients and Medicare itself will be able to access this newly affordable drug market at much more budget-conscious levels as market forces kick in and manufacturers compete on price. That is good. Very good.
Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine (University of Pennsylvania) discovered that for over 25% of Medicare beneficiaries with multiple observation stays, the out-of-pocket costs exceeds what their inpatient hospital admission deductibles would cost. The growing trend to have Medicare patients admitted for observation is understandable, given that providers do not want to see their Medicare claims denied further down the line. The cost, though, is being deferred to those patients that find themselves in hospital for observation several times before finally achieving Inpatient status and receiving treatment.
Medicare considers Observation care as Outpatient service, regardless of where in the hospital they actually stay - be that a ward, private room, or the ER. Outpatient equals out of pocket. Costs for the visit will usually fall below the regular Medicare plan deductible ceiling.
Sigmund Software EHR grew out of the dedicated work of a team of behavioral health practitioners that found they needed a dedicated tool to use in their daily work to help others. Those practitioners understood first-hand the struggles faced by those with troubled minds, those with addictions, and those with lifestyle issues. That perspective, that culture, still drives Sigmund today. And that is why we are pleased to announce our sponsorship of the Forever Family Walk.
The Forever Family Walk (FFW) is a two-year project, brainchild of Jarett Wilkins, a young man with a mission. Jarett will walk 6,000 miles and cross more than 30 U.S. States to raise awareness of the issues faced by children in foster care. From California to New York, over mountains and across deserts, through rain and wind and storm, Jarett will be walking, and volunteering at least one day to selected foster care organizations in each state as he travels. He will be taking that opportunity to interview industry leaders and facility managers, spokespeople and workers along the way. The goal is simple: Find out what is working, what is not, and what needs to be done, where.
According to a market research report from Mordor Intelligence, the future holds great things for all things telehealth. The academically titled report, 'Global Telemedicine Market - Growth, Trends & Forecasts (2015 - 2020)', advises that the primary market areas to exhibit growth will be telepathology, teleradiology, teledermatology and telepsychology.
'Telehealth' is the latest buzz word to hit the medical arena, replacing its predecessor, the now ageing 'telemedicine', due to the incredible diversity and growth in modern technology which goes far beyond just medicine. Telehealth, from the same Greek root 'tele', meaning 'distant', is a compound word which covers all aspects of remote healthcare.
Like 67 million others in the first week of release, I have upgraded to Windows 10. It was a painless transition which held no drama - it just worked. I was, however, interested to discover the defaults which the new Microsoft operating system ships with. Defaults which could potentially compromise the security and stability of medical practices and facilities. This is what you need to know.
Windows 10 introduces automatic updating by default. Updates will occur when Microsoft says they will. This is good, in that any zero day patches for serious issues will be rolled out automatically, protecting the entire Windows using population even while they sleep. That is pretty amazing. It could be problematic, however, if Microsoft decides to reboot all your practice computers during the working day. Imagine a power outage. Same result. You can override this new default and set your own schedule, and I will show you how to do this further on in this article.
Many EHR solutions (including of course those from Sigmund Software) offer a secure web-based interface through which practitioners can access a patient's personal health information (PHI) and medical data from any Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) equipment. That could be a tablet, a smartphone, a laptop, or any computer that can connect to the Internet.
The EHR software interface itself offers HIPAA compliant security – secured connections and auto-lockout after a set period of inactivity, for example. That covers someone walking away leaving their unlocked phone on a table. But what happens when your phone / tablet / laptop is stolen?