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Asking the Right Questions to Achieve Meaningful Use Stage 2

  
  
  

Asking the Right Questions to Achieve Meaningful Use Stage 2 

meaninfulusefunnyIn August of 2012, CMS announced a final rule to govern Stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, which centers on the act of using certified electronic health record (EHR) technology to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare. Eligible Professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) have begun attempts to meet specific criteria specified in Stage 2 in the hopes of being a participant in the Incentive Programs. These initiatives include developing security safeguards for patient information, improving care coordination, and involving the patient and their loved ones in their healthcare through the use of patient portals.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 highlights multiple areas where organizations can implement practices to meet standards in the following domains:  Improvement of Quality, Safety, and Efficiency, Engagement of Patients & Families, Improvement of Care Coordination, Improvement of Public & Population Health, and Ensuring Privacy & Security for Personal Health Information (PHI).

If your organization is planning to achieve Meaningful Use Stage 2, start considering the answers to the following questions:

Can you provide patients the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information within 36 hours after discharge?  If not, how can you shift your focus to achieve this?

How does your facility measure quality, safety, and efficiency? How often are reviews in these categories conducted?

Do you currently have software that allows for high levels of patient engagement with providers?  What can you do to improve this?

Are your patients getting the right care at the right time? 

What security measures do you currently have in place?  How are you safeguarding patient information and user access?

To help ensure the quality, safety, and efficiency of your care, compare your facility with those of similar status through benchmarking and invest in a patient portal to allow patients and their families to ask questions and receive feedback from their caregivers. Improve your coordination of care by investing in Medicare’s Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) or their Comprehensive Primary Care initiative.  Finally, develop physical, administrative, and technical safeguards within your facility to assure privacy and security of patient PHI.  Initiation of these changes across your organization will result in beneficial incentives and higher quality healthcare.

Another helpful strategy is to offload some of the manual labor onto an experienced, trusted vendor. Through outsourcing work areas such as abstracting and scanning, your facility can process patient information sooner, allowing coders to work faster and the revenue cycle to accelerate. If FTE’s no longer need to assemble and scan patient charts, they’ll have time and freedom to focus on other initiatives including Meaningful Use. 

Could outsourcing your patient chart scanning be right for you? Learn more about our services below.

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Medical Record Coding: Maintaining Speed and Efficiency after ICD-10

  
  
  

Medical Record Coding: Maintaining Speed and Efficiency after ICD-10

patient chart scanning

As the healthcare industry continues to prepare for ICD-10 CM/PCS, organizations are striving to identify how they can increase the speed and efficiency of medical record coding while maintaining accuracy.  Due to the immense granularity associated with ICD-10, many predictive measures have been launched to combat the anticipated deceleration of the coding process.  If your organization is aiming to identify areas where anticipatory improvements can be made, you will want to consider the following:

Are you currently using a Computer Assisted Coding (CAC) module?  Can charts be dual-coded in ICD-9 and ICD-10?

How can you improve your Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) program? What impact will this have on your Discharged Not Final Bill (DNFB) rate?

Have you analyzed your current coding staffing levels?  Are there areas lacking efficiency? How can you combat this?

Is your facility correctly preparing its coders for ICD-10?  What training and education styles can you initiate to ready your coders?

Through the use of natural language processing (NLP), computer assisted coding software identifies key words in records, and in turn produces the associated ICD-9/10 code(s).  Training your coders to review these codes and correct any mistakes will speed up the process and ensure efficiency.  A good way to prepare for the effects of ICD-10 is to practice dual-coding, or to have the charts reviewed in both ICD-9 and ICD-10, to leverage the gap between the current coding structure and its impact on the future structure.

A well-rounded CDI program stresses physician involvement, and hiring Clinical Documentation Specialists (CDSs) who have good communication skills will help to promote that collaboration.  Many hospitals across America are also hiring a physician (possibly retired) to lead the CDI team. Actions like this will allow your facility to drop bills quicker, possibly even when the patient is still in-house, and result in a lower DNFB and positive revenue impact.  

Analyzing your coding staffing levels may bring to the surface areas lacking efficiency or productivity due to insufficient amounts of staff or processes with room for improvement. To see increases in speed and efficiency, you may want to outsource a portion of your coding to contract coders or reconstruct the workflow of your coding department.

Finally, it is crucial that your facility is educating and training its coders for ICD-10.  One idea to accomplish this is to offer overtime, during which classes are taught and hands-on learning can be conducted.  Also, this is another area where dual-coding will produce sufficient levels of speed and efficiency in ICD-10.

ICD-10 will be a substantial change for the healthcare industry, but with proper preparations and arrangements, facilities can minimize the negative impacts it could have on operations. To learn more about how our patient chart scanning services have helped other healthcare facilities to streamline their revenue cycle management, click the button below.

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Denials Management and ICD-10: Questions You Should Be Asking

  
  
  

Denials Management and ICD-10: Questions You Should Be Asking

ICD 10 CartoonWith the impending implementation of ICD-10, it’s important that your facility deploys a strong Denials Management campaign.  Denial rates are expected to jump 100-200% when ICD-10 hits the market, and healthcare facilities nationwide are developing strategies to combat this.  There are many factors that currently lead to denials, but in healthcare, the most common type is medical necessity denials (the diagnosis you are billing does not match the CMS medical necessity guidelines). In preparation for future changes, here are a few important questions regarding Denials Management you may want to consider:

 

 -   Do we currently have a strong Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) program in place?

 -   How are chart deficiencies handled? Are our providers buying into the process?

 -   Could we lend our attention to creating stronger communication between coders and providers by implementing software allowing them to freely communicate? How would this affect our denials rate?

-   In regards to reimbursement, do we currently have an efficient billing process that maximizes quality while lowering costs?  How will this change with ICD-10? 

-   What can we do to avoid the denials associated with the granularity of ICD-10 and the problems it poses to the billing process?

-   Is there potential to outsource some of our work, enabling us to focus on ICD-10 and its impact to our facility?          

-   What else can we do in regards to protecting ourselves by avoiding denials associated with ICD-10?

 Enabling coders to document their questions for physicians in a one-to-one environment can rapidly correct chart deficiencies while identifying errors that may lead to a claim denial.  This can be achieved with a configurable software solution that allows coders to review a chart and ask the physician a question by completing a deficiency form, which the physician can view and easily respond to by clicking through a deficiency list.  Coders can produce at higher rates, and providers can better understand the importance of their role in the process. 

 ICD-10 will affect the billing processes of all facilities, making it a high priority for hospitals to focus on. By delegating some of the more manual tasks involved in these processes to an outside vendor or streamlining them with a software solution, many organizations are able to shift more employee focus to ICD-10 strategy development and other pressing initiatives instead. Organizations can also review cross-departmental collaboration, dual-coding procedures, and root-cause analysis as a means to increase preparation for ICD-10.  This is a risk-reward, cost-benefit type of concept that is certain to produce beneficial outcomes. Outsourcing specific tasks such as patient chart scanning or optimizing billing processes with a software solution are both great ways to ensure operations continue to run smoothly in the wake of ICD-10. To learn more about how our patient chart scanning services work and how we've helped other healthcare facilities, click the button below!

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Four Ways to Improve Office Efficiency with Spring Cleaning

  
  
  

Four Ways to Improve Office Efficiency with Spring Cleaning

Improve office efficiencyIf you’ve stepped outside recently, you may have noticed that we’ve finally escaped the arctic temperatures. Spring is here!  Although this may sound like a joke to those states in the Northeast that are still under attack from the merciless snow gods, I think we can all agree it’s at least a step in the right direction.

 With spring comes not only flowers and iced tea, but spring cleaning – those dusty days filled with wonderment as you pull foreign objects from the back of your closet that should have stayed in the 80’s. However, often our computers and offices are more in need of cleaning than our closets. This year, spring cleaning should extend further than the remote spaces of our homes and on to our workplace files and data. Here’s four ways to do it:

1)      Start on a personal level. An uncluttered computer desktop and library helps us to find information faster and ensure we’re working with up-to-date versions of our important documents. Go through and delete redundant or out-of-date information to avoid confusion later, and delete the screenshots of your old Justin Bieber concert tickets. Take it one folder at a time, and don’t forget to back up your computer to keep what you do need safe from computer-related catastrophes.  

2)      If you don’t have one already, build a filing system for your loose papers that you can stick to for the rest of the year. Try creating folders for meetings, things that require action on your part, items that require a response from someone else, or information that just needs to be stored long-term. Then set up a schedule to periodically sort through it to avoid build-ups that take hours to organize.

3)      Now it’s time to think bigger. Is your department overrun with too many paper files? If your information is hard to find or is just taking up space needlessly, this spring could be the right time to invest in some document scanning so you can use that space for something better. Storing those files electronically not only makes them easier to sort through, but gives you the opportunity to make them immediately accessible from any location, eliminating the need for other employees to repeatedly ask you and your staff for that information.   

4)      Maybe it’s not the paper files you take issue with, but your department’s or even organization’s data. Without regular upkeep and strategy, it’s easy to let data get siloed into areas that are inaccessible or difficult to navigate for many employees, or to build up old, inaccurate, or otherwise useless information. One way to avoid this is to consolidate the places in which your data resides.  There’s no need to store your information in six different places when it’s easier to have it in one. By using an enterprise content management system, employees can use a single system to quickly find and share content, and you can ensure everyone has the same information.

Spring is, in some ways, a time to start anew.  If you’ve been putting off organizing your information in any capacity, why not do it now to improve office efficiency and productivity in the coming months? And throw those 80's clothes out. You don’t need them.

Thinking of working towards higher office efficiency? Already doing it? Test your knowledge by taking our quiz and checking out our infographic below – The 5 Stages of Going Paperless.

Download Infographic:5 Stages of Going Paperless

Why It’s Time to Pay Attention to the Growing Mobile Workforce Trend

  
  
  

Why It’s Time to Pay Attention to the Growing Mobile Workforce Trend

mobile workforce trendsAs the Mobile World Congress has just wrapped up last week, all the buzz is about the super cool new things we’ll be able do with the magical devices we keep glued to our hands. There was a little bit of everything floating around MWC this year, like phones that allow you to make calls even when you hold them upside down, (which I guess could be helpful if you frequently have problems telling which side is the top side of your phone). But even when we can Google the answers to our wildest questions and share photos of our breakfast, lunch, and dinner from any location with enough service, many business users are still unable to access important work-related information from their mobile devices.

When you consider how much time we spend at our jobs and the extent to which the average employee uses their phone in today’s world, this seems like a bit of an oversight, especially when an increasing amount of employees are working remotely. Mobile access to business documents is especially important to workers who often do their jobs from the field, where even a laptop can be impractically bulky and lacking in the correct functionality.

A great way to remedy this situation is to stop trying to download or save all your files in your email, and connect your mobile device to your content management system.  Not only will this mobile workforce solution give you direct access to any documents you need, it gives you the ability to save those documents straight to your phone if you’ll need to use them offline. You’ll essentially have a tiny briefcase in your pocket, except better, because your briefcase will tell you where the closest restaurants are.

The touchscreen most mobile devices now use also offer use cases that may not be possible with a laptop, such as mobile signatures.  When it takes an average of 3.1 days to collect a physical signature (according to Ombud Open Research), this functionality can be a huge time saver, even more crucial in positions where time is of the essence.

Direct access to information can make a large difference in not only turnaround times, but fast and informed decision making. Workers in the field will no longer need to wait until they can get back to their office to check their facts and take appropriate action; they can do it straight from wherever they may be.

The mobile workforce trends are growing for a reason, and according to a Cisco study, 3 out of 5 workers now say they don’t need to be in their office to be productive. With numbers like that, organizations with limited mobility could soon be left behind if the speed of their processes cannot keep in pace with those of other organizations. If your business processes are still full of bottlenecks, now may be the time to find a solution!

Need to beef up your content management before you can even think about going mobile? Check out our beginner’s guide to enterprise content management below!

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The OnBase Community: A Treasure Trove of Resources for OnBase Users

  
  
  

The OnBase Community: A Treasure Trove of Resources for OnBase Users

OnBase CommunityAre you getting all you can out of your investment in Enterprise Content Management? What if you could be doing more?  How are other users in similar organizations using their solution? All of these are important questions you should be asking about your solution.  Maybe your OnBase solution not only streamlines your processes, but also contains the secret to teleportation along with some award-winning cookie recipes! (It doesn’t.) Did OnBase provide winning lotto numbers to a fellow customer? That’s something you may be interested in knowing. (It didn’t.) But there’s really no way to know without some exploration, and joining a community of other ECM users is a great way to get some answers to your questions.

The OnBase Community provides an online venue for thousands of users to network and communicate, as well as groups sorted by industry that make it easy to connect with others in the same field. These industry groups, known as VOGUE, boast hundreds of members each and meet regularly to learn from each other’s OnBase experiences. The online Community acts as a valuable resource to users of all kinds, full of premium videos and tutorials, up-to-date news, and insights from other OnBase customers. It’s one of the richest sources of OnBase information available to customers.

Community also serves as a conduit for user voices to be heard by the professionals who actually create OnBase, and more than 7,500 changes have been made to OnBase software in response to customers’ comments and suggestions.  If you’ve got something to say about OnBase’s functionality (other than your newly realized frustration at your lack of winning lotto tickets and teleportation devices), Community is the perfect place to share those ideas and opinions in a way that could make a difference.

As members of Community, users can decrease their dependence on vendors as their only source for troubleshooting help and advice. Customers can talk directly to others who have had the same issues and learn how they’ve been resolved in the past or discover new ways to use their solution. 

Community serves as a hub of information and potential networking opportunities, and given all of its benefits, there’s really no reason not to join in. Not only can you gain from the knowledge of your peers, but they can learn from your experiences as well. If you’d like to join and explore the OnBase Community for yourself, just click on the button below. 

OnBase Community
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How to Achieve Stress-Free School Records Management

  
  
  

How to Achieve Stress-Free School Records Management

document scanning and conversionThe process for requesting school records seems to be labor intensive from both sides. Many schools require requests to be made by mail or fax, both of which sound archaic compared to the fast-moving online world we’re all now used to.

Although students and graduates feel inconvenienced by this, they’re not the only ones who are. Records management is surprisingly manual at many schools, and often the process is just as complicated for the people that receive school records requests. In a lot of cases, responding requires staff to spend time searching through paper documents or microfilm to find the correct student file, then prepare the response and mail it. If it involves microfilm, more steps are added for scanning and printing.  In an age where everything is digital, the process is conspicuously lacking technology.

A lot of this delay can be solved by scanning those records and storing them electronically. Not only does it take up less space, but employees can run searches for the requested records straight from their computer, accomplishing in seconds what would otherwise take a significant amount of time. Within minutes, student records can be located, printed, and be ready to mail out. Without the need to perform the extra work, staff can allocate their extra time to more weighty tasks, and as student records requests increase, efficiency will grow in importance.

Records management software takes this efficiency a step further by indexing records, making them keyword searchable and automating actions necessary for retention requirements. It combines organization and ease of use with process automation to take the strain off time consuming tasks and smooth out multiple departmental processes.

School records management shouldn’t be a burden on records managers or past and current students.  There are many ways to simplify and speed up records request processes, and making those records electronic is just the first step to improving operations. If you think your department could benefit from scanning or records management software, click below to contact us for more information about what we can do to help.

School Records Management

How to Increase Business Productivity and Boost Operations

  
  
  

How to Increase Business Productivity and Boost Operations

Increase Business ProductivityI’m sure I’m not the only person who feels that time goes by faster and faster every year. Whether we're all just victims of ever-growing to-do lists or if there’s been some sort of flux in the space-time continuum that actually causes time to gradually speed up, one thing is for sure – that I will always use the latter as an excuse if I miss a deadline. Also for sure is that no one ever seems to have enough time to do everything they need to.

Since creating more time requires time wizards (which are hard to come by and arguably do not exist), we’re left with the option of figuring out how to do more with the amount that we’ve got.  Below are some ways to keep your operations flowing at a steady pace and increase business productivity.

1.   Put information at employees’ fingertips

Productivity is often lost when employees have to spend too much time searching for information or they have to rely on someone else to find it for them - for example, when documents are shut in old filing cabinets or stored in a foldering system only one person understands.  Instead, eliminate information silos by making information available to your employees from one (electronic) central location accessible from anywhere. If that information is easy to find and navigate, employees won’t have to lose their momentum to begin the project of locating what they need.

2.   Encourage employee collaboration and communication

There’s lots of ways to promote collaboration through the use of technology or company culture.  One way is holding team building exercises and office luncheons, as employees who are happier and more comfortable around each other are more likely to work together.  Another option is providing software that makes communication and the sharing of information easier, such as an employee portal, instant messaging system, or project management tools.

3.   Take advantage of measuring and reporting tools

It’s hard to tell what’s working and where you can make improvements if you’re not analyzing your business processes. Reporting tools make spotting and eliminating bottlenecks in your processes easier and help shed light on where to allocate resources or how projects need to be prioritized.

If time is too tight of a resource at work, it may be a good idea to check out some alternate ways like the ones above to maintain and even increase business productivity. There’s tons of ways to keep your processes moving, whether that be from business process automation, improved information management, or just boosting employee morale. To learn more about how business process solutions can not only boost productivity, but also cut costs and provide a wide range of other benefits, check out our infographic below – The 5 Stages of Going Paperless.

Download Infographic:5 Stages of Going Paperless

What the New York Warehouse Fire Teaches Us about Information Risk Management

  
  
  

What the New York Warehouse Fire Teaches Us about Information Risk Management

New York Warehouse FireJust four days ago, the New York fire department was finally able to put an end to the fire that ravaged a Brooklyn warehouse full of city records, which burned for almost a week and brought on tremendous consequences. Hundreds of thousands of boxes of records were damaged, resulting in a significant loss to organizations such as the Health and Hospitals Corporation, the Administration for Children’s Services, and the health department.

In addition to the loss of information, the fire caused a loss of privacy for some as well, as sensitive documents from those boxes could be found blowing around outside throughout the week. While some New York residents are concerned about the possibility of identity theft, others, like Manhattan attorney Robert Vilensky, are dealing with lost documents they personally stored in the warehouse. Vilensky is the first to bring the city to court over the incident and is suing for $20 million.

However dire the situation may seem, there is a ray of hope from the Health and Hospitals Corporation, who took one of the biggest hits with 143,000 boxes of damaged records. A spokesman for the H.H.C. informed the New York Times that, “Fortunately, as an early adopter of electronic medical record systems, H.H.C. keeps vital patient records in electronic form, and we do not anticipate this will affect our patient care operations.”

The New York warehouse fire illustrates perfectly the importance of information risk management and should make us wonder, “What is the liability if the unthinkable occurs and the records we have entrusted to a third party are destroyed? And is there an approach that provides the organizational benefits of offsite storage without the risk and liability?” The answer is yes, by following the example of the H.H.C and managing our information electronically. It will always be cheaper to convert paper to digital documents than to recover from a disastrous loss of information such as this, especially after taking into account the legal ramifications and the loss of public trust.

There are many measures that can be put in place to guard or restore your data and ensure business continuity in the case of a disaster, but it’s difficult to keep paper completely safe from the elements. When records are stored in their physical form, there is no backup file to restore from and no data encryption to protect sensitive information from prying eyes. 

In spite of this, 55% of respondents to a Fujitsu report admitted they have no plans in place for the recovery of their paper files in case of a disaster, and 65% answered they would have moderate to severe trouble restoring their lost information. Keeping only one physical copy of one of your business’s most important assets is not only inefficient and expensive, but risky. It should be a risk you’re not willing to take. That loss of trust is hard to overcome.

If the recent disaster of an offsite facility has raised questions about information risk management within your organization, or if you’re just ready for a more efficient, safer way to manage your organization’s important information, contact DataBank to learn more about our conversion services.

Did you know digitizing your paper files is just the first step to eliminating the paper from your processes? Check out our infographic below – The 5 Stages of Going Paperless – to learn what you can do to improve your operations!

Download Infographic:5 Stages of Going Paperless

4 Best Practices You Should Know for Your Disaster Recovery Planning Process

  
  
  

4 Best Practices You Should Know for Your Disaster Recovery Planning Process

359203.fullLife is full of moments we just can’t prepare for.  Many times it’s little things like spilling a drink on your boss’s lap or forgetting to hit the save button right before your computer crashes. Those moments are hardly pleasant, but we’re incredibly lucky if those are the only kinds of “disasters” we encounter.

We’re not  the only ones with exposure to unfortunate happenings; our business information is, too.  The difference is that we can put plans in place to ensure the safety of some of our most important assets.  Building a disaster recovery plan is crucial for not only ensuring your business will keep thriving in the event of a catastrophe, but for keeping your data protected in general, as it forces you to review and test several aspects of the security of your information.  

Here are some tips to help you through the disaster recovery planning process so your organization can weather the storms – real or metaphorical. 

1.   Make sure there’s a back-up copy of all critical information and that it’s stored in a different location than the first copy.  That location should be either in the cloud or far enough away that the same event cannot destroy both copies, and the resources needed to access that data should be available in both places. Backups should occur at least once a week so stored data will always be up-to-date. 

2.   Ensure that the plan itself is accessible in the event of a disaster, and that the same, updated version has been distributed to everyone who needs it.  A plan, no matter how great it is, is useless if it’s missing or executed incorrectly.

3.   How do you know if your business continuity plan is good? An extremely important step to making sure your plan is successful is disaster recovery testing in real life. Not only will this work out any kinks or holes in your plan, but it’ll train your employees on actions that need to be taken so everyone is already familiar with their responsibilities if catastrophe should strike.

4.   Keep your disaster recovery plan updated with any changes in business processes that may affect it by reviewing it on a regular basis to ensure it’s still accurate.  

Planning for disaster can be easy or extremely difficult, depending on the state of your content. An enterprise content management (ECM) system can take you miles in simplifying your preparations by securely storing your information, providing copies of your data in off-site locations, and automatically keeping your document versions up-to-date to prevent the distribution of inconsistent plans. ECM is much more than a bit of shielding against disaster, though. To learn more about it, check out our free E-Guide below.

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