Category: Press Releases
Every day, organizations across the world continue to achieve technological advancements and breakthroughs. Although these developments are not specific to any one industry, we tend to see this occur most often in healthcare.
While technology has without a doubt improved healthcare manufacturers’ processes and the level of care patients receive within a clinical environment, there is also an associated level of upkeep regarding both internal functions and IT infrastructure and systems to ensure the necessary levels of support are being met for uninterrupted service.
How Can Managed IT Services Help?
Managed IT services are obtained through a managed service provider (MSP) and offer numerous avenues to provide technical support or supplement an existing IT solution. This could include server and computer support, network monitoring, implementing backup and disaster recovery solutions, and much more.
Our Managed IT services offer numerous avenues to provide technical support or supplement an existing IT solution.
Here are some of the primary benefits of incorporating managed IT services into any healthcare organization’s overall strategy for an effective IT solution.
A major benefit of partnering with an MSP for managed IT services in the healthcare industry is the ability to keep up with rapidly evolving technology and meet the demands of your end users, whether they are employees, patients, or both.
One way this can be accomplished is by working with your MSP to migrate to a cloud solution. They will assess your data, storage, and applications to determine which can be cloud-based, stay on-premise, or if a hybrid approach that combines the two is best for your organization. From there, the MSP should create a migration and implementation plan, which they will execute for you to ensure a smooth transition.
Housing your organization’s applications in the cloud is extremely helpful in any healthcare environment, not just for internal staff, but for patients, too. Storing patient data on the cloud allows healthcare providers to have nearly instantaneous access to their files, while patients can easily acquire their lab records and prescriptions through telemedicine. Cloud solutions and digitized patient files also provide more seamless communication amongst other sectors in the healthcare industry, such as insurance, billing, and pharmacies.
A cloud solution also can provide advantages for healthcare companies outside of direct patient care, such as healthcare manufacturers and suppliers. Members of these organizations can benefit from increased convenience and flexibility, as email, files, and applications can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. Furthermore, a cloud solution protects against hackers and data breaches and prevents data loss.
Another benefit of adopting a cloud solution is its scalability. In a typical cloud environment, there is very little cost associated with getting started and most plans are consumption-based, meaning you only pay for the resources you use. This allows your IT infrastructure to grow with you and makes it the ideal solution for healthcare facilities that may need to add or remove staff based on patient levels, economic climate, or other factors.
In today’s technology-driven landscape, it is becoming increasingly important – yet difficult – for healthcare organizations to achieve and maintain compliance.
Many hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities are adopting cloud solutions for increased efficiency and cost savings, but they must continue to adhere to HIPAA requirements to protect patients’ personal health information, referred to as PHI.
Health information technology – or health IT – is also widely used within the healthcare industry and involves the processing, storage, and exchange of health information in an electronic environment.
With sensitive data at stake, there are concerns surrounding cloud security, which is why it is crucial to make sure you are taking the correct steps. Partnering with a managed service provider who is familiar with HIPAA requirements and is also designated as a cloud service provider (CSP) will ensure your technologies and security processes and procedures meet compliance standards.
Access To Resources
Managed service providers are professionals in all things IT, so when you partner with a credible MSP, you can rest assured you are receiving insight from knowledgeable and experienced subject matter experts.
Depending on your contract, you can call on these experts 24/7 with any IT issue or question and expect to receive a prompt response and quick resolution, which is essential to have in a healthcare facility where operations rely largely on technology.
Since much of a healthcare organization’s capital budget is dedicated to sourcing and procuring long-term medical equipment and research, partnering with an MSP allows IT expenses to shift to an operating cost, making it easier to obtain related services and support.
Another benefit of contracting managed services through an MSP is gaining access to their industry-leading ITSM toolsets, namely service desk and corresponding ticketing systems. This can lead to exponential cost savings as there is no investment required for your tools, while also leveraging the MSP’s proven methodologies for enhanced service levels.
There are constant threats to healthcare IT systems, from ransomware to data loss. Knowing hospitals and clinics store sensitive information, such as patients’ medical records and financial statements, potentially make them an even bigger target to hackers and cyberattacks.
Managed services allow your organization to be proactive when it comes to your system’s health and security. MSPs provide 24/7 monitoring and maintenance of your critical IT infrastructure, providing peace of mind that your critical data, applications, and systems are safe. If a potential threat is identified, the MSP will work with you to execute a plan of action to ensure your systems remain unharmed.
It is also necessary for healthcare organizations to invest in backup and disaster recovery solutions, which an MSP also can establish and maintain for you. If your data or infrastructure is compromised due to an emergency – whether manmade or natural – a backup and disaster recovery solution will be able to replicate and reinstate your data for minimized technical downtime and ensured business continuity.
Do More With Managed IT Services
From cost savings to increased security to improved end user satisfaction, these are just a handful of the benefits managed services can afford your healthcare facility.
Healthcare practitioners should strive to handle administrative operations, stay up-to-date with the coding and billing regulations, and manage financial tasks alongside the medical obligations of the practice. It seems like a bit of a stressful task, right? Certainly, yes! But it is essential to manage every aspect of your practice to drive fruitful outcomes. But don’t worry, there is always a possibility of a solution to every problem these days. Having said that, a medical billing company can shed aways administrative burden on the shoulders of physicians with reliable solutions.
It helps practitioners to acquire the help of subject-matter experts to manage the non-medical obligations of their business. In this way, providers can also get access to a dedicated workforce of well-experienced billers and software solutions at the fraction of their existing IT expenses.
In addition to this, professional medical billing agencies let you straighten up your operations in light of the guidelines issued by federal regulatory bodies. Otherwise, if physicians can’t subject their in-house staff to change or upgrade, it will affect their revenue, reputation, and most of all the quality of their healthcare services.
To hold your practice back from such damages, practitioners should consider the 5 following ways a medical billing agency can benefit their business.
Have you ever observed why you haven’t grown your business in terms of revenue even if you are providing services to an increased number of patients? After a proper medical billing assessment, physicians can get hints about what is going wrong and where they need to make improvements in order to expand their business.
Most frequently, practitioners can easily analyze that if there is a problem with revenue cycle management procedures then they can never meet their objectives. Any slight error during the revenue cycle management process can cause huge economic damage to your practice. How? Let me explain it to you.
Most billers do not have prior certification or experience in this field. Therefore, healthcare providers think that anybody can handle billing and coding services. Hence, they hire unqualified employees for on-premise medical biller jobs and hand over their administrative responsibilities. Now, providers have to consistently train these employees from the beginning of billing responsibilities to the ongoing regulatory changes in coding. It thrusts double stress upon the physicians and they fail to focus on their core capabilities _ quality patient care services.
Thus, once they hire a medical billing company then they can relinquish their administrative responsibilities to professional medical billers who have hands-on industry experience and in-depth knowledge.
Compliance With The Industrial Upgrades:
It is possible that you might not be generating as much revenue as you invest. It might be happening due to a multitude of following reasons;
- Incorrect coding.
- Non-compliance with HIPAA regulations.
- Outdated healthcare revenue cycle management.
Always keep in mind that accurate documentation is essential to get your claims reimbursed. In order to file and submit accurate claims, providers need a complete suite of knowledge of up to date regulatory standards. They need to ensure HIPAA compliance throughout their practice while dealing with PHI or ePHI. A well-established medical billing company can always guide you to stay on top of the industrial trends. It is their primary responsibility to use an accurate set of codes. You must come up with trust in a HIPAA-compliant medical billing agency while providing patient’s confidential healthcare information. Since they comply with information security protocols under federal policies.
The most time and money consuming task in the healthcare practice is to maintain the quality of the healthcare system. In order to streamline billing and coding services, practitioners need to adopt, maintain, and upgrade their software solutions most frequently. It requires a huge amount of capital investment to execute this procedure. Hence, if providers want to excel in their services, then they should outsource to a medical billing company for upscale solutions. A proper technology assessment can help providers to get insights into this area of improvement of their practice.
Assessing workflow management can help physicians to get an idea that they can enhance the productivity of the staff by focusing their attention on medical aspects of the business. If they would have to distort their efforts and time in financial as well as healthcare obligations can slow down the workflow. This factor also impacts the performance of your overall practice in a significantly negative way.
Therefore, practitioners should perform a medical billing audit before outsourcing revenue collection management services. After proper analysis, they should partner with an agency that can fulfill the requirements of your business.
Specialty- Specific Administrative Support:
Expert billing professionals understand the unique requirements of your specialty and submit claims as per your needs. Therefore, you should always settle for a reliable company that provides a comprehensive suite of revenue cycle management services for your specialty. For instance, they should understand the fundamentals of documentation requirements for your specialty and provide custom-tailored services to impact your practice positively.
Improved Technical Abilities:
When healthcare organizations prefer to decide to outsource medical billing services then they expect a high return-on-revenue. It is possible when the medical billing company tends to submit accurate claims to the insurance payers.
Undoubtedly, subject-matter experts help you to improve your technical ability by providing innovative healthcare IT solutions i.e. EHR (electronic healthcare records). It allows you to share, monitor and use confidential data in a secure way across your network.
This secure system enables you to perform secure data transmission and streamline revenue cycle management to improve the technical aspects of your business. Thus, you can successfully reduce human errors by implementing interoperability technology. As a result, you can speed up your workflow and pinpoint the potential error areas.
It is the most challenging task for healthcare practitioners to train resources as per the latest standards. Although, it is also essential to reduce errors and maintain the accuracy of medical claims. Every year, you see a different set of coding guidelines. In order to stay up to date with this knowledge, billers and coders must have a dedicated and characteristic to adopt dynamic strategies.
Fortunately, most of the medical billing companies can help you earn more revenue as they have dedicated experts who keep abreast of this specific industry knowledge. It helps to reduce the ratio of claim denials that occur due to out to date administrative practices.
Either you are a grown practice or a minnow in the fast-paced healthcare industry. Adopting the right healthcare IT solution would result in tangible outcomes. A single decision is certainly needed to ignite the revenue collection procedure. Once it is started, you are able to generate more revenue through increased reimbursements.
Ask your Account Manager for more information on our Revenue Cycle Management Billing services.
A new survey of 500 executives in the healthcare industry found that the switch to telehealth necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic has been a largely positive one, and the majority said at least some of the changes would be permanent.
The survey, conducted by marketing agency Boston Digital and released Monday, found that 57% of executives said telehealth had increased the quality of patient care. But the results weren’t all rosy: About a quarter said it had no impact, and 15% said it had decreased the quality of patient care.
“Even as patients begin to schedule in-person appointments once again, our survey indicates that not only are telehealth programs here to stay, but also that most healthcare organizations plan on investing in the expansion of telehealth capabilities,” said Peter Prodromou, president at Boston Digital, to Healthcare IT News.
“However, there are barriers that are inhibiting the success of telehealth programs,” Prodromou noted.
Among those barriers, said executives, is patients’ ability to use new technologies.
“To overcome barriers, including a patient’s ability to understand new programs and associated technology, healthcare providers must implement a seamless user experience and a robust digital marketing strategy that effectively communicates to their diverse patient community,” said Prodromou.
Ask your Account Manager for more information on our Telehealth services.
WHY IT MATTERS
The novel coronavirus triggered a cascade of changes around the provision of care, particularly where telehealth is concerned. The systems Boston Digital surveyed were no exception: More than half said their organizations had created new portals or microsites in response to the pandemic.
Most respondents said more than 40% of these changes would likely be made permanent – although, of course, it’s worth considering that the future of telehealth access also depends on the existence of federal restrictions and other public initiatives, such as broadband expansion. Just over half of respondents said they felt the government should play a substantial role in infrastructure development.
Only 8% of respondents said telehealth initiatives were not important to their organization, although most organizations were not technologically prepared for the shift.
As far as barriers to implementation go, in addition to patient technological prowess, execs cited difficulty treating patients in rural or low-income communities, lack of available staff training, lack of access to dependable WiFi for patients and high costs as some of their biggest hurdles.
THE LARGER TREND
There’s no question that virtual care has continued to play a major role in health services and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. There is, however, a lingering mystery about what telehealth provision will look like.
At the American Telemedicine Association conference earlier this year, president Dr. Joseph Kvedar noted the importance of thinking beyond synchronous, one-on-one video interactions.
“We have the opportunity to reimagine healthcare delivery,” said Kvedar.
Chief information officers shared some of those imaginings with Healthcare IT News this week, proposing features such as multidisciplinary group chats and artificial intelligence-driven interpreters as a couple of options for future care.
ON THE RECORD
“The implications for healthcare providers are profound as they rethink business plans to accommodate new expectations, including developing more robust digital presences for effective engagement. It will be very interesting to see how these trends impact the historic long-term growth of healthcare spending and costs, as well as general wellness,” said Prodromou in a statement.
Ask your Account Manager for more information on our Telehealth services.
For many years, the healthcare industry has been generally immune from the barrage of cyber-attacks which have been primarily directed towards the financial and retail sectors. In addition, data breaches tend to involve lost or stolen devices, often with unencrypted data.
Today, healthcare entities have become prime targets for cyber-attackers, who are drawn to rich repositories of personal data that can fetch prices 20 to 30 times higher on the black market than stolen credit cards. Last year, an estimated 66% of healthcare organizations experienced a cybersecurity incident impacting approximately 109 million patients. Overall, cyberattacks cost the US healthcare system about $6 billion a year. The attacks come from sophisticated networks of cybercriminals, often located overseas.
The potential damage to an institution’s financial stability and reputation from one of these breaches is significant, which is why every executive up to the CEO along with members of the board of directors should be concerned. However, a 2015 survey of nearly 300 healthcare organizations found that just a quarter allocated more than 6% of their annual budgets to IT security. About half allocated less than 3%. In addition, few had committed a significant percentage of IT employees to the issue.
Be prepared. Ask your Account Manager for more information on our Security Risk Assessments.
UNDERSTANDING THE BREACHES
While there are numerous types of attacks, including distributed denial of service, phishing, and advanced persistent threat attacks, healthcare executives should be aware of two recent additions:
- Business email compromise. Also known as “CEO fraud,” this attack begins with an email sent directly to the CFO, ostensibly from the company’s controller, asking for an electronic funds transfer. The email appears legitimate because it includes information gleaned from social media. The FBI issued an alert on this type of attack last year, calling it an “emerging global threat.”
- Ransomware. Hospitals are the perfect target for ransomware, in which cyber-attackers infiltrate IT system with malware. Once they have control of the system and/or its data, they demand payment to return control. In February, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center experienced a ransomware attack that prevented staff from being able to access electronic health records. The hospital eventually paid hackers $17,000 in ransom to regain access. A similar attack at MedStar Health in Maryland required the system to shut down its entire computer networks for several days and providers to revert to paper processes.
CONNECTED DEVICES A THREAT
Hackers have a unique advantage in hacking into hospital systems that doesn’t exist in either retail or banking sectors: interconnected medical devices. Nearly every device in a healthcare setting, from infusion pumps to MRIs, has a computer chip that allows it to communicate with the EHR and other systems. Most run legacy software that hasn’t been updated in years and have hard-wired passwords that haven’t been changed. Not only can hackers then move into the organization’s main IT systems from the device, but they could reprogram them to cause harm to patients.
TAKING AN OFFENSIVE APPROACH
It is nearly impossible to completely protect your IT systems against cyberattacks. However, there are numerous steps healthcare organizations can take to take to minimize the number and severity of such attacks:
- Employ a strong security posture, including multi-layered endpoint and network security, encryption, strong authentication and monitoring capabilities; first-and-foremost, ensure all software and plug-ins are up-to-date.
- Regularly conduct risk assessments and mock exercises; analyse the results, assess lessons learned, and quickly address any identified vulnerabilities.
- Provide mandatory ongoing education and training for all employees; enforce the use of strong passwords; in addition, make sure users understand and practice good security hygiene.
- Hire and maintain an appropriately sized and skilled IT security team. Also consider pre-contracting with top-tier managed security service providers and third-party experts to assist in the event of a breach.
It’s not a question of whether or not your facility will be attacked; it will, and probably already has. The question is: “Can I contain the damage and defeat the attackers?”
Be prepared. Ask your Account Manager for more information on our Security Risk Assessments.
In the face of the global pandemic, a key first step in returning to normalcy involves contact tracing: identifying who has COVID-19, who has been exposed to the novel coronavirus, and who is immune to contracting COVID-19. These are critical elements required to keep our communities healthy and economies open as we manage current infections and plan for future waves of the disease.
Cities, states, and organizations nationwide have created robust strategies for designing and implementing the necessary COVID-19 Contact Tracing workforce. Plans call for tens of thousands of newly trained public health workers to conduct contact tracing of COVID-19 infections. This new workforce is necessary because of decades of declining public health support and funding. Those cutbacks have left many public health agencies unequipped to respond to the current pandemic.
COVID-19-Related Mental Illness
In addition to the COVID-19 infection control measures, there is the rapidly rising risk for COVID-19-related mental illness, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide, and alcohol and drug misuse. High unemployment coupled with widespread social isolation is projected to contribute to tens of thousands of “deaths of despair.” While the initial COVID-19 response has appropriately focused on containing the infection, this emerging mental health epidemic within the pandemic requires immediate attention if we are to avoid additional suffering and death. Several solutions come to mind, notably asking contact tracers to screen those they contact for mental illness, including substance abuse disorder (SUD), and make appropriate treatment referrals.
Make sure you and your practice are prepared. Ask your Account Manager for more information on our assessURhealth services.
Implementing COVID-19 Mental Health Tracing Requires A Multidisciplinary Effort
First, we must engage primary care providers and clinics that are perfectly poised to support public health agencies in tracing patients with COVID-19 infection and exposure. Primary care practices are particularly well equipped, as they have been the first point of contact for many patients with COVID-19 symptoms, infections, and questions.
Primary care practices are also well positioned to help identify and treat those suffering from declining mental health and substance use challenges stemming from the COVID-19-related economic downturn, unemployment, and social isolation. Many primary care practices include a diverse team of providers, including physicians, social workers, nurses, medical assistants, counselors, and others. These varied teams can support the mental health needs of their patients at a variety of levels.
Second, we should include primary care practices in legislative solutions, funding, and national organizational efforts to increase COVID-19 contact tracing. To implement interprofessional training and inclusion of primary care clinicians and practices in the growing COVID-19 tracing workforce, we encourage national primary care organizations—such as the Primary Care Collaborative, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, and Society for General Internal Medicine—to engage local and national public health organizations such as the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and the American Public Health Association.
Third, we should engage the new public health workforce, primarily contact tracers, in screening and referral for mental health issues, including substance use disorder (SUD). The new workforce will require education and training on COVID-19 contact tracing recommendations and guidelines. Basic clinical education in mental health and SUD screening and referral for care should be included in national training programs.
As with current contact tracing, mental health screening would be voluntary with an aim towards stigma reduction, educating people about symptoms and assisting them in seeking help. Privacy must be a top priority. Because contact tracers are not mental health professionals, screening and referral would be peer-to-peer communication to help those suffering mental health problems access care in their local community. It might be most effective to engage local mental health providers to train contact tracers in basic mental health screening and SUD screening to assure questions and referrals are relevant to the local community.
COVID-19 contact tracers call and interact with dozens of people each day. The time necessary for mental health screening and referral would increase the duration of contact-tracing calls; however, it could identify people at risk of depression, drug or alcohol misuse, and suicide. Local communities would be best equipped to determine the balance of effort applied to contact tracing and mental health tracing—in areas of higher infection rates, it might be important to use the limited resources available to trace infections. As communities begin to recover, contact tracing might be able to spend more time in mental health and SUD screening. The extra time in screening and referral would be worth it.
We Need Policies That Support Coordinated Public Health, Primary Care, And Mental Health
COVID-19 offers an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild our community health infrastructure so that primary care, public health, and mental health professionals are a unified team supporting and promoting the health of the population. Such a team could deliver the needed robust tracing of COVID-19 infection and COVID-19-related mental health issues. These combined efforts could lead to further collaborative work that addresses community health as a whole, leading to local, multisector communities of solution and moving beyond historically siloed, transactional medical offices and health agencies. If we focus solely on contact tracing of COVID-19 infection and ignore the rising surge of mental illness, we miss an important opportunity to prevent a new wave of morbidity and mortality.
Two specific solutions for aligning public health, primary care, and mental health moving forward are to improve our interprofessional education and use existing resources for addressing mental health challenges, particularly those that utilize non-mental health professionals. Medical Schools, public health schools, graduate medical education, and community health worker training should implement interprofessional education regarding COVID-19 contact and mental health tracing as part of their core curricula. Federal funding for COVID-19 contact tracing should include training in mental health screening and referral and incorporate current primary care providers in COVID-19 contact tracing efforts. States should incorporate primary care and mental health into local COVID-19 contact tracing efforts and funding initiatives.
Systems for identifying and treating mental illness have been successfully implemented in communities around the nation and internationally. We can draw from elements in these models as we create our public health-primary care communities of solution. Mental Health First Aid, an international mental health training program, has been used to train non-mental health professionals to respond to mental health crises, and can be used as a model for training our new public health workforce. In response to suicide clusters found in Palo Alto, CA and Fairfax, VA, community members joined forces to create a coordinated response to identifying and offering resources to teens suffering with mental illness. Both localities used an Epi-Aid team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to offer technical assistance for their multi-sector approach, something states should consider as they deploy their public health-primary care partnerships.
COVID-19 Mental Health Call To Action
It is essential to contain the COVID-19 infection through robust contact tracing. We call on those implementing COVID-19 contact tracing to train this workforce to also address the projected rise in mental illness and SUD. We call on federal and state policy makers to include funding for mental health education and training for COVID-19 contact tracers. We call on local public health departments to include primary care and mental health providers in current COVID-19 contact tracing efforts, to improve mental health outcomes over the coming months.
Make sure you and your practice are prepared. Ask your Account Manager for more information on our assessURhealth services today.
TAMPA, Fla. – DAS Health, the Tampa-based industry leader in health IT and management, has been ranked on the Inc. 5000 List of the nation’s fastest growing companies for the 8th year since 2012. This is a remarkable accomplishment, as only a fraction of companies have made the list twice, and only 1% of companies ranked have made the list eight or more times.
The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Microsoft, Timberland, Vizio, Intuit, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.
DAS has grown exponentially in the last 3 years. “We are very honored to be recognized once again on such a prestigious list. Our team’s drive and dedication make us unmatched in the Health IT and management services sector,” said David Schlaifer, President and CEO. “It is our people and our passion for customer service that have relentlessly led to our continued growth and innovation.”
About DAS Health
DAS Health has been a leading provider of Health IT and management solutions and a trusted consultant to independent physician groups, hospitals, and healthcare systems across North America since 2003. Headquartered in Tampa, FL, with regional offices in Las Vegas and New Hampshire, DAS delivers superior Information Technology, Electronic health records (EHR), RCM medical billing, value-based care, patient engagement and practice management solutions for over 15,000 users nationwide. Visit DAShealth.com to learn more.