Healthier Living Through Tech

If you build it, they will come.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then adaptation is the mother of growth. The healthcare world has been transformed. At the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show  the leaps in healthcare technology this past year were described as nothing less than meteoric. Though there has been extreme growth in the way telehealth supports the healthcare industry, the effects are perhaps more extensive than we yet realize. 

So, how can the right technology promote healthier living for your patient base?

Tools of Accessibility = Healthier Living

Accessibility means a few things when it comes to technology in general:

  • Provides software solutions for a variety of circumstances
  • Creates a communication platform 
  • Is accessible across devices and providers

In telehealth, accessibility has a few more requirements:

  • Provides solutions for both patients and practitioners
  • Able to manage multiple population types and their varying needs from mental wellness to physical care
  • Easy to use for non tech savvy patients

Frictionless Action

Let’s talk a bit more about the specific accessibility requirements for telehealth to improve the quality of care for patients, by going through how minimizing technology frustration helps boost a patients contribution to their own care and their own data collection. 

Ease of access and ease of use are major contributors to a preventative care approach. As an asset to the greater healthcare continuum, accessibility contributes to analytics databases which lead to more accurate risk assessment; and also lends itself to an increase in communication and patient engagement. 

Accessibility means affordability. In turn, accessibility and affordability together equal healthier living. Telehealth is proven to reduce overall healthcare costs for patients and practitioners alike. In a research study conducted through Project HOPE—The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc, The benefits of effective telehealth were found to encompass a wide scope of quality care and financial obstacles.

Telehealth can complement traditional ambulatory and hospital-based practices, which tend to be provider-centric, by creating delivery systems that are more patient centered and that use technology to increase access and quality, decrease cost, and help providers manage an ever-increasing volume of information and relationships.

As patient populations increase due to aging or awareness, (as in mental health), telehealth will continue to play the parts of logistics coordinator, patient advocate, and assist with case management through intuitive systems, data analysis, and application.

Transportation

One of the simplest ways health technology platforms support the growth of patient populations – and the expansion of the healthcare industry generally – is by cutting down on the physical transportation needed in order for patients to receive care. 

With the acceleration of virtual communication efforts over the last year especially, telehealth solutions have never been more convenient for:

  • Account setup and patient intake
  • Initial consultations
  • Follow-up appointments and check-ins
  • Mental wellness sessions

Coordination via tech platforms between providers and transportation vendors further works to meet patient needs and promote healthier living when mobility is an issue. To better understand this, let’s look specifically at patient populations living in nursing home facilities.

When a medical issue occurs outside of regular hours, the traditional solution offers a choice. An on-call physician can either visit the patient in the nursing care facility, or recommend that patient for transfer to a hospital. 

If we consider the time demands on the on-call physician, with multiple patients, very often the best of the above options is to have the resident brought to an emergency department. 

The driving theme behind telemedicine is real-time care. Tools like video calling make remote appointments both safer and easier for the patient, but help practitioners provide better care by minimizing time demands of travel, or decision making by prioritizing through data based risk assessment.

Quality of Care

We’re about to bring up a trend that is unpopular amongst care providers, and that is patients using websites to self-diagnose. The one positive that this widespread internet search obsession proves is that patients are not only interested, but motivated to take their healthcare into their own hands – including educating themselves and taking action upon what they find.

A less talked about asset of telehealth platforms is the access they provide to vetted educational information, and supporting services that encourage patients to be proactive with their wellness. These platforms accomplish this by:

  • Connect patients to local services and payment options
  • extend healthcare resources through convenience and easy access
  • enhance follow-up care by connecting patients to supporting therapies 
  • improve client access to services by minimizing travel 
  • and increase the accuracy of patient’s medical data

This last point, increasing the accuracy of patient’s data, is something we’ve mentioned a few times now and is probably the largest contributor to the growth and effectiveness of quality telehealth.

Data is information. It provides analytics that represent diagnoses, demographics, treatments responsiveness, patient engagement, therapy effectiveness, and more. Data compiles points on cost, helps with supply chain logistics, and provides both the framework and content needed to create accurate risk assessment protocols which help practitioners prioritize care to those who need it most. 

Effective care in 2021 is communication based and combines clinical expertise with the latest technologies to improve care quality. Providing healthcare is easier together, let us show you how. Reach out to schedule your demo today!

Rolian RuizHealthier Living Through Tech
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The Intuitive Full Care Continuum

The Full Care Continuum is a patient’s journey from preventive care, to hospital, to rehabilitation, to maintenance through general medicine or primary care. While it would make for a more simplistic system, not every patient will follow these movements in the same order.

Through intuitive case management, practitioners and case workers can not only keep track of a patient’s individual journey, but maximize the effectiveness of their care through communication, analysis, and automation.

Why does this work? Intuitive case management is a product of a multi-faceted digital approach to care, designed by clinicians who are inspired by other successful multi-angled care initiatives.

Convenient Care with Multi-Specialty Facilities

A multi-specialty clinic is a facility with shared resources. Doctors, administrative staff, support staff, even funding and equipment are shared among multiple internal practices that partner together to provide an integrated, holistic care environment.

It’s easy to see how a multi-care model naturally compliments the full care continuum. Patients receiving care within one “practice” of the multi-care facility are already connected with resources for other forms of care without the stress of insurance providers or other restrictions.

The Multi-Specialty model has been around longer than we realize. In fact, one of our most recognized medical facilities, the Mayo Clinic, is a multi-specialty care center which, by 1926, had developed an integrated structure made up of 386 dentists and physicians.

Unprecedented Growth

The healthcare industry has experienced unprecedented growth throughout the last decade going from almost 3 trillion in National healthcare service expenditures (excluding prescription drugs and equipment) in 2010 to just under 4 trillion by 2020.

This described growth makes cohesion between practices paramount purely from a functional infrastructure perspective, let alone the patient experience. The question is, how do we connect resources seamlessly keeping the patient in mind?

Digital Multi-Specialty Models

Integrated healthcare platforms are the latest construction space for innovative, care-centered health professionals who have worked with developers to improve the relationships between patients, payors, and practitioners. At the core of this model is case management.

As with brick and mortar multi-specialty facilities, digital healthcare suites aim to seamlessly transition resources between care types through an easy to navigate software that manages data and documents while facilitating connection between providers and vendors.

A necessary added layer to the digital suite, which does not have a physical counterpart, are a series of actionable plans that trigger alerts based on constantly updating parameters. Patient data is a significant ally in orchestrating a full care approach. The fact that you can access your patient’s information – or even just contact your patient directly – at the touch of a button, only increases the time you get to properly communicate with and assess your patients.

Breaking Down the Digital Healthcare Suite

Case management is the healthcare industry’s tried and true approach to navigating patients through the care continuum, and it is classically an approach made up of human efforts.

Let’s walk through what case management looks like with a supportive digital foundation:

  • Reminders can be set and prioritized by risk level to create follow up tasks, but also to utilize predictive data to flag patient files in the preventive care stage before health risks become escalated.
  • In an escalated health scenario; hospitalized patients, or populations requiring consistent acute care, real-time notification offer priority updates to inform the case manager, but can also alert other networked professionals in the system.
  • A linked education platform provides materials to share with clients and patients regarding their personal care management; supportive therapies, and general health information.
  • Custom care plans can be plotted out and scheduled, transportation can be arranged, and patients can continue to be monitored and prioritized via data as well as through easy methods of direct communication – both with patients and practitioners.

A quality healthcare platform is a symbiotic solution that works for patients from an individual care perspective, and also works for time-pressed professionals with data prioritization, alert escalations, and structured scheduling.

Learning as We Go

The good thing about data is that it accumulates. Data analytics overtime leads to more intuitive digital processes that increase the specificity of risk assessment and alerting. As the technology progresses, the base fundamentals of case management remain the same:

  1. Provide care for the patient
  2. Guide the patient through the care continuum, adapting to their unique needs and providing education and logistical solutions
  3. Utilize modern tools and technologies to make structuring patient care efficient but also manageable for you.

All of the above speak to creating a quality journey for the patient through the healthcare system, but also a journey for case workers and practitioners that can be easily managed and enacted. The old adage, work smarter not harder definitely applies here. Overworked care providers who are maxed out on their resources will not be able to fulfill their role on the care continuum. Data analysis, risk assessment, scheduling, and automation help with resource management across the care network for a better care experience.

Care is not possible without a plan. Curious how a digital healthcare suite can help you? Reach out to schedule your demo or for a free trial!

Rolian RuizThe Intuitive Full Care Continuum
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Improving the Life of Nurses with Real-Time Tech

The amplified burden placed on nurses lately may have been spurred by the Pandemic but the resulting trends are likely here to stay. That means more work for nurses in the coming years to onboard new practices and systems and apply them in preparation to move forward into a new phase of healthcare where tech plays a much more integrated role. Studying the life of nurses can help us all deliver better patient results going forward.

What has the recent journey of nurses taught us about how tech can help, and in some cases, how it can hinder?

Alert Fatigue & Data Overload in the Life of Nurses

There’s a lot of talk in tech about systems having had to adapt over the last year. Perhaps no industry has felt this more than Health. 

Even “good” systems can crack under too much weight and hospitals and clinics across the country have been operating beyond maximum capacity for some time now. Many of these systems have had to work quickly and adapt to the increasing need for; alert escalation protocols, risk assessment, patient tracking, and a hefty influx in data entry.

Incompatibility & Inefficiency 

Technology is synonymous with efficiency but that’s not always the actual case. Simple processes like patient intake forms can become much more complicated when transitioned to an electronic process depending on things like usability, consistent service, and synchronicity with external systems.

The technology typhoon currently overtaking health and wellness combines standardized practices like intake forms with more robust data analysis and automation, and places the weight of the output largely on nurses.

Care Vs. Cope: Something Doesn’t Compute

Daily responsibilities of a nurse include EHR charting; recording patient behavior, collecting health histories, providing counseling and education to patients and families, interpreting patient data for decision-making, conducting research, carrying out treatment plans…the list is long. 

Now imagine that all of the processes we’ve just mentioned are technology based (because they are), perhaps with multiple applications and alerting systems. “Fatigue” is as common a word in the tech sector as it is in the medical field, in tech we have alert fatigue, screen fatigue, and click fatigue. Not to mention, routine compassion fatigue… The life of nurses is full of demands and there is much motivation to find improvements. So, instead of inundating – any technology used needs to have the goal of streamlining without compromising required functions and data. 

AI: Assist, Don’t Alarm

Setting up broad parameters that trigger alerts can equal an overwhelming number of alerts being sent. This is where automation can step in to prioritize and delegate alerts to the appropriate people. This not only works to curb the amount of alerts any one professional receives, but also to ensure that important data isn’t lost in the daily shuffle. 

Alarming Rates

Research shows that anywhere from 72% to 99% of all alarms are false within critical care units, and some of the reasons may be corrected with better data analysis practices. 

  • Alarm parameter thresholds set too tight
  • Alarm settings not adjusted to the individual patient’s needs
  • Inability of staff to identify the source of the alarm
  • Alarm is not heard or conveniently noticeable 

The danger of over-alerting is that nurses and practitioners can become desensitized to alarms over time because, making a real precedence for implementing smarter alert escalation systems and practices. A lot of that has to do with assessment  and establishing parameters, and that requires substantial data analysis, but there’s also another side to alert fatigue and that is data entry. 

Data Per Shift

In a 2018 study done by US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health it was conveyed that mean rates were found, of 633-689 manual flowsheet data entries per 12-hour shift in the ICU and 631-875 manual flowsheet data entries per 12-hour shift in acute care, excluding device data. 

From this study it’s important to highlight that, “Automated streaming of device data only accounted for 5-20% of flowsheet data entries across our sample.”

Let’s break this down. EHR flowsheets are the primary destination for information. They are used by nurses to document information, assessments, and medical interventions. The study recommends that an increase in automated device integration would help to alleviate documentation burden which will cut down the time spent on data entry in general.

What Do Systems Need to Accomplish in the Life of Nurses?

To be successful in both tracking important patient data, and reducing the stress of massive documenting and alerting on nurses, a healthcare system needs to:

  • Be easily usable and efficient
  • The software needs to be reliable and able to sync to backup systems
  • Support multiple downstream uses across device types
  • Support decision making through analysis
  • Support collaboration through secure data sharing where needed
  • Combine and interpret data from multiple sources
  • Automate escalations and other functions as needed

And further, alerting parameters need to be implemented that don’t detract from patient care. This requires setting alarm management processes, a review cycle for default parameters, and making employee guidelines for alerting clear and accessible. 

All of this is a big ask for a single system, making a robust backend and an established path for future automation development an absolute requirement. But the creators at Primavera took on this challenge.  All of these healthcare processes can be made Easier Together with a technology suite designed and enacted by health industry leaders to improve the life of nurses. Reach out to us to schedule a demo today. 

Rolian RuizImproving the Life of Nurses with Real-Time Tech
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Best Practices to Create an Outstanding Digital Patient Experience

Re-imagining the patient experience is at the core of Telehealth. For a platform based on the ease of communication, there have never been more options to connect, communicate, and track the progress of your patients. But telehealth platforms are more than just two-way radios with a built-in calendar and a touch screen. 

Best Practices for Digital Communication in the Patient Experience

Digital health platforms will have communication systems in place that make it both easy for your patients to reach you, and for you to reach out to your patients. Easy communication means more than one communication option; calls, messages, and alerting are three ways to receive and send important updates. 

The platform should keep in mind that not all patients are tech savvy, so calling and messaging should be a single touch process where possible, and no downloading of apps or processes that require a lot of direction should be involved in the spirit of universal accessibility. 

We have an overall conception of communication that it needs to be instant, easy to access, and provide links, or further communication options. Our phone contacts link to our social media profiles, which link to our professional profiles, etc. For the sizable elderly population, this is a bit of a foreign concept – but not an unnecessary one. In fact, this idea of “drilling down” into a patient’s detailed history is paramount for digital health. 

Real-time Communication

Have a communication system in place that feeds practitioners and providers real-time information regarding risk assessment, patient status, and general data from hospitals that affect your ability to provide the best care for the patient, and the best information to the patient’s care team. 

Communication Barriers

A benefit of the technology wave in healthcare is that software and applications can be implemented to easily overcome historically large obstacles like geography or language barriers. Health platforms have the resources to engage patients regardless of their demographics, education level, or mobility with aids like translation apps, easy access to scheduling a network of supportive vendors, and transferable data between the patient and financial programming, all through assigned caseworkers that stay constantly updated through alerts and reporting.

The Patient Experience: Going Beyond the Screen

There are two ways that patient care needs to go ‘beyond the screen’ to elevate the patient experience. 

First, it’s important to engage in one-on-one conversations with patients and have a good “bedside” manner – though with telehealth, the bedside may not be a physical hospital, but rather the patient’s own home. This comes with a few unique challenges; the patient’s home likely lacks the resources of a medical environment. This makes asking questions and scheduling follow ups critical. A health platform creates a format and a space to engage clients in a clinical way without the clinical setting.

Second, is to monopolize on the information and data you gather, and to work with a platform that provides analysis and helpful tools, but also synchronizes with the entire software suite so you can monitor and plan patient care securely and effectively.

Primavera Creates a Clinical, Digital Space

Risk assessment is something we’ve discussed before as it has many applications as the tech health world expands. 

We all know you can’t just snap your fingers and have any professional you need at your fingertips…or can you? An advantage to prioritizing your patient population by their program, risk assessment, diagnosis, or population, is that you can give the patient the impression of instant availability. Not because you have magical psychic powers, but because you have a data-powered system that helps you schedule professionals when they’re most needed. 

A more personal application of assessment is scheduling appropriate follow ups with your patients. By prioritizing risk, you are able to schedule timely follow ups and inform the patient’s entire care team of the process, making communication seem less situational, and more like a neighborly check-in.

Wellness checks can be automated too, assigned, and carried out by any member of a patient’s care team to promote preventive care habits and conversations that work toward further evaluating the patient’s health and assessing their risk – while helping to keep you and your team on time when juggling multiple appointments and patients. 

Frequent and consistent communication goes a long way toward building trust and eliciting helpful responses from your patients but also affords other preventive benefits. Patient isolation, especially in the elderly and immobilized is a major contributing factor to overall health

In a research study done on Patient Experience in the Digital Age, the idea that personal health technology provides patients with more resources is confirmed, but also tells us that we must raise questions of incorporating “human” elements into digital care:

 “Though digital technology can empower patients, it can also alter their overall experience, which, in turn, will affect their usage. Hence, managers and policymakers need to recognize and better understand how patients perceive and experience these technologies.”

As patients age, they become more reliant on others for care and interaction. A compassionate way to approach digital health is to recognize that it gives certain populations a state of independence that they may have lost – or may not have ever been able to experience by putting the responsibility of their health and the ability to communicate effectively into the palm of their hands.

Patient care is Easier Together. Learn more about Primavera’s cutting edge case management features by scheduling a demo today. 

Rolian RuizBest Practices to Create an Outstanding Digital Patient Experience
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Changing from Fee-For-Service Model to the Full Risk Model

The change from fee-for-service to the full risk model can seem daunting. Afterall, it is quite different in many ways. There is peace-of-mind in the fact that many organizations have done this previously and with great success. 

Outside of the change in the medical organization itself, there have been efforts for many years to modernize federal laws, payment methods and incentives to benefit a value-based model. You have the technological tools and examples of many to emulate, improve upon, and to set up your medical or dental group for success.

Healthcare Industry Spending

The inefficiencies in the American healthcare system have been analyzed by countless experts in recent years. For example, the Health System Tracker experts charted the GDP per capita and health consumption spending per capita, 2017 to find that, “Relative to the size of its wealth, the U.S. spends a disproportionate amount on healthcare.” Lawmakers have been looking for new ways to cut spending and improve healthcare outcomes for quite some time. 

The fee-for-service model that was once attractive to physicians made sense. You get paid for the work you do. In the end, this healthcare model created a misplaced incentive that has been linked to physician burnout, increased spending, and has not shown direct improvement in healthcare outcomes. 

For those who have made the change to the Full-Risk Capitation model, the consensus among physicians is a feeling of freedom. Many doctors will tell you that although the value-based model is not perfect, it has been nice to not have to “play the games” to get paid for services rendered. 

Additionally, the focus on prevention and collaboration across the care continuum is fulfilling. Instead of reviewing your monthly reports for how many services rendered, it is rewarding to see the numbers show positive healthcare trends for your patient population. It is well-documented that prevention and early detection are effective at improving patient healthcare outcomes. 

Hospital Readmission Reduction Program

In 2012-2013, the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program was created by CMS, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, to help mitigate the issue of very expensive readmissions to the hospital. A large number of patients were spending more time and money in the hospital than they were with their doctors for preventive care and follow-ups. To improve the patient outcomes and keep them out of the hospital for unnecessary visits, care teams implemented better post-discharge plans with a higher touch point of communication. Experts predict we will see more of these types of programs across multiple payors in the coming years. Every payor has been and will continue to look for new ways to reduce unnecessary costs when possible. 

Managing the Transition from FFS to Full Risk Model

Understanding the Healthcare Metrics

First things first, you need to know if the numbers will work. If you cannot stay in business, then this won’t benefit anyone. Begin by understanding your KPIs: Funding PMPM, Inpatient/Outpatient Claims PMPM, Medical Loss Ratio (MLR), Percentage of Generic Rx, Profitability Driver (MRA), etc. These basic statistics will be your new measures for your organization’s financial success. 

Using the Metrics to Effect Real Change

Second, you must understand how to effect change in these numbers. By understanding which patients are at higher risk or higher utilizers, you can make meaningful change for both the practice and the patient. Alerts, notifications, industry benchmarks, and real-time data available through data mapping with insurance companies are all key to managing a full risk capitation model. This may mean a culture shift focused on measuring the true value of a procedure and weighing the full cost (emotional stress and physical stress) to the patient before recommending. 

Better Communication Tools

Third, your care teams must have access to easy communication with your patients and other medical professionals on the care team. Emailing and personal phone calls will not go away, but additional tools like telehealth need to fit seamlessly into the necessary day-to-day activities. 

Tip: During this transition time, it is important to modernize your healthcare software to anticipate your new needs and overcome old hurdles. 

Care Team with High Touch Points for Clinical Integration

Additionally, you need a great care team to rely upon to give comprehensive care and a good patient experience. For the full risk healthcare model to be financially successful, the healthcare outcomes must be good. For the healthcare outcomes to be good, your team must be good at communicating with your patients and following up regularly. This model performs best when care teams are in regular and consistent contact with the practice’s entire patient population. 

Fee-For-Service to Full Risk Model Transition Solution

The latest in technology and data analysis to help with a smooth transition from fee-for-service compensation to full risk compensation is here! Primavera provides the technical and professional tools used to measure your practice’s strengths, opportunities, and partnership needs as you explore the possibilities of accountable care organizations and value-based contracting. We’ll map out the steps you need to take to transition your practice. 

Step One: Obtain the financial performance of your patients, not only the clinical. 

Step Two: Determine positive trends amongst different insurance companies.

Step Three: Determine your ability to negotiate higher capitation payments and either partial or full risk deals.

Step Four: Demonstrate your business’s maturity and sophistication to strategic partners including MSOs, Insurance Companies, and Capital partners or investors.

Reach out today for a practice assessment or a simple technology demonstration. With Primavera, it’s easier together. 

Rolian RuizChanging from Fee-For-Service Model to the Full Risk Model
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Building a Patient Engagement Strategy with Telehealth

“Can you hear me now?” It’s a recognizable catch phrase of our times, an indicator that technology has developed to reach even the furthest corners of rural communities. What we don’t have is a catchphrase response.

The advantage of a healthcare tech platform is connecting practitioners, providers, and resources directly to patients as easily as possible. Though telehealth systems are patient-centric, patients are also a key element in the system; on par with case managers in taking responsibility for their own wellness. Effective healthcare is about reciprocity.

Telehealth is calling, patient engagement lies in getting an answer.

What is Patient Engagement

Patient engagement is about achieving the ideal balance in patients between being well informed, and active in their own preventive care, with knowledge of:

  • Treatments
  • Recuperation
  • Medication
  • General wellness practices
  • Resources

The first step is establishing effective patient education and this means providing information to them directly from practitioners through a platform; otherwise patients will go rogue and source their own information which may not always be credible.

Education also applies to knowledge of treatments and medications which with telehealth can be done via convenient consultations. In telehealth, education equals ease of accessibility – where all the information needed is at the touch of your fingertips – only it’s coming from experts that have access to a patient’s full medical history.

Building a Patient Engagement Strategy

Patient engagement is expected to experience major growth and many would say not a moment too soon.

Patient engagement is staged to play a key role in the future development of healthcare, and this should come as no surprise. Consider the recent boom in remote resources like mental health, wellness apps, and remote nutrition and physical therapy services. The pieces are all in play but there are challenges in bringing these resources to patients effectively.

Change in routine

Telehealth faces the uphill battle of breaking the habits that patients and practitioners have had for generations, from practicing all functions only from a specific physical location, to the in-person sharing of results and information. Elements like video conferencing, and easy access to patient data help make this transition smoother.

Uncharted Territory

The idea of patient engagement is great but we’ve never before had to implement it. Some trial and error is expected along the way but we do know the basic ingredients; easy access to information, prioritizing and providing care to patients, and a platform to facilitate follow-ups and communication.

Limited Data

Healthcare providers tend to be logical, solution-oriented thinkers. While patient engagement is not a new concept, it is a new product and limited data exists on best practices and effective implementation. Ideally, look for a platform with a heavy backend supporting both data collection and analytics from multiple sources to help determine the flow and direction of your practice and patient outreach.

Tech Savvy

Seniors make up the largest demographic currently receiving extensive healthcare, and will make up more than 20% of the population by 2030. Ask any millennial how easy it was to teach their grandparents to use video calling and the need for an extremely simple user interface becomes obvious. To promote growth in patient engagement, communicating has to be as easy as the touch of a button.

The Healthcare Network

The willingness for providers, practitioners, and healthcare workers to participate in using health tech platforms is a big part of growing and strengthening the healthcare network for the future. The more resources that are available, the more you can offer your patients, and the more structure you can provide.

An Example of Patient Engagement with Telehealth

A patient is diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disease with a lot of online information as well as a lot of common misconception. This particular patient has family members who are also diabetic, so has a very basic foundation of what having diabetes means.

The patient’s practitioner has provided insulin and inhibitors for the patient as well as an at home system for monitoring blood sugar. This patient also suffers from limited mobility, and lives in a remote area.

To replace in-person checkups, through a health tech platform the practitioner is able to schedule virtual check-ins, and has made resources available for the patient. The patient has also been assigned a caseworker through the system to help manage necessary transportation, and provide additional check-ins to keep the patient active in their own care.

Additionally, the telehealth system continuously evaluates and prioritizes the patient based on their data – evaluating for increased risk and other factors that trigger system alerts and prompt further care when needed.

A big part of patient engagement of the future will be determined by how well healthcare platforms can manage, evaluate, and prioritize patient data. Connection with patients encourages their engagement, and effective data analysis and alerting ensures that no needed outreach is missed.

Navigating the future of healthcare is easier together. Reach out to us today for a demo!

Rolian RuizBuilding a Patient Engagement Strategy with Telehealth
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Guide to Using PPE Essentials and How Tech Can Help

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), is an acronym we’ve seen everywhere lately from news headlines to supply order forms. Like with any other aspect of the healthcare world, PPE essentials are an element of daily practice with a trickle-down effect from administration to patients. 

Supplying proper PPE requires funding, organization, and education. That’s a lot of factors contributing to the use of this essential gear. 

What are PPE Essentials and Who Needs Them?

The purpose of PPE essentials are to protect both practitioners and patients from the transferring and spread of germs and viruses. We learned all too recently the value of having an appropriate supply of PPE on hand but it’s also important to understand it’s uses.

The CDC has determined that both health care personnel and patients should utilize PPE for their safety. PPE provides full-body coverage and includes:

  1. Isolation gown
  2. NIOSH-approved N95 filtering facepiece respirator or higher 
  3. Face shield or goggles
  4. Gloves

When we picture medical professionals donning PPE, we usually imagine one of two scenes – either an intensive hospital setting, or an exotic outbreak location. In the U.S. under pandemic restrictions there is a great focus on outpatient settings, assisted living facilities, and in-home visits. PPE protocols for these outlying locations are slightly different.

Here’s what you need to know: 

  1. The CDC recommends developing and maintaining infection prevention and occupational health programs.

This requires communication and organization within your own practice, community, and state. A telehealth system can help facilitate this by keeping information flowing between practices, patients, even non-profit organizations. 

2. Make sure you have sufficient supplies that adhere to the needs of Standard Precautions (e.g., hand hygiene products, personal protective equipment, injection equipment).

Bonus Resource: In addition to PPE instructions, the CDC has provided the NIOSH PPE tracker App to assist in inventory management for PPE supplies.

3. Assure at least one individual with training in infection prevention is employed by or regularly available (e.g., by contract) to manage the facility’s infection prevention program.

4. Develop written infection prevention policies and procedures appropriate for the services provided by your practice.

We’ll take this a step further here to highlight the benefits of easily adding notes to your CRM, specifically regarding PPE precautions for at risk populations in non-traditional settings due to the pandemic. Simply dictate your notes and flag specific patients who require stricter precautions, protocols, or accommodations when receiving their care. 

Now let’s take a deeper look at how apps can streamline your safety efforts. 

Technology: The PPE you Can’t Afford to Ignore

With at-risk populations like the elderly, physical distance is currently a method of preventive care yet this population is arguably the least tech savvy. 

Utilizing Primavera’s easy to read and navigate interface breaks through this communication barrier with a few simple swipes – the same ease as making a phone call – and provides an instant channel between practitioner and patient. 

Easy-to-use isn’t the only pressure on healthcare specific technology – support for case management and secure management of data are also needed. 

Intuitive Case Management

Case management is a key part of maintaining best practices and proper patient care in extreme circumstances. Especially when conserving resources and minimizing contact are priority considerations. 

Case management has three aspects that stand in relation to patient protection:

  1. Intervention

Receiving real-time hospital alerts and case information creates the opportunity to intervene on procedures and services that may be unnecessary, costly, or harmful. Intervention also plays into communication and logistics; organizing transportation when needed and keeping patient files up-to-date in real-time.

  1. Education

Guidelines and parameters provided by entities like the CDC are informative but individual safety recommendations can be more powerful. With telehealth, there is a built-in platform for providing knowledge to patients one-on-one with suggestions and protocols specific to their needs. 

Guide to Protecting your Data

Since we’re talking about your data, let’s talk about how to keep it secure. Information protection trickles down in much the same way as safety regulations. Primavera employs best practices for HIPAA compliance but that’s just the equivalent to donning our PPE. Security, to us, is about protecting your personal medical information from online attacks and other threats. We do this in a number of ways:

  • Standard HIPAA Compliance
  • Two Factor Authentication
  • Secure Socket Authentication
  • Encrypted Patient Data
  • Segregated Data Storage
  • Data Access Logs
  • Strict Authorization Protocols

All of these methods work together to create a layered approach for your protection. 

Software & Security

Safety and security are frequent words in our daily vocabulary under present circumstances. The solution to organizing secure protocols is to centralize information on a single platform. Check-in with your patients within social-distancing parameters, update providers to protocols and PPE requirements and feel confident that your most sensitive information is protected with Next Level Security

Operate with an Emphasis on safety. Use technology and other products made specifically for healthcare use, including your software with Primavera.

Rolian RuizGuide to Using PPE Essentials and How Tech Can Help
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Influence of Data Analytics on Healthcare

As the digital information landscape becomes more and more widespread, and technologies become more integrated with innovative software, the opportunities for advancements in the way we interact with our healthcare needs become almost limitless. Today we explore the influence of data analytics on our healthcare system.

Our personal devices can now be synced with our medical devices, and all our records and data can travel instantly wherever they are needed. 

This is the world of big data. 

How are Data Analytics Applied to Healthcare?

Data in healthcare is going through the same process that the old Hollywood movie studios did when there was a movement from the studios managing and representing all their own actors, to the actors managing and representing themselves. 

Healthcare is becoming more and more patient-centered and data analytics allows that to be possible. 

Using Data Analytics in healthcare has a few facets:

  • The data needs to be actionable

The business foundation of healthcare is fueled by actionable data. So, one aspect of the influence of data analytics on healthcare has to focus on cost analysis. Considering the $16 billion market that makes up data analytics in healthcare alone, it is key. 

Elements like MLR, MRA, claims, capitation, and all of the other skeletal aspects keeping things running from a business perspective have to be incorporated.

  • The data needs to be collected and displayed in real-time

In order for a patient-centric healthcare system to work across multiple platforms, practitioners, and practices, data collection has to be powerful, 24/7, and user-friendly. 

  • There needs to be a strong element of analysis

Data on patients, payors, providers, and geographical and population trends all needs to be collected but it’s useless if it can’t be read and analyzed. Analysis is two-fold; the programs processing the data have to accurately analyze and convert to readable charts, graphs, and alerts to allow for well-informed human analysis and decision making.

  • The data needs to be projectable for risk management

Risk management takes analyzed data one step further by integrating patient profiles and information with data from the rest of the system to identify high utilizers, establish individual levels of risk for each patient, and develop a care strategy. 

What are the Benefits of the Influence of Data Analytics on Healthcare?

Big data means complex data and has just as much to do with volume as it does with complicated data sets. We’ve broken down the monster task of what data and data analytics needs to accomplish but what are the measurable benefits?

Removing Bias and Prejudice in Data Collection

Data at its core is just a bunch of 1s and 0s. Data collection without any pre-existing notions or inherent biases about a given patient population leads to more accurate data collection. Taking that a step further and facilitating data entry privileges for the patient creates a network of the most unpolluted data we’ve seen in healthcare to date. 

Access to Life Changing Data for Practitioners and Patients

The flip side to collecting data is providing it. And that can be done in the form of self-care guides to patients, accurate information on health conditions and chronic illnesses, and logistical guidance regarding nearby experts, pharmacies, transportation services, etc. 

For practitioners, having instant access to all relevant medical data for a patient, the ability to instantaneously assess risk, and the tools to compare trends in local populations is invaluable. 

An Open Source Future

As softwares and technologies continue to develop, and data continues to be collected and shared, the Healthcare world moves more and more into an open source format when it comes to data management and data analytics. 

On the positive side, there are important benefits. Big data offers an unobstructed, comprehensive view of health trends; information like this being crucial for preventing and tracking widespread viruses, monitoring increases and decreases in illness types on a major scale, and identifying and addressing trends within certain populations

What are the Risks of the Influence of Data Analytics on Healthcare?

No system is perfect. And we’re potentially talking about a very, very big system. Streamlining the process of data collection, and bringing ease to the user when it comes to analysis and projections can be turned to a negative direction when we consider the potential ramifications on patient privacy and confidentiality. 

The concern from patients about having their data reverse engineered and used against them has to be met with strong security protocols both from the patient side and the practitioner side when it comes to data protection. 

For this, a next level security plan is needed that encompasses:

  1. HIPAA compliance
  2. Data encryption
  3. Advanced (Two Factor) Authorization
  4. Best internal security practices from your App or software provider 
  5. Accountability through secure logs
  6. Secure data storage 

The struggle between protecting patients’ privacy and treating them effectively is playing out on a digital data field – and it will take both effective data analysis and human analysis to navigate.

Data Analytics in Action

In an extensive 2014 study done by BMJ Quality & Safety, over 12 million adults receiving outpatient care are being misdiagnosed annually in the U.S.  That boils down to 1 out of every 20 patients. 

To put this in even more perspective, a 2018 National Health Interview Survey conducted by the CDC found that just over 84% of adults had contact with a healthcare professional that year. The potential for data analytics to cut down on misdiagnosis through an improvement in accurate reporting and analysis of large data sets is astronomical – nearly as big as big data itself. 

The first step is always knowledge. Make better decisions and understand your patient population with real-time data from Primavera Data Analytics and Case Management.

Rolian RuizInfluence of Data Analytics on Healthcare
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Population Health – Loneliness for Seniors 

Social health is important as mood plays a big part in motivation and personal care. During an international time of self-isolation and strict social parameters, how do you stay alert, engaged, and in good spirits? Additionally, how do you give back to those in need, supporting others, and ensuring a better overall population health? 

Health and Loneliness

Before we jump into a pile of resources for keeping yourself occupied and connected, let’s take a look at the effects of isolation. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, social isolation contributes significantly to a range of health concerns as outlined in the following points. This is partly due to an increase in inactivity, and partly as a result of isolation itself. 

  1. Social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.*
  2. Social isolation was associated with about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia.*
  3. Poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) was associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.*
  4. Loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with a nearly 4 times increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.*

* National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults: Opportunities for the Health Care System. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25663

Health and Home Hobbies

Under National restrictions, the only space you have complete control over is your own. So it’s no surprise that home improvement projects, gardening, and crafting have jumped to the top of everyone’s list. The average polled homeowner spent $1,750 on DIY endeavors! You don’t need to be a MacGyver to build a new end table or spruce up your living room floors. To illustrate, here are some achievable ideas for in-home renovations:

  1. Paint your cabinets and brighten up your storage spaces
  2. Convert that old dresser into a kitchen island to make room for all the new recipes you’ve been trying
  3. Add some whimsy to your yard with an outdoor chalkboard wall for a game night with your neighbors (at a safe distance of course)

DIY projects aren’t the only avenue. With a never ending stream of cooking videos and online courses, there’s never been a better time to dust off your aprons and spice up your days with some fun new recipes and flavors. 

Sign up for a virtual cooking class or enroll in a Senior Education Program. Truly, your local university, community center, or library are great resources. Go the extra mile and grow your own herbs and vegetables! If you don’t have the outdoor space, you can cheat with an idea like these!

Health and Isolation: Enjoying the Downtime

You may not always feel like doing something. Sometimes, stopping to smell the roses still rings true even when you have nothing but time. Start a nightly routine and revisit some of your favorite memories with old radio stories through modern podcasts. Have your family listen as well at the same time. Then have a video chat afterwards to talk about it and enjoy the stories together.

Other “rainy day” pandemic ideas:

  1. Complete a puzzle
  2. Learn to play chess (you can even play against yourself for an added challenge)
  3. Practice drawing, your pet or potted plants make perfect subjects

Technology: Virtual Classes for Seniors

For a lot of seniors, isolation isn’t a new challenge brought on by COVID-19 – it’s already established in their daily lives. The difference now, is in the number of available resources, like virtual technology classes for seniors. These classes are often taught by other seniors through outreach programs, schools, and funded programming.

  1. Learn how to use your smartphone; 
  2. change the text settings to a larger font size
  3. operate your phone’s camera for some great at home photo sessions
  4. set reminders for your medicine schedule
  5. send messages, participate in group chats and video calls

… and all of the other modern conveniences provided by smart devices. 

Many seniors have even taken to blogging to share their experiences and pass down their knowledge to their friends and family. Websites like wix.com, wordpress.com, and squarespace make it easy to create a blog – and of course, there are virtual classes for this as well. 

Togetherness: Companionship and Staying Connected

Not everyone is isolated with a loved one, many seniors are going through this experience alone. As a result, there has been a great spike in pet adoptions but also with therapy animals and service dogs. As isolation is proven to have a deteriorating effect on personal health, a service dog might be a great solution for many individuals. There have been several studies over the years showing that population health improves when communities embrace pets and pet-friendly lifestyles. Visit the ADA National Network for more information and resources.

Togetherness has been the main theme throughout this pandemic with technology as our collective aid, with an emphasis on staying connected but also on staying safe. The resulting resources are impressive but sometimes finding them can be tricky, especially if technology isn’t your first language.

Population Health: Uniting Physicians and Patients  

Primavera offers physicians the ability to stay connected with the senior population through this cutting-edge technology called Connect Telehealth. Knowing that most people in the senior age group are not necessarily tech savvy, the Telehealth platform was made specifically for healthcare and to be easy-to-use. No application download necessary for the patients. These important details ensure a better patient population health. 

The entire Primavera healthcare software suite is able to simply collect the patient information to expedite care and create ease through establishing communication with all medical providers. Patients can receive help to connect with their general practitioner, specialists, and mental health professionals when they cannot be seen in person. Help is just a few screen taps away when needed most. Reach out today for more information about any of the Primavera products like Connect Telehealth, Population Data Analytics, and Case Management.

Rolian RuizPopulation Health – Loneliness for Seniors 
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Reducing Risk in Healthcare with Data Analytics

The demands on the healthcare industry are growing; hospitals and practices are tasked with innovating new ways, not only to organize and communicate, but to increase positive patient care outcomes. In our modern world, the answer is simple; don’t just treat the patient in the moment – plan for every aspect of their care journey while reducing risk along the way.

 

 


How is Data Analytics used in a medical practice? 

Traditional data analytics is true to the image you conjure in your mind when someone says the words, “data analytics”. A tedious, data-heavy system, often delayed by it’s limited processing power…and probably housed in a basement somewhere. 

The critical error with these OG data systems is that it affects your decision making. Data isn’t just meant to be stored, it can be used. But if you’re making decisions based on old data, or incomplete information then the system needs work.

What you should look for:

  1. Easy to use – a simple interface that guides you through adding patient information
  2. Real time – synchronized updates from hospitals, insurance companies, and providers
  3. Cost management – cost analysis features, centralized info for multiple payors
  4. Reports and Metrics – a smart system that analyzes your data for you
  5. Usage – track pharmaceuticals for each patient
  6. Risk Management – risk analysis per patient based on all submitted data

Real-Time Analytics and Reducing Risk: Industry Game Changer

The shift from traditional data analytics to real-time analysis is nothing short of a revolution. 

The premise is simple – view the patient’s entire history, input other contributing factors, and gain visibility on their outcome. This new approach to data can be harder than it seems to accept, especially if practitioners are working in the trenches, focused on acute care and unable to zoom out and gain perspective. 

Here’s how real-time analysis helps in an acute setting:

In a study conducted by the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC), real-time data was applied to understand and reduce operating room delays and prevent cardiac arrest among high-risk patients. 

Data strategies helped manage workflows by sending alerts and notifications between teams and at shift-changes. Turnover time decreased by 15-20% (about 4 minutes per room), as a result of using the data. In terms of dollars, this equaled up to $600,000 annual savings in operating margins.

 

Minutes are worth a lot of money. With a large patient pool, real-time data not only improves quality of care but significantly reduces cost. And though this example is case-specific to a hospital setting, imagine the benefits towards a non-profit healthcare facility. 

Issues, Strategies, and Resources

Let’s talk about Risk Management.

Primavera’s data analysis turns information into actionable data with a number of interactive resources. With Risk Management, patient care is managed based on the most recent and urgent data available. 

Risk management can’t just be a point A to point B iteration. Managing and reducing risk in healthcare benefits from predictions updated step-by-step throughout the patient’s journey – so the system is constantly updating based on prognosis, treatment, and patient response.

Patient Case Management and Reducing Risk

Prioritizing patients is becoming more and more crucial so determining which patients are in need of critical care is a main asset of data analytics.

How does this work?

By managing metrics, the data system creates hierarchy for patients at risk. This is based on different factors that investigate each patient’s health profile and rank them according to urgency while also detecting outliers, high risk patients, and high utilizers. As patients progress through their care, the system updates and re-ranks. 

Intelligent Analysis at Your Fingertips

Comprehensive views are a big part of data analysis, so the system also factors in administrative data. 

  1. Funding PMOM
  2. Inpatient/outpatient Claims PMPM
  3. Medical Loss Ratio (MLR)
  4. Profitability Driver: MRA
  5. Enrollments, Churn, and Retention

With everything together in one accessible format, developing a patient care strategy that benefits your practice at an organizational level is simplified. 

The Primavera Healthcare Suite breaks this big data approach down into three phases:

Collect – Data entry is simplified in a guided, uniform format. Open your computer, and everything is accessible by easy to navigate categories. Everything automatically populates in real-time, and is accessible across teams. 

The Healthcare Suite is a centralized information hub that facilitates communication and coordination between practices, providers, pharmacies, and patients but also lets you track prescriptions, patient usage, and logs communications. 

A key bonus to Primavera is that it was developed by healthcare industry professionals so the infrastructure reflects the observed needs of practitioners and healthcare organizations. 

Analyze – Access all your reports and metrics instantly and sort, filter, and apply that information in any way you like. Organize by patient, payor, provider, or urgency level and toggle between views. Reference easy to read charts for quick analysis or dive deep into the data to investigate outliers and patient anomalies. 

A breakdown from multiple perspectives makes it easier to respond to red flag situations and – like with the UCMC study – reduce potential costs while boosting patient care and response time. 

Act – Big data – understand current and future costs with real-time data across your patient population and key metrics. Utilizing data equals better decision making. 

This is due to the real-time syncing features of Primavera’s Healthcare Suite. If you have all relevant information at the touch of a button AND the data is as current as possible – decisions, even small ones, become easier and carry more weight.

Primavera’s data analytics also saves time by eliminating the need for investigation into patient history via outdated data systems and bridging communications between all parties. 

The Future of Data Analytics

Real-time data is the future of healthcare organization so let’s make it Easier Together. Get the information you need exactly when it’s needed. Manage multiple payors, use current and historical healthcare data, and ease communication; from reaching out to patients, to scheduling transportation and updating your team. 

See how simple elevating your practice can be and schedule a demo today!

Rolian RuizReducing Risk in Healthcare with Data Analytics
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