Healthcare IT: Top Trends and Innovations in 2016

This post was originally published by Christine Slocumb on the Clarity Quest Marketing blog and has been re-posted with permission. 

As the President of one of the top healthcare marketing agencies, I’m continually fascinated at the wide array of technologies emerging in the space. Every week we get lead calls from companies with new products or services addressing pressing healthcare technology issues.

Here are some of the trends we hear lots of buzz around in 2016.

Prescriptive Analytics

Health systems are getting more sophisticated at understanding their current state using descriptive analytics of their data, however, knowing what’s going right or wrong is only a small step in fixing the issues. Now companies offer predictive and even prescriptive analytics to forecast the future and to offer corrective suggestions.

One example is FutureFlow Rx by ProModel, which not only predicts patient flow across a health system, but also gives corrective actions and likely outcomes for each.

Prescriptive Analytics versus Predictive Analytics versus Diagnostic Analytics graphic from FutureFlowRx
The move from descriptive to prescriptive analytics. Courtesy: ProModel Corporation

Data Migration Tools

Whether it’s moving DICOM images from one system to another or migrating from one EHR system to another, tools to transfer data are here to stay.

Interconnectivity

Connecting records and information systems is still in its infancy. We’re seeing more and more demand for tools that provide interfaces, such as eMedApps’ Care Connectivity Platform™, which maintains continuity and uptime while establishing bridges.

eMedApps CareBridge Interoperability Platform Diagram

Niche Practice Systems by Specialty

Epic, Allscripts, and the other big EHR dogs have trouble breaking into specialty areas such as dermatology, ENT and more notably behavioral health. Smaller companies, such as Logik Solutions, which sells billing software for behavioral health, are growing by selling into practices in specialty areas.

Consolidation in Imaging IT

IBM bought Merge; Fuji acquired TeraMedica; and Hitachi left the VNA business. PACS is a tough replacement sale and vendor neutral archives are often seen as a “nice to have” versus a “must have”. Expect to see more shakeout and consolidation in this area.

More Data Integration Between Payers, Providers and Pharmaceutical Companies

Clinicians need a better way to understand which drugs are covered under specific payer plans, at what levels, and if policies and restrictions are attached to a drug. Payers need to keep costs under control. Pharmaceutical companies want to promote their drugs as quickly and efficiently as possible. Expect to see systems such as MMIT’s Mobile Search Formulary App that offer an accurate display of drug coverage to all parties by validating data from multiple payer and pharma sources.

No doubt these are exciting times for health IT. Stay tuned for our next post on this topic after HIMSS 2017.

About the Author:
Chris is the founder and president of Clarity Quest Marketing, where she leads a talented group of marketers and designers helping healthcare and technology companies achieve marketing and business goals. To learn more about Chris’ experiences and qualifications, visit our Meet Our Executive Team page.

Architectural Firm Compares PACU Designs with Ease Using MedModel

A post-anesthesia care unit, PACU, is a vital area within every hospital where patients can recover  from general anesthesiaregional anesthesia, or local anesthesia.

ProModel built a PACU model for an architectural firm to illustrate the difference between two design options.  This was accomplished by placing both designs in one model and having patients follow the exact same patient pattern as they enter the PACUs simultaneously.

The left or A side of the model is a Single Room design and the right or B side is an Open Bay design.  There are the same number of conceptual uses of PACU I beds in each design.  The A side has 27 dual designated pre-op and PACU II rooms.  The B side has 30 rooms, but designates specific rooms for pre-op and specific rooms for PACU II.  Macros were used extensively during the model build to enable rapid changes to the interactions of the patients within the designs.  Real arrival patterns from the hospital were used and entered using an arrival spreadsheet.

PACUComparison

The simulation revealed that the A side showed significant time savings.  Were the ORs to be kept open the same length of time, more patients could be seen on the A side.  The A side also reduced the time spent waiting, after initial arrival for a pre-op bed.  For example, the average wait for pre-op bed on the A side was 3.9 minutes.  On the B side this average was 52.8 minutes.  That’s a pretty significant difference!

These and many other solution videos are available on our YouTube Channel.

If you would like more information about ProModel solutions contact us.

A True Cowboy in Our Midst

4-7-2016 9-01-42 PM

ProModel’s Western Regional Sales Director, Mike Townsend, recently won multiple amateur horseback riding (cutting) competitions. After a 10-year hiatus from showing, Mike made his presence felt after tying for first in the 2016 NCHA Super Stakes Amateur final in Fort Worth, TX.

 

 

 

Check out the video of Mike on the winning ride, working his horse hard to keep those cows in line! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBHHJ3KghUE

Not familiar with Cutting, neither were we.  Check out the Wikipedia explanation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cutting_(sport)

 

Is Patient Care a Repeatable Process and Can It Benefit from System Improvements?

headshots-daleIn my eight years at ProModel, I have come to appreciate the serious talent of our consultants.  I think they are one of our greatest assets and bring tremendous value to our customers.  When I really want to get the scoop on a project, I turn to one of them and they explain the very complex nature of our projects to me in a way I understand and appreciate.  One of these talented consultants is Dale Schroyer.

Dale is a first time grandfather, which in itself is a new challenge. As he said “Its old, but its new.  In his work as a Promodel Consultant Dale travels a great deal, however he does not really get to see or enjoy the places to which he travels.  So he and his wife have decided to start traveling and just this year they took their first vacation to Italy and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Next on their bucket list is another trip.  They are deciding between Alaska or the British Isles.

When I last spoke with Dale he was attending the NPSF Patient Safety Congress, in Scottsdale, Arizona one of those may places he visits but doesn’t really get to see. He was happy to be in 80-degree sunshine after weeks in cool, cloudy Massachusetts. One of the programs Dale attended at the NPSF conference was an emersion workshop on RCA or Root Cause Analysis.

This program looked at what hospitals do when an adverse event occurs.  Usually such events occur because of system faults or failures, not necessarily human error.  The challenge is determining what the faults in the system are, how they can be fixed and instituting actions to fix them and measure those fixes.  Dale found it a fascinating topic because of its similarities to what is done in the Aerospace industry in which he started his career.  The instructors were Dr. James P. Bagian and Mr. Joseph M. DeRosier, one of whom is from the Aerospace industry.  Both teach at the University of Michigan which is Dale’s alma mater.  Dale spoke with them about simulation as a tool to determine hospital system shortfalls.  They mentioned that the barriers to simulation are many and often the learning curve is long and cumbersome.  Dale discussed using ProModel’s Process Simulator which can be an easier way around those barriers, since it is a simpler, Visio based tool.

As most of the attendees at the conference were nurses, doctors and an eclectic mix of engineers, what Dale observed in talking and listening to many of them is that healthcare does not consider itself a process or system industry. At this year’s conference, conversations were being started around this very issue.  The fact that doctors and nurses were having the conversation is a considerable step in the right direction.  Many in attendance wanted to know what techniques would best serve them in convincing their coworkers back home that the system approach is a good and necessary one for the healthcare industry that can benefit patients, hospitals, nurses and physicians.

Dale has over 20 years as an improvement consultant in the healthcare field at ProModel and Baystates Healthcare. One of his most significant consulting engagements for ProModel has been at Robert Wood Johnson.  In this multi-year engagement, ProModel and Dale served as a trusted advisor.  It was a project that did not just cover one unit of the hospital, but dealt with the whole evolution of the OR Suite.  It was not just the building of a single model, but a collaborative work with positive and rewarding results.

Part of what makes Dales so good at his job is the fact that he loves tackling new challenges.  Working for ProModel guarantees that each day will be very different from the last.  He will meet new people in a new environment and tackle a new problem.  The first step he generally takes when starting a new project is to spend a lot of time listening to those with whom he will be working.  He needs to understand their environment and what he must do as a ProModel expert to yield them tremendous value.

Dale just earned a Data Scientist certification. The program he completed was from Johns Hopkins and required the completion of 9 courses along with a capstone project. His capstone focused on natural language processing and it brought all of the elements of the other 9 courses together and applied them in a new and fascinating way.

As Dale and I closed our conversation, we were both wondering how others in the Healthcare Community felt about his notion that Healthcare is not a process or system industry.  We, of course, disagree.  What do you think?

We would be happy to hear your opinion about this notion.  Comment below or email me at ezohil@promodel.com.  To recommend whether Dales should visit Alaska or the British Isles, email him at dschroyer@promodel.com.

Interested in learning more about ProModel consulting, check out: http://www.promodel.com/Services/Consulting, or consulting@promodel.com.

 

 

Army Logistics Embraces Predictive Analytics

RPS_Business_Portrait

Pat Sullivan – VP Army Programs

“The purpose of predictive analysis is to determine the impact of resourcing decisions, alternatives, changes to strategy, and demand for forces, on Army readiness.  Impacts must be assessed over the near and mid-term … Unforeseen changes in funding, demand for forces, or other factors have varying degrees of impact on current projections.” – Army Regulation 525-30. Unfortunately, the complex mathematics and stringent analysis that are necessary for predictive analytics have been performed typically by folks from the Center for Army Analysis or by cells of operational research specialists spread across the force.  The challenge for all analysts, from an operational perspective, has been in compiling the data and creating a picture that is worthy of command-level decision making.

The Army Materiel Command (AMC) has pressed forward in applying predictive analytics to create greater efficiency in supporting the Army through the Logistics Readiness Centers (LRCs).  As part of the AMC mission to provide logistical services, the command assumed responsibility for 73 LRCs worldwide.  The purpose of a LRC is to provide installation support with a broad range of essential services that include maintenance, food service, ammunition, general supply, and laundry.  Since assuming this mission, AMC has been squarely focused on enhancing customer satisfaction and readiness while efficiently managing a dwindling budget—not an easy task.

In July 2014, ProModel initiated a proof of concept (POC) project in support of AMC for a decision-making capability that will accommodate both the overall enterprise level and the tactical, local level of the LRCs.  The project required ProModel to learn LRC processes and to evaluate and analyze existing LRC maintenance records in order to identify areas for potential improvement.  For the purposes of the POC project, AMC decided to focus the efforts on one LRC, therefore the process-education and data-collection efforts required for the creation, extraction, and compilation of data were focused on the Ft. Hood LRC.  During the POC effort, ProModel pinpointed the data necessary for analysis and identified several functional needs at the LRC level.  For example, Ft. Hood LRC management expressed a need for a labor-optimization software tool that can take into account labor requirements and overtime planning on a local, LRC-based level.

The software model of processes developed for Ft. Hood was proven to work, so a scaled enterprise solution is currently in development.  The model provided sufficient evidence that the trial scenarios created during the project can be expanded to a larger scale and adapted to incorporate additional requirements.  ProModel is now tasked with delivering a labor optimization capability and a workload-management software module to support the operations of the Army Field Support Brigades (AFSBs) that manage a number of LRCs.  This new capability will enable business-case analysis of the movement of future workloads from one location to another, and it will facilitate the consolidation of resources in order to support a requirement at a particular location.

The POC effort demonstrated that, by incorporating predictive analytic methods into a custom software application, the AMC, the U.S. Army Sustainment Command, the AFSBs, and the individual LRCs will have decision-support capabilities to accommodate trial “what-if” scenarios and experimental process simulations at both the enterprise and local levels.  AMC is proceeding to the next level of development of a software tool with enterprise-wide applicability.  Soon, AMC will experience a substantial positive effect on the command’s process efficiency and on the resulting cost-management controls.  ProModel is confident that this development will provide to the AMC and to the Army a great, leading-edge, predictive-analytic tool that will change the culture of Army logistics management.

Contact VP of Army Programs – Pat Sullivan  for more information. Or, visit our web site to learn more.

 

 

 

 

 

Changing the Vision of Naval Aviation

Rob Wedertz – Director, Navy Programs

Rob Wedertz – Director, Navy Programs

In the very early days of learning to fly the FA-18 as a student in VFA-106 I was scheduled, along with the other students in my class, to attend a NVG (Night Vision Goggle) lab at the simulator facility.  I remember being excited about the prospect of being exposed to a technological “tool” that would remain the backdrop of my tactical flying for the next several years.  As it turned out, the lion’s share of the discussion in the lab that day did NOT focus on the supreme advantages that NVGs would provide on the battlefield, but instead the many limitations of the goggles, that if not considered carefully would place even the most proficient aviator in peril.  The most significant of these limitations was the restricted field of view (FOV).  The NVGs I would fly with over the next few years were early generation technology and design capabilities at the time limited that FOV to only 40 degrees.  To overcome this limitation, pilots had to develop a technique of continually rotating their heads from left to right in order to accurately assess the environment, both on the ground and in the air.  Without doing so was akin to flying with blinders on – not a problem if you’re a racehorse sprinting to the finish line, extremely dangerous if you’re flying a jet in congested airspace at night and at high speeds.  As luck would have it, I did learn to train my body to change the way I viewed the environment and became proficient at not only assessing what was right in front of me (within 40 degrees) but also those things that lay on the periphery.

I use the NVG discussion above often as a metaphor to promote the advantages of changing the way we view our surroundings (i.e. training our bodies to act differently) in order to assess challenges in a more holistic and comprehensive fashion.  From a business perspective, this translates to the premise of assuming a more “enterprise” perspective of challenges and opportunities in order to achieve measurable successes.  To be clear, there are often times when a laser-like focus on what is right in front of you is appropriate.  But doing so for too long is much like staring at the sun.

ProModel’s Naval Synchronization Toolset (NST) is a software-enabled decision support platform that was developed for Naval Air Systems Command to facilitate the pro-active management of the FA-18 inventory.  Much like the first generation NVGs I described above, it provides a high fidelity (limited FOV) perspective of the FA-18 inventory in order to efficiently and effectively extend the lives of FA-18 aircraft to bridge the gap to the introduction of the F-35C.  And while it has provided significant benefit to the FA-18 program office, in its present state it does not include other Navy and Marine Corps assets (i.e. E-2/C-2, MH-60, etc.)  This is potentially about to change…

As outlined in Naval Aviation Vision…

“In today’s environment of constrained resources and geopolitical challenges, the demand for Naval Aviation forces is growing, and the need has never been greater for an enterprise approach to generating readiness. Affordability is approaching the same level of importance as performance. A decade after its formation, Naval Aviation leadership maintains the enterprise approach to generating readiness pioneered by the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE). It remains a strong partnership among leaders and stakeholders who ensure Naval Aviation will remain a whole and ready force by creating a cost-wise and collaborative culture of continuous improvement that addresses both current and future readiness requirements.”

Naval Aviation Vision 2014-2025

ProModel has recently been invited by Commander Naval Air Forces to discuss the necessary steps to transition NST from an FA-18-centric platform to one that captures the “enterprise”.  In doing so, the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) would implement a capability that embodies Naval Aviation Vision.  The benefits of doing so are outlined below:

  • As NAVAIR and the NAE face the challenge of providing ready basic aircraft to the fleet and meet readiness requirements, this approach would provide a common methodology and platform to assess all T/M/S. It would provide an “electronic” record of the decisions that were made, the COAs used to reach those decisions and the resulting quantifiable metrics supporting those decisions. The solution is a living representation of the enterprise enabling true decision support.
  • By proactively managing the NAE inventory and making decisions in a low risk environment, cost avoidance associated with non-optimal decisions will be significant. The solution enables stakeholders to see secondary and tertiary impacts of decisions immediately without waiting to collect “real time” metrics.
  • The solution supports both tactical operational and strategic analyses. The ability for key stakeholders to visualize the Health of Naval Aviation predicated on operational schedules, against the backdrop of programmed budgets, and with a constant eye on capabilities and readiness across the enterprise cannot be overstated.
  • A common operating picture of the NAE will provide stakeholders with qualitative and quantitative metrics to influence decisions that should be made today to influence tomorrow.

ProModel is supremely positioned to facilitate the rapid transition of NST from a single platform decision support tool to one that supports the Naval Aviation Enterprise.  As the NAE implements its enterprise perspective initiatives, we will “train our bodies” to assess the landscape in lockstep with them in order to achieve the same successes with the “Enterprise” version of NST.

Incidentally, NVG technology has evolved over the years (wider FOV, less scintillation, etc.)  Ironically, when using the newer technology, it was difficult to adapt muscle movements accordingly.   Fortunately that well-honed muscle memory embedded a more robust scan pattern, and in the end optimized the use of the newer technologies.  The same can be said about the NAE’s initiative to develop a more holistic view of providing aviation assets to the units tasked with carrying out our national security strategy.  That muscle memory will ensure that the NAE is consistently attentive to the needs of the enterprise as it competes for resources, manages limited budgets, and ultimately achieves success sustaining a fighting force that is centered upon warfighting wholeness.

Top 8 Benefits of Proactive Patient Flow Optimization

DanH avatar_34902-300x300

Dan Hickman ProModel CTO

Unpredictably high numbers of scheduled admissions and an uncertain number of available beds.

Stressed staff due to ED boarding, long patient wait times, and off-service placements.

Length of stay and cost per case metrics exceed CMS value-based care efficiency measures.

Sound familiar? 

Patient flow optimization is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve operational effectiveness, the patient stay experience and your hospital’s bottom line. Here’s how.

Top 8 Reasons to Implement Patient Flow Optimization Today

  1. Decrease the Length of Stay (LOS). Find “hidden discharges” (potential candidates for discharge based on diagnosis codes and average LOS metrics) in your current census.
  2. Improve Bottleneck and ADT Issue Visibility. Simply having data does not empower decision makers. In fact, too much data can cause clinical operations staff to ignore it altogether. A patient flow optimization system delivers visual data all hospital staff can easily digest and use to make informed decisions that benefit the hospital and the patients.
  3. Right-size Staffing. By coupling accurate census predictions with staff needs, your health system will experience lower labor costs based on predictable admit, discharge and transfer (ADT) cycles, optimal staffing sizes and diminished demand for expensive nursing agency personnel.
  4. Enhance the Patient Journey. Minimize patient frustration by admitting the vast majority of inpatients to on-service units, even during peak periods.
  5. Capture Additional Revenue. Decreasing length of stay increases bed capacity, so fewer patients leave the hospital without being seen.
  6. Increase Access to Care. Patient flow optimization decreases ED boarding duration, speeds up admissions, and lowers left without being seen (LWBS) rates.
  7. Lower Infrastructure Costs. With patient flow optimization, health systems make optimal use of the existing hospital’s physical footprint, avoiding unnecessary costly build outs.
  8. Staff Satisfaction. Welcome to the stress-free huddle. FutureFlow Rx gives your staff a personal heads-up on issues affecting admissions, discharges and transfers, so they can be addressed at huddle meetings. Prescriptive corrective actions from the patient flow optimization system further empower staff with recommendations based on data and simulation.

 

About FutureFlow Rx™ Patient Flow Optimization

FutureFlow Rx by ProModel uses historical patient flow patterns, real-time clinical data, and discrete event simulation to reveal key trends, provide operational insights, and deliver specific corrective action recommendations to enhance the patient stay experience, lower costs and drive additional revenues. Our platform accurately predicts future events, helping hospitals make the right operational decisions to reduce risk, decrease LOS and improve operational margins. Schedule a demo.

dashboard 300 dpi

 FutureFlow Rx’s dashboard consists of  key performance indicator (KPI) “cards”. The left side of each card shows the last 24 hours; the right side predicts the “Next 24”; and clicking the upper right “light bulbs” provides prescriptive actions to improve the predicted future.

 

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