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.

Top 8 Benefits of Proactive Patient Flow Optimization

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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.

 

Improved Bottom Line and Better Care? Start with A-D-T

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Kurt Shampine ProModel Corp Sr. VP LifeSciences

By solving issues related to admission, transfer, and discharge (ADT), patient flow optimization is one of the most cost effective and simplest ways to improve quality of care and increase revenues. Patient flow analytics systems can safely accelerate the patient journey through your health system, so you can make the best choices for your patients and your hospital’s bottom line.

Let’s take a look at how patient flow optimization can address each element of ADT.

modules_adm_dschrgewhitebackgroundA: ADMIT Patients Effectively

Efficient patient flow through hospital departments leads to satisfying healthcare experiences for everyone involved in the patient’s care. Increase safety and satisfaction by always having an admit bed in the right unit at the right time.

Emergency Department (ED) boarding and overcrowding issues are often at the center of admission challenges. 91% of hospital ED directors experience issues with overcrowding and its associated complications. When EDs try to function above their capacity limits, patients suffer from long wait times, increased lengths of stay, and improper care and attention from overloaded staff.

The key to preventing overcrowding and boarding is to address patient flow hospital-wide so admissions can be made quickly to the correct departments 24/7.

modules_adm_dschrgewhitebackground D: Solve Slow DISCHARGE Dilemmas

When admissions outpace discharges, hospitals face mounting issues such as lack of available beds, overcrowded waiting rooms, and staff shortages. Every hour of discharge delay costs your hospital up to $2,500 per patient.

Patient flow analytics can help your hospital solve the discharge puzzle to reduce length of stay, prioritize morning discharges and improve patient throughput.

A quality prescriptive patient flow system can even find hidden discharges in your current census. With one glance at a dashboard you can see which patients are approaching discharge by diagnosis, past-due discharges, and those with co-morbidity issues requiring a possible diagnosis-related group (DRG) transfer.

modules_adm_dschrgewhitebackground T: TRANSFER Smarter & Faster

Effective patient transfers play a major role in keeping patients safe and satisfied. Patients transitioning from one provider or healthcare setting to another too often get lost in the shuffle or delayed.

Patient flow optimization helps hospital staff facilitate the movement of patients from one facility, unit, or department to another using analytics and foresight to avoid any hurdles.
If a patient is initially placed in a suboptimal unit, a patient flow optimization system can prescribe a transfer to the correct unit as soon as a bed and staff are available in the correct service, ensuring that patient receives optimal care.

How FutureFlow Rx™ Solves ADT Challenges

Our real-time, prescriptive analytics system provides hospital staff with current patient flow conditions, future projections, and specific tips for improving patient flow over the entire ADT continuum.

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.

Optimizing ADT effectiveness improves patient health and satisfaction, streamlines patient flow throughout the health system, and helps clinical teams work together as a cohesive unit leading to higher job satisfaction. With intelligent patient placement, unnecessary risks and costs can be more easily avoided.

Managing Patient Flow

Hospitals across the country have realized the value of performance excellence teams and process improvement tools.  Healthcare has reached the point where it is absolutely critical to learn how to do more with less.  How do you improve patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes while becoming more efficient?  Using what has already been learned within the manufacturing industry is a great way to start.  Even though hospital care is quite different from manufacturing, there are still many techniques and tools that can be shared.  Using these proven manufacturing operations management techniques was also a focus at this year’s Patient Flow Summit. http://patientflowsummit.com/

ProModel has been successfully helping to improve manufacturing for over 25 years, so it is no stretch that we can carry that same success into the field of healthcare and have already been doing so with our MedModel technology for several years.

One of our current clients, Carilion Clinic is a network of hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices and services in the state of Virginia. Senior Performance Improvement personnel chose ProModel consultants to help them create a patient flow model to reduce hospital overcrowding and resolve patient flow issues.  In a short E-Book we explain some of the decisions they needed to make and how MedModel helped them to do so:

https://www.promodel.com/products/ebook

If you would like more information about how ProModel can help you make critical decisions about your Healthcare Organization contact us @ 877.333.4499 or HealthcareSolutions@ProModel.com. Also checkout http://www.promodel.com/Solutions/HospitalPatientFlow and http://patientflowstudio.com.

Carilion Ebook graphic

https://www.promodel.com/products/ebook

ProModel Solutions Presented at the 2015 Patient Flow Summit

In May ProModel joined a diverse and talented group of healthcare professionals in Las Vegas to share best practices for improving process and positively impacting the quality of patient care.  Presenters provided views on a wide variety of patient flow issues including population health management, RTLS systems, healthcare reform, readmissions, surgical variability and ED processes.

Not only did ProModel have an exhibit at the event where we were able to officially unveil our new Patient Flow RX solution, but we were also very lucky to have ProModel client and user David Fernandez MHA there to give an insightful and informative presentation on his successful use of simulation in the healthcare world.  Fernandez is VP of Cancer Hospital, Neuroscience and Perioperative Services at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and his presentation “Let My Patients Flow! Streamlining the OR Suite” described his use of lean management principles and simulation modeling to improve patient flow in the OR.

David Fernandez MHA, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital discusses his use of simulation for improving patient flow in the OR

David Fernandez MHA, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital discusses his use of simulation for improving patient flow in the OR

Among numerous other presentations, keynote speaker Eugene Litvak PhD, President & CEO of Institute for Healthcare Optimization was there to address the application of queuing theory to healthcare processes, as he believes it is a methodology that will correctly address the challenge of hospitals to match random patient demand to fixed capacity.

The Patient Flow Summit helped hospital leaders from all over the world learn the latest about optimizing capacity, streamlining operations, improving patient care, and increasing fiscal performance.

Presenters provided views on a wide variety of patient flow issues

Presenters provided views on a wide variety of patient flow issues

ProModels (L) Kurt Shampine, VP and (R) Dan Hickman, CTO – unveiling Pateint Flow Rx!

ProModels (L) Kurt Shampine, VP and (R) Dan Hickman, CTO – unveiling Pateint Flow Rx!

In the OR with Dale Schroyer

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Dale Schroyer – Sr. Consultant & Project Manager

I generally find that in healthcare, WHEN something needs to happen is more important than WHAT needs to happen.  It’s a field that is rife with variation, but with simulation, I firmly believe that it can be properly managed.  Patient flow and staffing are always a top concern for hospitals, but it’s important to remember that utilization levels that are too high are just as bad as levels that are too low, and one of the benefits of simulation in healthcare is the ability to staff to demand.

Check out Dale’s work with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital where they successfully used simulation to manage increased OR patient volume: 

About Dale

Since joining ProModel in 2000, Dale has been developing simulation models used by businesses to perform operational improvement and strategic planning. Prior to joining ProModel Dale spent seven years as a Sr. Corporate Management Engineering Consultant for Baystate Health System in Springfield, MA where he facilitated quality improvement efforts system wide including setting standards and facilitating business re-engineering teams. Earlier he worked as a Project Engineer at the Hamilton Standard Division of United Technologies.

Dale has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and a Masters of Management Science from Lesley University. He is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt and is Lean Bronze certified.

NEW! ProModel’s Patient Flow Solution:

http://patientflowstudio.com/

ProModel Healthcare Solutions:

http://www.promodel.com/Industries/Healthcare

Healthcare’s Evolution

Jacqueline Hodge - ProModel Director of Healthcare Initiatives

Jacqueline Hodge – ProModel Director of Healthcare Initiatives

Ever heard the phrase:  “Keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll keep getting what you’re getting”?  My Mom used to say that to me all the time and I still think about it today.  I’ve been in the healthcare industry my entire life and, needless to say, a career that has never had a dull moment.  Change is the only constant in healthcare today.

 Healthcare is a place for those who don’t shy away from change and can embrace new ideas even when they are not popular.  Many of the decisions made in healthcare are based on intuition, gut feelings, experience, and consensus. I’ve been a part of those think tanks and times have changed… information resources have changed…                                                           technology has changed… expectations have changed!

Our hospitals have been tasked to do more with less – who hasn’t heard that right?  Through innovative technologies like simulation, we can use predictive analytics to visualize, analyze, and optimize processes.  We have to identify the bottlenecks in our systems that are affecting patient outcomes, patient wait times, correct bed placement and optimal staffing.  Variability in patient flow through our healthcare systems is an impediment to the cost reductions and improvement of patient safety and quality of care (Litvak et al).

Systems have been slowly adopting the principles learned through lean and six sigma but have slow to adapt to the tools available.  Hospitals have shifted from revenue generating to cost reduction.  Simulation tools are the next step in healthcare’s evolution to impact costs due to healthcare’s unique challenges caused by variability due to competition for patient beds, resources, and patient throughput — all are a part of the ongoing challenge we face to meet expectations for ‘doing more with less”

About Jacqueline Hodge

Jacqueline has had the privilege of being part of the healthcare industry for the past 25 years in Arizona after moving from Nashville, TN.  She has served in numerous roles throughout her healthcare career including medical technologist, business development executive and hospital CEO.

Prior to joining ProModel, Jacqueline was the CEO of Promise Hospital Phoenix where she provided strategic leadership to all clinical operations.  She established and executed goals that directly impacted hospital operations, patient care, physician development and business growth.  Having been a CEO, Jacqueline knows the immeasurable value that simulation technology brings to hospital operations. She was able to make leadership decisions quickly by analyzing internal data in its virtual environment with the ability to focus on both high level strategic initiatives and day to day operational tactics.

At Promise Hospital Jacqueline previously served as their VP of Business Development where she led physician development, contracting, and sales/marketing.  Before her time at Promise, she was the Area Business Director for Kindred Healthcare responsible for 4 hospitals within the Arizona market. Jacqueline also has global pharmaceutical experience in Scientific Affairs and Business Development leadership roles including Bayer Healthcare and Astellas Pharma US.

Jacqueline holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Murray State University.  She also holds an ASCP Medical Technology Certification from St. Mary’s Hospital, and has worked as a Medical Technologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center at the start of her career.

NEW! ProModel’s Patient Flow Solution:

http://patientflowstudio.com/

ProModel Healthcare Solutions:

http://www.promodel.com/Industries/Healthcare