In our industry, turn-around-time, or TAT, is everything – well, part and parcel with accuracy and quality. Each one is critical component – we have to deliver it all. Every medical transcription company claims their service is the speediest. But how do they prove it?
And if they’re not measuring up – do they put their money where their mouth is? They should. We do.
24: More than just a T.V. Show
First – yes; you should expect a medical transcription provider to deliver – but also, to prove they’re doing it. It’s critical, because patient records provide necessary information from which the clinician’s work flows – for analyzing history, making diagnosis, making references to specialists and protecting against litigation. Never underestimate the power of the patient record!
So of course, the speed with which data is extracted, recorded and returned is paramount, and turn-around-time to our industry is akin to arrival and departure times in the airline industry. It’s the basis by which our success is measured. The “gold standard?” Ideally, most reports should be returned in 12 – 18 hours, others, from the emergency room for example, should arrive back within 1 – 6 hours.
At iData, we guarantee our turn-around-time, or our clients don’t pay. We think it doesn’t get any more committed than that!
Drilling down: Questions to ask your Clinical Documentation Provider
There are plenty of choices in finding a clinical documentation provider – no argument there. Of course we think you should choose our locally owned small business because we invest so intimately in our customers. Regardless of your choice, it should be an informed one, so we recommend asking the following questions when searching for a new provider:
- What is your average turn-around-time in delivering reports? A provider should have no trouble giving you a solid answer on this and should provide exacting data to show a history.
- What quality controls are in place? Speed is critical, but it cannot be sacrificed at the expense of quality. A slip of the key, a misinterpreted medication dosage can cause serious damage. (Around here our systems ensure each report passes through no less than 3 quality controls. But that’s just us!)
- What kind of technology platform supports their infrastructure? It’s essential that a medical transcription provider use the most cutting edge technology that allows for mobile usage, cloud-based storage and EHR interface. We have to adapt even before our clients do so we can move at the speed of light when the time arrives.
- How do they measure turn-around-time? Each provider should offer their customers reports measuring their turn-around-time. It should be easy to analyze their performance based on delivery after initial data is provided and customers run their own real-time reports.
Like we said – our guarantee at iData is to deliver reports on time, every time – or our customers don’t pay. We’re pretty incentivized to get them turned around on time, every time. Just what the doctor ordered.
Earth Day has come and gone, but we think it’s sort of like Christmas. Shouldn’t we have a “green” spirit all year long?
Practicing ecologically sound and sustainable policies are garnering continued interest across the healthcare marketplace. Have you been introduced to the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI)? This collaborative effort between hundreds of hospitals, the Center for Health Design, and Practice Greenhealth seeks to improve environmental health and sustainability in the health care sector in 6 key areas: engaged leadership, healthier food, leaner energy, less waste, safer chemicals, and smarter purchasing.
Going green is far from today’s flavor of the month – it’s propelling to “new normal” status faster than a Silicon Valley coding competition.
IT departments can lead the charge, too. How do your efforts to reduce “e-waste” – or electronic equipment that is nearing, or at the end of its useful lifecycle - stack up? According to a recent blog post in Earth911, “In 2009, about 2.37 million tons of discarded TVs, computers, peripherals (including printers, scanners, fax machines), keyboards, mice and cell phones ended up in the waste stream in the U.S, according to EPA facts and figures.”
How does your medical center or business recycle, re-use or upcycle electronics that are no longer in play? Currently, there is no Federal mandate to recycle e-waste. There have been numerous attempts to develop a Federal law, but to date – no surprise – consensus hasn’t been reached. There are however, guidelines to follow within each state that rival the stringency of any Federal mandate.
Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials – metals, plastics, and glass – all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves natural resources and avoids air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions caused by manufacturing brand new materials.
The problem is, some electronics, such as color CRTs computer monitors, color CRT TV tubes, and smaller items such as cell phones and other “hand-helds” may test “hazardous” under Federal law. If so, they are subject to special handling requirements under Federal law, subject to certain exemptions. Still, the EPA does encourage the reuse and recycling of used electronics, including those that test “hazardous.” For those regulatory requirements, visit EPA’s website.
Responsible Stewardship of e-waste is a Health Matter
It’s in our local and global interest to dispose of e-waste carefully to prevent the exploitation of those in impoverished countries where much of the e-waste from the U.S. has historically been disposed. Media coverage of companies that transferred e-waste overseas where unsuspecting workers scavenged through potentially hazardous material to forage recyclable metals exposed the problem our e-waste caused. This spurred many states to pass e-waste recycling laws that help to ensure responsible recycling and disposal of hazardous materials – check out your state’ s policy here.
Of course, a great deal of electronic components relegated to “e-waste” status isn’t waste at all, but rather could serve as readily marketable for reuse. It’s why companies such as Bitlist.com have emerged to turn one man’s e-waste into another man’s aftermarket treasure. At iData, we recycle all of our electronics locally, and we’re always searching for new ideas and resources. What’s your organization’s policy? Check out EPA’s site for ideas on recycling electronics. And share your resources with us; let’s all work together to make every day, Earth Day.
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Last week’s heartbreak in Boston was one of those moments when the frenetic pace of life comes to a screeching halt. A moment that inspired us to stop and grieve, chime in across the social media chorus, reflect on our blessings and lament the fragile world in which we live.
We could despair – and we all do at some level. But in the days that follow, those of us who serve or work in the healthcare marketplace can use the moment to glean some new perspective. To consider what we really do – visualize who we’re really helping. It’s not just our hospitals and managers and clients, it’s doctors and nurses. (Or the “Helpers,” as a popular Mr. Rogers’ Facebook meme reminded us.)
It gives us pause to consider that the programs, hardware, software and data we’re working so relentlessly to manage, repair, design, analyze, code and protect serves the needs of heroes dressed in faded blue scrubs, and the sick and injured for whom they often sacrifice.
Here at iData, we’ve stopped for a moment to think about those medical records that now include lost limbs and shattered bones. With the physical and emotional trauma associated with what has historically celebrated as a joyous event marked by legendary Boston pride. At the end of the day, the data we work so hard to capture and report belongs to people.
It’s why we, and so many across our industry, should take pride in what we do. The infrastructure and processes we empower ensures that healthcare data is captured and delivered efficiently. Which means clinicians can work more smoothly. And that means something to the injured runner who will now count on his specialists to be able to access and share information seamlessly.
It’s the least we can do.
For a bit of inspiration, remember on those days when the project seems never ending, when you’ve pulled an all-nighter to repair a glitch, when you’re struggling to decipher a physician’s verbiage – that the hard work contributes to something meaningful. People’s health. What’s more important than that?
So on that fateful day, what started as triumph turned into tragedy. But then, it turned to triumph again as stories trickled in showcasing doctors, nurses, first responders and many spectators who jumped in to help. And as always in the face of trauma most of us can hardly fathom, medical center personal deftly, calmly and compassionately navigated the chaos and the carnage.
According to the Boston Globe, “More than 13 hospitals treated some 180 victims, many in critical condition; at least 10 of them were children. Speaking to the press, trauma surgeons and emergency room doctors from the largest hospitals — including Mass. General, Brigham and Women’s, Boston Medical Center, and Children’s updated the public regularly with detailed casualty reports, describing emergency amputations, shrapnel wounds, fractures, ruptured internal organs, and severe burns. In doing so, they supplied some of the first clues as to what could have caused the injuries they were treating.”
These are the professionals we serve. They are why we get up every day to do it all over again in the midst of setbacks and struggles. Their grace and grit and immeasurable contributions can inspire us to push through. We’re helpers, too after all.
Unless, that is you count, “The Donald,” who tweeted, “@Marissamayer is right to expect Yahoo employees to come to the workplace vs. working at home. She is doing a great job!” Some felt her decision was bold and courageous; from others, the backlash was swift. Mayer’s mandate struck a cord among champions of telecommuting as a means to achieve a better balance between work and family. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s the date looming across the healthcare landscape as hospitals, HIMs and doctors sprint toward the Meaningful Use deadline in order to receive the incentives delivered via the HITECH Act. Many found, though, that while the EHR may have promised to help nix the cost of clinical documentation, the reality hasn’t quite matched the rhetoric.
In fact, backlash against the EHR has reached the level of earning its own hashtag on Twitter: #EHRbacklash, with several stories in recent weeks (see here and here) describing the pullback. Read the rest of this entry »
But first, consider the sheer number of articles, posts, and all-out rants you’ve seen the past year about how EMRs have thus far failed to live up to their promise (In the unlikely case that none are coming to mind, see here, here, here, and here). One headline from a story published in KevinMD proclaimed, “Why EMR is a dirty word to many doctors.” Read the rest of this entry »
Last year’s deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis, caused by tainted steroid injections to the spine given to patients for back pain, raised many questions for the healthcare industry: What is the proper regulatory environment for the type of compounding pharmacy that produced the tainted drug? What long-term safeguards should be put in place to prevent this type of disaster in the future?
The outbreak, which killed more than 40 people and infected hundreds more, also raised scary questions for patients who had received spine injections: Did I receive the tainted drug? Is this headache just a headache, or a precursor to something worse? Read the rest of this entry »
You’ve just dug into the New Year and all of 2013’s promise. But what’s foremost on the mind of every HIM marching toward Meaningful Use? The 2014 deadline. Less than 12 months to go. Will your facility be ready to join the ranks of 100,000+ health care providers that have successfully implemented EHRs and achieved Meaningful Use?
What’s that saying – no rest for the weary. Sure, you’ve put on your cape and artfully created solutions to problems implicit in transitioning to the EHR – determining eligibility criteria, mapping new software or upgrades, configuring hardware, navigating dueling deadlines for multiple high-priority projects, wrangling money out of the budget, assigning staff and project managers, re-assigning workflows, coping with interface and interoperability snags, and managing staff resistance to change. Whew! Read the rest of this entry »
Hurricane Sandy left 8 million people without electricity, and as the disaster unfolded it quickly became apparent that some hospitals throughout the affected area were ready for the power outages, while others were not. As Joseph Conn wrote on IT Everything, “when facing disaster, be sure to keep a couple of reams of paper and a few old folks on hand.”
During disasters – natural or otherwise – hospitals and medical facilities are exposed, and clinical documentation systems are tested. Power outages, flooding, fires, earthquakes. All have the potential to rob a hospital of its access to clinical documentation programs just as they need them most to care for victims. Even for those hospitals backed up by generators, it as clear in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that generator failure can be a disaster on its own. Read the rest of this entry »
Ok, so maybe you are actually going through an EHR implementation and have ceased to find obscure EHR usability puns amusing.
Either way, just in time for the holidays, the ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology) has released the final test method for the 2014 edition of the electronic health records meaningful use certification program. Read the rest of this entry »