Saturday, October 29, 2011
Modern day healthcare depends on the input from various sources to be effective and profitable. One such aspect that plays a vital role in healthcare is health information management. Health information management is the practice of maintenance and care of health records. Health information professional have been described to play a critical role in the delivery of healthcare. They focus on collection, maintenance and the use of quality healthcare data to support the information intensive and information reliant healthcare system. One important aspect of health information management is medical transcription, which is the process of documenting the patient-healthcare professional encounter. Medical transcription is a specialized process requiring the optimum combination of people skills, processes and technology. Outsourcing medical transcription ensures that patient records are created in a professional manner making the process efficient, effective and economical. Patient records need to fit a certain criteria to be useful in the healthcare process. The service provider needs to be evaluated based on the criteria used to evaluate data characteristics: * Accuracy: Medical records of patients are vital to the process of healthcare. They provide continuity, basis for planning future care, assist in case of litigation and can be used for education and research. Therefore the accuracy of the data captured should be as close to 100% as possible. * Accessibility: To provide quality healthcare it is important that information is easily accessible. It not only helps healthcare professionals and support staff provide quality care but also organize their time better. Outsourcing can help in this aspect by providing archiving facilities, which make it easier to trace file. * Comprehensive: Patient records need to encompass all the details of the patient's medical history. This aids healthcare professionals in making the right treatment plan. The service provider needs to ensure that all the details are comprehensively captured during the transcription process. * Consistency: Healthcare is a complex field and it is important that the value of the data should be reliable and standard across various applications. This is the responsibility of the transcriptionists who actually transcribe the records. It is important that their training program encompasses all the details of the specialty they are transcribing for. * Currency: The patient records should reflect current data. Creating timely records is an important duty of the service provider. * Definition: This means that the data should be clearly defined with no room for misunderstanding. This requires the transcription team to have in-depth knowledge of medical terms and definitions. * Granularity: This means the attributes and value of data should be defined at the correct level of detail. * Precision: The details in the medical record, documenting the essentials so that no details are missed but unnecessary data is not included. * Relevancy: The data captured in the medical records should be relevant. * Timeliness: The medical records need to be created with all the above given attributes within a reasonable time frame. The optimum turnaround time would aid both quality healthcare and quicker reimbursements.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
It is important to get unbiased information on women health issues and also learn about the latest breakthroughs in alternative medicine, fitness or nutrition. This wealth of national women health information is available from several websites which deal with national women health. It is interesting to know that a lot of the latest information can be got from the National women health Information Center, along with some motivational guidance to help women achieve their health goals. Sometimes there are weekly newsletters which provide the health information. There are also health and wellness newsletters which discuss topics like alternative medicine and show how such alternative solutions can be good for the mind, body and soul. Very often women believe in myths regarding some form of alternative medicine and by getting the national women health information, many of the facts are cleared. One can also go to some websites where more information is available on a specific subject. The information provided in most of the newsletters is given by experts like doctors and psychologists, and can be helpful to all readers. Fat Loss and Cholesterol Let us look at some of the common topics regarding the health information. Fat loss and cholesterol reduction is a common subject and women want to know about new techniques in doing it. Otherwise there is a trend of using natural supplements and herbs against disease and for good health. Women do the shopping and the cooking in a household, so they must keep themselves informed about the nutritional values of natural supplements, so that they can integrate them in the daily diet of the family. Fast Food and Beverages All that is harmful is also discussed on the forum of the National women health Information Center. The harm that is caused by fast food and beverages, or some prescription drugs is reiterated, so that they can be avoided. A clinical psychologist is often available to give advice to women regarding aging process, menopause or arthritis. A lot of national women health information is also available from books, and they are recommended on several websites of the centers related to national women health. It is important for every woman to inform herself about the nutrition that she needs and what she should avoid. Life moves at a hectic pace and often nutritious eating and regular physical activity takes a back seat. But take some time and read the health information available, it will make you want to lead a healthy life and inculcate healthy habits. Because after all, these healthy habits will lower your risk for diseases like diabetes, asthma, heart diseases and even cancer.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
How to Become a Health Information Manager: A Quick Guide to Help Practice the Career of Your Dreams
Does the idea of pursuing a career as a Health Information Manager intrigue you? Well, then you're in for a treat. Here's a quick guide that will assist you and provide you with all the information you need to know about this career. Educational pre-requisites In order to pursue this career, you must take classes in math, health, biology, chemistry and computers during your high school. After completing high school, you must enroll in a two-year associate's degree program in a health information technology school. There, your main emphasis of studies will be on medical vocabulary, data analysis and database management, anatomy, physiology, coding and classification, and methods of reimbursement. Aside from this, you must also pass an exam made by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) in order to certify as a Registered Health Information Manager. Such credentials will not only be appealing to your potential employers, but also have a positive impact on your remuneration package. Skills Required Training alone is not enough for you to become an efficient professional. You must have the basic skills required for the job as well. Some of the key skills required for this job include: * Effective decision making * Flexibility * Tactfulness and diplomacy * Strong leadership skills * Excellent communication skills Responsibilities Some of the primary responsibilities which you will be required to carry out include: * Designing and managing information systems in the healthcare system * Directing the Health Information and department * Collecting and safekeeping patients' personal data * Undertaking compliance responsibility * Checking into patients' medical history for any treatment that they might have received or different tests that they might have undergone * Using and updating computerized healthcare information management systems such as EHR * Recording different disease patterns, their treatment and outcome * Translating different services and treatments into proper standardized codes to assist in the billing process * Coordinating medical and pharmacology research Career Outlook Employment as a Health Information Manager is expected to grow faster as compared to any other medical fields. The main reason behind this is decrease in old people's mortality rate, which directly leads to an expansion in the healthcare industry. Moreover, this field also offers a lot of exciting and lucrative benefits. Some of these include: * Employment prospects in a fast growing field * Specializing in computing and health services management * Working in the computer industry or health industry * Working in the public or private sectors * An average income of at least $40,000 annually
Friday, October 21, 2011
The knowledge gained through a degree program in health information technology directly applies to career work as a technician. Students learn the entire industry through coursework that breaks down each area of the field. Degree programs can be entered through many colleges that are dedicated to training highly proficient students. Courses teach the main objectives of career work, which is ultimately the management of health records. This can include medical history, billing information, medical information, and more. Helping to increase productivity and minimize error inside the workplace is one educational focus. Students learn how to prevent errors and reduce the cost of health care by working to secure documents and handle them correctly. Schooling follows a comprehensive curriculum that covers how to process, manage, gather, and report all relevant and needed medical information into a specific format. Students can work through courses in an associate's or a bachelor's degree program. Each level is designed to prepare students for work related duties. Courses usually teach students everything from terminology to coding. Within a degree program students can expect courses to be focused on teaching general knowledge and focused skills. Courses can include the following: *Medical Terminology This type of course looks at medical terms in regards to their prefixes, suffixes, and word roots. Students learn how to analyze and reconstruct terms in order to properly use them. Spelling, definition, and pronunciation are focused on. Areas of study include operative, therapeutic, and diagnostic meanings for surgery and body system terminology. *Healthcare Systems Students learn about the different areas of the health care field. Courses typically center on the financing, regulation, distribution, and organization of all health care systems. Students learn how to do their job in regards to career parameters. This can include learning about software applications and how to work with the implementation of new systems. *Coding A coding course looks at medical documentation formats and how to use them proficiently. Through learning about work guidelines students will know how to assign different codes for different medical charts and billing procedures. *Reimbursement Students work to compare health care providers to understand the payment cycle according to regulation standards. The goal is to teach students how to navigate through any abuse or fraud. Skills are taught by learning about computerized encoding and software. Other courses involve subjects on statistics and legal applications. Students can expect to complete an all-inclusive education when they enter a program. The general requirement for work is an associate's degree. Entry-level technician jobs are available to students that hold an associate's degree. Completing a bachelor's degree prepares students to enter the field as managers. Additional coursework may include information management, health insurance information, and medicine. Graduate study can be entered at the master's degree level from some colleges. Students that desire to enter upper-level management to oversee all areas of health information gain a master's degree.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Mental health illnesses are one of the growing problems in the world. It affects a good number of the population. As the world gets more advanced technology and as people experience a more complicated lifestyle, the number of people suffering from these conditions increases. If you are wondering what are a few of the causes to the problem, below is some mental health information you must know. Genetics The genes of a person play an integral part on the mental capacity of that person. Experts say that the person's family lineage can have a major impact in the ability of the person to handle problems and imbalances in life. Mostly, those people whose family members suffer from a illness will have higher risks of acquiring the condition compared to those people with no known predisposition. Environment Environment play its part in the contribution of the person's manifestation of mental illnesses. Although genes play a significant role, the environment nurtures the genetic abnormality. Even if you are born with the tendency to suffer from mental break down, your surroundings can help you prevent it. One example: proper nurturing, love and affection can combat an unhealthy mental condition. With the right emotional nourishment, you can reduce greatly the likelihood of the illness. Many experts point to the significance of the parents in rearing the right attitude in preventing the manifestation of the condition. In conclusion as we come to the end of our mental health information overview and what could potential contribute to them; we mentioned the interaction of the genes and the environment. Although your genes are innate, you can modify your future by having supportive parents, family and friends.
Monday, October 17, 2011
The present article attempts at presenting you how various tools and technologies are used to create and manage health information systems. The list of such instruments and procedures include: * Web technology standards; * GIS technologies; * artificial intelligent techniques; * imaging technologies; 1. Web technology standards Working with such an amount of information, a health information system has to resort to the best software and web technological platforms. The data exchange process only provides a static health information from health information systems, disseminating it straightforwardly. A convenient platform through which the information can be pre-designed, validated and captured as an easily accessible multimedia document is offered by the Internet and the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). This platform uses as the main method for data collection the one that implies an automated and direct data input at the source. This way, data's timeliness, integrity and validity is improved. Using pre-designed documents to input information allows the completed documents to be warehoused either centrally or via on/line distributed network technology. The information which is directly input can be thus converted into easily readable and appealing user-oriented information. 2. GIS techonologies GIS (geographical information system) represents a solid tool used to collect, record, store, manipulate and display spatial data sets. An example of such spatial data is given by digitized maps that are three dimensional and which can also comprise a combination of text, icons, symbols and graphics. An instance of using GIS technologies in health information system is when a certain epidemic has to be digitally mapped. This way, specific populations groups can be effectively targeted for healthcare interventions. 3. Artificial intelligent techniques When speaking of the matters at a clinical level, artificial intelligence techniques are developed to provide clinical decision support to physicians. Along with these techniques, there are also used applications based on neural network (NN) and intricate logic techniques. In other words, the main purpose for which physicians and other medical experts resort to artificial intelligent techniques in healthcare domain is to obtain assistance in diagnosis and treatment. 4. Imaging technologies Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) have been contrived in order to ensure storage of medical information. By means of such systems there was intended to address some of the issues related to accessibility and e/networking requirements for the exchange of medical imaging data. Therefore, PACS are consequently accomplishing the task of storing massive digital images and of supporting simultaneous access to digital imaging data from various connected systems, networks and terminals.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Each century is observing and inheriting new technology in health care information as and when it gets invaded and put into use. Health informatics has become popular by creating a connection between three different elements. Patient, health professional and information store are bound together to be revisited in future whenever the need arises. The word is a combination of two different concepts- health and information technology. Creating a link between two has become significant and vital in current era. The health information of the individual is stored using IT devices so that it can be retrieved at a later date when required. One of the important factors is analysis, evaluation and customization of health information system that strengthens the medical expert-patient relationship. This follows from the fact to make use of guidelines and ethics needed in medical field. A foolproof system of privacy and confidence needs to be developed and implemented. Thus, it is the mere exchange of health information in a systematic manner through the process of a set of medical standards such as HL7. HL7 is a health care IT standard which every vendor has to follow globally for interoperability. The main objective is to achieve the most apt and suitable health care deliverance and execution system. For the purpose, the health professionals need to be trained in the usage and applicability of most advanced IT features and functions. This may require gaining much of practical knowledge, experience and funding. At the same time, proper and prudent medical and clinical decision support system is a major requirement. M-health and e-health are equivalently needed to achieve the goals of this discipline. Health informatics is gaining status with increasing use of information technology and communication in health care. This promotes and allows a long-lasting and ever-growing bond between the patient and specialist. Confidence- building and privacy should be maintained as much as possible.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The present material will identify and present some of the most important emerging trends in health information systems. Consequently, the text will discuss about Web services and semantic Web, Web 2.0, and HealthGrid. The web services and semantic web encompass the software components or applications that interact when using XML and Internet technologies. Their major function is to express information and application logic and to transport information as messages. With a platform-neutral interfacing and communication mechanism and a wide infrastructure support in terms of servers and development environments, Web services offer the benefits of loose coupling, ease of integration and of accessibility. In the last decades, Web services technology has evolved towards the development of a set of standards for publishing, discovering and composing independent services in an open network. Two principle approaches can be applied to Web services: the procedural approach and the document-oriented one. The former lays emphasis on bottom-up applications. The latter, on the other hand, resorts to top-down business exchanges, trying to describe in detail the elements of the respective exchange. The semantic Web is an extension of the World Wide Web, offering a united approach to knowledge management and information processing. It resorts to standards in order to render machine-interpretable information. The interaction between computer and the human factor is maximized by means of semantic Web technology because it gives the contents well-defined meanings. A second emerging trend in health information systems is to use Web 2.0 technologies, which refer to applications and services that are web-oriented and which use the Internet as a working platform. The distinct feature of this type of technology resides in the fact that the Internet is used with its unique characteristics and relying on its strengths, without trying to adapt the Internet to a particular application. Within Health 2.0 are incorporated concepts such as telemedicine, electronic medical records and the use of the Internet by patients themselves. Message boards, blogs and other more advanced systems are forms of communication used in the Web 2.0 technology. The use of HealthGrid emerged as another important trend in health information systems. HealthGrid represents a virtual environment in which medical data is stored and made accessible to various participants in the healthcare systems such as physicians, healthcare centers, allied professions, administrators and patients. Medical, health and clinical records maintained by disparate hospitals, drug companies and health organizations can be gathered and shared through HealthGrid. Among the benefits ensured by this software platform one can enumerate: - real-time and remote access to large amount of medical and clinical data, irrespective of the original healthcare setting from which they were acquired; - complete history of patients no matter where the care was provided; - real-time monitoring of trial results and research outcomes.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
The present material will identify and present some of the most important emerging trends in health information systems. Consequently, the text will discuss about Web services and semantic Web, Web 2.0, and HealthGrid. The web services and semantic web encompass the software components or applications that interact when using XML and Internet technologies. Their major function is to express information and application logic and to transport information as messages. With a platform-neutral interfacing and communication mechanism and a wide infrastructure support in terms of servers and development environments, Web services offer the benefits of loose coupling, ease of integration and of accessibility. In the last decades, Web services technology has evolved towards the development of a set of standards for publishing, discovering and composing independent services in an open network. Two principle approaches can be applied to Web services: the procedural approach and the document-oriented one. The former lays emphasis on bottom-up applications. The latter, on the other hand, resorts to top-down business exchanges, trying to describe in detail the elements of the respective exchange. The semantic Web is an extension of the World Wide Web, offering a united approach to knowledge management and information processing. It resorts to standards in order to render machine-interpretable information. The interaction between computer and the human factor is maximized by means of semantic Web technology because it gives the contents well-defined meanings. A second emerging trend in health information systems is to use Web 2.0 technologies, which refer to applications and services that are web-oriented and which use the Internet as a working platform. The distinct feature of this type of technology resides in the fact that the Internet is used with its unique characteristics and relying on its strengths, without trying to adapt the Internet to a particular application. Within Health 2.0 are incorporated concepts such as telemedicine, electronic medical records and the use of the Internet by patients themselves. Message boards, blogs and other more advanced systems are forms of communication used in the Web 2.0 technology. The use of HealthGrid emerged as another important trend in health information systems. HealthGrid represents a virtual environment in which medical data is stored and made accessible to various participants in the healthcare systems such as physicians, healthcare centers, allied professions, administrators and patients. Medical, health and clinical records maintained by disparate hospitals, drug companies and health organizations can be gathered and shared through HealthGrid. Among the benefits ensured by this software platform one can enumerate: - real-time and remote access to large amount of medical and clinical data, irrespective of the original healthcare setting from which they were acquired; - complete history of patients no matter where the care was provided; - real-time monitoring of trial results and research outcomes. These are only three of the trends emerging within health information systems. Others would be Voice over IP, evidence-based health informatics, and using e-health models and services.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
There is a huge demand for health information technology specialists. These professionals are responsible for maintaining, designing and operating the technology that keeps the healthcare industry running. The career outlook for clinical coders, patient information specialists, data analysts and clinical coders is strong. Technicians are employed in hospitals, clinics and private practices, mental health facilities, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, vendor companies, government agencies and education. As the use of technology in the healthcare industry continues to increase the number of career opportunities for professional technicians will continue to grow as well. Patient care is becoming more complex. This is resulting in an increase in medical records that need to be maintained for each patient, and in turn, creating a need for more health information technicians to manage patient records. The benefits of using modern technology in the healthcare industry include less paperwork, higher productivity as well as fewer mistakes in patient record keeping. An associate degree in health information technology will prepare students for positions as healthcare applications developers, health information technicians, medical secretaries and clinical laboratory technicians as well as consultants and sales and marketing support positions. Many graduates seek positions in hospitals or clinical settings, although many choose to enter the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Degree programs encompass learning in technology, administration and medical areas. Graduates will be skilled in many areas of computer science including database management, trouble shooting, technical support and computer networking. They will also be knowledgeable in hospital regulations, insurance and billing procedures, medical ethics, patient privacy and record processing. Additional courses in medical areas will include medical terminology, biology, anatomy and physiology. Applications developers create software to efficiently collect patient data, and streamline data processing. The shift to digital records and wireless communications in the medical field is creating a need for skilled professionals to help with this transition. Automated alert and reminder systems as well as digital protocol and safety systems are also among the applications that technicians design and maintain. Their work allows those responsible for patient care to do be more effective in their work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for health information technologists will increase at a faster than normal rate through 2014, and maybe longer. Jobs for clinical laboratory technicians will be the fastest growing segment. The demand for medical secretaries will be the slowest growing; however, there will still be a number of jobs for these professionals.
Monday, October 3, 2011
In February of 2009, President Obama signed into law a landmark healthcare reform bill, and included within it is the Health Information Technology For Economic and Clinical Health Act. This portion of the healthcare reform bill will require that all healthcare providers switch over to electronic medical records, or EMR, by 2016. Like most of the controversial reform, it has drawn considerable criticism from politicians, insurance companies, and medical professionals over the intervening years. What it Requires The Health Information Technology For Economic and Clinical Health Act, despite all of its legalese, is quite simple to understand. At its heart, the sponsors of the healthcare reform simply wish for all healthcare providers to convert their current paper medical records files into digital electronic medical records so that they can be quickly shared with professionals that regularly require to see a patient's files. Having every patient's medical records in a shared electronic format would provide the basis for quicker diagnoses based on their medical history, quicker treatment, and reduce the chances of error that can occur when trying to decipher a faxed copy of a paper record. It would also allow insurance companies easier access to their client's medical records, with limitations. If done properly, all confidential information would stay confidential, and only released to those with the proper access. But, like all new ideas, change encourages fear and feuding political parties have fed that fear, to the point that many hospitals and doctors in private practices have been dragging their heels about converting their records over to the new digital format. Reasons Against Converting The primary fear shared by medical professionals and their patients is that their private medical information will no longer stay private under the digital format. In the days of hackers freely running rampant throughout corporation computers and selling private information this may have been true, but in the 21st century, security screens have successfully kept hacking to a minimum, nationally. The last few reported cases of company-wide identity theft occurred because thieves physically stole hard drives, not because they hacked in and stole individual files. The Right to Privacy Act, instituted years ago, does protect individuals from having their medical records published, and any violations involving digital records would be covered under that Act. The patients have a right to question the security of their files, and if their caregivers have taken the correct measures to secure their files, they will be secure. They are only meant to be transmitted to recognized physicians, and even the access of insurance companies will be limited. The second biggest reason physicians and hospitals give against converting medical records over to an electronic format is the manpower and time needed to do so. Regardless of monetary incentives provided under the Act for both Medicare and Medicaid participating organizations and doctors, the claim is that it would be too expensive to bring their computers up-to-date to handle the digital conversion, and to pay someone to covert all of their files to the new format. The Benefits of Conversion With the traditional paper system, individual patient records can be very time consuming to compile and update, and just as hard to track down when needed. With electronic medical records, all that information will take only seconds to locate, and could mean the difference between life and death if the patient is receiving care somewhere other than their home hospital, or even within it. Copying and faxing paper copies could lead to a misinterpretation of what is written within them, especially if the printed quality is below standard. With electronic medical records, everything that the physician needs is right there on the screen, clear and easy to read. This format should cut down on the hazards of medical errors, like giving the wrong prescription, administering the wrong dosage, or inadvertently using a drug that the patient is allergic to. The patient's entire medical history is available, and should make treatment faster and more efficient. The Health Information Technology For Economic and Clinical Health Act aims to improve the quality of care, without compromising their privacy.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
The stringent HIPAA security compliance norms, make it mandatory for the all the entities like hospitals, insurance providers, payers, billing services, insurance plans and medical personnel to strictly adhere to the laws relating to the safe transfer and storage of confidential patient health information. To achieve HIPAA security compliance it is necessary to implement few steps that have been categorized below: Establish Physical Safeguards: Computer networks play a crucial role in processing, storage and exchange of health records of patients between different health care entities. The physical access to crucial information can be safely managed by following these steps: * Creating and implementing a policy that authorizes only limited and trusted people to access the confidential patient health data. * Installing workstations and computers in safe areas of the facility and should be accessed by authorized personnel. Devices like computers, fax, printers and copiers should be placed in such a manner so that un authorized people cannot view patient health data. * All the computer programs should be protected by passwords and user ids to prevent, unauthorized access. The passwords should be securely managed so that unauthorised people cannot access them. * A security system should be in place so that it manages passwords efficiently and guarantees the safety of the patient health information whenever the staff members change positions or somebody leaves the organization. * All the storage devices, backup tapes and computer equipments should be accounted for and a proper log book should be maintained. * All paper documents that contain patient health information information, but not needed in the office should be shredded so that no body else can lay their hands on them. Enhance Computer Network Security It is necessary to maintain a proper record of the hardware and software installed in the facility, and understand their role in processing the patient health information, safely. Risk analysis should be done by creating a flow diagram of the work process so that loopholes in the system can be identified and removed. The computer network should be protected from virus attack or hacking by adopting some security measures mentioned below: * Install appropriate gateway security, which has has capacity to deeply inspect the web content and filter out unwanted elements like a debilitating software and virus. * Anti virus solutions, digital signatures, firewalls should be in place to negate any online threat. * Proper encryption procedure should be followed, while sending out crucial health data from the organization network to the public network. The information should be strongly encrypted to protect it from unauthorized access or intercept. * The security system should continuously monitor the network for any suspicious activity and alert the administration about unwanted deviation from the standard procedure, by raising an alarm. Educate Staff on HIPAA Security Compliance A well trained staff is the backbone of the successful organization. It is of utmost importance for an organization to increase the awareness about the importance of safe handling of patient health information. It protects the healthcare facility from lawsuits due to noncompliance of HIPAA norms by an employee or employees. The organization should: * Provide staff access to HIPAA compliant training courses and seminars to increase their knowledge about HIPAA norms. * Provide training in password management and virus protection. * Train on how to efficiently maintain logs and audits. * Carry out periodic review of workers' status of HIPAA security compliance training and update regularly them regularly on latest developments to hone their skills in managing safely, the patient health information. * Provide training on managing the backup system as per contingency plan, in case of natural or manmade disaster with the aim to protect the health data and keep crucial operations, running. Hence for an organization to achieve the requisite HIPAA security compliance, it is necessary to integrate smoothly the software, hardware and personnel so all of them work in a cohesive manner, ably guided by an administration that continuously monitors, provides feedback and places safeguards to ensure secure handling of the crucial health information of the patient.