Looking Back, and Giving Back, at HIMSS 2017

Posted on behalf of Christine Duval, Marketing Coordinator

Coming from a completely different industry before beginning my career at Summit Healthcare a little over six months ago, I had never been to, or even heard of the HIMSS Conference before. I had to google what it stood for, and what it was! –

HIMSS, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, is a cause-based non-profit which provides thought leadership, community building, professional development, public policy, and events. HIMSS North America represents 64,000 individual members, 640 corporate members, and over 450 non-profit organizations.  Thousands of volunteers work with HIMSS to improve the quality, cost-effectiveness, access, and value of healthcare through IT.

The HIMSS conference brings together over 40,000 health IT professionals, clinicians, executives and vendors from around the world. Educational sessions, world-class speakers, cutting-edge health IT products and powerful networking are hallmarks of this industry-leading conference.

Learning about, planning for, and coordinating the logistics of the HIMSS 2017 annual conference quickly consumed much of my time, and I couldn’t wait to finally get to Orlando to see the culmination of all my hard work, and witness firsthand what all the hype was about. One of the best pieces of advice I received from a colleague who had been numerous times – bring comfortable shoes!

The HIMSS Conference has gotten so large that there are only a few conference centers in the country that are actually big enough to hold it. This year it was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Florida – which was great because it offered me a nice little getaway from the cold, snowy, Boston winter. With over 50,000 people in attendance, I admit it was a little overwhelming at first! Walking for what felt like a mile (and probably was) through the conference hall and the exhibitor floor, I was surrounded by thousands of other healthcare professionals like myself, thought leaders, industry experts, and the largest corporations in the industry.

With so many people in attendance, it provided great opportunities for Summit Healthcare. We were able to reconnect with countless customers and business partners, and in my case, finally put some faces to their names! With every interested party that came to the booth, we spread a little more knowledge about Summit Healthcare; who we are, what we do, and showcase some of our hot new products (Summit Exchange and Provider Alert).

Although Summit Healthcare is known for our integration and automation technologies, many don’t realize the various ways we strive to give back our communities. This year, we gave out a plethora of informational handouts, popcorn, pens, thumb drives, etc. but we also offered a different kind incentive to visit our booth this year. We committed to making a $5 donation for everyone who stopped by our booth wearing a Summit Healthcare branded bracelet that we had sent out prior to the conference.

The charity of choice this year was the Wounded Warrior Project. The Wounded Warrior Project supports and empowers over 99,000 service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound, co-incident to their military service on or after September 11, 2001. The organization provides free programs and services to address the needs of wounded veterans and fill gaps in government care. They offer a variety of programs and services including mental health and wellness, physical health and wellness, career and benefits counseling, and support for the most severely injured.

Summit Healthcare’s commitment to all healthcare organizations, ranging from the hospital, to the physician clinic, and the healthcare industry in general is to provide an ever evolving, easy to use, line of products and services to help bring their systems together.  Our integration technology enables our clients to maximize their investment in their applications, and significantly increase productivity throughout their healthcare enterprise. The end goal of everything we do as a company, is to enable better patient care. It is an honor to be able to directly give back to such an amazing organization with a similar goal.

HIMSS booth low res

For more about Summit Healthcare: http://www.summit-healthcare.com/

For more about Wounded Warrior Project: https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

For more about HIMSS: http://www.himss.org/

 

Posted in Business Continuity, Healthcare Systems Integration, Interoperability, MEDITECH, Workflow Automation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Growing Need for Notifications

Posted on behalf of Katie Jankowski, Software Engineer 

I’m sure we’ve all heard Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “Time is Money”, but have you ever really thought of what that means?

In today’s healthcare industry, time is of the essence. Notifications are a hot topic within EHR systems and healthcare software, especially as it relates to interoperability. Whether it be notifications to a patient that their appointment has been confirmed or to the IT director that their interface engine is down, both of these are essential to receive, and in a timely fashion.

Often times we receive information when it’s too late – being REACTIVE instead of being PROACTIVE. But, what if we could relieve ourselves of this burden using notifications?

  • A patient demographic interface hasn’t received any messages in an hour. Boom. An email alert is sent out to the IT staff informing them of this, and the staff logs into the server and resolves the issue. Thankfully this was noticed right away, avoiding vendors missing patient data for an entire day or even longer.
  • A patient comes into the office complaining about knee pain and has an MRI. The MRI results are finalized the following day and the patient needs surgery. Boom. An email notification is sent out to the patient and doctor stating that the results are ready. Now the surgery date can be scheduled, as opposed to the patient reaching out to the doctor’s office each day inquiring about results being ready.
  • A doctor discharges one of his/her patients but the patient returns to the hospital the following day. Boom. An email notification is sent to the doctor that one of their patients has a recurring hospital visit. The doctor can be updated immediately about the patient’s status, and expect a CCD in his/her direct email inbox upon patient discharge.

  • A hospital’s downtime system runs report-generating scripts every hour, but the scripts haven’t been running because of a change in the EHR system that wasn’t accounted for. Boom. An email notification is sent out to the IT staff stating that there is an error with the scripts. If there is any type of system downtime, the availability of these reports will now be ensured for the hospital staff as opposed to realizing the reports were missing after the system is already down.

In the healthcare setting, real-time information is necessary and expected. Time isn’t something that can be wasted when patient care is involved.

Therefore, notifications are becoming essential to achieving great patient care. This is the beauty of healthcare innovation today, patients can be treated quicker if the results of testing are known quicker. Issues can be resolved quicker when staff is notified about the issue quicker.

These notifications can come in many forms, more commonly an email notification, but text message notifications along with many other avenues are also being explored throughout the industry.

Summit Healthcare understands how important notifications are as well. This is why we have included alerting and email notifications within our products. We understand that time really is money and that, if possible, knowing about an impending issue is better than knowing about a prevailing issue.

As a healthcare software company, Summit Healthcare also understands that not all hospitals are alike. Customers are able to customize their notification settings based on many different parameters, and these notifications can be configured to send to multiple recipients.

For more information on alerting and notifications within Summit products, please visit our website at http://www.summit-healthcare.com/.

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Should the Fax Machine Disappear from the Healthcare Market?

Posted on behalf of Kendra Nalbandian, Regional Sales Manager

The use of a fax machine in the healthcare market goes back a number of years and has been relied on heavily as a means to communicate by physicians. Physicians have utilized the fax machine to communicate with patients, pharmacists, colleagues and a number of other entities. But today’s statistics compared to years ago are different, right? Surprisingly 15 billion faxes are still sent by US physicians every year. This startling statement is concerning as there are a number of risks associated with paper based faxing.

Do you want your protected health information transmitted via fax? The most likely answer to this question is no. Sending Patient Health Information (PHI) via paper based faxing presents substantial risks for both patients and physicians. There are many cases in which a fax machine is not located in a secure area or a simple mistake of entering the wrong number could send sensitive data to an unknown location. There are quite a few scenarios which can add up to a breach of private information or even costly legal fees associated with a security breach or HIPPA violation. In addition to the possibilities of risks paper based faxing can present, it is also a costly and time consuming endeavor.

Can time and money be saved by eliminating the fax machine? There are most definitely cost savings associated with eliminating the fax machine as well as a large amount of time saved on employee tasks. Often medical records staff are tasked with the duty of answering numerous phone calls daily pertaining to faxes as well as shuffling faxed documents. If faxing was to be eliminated from the workflow process and an electronic method put into place the benefits would be numerous. An integrated electronic method of communication provides the ability to control where information is sent, who is accessing the information while letting medical staff use time saved to attend to other priorities. There are a number of solutions in the market place that can lend to the elimination of the fax machine. Summit Healthcare, a leader in the integration and automation technology space has developed a solution that answers the question…Do you want your protected health care information transmitted via fax? The answer is no and Summit Healthcare is working towards helping hospitals meet the needs of their patients.

Summit Healthcare’s solution Provider Alert can not only mitigate the risks associated with faxing it can improve the data flow between hospital systems and the provider community. It allows facilities to minimize the disconnect between care settings all while helping to attain standards set by Meaningful Use Stage 3 requirements. Summit Healthcare allows hospitals, long-term care facilities, physician practices etc. to communicate effectively across the continuum of care. Considering currently 86% of providers with an EMR send PHI by fax which cannot communicate with other platforms only supports the case to eliminate faxing and implement a solution like Provider Alert.

Learn more: http://www.summit-healthcare.com/products-healthcare-provider-alert.htm

*Sources:

 

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Common MEDITECH Keyboard Shortcuts In Automation Scripts

Posted on behalf of Ben Tessier, Technical Support Analyst/Education Specialist

In our support experience here at Summit, we are often queried on how to make things happen via keyboard.  Best practice with script automation is to avoid mouse-clicks and utilize the keyboard whenever possible.  By using this approach, you avoid issues with screen resolution which vary depending on a user’s preference.

While experienced scripters can navigate an automation tool, they often times are not familiar with MEDITECH or how to invoke action utilizing the keyboard, myself included.  Anybody can click a mouse but it takes a savvy user to streamline the experience utilizing the keyboard!  Whether it is navigating a screen, keying in some data, or simply hitting an enter key, the keyboard shortcuts below will make your scripts more dependable but also the writing process more efficient.  We all get by with a little help from our friends, in my case it was co-workers and investigation.

We’ve consolidated our experience into this blog to assist even the most experienced script writer.  We hope you enjoy the information and for more on scripts and script writing, please visit our Client Area.

Note:  This is not a full list of MEDITECH keyboard shortcuts rather a consolidated list of commonly used.  We find this site helpful:  Meditech Keyboard Shortcuts.   

*Listed alphabetically

**If CTRL, Shift, or Alt hotkeys don’t work try using the following to accomplish:

For example: desire key stroke is Shift Tab and it isn’t working, try +{TAB}.  For more on this topic, please visit this site: Send function keys

  • CTRL = ^
  • SHIFT = +
  • ALT = %

CTRL END then SHIFT – Bring focus to the end & highlight rows of text as you arrow up. Good for deletions.  E.g. {CTRL_END_SHIFT} Hotkeys not working E.g. {^_END_+}

DEL - Clear a field

F5 – Keystroke will “refresh” the MEDITECH screen (often will “wake up” the screen read in SST).  This can be very helpful while developing scripts in SST.  Often times the read is “interrupted” as a user builds & tests a script.  SST may not be reading the screen and by throwing an F5 key at the screen, the screen read can be “woken up”.

F6 – Navigate section to section.  E.g. focus in “Room” field, hit F6 key and focus moves to Status field (bypassing the Bed field).  This is helpful when simply tabbing out of a field auto-fills other fields.

ben blog 1

F8 (Client Server only) – Bounce among sections of the outer frame of the window.  In the 1st screenshot, notice the Admissions menu item is highlighted.

ben blog 2After hitting F8, the focus is moved to the outside menu on the right hand side. It will land on the top menu item located here (in this case Back).

ben blog 3

An additional F8 key stroke will place the focus on the bottom menu (in this case Subdivisions item)

ben blog 4

Some screens/objects will have a “hot” key available to invoke the logic.  E.g Esc to Cancel or H for History.  Any letter underlined is a MEDITECH hotkey.

ben blog 5

F10 (Magic only) – Wipe out a line

F11 (Magic) or Esc (Client Server) – Exits user from screen (does NOT file/save your work).  Example below shows a Name value of “Home”.

ben blog 6

After hitting the Esc key, a confirmation box to leave without saving may be received (see below).

ben blog 7

This shortcut key can be very handy when developing a script and you want to ensure the process is working without committing the data.

F12 – Files and saves any data entered into the HCIS screen.

Shift End - Brings user to the end of a field.  It will also sometimes highlight a row (say for deletion)

 Shift Tab – Navigate to previous field

SHIFT UP or DOWN – In a block text style window, this keyboard shortcut can be used to highlight multiple rows.

Shift + - Open printer list.  E.g {Shift_+}

*If Shift hotkey doesn’t work try using {+} + to accomplish

SPACE – check or uncheck a checkbox field

Tab or Enter – Navigate to next Field

X = Closes Magic session

Time/Date shortcut keys

N – Date and or time

T Today (date only)

T+ # – Current date plus x number of days in future E.g.  Date is 2/8/2017.  Key in T10.  Date set to 2/18/2017

T-# - Current date minus x number of days in the past. E.g.  Current date minus x number of days in future E.g.  Date is 2/8/2017.  Key in T10.  Date set to 2/18/2017

 

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A Good Reason to be in Cleveland in the Winter

Posted on behalf of Javier Navarro, Software Engineer

There are different reasons to be in Cleveland for the winter. For instance, you can watch a Cavaliers or Browns game.  However, if you are part of the IT Healthcare world, the can’t miss event occurs every January. On January 23rd, I attended the IHE North America Connectathon as part of the Summit Healthcare team. This is Summit Healthcare’s third year of participation showcasing Summit Exchange.   It has been a unique experience to meet companies from all around the world in a cooperative effort to make security and healthcare protocols work. There is an increasing need for compliance in healthcare as 99.99% of the standards are defined. The remaining 0.01% changes from vendor to vendor and this is what makes integration really complex. Rather than finding issues in a hospital environment, the connectathon allows testing against many different vendors in real world scenarios.    The good news for Summit is that after one week of hard work, Summit Exchange has successfully passed all of the profiles that we intended to test. This is a total of 87 tests against 19 different vendors.

I have personally learned a lot by attending this event. For instance, I have learned in-depth about TLS secure communication and about different vendor perspectives regarding FHIR adoption. More importantly though, I have acquired the knowledge about what things can make other systems fail when establishing a bidirectional communication according to the IHE standards. I am pretty sure that this knowledge is going to be useful for Summit and our software in the future. I am very much looking forward to attending next year and hope the Cavaliers win the game next time.   This makes the Connectathon week a 100% success!

To learn more about Summit Exchange, or any other Summit Healthcare products, visit www.summit-healthcare.com

 

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The Importance of a Strong Compendium

Posted on behalf of Jeff Ford, Regional Manager, Client Support Organization

When looking to integrate your HCIS with a new vendor, one of the first steps you’ll want to take is to build a strong compendium.  When trying to communicate with a downstream system, like a LAB or RAD vendor, a thorough, detailed compendium will help ensure an easier implementation as well as create a support structure that will save you time and energy in the long run.  The success of your integration project can be greatly improved by creating and completing this as early in the process as possible.

So what is a compendium?  In the world of healthcare integration, a compendium is a database that compares your HCIS values to your vendor’s values for the same items and allows the two systems to communicate more easily.  Working with a radiology example, let’s say your new vendor wants to send an order for a Thoracic Spine X-Ray.  The mnemonic for this in your HCIS is TS, while in their system it is TSXR.  Or maybe they have multiple tests for this, TS1, TS2 and TS3 all of which are referred to in your system as TS.  In these cases, your compendium will tell the vendor to send over TS instead of TSXR, allowing it to successfully cross into your HCIS without any outside intervention.  When the result is sent back, it will automatically match back to the TSXR on their end.

Creating a compendium can take a good amount of time from your project team.  It’s recommended to allot for this soon after signing on for the new integration project and possibly even before official project kick-off.  Typically the vendor you’re working with will have a template for you to begin building from, including the fields they allow and utilize compendium values for.  Depending on the amount of time your staff can devote to building, I have seen this process take anywhere from two weeks to two months.  Getting out in front of this will prevent it from pushing back your project timeline.

There are many fields that can be included in a compendium and you’ll want to discuss with your vendor what is available.  At the very least, you’ll want your order codes/mnemonics to match between the two systems.  This is typically the largest part of the compendium and mapping manually through an interface engine can become a build and support nightmare.  Other fields I’ve regularly seen in a compendium include provider mnemonics, insurance companies, race values, payment types and order statuses.  It’s recommended that you take advantage of any field your vendor allows.

One final aspect that is helped by the compendium is the long-term support of your integration project.  As test mnemonics or providers are added, modified or removed from either system, a compendium gives you one place to update these.  This stops you from having to remember to update them in your HCIS, your vendor, and also in whatever tool you’ve chosen to use to map the two systems.  Limiting failure points is always key in integration projects, which by definition involve multiple moving parts.

Integration projects are a big undertaking, especially when going beyond admission data and transmitting orders and results.  Simplifying the steps between data transfer at every step should be a top priority.  The building of a strong compendium will have you well on your way to a successful integration project!

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Health Information Exchange – as an Entity and a Means of Communication (part 1 of 3)

Posted on behalf of Christel Fowkes, Regional Sales Manager

The term “Health Information Exchange” (HIE) continues to symbolize a critical means of communication in today’s complex healthcare environment.  In order to understand the necessary workflows, technologies and communication protocols to support HIEs, it is important to think about the Health Information Exchange (as a noun) and Health Information Exchange (as a verb).

The number of HIE’s (the noun) has expanded tremendously across the states but in order for these HIE’s to truly facilitate better patient care and clinical outcomes from a communication and collaborative perspective, there is a need for efficient and effective Health Information Exchange (the verb).

Although Electronic Health Record adoption has grown tremendously over the past few years, many providers continue to rely on paper, phone and fax to exchange patient information between and among organizations.  As primary care physicians are expected to do a better job of care coordination and collaboration, it’s important to understand the various protocols and standards for automating this health information exchange.

One of the ways to quickly, securely, and cost effectively transport health information electronically is via Direct Messaging.  Direct Messaging is an initiative promoted by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and was adopted as the key information exchange technology required to comply with Meaningful Use State 2, and soon to be Stage 3.  Direct Messaging uses proven secure standards that have been used by other industries for years and add some additional healthcare specific standards.

The below terms and definitions are important components, contributing to the Direct Messaging Architecture, as the health care community continues to enhance and perfect the way health care data is electronically exchanges.

Direct (also known as Direct Project; Direct Exchange; Direct Secure Messaging) – a national encryption standard for securely exchanging clinical health data via the Internet.  The standard specifies the secure, scalable and standards-based method for the exchange of PHI (Protected Health Information).

The Direct project specifications use SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) as the backbone protocol between HISPs ( Healthcare Information Service Provider).  Organizations join HISPs in order to locate a recipient’s Direct address, securely encrypt the information and ensure the information is delivered.  Think of a HISP as an Internet Service Provider.

STA – ( Security Trust Agent)  The encryption of patient data can be performed by the user’s software system or by the HISP.  The system performing the encryption is called the STA.

SMTP – Stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.

S/MIME (also known as secure MIME) – secure email standard used for the exchange of encrypted emails.

The benefits of Direct Secure Messaging are undeniable and numerous. It can replace obsolete, non-secure faxing, phone, mail, and other courier methods for delivering PHI. It helps reduce the cost for physician offices and hospital medical record departments, when sharing PHI amongst a patient’s care stakeholders.  In the process of leveraging simple, secure standards, it also supports providing structured data for importing into electronic health records (EHRs).

With all of these benefits, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the number of Healthcare Organizations (HCO) served through DirectTrusts’s HISPs increased 62% in Q3 2016, with the total number of HCOs operating under DirectTrust surpassed 69,000, and the number of Direct Messaging addresses have grown to over 1.3Million, averaging over 20Million data exchanges each quarter.

Has healthcare finally solved the Health Information Exchange puzzle? Or, can we still do better, faster, more seamless data exchange for patients, providers, and communities?

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Web Services 101 for Interface Engines

Posted on behalf of Marianne Soucy, Manager of Client Education Services 

What is a webservice?

  • A webservice is a way to, unattended, interact with a web based receiver of information.
    • It communicates from one machine to another, with the expectation that a user is not sitting at the screen supplying information (like a user would be with a regular website)
  • A webservice is a collection of open protocols that are designed to allow different technologies to interact and supply and receive information, ie to exchange data.

What terms do I need to know?

  • There are several common terms you should understand when discussing a web service
    • XML – a web service uses XML to tag data, in order to put all the needed data into a universal, commonly agreed upon format between the systems that are communicating. XML can tag each field of data to label it, making it a good choice to pass the data between systems.
    • SOAP – Simple Object Access Protocol – a protocol for sending and receiving messages between applications. Consider it something like wrapping a message in an envelope. It allows us to deliver the message via defined protocols.
      • Probably 80% or more of the interfaces we are seeing in Healthcare use SOAP transmission
    • JSON – JavaScript Object Notation – another open standard format that allows transmission of messages. Another form of “Envelope”.
      • Maybe 10% of what we are seeing in the field is JSON
    • WSDL – Web Service Description Language – a document that describes a web service (kind of like an HL7 spec) and tells you how to access and use its methods. This document gives you a blueprint on what the web service will need for you to interact with it.
    • FHIR – (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) another emerging technology we anticipate will change the above ratios Technically, FHIR is designed for the web; the resources are based on simple XML or JSON structures, with an http-based RESTful protocol where each resource has predictable URL.

What information will I need to know to set up a Web Service in Healthcare?

  • The URL of the webservice
    • The URL of the WSDL is also useful. Often, that can be found by taking the URL above and placing ?WSDL after the .asmx in the URL for example:
      • http://www.webservicex.com/globalweather.asmx = the URL you will send to
      • http://www.webservicex.com/globalweather.asmx?WSDL is often the WSDL that will give you the specifications of what the service is going to be looking for, what strings and parameters it is using, etc.
        • Not all Web Services will give you a WSDL, but it makes setting things up WAY easier!
      • Do I need a certificate
      • Do I need a username and password
      • What parameter(s) does this web service expect me to supply to them

LINK for a good explanation of this :

http://www.webreference.com/authoring/web_service/index.html

How do I check out a Webservice I want to set up?

We are going to use a simple example, showing how to get a Webservice to give us back the weather for a city and country.

  • First, we are going to test the URL to see if it is present and working.
    • Open Internet Explorer and plug in the URL of the Webservice like shown:
    • http://www.webservicex.com/globalweather.asmx
    • Click GetWeather and put in Madrid and Spain (this doesn’t work for all countries, please do use Madrid)
      • In theory, this is what we want our fake web service to do. We want to give it 2 parameters, and for it to give us back an answer
      • In an interface engine, we would be giving them something, like an HL7 message, or a patient ID and a test code result, and they would be giving us back an ACK, in real life terms.
    • Next, we are going to test the WSDL to see if it is present and working.
      • Open a new tab and type : http://www.webservicex.com/globalweather.asmx?WSDL
      • This should give you back a schema, a specification explaining what it needs and wants.
      • This tells me that the MethodName I need to pass will be GetWeather, and that it will expect TWO parameters, a CityName and a Country Name.
      • Many interface engines, such as Express Connect, will make this easy in a wizard later!!

webservices 101 pic 1

  • For less simple examples, we need to consider the following:
    • Do we need to install a certificate?
    • Do we need a username and password?
  • Let’s install a certificate:
    • This is a website that needs a certificate. I can install it this way – click the LOCK icon in the IE browser. Click View Certificates

webservices 101 pic 2

  • Click INSTALL CERTIFICATE

webservices 101 pic 3

  • Browse and put it in the PERSONAL STORE of the user – Or as directed by your vendor as to where to put it.

webservices 101 pic 4

SOURCE INFO and useful links:

Some generic web services to play with :

http://www.webservicex.net/ws/default.aspx – click the name of any web service, I use the GeoIPService one to test a simple pass of one parameter.

This is what a WSDL looks like : http://www.webservicex.net/WeatherForecast.asmx?wsdl

Info on Web Services: http://www.webreference.com/authoring/web_service/index.html

Microsoft HL7 Web Services info: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms954603.aspx

The main things to remember about a WSDL file are that it provides you with:

  • A description of a Web service
  • The methods a Web service uses and the parameters that it takes
  • A way to locate Web services
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“10 things that will kill all Healthcare Providers if they don’t learn about it – NOW!”

Posted on behalf of Eric Tallberg, Sales Engineer

Have you been seeing these catch-headlines of late on the Interwebs? They look ominous enough and often decry the worst possible scenario almost daring you NOT to click the link. At this point, for most of us, we know this turns out to be little more than 10 things we already knew with some one-off wrinkle thrown in to make us almost think the page was worth going to except for all the Right-Arrows we need to click to see the next item. All the while, more and more ads and pop-ups appear on the screen. I promise you that any that pop up here were not my doing, nor the intended act of my employers! However, my headline seemed to grab your attention, so it must still work!

I wonder if that’s how a lot of CIO’s feel when reading their inbox. There are 100 new emails an hour for many, and 99 are probably another one of us vendor types trying to get their attention. Or a doctor who is getting notified with faxes from hospitals about their patients because of every nit-picky action taken within the hospital walls that they think the provider needs to know. (Who faxes these days anyway??)

Over-saturation of electronic data in everyday life is about to become the same problem in healthcare. The intent of Meaningful Use and electronic data is to simplify lives. As the current state of simply reading news articles with comments below are showing, more is never better when it comes to electronic data. In fact, we need to find more and more products to weed out the “fake news” as much as we need anti-virus.

Fortunately, there are some products out there that can help alleviate one headache, specifically for doctor offices who are being inundated with way too (many faxes??) much data. Products that are part of your Interface Engine that have the capability to discern what data REALLY needs to be provided to offices and even better, can be tweaked by their own staff! You have the ability to control the data that is sent to your own offices if you’re an office outside of a hospital, or as a member of the hospital, determine who needs to be notified of patient updates, and allow them to dictate the specific mode of alerting, what data to send, and whether or not to use secure means of notification.

Summit Healthcare Services, Provider Alert is one such application that has allowed hospitals in California to reduce calls to their Medical Record staff from 150/day to virtually 0. Data is automatically sent to the providers who have secured access to this data and are even able to securely share some data with other specialists. Adding in Imprivata’s Coretext secure texting solution, Provider Alert will have the ability to notify provider staff of significant patient events, be it admissions to the ER, lab results which need immediate notification, or the unfortunate event of a patient’s passing.

CCDA documentation is another strange issue. It seems we all wanted to ensure patient data can be transmitted between care facilities and a great idea with the Continuity of Care (Document Architecture) is the latest machination of data transmission. However, many are finding that the multi-page document which may include a patient’s entire history are simply way too much data. Again, there are ways to reduce this with the right tools. For hospitals, a good Integration Engine should have tools to reduce the overabundance of information contained within these documents. Summit has the Summit Exchange platform which has an integrated mapper which can cull out unneeded data based on rules you get to dictate in terms of eliminating that data. Providers and hospitalists get to see what they need from these sometimes hefty documents instead of trying to read through the entire document to determine if they need to amputate, or simply give an anti-biotic! (Oops! did I just over-exaggerate again?)

I don’t have 8 more life-saving options to give today so I guess my headline might have been misleading. Sorry about that. But, as there are solutions are out there for virus protection, and I’m sure someone’s working on a “fake news” filter already, there are a few companies out there who are thinking ahead and mitigating the “electronic data overload” providers and hospitalists are already or soon will encounter. I do think are farther ahead of that game.

For more information on how Summit Healthcare is working to reduce this data overload, and hopefully avoid unnecessary amputations, please visit Capture

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Summit Provider Exchange – Tips and Tricks

Posted on behalf of Jeff Ford, Regional Manager, Client Services Organization 

Summit Provider Exchange is a flexible bi-directional physician EMR integration platform.  It gives hospitals tighter control over patient registration and order management while enabling bi-directional physician EMR integration.  Below are some tips and best practices we’ve learned from working on many of these implementations and speaking with some of our power users.

Click to Match Speed

Have you or your users noticed the click-to-match response time has slowed over time?  The speed of the click-to-match query is entirely dependent on the amount of ADT data stored.  You are probably storing far more ADT’s than you actually need.  Chances are, you would never want to release an order attached to a patient registration from last week.  From our experience, almost 100% of orders are attached to same-day registrations.  So you don’t need to store ADT’s back 30, 15, even more than 7 days.

Our recommendation is to store your last 3 days of patient registrations.  This setting is controlled by an entry in your Provider Exchange SQL table.  In your PE database, there is a table called tblAppOptions.  In this table, you will find the field purgeDaysADT.  This is the number of days ADT’s will be stored to allow users to match orders to them.  Set this to a lower number and you will find your click-to-match speed improving greatly.

Provider Match

There are a number of ways to restrict incorrect orders from being released when you are not ready for them.  Most administrators know about the service date ranges and add-on order settings.  You may even be utilizing Location Matching, releasing orders only to the relevant registration locations.  But if there are still some orders being matched and released to incorrect admission messages, there is another, lesser used option for you.

In the Provider Exchange Application Options, select the Order Release tab.  Halfway down, you will find an option called ‘Release Orders By Provider’.  When selected, this will release orders only when the Ordering Provider (OBR.16) in the order message matches the Attending Provider (PV1.7) in the patient registration.  Before selecting this, you’ll want to check with your registration team and confirm if they typically assign the ordering physician as the attending physician.  If so, this can be a great check for order release.

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Custom Match

After setting your proper date ranges, location and category settings, and making use of the Provider Matching, are you still seeing a few orders release when you don’t want or expect them to?  A new feature in Provider Exchange gives you the ultimate flexibility.  It allows you to define your own, custom field to evaluate for order release.  In the Application Options box above, you can see it listed as ‘Custom Field Matching’.

This option allows you to choose any field you want in the ADT to be evaluated before matching and releasing an order.  An example of this would be using Patient Type or any other field that is not a preexisting option in Provider Exchange.  Some of our more creative users have setup an admissions query in their HCIS to trigger the release.  Custom Field Matching can give you the flexibility to address just about any order release issues you have come across.

Results Tab

Are you making proper use of your Results tab?  This feature was added in Provider Exchange 1.3 and allows you to view the result messages that match the orders that came through Provider Exchange.  It can work as a good first troubleshooting step if one of your Physician Offices has reported missing results.

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So how do you control what results are evaluated for Provider Exchange display?  This is actually done in Express Connect.  For each interface you would like to send results to Provider Exchange, you will need to select this interface in Express Connect, choose the “Advanced Settings” tab, and check the box that says “Log Messages to Provider Exchange Database.”  Best practice is to select this setting on your inbound results interfaces, as this will give you the largest amount of unmodified result messages.  Depending on what types of orders you are processing through Provider Exchange, you will probably want your main LAB results feed and RAD results feed.

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Hopefully you’re already finding Provider Exchange an important piece of your integration strategy.  With these tips and tricks being used by many of our clients, you can optimize the application to fit your specific needs.

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