By: Michelle McNickle
Implementing the latest health IT is a challenge in and of itself, but having a competent team makes it that much easier. Fred Pennic, senior advisor with Aspen Advisors and author of the blog Healthcare IT Consultant, suggests five ways to attract the best health IT employees.
1. Having a strong employer brand and culture. According to Pennic, top IT prospects are attracted to companies with a well-established and respected brand that also coincides with their own personal brand. "Employers must continue to establish and/or maintain a strong brand that will attract the best HIT talent,” he said.
2. Creating a positive work environment.“All employees want to work and thrive in a positive working environment,” said Pennic. Not to mention, a healthy environment helps reduce employee turnover rate, while negative and destructive environments tend to upset employee morale. “[That] will motivate top HIT talent to leave for better opportunities,” he added. “Let’s face it, no one wants to work for a negative superior who never provides any positive feedback.” Ensuring top talent is rewarded and recognized for their accomplishments and efforts is also key, said Pennic.
3. Offering career development opportunities. To retain the best IT employees, it’s essential employers continue to keep them engaged. “[This should be] what the employees feel is ‘meaningful work,’” said Pennic. “Employees are more committed and engaged when given the opportunity and respect to contribute their own ideas and suggestions. Employers must continue to provide ‘stretch’ opportunities that will help cultivate an employee’s career.” In addition to ongoing work opportunities, the chance to attend additional training, conferences, and webinars, and to earn tuition reimbursement and certifications, will help retain the best in IT talent. “For example, providing HIT employees the opportunity for Epic certification sponsorship is a major selling point to attract top talent,” he added.
4. Ensuring flexibility. “Provide top talent flexible work arrangements, such as work from home options, flexible working hours/schedule, reduced business travel, etc.,” said Pennic. “Allowing employees the freedom to choose working arrangements that provide the best work/life balance will keep employee retention down and reduce the potential for the employee to be easily swayed by other potential employers to leave for pursue another opportunity.” He added this can also be a perk for working mothers or those with children.
5. Providing competitive compensation, incentives, and benefits. Compensation will always be a top priority, no matter the industry. “However, there is more to an offer than base salary,” said Pennic. “Employers should provide a well-balanced compensation package that includes financial incentives, affordable health coverage, 20 days or more paid time off, and several other key incentives. Money is always priority, but having better benefits and incentives may be the ultimate deciding factor for top HIT talent.”
by: Michelle McNickle, Web Content Producer
A new year means a fresh start, and as 2012 creeps closer, it's time to think about new IT approaches. Although the reform may mandate certain IT practices be implemented, other non-required initiatives will help to streamline workflows, save money and improve care in the new year.
Fred Pennic, senior advisor with Aspen Advisors and author of the blog Healthcare IT Consultant, suggested 10 initiatives hospitals should undertake in 2012.
1. Meeting Stages 1 and 2 of meaningful use. According to Pennic, meaningful use compliance should be the top priority in health IT during the years to come. "More providers are currently attesting for Stage 1 meaningful use, although it is still unclear if Stage 2 will be delayed until 2014," he said. According to a study published online by Health Affairs, hospitals should be prepared for a higher standard associated with Stage 2 in order to produce improved patient outcomes; authors of the study believe Stages 2 and 3, which will require providers to use electronic orders for 60 to 80 percent of patients, will have a significant impact on both patient mortality rates and care.
2. Health information exchange (HIE). Meaningful use and HIE go hand in hand, said Pennic. "Interoperability is key as it relates to meaningful use’s objectives of electronically exchanging clinical information and summaries of care, along with submitting lab results to public health agencies, et cetera," he said. Looking for resources or a way to network and learn what others are doing when it comes to HIE? The HIMSS HIE Toolkit and the HIMSS HIE Wiki offer insights and information regarding HIE, including important national and state level initiatives.
[See also: Cloud computing myths vs. risks.]
3. Virtualization and cloud computing. “As healthcare organizations deal with competing priorities from HITECH/ARRA, Meaningful Use, HIPAA 5010, ICD-10, and ACA, hospitals are constantly trying to reduce costs while providing accessible health information,” said Pennic. In our round up of the 5 technologies every hospital should be using, Shahid Shah, an enterprise software analyst, agreed that virtualization and cloud computing can streamline workflows, save time, and reduce costs. “As soon as possible, make it so that no applications should be sitting in physical servers," he said. "Start to phase out those apps that cannot be virtualized. When apps are virtualized, they can easily be scaled and recovered."
4. Disaster recovery/business continuity. Pennic said as healthcare providers begin to adopt and implement EMR systems, it's imperative to have a disaster recovery solution in place to handle potential downtime occurrences. With recent weather events impacting hospitals across the country, developing and uploading a disaster recovery plan to a web-based inventory tool is imperative and a smart way to access your plan offsite.
5. ICD-10. According to Pennic, since providers must meet CMS regulations for the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10, they should be performing ICD-10 assessments that provide a readiness assessment, impact assessment and implementation plan to prepare for the deadline. "Specifically, IT should focus on sending vendor surveys to all vendors that are impacted by ICD-10," he said. By doing this, hospitals are able to specifically state what their upgrade efforts are and what they aim to have in place to comply with ICD-10 regulations. “ICD-10 touches everything and impacts every point of delivery in healthcare,” Pennic added.
6. Mobile applications. With the onslaught of mobile apps made available on the iPad, iPhone and more, Pennic said hospitals will have to support the devices used by physicians, nurses, and other clinicians. “This will present many challenges, as organizations will have to determine which devices and/or platforms are suitable for use and will be fully supported by the organization.”
7. Business intelligence. “As hospitals deal with the increasing volume of data produced by technology, business intelligence can help increase revenue and reduce costs utilizing dashboards, analytics, et cetera,” said Pennic. Applying a business intelligence platform to a healthcare organization can also have positive impacts on quality and performance, as well as helping providers and payers determine the biggest risk areas and devise the most effective rate structures.
[See also: ICD-10 and HITECH compliance key issues for medical billers.]
8. SSO (single sign-on). "SSO technology improves physician access times to EMRs, increases time and cost savings for clinicians and increases PHI compliance," said Pennic. In addition, the use of SSO technology can increase security measures since user credentials can't be cached by the service the user is trying to access. SSO limits the possibility of phishing, and it allows IT administrators to save time and resources by utilizing the central Web access management service.
9. Picture archiving and communication system (PACS)/data storage. Pennic said that increasing amounts of data being stored may present data storage concerns for some hospitals. "They may not be able to handle all the increasing ‘digitization’ of documents, including medical imaging," he said. Data storage has continued to be a concern among providers, with unstructured file data growing as records become paperless. According to the article, providers should be critical of what should be saved, and they should greatly consider cloud computing to increase security by creating private clouds.
10. Security. "All e-PHI created, received, maintained, or transmitted by an organization is subject to the HIPAA Security Rule," said Pennic. "It is also one of the core meaningful use measures for entities to conduct or review a risk analysis." Conducting an annual risk analysis to identify security risks and vulnerability is not only smart, but can also come into play if a privacy breach occurs within an organization.
by:Nicole Perlroth, Forbes Staff
FORBES has learned that Box.net walked away from a $600 million buyout bid from Citrix Systems earlier this year. The takeover would have been Citrix’s largest acquisition to date and would have given the virtualization player a leg-up on competitor VM Ware.
A $600 million exit would have also delivered a lucrative return to Box.net angel investor Mark Cuban and early venture backers Draper Fisher Jurvetson, U.S. Ventures and Scale Venture Partners, which collectively poured $30 million into the six-year-old cloud storage start-up, as of last January. But ultimately it was Box.net’s 26-year-old CEO Aaron Levie and 25-year-old CFO Dylan Smith who were adamant Box.net go it alone.
No matter. Just months after negging Citrix, the start-up has closed $81 million in new funding at a $600 million plus valuation. New investors Bessemer Venture Partners, NEA, Salesforce.com and SAP, as well as existing backers Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Andreessen Horowitz participated in the round which brings the company’s total funding to $162 million.
Neither Citrix nor Box.net would comment on the buyout offer and Box.net would not confirm the exact valuation figure. But in an interview yesterday, Levie said he plans to use the influx of fresh cash to build a third data center, build out infrastructure and invest in R&D.
The new funding will also be used to fill the company’s war chest as it takes aim at competitors IBM, Oracle and, particularly Microsoft, whose Sharepoint collaboration software is now used by some 100 million customers. Like Sharepoint, Box.net makes it possible for people to store and collaborate with files online. Unlike Microsoft, Box.net puts its service out for free, then charges a $15 monthly fee for additional file storage and password protection.
That “freemium” approach has helped Box.net reach seven million customers at 100,000 companies. Many use the service without permission from, or knowledge of, their IT departments. But the vast majority of Box.net revenues—some 90%– come from its enterprise products. Pandora, Six Flags, and 77% of Fortune 500 companies now pay to use the service. Last August, Box.net signed its largest enterprise deal yet—an 18,000 seat deal with Proctor & Gamble. Levie projects revenue from enterprise products will triple over the next year.
“We’re entering a $250 billion [enterprise software] market,” says Levie. “Only a small fraction of that is spent on the cloud. There’s still a lot of upside.”
Levie started Box.net in his dorm room at the University of Southern California. His sophomore year, a conversation with billionaire Mark Cuban was enough to convince him to work on his dorm room project full time. In January 2006, Levie dropped out of USC. He and high school buddy Dylan Smith lived and worked out of Levie’s uncle’s garage in Berkeley, Calif. until a $350,000 check from Cuban made it possible to relocate to Palo Alto. Shortly after, the two man team caught the eye of venture capitalists at Draper Fisher Jurvetson.
The start-up now plans to return the favor by launching its own Box Innovation Network. The goal, Levie says, is to is grow an entire ecosystem of next-generation enterprise applications and products that change the way people work and help make the enterprise sexy again.
“We want to do for the enterprise what Zynga did for farms,” Levie says, only half-joking.
Date: October 5, 2011
From: EMR Daily News
MED3OOO, who provides healthcare management and technology products and services, today announced that QMACs, Inc., is engaging in a premier partnership with MED3OOO to offer InteGreat Electronic Health Record and Practice Management solutions to QMACs’ physician clients.
QMACs is a privately held corporation based in Richardson, Texas, that focuses on Revenue Cycle Management, Practice Management, and EHR training and implementation services for a variety of physician specialties and practice sizes. The company follows a function-based philosophy that provides a thorough analysis of each claim processed for maximum revenue retention. QMACs’ experience allows for a complete understanding of office flow to help physicians and their staff establish processes that increase staff productivity and better manage patient load. With the push toward EHR systems to meet required compliance initiatives and regulatory requirements, QMACs developed a comprehensive training and implementation plan that guides physicians and their staff through the process of successfully installing and meaningfully using EHR systems.
“This is such an exciting time to partner with MED3OOO,” said Margie McLean, CEO of QMACs. “With the RCM and PM expertise QMACs brings to the table, along with the MED3OOO’s footprint in the industry, we believe the InteGreat product can truly give physicians the power to meet clinical and financial goals.”
“QMACs is an industry leader in the field of physician management services and works with over 300 physicians across the country,” said Scott Sanner, MED3OOO. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with QMACs to implement our InteGreat solutions.”