Sep 2014   
Shifting Gear from Inpatient to Outpatient Care
Hospitals and health systems are shifting their focus from inpatient to outpatient care. The field of Outpatient Care is creating a big impact on them as well as on healthcare staffing and workforce solutions. This sea change is expected to bring many positive outcomes for healthcare providers in the coming years.

With Obamacare coming into existence, and its new mandate to increase the Medicare payments to hospitals for outpatient care by 2.1 percent, there is a massive change in expectations and deliverables. This nationwide effort has reduced unnecessary hospital readmissions and thereby reduced costs.

Under this Medicare program, which is especially for elderly and disabled, the hospitals across the US received federal payments of around $ 37 billion in 2013 for outpatient treatment and $ 139 billion for admissions. Recently, the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed a cutting payments strategy for admissions to hospitals by about $241 million in 2015. While a 2.1% increase in outpatient payments and some cuts in readmission payments, which are encouraging healthcare providers to focus more on outpatient care and thereby discouraging the rate of readmissions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these outpatient care initiatives by providers will also help in increasing employment opportunities in many areas of therapy, as health systems require more staff for follow-up measures post discharge to avoid readmissions. This change is definitely going to impact the cost and value of healthcare in the coming years.

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Healthcare Jobs are On the Rise

Job growth rise in 2014
According to a CNN report, the healthcare industry is booming in spite of slowed hospital hiring and has added nearly 20,000 jobs in March 2014 alone. As per a report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is a substantial increase to the total 14.7 million jobs in the field. It appears that healthcare employment is continuing to grow month after month. According to the data for August 2014 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 34,000 jobs were added in the same month which brings the total employment in the healthcare sector to 14.78 million employees. The recent trend in the hospital sector shows, physicians’ offices have brought in 8,000 new jobs. After a 0.1% drop in hiring in July, hospital employment rebounded slightly in August to log a 0.1% growth that comes around 7,000 jobs.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by the end of year 2014 health services employment is projected to increase dramatically with over 4,700,000 new healthcare jobs. The increased demand for health care services can be cited due to the growing proportion of elderly in the population and rising numbers of chronic diseases.

While the growing demand for physicians is leading to shortages, the supply of physicians in medical specialties is expected to grow by 24% by the year 2025, according to the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis, a branch of the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The report also forecasted 21% growth in medical subspecialties and 14% in surgical fields. Non-surgical fields are projected to have the maximum growth in emergency medicine, physical medicine, rehabilitation and the pediatrics subspecialties.

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World Bank approves $170M to fight Ebola

The World Bank pledges to fight Ebola!
The World Bank has pledged to fight the Ebola virus which continues to spread in West Africa and has even crossed the oceans, leading to the first known case in the United States. The World Bank announced that it has approved $170 million, in addition to the $230 million it has already committed, to help West African countries which are worst stricken with Ebola virus. The virus has no cure currently and has killed nearly 3,000 people.

During a special session on Ebola at the United Nations General Assembly, Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank president said the Bank is committed towards the emergency response and for medium and long term projects. The World Bank money will be used for increasing the healthcare workforce, purchasing the needed supplies and building stronger health systems in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which have been badly affected by the disease.

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Healthcare Conferences around the globe
Predictive Analytics World Healthcare
Location: Boston
Date: 6th – 7th October, 2014
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Healthcare IT Summit 2014
Location: Hyatt Century Plaza, Los Angeles, CA
Date: 2nd - 4th November, 2014
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Digital Healthcare Innovation Summit (4th Annual)
Location: Boston, MA
Date: 4th November, 2014
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Jawbone UP24

The Jawbone Up24 is a stylish, sleek wrist worn activity and fitness tracker that comes in various designs and sizes. It counts your steps, sleep, and calories. The Up24 is a water-resistant, light, and an easy-fit wearable band which connects digitally with iOS and Android system through Bluetooth.
Health Informatics Enhance Healthcare
Health informatics is one of the fastest growing areas within healthcare space. Put simply, health informatics is about getting the right information to the right person at the right time. Today, medical informatics and information technology have become the key components of personalized healthcare that involve the efficient use of electronic health records. To meet Meaningful Use stage 2 requirements, providers are increasingly using EHRs that make complete and updated patient information available whenever and wherever it is needed.

A key to better healthcare
Furthermore, healthcare informatics helps providers to make complex information useful for making the right clinical decisions and enables them to deliver quality care for each patient. As new healthcare technologies, medications, treatments, and procedures are developed, clinicians need to incorporate these new developments into their daily practices. They need to grasp both old and new knowledge, apply that knowledge to their patients care, and improve communication with patients, hospitals, and other providers. Therefore, it is critical for the healthcare professionals to get the right information in order to deliver the most appropriate care.

In the past, meeting these expectations was not easy because of the lack of proper systems to organize, store, and retrieve patients’ medical information. However, with the advancement in health informatics and growing number of healthcare IT service providers, it becomes possible for clinicians to meet these challenges efficiently and enhance the quality of healthcare. Overall, health care information systems provide practical and essential information for clinicians to stay abreast of technologies and information that can improve patient care. But despite the great advancements made in recent years, health information systems still have a lot of room for improvement.

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Personal Wellness through Community Portals

Enhancing community wellness
The awareness on personal wellness has transformed the concept of healthcare. Personal wellness has shifted the concept from treatment of diseases to prevention and management of chronic diseases. Community wellness portals are playing an active role in advocating to people about getting more health conscious and enabling them to get engaged in their own healthcare activities in order to manage their chronic diseases on their own.

In today's digital world, wellness information is not restricted to caregivers or physicians. Many healthcare providers are starting outpatient portal solutions for hospitals and clinics to help patients to meet the demand for wellness therapies and relevant education material to manage their own healthcare.

A wellness community portal performs various important functions which contribute to bringing awareness among people on various health care programs and initiatives at a national level. Some of these functions are:
  • To encourage employers to enhance employees' personal and professional productivity, and their physical and mental well-being, to foster a worksite culture that supports employees to make healthy lifestyle choices.
  • To promote and support programs that encourages the wellness of employees.
  • Encourage habits of wellness and increase awareness of factors and resources contributing to well-being of people
  • To promote general health of children at home and school
  • To promote rural healthcare

To encourage healthier behavior across the nation, such wellness communities propagate and promote programs that are tailored to the needs of a particular community or area, for example, diabetics and their family members. iHealthConnect is a comprehensive mobile integrated, cloud based Patient Wellness Software. It uses a multi-pronged approach to help patients to stay well, prevent disease, manage chronic diseases on their own and enables adherence to care plans while also providing a way to connect with peers for support.

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HIE Solutions in Rural Healthcare
The demand for electronic health information exchange (HIE) from one healthcare provider to another is growing rapidly in the US. The Government is taking nationwide measures to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of health care delivery especially in rural areas. The Meaningful Use requirements and need for effective payment methods that often hamper care coordination and quality of care, are generating a mass interest and demand for health information exchanges or HIE.

Health Information Exchange is not just moving data from one place to another. Rather , it is the whole process of making the data meaningful, useful and relevant for users. It includes collecting, compiling and standardizing of patient data from multiple sources into a patient registry. Once patient data has been aggregated and standardized, it is then analyzed and transferred electronically from one provider to another that enables providers at multiple places to share the details easily and quickly. Some of the main benefits of HIE are:

Sharing healthcare data in real-time
  • Give health care providers instant access to information for timely decisions
  • Saves time for patients and their families
  • Utilize remote physicians and staff members to collaborate and extend access
  • Facilitate efficient transition to other facilities for vital services when not offered locally
  • Reduce redundant paperwork and unnecessary billing requests
  • Eliminate duplicate workflows and business processes
  • Decrease administrative staff and healthcare costs

Saviance’s Patient Tablet is a patient engagement software which is designed to provide maximum advantage to physicians’ practices, retail clinics, large health systems as well as patients. This simple and comprehensive software for physicians practice enables better patient care, faster processing at a cheaper cost.

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