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Pro Tips For Individual Healthcare Providers To Stay HIPAA Safe

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 @ 07:30 AM

hippasafedevices

 

The truth is that HIPAA is a big deal if you're in the medical field, period. When we talk about healthcare collaboration and telemedicine, though, people can be even more concerened about cyber security dynamics.

There are concerns at the institutional level, of course. But  for individual healthcare providers, it can feel like we're burdened by the responsibility to protect PHI from HIPAA breaches, without the tools or information to do so effectively.

So we were interested to hear the insights offered recently by Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. 

Here are some of his best tips for staying cyber-safe as an individual healthcare provider:

We encourage providers to innovate and care for patients, despite the bureaucratic deluges that sometimes feel as thought they'll drown us. But it doesn't have to be hard to stay HIPAA-safe, even when using a telemedicine tool -- and it is important. 

One thing many providers do is bring a smartphone or other device from home, into the medical context. You can download our white paper on staying HIPAA safe with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies here:
iClickCare IS BYOD Secure

Tags: HIPAA, HIPAA Collaboration, Telemedicine and HIPAA, HIPAA secure images, healthcare collaboration, telemedicine law, workflow

5 Reasons To Use Photos & Videos In Long Term Care

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Wed, Aug 12, 2015 @ 07:00 AM

 

Long Term Care Facilities Share Challenges with Outposts

Credit: Wikipedia, Une compagnie de la 2e legion sur les champs de mars à Paris en 1836 par Auguste Antoine Masse

Are you in the French Foreign Legion? Probably not, but I would bet that you, like me, have felt like you sometimes work in an outpost. (Think: Lewis and Clark, Roald Admundsen, Davey Crockett.)

You are more fortunate. You have the telephone, so you are not so alone, right? You make a call, and bravely stand up to an attack of telephone tag. You describe clearly the change. You might hear five responses.

  1. "Can't be, I was just there yesterday."
  2. "Are you sure?"
  3. "I believe you, I wish I could see it."
  4. "She didn't have it when we sent her to you or admitted her."
  5. "This shouldn't happen, I need to contact my loved one's lawyer."

It's always tricky to describe something accurately. And it's even harder to describe a change or motion. 

In the simple case of wound or rash, you can say "it is red" or "it has an exudate" or "it has granulation tissue." Technology can't capture everything that you can see as the observer, but a photo can show color, size, and texture. Plus, stored images can be compared to support analysis of changes. 

In the simple case of a change in gate or speech, describing something as dysarthria, limp, lurch or foot drop does say something, but are not as convincing as a video clip. And again, stored videos can be compared to help monitor shifts over time.  

So the 5 reasons to use photos and videos (via a telemedicine platform) in long term care or skilled nursing facilities are to:

  1. Describe changes in the patient
  2. Communicate clearly
  3. Resolve doubts that can hinder execution of treatment plans
  4. Document on-admission disease
  5. Communicate with the family

I am dumbfounded why legal counsel often tells their long term care clients to not take pictures. Ignoring a problem never improves it, and sweeping it under the rug of paper records brings ill will. Further, with the right technology, there is no reason for HIPAA to be challenged. 

Why not have happy families, satisfied providers, documented change, and good records for education and reference?

You have a hard job in the outpost. Help you and your staff make it easier. 

And if you're working on implementing changes like these in your long term care facility, our ebook may help with staying compliant, decreasing costs, and improving care"  

Transforming Long Term Care Through Telemedicine

 

Tags: homecare, senior care, workflow

4 Barriers to Telemedicine Are Starting to Crumble

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 @ 07:30 AM

It can be easy to feel that things are getting worse and worse in medicine. EMRs/EHRs that seem possessed by a demon, ever-shorter visit windows, and climbing stacks of paperwork all contribute to an atmosphere of "I thought things couldn't get worse. And then they did." 

But when it comes to telemedicine and medical collaboration, the trend is assuredly positive. Especially in the last few months, one obstacle to telemedicine after another is crumbling. Likely driven by incentives to cut costs while improving care, the government, insurance companies, and providers -- all of which are starting to move in the same direction and making choices to support telemedicine.

We believe medical providers need to pioneer their own telemedicine and medical collaboration practices, even without widespread support. But it certainly can't hurt if some of the obstacles are removed.

Here are our top favorites:

  1. Smartphones and tablets make adoption effortless (or close to it). 
    When clunky, expensive hardware was the only option, it was hard for medical providers to adopt telemedicine. Not only was it a pain to interrupt your day to go to the "videoconferencing room," these options also meant that providers had to wait for large budgets to act. “We’ve moved to a belief that you have to deliver this to a phone or tablet in order to get the adoption you want,” says Margaret Laws, the Innovations for the Underserved program director at the California Healthcare Foundation. And since using telemedicine or collaborating on a smartphone or tablet is easier than ever, there is good news for the spread of the practice.
  2. Regulations are starting to get smarter.
    In one example, a new bill would remove health software and clinical software from the FDA's jurisdiction. Is it possible that common sense might just be winning out?
  3. Reimbursements are finally coming together.
    As of last week, there are now 22 states that require telehealth visits to be reimbursed at the same rate as in-person visits. New York State's Governor Cuomo just signed a law that allows NY providers to bill for live video/audio, store-and-forward, and remote patient monitoring from private insurers and Medicaid. And other efforts continue to move forward, as well: a Colorado bill has just moved to the House that would prohibit health insurance plans from requiring in-person care. 
  4. New tools make workflow a snap.
    We've always believed that telemedicine is less about technology than it is about people and good workflow. When a telemedicine solution is easy to use and works with the schedule of the provider, then the technology can really be adopted. For instance, we've found that a Hybrid Store-and-Forward® solution removes the need for providers to play telephone tag, schedule video conferences, or wait for consults. 

So let this post be one vote for the "glass being half-full" -- and getting fuller every day. 

 

To learn more about Hybrid Store-and-Forward Telemedicine, get our free guide:

 

ClickCare Quick Guide to Hybrid Store-and-Forward

Tags: telemedicine, medical collaboration, hybrid store and forward medical collaboration, telemedicine solutions, regulations, hippa,, regulatory issues, workflow

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