2017 Schedule of Events

LET’S TALK.  Each project we take on is unique.  From systems, to people, to process.  We pride ourselves in our ability to adapt our expertise to best meet our client’s individual requirements.  That’s why we also look for ways to meet face to face, or provide educational opportunities where ideas can be exchanged.  Please join us for the events below, invite us to your facility to chat when we are in town, or call us for a conversation.  480-346-7011

We hope to see you in 2017:

WEBINAR:

Next Webinar is scheduled for:  Tuesday October 24th – IQ, OQ, PQ – the 3 Pillars of Validation. Read More

Presenter: Suzanne H. Butch, Michigan Medicine, Department of Pathology

TRAVEL:

Detroit, MI – September 19th-22nd

Minneapolis, MN – September 27th-29th

San Diego, CA – October 7th-10th

Robin will be on the road checking in on current projects and visiting clients, if you are in the area and would like to set up a quick visit (or long meeting) please call us at 480-346-7011 or email Robin directly at rnozick@bcsolutionsrfn.com

CONFERENCES:

Michigan Association of Blood Banks – 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting

Livonia, MI –  September 20th-21st

Minnesota Association of Blood Banks – Annual Fall Conference

Minneapolis, MN – September 28th

AABB Annual Meeting

San Diego, CA – October 7th-10th

Planning for the new Cerner 2015.01 Version Upgrade

Cerner has released a major upgrade for 2015.  Specific changes to the PathNet Blood Bank Transfusion system promise an updated display, style, color palette and user interface patterns.  In addition to changes on how blood products are ordered, crossmatch warnings and exception reports will also be updated.

Specialists in Cerner validation, BC Solutions has developed a unique methodology that reduces the total validation testing time by 50-60%.  Our team of validation experts has proven to be best in the industry.  With decades of clinical laboratory and blood banking experience on our team, we target high risk areas in our testing protocols to ensure patient safety and blood safety requirements are met.  With a BC Solutions validation, your system will be audit ready with clear and compliant documentation.

Visit the Blood Bank Validation page on our website ( www.bcsolutionsrfn.com/blood-bank-validation ) for more information about the R.F. Nozick Validation Program as well as what is included in a Cerner Millennium Pathnet Blood Bank Transfusion Validation.

Contact us for additional information and find out how to add our experts to your team!

Will Nanotechnology Make Us Immortal?

Nanotechnology the Future of MedicineIn 2009, futurist Ray Kurzweil made the bold statement that by 2040, human beings could be close to achieving immortality through the use of nanotechnology. Well, here we are five years later and we’re not sure how much closer we are to being immortal, but certainly the use of nanotechnology and nanoparticles in the field of medicine has increased and many advances have been made.

Any time you hear talk of nanotechnology in the field of medicine (referred to as nanomedicine), it almost always conjures up images of microscopic robots running around inside you and fixing up tissue and organs that are in disrepair. But what is it really?

Nanotechnology is basically the practice of manipulating matter at the atomic and molecular level. The research of nanotechnology has been applied to many different fields other than medicine, such as electronics, fabrication, textiles, optics, just to name a few. In fact, nanotechnology is regularly used in most of those industries and we interact with it almost everday.

With regards to the health care industry, the medical community has been able to utilize nanoparticles and nanomaterials for a variety of applications such as drug delivery, protein and peptide delivery, fighting cancer, antibiotic resistance, and many others.

Recently it seems drug delivery is providing especially promising results. As of May of this year, MIT researchers have been able to use nanoparticles to carry two drugs at once and then release them one at a time, providing a one-two punch in the battle against cancer and shrinking tumors. Although it’s only been tested in mice, the idea is that the first nanoparticle delivery disarms the defenses of the the cancer cell which allows the second drug delivery to attack the cell more effectively.

Imaging and visualization have been another big advantage of the this new technology, allowing doctors and surgeons to precisely target tumors without damaging healthy tissue in patients.

Yet another promising use of nanotechnology has allowed researchers at Rice University to ‘weld’ flesh together bypassing the need for stitches. Basically, surgeons can pour a small liquid that contains gold-coated nanoshells along the seam of a cut. An infrared laser is then traced along the seam essentially welding the two sides together.

Nanotechnology holds many keys to detecting, diagnosing, and treating diseases in the future. But there will be many regulatory and financial obstacles to overcome, as with the development of any new medicine or technology. While achieving immortality by 2040 may be a far-fetched concept, there is no doubt that nanotechnology and nanomedicine are providing much excitement and hope for the future.

Health Care IT Security

Health Care IT SecurityThe conditions in which health information may be used is established by the HIPAA Privacy Rule. The rule’s intention is to insure that patient information and data is only seen by those who actually need to see it. But these days, where information may be stored in many different places and on many different systems, adhering to these rules has become more and more challenging. IT system security breaches are becoming common place and in the end the responsibility lies with the covered entity or health care provider.

Part of the issue, according to health care IT security companies, is the perception of many health care organizations. A lot of smaller hospitals and practices think that since they don’t collect credit card numbers, they don’t need to invest in security for their IT systems. What they don’t realize is that personal data, particularly medical data, is a valuable commodity to hackers and that information can be sold or given to unscrupulous entities.

Another issue is the recent onset of newer technologies. The widespread integration of EHR systems in the health care industry is streamlining and making patient information more readily available to doctors and health institutions, but it’s also become a popular target for hackers.

Additionally, many vendors are developing apps to work with providers IT and EHR systems, but don’t take HIPPA concerns into consideration when developing the apps allowing hackers to easily subvert security and steal data.

Providers and vendors aren’t always at fault, however. When Windows recently ended it’s support for Windows XP, it created a security risk for any practice that accesses electronic Protected Health Information via that product. While these practices weren’t at fault for the risk created, it is their responsibility to upgrade their systems.

When security breaches occur, the cost is usually a lot more than just stolen information. Once they are discovered, laws require providers to notify anyone who may have been affected by the breach which, in turn, undermines patients trust in the health organization or vendor. If the lost information ends up being used maliciously, the provider is almost certain to be staring down the barrel of a lawsuit.

In the end health care security needs to be taken very seriously, regardless of the size or function of the organization. When working with outside vendors, providers need to vigilantly research and confirm the security of any IT system they will be using.


BC Solutions specializes in full-scale, clinical laboratory software system installation and management solutions. We offer a complete range of services for our clients because installed compliant systems are more than just testing and validation.

Addressing EHR Rollout Problems

EHR rolloutsTo say that there are certain people in the medical industry that are resistant to change, especially when it comes to technology, may be an understatement. But with new regulations and rules coming our way, many hospitals, doctors offices, and providers have been forced to upgrade and embrace new technology or pay the penalty. In addition to avoiding penalties, there are also cash incentives available to practices that upgrade to and meaningfully use electronic health records (EHRs). But are these incentives actually causing problems with EHR rollouts?

Let’s take, for example, a recent case that occurred at the Athens Regional Health System in Georgia in which the CEO resigned after an aggressive and rushed EHR rollout. Staff and clinician’s basically came to a ‘no confidence’ vote for the CEO after the rollout created medication errors, scheduling problems, misplaced orders, and general disorganization. Management then turned and placed the blame squarely on the their own IT department for not following proper decision making channels.

In another example, a Maine Medical Center is claiming their EHR rollout is partially to blame for a $13.4 million operating loss. Nurses cited a lack of training and stated they were unaware that they were responsible for charging patients for procedures and that they weren’t even trained on how to charge with the new system. Therefore the blame was on the company that installed the system, according to the medical center.

So as in any instance where things go wrong the question is always, who’s to blame? Is it the CEO who aggressively tries to implement new procedures trying to take advantage of cash incentives? Is it the staff that are resistant to change and fail to apply themselves during training? Is it the IT company that installs the system and is responsible for training team leaders and employees on how to use the new system?

In a large amount of these cases, the blame seems to go in a circle. The staff blames management, management blames IT, IT blames the staff. In the end, everyone is affected from the hospital or medical center losing money down to the patients who don’t receive the proper care.

But if we step back and look at the big picture, the truth is that everyone is partially to blame and everyone is responsible for righting the ship. Technology rollouts are not something anyone should take lightly and preparation is key to make sure everything goes smoothly. All the decision channels should be determined before an IT company even starts to implement changes.

While we have highlighted some of the problems with EHR rollouts, there have certainly been a number of success stories. Many providers have successfully implemented new systems and are benefiting from quicker access to patient data, easier methods of sharing information, and better ways to track costs and bill patients.

Delays in new regulations are giving providers more time to make changes and providers would be wise to take advantage of the extra time. Additional training for employees and better testing of systems before they are set in place can help insure a smooth EHR rollout and ultimately help provide better care for patients.

Special Medical Assistant Watson the Supercomputer

Watson IBM SupercomputerAccess to data in the medical profession is priceless. Technology advances are allowing doctors and providers to not only access data quicker, but also provides a huge increase in the amount of data there is to choose from. Things that used to take days or weeks to research can now be researched in minutes or hours for savvy medical practitioners. But what is on the horizon is even more amazing.

Meet Watson the supercomputer developed by IBM. Actually, more of an artificial intelligence system. Some of you may remember hearing about Watson when the supercomputer took on champions in the game of Jeopardy and won in 2011. To help win at Jeopardy, Watson was fed massive amounts of data from encyclopedias, dictionaries, news articles, literary works, just to name a few. Then, it was able to answer questions using natural language processing, information retrieval, and other techniques. Though this process, IBM found Watson was able to provide extremely accurate answers to questions, regardless of how the question was asked.

IBM quickly recognized that this type of system was perfect for healthcare. Watson’s ability to analyze huge volumes of data and reduce it down to critical decision points would obviously make it perfect for a clinical decision support system. Doctors or assistants could simply input symptoms and related factors, then Watson could make suggestions based on thousands upon thousands pieces of data it has stored from medical books, EMR data, clinical studies, journal articles, doctors notes and patient information.

In February of 2011, IBM employed the help of physicians at Columbia University to help identify critical issues in the field of medicine that Watson could assist with and University of Maryland to help determine the best way for Watson to interact with practitioners to provide the best assistance. By September of 2011, IBM and WellPoint partnered up to actually utilize Watson to start suggesting treatment options to doctors.

In 2012 Watson was sent to the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University for the supercomputer to increase its healthcare data and medical knowledge as well as help medical professionals in treating patients.

More recently, an electronic medical records company, Modernizing Medicine, will partner with Watson to provide an electronic medical assistant app called schEMA. Physicians submit questions about conditions and treatments and will receive responses and treatment suggestions within seconds with information pulled from Watson’s wealth of medical data.

The potential for use of supercomputers in the health care industry is significant. For example, in addition to suggesting options for treatment, Watson can submit treatment proposals to insurance companies and receive near-instant approval from managed-care companies which will allow doctors to proceed with treatments quicker and possibly save lives.

IBM has recently created a business unit around Watson to deliver cloud-based services to businesses in several industries and invested $100 million dollars to help application development based on Watson’s ‘cognitive’ functions. It’s not hard to imagine that other computer developers will soon join the supercomputer revolution which will ultimately greatly benefit the health care industry.

Health Care in the Digital Age

Health Care in the Digital AgeNot long ago, the health care industry committed itself to updating old paper filing methods of keeping patient records to newer digitized, electronic health records (EHRs). It was a necessary step to allow physicians and providers greater access to patients records allowing for better doctor-patient communication and better overall health care. As more and more providers became digitized, many started to realize that technology had many advantages other than patient record keeping.

These days, emerging technologies are effecting just about every aspect of health care. New software and applications are giving providers the ability to engage with patients, provide treatment and diagnoses, and maintain records in ways they never have before. Many in the industry that have traditionally resisted certain technologies are now finding ways to utilize them not only for better care, but to get a step up on their competition.

Let’s take a look at some of the newer technologies that are being offered.

Telehealth
Telehealth may soon become a very common term that we see providers advertising as a service they offer. Telehealth is the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, usually via smartphone, computer, or tablets. American Well is a company that offers a mobile and telehealth platform for patients and doctors to connect via video, secure chat, and phone. While there is obviously software and applications that already allow these services, American Well’s platform addresses concerns such as HIPAA compliance, multi-device use, electronic records interface, etc. This technology has obvious advantages for doctor-patient communication, especially when managing chronic conditions. It also creates a billable platform for consultations as opposed to previous free phone consults.

Electronic Medical Assistants
New touch-based electronic medical records systems are now being offered by companies such as Mondernizing Medicine. This new iPad technology offers a system that is intuitive to a physicians preferences which helps reduce documentation time and improve medical coding. Doctors can easily access a patients history and visualize trends in their care/progress from their iPad without having to flip through charts to find information. It even offers an Interactive Anatomical Atlas which is a zoomable 3D tool of the human body. Doctors can simply touch a body part in question for information and even peel back the skin interactively to reveal muscles, joints, and tendons.

Medical Reference Apps
Physicians Interactive offers Omnio, a free medical reference app that gives doctors access to drug guides, disease guides, medical calculators, journals and news sources all in one place. What is unique about the app is that doctors can customize what elements they need by interests and specialties to be easily accessed from their phone.

E-Prescribing
Electronic prescribing allow providers to use electronic transmission to submit prescriptions and renewal authorization to pharmacies. E-prescribing can help reduce the risks and errors that can occur with traditional script writing. While this technology has been around for some time, many providers have been slow to incorporate it.

One thing for certain is that technology will continue to march forward in the health care industry and those that fail to embrace it may find themselves falling by the wayside.