In February, WebPT’s senior management team attended HIMSS‘12, a five-day conference designed to engage consumers with digital healthcare. 

Below, Jeremy, Heidi, and Paul share with you their experiences attending seminars and educational sessions.  Continued education on the most current trends in digital healthcare will serve to enhance WebPT’s features and keep our members at the forefront of physical therapy technology.

Jeremy, Senior Software Engineer, on Data Security

Data breaches rank the highest in the healthcare industry.  The most reoccurring type of breach can be attributed to paper records, at 26 percent, while electronic medical record systems account for only 2 percent (based on reported breaches from Sept. 2009 to Dec. 2011).

The highest cause of breach is due to theft. Theft is classified by stolen desktops, laptops/portable devices, and paper records. When security breaches happen, a patient’s protected health information is at risk. Think about the patient chart. It contains insurance information, demographics and usually a copy of their signature. If stolen, all the listed information could easily result in identity theft.

Patient safety, not privacy, is the new driver in healthcare data security. To minimize your clinic’s security breaches, WebPT eliminates paper records by protecting all of your health and patient information through our secured web-based servers. You can trust our system to adhere with HIPAA regulations and SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption. SSL is the same Internet security system that banks use to protect your banking information and can be trusted to secure your documentation.

Heidi, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, on ICD-10 Transition

As we are still feeling the pain of the HIPAA 5010 transition, ICD-10 transition is just around the corner.  There was a specific area of the exhibit hall and multiple educational presentations daily just on this topic alone. Vendors are capitalizing on providing assistance with the transition due to the daunting task ahead. 

Not only do EMR and billing companies need to be prepared for the conversion, but practices and therapists must be cognizant and educated about the transition.  Think about all of the places that a diagnosis code presents itself in your documentation and billing needs; it’s more frequent than you think.  Physicians will bear the initial burden of sending over the diagnosis to us as therapists via referral, but with direct access and coding for treatments provided, therapists must also understand the changes. The conversion from 9 to 10 is not a simple 1:1 relationship. Especially in the area of Orthopedics, the conversion is usually a 1 to many, meaning 1 ICD-9 code may translate into 2 to 10 potential codes that could be used depending on the treatment provided.

The biggest eye-opener to me was the fact that we, in the United States, are the slackers in terms of this conversion. We are the only country in the world still using ICD-9 instead of ICD-10.  Canada was the last to convert in 2002.  Although it is a major undertaking, it is critical for research and comparison with regards to healthcare services and analytics.  WebPT is going to be prepared, are you?

Paul, Chief Executive Officer, on Data Analytics

With the transition to EHR technology well underway, there is a growing movement to turn the electronic data into “actionable intelligence”.  This is a fancy term for using data to make better decisions.  Providers, practice owners, insurance companies and research organizations are all looking at what to do with this newly created patient care data, and technology companies are building tools to help them. I spent my time at HIMSS looking at the latest trends in this field of data analytics.

It’s important to note that other industries, such as manufacturing, distribution, financial services and retail have spent years taking their structured data and defining new reports, dashboards, and complex optimization algorithms to enable more effective strategic and tactical decisions.  Efforts in these industries have evolved to the point where “real time” data analysis is the norm, and teams of PhD’s look for statistical models that can give a slight edge or cost reduction.  

Healthcare is far behind these other fields, but moving quickly to catch up.  At HIMSS, we saw many technology vendors with data analytics platforms and tools getting a lot of attention.  QlikView, Health Care Dataworks, and RemitData among many others are at the forefront in bringing these advanced products to the healthcare industry.  Using the California Gold Rush as an analogy, the guys selling the pickaxes and shovels are now in place.  Now the (data) miners need to use these tools to find the “gold” by improving patient care while reducing costs, increasing efficiency and finding new ways to streamline operations.  

Stay tuned, it should be fun to see how this new focus on data analytics impacts healthcare in the coming years.

Until Next Year!

HIMSS’12 was both informative and engaging. WebPT’s senior management team strives to stay current on topics in digital healthcare to keep our members well-informed, and ensure WebPT’s services to you truly meet the premier standard.