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Dreamforce 2018 – More Healthcare Than Ever

Posted on September 25, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

The annual Dreamforce event starts today in San Francisco. This year, more time on the agenda has been dedicated to healthcare and life sciences highlighting Salesforce’s continued investment in these industries.

I have never been to Dreamforce, but every year I find myself enviously reading the tweets that fly past. There are always great quotes from the high-calibre keynote speakers and a lot of interesting talk about new technologies from attendees.

What I found noticeable about Dreamforce 2018,  #DF18, is the number of HealthIT companies that will be speaking and exhibiting at the event. I have seen more tweets and received more notices about companies participating at #DF18 than in any other year. Some of the Healthcare presenters this year include:

For the full list see this handy Dreamforce TrailMap for Healthcare and Life Sciences:

I remember when Salesforce first appeared at the annual HIMSS event. I spent a lot of time in their booth learning about their healthcare initiative. Back then their solution was focused exclusively on care coordination. Patients were entered as “customers” and health information from different source systems would flow into Salesforce. This data would be associated with the patient record and accessible to different members of the care team to help coordinate care. It was pretty rudimentary.

Company executives that I spoke to did not have answers to my questions about the future direction of their healthcare initiatives. They simply did not know. Fast forward to today and it seems clear that Salesforce is pursuing a healthcare strategy that is like what they have used in other industries – build a few apps on their own to prove it can be done, then be open to others building apps using Salesforce as the backbone and connective tissue.

Judging by the number of HealthIT companies that have chosen to partner with Salesforce, I would say the strategy is working.

“Our patient experience platform is built on the Salesforce platform,” explains Sunny Tara, Co-founder and CEO of CareCognitics. “EHRs are the operational systems for hospitals. They were well suited to replace healthcare’s fee for service billing system. However, as we move to a value-based system focused on improved care, hospitals need the power and personalization that comes from a true CRM system. What we have done is built a platform that bridges existing EHRs with advanced patient loyalty capabilities built on top of Force.com. Doctors and patients love it.”

“Our partnership with Salesforce and integration with Health Cloud is further proof of PointClickCare’s commitment to creating intelligent care coordination between health systems and post-acute providers,” says BJ Boyle, VP Product Management at PointClickCare. “With two-thirds of the skilled nursing market using PointClickCare, we’re uniquely positioned to help LTPAC providers across the country be great partners with health systems. Leveraging Salesforce’s Health Cloud offers us new and exciting ways to do this even more effectively.”

Over the next few days I will be watching for healthcare announcements and tweets from #DF18. I am hoping to see further proof that Salesforce is building an ecosystem of partners to help bring better personalization, interoperability and cloud capabilities to healthcare.

Health IT Consulting Demand To Explode This Year

Posted on August 24, 2018 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

As payment models shift from fee-for-service to value-based care, hospitals are having to adopt new technologies and tweak existing ones. The thing is, it takes a mighty team of IT pros to make all this happen. In some cases, a provider has enough resources to handle this kind of big transition, but most need some help, especially when they’re handling major infrastructure improvements or even switching out technologies.

This seems to be at least part of what’s driving a dramatic increase in spending on health IT consulting, according to a new study from Black Book Research. The study drew on input from 1,586 professionals with knowledge of the US health IT industry.

Black Book concluded that health IT management consulting spending has grown from $20 billion in 2016 to $45 billion last year. Not only that, the firm expects to see this number climb to nearly $53 billion for 2018. That’s a massive increase, particularly given that providers were already spending heavily on consultants as they beat their enterprise EHRs into shape.

According to the analyst firm, 64% of last year’s spending paid for implementation of software, information systems, systems integration and optimization and support for mergers and acquisitions. This summary covers a lot of ground, but it’s hardly surprising given the drastic changes underway.

Going forward, respondents expect three key forces to drive healthcare consulting spend, including a lack of highly-skilled IT professionals (cited by 81% of respondents), adoption of cloud technology in healthcare (74%) and growing industry digitalization (71%). (I’d also expect to see investment in new organizational infrastructures — for, let’s say, ACOs)  — will continue to increase in importance as well.)

Providers responding to the study said that they expect to hire health IT consultants for EHR and RCM system optimization (61%) and to offer expertise in software training and implementation (46%) next year. Other areas providers hope to address include value-based care (39%), cloud infrastructure (36%), compliance issues (33%) and a grab bag of big data, decision support and analytics projects (31%).

The vast majority of respondents (84%) said they expect to enter into a wide range of consulting agreements to include work with single-shop consultants, single freelancers, group purchasing organizations, HIT vendors, networks of freelancers, boutique advisory firms and traditional major consultancies, Black Book reported. In other words, it’s all hands on deck!

Healthcare Cloud Hosting with Chad Kissinger, Founder of OnRamp

Posted on November 8, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Cloud hosting is a reality in pretty much every healthcare organization. This is particularly true in hospitals that have hundreds of healthcare IT solutions with many of them being hosted in the cloud. While some are hosted in the health IT vendor’s cloud, I’m also seeing more and more hospitals looking to get out of the data center business and moving their various health IT software to a third party data center. I expect this trend will continue and we’ll eventually see hospitals who don’t have any onsite data center.

As the highly regulated healthcare IT world has moved to the cloud, I’ve seen data centers crop up that cater specifically to the needs of healthcare. One of those companies who’s focused on healthcare data center and cloud offerings is OnRamp. I recently sat down to interview Chad Kissinger, Founder of OnRamp, to learn more about their approach to healthcare cloud hosting and what makes healthcare hosting unique. I also talked with Chad about OnRamp’s recent HITRUST certification and what that means for healthcare providers and what OnRamp is doing to ensure security beyond the HITRUST certification. Plus, Chad offered some great insights into where he sees this all heading.

You can watch my full video interview with OnRamp CEO, Chad Kissinger, embedded at the bottom of this blog post, or click on any of the links below to skip to the sections of the interview that interest you most:

Be sure to Subscribe to Healthcare Scene on YouTube and check out all of our Healthcare IT video interviews and content.

Full Disclosure: OnRamp is a proud sponsor of Healthcare Scene.

Cloud – Biggest Health IT Myths

Posted on June 7, 2017 I Written By

David Chou is the Vice President / Chief Information & Digital Officer for Children’s Mercy Kansas City. Children’s Mercy is the only free-standing children's hospital between St. Louis and Denver and provide comprehensive care for patients from birth to 21. They are consistently ranked among the leading children's hospitals in the nation and were the first hospital in Missouri or Kansas to earn the prestigious Magnet designation for excellence in patient care from the American Nurses Credentialing Center Prior to Children’s Mercy David held the CIO position at University of Mississippi Medical Center, the state’s only academic health science center. David also served as senior director of IT operations at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and CIO at AHMC Healthcare in California. His work has been recognized by several publications, and he has been interviewed by a number of media outlets. David is also one of the most mentioned CIOs on social media, and is an active member of both CHIME and HIMSS. Subscribe to David's latest CXO Scene posts here and follow me at Twitter Facebook.

If you like CXO scene, you can subscribe to future Health Care CXO Scene posts here or read through the CXO Scene archive.

So many companies are now embracing the reduced costs and agility that come with moving their data to the cloud. However, there are still so many contradictory opinions regarding which is a safer way of storing company data – on-premise storage or cloud storage? In view of this, we are going to start by dispelling the biggest IT myths that are making their rounds on the internet.

By moving your data to the cloud, you will have zero control over your technology

The fact is that by moving your data to the cloud, you can meaningfully reduce the pains and resources spent to continually upgrade software and maintain hardware. Your IT personnel can now focus on the primary business by improving operations instead of focusing on ‘Mr. Fix it’ services. Instead of a company spending a bigger chunk of its budget on expensive servers for workload and email storage, adopting the cloud can help them focus on their business strategy and support their core business in a more flexible and dynamic fashion that allows for quick responses to situations.

Storing data on premise is way safer than cloud storage

Security is principal for any business. A security breach could not only sell your trading secrets to your competitors, but it could potentially bring down your entire site and cause you to lose a lot of revenue and customer trust. It’s therefore a no brainer that the security of your business is one of the greatest concerns, especially when considering cloud storage.

With technology evolving every passing day, security has transformed into a full-time job that requires a full team of security professionals who often command handsome salaries that many businesses can’t afford. By working with a reputable cloud-based company, you get to gain first class access to one of the best security any money can buy for your business.

Cloud storage offers security against both digital and physical attacks. Additionally, most of today’s tech providers have moved to the cloud meaning we are going to see more and more innovations happening in the cloud, and you don’t want your business left out.

One thing that most people who are so against the cloud don’t consider is the fact people are the greatest security weakness of all. Every security breach is instigated by a person, and the good thing about the cloud is that it uses the latest technological developments to eliminate the need for people to man the security system.

You won’t be able to monitor your data’s sovereignty once you move to the cloud

Legally speaking, the physical location of your company can command where your business data is going to be held. For example, all public companies in Europe are required by law to store their corporate data in the European Union. This is not something that you need to worry about concerning the cloud. Most cloud providers today offer a vast range of data locations meaning you can always access one no matter where your company is located. Though sovereignty shouldn’t be any problem for you, you need to do your due diligence to ensure you remain on the right side of the law.

Moving to the cloud means you are going to have to move everything which could be very disruptive

When you start seriously considering moving vast amounts of your company’s data to the cloud, it’s easy to see why you could see it as a challenge. However, as with any change you are ever going to make in your company, you should take it slow to ensure you understand how the cloud truly works. Additionally, you and your employees will still feel like you are in control especially if you are so used to network based storage.

Now that we’ve got the myths dispelled, it’s time to seriously consider moving to the cloud. While on-premise storage is still a common phenomenon in most business, it’s not easy to ignore the fact that it is labor intensive, costly, uses a lot of energy and there’ still a chance that an insider can breach your security.

Cloud storage spells out so many more benefits aside from security. Time for you to keep up with the trend and move to the cloud.  I love it when I hear the traditional IT leader defend the position on why they want to build infrastructure and a data center, I guess the key phrase for them is Career Is Over (AKA CIO).

If you’d like to receive future health care C-Level executive posts by David in your inbox, you can subscribe to future Health Care CXO Scene posts here.

Key Big Data Challenges Providers Must Face

Posted on July 17, 2015 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Everybody likes to talk about the promise of big data, but managing it is another story. Taming big data will take new strategies and new IT skills, neither of which are a no-brainer, according to new research by the BPI Network.

While BPI Network has identified seven big data pain points, I’d argue that they boil down to just a few key issues:

* Data storage and management:  While providers may prefer to host their massive data stores in-house, this approach is beginning to wear out, at least as the only strategy in town. Over time, hospitals have begun moving to cloud-based solutions, at least in hybrid models offloading some of their data. As they cautiously explore outsourcing some of their data management and storage, meanwhile, they have to make sure that they have security locked down well enough to comply with HIPAA and repel hackers.

Staffing:  Health IT leaders may need to look for a new breed of IT hire, as the skills associated with running datacenters have shifted to the application level rather than data transmission and security levels. And this has changed hiring patterns in many IT shops. When BPI queried IT leaders, 41% said they’d be looking for application development pros, compared with 24% seeking security skills. Ultimately, health IT departments will need staffers with a different mindset than those who maintained datasets over the long term, as these days providers need IT teams that solve emerging problems.

Data and application availability: Health IT execs may finally be comfortable moving at least some of their data into the cloud, probably because they’ve come to believe that their cloud vendor offers good enough security to meet regulatory requirements. But that’s only a part of what they need to consider. Whether their data is based in the cloud or in a data center, health IT departments need to be sure they can offer high data availability, even if a datacenter is destroyed. What’s more, they also need to offer very high availability to EMRs and other clinical data-wrangling apps, something that gets even more complicated if the app is hosted in the cloud.

Now, the reality is that these problems aren’t big issues for every provider just yet. In fact, according to an analysis by KPMG, only 10% of providers are currently using big data to its fullest potential. The 271 healthcare professionals surveyed by KPMG said that there were several major barriers to leveraging big data in their organization, including having unstandardized data in silos (37%), lacking the right technology infrastructure (17%) and failing to have data and analytics experts on board (15%).  Perhaps due to these roadblocks, a full 21% of healthcare respondents had no data analytics initiatives in place yet, though they were at the planning stages.

Still, it’s good to look at the obstacles health IT departments will face when they do take on more advanced data management and analytics efforts. After all, while ensuring high data and app availability, stocking the IT department with the right skillsets and implementing a wise data management strategy aren’t trivial, they’re doable for CIOs that plan ahead. And it’s not as if health leaders have a choice. Going from maintaining an enterprise data warehouse to leveraging health data analytics may be challenging, but it’s critical to make it happen.

Over-hyped and Under-Delivered Tech According to Hospital CIOs

Posted on March 10, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.


This is an interesting list:
#BigData
#EHR
#Cloud
#GoogleGlass
#ACO

When you think about the future of health IT, all of these except for Google Glass are guaranteed to be a major role in health IT. The use of data in healthcare is not going anywhere. EHRs will be the foundation of health IT for a long time to come. The move to cloud computing is happening everywhere in healthcare. ACOs are heading are way and I see nothing that will do anything to stop them. Google glass is the only thing on the list that might fizzle, but what Google glass represents (always on, always connected computing) won’t go anywhere.

Does health IT have a PR image issue?

Technologies Hospital Leaders Should Watch

Posted on March 29, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Courtesy of non-profit research house the ECRI Institute, here’s some of technologies that they believe hospital C-suite execs should be watching this year. This list was generated by ECRI’s in-house analysts, reports HealthLeaders. Not all of these are directly related to EMR/EHR technology, but we’ve included a few that might be of interest on the broader HIT level.

* Electronic Health Records: This is so obvious it hardly bears mentioning, but yes, EHRs are number one on the list. ECRI notes that execs should beware of possible patient harm in the effort to achieve Meaningful Use, as some HIT-related errors are emerging that can lead to serious care issues.

mHealth:  Mobile applications are becoming an increasingly commonplace part of health IT infrastructure, but managing them effectively isn’t as simple as download-install-use.  This is likely to be the year hospitals need to get it right.

Alarm Integration Technology:  Alarm fatigue has been and continues to be a major issue for clinicians, with some critical care docs experiencing 350 alarms  per patient per day.  Increasingly, alarm integration systems are being implemented which send alerts to phones or pages, leading to more controllable alerts and quieter environments.

Imaging and Surgery:  ORs are increasingly hosting full-scale angiography systems to help guide high-risk minimally invasive surgery, as well as guiding combined open and minimally invasive surgery and verifying successful surgical completion. These hybrid ORs are expensive but have arguably improved results.

* PET/MR:  The PET/MR scanner is beginning to emerge as a new mainstay in oncology, improving on the results delivered for years by the hybrid PET/CR. The PET/MR offers greater detail, helping physicians detect cancers and tumors.

I would have expected to see something on the data analytics technology front to appear this year, but it was absent from the list. I might also have expected to see cloud solutions turn up, but again, not this year.  What technologies would you add to this list?

Healthcare Cloud Spending Slated For Major Growth

Posted on October 30, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Hospitals may still be ambivalent about using the cloud for clinical data transport, but attitudes are likely to undergo a major change over the next few years, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. The firm projects that the healthcare cloud market will expand by about 20.5 percent per year over the next five years, hitting $5.4 billion by 2017.

Right now, healthcare cloud spending has hit roughly $1.8 billion, which represents penetration of four percent, MarketsandMarkets found.  That’s just a drop in the bucket, particularly given the big competitors who are aiming their guns at the healthcare cloud market today. (Other estimates put healthcare cloud penetration at 16.5 percent of the marketplace, still a small number though meaningfully larger than MarketsandMarkets’ number.)

As our sister site EMRandHIPAA.com previously noted, Verizon’s Enterprise Solutions division is offering five “healthcare-enabled” services, including colocation, managed hosting, enterprise cloud, an “enterprise cloud express edition” and enterprise cloud private edition. Verizon hopes to capture healthcare IT managers who are worried not only about HIPAA-secure clinical data transport, but also HIPAA-appropriate data protection on site, as it’s training hosting workers to be HIPAA-ready.

Another set of deep pocketed healthcare cloud vendors are AT&T and IBM, who are partnering to capture what they deem to be a $14 billion healthcare cloud market.  Under the terms of an agreement announced in early October, IBM will provide data storage facilities and services, while AT&T will provide the network.

What could possibly hold back the advance of such giants?  Well, a number of issues, MarketsandMarkets notes. While vendors large and small may promise to be compliant with healthcare regs, healthcare data is challenging to manage, given that it requires special security, confidentiality, availability to authorized users, traceability of access, reversibility of data and long-term preservation.

My guess is that hospitals will respond to the efforts of vendors to attract cloud business, but that the market for public cloud services in particular won’t shoot upward as MarketsandMarkets predicts, as there’s just too many things that worry CIOs.  How about you, readers?