Navigating Healthcare – Patient Safety and Personal Healthcare Management

Intuit in Healthcare – A Waking Giant?

Posted in EHR, Healthcare Technology, Personal Health by drnic on May 22, 2011

Intuit is well known in finance and the commercial world and an interesting article by Austin Merritt on Software Advice “Intuit Health: A Sleeping Giant with Big Potential” highlights the potential this company has in the healthcare space applying the principles so successfully used in their industry leading personal finance solutions (Quicken, Quickbooks, TurboTax etc). The strategy has been to offer highly competitive easy to use products that new businesses can use when starting out:

Intuit has muscled their way to significant market share in the retail, manufacturing, distribution, nonprofit, property management, and construction industries primarily through its QuickBooks product line. Companies in these industries adopt QuickBooks when they’re just starting out. As they grow, they ease into industry-specific packages from Intuit that replace, or integrate with, QuickBooks. The transition works nicely for Intuit and QuickBooks users. It creates headaches for their vertically-focused competitors.

The strategy has proven effective in getting companies bought into the Intuit family and while not large revenue generators there were additional add on services (Intuit payment services, Bill Pay etc). The methodology is being repeated in healthcare with “Quicken Health Expense Tracker”

that allows insurance companies to provide patients with a clear breakdown of what they pay and what the patients owe. Patients naturally then pay through Bill Pay. Cha-ching for Intuit.

But for this to be effective Intuit needs to pull in clinicians with integrated solution that would include an easy to use EMR. Intuit acquired MedFusion a good first step in delivering a practical solution to clinicians in desperate need an easy to use solution to help manage their office and their patients clinical information not just appointments, laboratory results and prescription refills.

The short list presented:

  • MediSoft / Lytec
  • Office Ally
  • HealthFusion / MediTouch
  • Practice Fusion
  • Kareo
  • AdvancedMD

And while it is impossible to present all the possible options given the long list of EMR vendors for what is currently their sweet spot of small practices my list would include eClincalWorks, Greenway and Sage to mention a few. While not meeting the proposed list of small companies there are some interesting opportunities for a big splash and really placing Intuit definitively in the healthcare space

I’ve passed comment on Intuit before as an interesting company to watch in the healthcare space. Their success will largely be determined by their ability to translate their simple easy to use concepts so successful in personal and company finance into the complex and challenging world of healthcare.

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Easy Way to Debunk Healthcare Myths

Posted in Healthcare Information, Myths, Preventative Healthcare by drnic on May 6, 2011

Excellent posting on FishBarrel tool that provides an easy way to report misleading claims online

FishBarrel: The easy way to report misleading health claims online
. As the author states:

With thousands of misleading health claims on the web and a report to the ASA taking around ten minutes, I’d regularly come across misleading claims but do nothing about them. So I built FishBarrel. FishBarrel is a plugin for Google Chrome that manages the process of making an ASA or Trading Standards complaint so that it takes just a few seconds. FishBarrel also tracks all text complained about in a central database. When you turn on FishBarrel, any text complained about by other users is automatically highlighted. This prevents you from submitting duplicate complaints to the ASA. Finally, FishBarrel can automatically revisit the websites later and check if the claims have been removed.

You can see a demo here

Save Money and Reduce Medical Errors

Posted in DrVoice, Health Reform, Quality of Care, Safety by drnic on May 6, 2011

and improve the quality of healthcare!
HealthImaging featured a report Medical errors cost U.S. $17 billion in 2008 which estimated that

This figure amounted to 0.72 percent of the $2.39 trillion spent on healthcare that year in the U.S.

The study identified the sources based on medical claims estimating:

564,000 inpatient injuries (1.5 percent of all inpatient admissions in the U.S.) and 1.8 million outpatient injuries (0.15 percent of the estimated outpatient encounters nationwide)

Given the landmark publication “To Err is Human” from the IOM from November 1999 that estimated at that time:

…total costs (in­cluding the expense of additional care necessitated by the errors, lost income and household productivity, and disability) of between $17 billion and $29 billion per year in hospitals nationwide.

the progress remains frustratingly poor more than 10 years on. There is a top 10 list featured in the latest research that accounted for 69% of the costs

  • Postoperative infections were the most costly error, ($3.3 billion)
  • Pressure ulcers ($3.2 billion)
  • Mechanical complications of noncardiac device implant or graft ($1 billion)
  • Postlaminectomy syndrome ($995 million)
  • Hemorrhage complicating a procedure ($678 million)
  • Infection due to central venous catheter ($589 million)
  • Pneumothorax (collapsed lung) ($569 million)
  • Infection following infusion, injection, transfusion or vaccination ($566 million)
  • Other complications of internal prosthetic device, implant and graft ($398 million
  • Ventral (abdominal) hernia without mention of obstruction or gangrene ($342 million)

The list serves as a focal point for healthcare professionals and patients that offer significant opportunity for improvement in both costs and quality of care. With the announcement of Accountable Care Act (ACO) on March 31 by HHS will further focus the healthcare system on removing errors and delivering a more complete and holistic approach to care. There has been much written about the ACO concept with many commentators suggesting that organizations and healthcare facilities are not ready for these changes. I would suggest that we can neither afford as providers nor accept as patients any delay in a move towards fully accountable care that focuses on on putting the doctors and patients in better control of their care and linking reimbursement to outcomes