Clever IT strategies best tough times

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The steep slide in the global economy in the last month has proven that there are far fewer than John Guare’s six degrees of separation dividing our fortunes. The turmoil of the roiling financial markets will affect healthcare, as well as every other sector of the economy, creating challenging times for providers.

Doing more with less, a cliché so shop-worn that clinical practitioners cringe at its utterance, threatens to become an even more stressful reality for medical care. However, clever solutions, particularly in healthcare IT, can mitigate the pain of fiscal cutbacks.

A group in England recently deployed a healthcare IT solution for oncologists and radiologists which enabled real-time collaboration between the specialties, using tools already present in their environment.

The team came up with a method that uses commonly available desktop software to allow radiologists and oncologists at multiple locations to consult with one another on delineating tumor volumes from diagnostic images. Their low-cost solution could potentially provide better quality patient care throughout the healthcare environment.

If you’re looking to bolster the healthcare IT capabilities of your practice, please stop by our Healthcare Tech Guide. We have listings for vendors, systems, services and white papers for a variety of products spanning the healthcare environment.

In our ongoing coverage of the ICD-10-CM code set conversion, a report from Nachimson Advisors could bolster the contention by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) that the Oct. 2011 deadline mandated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) is unworkable and expensive. Nachimson estimated the cost of new code set adoption at approximately $28,000 per physician in a practice, as well as a 34 percent workload increase, to meet CMS’ proposed deadline.

If you have a comment or report to share about the utilization of off-the-shelf software as healthcare IT solutions in your practice, or your plans for ICD-10-CM conversion, please contact me at the address below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jonathan Batchelor, Web Editor