Complete Claims Processing and Billing Solution

News

Here's where you can find out about what CHS is up to, what's coming in the future and events. Keep up to date with CHS happenings and find out what's on our calendar.

SIIA NATIONAL EDUCATION CONFERENCE AND EXPO

It is time for the 35th Annual SIIA National Educational Conference and Expo. Similar to previous years, Complete Health Systems will be exhibiting at the show, which will be held on October 18 - 20, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

Be sure to stop by booth #500, so we can show you how CHS can help improve how you manage self-insured programs.

RBS (REGULATORY BUDGET SENTINEL)

FDA PLACES FLEXIBLE REGULATIONS ON MEDICAL APP SOFTWARE

By: Nicola Heredia, CHS Marketing Coordinator

Implementation of the health care reform law has brought about many new regulations and guidelines that everyone from providers to insurance companies has to follow. As technology continues to become an integrated component of the medical field, the standard of how systems are regulated still remains to be seen.

Specially, medical applications and devices are a new form of communicating information and storing medical data. Many within the industry have criticized that there has not been any type of regulations of these technologies officially put in place, as of yet.

“From wearable sensors to simple tracking apps, more and more consumers are choosing to use technology to monitor their health and motivate them to engage in health-promoting activities,” reports the FDA Voice blog. “These products, which may count steps, calculate burned calories or record health rates and sleep cycles, all have the goal of helping individuals live a healthy lifestyle.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, which monitors the sale of medical devices, first released draft guidelines in 2011 on regulations of medical applications. Since then, there have been two more updates made, one in 2013 and the last one released January 2015, in an effort to clarify what type of technology is subject to these regulations.

“We are encouraged by the FDA’s well-balanced approach to nurturing innovation in mHealth [mobile health] while ensuring patient safety in their assessment programs,” said Dean Sawyer, Co-Founder and CEO of Sentrian, a remote patient intelligence company, in an article published in mHealth Intelligence. “The FDA’s decision enhances patients and care providers managing chronic conditions such as heart disease, complex diabetes and COPD.”

The FDA’s guidance defines the difference between a health or lifestyle app and a medical app or device.  The regulations do not extend to all types of mobile health technology. Instead, mobile health or telemedicine applications are not under the FDA’s jurisdiction since their intended use does not fit with the definition of a medical device.

According to MedDevice Online, the latest set of regulations divide the technologies up into three different categories to help identify what type of applications are regulated by the FDA.

  1. An app that directly controls a medical device, such as a pacemaker. The app is considered an accessory of the device.
  2. An app that essentially turns a mobile phone into a medical device due to the data it collects. Using a transducer to turn a mobile device into a stethoscope is one example.
  3. An app that performs patient analysis and helps to diagnose a patient based on specific symptoms they are displaying.  Some apps have the ability to read data and deliver a dosage plan for the patient.

The creation of medical applications have made it possible for patients to live a more normal life by allowing them to manage their medical issues in a non-traditional health care setting. The benefits of these applications are huge; however, experts believe that they need to be regulated in order to avoid significant mistakes from being made, which could be harmful to the patient.

In addition to placing regulations on software, there is a growing concern that medical device technology should have security requirements in order to protect the apps from facing a potential data breach. Security experts, such as Billy Rios, have reached out to the FDA and the Department of Homeland Security to bring more attention to this matter.

“Some of these pumps are really dangerous,” said Rios, California security expert, said in a KQED Science article. “If we ever gain access to a hospital network and we know of a vulnerability affecting a particular device, what that really means is we can go from one location and touch one hundred different devices all at once.”

The primary cause for concern is if an application is not secure enough, there is a risk that a hacker could compromise the system and adjust data or how the device operates. It may seem farfetched in thinking, but Former Vice President Dick Cheney had the wireless system in his pacemaker turned off in case of a situation like this.

“The reality is if they don’t [increase security] someone is going to die,” said Jamie Court, Consumer Watchdog president, in the KQED Science article. “Because it’s not safe. Someone will find a reason to change a counter on an insulin pump or take over a defibrillator just because they can.”

While the introduction of new technology provides a more convenient and accessible approach to medical care, it also creates new issues that the government must consider in an effort to keep patients safe.

The FDA is one entity that has had to evolve with technology and create new regulations based on the software being introduced into the industry. Although some may believe their approach has been lax, it has been the first attempt to create a set of guidelines for medical applications.

EVOLUTION IN TECHNOLOGY LEADING TO HEALTH CARE ADVANCEMENTS

By: Nicola Heredia, CHS Marketing Coordinator

The evolution of technology has allowed business models to change in a variety of industries. In particular, the medical field has seen major advancements that have allowed patients to become more engaged in their care, while also being able to deliver medical attention in new ways. 

As the health care world continues to change, there is more of an emphasis placed on the quality of the care being administered to patients in an effort to increase their level of satisfaction. Organizations have shifted their business models from focusing on a pay-for-service to a value-based system. 

Technology and Patients

Americans have a evolved into a society that demands data and expects information to be provided to them at an almost instant rate. Technology has allowed individuals to have more control and take a more active role in everything from managing their bank accounts in real time to even performing their own checkout at the grocery store.

"People are demanding health care to react similarly to other service industries, where people have a need and they want it relatively easy," said Nancy Gagliano, a primary care physician and chief medical officer for CVS Health MinuteClinic, in a Health IT Outcomes article. "The traditional health care system really is not adequate to support the need."

The health care industry has started to respond to this demand for an increase in service by providing tools to allow patients the ability to be more involved in their health.

More providers are offering a portal system to allow patients to track their medical records, schedule appointments and communicate with their doctor. Devices have been created that can monitor everything from chronic or severe health conditions to an individuals’ daily nutrition and fitness routine.

Technology has allowed patients to be more engaged in their health care, which experts anticipate will lead to greater motivation to develop their own personal wellness goals and monitor their progress.

IT Department Growth

As the landscape of the medical field changes, there is an increase in the demand for IT professionals who can help grow a physician’s practice or insurance company by ensuring that the technology they offer keeps them competitive in the marketplace and is collecting necessary data.

"It's becoming more for helping the organization achieve organizational and strategic goals, not just a business unit," said Shane Pitcher, vice president of Stoltenburg Consulting, in a US News article.

Many networks and companies are putting money into creating an internal IT department, knowing that these investments will pay off in the long run. According to experts, these departments have the ability to be profitable by being able to track information and create analytics that help executives make decision based on hard facts about their business.

Having employees that specializes in health IT is important in order to remain up to speed on the latest technology regulations put in place by the government, which are continuously changing. As patients become more engaged in their medical care and the industry as a whole shifts to a value-based model, all businesses must be able to step up and provide the necessary information and data that their potential customers are looking for.

Healthcare Delivery 

Uber is a transportation system that was developed to provide an alternative way to travel instead of going outside and catching a cab. Through an app or the website, users can locate the nearest Uber driver and request service without even stepping outside their door.

The biggest selling point of Uber is the convenience factor that it provides to their customers. The latest trend within health care is an Uber-type of medical service that is offered to individuals at their home. It is essentially combining technology with the practice of old-fashioned house calls to provide an invaluable service to patients.

"You essentially get the same person who would see you in the ER, with a lot of the same equipment, for a lot less money than you'd pay there," says Rick Lewis, fire chief and founder of True North, in Wall Street Journal article.

The industry has seen several start-up companies that offer an in-person visit from a doctor or nurse practitioner at a flat rate. Some companies charge additional if labs need to be done in order for an illness like strep to be diagnosed.

If a nurse is sent to a patient’s home, they may video conference in the doctor. Due to the improvement in medical devices, many can be transported to a patient’s home, making the visit as complete as if the individual was at the actual doctor’s office.

Although new, this trend seems to be growing in popularity. Technology has facilitated the growth in these start-ups, enabling patients to receive quality care from the comfort of their own home at a reasonable price.

As technology continues to grow, so will the advancements within the health care industry. Experts have seen a demand from patients to be more engaged and to have more access to everything from their doctor to their personal medical records. The future is bright for the potential improvements that can be made to the medical process by incorporating new technologies.

ARCHIVED NEWSLETTERS

2017

January | February | March | April

2016

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November

2015

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

2014

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

2013

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

2012

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December