Archive for August, 2016

Pros and Cons of Telehealth Visits

Posted by Julia Foster on August 26, 2016 in Blog, News

Pros and Cons of Telehealth Visits

 

Telehealth Visits

In a society where it can be hard to find a spare minute, going to the doctor is sometimes put on the back burner. However, over the past few years telehealth visits, also referred to as eVisits, have become increasingly more popular. These visits, which are conducted via video chat, offer everything a regular office visit would including a full assessment and the prescribing of medication, if needed. Because these visits are conducted over video chat, people are able to see their doctor whenever and wherever they need.

Some major health systems, such as Cleveland Clinic are offering telehealth visits as a side option, but there are also companies, such as Doctor On Demand, whose sole dedication is providing telehealth visits for patients who cannot get into see their regular doctor. Telehealth visits, like all new things, come with pros and cons:

 

Pros

Convenient

Seeing a doctor virtually allows patients to see their doctor anywhere, which can be a huge time saver for both the patients and the providers. It allows patients to see their doctors without having to deal with the trouble of commuting to the office and waiting for the doctor to be available. This is ideal for people who are often pressed for time, or who just aren’t feeling well and don’t feel like going out. Also great for parents with sick a sick child or children because pulling a sick kiddo out of bed is never fun.

Keeps simple colds and flus out of the office

Many times a provider can easily diagnose a simple illness, such as a seasonal cold or flu, via video with no problem. Keeping patients with minor (and contagious) illnesses out of the office gives providers more time to see patients whose issues can only be taken care of in-person. Keeping contagious patients at home also keeps them from spreading germs around the office, which is not only a great benefit for other patients, but staff members as well. Plus, who wants to leave their house when battling a cold or the flu.

Cheaper for patients and provider

Seeing patients virtually means that there is no need for the cost of a facility. Many eVisits are a flat fee of around $40 per visit with no coverage and if the patient’s insurance carrier does provide coverage for eVisits, then they just pay their normal copay. This method also allows for a much simpler billing method since the patient knows up front what they will be paying, and the bill can be easily paid online.

Rural area patients

Patients is rural areas often times do not have access to the same quality of care as patients who live in urban areas. Seeing a doctor via video means that the doctor can be physically located anywhere, so patients can see highly rated primary care physicians or specialists that they did not have access to due to location.

 

Cons

Not as personable

Seeing a physician over video chat vs in-person leads to some physical limitations such as touch and non-verbal cues. So, if the provider does not feel they can adequately asses the patient via a telehealth visit, they will need to refer them to be seen in-person.

Reliability of technology

As with all forms of technology, there are sometimes glitches. Technical difficulties, such as sound or video not working properly, can disrupt a telehealth visit. There are also some security concerns since the visit is done over the computer.

Not always covered by insurance
While the overall cost of the visit is cheaper, many insurance companies still do not fully cover telehealth visits. Because of this, many patients still opt for seeing their provider in person even when it’s not necessary because there is a lower out-of-pocket fee.

 

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3 Tips to Stay Productive While Working From Home

Posted by Amanda Harner on August 8, 2016 in Blog, News

Setting You up for Success- Working from home

3 Tips and Tricks to Keep You Productive and Motivated While Working at Home.

 

Working from home definitely has its perks, just to name a few, no commute, no dress code and it can keep you close to family, but many remote professionals find staying productive and motivated is their biggest obstacle.  Here are 3 tips and tricks to help you stay productive and motivated, while enjoying all the benefits of working from home:

 

  1. Dress for Success

By no means are we suggesting you should wake up each morning and dress in formal attire.  What we are suggesting is, not to roll out of bed and just start working.   Work from home employees find they feel more productive and motivated when they get ready for the day.  “[Getting dressed] is important because it sets the mindset that I’m in a place of business and I am professional” explains Claude Delgado, remote worker and founder of D Graphic Solutions.  When you are dressed and prepared for the day you are more likely to handle work matters in a professional manner.

 

  1. Designate Yourself a Work Area

Somewhere in your home you should have an area that is exclusively for working.  This will help you keep your work life separate from your personal life and vice versa.  Your work space should be located away from any commotion or distractions.  This area should be somewhere you want to be.  Invest in a comfy desk chair, nice lighting or some personal décor; having a space you enjoy being in will help keep you motivated and productive throughout your work day.

 

  1. Avoid Distraction

Working in an office sets boundaries and gives less opportunities for personal distractions.  When working from home you have to take extra steps to stay focused and avoid distractions. The best way to do this is by pretending you are not home.  When you are working pretend you are away from your home.  Do not answer the door or the phone, don’t do any household chores and try to avoid running personal errands.  At times, this is easier said than done, especially if you have children and/or other family members in the home.  One way to deal with distractions from family members and/or children is to create some type of signal to put outside your work area.  This signal tells family members when it is okay and when it is not okay for them to interrupt you.  Computers also create distractions, to avoid computer distractions you may want to install browser plug-ins that block certain websites that may get you sidetracked.

End of July 2016 Cyber Security Summary

Posted by Amanda Harner on August 4, 2016 in Blog, News

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What has happened since the beginning of the year?

There have been 572 breaches in 2016 so far, 171 of which have been in the healthcare field. A total of 13,491,597 records have been compromised and the year is only half over!

 

What has happened in July:

Throughout July there were 18 data breaches in the healthcare field consisting of almost 100,000 Compromised records. This accounts for around 33% of the data breaches in July. Some notable breached this month include:

 

Twitter Hacker

A Urology group based out of Ohio was hacked by a cybercriminal based out of the Ukraine. The hacker, who revealed himself on twitter, said that the purpose of the hack was for “political reasons.” The majority of information stolen was related to billing, however some personal information stolen was posted (in picture format) on the twitter account. Most of the stolen data was revealed to be from unprotected excel documents that contained large amounts of information regarding patient’s surgeries.

 

The Darknet

There was a series of related hacks at different healthcare systems, which included an orthopedic group that reported 29,000 records compromised.  The hacker who operates under the name “TheDarkOverlord” compromised records consisting of patient health information including, names, dates of birth, addresses, social security numbers, diagnoses, lab results, medical records and financial information. The information was found to be for sale on TheRealDeal, which is a darknet website, although it is unclear whether any of the information was actually sold or not.

 

Ransomware

An Arkansas surgery center fell victim to a data breach in June (the breach was not made public until July). This breach was a ransomware attack. The installed ransomware did not allow the healthcare providers to access their patient’s records until a ransom was paid. However, the surgery center had a full back up of all patient’s records, so the hackers did not receive any money. In most cases, these types of hacks are not used to access patient’s records, but to receive a payment in the form of ransom.  The investigation is still ongoing to ensure patient information is not being exposed.

 

The Largest Attack in a String of Attacks

A healthcare system in Arizona has discovered 2 cyberattacks leaving 4,000,000 records compromised. The hackers accessed both patient records and payment card recods of food and beverage customers. This is the largest attack in a string of 32 recent attacks on healthsystems in Arizona.

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