Acomprehensive focus on wellness begins long before our first caregiver interaction! The impacts felt throughout the entire healthcare community are real and significant, as business models shift, treatment plans change and consumers become more sophisticated, involved and independent.

Come together for three days in Chicago this October to collaborate, share research, hear fresh perspectives and discover the latest products and solutions in the healthcare design industry. Event Highlights include:

Allison Massari’s The Heart and Soul of Healthcare Keynote

Allison’s life-changing keynote addresses the delicate nature of the patient-provider experience, and will inspire, invigorate and fuel your passion for why you went into healthcare in the first place. Prepare to be taken on a journey. 

Read more: Visit the Expo

With the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion nationally, there are just not enough physicians to handle the patient load. In addition, in today’s healthcare marketplace, it sometimes seems as though payers – including private insurers and government programs – dictate how medical groups, accountable care organizations (ACOs) and even patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) operate.

It may appear that there are few opportunities to address the challenges of physician shortages, as well as organizational strategies, or even to personalize programs to meet unique marketplace needs. But there are. Taking back your destiny requires control of your opportunity. 

We have done just that at the American Health Network (AHN), a physician-owned group practice with over 70 offices and more than 280 providers throughout Indiana and central Ohio. AHN includes an accountable care organization (ACO), and as an organization, we embrace the ACO’s new healthcare pay-for-performance philosophy. We know if we perform the right way – in terms of quality patient care delivered consistently at reasonable cost – our practice will thrive, and each of us will benefit.

Read more: A Helping Hand

The emergence of smart phones, tablets and the many user-friendly “apps” has fundamentally changed society. Email is constantly at our fingertips, money can be transferred between accounts with the swipe of a finger, and health conditions can be diagnosed, monitored and potentially treated – all over the telephone.

The implications of medical apps on established regulatory frameworks for medical devices is staggering, and with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimating that as many as 1,000 new medical software products are sold for smart phones monthly, the issues will only increase. 

Healthcare industry estimates suggest that within the current year, approximately 500 million worldwide smart phone users will be using a medical app. Given that nearly 80 percent of physicians use smart phones in their practice, a substantial portion of this 500 million will be comprised of healthcare professionals. 

Read more: Technology

Patients entering hospitals for medical treatments and surgical procedures face the risk of potentially developing a life-threatening infection during their stay. Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) (infections acquired in healthcare settings) are the most frequent adverse events in healthcare.

A growing proportion of these infections are due to resistant pathogens such as methicillin–resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacilli that can survive for weeks on environmental surfaces. Although a number of initiatives have been implemented over the past decade to reduce HAIs, these initiatives are not enough. 

Read more: Protection

Despite what news accounts may lead you to believe, the biggest healthcare story of our generation may be one rooted in demographics, not new legislation. As the lifestyle requirements of patients and doctors have transformed to favor urban markets, rural hospitals are struggling to stay profitable. Desperate to survive, they are cutting care and closing or – increasingly – consolidating. 

The implications of this are wide-reaching, and not just for the 12 million Americans employed in the healthcare sector. The ability of a hospital or system to actualize itself is directly correlated to the quality of care it is able to provide. Flailing rural hospitals can’t provide the same care that more efficiently run systems can, which is driving patients away from their communities and amplifying the problem in a cycle that’s been spinning for years. This further validates physicians’ decisions to align with larger regional systems.

Read more: Hospital Consolidation

A physician recently told me, “Brian, I didn’t go to medical school to become a data-entry expert.” This feeling is the sad reality for most physicians. The arrival of electronic health records (EHRs) has caused most physicians to spend greater parts of their clinical days entering clerical data into computers – a task well below the value of their medical licenses. According to a 2013 study conducted by the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 44 percent of the average physician’s day is consumed by clerical data-entry tasks into EHRs.

The software is not the problem. In fact, EHRs have brought healthcare into the 21st century by helping to improve quality, care coordination and ultimately patient outcomes. Inefficiency is the real problem. Time is a physician’s most valuable (and limited) resource. So every minute spent documenting into EHRs is another lost minute with a patient.

Read more: Data Entry

Healthcare organizations that want to thrive in today’s fast-changing and highly competitive environment must embrace a new, more holistic approach to business intelligence. This approach goes beyond the data architecture, tools and systems that healthcare organizations use for advanced analytics. It is driven by the identification of key business needs and a business intelligence strategy that provides actionable information to move the business forward.

Read more: Defining Data

Post-election results have lifted a degree of uncertainty regarding the Affordable Care Act, and it is clear that payment reform is here to stay. Which means the need to transform patient care across the continuum has to be realized. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that, under the law, 32 million more Americans may have health coverage by 2014. The potential influx of millions of new customers requires healthcare providers to be prepared to meet the demand with a sensitivity to payor mix and cost reduction. Hospitals will need to consider providing a continuum of services. In addition, investing in information technologies, and enhancing internal and external communication strategies will be required in support of changing patient profiles, clinical staff workflow and community expectations.

Read more: Mapping Out Goals

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