The Medicus Firm released its annual placement data which represents hundreds of physician hires and provider placements nationwide. Each year this physician placement summary helps to illustrate new and ongoing trends in physician recruiting and healthcare in the United States.
Top trends for the year (2013) include:
■Primary care remains a dominant need, as it has been for the past few years, with 36 percent of placements coming from primary care, and two of the top three specialties placed were family practice and internal medicine.
■The percentage of female physicians placed continued to increase, from 26.24 percent in 2010 to 38.6 percent in 2013.
■A trending increase in doctors of osteopathic medicine, from 6.25 percent in 2010, to 8.75 percent in 2013.
HIMSS published the results of the 25th Annual 2014 HIMSS Leadership Survey, which highlights the journey of health IT over the past 25 years. The survey examines topics important healthcare leaders including IT priorities, issues driving and challenging technology adoption and IT security.
One of the most notable findings from this year’s survey concerns the perceived impact financial resources are having on IT implementations. While a majority of the survey participants (65 percent) reported IT budget increases – which is likely a contributing factor to the transition to a paperless environment—a lack of adequate financial resources now tops the list of barriers to successful IT implementation. This is a shift from the past two years when the primary IT challenge was insufficient and untrained staffing resources.
As with previous years, this year’s Survey continues to explore the progression of healthcare organizations from paper-based systems to a near paperless environment where medical data is fluidly and securely shared between providers. This year’s respondents suggest that government efforts to encourage providers to adopt health IT initiatives across the country – such as Meaningful Use (MU) – have been successful. For example:
•Over 90 percent of survey respondents have already qualified for Stage 1 Meaningful Use;
•Approximately three-quarters expect to qualify for Stage 2 in 2014; and
•Nearly all respondents expect to complete their conversion to ICD-10 by October 2014.
HIMSS Analytics recently published the results of the 3rd Annual HIMSS Analytics Mobile Survey, examining the use of mobile devices in provider patient care improvement initiatives.
For the first time this year, the survey questions were modified to closely align with the six areas of the mHIMSS Roadmap, a strategic framework for providers to implement mobile and wireless technologies.
The Roadmap sections encompass key areas of consideration healthcare organizations should focus on when developing and implementing a mobile strategy within a healthcare organization: New Care Models, Technology, ROI/Payment, Legal & Policy, Standards & Interoperability and Privacy & Security.
The survey findings offer examples of the progress made and hurdles that providers face when integrating mobile technologies into their facilities to improve patient care. Respondents indicated that the top benefit to having mobile technologies in their facilities was increased access to patient information and the ability to view data from a remote location. Funding limitations topped the list for barriers. Many providers are also still early in their adoption and implementation of mobile technology. For example, 69 percent use a mobile device to view patient information while only a third (36 percent) use mobile technologies to collect data at the bedside.
The HealthShare Exchange of Southeastern Pennsylvania was recently launched as Philadelphia area hospitals and health insurers begin the process of transferring patient data from one health care system to another, CBSPhilly reported.
The plan is to eventually expand the program to other Philadelphia hospitals, and Penn Medicine Vice President and CIO Michael Restuccia says it could literally be a lifesaver.
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and 47 other health care provider organizations called for additional time and flexibility in the Meaningful Use program to ensure its continued success.
While underscoring the Meaningful Use program’s invaluable role in advancing technology adoption among hospitals and physicians, the letter states that strict adherence to current program requirements endangers overall success of the EHR program, disrupts providers’ health care operations and potentially jeopardizes patient safety.
“Given that we have just celebrated the anniversary of HITECH, we can look back at the last five years with great pride and take stock of how far we’ve come – as an industry and as a nation,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell FCHIME, CHCIO. “But we must look ahead and recognize the immense work in front of us. Now is the time to make much-needed course corrections to ensure that we continue this success well past HITECH’s tenth anniversary.”
The letter reiterates many points made by several organizations dating back to May 2013, including letters from CHIME; the American Hospital Association (AHA); the American Medical Association (AMA); the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA); the American College of Physicians (ACP); the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP); and the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).
The latest letter, the first to be issued jointly by more than 40 organizations, comes in response to concerns that the nation’s 5,000 hospitals and 550,000 eligible professionals must adopt the latest certified versions of electronic health records and meet more difficult program requirements to remain in compliance with the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Program. Hospitals only have until July to adopt, implement, test and train staff to meet either Stage 1 or Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements in 2014. Eligible professionals have until October to begin collecting data to attest to meeting program requirements.
“Failure to do so will not only result in a loss of incentive payments, but also the imposition of significant penalties,” the letter states, adding that, “it is clear the pace and scope of change have outstripped the ability of vendors to support providers.
“Providers need adequate time to learn how to use the newly deployed technology,” the letter said, noting that implementing EHRs has wide implications for staffing, workflow and care delivery practices. “If providers move forward, as dictated by the current policy, our concerns regarding rushed implementations are heightened. Furthermore, we believe that an ‘all or nothing’ approach – where missing a single objective by even a small amount results in failure for the program year – compounds our concerns.”
The current structure of the system essentially leaves providers with two options, said Branzell. “Providers will either abandon any hope of meeting Meaningful Use criteria this year, or they’ll be forced to implement a system more rapidly than they would otherwise. The first option works against everything the federal program has sought to achieve over the first two years, while the second option is inefficient and endangers patient safety.”
The letter seeks an extension through 2015 for providers to implement 2014 Edition Certified EHR software, and meet program requirements for either Stage 1 or Stage 2. It also requests flexibility in the scorecard used to assess completion of meaningful use requirements to enable as many providers as possible to successfully meet program requirements.
CHIME Board Chairman Randy McCleese FCHIME, CHCIO, Vice President of IS and CIO at St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Kentucky, noted that providers will begin to see penalties – reductions in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements – beginning in 2014 if they don not meet program requirements. “The country won’t be able to achieve important health reform efforts without support from information systems, and given current obstacles faced by providers in implementing this crucial technology, we must make a substantive course correction,” he said.
IDC Health Insights announced the availability of a new IDC MarketScape report, “IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Life Science R&D Strategic Consulting Services 2013 Vendor Assessment,” (Document # HI246518), the final report of a three-part life science R&D IDC MarketScape series. The new report seeks to compare major service providers with each other, based on criteria that should be important to life science companies when considering the selection of a strategic consulting partner to help provide guidance for strategic, operational, and tactical transformation issues within the R&D space. Vendors evaluated in this report include: Accenture, Boston Consulting Group (BCG),Cognizant Technology, Solutions, Deloitte, HCL Technologies, IBM, iGate, Indegene, Infosys, L&T Infotech, McKinsey, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Syntel and Tech Mahindra.
Of the estimated $14 billion worldwide IT outsourcing life science services market, strategic consulting in the R&D space is expected to contribute almost $1.4 billion in 2013. When combined with BPO and strategic consulting services, IDC Health Insights expects that the total IT services market will continue to grow at double digit rates over the next five years, with an average annual growth rate of 12%. Strategic consulting services cover the entire life science R&D value chain with offerings ranging from drug discovery to clinical drug development to drug safety to regulatory compliance and beyond. These services are increasing and expanding in importance as the life science companies transform themselves in pursuit of long term sustainability.
According to Alan Louie, Ph.D., research director of IDC Health Insights’ clinical development, technology, and strategy research, “As part of the ongoing industry transformation, strategic consulting in the life sciences is continuing to grow rapidly as companies seek to smooth transitions and optimize operational and business performance, with a hope of regaining long term sustainability. In combination with BPO and ITO efforts, effective use of external resources is becoming a critical component of life science corporate strategies for success. The selection of optimal partners to develop and help execute these increasingly externalized complex business strategies will contribute significantly to a company’s success in the future.”
With BPO, IT outsourcing, and external partnerships and collaborations increasingly the norm, strategic consulting services are evolving to incorporate new business best practices and expanding organizational footprints, while concurrently optimizing both cost and organizational agility. While some general pressures exist for life science companies to consolidate their vendor ecosystem into a limited number of preferred providers, the high profile nature of strategic consulting has limited consolidation efforts in this area. Where appropriate, leading IT service providers are actively and aggressively working to expand their offerings to include strategic consulting capabilities, typically in areas adjacent to vendor service strengths.
According to IDC Health Insights, key attributes that life science companies are looking for in their service providers include:
Deep, life science industry and/or technology-specific knowledge (where appropriate) in the area of interest
Practical understanding of application, platform, framework, and infrastructure best practices where needed
Operational experience in the area of interest, as appropriate
Understanding of the life science business at both company and tactical levels
Access to industry-adjacent best practice knowledge, where appropriate
Ability to deliver both strategic guidance and direct implementation support for the project of interest
Strong reference-able clients
At the next level, additional factors that life science companies may consider during their vendor selection include:
The ability to work effectively with multiple stakeholders (including competing service providers) to drive transformation initiatives regardless of organizational boundaries
Internal agreement on the relative importance of quality versus cost in the selection of the service provider
The ability to deliver a unified service capability over multiple service or geographical areas
The potential to seamlessly expand services delivered across BPO, ITO, and strategic consulting as part of preferred vendor relationships
Compatible corporate cultures
Historic corporate relationships that could impact vendor selection
Over the near term, IDC Health Insights expects that the use of external services will continue to grow as organizations seek to navigate through increasingly complex global, regulatory, and operational ecosystems. Leading vendors, as preferred partners who understand their sponsor’s business almost as well as their sponsors and have the capacity to deliver superior services, will be key to helping their clients succeed, both now and in the future.
TechVoice, the grass roots advocacy network partnership between CompTIA, TECNA and participating state technology councils, issued the following statement regarding the Obama administration’s executive actions on patent reform. The statement came from Elizabeth Hyman, vice president, public advocacy, CompTIA.
“The administration’s push to combat litigious patent trolls is a welcome step forward in protecting small and medium-sized businesses from abusive patent litigation. These executive orders come at the heels of our third annual 2014 TechVoice DC Fly-In last week organized by CompTIA and TECNA where more than 100 leaders from small and medium-sized technology companies, representing 26 states, gathered in the nation’s capital urging support of patent reform.
“Patent trolls are a significant problem for small businesses. The costs associated with abusive patent litigation are a considerable burden for small and medium-sized IT businesses trying to get on their feet and compete within a $3.2 trillion global industry.
“While the administration’s efforts to improve America’s patent system and protect honest innovators are appreciated, timely legislation is still needed. We will continue to work with Senate leaders and staff, particularly on the issue of demand letters sent by patent assertion entities (PAEs).”