Beyond “To Close Or Not To Close” Rural Hospitals

There’s not only a health gap widening between urban and rural areas, but also a growing gap between the way systems of health work in different areas of the country.

from Health Affairs Blog

About 60 million Americans live in rural areas. And almost every health statistic shows they’re falling behind their fellow Americans who live in urban areas. Rural residents are less likely to have health insurance coverage through a job, have lower incomes, and have higher rates of death from heart disease and stroke.

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Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Medicaid Expansion Results in More Emergency Room Trips; Fewer Patients Uninsured

Hospitals have seen reductions in uncompensated care and overall improved financial performance.

from HealthcareFinance

Emergency room visits ticked up in states that expanded their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, and concurrently, payer mixes changed, with more of those patients having insurance, according to a new study from the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

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Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Health Care Information on the Cloud—or Anywhere. Is It Really Safe?

Why is it even on the cloud? If it is unsafe, can it be made safe? What can I, as a business owner or business manager, do about it?

by Jerry Adcock

The short answer is that all depends on the people that host the data, access the data, and that own the data. The long answer is a little more complicated. Why the concern, though? Why is it even on the cloud? If it is unsafe, can it be made safe? What can I, as a business owner or business manager, do about it? Those questions and more will be answered in a 3-part series.

First, why this is a concern? Health information contains an incredible amount of personal and confidential information. It typically contains the patient’s social security number, address, phone, email, insurance provider, and medical history including a detailed history of office visits, lab tests and prescriptions. This is a treasure trove of information. And it’s all kept in one place, along with thousands, tens of thousands, or even millions of other health records. With this kind of information, an identity thief can make a lot of money with very little effort. Additionally, with all this info in one place, it becomes a single point of failure.

That single point of failure is a huge concern for healthcare companies. An attack on that sensitive data might come through a poorly configured firewall, an email embedded with malware, like ransom ware, or through careless or even negligent employees accidentally browsing to a nefarious web site. That gold mine of information is then put at risk with one single entry point: perhaps an employee clicks on a link from Apple that states a purchase has been refunded to their account and ransomware is launched, encrypting their entire hard drive. The medical facility is then faced with a choice: take the chance that they can somehow quickly restore the integrity and availability of the data, or pay the ransom and avoid any potential litigation arising from not being able to access patient information.

But that begs another question: Why is our data even on the cloud? Shouldn’t it be in the hands of the medical facilities that own the data? Wouldn’t it be safer there? There are a lot of factors that have driven data to the cloud, but probably the two most significant are economy of scale, and cost.

With data in the cloud a medical facility can rapidly increase their computing power, storage, or ability to electronically service patents for a small monthly fee, instead of doling out thousands of dollars on new servers and the accompanying infrastructure. Flip a switch, metaphorically speaking, and the new systems are online. On-site IT staffing requirements can be reduced, instead of always trying to keep up with the latest and greatest software and hardware, that cost is largely offloaded to the hosting company. And with the right platform, patient data can also be mined for meaningful patterns to help predict trends and direct business decisions. Health information can be sanitized, stripping it of all personal identifiable information and then sold to a research college, research company, or a marketing company.

The data mining possibilities are staggering. Imagine local hospitals being able to pool their resources and react, within hours, to a significant health concern based on current and historical data. With much more primitive tools, this is exactly what Dr. John Snow did with Cholera in 1854 in London.

Does it not make sense why so much of our health information is computerized and why so much of the computerized data is kept in the cloud? Which brings us to our main question is it really safe on the cloud? More on that later.


Jerry Adcock is a freelance writer with 20 years of embedded systems engineering experience.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

As Telemedicine Grows up, It Needs Some Ground Rules

Telemedicine has been hampered by its inability to craft clinical guidelines.

from Healthcare Dive

Telemedicine is a booming sector of the healthcare industry: Investments are ramping up as health systems fine-tune their EHRs, explore remote patient monitoring and look toward population health management. But with this growth comes a need for guidance and regulation. Nearly everyone agrees this is necessary, but issues — including a lack of data, interoperability problems and segmented interests — present obstacles.

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Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

High-end, High-cost Concierge Medicine for America’s Wealthiest Widens Healthcare Divide

Ultra-elite concierge practices say business is booming.

from FierceHealthcare

As millions of Americans struggle to pay their medical bills and worry that they may lose insurance coverage if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, many of the wealthiest in the nation receive five-star treatment from doctors and hospitals if they are willing to fork over a five-figure annual fee. And apparently, they are more than willing. Ultra-elite concierge practices say business is booming.

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Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

As AI Spreads Through Healthcare, Ethical Questions Arise

As AI Spreads Through Healthcare, Ethical Questions Arise

from HealthcareITNews

As U.S. hospitals work to transform their IT infrastructure, workflows and data management processes, an impressive number of them are doing with the help of artificial intelligence, a new report from Infosys shows. That demands awareness around new staffing and training processes.

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Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

How Your Hospital Can Better Connect with Patients

One of the most important ways to succeed as a hospital is to connect with the patients who receive care at the facility.

by Eileen O’Shanassy

One of the most important ways to succeed as a hospital is to connect with the patients who receive care at the facility. The relationships established here can form a high level of trust that improves patients’ experiences and a hospital’s reputation. For hospitals that want to improve their patient care, here are a few important changes to make.

Utilize Social Media

Social media can make it easy to continue making conversation with patients and create a sense of community. Patients can ask questions or learn more about important events to attend in the local area. Doctors, too, can provide links or resources to credible information that offer more insight to certain health conditions or tips that should be followed. Be sure to choose an internet plan that will be able to support the volume of patients you have.

Creating social media accounts can also be used to post success stories and testimonials of patients as a positive way of encouraging other people who are considering certain treatments or procedures.

Host Events

From seminars to blood donations, several events can be hosted each year at a hospital where patients can come together and spend more time with physicians and staff. The patients will be more informed on how to maintain a healthy diet or manage certain conditions, which can improve their overall well-being. Events that are available can also help patients to feel more supported by the staff and become more familiar with the services provided by the hospital.

Practice Proper Time Management

Staying organized and practicing time management will make it easier to reduce the amount of time patients spend in the waiting room. Physicians should have a clear understanding of their goals and make use of each hour in the day to ensure they can spend as much time as possible with their patients. Of course, this isn’t always possible for a large facility, and when patients do have to wait, make sure the experience isn’t one they’ll think negatively of.

Make Eye Contact

Providing patients with a high level of attention and making eye contact during the appointment can make it easy to have a better understanding of their symptoms and health issues. Patients will feel like they’re in good hands and will have more trust when it comes to the treatment or medication that they receive. Train all staff on these little tricks to make sure everyone feels listened to and welcome.

When you want your hospital to better connect with patients and become a more respected medical center in the local area, there are several ways you can improve patient care. With the right steps taken, your hospital can have peace of mind knowing the staff is forming strong relationships with everyone who visits.


Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter, @eileenoshanassy.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

What Data-driven Healthcare Orgs Have in Common

It’s up to the analytics team to break the C-suite out of its old ways and get them engaged in the data.

from HealthcareITNews

Though it can be difficult to quantify just when a health organization has embraced analytics, but you usually can tell when its executives are engaged with the data.

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Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Rural Americans, Hospitals Disproportionately Hurt by ACHA

Medicaid expansion was associated with a 4-percentage point increase in operating margins for rural hospitals.

from Healthcare Finance

There’s little doubt that the American Health Care Act, passed by the House this month, would raise the number of uninsured Americans, but a new analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that rural Americans, and the hospitals that serve them, would be hit especially hard.

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Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Hospital Merger Mania Continues Throughout the Country

Recent announcements indicate there is no letup in the continuing trend of hospital mergers.

from FierceHealthcare

Hospital mergers and acquisitions were off to a strong start in the first quarter of 2017, and recent announcements show no letup of merger mania in the first couple of months of the second quarter.

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Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.