How Hospitals Can Improve Their Patients’ Care Experience

As competition among health care providers intensifies, they are under pressure to deliver a high-quality, cost-effective and pleasant consumer experience.

from H&HN

Sweeping changes to the health care landscape are motivating providers to prioritize the patient as a customer. For many, there is a desire to expand capacity to meet the evolving health needs of patient populations. At the same time, new entrants, such as urgent care centers and drugstores that provide health services, are creating new kinds of competition — and raising the bar for customer service in health care. Furthermore, technology is transforming how customers make buying decisions and purchase goods and services. Consumers want convenience, quality and speed, whether at the coffee shop or the doctor’s office.

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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 to Help Explain Billing to Curious Patients

Knowing a few of the specifics about medical billing procedures can go a long way in assuring your patients and providing them better customer service.

by Eileen O’Shanassy

Between providing healthcare and every possible service that you can to patients, medical professionals also have to consider their billing procedures. Few would argue that healthcare billing is straightforward and easy to understand. We all know that the system is complex, but patients may be particularly curious about what they are being billed for, and regardless of your job, knowing a few of the specifics can go a long way in assuring your patients and giving better customer service. 

Detailing Expenses

Each patient is provided with a comprehensive breakdown of what is on their bill when they receive it, but that does not make it any easier to understand. They may even want to dispute certain charges because they are just so certain they are right about something and you are trying to rip them off. They may stick with this incorrect belief no matter how much you explain it to them, but trying to explain it may indeed save you some headaches. Familiarize yourself with common charges and help patients understand why you might need to charge for a certain procedure.

Go Through it with Them

The bills sent out to patients will have information that includes the date they received a certain treatment, the name of that treatment, the doctor or medical professional who administered the treatment, the portion that insurance covers, and more. If a patient has a question about their bill you should start by looking over the bill to see what you can find within the bill regarding the various treatments that they received. It may be the case that they just overlooked something that you can point out to them.

When Legal Action is Necessary

An attorney may be called for in certain situations if an irate patient begins to bring a suit against the hospital or medical facility because of how they were billed. It is often the case that the billing is correct and that the patient just does not understand it. However, it is also true that the medical billing people can in fact be wrong as well and make mistakes. If they make mistakes, then you could be open to a lawsuit coming your way. 

Someone trained in the law is called for in situations like this because they just know what the right moves to make are. They can look over the medical bills themselves and see where the issue is and try to resolve it with the patient out of court. Staying out of court is the number one goal here, and the best way to do that is to hire an experienced lawyer who knows how to defuse situations like this, and that may come up from time to time. You are definitely in the right to do this if you feel the pressure closing in from a patient.

Helping patients to understand their billing can make for a much better experience overall. Keep these things in mind when you have a patient who needs a few things explained.


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.

HR Investments All Businesses Should Make

HR investments are often overlooked in favor of focusing on patients, but a happy staff can do wonders for patient care.

by Eileen O’Shanassy

Human resource investments tend to wind up on the back burner in most businesses. The focus needs to be on the customers, right? Yes and no. Customers are the ultimate source of revenue, so they need attention. But if you have miserable, undertrained employees that half-wish your business would fail, customers will get terrible service. To help avoid that, there are some HR investments worth making.

Employee Training and Development

Initial employee training is all about teaching people how you need them to do a specific job. It turns out that poor job training is one of the top five reasons new employees quit. Taking the time to train employees properly will cost something, but reduce turnover in the long run. Development is all about offering paths to ongoing educational opportunities. Employees get bored when they master their jobs. Providing a way for them to expand their skills keeps them engaged and makes them more useful to you. Even if you can’t cover total costs, getting your employees discounts on training goes a long way.

Flexible Schedules

Not every business is structured in a way that allows for flexible scheduling, but it’s worth the effort if your business can do it. The benefits to the business are numerous. You’ll usually see a sharp drop off in missed days of work and tardiness. Turnover goes down and morale and engagement go up. It’s a huge selling point for recruiting new, talented staff. Your employees will benefit too. It helps them achieve substantially better work-life balance. Stress levels go down. Fewer employees suffer burnout. It also allows employees to enjoy shorter commute times. 

Cleaning Staff

There is some limited evidence that a messy environment encourages creativity, but a messy, unhygienic work environment is more likely to make people disengage or quit. Since disengaged employees are usually bad employees and replacing employees is expensive, it pays to err on the side of cleanliness. Just hiring a maid or local services for cleaning to come in a few times a week can go a long way toward maintaining a clean, productive environment. 

Outsource or Automate Mundane Work

Every business has some tasks that are tedious and, in all honesty, probably a terrible use of employee time. Look for ways to outsource or automate those tasks. This will free up your employees’ time to work on the higher-level tasks that only they can perform. They’ll be happier, which will make them more productive and profitable.

HR investments don’t get much coverage because they aren’t sexy. They’re inward-focused, rather than customer-focused, so they often seem like they’re of secondary importance. Yet, making those HR investments can go a long way toward creating happy employees that sell your business to every customer they meet. That is something worth the investment.


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.

5 Technologies Modernizing Today’s Hospitals

Here are some of the developments that keep medical care at the forefront of modern technology.

by Dixie Somers

Hospitals have increasingly become not just places of healing, but innovative scientific and technical environments. As populations soar and insurance costs rise, healthcare has become a competitive field where more effective solutions are in demand. Here are some of the developments that keep medical care at the forefront of modern technology.

1. Genome Mapping

Medical researchers have explored and identified a large portion of our genetic makeup. They can now analyze your specific genetic condition to determine both the medicines and treatments likely to do you the most good, as well as those that could put you at risk. They can now evaluate either parent or infant genes and identify which diseases or medical conditions that the child may be at risk of as he/she grows. This allows hospitals to more effectively treat, and even prevent, many medical problems.

2. Computerized Records

Electronic health records, or EHR, have transformed the way hospitals manage patient information. Hard copy files, forms, and patient care charts that could be lost or damaged are being replaced by digital versions. Hospital staff can call up your complete medical history on a computer screen or tablet with a few clicks or taps. With cloud storage and data backups, your medical files will be available permanently, and they can be made accessible over the internet from anywhere you happen to be, whether at a local clinic or vacationing in Rome. Nearly all hospitals are opting for cross-platform solutions for information archiving that allows a range of computer systems to store and retrieve the same files. If you were to get a rare virus, specialists around the world can promptly review your file and consult on a solution.

3. Locator Technology

Wandering patients, intrusive visitors, errant staff, and misplaced equipment have always been a problem for busy hospitals. If a facility has only a few oxygen monitors, you need to know where they are at all times. RFID, or radio frequency ID tags, each emit a distinct radio signal that’s recorded electronically for the associated device. These signals are recorded by self-identified scanners placed throughout the hospital and stored with time stamps. Some RFID ranges are over 300 feet. Hospital personnel can determine the location of the equipment. RFID tags can be added to wearable badges or even uniforms, allowing the same system to track patients and personnel. Analyzing this data helps to suggest improvements that increase the level of patient care.

4. Electrosurgery

Electrical generators are used to perform some procedures with greater effectiveness, precision, and sanitation. The hospital version allows adjustments of a high-frequency current for the task at hand. This current is transmitted to the patient’s tissue via needles, bulbs, or other implements to make incisions, cauterize blood vessels, or vaporize cancerous tumors. In some cases the current is not applied directly but used to heat another surgical instrument. Mega Power electrosurgical generators are sophisticated instruments serving a variety of needs, from removing moles to internal surgery.

5. Modern Prosthetics

At one time, most prosthetic devices used to restore mobility to amputees or handicapped patients were both imprecise and expensive. They often required extended programs of physical therapy before the patient was able to effectively use the devices. It was particularly a problem with pediatric patients, as children would quickly outgrow their prostheses. Today we have 3-D printers that can produce custom-designed objects out of inexpensive plastics, often to specifications within the width of a human hair. Highly personalized prosthetics can be designed and reproduced in a day or two, making them both more effective and far more affordable that those from previous generations.

As modern technologies become tools of medicine, we’re beginning to see possibilities that were once science fiction. While medicine has had its failures, hospital care is gradually becoming a more exact science.


Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

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.

5 Cybersecurity Threats to Know About Right Now

The Petya ransomware attack is only one of the five major issues hospital IT, privacy, and compliance pros should understand this month.

from HealthcareITNews

Hackers and cybercriminals continued tapping into new techniques last month to essentially break into IT networks, if not cripple some of those. It’s not just Petya following in WannaCry’s footsteps, either. But since that ransomware turned wiper malware certainly grabbed the spotlight, it took the top slot in HIMSS roster of threat, vulnerability and mitigation issues in the June 2017 Healthcare and Cross-Sector Cybersecurity Report.

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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.

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.