Technology

Connected Health Conference: Hardware and Software Solutions for Healthcare

The 2017 Connected Health Conference, held in Boston, MA in October, brought together healthcare leaders to discuss innovations and technologies that are transforming the industry. Some of our own Archway team members attended the conference, which centered around understanding and interacting with digital healthcare and how it relates to patient engagement, data exchange, clinical care, and new research and evidence.

Technology Meets Usability in Hardware

The first step in identifying and managing episodes of care is finding ways to efficiently connect all of a patient’s care team to ensure that all involved providers have access to relevant health records. This type of electronic sharing of health records will improve care coordination and reduce treatment errors. While strides are being made to improve interoperability, healthcare is still lagging when compared to the big technology companies entering the industry, such as Amazon and Google.

As seen at the Connected Health Conference, many technology vendors are trying to solve healthcare providers’ need to efficiently manage patient care. At Archway, we believe there is value in placing the patient in charge of their health data. Patient engagement is key – those who actively participate in their care have better clinical outcomes.

A portable device like an encrypted USB that contains basic health history can be a great tool for patients to bring to their lab appointments, specialists visits, rehab facilities, etc. “Wearable” technology pieces like a glucose-monitoring watch and headphones that monitor pain and discomfort are all able to track health patterns and retain that data for providers to access and use.

With these patient-initiated systems in place, providers are able to view a summary of a patient’s health at each episode of care, creating a consistent stream of valuable health information collected from all parties.

Technology Meets Feasibility in Software  

Using care management software as a means of managing specific patient conditions is also trending in the industry. This brings greater value to providers and an easier way to manage patient care delivery. At Archway, our real-time patient tracking system, Carelink, is a unique tool that can be used to monitor episodes of care. With Carelink, providers can deliver better care to their patients, and see improved collaboration within the care management team.

Carelink allows providers to see how patients are tracking on their care plan and schedule, how they are feeling, and the financial status of the episode of care. And it provides real-time answers. Carelink takes inputs from both patients and providers to facilitate timely communication between both parties throughout the episode.  

Better care can only be achieved by stronger management of patient episodes of care. Episodes of care connect all aspects of healthcare technology – from coding and claims to data and diagnosis. Defining an episode of care in a value-based payment world can identify the care that is given and the future health of the individual.

Throughout time, healthcare and technology will only continue to grow more connected. The Connected Health Conference not only confirmed, but celebrated, the great health-tech resources that are aiming to make healthcare safer, stronger and better. Whether it’s hardware or software, patients and providers alike should be ready to incorporate these helpful tools into their habits.

Announcing a Brand New Redesign for Carelink

We are proud to announce that Carelink has gotten a brand new redesign. Our web development team has been working hard to improve Carelink's user interface to make it even easier for bundled payment episode initiators and other providers to track their patients throughout an episode of care. Here are some highlights of the new design:

  • Episode List The Episode List is the master list of all the patients you are tracking. Use the filters at the top of the page to focus on all admitted patients, patients that need to be admitted, patients that need to be discharged, or patients that need a status update. You can see the bundle, care plan, last status update, and any red flags for each patient on this page.

  • Dashboard The Dashboard is where you can see your bundled payment program overview at a glance. New visualizations present the information in an eye-catching way and patient details help you immediately identify which patients need urgent attention.

  • Patient Details The Patient Details page has been reorganized to help you focus quickly on key information. The care plan is now represented by a timeline chart and the latest status updates will appear at the top of the patient's episode history.

  • Reports Use reports to monitor preferred provider performance, track SNF LOS trends, access a financial summary, and more.

If you are a Carelink user, log in to www.archwaycarelink.com and click "Try new design" in the header to see for yourself! We would love to hear what you think of it. Please let us know if you have any comments or questions.

Contact us for a demo here.

Santa's To-Do List for Super Security

I've yet to see the list of Santa's naughty kids or even his inventory of presents published online since the Web was invented. Santa must have top-notch security for sure. With the holidays coming up and all the craziness surrounding it, it’s time to be more alert and cautious than ever. Here are our top tips for protecting your digital life this holiday season and throughout the new year.

  1. Be suspicious of emails, especially ones that ask you to log in. A Waffle Maker for $0.99 is indeed too good to be true. Don't even think about clicking on that deal. Plus it doesn't fit in stockings.
  2. Before going on vacation, do some "Sensitive Material Cleanup". Take an hour or two to go over what you have on all your devices and destroy all that stuff you no longer need. Think you’ll need it later on? Not sure? Upload it to secure storage to take it off your device, and delete the local copy.
  3. Got a new laptop for Christmas? Make sure to migrate all your important stuff from the old to the new and clean up the old one of any sensitive material. Better yet, re-format the old (it will work better anyway).
  4. Secure all your devices with passwords/pins/patterns and make sure disk encryption is on. Got a new phone? Factory-reset the old one (cause who's still not backing up photos to the cloud already?).
  5. Need a good New Year’s resolution? How about resetting some passwords? Bank(s), credit card(s), email(s), Facebook, work accounts, other online accounts—all should be reset regularly for your own security. Or at least make sure all your passwords are strong.
  6. If you're traveling, don't forget your things...especially your company things: laptop, phone, tablet, watch, documents, etc. Any of the steps above will greatly mitigate risks if you still get your property stolen or lost.
  7. Still looking for the perfect Christmas gift? How about a Gutenberg version of Two-Factor Authentication! Archway Carelink supports Hardware Token for 2FA but we much prefer TOTP for obvious security reasons. Still, technology never looked better than on paper.

We can’t emphasize enough how Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a pretty good defense nowadays. It’s definitely not perfect but it works great against a lot of easy hacks going on these days (like phishing). For those providers who can, our advice is to activate Two-Step Verification/Two-Factor Authentication before the holidays. Do you have a Gmail Account? Try it there too. It's simple and has a very small disturbance-footprint.

Following these tips is giving yourself the gift of security and confidence that you have done your part to protect your information. Wishing everyone a happy, bright, and secure holiday season!

– The Archway Team

BPCI Data: Reconciliation

As a participant, the most important moment in the BPCI program is when reconciliation happens. Although not set in stone, this is the crucial moment when you know whether you performed above or below expectations set by CMS. If data did not matter until now (it really should), reconciliation is all about it. CMS provides all the information to confront with your own data and if problems arise, you can dispute. But this will delay the potential revenues CMS might send over so you'd better be prepared and have a plan of action when facing some (or all) of the following situations.

Beneficiary coverage

Typically there's a quarter lag of beneficiary coverage. So when comes reconciliation, it's very likely that the last month or so in episodes have no coverage information. According to specifications, only episodes with full coverage should be taken into account, but since there's a known lag, some lenience has been added in practice. The coverage is assumed to remain the same for the months where coverage information is lacking, and if it turns out to be wrong, CMS will address that in the next reconciliation (true-up).

You may be getting a financial reward this time around, but if coverage actually changed (terminated), then you may have to return that reward when next reconciliation comes around.

Trumped

With over 1,500 participants, it's very likely you're not the only one in the BPCI program. And if you're a Model 3, chances are you might get trumped by a Model 2 (or Model 4) provider upstream. You can read more about precedence rules and other gory details in our post on Episode Definition.

This should however not be considered a loss but an opportunity to become a preferred provider for a BPCI participant upstream.

Readmissions

Readmissions are based on basically two pieces of data: MS-DRG coding and your bundle selection. If you're in the middle of an episode and your patient was readmitted, then one of three things (disregarding trumping) can happen:

  1. If the readmission is about a new bundle (according to its MS-DRG) that you opted for, then a new episode is created and the earlier one is discarded.
  2. However, if you did NOT select that bundle, then that readmission is excluded from your costs and episode just goes on.
  3. If the readmission is considered an included readmission (based on rules defined by CMS), then the current episode goes on and the costs of the readmission are counted towards the episode total costs.

One thing that might surprise you is readmission rules for MS-DRG 469 and 470 (Major Joint Replacement). Both exclude themselves, which means if you have a selective surgery for either twice within your bundle period length, be aware that the episode from the first surgery will be discarded and only the second surgery and its episode will be kept.

CMS provides a list of MS-DRG exclusions that they update from time to time (without much notice). So it's good to keep an eye on it and understand the consequences of their coding and any changes that might occur.

Claims

If you've been following the data that CMS makes available month to month, it might come as a surprise to see some drastic changes at the claim level during reconciliation. Some claims might appear that were never there before. Some claims might just disappear. And for those claims still present in the data, payment amounts might have changed. And we've seen claims that actually do not pertain to you or your patient (which you should definitely dispute). So it's safe to say you should always take any reports based on monthly files with a grain of salt as numbers provided during reconciliation might differ from earlier data, even those that came out two weeks ago or even less.

Archway Health has helped many conveners throughout the BPCI process and especially during reconciliation. We want to be as helpful and efficient  as possible for ourself (being an Awardee Convener) and for our customers. Archway Health provides the tools to estimate your performance before reconciliation and make sure your current patients are on track with Archway Carelink.

How to Authorize an iPhone to Use the Archway Carelink App

If you are downloading the Archway Carelink mobile app for the first time on an iPhone, you will need to manually trust Archway Health in order to use the app. After downloading Carelink for the first time, you will see a pop-up message letting you know that the developer is not yet trusted.

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Once you have dismissed that message, follow these steps to trust the app on your phone:

1) Select Settings on your home screen.

2) Tap on General.

3) Scroll down to find the Device Management menu.

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4) Tap "Archway Health Advisors LLC" under the heading "Enterprise App."

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5) Tap "Trust Archway Health Advisors LLC."

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6) Tap "Trust" to confirm.

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After following these steps, you should be able to log in to the Carelink mobile app using your assigned username and password to begin providing daily updates on the status of your patients. By the way, these specific steps apply to iOS 9.3. The General Settings menu might look slightly different if you are using an older version of iOS.

Let us know if you have any questions! To learn more about Archway Health and our bundled payment platform please visit us at www.archwayhealth.com or contact us at info@archwayha.com.