Browsing: Healthcare Systems

Finances of Health Insurance (Part 3)

This edition will further expand the discussion about how the ACA is really bad law not only health wise but really a financial burden for everyone. Last week I introduced the term “tax distortion,” given to us by an economist, as an example of why the ACA can not work financially. An example of a tax distortion would be the ethanol subsidy where the government subsidizes gasoline refiners on the basis of how many gallons of gas they produce with ethanol.

So how does this ethanol example become a tax distortion, and what does this have to do with the ACA? Please stay with me and I will show you. Because of this ethanol subsidy, businesses (gasoline refiners) change the type of gasoline they produce and deliver. People change the type of gasoline they use, because it affects their engines. The ethanol is created from corn, at great cost to refiners, instead of the corn being used for feed or food. The distortion does not stop here. Arguably, food prices are increased due to the reallocation of corn to different uses, and when food prices are higher, restaurants and households do things differently. There are other tax distortions through our economy, all for the chasing of subsidies which are our tax dollars.

To be clear, just because taxes cause distortions does not mean that we should never pay taxes. It just means that in order to get the full picture when it comes to policies like an ethanol subsidy or laws such as the ACA, we need to take into account the tax distortions in order to ensure that benefits we are seeking exceeded the costs.

So what are the tax distortions that emanate from the ACA? Here we focus on two aspects of the law; the employee mandate, or employer penalty, which is the requirement that employers of a certain size either provide health insurance for full-time employees or pay a penalty for not doing so. The second aspect evolves exchanges, sometimes called marketplaces, where people can purchase health insurance separate from their employer.

The Supreme Court recently voted to give Obamacare what we hope will be just a temporary life line, when all four hopelessly liberal Judges, plus two Judges who have no idea what they really believe, voted to continue subsidies. Are we headed down the same economic path Greece is going down? The Greek government has instilled a very liberal philosophy in their citizens, and now they need to beg for money to keep their economy going.

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The Chapter of Biotechnology – Antisense Technology

With the development of molecular biology and genetic engineering, gene therapy has developed rapidly. Antisense technology is one of the kind. The technology, with the principle of nuclear acid hybridization, can design antisense nucleic acid that aims at a certain target sequence to restrain the expression of specific genes, including antisense RNA, antisense DNA and ribozymes. Moreover, all of these are obtained through synthesis.

Then, as for antisense RNA, it refers to RNA molecules that have complementary sequence with target RNA such as mRNA, and it can participate in the regulation of gene expression by conducting base pairing with target RNA. When it comes to antisense nucleic acid, it refers to those RNA or DNA molecules that have typically complementary functions with specific mRNA, which can also block the translating process to a certain degree. The technology that can specifically block some gene expressions to make low or no expression is generally called antisense nuclear acid technology. Based on such technology, antisense ribozyme can play an important role in restraining the over-expression of some harmful genes and uncontrolled genes. As antisense ribozyme technology has developed in a mature status, it has been gradually applied to the research of some parasitic diseases. On one hand, this technology prevails the combination between ribosome and mRNA through binding with target mRNA to form the steric hindrance effect. On the other hand, after the combination, the reaction can activate the endogenous RNase or ribozyme and then degrade mRNA.

Generally speaking, compared with other conventional medicines, antisense nucleic acid, as one of the gene therapy drugs, has many advantages, such as high specificity, high biological activity, high efficiency, optimal drug design, low toxicity, safety, and so on. For example, antisense oligonucleotides can carry specific genetic information that is complementary to the changing order of base pairing. Furthermore, in a fundamental aspect, such technology contains available natural sequence information so that it can be regarded as the most reasonable drug design. In addition, there is not obvious toxicity in antisense nucleic acid, so it will be degraded accidentally, which avoids some certain dangers.

In brief, the rapid development of antisense technology has provided a larger stage for the research of parasitology, which enriches the strategy for gene therapy in parasitic diseases. However, to be honest, current antisense nuclear acid technology still has some problems. For instance, some antisense nucleic acid molecules that exist naturally are difficult to be separated and purified. Therefore, more efforts should be done to promote the rapid advance of such technology.

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How to Find the Best Hospitals Abroad

When you have to travel abroad, you need to know what kind of things, people or surroundings that you are going to be dealing with. To be safe and to learn how to secure you in an unknown country stands important. Do research, before you're medical travel will play a vital role in the success of your trip. Research needs to be done on the number of hospitals, treatments that they offer, location and other necessary aspects such as accommodation, transport medium, etc. However, finding the right hospital, doctor and treatment is necessary as you can not let your health be at stake. As Medical Tourism has grown to be popular, there are many hospitals that you may find, but you need to narrow down on them as you have to select the best hospital for the Medical Treatment.

List down the number of hospitals that you find online at the place that you plan to visit.

Once you have done this, go for research to know about the following points for each and every hospital in your list.


Keep yourself flexible with many options and compare the prices of flights, hospital treatments, accommodation, etc. If you find a place where the flight tickets are costably, but the treatments are affordable then choose that place because the ulterior motive is to get good quality treatment that gives a good response to the health and satisfies you. Comparing the Prices will also give you a rough idea of ​​how much money you will need and help you do the budgeting accordingly. This will further help you have a stress-free trip where all you need to concentrate on just the treatment. Some treatments must be costly and other things will be affordable, here if you get a good quality treatment with assured improvement, then do not think again about this.


The location of your hospital is an important aspect to look at. When going for medical treatments, one must select a peaceful, picturesque venue for it relaxes the mind and body and would make the medical tourist or patient happy. There are many hospitals that are located at beautiful places and have a serene environment with many activities for both adults and children to pass their time like playing in the garden, etc. Here, location of the hospital matters a lot. The patient should be in a happy environment, the recovery becomes effective and quickly. Also, make sure you have other facilities surrounding the hospital like Pharmacy, Hotels, ATM, etc. So, you have an easy access to everything whenever you need it.


Whatever service or product it may be, we always look at how quality effective it is. It is very important to avail a good quality treatment, no matter if you have to pay more for that. Quality comes with positive results. Take the help of a Medical Tourism Consultant or anyone who has been to that hospital to find out which hospital offers high quality treatments and gives equal attention to every patient who is there? There are high chances of risk to health or life if you get low quality treatment and one must be very careful when selecting a hospital as it should be genuine. So, talk to as many people as you can or hire a consultant to have someone by your side who will support you through the medical treatment.


We all go to well-reputed places as their services, ambiance and treatments are among the best that satisfies us. While selecting a hospital, make sure that it has good name and reputation among the local people and people who have been visited and treated at the hospital. You can look for testimonials if there are any on the hospital's website or ask to be connected to a few patients who have visited the hospital. Once you are there, you can talk to fellow people or patients at the hospital and find about its reputation. You can find a good improvement in the condition only at reputed hospitals as they have certified and experienced doctors.


Apart from the world class treatment that you receive from the hospital, it is always beneficial to see what other facilities they have. For instance, the hospital should have all modern equipment and should offer all sorts of testing, diagnosis, etc. You can visit their website to know the facilities that they provide. They should have an advanced and modern equipment for your treatment process. Study these at various hospitals relating to your treatment process and choose the best one. Having all the procedures under one roof will be less tiring and less time-consuming. Consider this while selecting your hospital so you do not have to move around much and the treatment is hassle free. The hospitals should have well equipped rooms and space to accommodate all the patients and should be associated with emergency rooms and other necessities.


Every best hospital will be widely known for something in particular. For example, a cancer patient needs to be treated and the hospital selected is specialized in treating cancer then you are at the right place. Likewise there will be hospitals that specialize in a particular field such as neurology, dermatology, etc. The best hospitals have certified staff, specialists and best surgeons who can serve you the best and improve your health. So look for these specialties at different hospitals and go to the one that suits your health condition well. Make sure that you are given choices and meet the doctors personally, discuss the health condition and then go ahead with the treatment.


You must take necessary precautions and take some extra effort to find that the services are genuine and safe. Any treatment or testing should not cause any issues or harm your health. Make sure that you are always in numbers while the treatment takes place. The hospitals should have Safety comes first policy and provide you a secure environment, treatment, trusted doctor and staff. The instruments used for testing should be new or sterilized thoroughly. So select the best and genuine hospital where they actually care for you and not play around with your health.

Traveling Distance:

Although you might think that traveling expenditure is not important, but it does count as you do spend some amount of money to transit from one place to another. The cost of traveling might be less, but at the end of your trip you will notice that you spend quite some amount of money just for traveling. You must keep yourself updated with the kind of transport that is available in the city you are in and should have little knowledge about the cost for no one fools you. It is advisable to take accommodation at a hotel nearby the hospital so you might not have to spend much and in case of an emergency, you can get to more quickly avoiding the long distance travel that takes up a lot of time.

Tourism Opportunities:

When you are at a hospital, it does not mean that you will only concentrate on the treatment, you will be tired thinking and worrying about it all times. A patient is not advised to spend all the time in the treatment but also divert the mind as it is important for them to be happy and keep their mind calm. So what if you are on a Medical Travel? You can always take some time out have fun and explore the place as rarely do people get a chance to fly abroad and it's not every day that you get the opportunity to spend some quality time with family. Select a city where there are many sightseeing places and where you could learn and explore about the place.

Compare the best hospitals among each other as comparing from a well-reputed to a clinic that has no equal standards is not doing justice or being unrealistic. The above parameters may be time-consuming, but you will be glad to have done it by the time you are on your tour as it will only help you at every stage and execute the plan in a well-designed manner.

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3 Causes of Errors in Medical Interpretation

As far as medical interpretation is concerned, one may assume it's just hearing and interpreting a word into another language that is required, no, the medical field is too technical when it comes to providing interpretation services for doctors and patients because it's all about dealing with lives and the health of individuals. There is too much care needed when interpreting medical jargons, terminologies into a target language.

The Major Causes of Medical Errors

Let's see and discuss the major causes of medical errors during the interpretations by the medical interpreters.

Cultural beliefs and tradition; most cultures are too complicated which impacts medical service delivery in such communities, so to deliver medical services in such a community you must ensure you get medical translators and interpreters who can abide by the cultural beliefs and rules in that community because they will be familiar with how to deal with their cultural beliefs. Some culture and beliefs do not allow females to conduct speeches in public; when operating a medical clinic in a particular community, you must get to know how their cultural beliefs and norm are such that it becomes easier to provide interpreting services, failure to do that you may make mistakes that may end up causing medical errors in the medical interpretation.

Using family members as translators and interpreters, this is also too dangerous, due to fear of paying for professional medical interpreters or translators, medical services providers may resort to using the patient's family members or the patient's caretakers who may be fluent in English to provide medical interpretation, as we all know that being fluent in English is not enough for somebody to be a medical translator of interpreter, because of the technicality of medical terminology, a caretaker can not accurately interpret medical terminologies due to lack of knowledge about it, let's assume you have no knowledge in the medical field, and you are given to interpret, the doctor statements a statement that you've never heard of that statement and interpret into a layman language?

Use of clinicians who have the basic foreign language skills to communicate with patients and doctors instead of qualified medical interpreters, medical services providers may resort to use of clinician who may have a little knowledge in a particular language understood by the patient. Medical interpretations need fluent native speaking medical interpreters and translators of the relative language so as to be accurate, but because a clinician who is a Japanese speaker knows some little French is given to act as an interpreter between the doctor and the French-speaking patient, there is no way that interpretation will be free from misinterpretation of some words.

Areas where medical errors may occur

Medical errors are always common in medical areas like;

• Admission forms
• Patient discharge reports
• Medical reconciliation
• Emergency department visits and surgical care

Possible ways to avoid medical errors in medical interpretation

To avoid medical errors, medical service providers should focus on strengthening professional medical interpretation services, doctors and patients should be able to communicate and understand each other, and should also provide already translated materials in several foreign languages ​​for the targeted users, cultural awareness and advocacy , improving medical staff training and etc.

The use of the patient's specific identity, this will help to ensure that the medical interpreter is given the right medical information for the relative patient for interpretation. If any mistake happens that different information about the medical prescriptions is interpreted for a different patient, medical errors have to occur; since the medical history of the patient bearing the name of the patient, admission date, is necessary since it includes the medicine prescribed for the patient.

Avoiding medical errors in the interpretation process is part of the role of the patient, a patient is supposed to present all the previous medical reports, including all the drugs that were used, this can help the doctor to know what next step to opt if a particular medicine did not work, otherwise the doctor may give back the same medication prescription which during the process of interpretation, processed in exact format and meaning. In addition to that a patient should also be careful and observant to know which drugs can problems to his / her health. This basically letting the informed about the medicines that the patient is allergic to because, during the interpretation process, the interpreter's work is to speak what the doctor mentions.

Medical errors can be avoided if the doctor's prescriptions to the patient can be clearly understood by the interpreter, since the interpreter should be sharp, attentive and a good listener when the doctor is talking to the patient, this can make the interpretation accurate and successful with any minor error that may cause problems to the patient's life.

Looking for a professional medical interpreting agency composed of all sorts of medical interpreters from different backgrounds, cultures, and languages ​​is a better solution

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How Health Care Facilities Can Streamline Revenue Cycle Management

At no other time in history have providers had to cope with a payment system in which their patients are the largest payer class. This shift has required physicians to adjust their payment strategically to stay afloat.

On top of this particular financial crunch, it is estimated that roughly 20% of commercial insurers unlawfully process claims. As reimbursements models and regulations continue to change, Healthcare Providers face unique challenges in collecting the money owed them.

One of the top priorities of any practice is to maintain a healthy revenue cycle by processing and submitting health insurance claims with speed and accuracy. But when daily claims management challenges like dealing with obsolete technology, scattered data sources and inefficient processes get in the way, what are providers to do?

Here are 7 ways providers can streamline their revenue cycle management:

Standardize Your Billing Process to Eliminate Mistakes

Think about how long the billing process really is. It starts when a patient first makes that appointment and lasts until their account balance is paid in full. Along the way, numerous mistakes can happen (think not verifying insurance coverage or neglecting to get a signature at check-in) and cause time to be wasted and claims to be denied.

By standardizing your billing process you can prevent these mistakes from occurring. Get your entire team, from the front desk person to your coders, up-to-speed and trained on the new processes.

Regularly Review Data

One way to streamline your Revenue Cycle Management and reduce claims problems is to beginning tracking and reviewing critical data to unexpected trends, know when problems arise, and drill down to the root cause of those problems.

If you are currently using an EHR system, you are sitting on data gold that should be mined. Begin to regularly review billing and coding reports, claims settlement reports, and accounts receivable reports so you may identify any issues and find the causes.

Get into the habit of reviewing this data every month so, should a serious problem arise, you've done it before it potentially leads to an even more serious problem.

Identify and Eliminate Redundancies

Medical billing, claims submission and collections are all processes where no steps can be skipped. These processes, however, tend to create many redundant actions, like having identical information entered on multiple forms. When redundancies happen, your cash flow is automatically slowed down.

For this reason we recommend automating as many processes as possible so you can prevent duplicate efforts and reduce errors. Also, see if you can not better distribute staff tasks. For instance, is just one of your employees responsible for not only scheduling appointments and patient intake, but also handling claims? If so, this may be too much for them to handle and why so many mistakes (even something as simple as mistyping a patient identification number) happened.

Provide Comprehensive Training for Your Billing and Coding Staff

It sees now that health regulations and insurance policies are always changing, which makes it incredibly difficult to submit 100% clean claims. The more your claims are denied, the more your revenue takes a hit. It does not matter how good your technology is, you've got to provide your billers and coders comprehensive training (and job incentives do not hurt either) in order to streamline your revenue cycle management.

Make Denied Claims a Priority

Submitting cleans claims is obviously important, but equally important is addressing those claims that do come back denied. You've got to remember why a claim is denied and write an appeal if necessary, which requires extensive knowledge of claims requirements and coverage.

Because your staff is very busy, and because working on denied claims is akin to pulling out your own eyelashes (meaning a bit torturous), they usually slip through the cracks never to be seen again and there goes a chunk of your revenue.

Make tracking and appealing these denied claims a priority.

Accelerate Your RCM

Providers face a number of unique revenue challenges these days and many of these challenges (like the required collection of copies and approval procedures beforehand) add to the patient-payment dilemma. The best thing providers can do is offer patients an accelerated and easier way of paying a bill.

By upgrading your RCM and payment solutions, patients can find out what's covered and what is not before their appointment, and they can make their payment online. When patients are given the option of paying online, they tend to do so quickly, but when they receive a physical bill and then have to send in a payment in the form of a check, they tend to get sidetracked and the payment does not come, and your collection process gets slowed down.

Upgraded RCM systems and payment solutions also allow providers to run detailed reports about who owes what.

Embrace Technology

While technology can certainly pose many challenges to providers, it can also make seeing patients and getting paid a whole lot easier. For instance, voice recognition software allows physicians to capture initial and accurate clinical impressions during and after patient consultations.

EHR templates help staff include all pertinent patient information for the billing department. Practices can now even integrate mobile devices that allow clinicians to carry patient records with them wherever they go.

Streamlining revenue cycle management can make a significant difference in a practice's bottom line. Having the ability to process health insurance claims quickly, and with maximum accuracy, can increase revenues greatly which gives doctors financial peace of mind and allows them to do what they do best, provide their patients quality care.

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Three Reasons Software Vendors Outsource Data Conversion Projects

Outsourcing is a common strategy used by many businesses for a broad variety of reasons. It is particularly effective for data conversion projects.

Whether you serve the medical industry, utility districts or other industries, there are three key reasons to Outsource Data Conversion Projects.

1. One time projects are not profitable and are not a good use of in-house, development professionals.

2. Manage the difficult task of maintaining affordable staffing levels during up and down business cycles.

3. Using actual customer data during training and implementation.

Converting information is a non-trivial problem.

Consider the extraction of data from literal hundreds of legacy source systems with all their myriad formats, formulas and algorithms for storing, manipulating and managing the ever changing data climate in which you and your customers work.

It is not necessary to do this work in-house.

First: One time projects are not profitable and not a good use of talent, in-house development professionals.

Data conversion and software development require different, highly specialized skills. For this reason alone many software vendors outsource data conversions. They want their development team to remain focused on the most important work, developing and updating marketable software.

Most often data conversions are one time projects. As such little is to be gained by developing a data conversion protocol and the tools to make it work. Each new project will differ enough to render the previous conversion code not fully useful. Reworking the code each time will make the cost-benefit ratio go negative.

Outsourcing to a data conversion partner will give you access to the experience which they gained over many years and hundreds of conversion projects. For them these are not one-time projects.

· They have proven data extract algorithms.

· Their team understands the American business culture.

· They have hands-on experience with many software systems and data bases.

· Data conversions are their core competency, not just another service they offer.

· They know how to manage customer expectations.

· They can help manage projects.

Second: Manage the difficult task of maintaining affordable staffing levels during up and down business cycles.

Managing staffing levels is an ongoing problem for many businesses. This problem is made more acute by periods of ebb and flow in sales. Data Conversion and Implementation teams are dramatically affected by these up and down cycles. To some degree that problem can be managed through planning and scheduling. However there comes a time when no amount of planning can manage customer expectations without making them unhappy and losing some sales.

The prudent staffing solution is to pre-arrange an injection of experienced, skilled personnel by engaging one or more outsourcing partners.

Outsourcing data conversion tasks is a better answer than adding permanent staff. The outsourcing company retains responsibility for maintaining the necessary level of personnel and technical expertise even as demands go up and down.

However, the right number of skilled people is only part of the solution.

Managing projects and timelines, and coordinating efforts between multiple parties, are critical to success. Outsourcing can do much of this work, in close coordination with decision makers. This can create an unexpected successful management triangle.

Third: Using actual customer data during training and implementation.

Features and functions in the new system do not work as they did in the legacy system. How well users learn and remember how to use them will become a pivot point in decisions regarding the longevity of the new system.

Training the end user

in the effective use of new software is of paramount importance

for project success.

Effectively using a new system is made easier when customer data is used in training sessions.

When staging of a data conversion project and its timeline, two important items can be provided by the data conversion team. First, schedule the delivery of test data to coincide with the training schedule; Second, include a full test run for evaluation and signoff prior to the final data extract.

Validation of test results will require less time and fewer frustrations when customer data is used in training.

You can decrease the learning curve and increase memory recall by training with customer data.

Testing and validating data are partially done in training. This occurs because users recognize the data and can tell when it is inaccurate and / or incomplete. The correlated effort pays rich dividends. However this correlation is not effective when done in-house. Efficiency, for an integrated in-house staff sees to demand compartmentalization of tasks that removing the desired opportunity for correlated efforts.

To reduce staff time further, the outsourcing team will do some of the leg work. They provide refined test data files, they make programming and data corrections.

The objective of training with actual customer information, is to deliver quality and reduce the hands-on staff time needed for testing and validation.

Your call to action:

Gather information about outsourcing and lay the foundation for a functional business decision about its use.

Bear in mind, an outsourcing company can deliver more data and better conversions for less cost, both direct and indirect.

· Their experience will include knowing the pitfalls to avoid, and which ones you and they can just plow through.

· Multiple outsourcing partners can be used to meet volume claims as well as to deal with unusual problems presented by infrequently encountered databases.

· Outsourcing companies are database agnostic.

· Most legacy data comes from older technology whereas software vendors focus on current and new technology.

· Not all changes incorporated by vendors into their systems affect their database.

· Outsourcing teams do not need to know how to develop the requisite databases, they focus on knowing where the data goes, in what format and how it is connected.

· They understand that data does not appear in the database as a customer sees it.

In summary, guard against dismissal attention from the primary objectives of the business. Do not be distracted by immediate or urgent needs. Keep your focus on the long-term health and profitability of your business.

Your decision to outsource data conversion projects will propel your business forward in full support of its goals and objectives.

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Is AGM Report Significant in African Hospital Institutions?

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) report of any institution / organization is an opportunity to share the progress and set backs with its stakeholders. This is also a chance for the quakeholders to have an insight into the progress and performance milestones of the institution.

From the stakeholder's perspective, the vision of the hospital, its values ​​and service delivery are critical to the success of its operations. In most African countries AGM's happened behind closed doors and AGM reports are not routinely shared with the stakeholders. As a result the protesters are unable to challenge clinical operations, administrative procedures and the financial health of the institution. Some senior Doctors have often used their positions as a protective factor and resist being challenged.

However in Ghana, new Government initiatives are beginning to challenge the system and holding institutions to account for their performance. There are many health clinics and hospitals who are not using AGM reports and linking it into their information technology processes.

It appears the dynamics of information technology has not fully been exploited to benefit the delivery of health care services in many African countries. As a result there is hardly any information to compare AGM reports electronically. In contrast, in the Scandinavian countries where AGM reports are significant and have been used to enhance their service delivery back in 1980's.

The National Health Service in the UK has been using AGM reports to improve outcomes but more so since the introduction of electronic reports. The business world on the other hand, has always exploited AGM reports as a source of data. They evaluate each other's AGM reports covertly. This has helped businesses to appraise their competitors' ability by gaining an insight into their business with the mission of not only gaining a competitive advantage but also strategic positioning.

Interestingly, in many African National Health Services, like Ghana, AGM reports and information technology is not viewed in the same light as a business activity. This is where directors, performance evaluation, arrangement and financial review are critical to the success of a company. This is something which would help to enhance services in many developing countries.

For example, if African hospitals were to share AGM reports to further stockpilers and be more open about clinical governance it would have helped in educating the general public. Having AGM reports which could be accessed online could have helped institutions willing to help others affected by problems, by accessing reports and other information remotely.

On a different note, the irony is that one would find that in Africa many hospitals do not have the basic equipment for tackling infection control. Surely, having an annual AGM, clinical governance would alert areas needing to be addressed. There seems to be no regular updates on compliance as compared to what is seen in a developed country with mandatory training requirements. If health institutions in the developing countries can not share its AGM reports online how could it then offer any assistance to a neighboring country in times of crisis. This could have the deciding factor which would determine if a country is likely to be the next Ebola victim or other health crisis.

How could the National Health Service in African countries boost its image and profile. If globally every health institution is working towards the goals set by the World Health Organization on health improvement and developments, then we need to share best practice and cost of effectiveness of approaches.

Perhaps having a Patient survey in African hospitals re the following would have been a helpful tool to use.

Are hospitals performances performance done quarterly?

Is there an ongoing review of clinical governance performance?

Do patients have a voice via the AGM?

Do hospitals provide helpful contact information to register complaints?

Is there a patient advice service and public involvement in African hospitals?

Many African Governments are not bold enough to hold the heads of all hospital institutions to account. As a result huge sums of money are lost through a weaker management system which has given rise to corruption in many health institutions in Africa.

The effective strategic management of the Ebola crisis provided that the developed countries and developing countries can work together to form a health alliance to address future challenges.

A recommendation for the way forward on health issues would be for African countries to share their AGM reports online if possible. The report would help other holders to analyze and exploit information which could benefit both institution for future development and progress. Health problems are a global issue. Evidence and interventions of the Ebola crisis proved that a global management of the approach is certainly helped in containing and preventing the spread on a global scale.

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Understanding Urgent Care

When an individual experiences an injury or sudden illness, it is often difficult to schedule an appointment with a primary healthcare provider. Getting a same-day appointment during an non-emergency situation is usually out of the question. For this reason, emergency rooms are filled with people who are not experiencing true emergencies but are in need of relief from acute conditions such as a sprained ankles or sinus infections. Going to an emergency room for diagnosis and treatment is not only expensive, but it also means that people with more serious conditions will wait longer than needed to be seen by emergency room staff.

Some people might not think twice about going to an emergency room for treatment for a sudden illness. However, it is not appropriate to go to an emergency room for every ache or pain. Illnesses and injuries treated in an emergency room include life-threatening illnesses and those requiring immediate treatment to prevent permanent damage or disability. For example, when an individual experiences chest pains or has difficulty breathing, he or she needs immediate medical attention. In fact, these are reasons to call 911 as soon as possible. Other conditions that demand immediate attention include stroke symptoms such as blurred vision, numbness, slurred speech, and muscle weakness. Bleeding that will not stop, head trauma, and high fevers in young children require assessment and treatment by emergency care providers. Victims of gunshots or knife wounds are qualified for emergency treatment.

An urgent care center should be near the top of everyone's list of medical resources whenever treatment is needed for non-life-threatening conditions. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals can order x-rays and other tests to diagnoseose illness and prescribe treatment. Centers have the ability to address several types of medical issues, including fractures, sprains, and minor asthma attacks. Cuts that bleed and may require stitches, flu, and sore throat are also conditions that may be treated. Patients seen in urgent care facilities are usually treated within 1-2 hours of arrival and encouraged to see their primary physicians if further treatment is required. When the provider deems the condition serious, a patient may be instructed to go to a hospital emergency room.

Urgent care centers play a vital role in providing affordable, accessible health services to patients. These facilities offer much more than treatment for acute conditions; the centers also offer school physicals, sports physicals, and certain vaccinations. Additionally, centers may provide occupational health services related to workman's compensation claims. Urgent care staffs often participate in employee wellness activities such as health fairs where they use the latest technology to provide health screenings, blood pressure checks, and other assessments.

Sickness and injury know no schedules. Facilities that provide urgent care offer services outside of regular business hours, with some operating around-the-clock. A patient may seek treatment on weekends, during early morning hours or evenings. Appointments are not necessary. Without the patient makes special arrangements, he or she will be expected to pay at the time of service, but health insurance often covers all or a portion of the cost.

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What Is Bulk Billing?

Bulk Billing is a payment option under the medicare system of universal health insurance in Australia. It covers a certain range of health services which is listed in the medicare benefits. Typically, the doctors are paid 85% of the fee directly by the government for billing the patient via the medicare card. The doctors accepts the medicare benefits as a full payment for the service provided. The doctor sends the bill directly to Medicare. The patients can not be charged additionally for the service. They have the right to collect fee from the patients directly.

Most of the general practitioner services are bulk billed. The key purpose of billing is to provide an economic constraint on medical charges. If the patients are large billed, then the patients medicare card will be swiped and the patients will be asked to sign in a form and will not need to pay anything. Currently, the standard consultation fee for per visit is $ 37. Medicare also provides an extra payments to doctors every time for bulk billing pensioners, health care card holders and for those who are aged 16 and under. If they bulk bill the above mentioned patients, the patients will be asked to sign in a form after the appointment and will be given a copy of the form. They will not be charged for any other costs such as booking of the appointment, charge for the bandages. If the patient has more than one visit during the same day, in that case they will not be bulk billed for each and every service. Some of the medical services are subsidized by the Australian Government.

The correct way to manually bulk bill is:

• Complete the form
• Have the form signed and dated by the patient
• Give a copy of the form to the patient
• You must complete a DB1 Header (In hospitals services header) form and submit it with a Billing form, in order to make a claim.

There are different types of services available. These are used while claiming the medicare services.

• DB1H: In hospital Services Header
• DB1N: Out of hospital Header
• DB2-GP: General Practitioner Voucher
• DB2-OP: Optometrist Voucher
• DB2-OT: Other Practitioner Voucher
• DB1N-AH: Allied Health Header
• DB2-AH: Allied Health Voucher
• DB3: Pathologist Voucher
• DB4: General, Specialist and Diagnostic Voucher
• DB4E: Electronically Transmitted Claims Voucher
• DB5: Pathology (Continuation form) – Carbon only
• DB1-DP: Allied Health Chronic Disease Dental Scheme Header
• DB2-DP: Allied Health Chronic Disease Dental Scheme Voucher
• DB1N-DB: Teen Dental Header
• DB2-DB: Teen Dental Voucher

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7 Key Questions To Ask Before You Select A Hospice Provider

When it becomes time to beginning searching for a hospitality, people often find that they are not sure where to begin looking or do not know which questions to consider. With a decision so serious, choosing the right place is important. For those who are not sure where to begin, keep these 7 key questions in mind when you begin interviewing providers.

1. How long has this hospice been operating?

Although the length of time in operation might not be a direct representation of how well a hospice works, you might want to keep in mind that some providers open and shut quickly. Choosing a place that has been open for a good length of time is something you may wish to consider.

2. Does your hospital provide continuous care for its patients?

Continuous care is when a patient is looked after 24/7 because he / she is actively dying. Some medical experts have noted that not all hospitals provide this service, which is unnerving to some families, as they feel more comfortable with a clinician there for support in the final hours. If having a nurse, doctor, or volunteer with the patient in their last hours is important to you, then this question is an important one that you might want to pay attention to.

3. Does your hospital have inpatient facilities just in case a patient experiences complications?

In the event that a patient begins to have complications that will not allow them to continue care in their home, it might be a good idea to ask if the provider has either a facility or renewed beds in the hospital for such cases.

4. Is this hospitality approved or have a state license?

Depending on the state, accreditation may not be required. Some medical experts believe that patients may feel safer choosing a provider that has been checked out by a third party or carries a state license.

5. How quickly does the hospice respond to an emergency?

In the event of an emergency, you'll want to know that a clinician, when needed, will see you or your loved one. Among the questions you may wish to ask, learning about the average response time may be one you may wish to consider.

6. Does your hospitality offer please care?

Respect care is offered by some providers as a way to offer the patient's family or main caregiver a break of up to five days. Taking care of a family member can become tiring, and some patients may wish to find out if their provider offers respect care.

7. Can I be care for the hospice if I live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility?

Patients or family members of patients may need to know whether or not a provider will offer care if a patient does not live at home. Although most providers do, it's best to ask and be sure.

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Best 5 Asian Countries That Host Good Hospitals

Medical Tourism is taking people to places and the best part is that they are being benefited as they get treatment from the best doctors and are open to more options for treatments. Most of the medical tours are now within the budget. You go for whatever you can afford and yet get the best out of the industry. There are countries that are best known for their hospitals and medical treatments. The following is a list of Asian countries that host good hospitals in the world.

1. Malaysia: It is located in the South East Asia and its capital is Kuala Lumpur. The treatments offered by Malaysian Hospitals are Anti-Aging, Bariatric Surgery, Cardiology, Cosmetic or Plastic Surgery, Oncology, Dermatology, Neurology, Orthopedics, etc. The treatments are cost worthy and affordable. They offer great hospitality and the holiday advantages are ample as there are many tourist places as it is surrounded by places like Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, etc. It has some of the best trained surgeons, dentists and specialists. English is widely spoken in Malaysia. About 600, 000 medical tourists visit Malaysia and the number continues to multiply. Prince Court Medical Center is one of the most renown and popular hospital in Malaysia and has also been ranked number 1 in the year 2013. Giant KPJ and Sime Darby networks are other hospitals that are famous among hundreds of others.

2. India: It is located in the South of Asia and its capital is Delhi. It has grown to be famous for Medical Industry. It is widely known for cardiac bypass surgery. The other treatments include Oncology, Vertebroplasty, Disc Nucleoplasty, Laser Lithotripsy and other treatments for spinal, cancer, etc. India is known for rehabilitation care and centers. It equips various medicinal treatments like Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Allopathic, etc. The treatments offered in India are of best quality, secure and cost effective. An estimated number of around 150, 000 medical tourists travel to India. The cities that offer medical treatments are Kerala, Chennai, Vellore, Mumbai, Delhi, Coimbatore, etc. The famous and wide known hospitals in India include KG Hospitals, Apollo Hospitals, Tata Memorial Hospital, Fortis Hospital, AyurvedaGram, etc.

3. Japan: It is an island nation located in the east of Asia and its capital is Tokyo. They have been investing money in the healthcare industry since 20 years almost and has mandated health insurance for each and every citizen of their country. It hosts some of the best hospitals in the world and are ahead in technology. Although the cost of medical treatment is high, the treatment is worth the price as it is of high quality and secure. It has created a brand image with its medical care facilities such as examination, diagnosis, medical treatment, aesthetic care and plastic surgery. It is known for plastic surgery and dental care mostly. The Japanese Water therapy is a natural way of curing diseases like Diabetes, Arthritis, Cancer, TB, etc. Some of the best hospitals in Japan are Kameda Medical Center, Matsunami General, University of Tokyo Hospital, Osaka Medical Center, St. Luke's International, etc.

4. Singapore: It is located in Southeast Asia and it is the capital of Asia. The Medical Tourism in Singapore is growing to be the hub and emerging as the major location for health travel in Asia. It joins around 200, 000 patients every year to avail medical treatments of services at some of the best hospitals in the country. The treatments in Singapore include Laser Spine Surgery, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Cardiology, Dental Medical, Stem Cell Transplant, etc. Cancer Treatment is Singapore's top specialty. The famous hospitals in Singapore are Camden Medical Center, Mount Alvernia Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital, Parkway East Hospital, Johns Hopkins International Medical Center, etc.

5. Thailand: It is located in Southeast Asia and its capital is Bangkok. It accounts for 90% of the medical tourism market in Asia. It is a reputed, reliable and high-quality destination for health travel. Hospitals in Thailand are well equipped and have the latest technology. The cost of treatments is affordable and many doctors and doctors are certified and best at what they do. The treatments in Thailand enterprises of Cosmetic Surgery, Dental Surgery, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Heart Bypass, Hip Replacement, Breast Implant, etc. Bumrungrad International Hospital is listen among the top 10 best hospitals in Asia and is located in Bangkok. Other hospitals located in Thailand are Bangkok Hospital Group, Fort Suranaree Hospital, Samitivej Hospital, Laser Vision Lasik Center of Thailand, etc.

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Importance of Medical Equipment Innovation

With ongoing research and development in medical technologies, doctors are better equipped to treat the patients with a greater chance of cure.

Medical Research and Technology

Scientists are constantly testing out new equipment and procedures to shorten operation periods while boosting life span. Moreover, they are also trying out new drugs for better treatment and even cure of prevalent illness.

With the help of medical technology, scientists reached into cellular level of germs and their antibodies. We already know how the discovery of vaccines helped control malaria, MMR, polio and other such illnesses, saving thousands of lives worldwide. As per the World Health Organization, vaccines save 3 million lives each year.

Importance of Innovation in Medicine

The life cycle of a medical product ranges from 18-20 months. This is still better that many industries, such as Information technology, but improvements still need to be made. Also note that innovation is not just about improving the quality of care; it is also about maintaining and sustaining better healthcare systems.

And even while less than 10% of national health budget was apportioned to medical equipment innovation during the fiscal year of 2000-2008, advances in medical technology have decreased the prolonged hospital stays by 13%.

Moreover, huge cost savings have been recorded with the inception of outpatient care from in-patient care. Quality of life has improved over the period as well. Given the amount of aging population and the current economic climate, medical cost saving was imperative.

For instance, Cataract surgery, which was previously a 3-5 day inpatient session, has now been reduced to a day care center operation. Also, total knee replacements are proving to be better in terms of saving costs and locomotion of patients. And these are just a few examples we can find.

If we move further, chronic conditions such as arthritis and cataracts prevented patients from returning to their daily routines. With medical equipment innovation, the time taken to return back to their daily lives has been significantly reduced. This also boosts the self-esteem of patients whose medical condition can hinder their physical independence.

In the long run, medical innovation not only creates healthy and happier people, but stronger economies as well. This is because healthier people can contribute more effectively to a country's GDP.

Emerging Medical Equipment Technologies

Melanoma biopsies

Melanoma is a chronic form of skin cancer. Melanoma is extremely dangerous mole looking harmless on the outside until a surgical biopsy is not conducted. Now, dermatologists have come up with a portable tool, approved by the FDA for analyzing tissue morphology. MelaFind optical scanner is now used to determine the need of biopsy.

Electronic Aspirin

People suffer from cluster headaches, migraines and other chronic head pains due to pain in a facial nerve bundle called sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG). A new tool has emerged for blocking out the SPG signals on their inception, being called the electronic aspirin.

Needle-Free Diabetes

Diabetes care is a severely painless process for the patient involving glucose testing, daily dosages of insulin and further risk of infection from excessive injection needles. Glucose monitors and insulin pumps have reduced the troublesome process to a certain extent. A biosensor is placed on the top layer of the human skin for signaling levels of sugar. This will do away with the needle used to take blood samples.

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Ten Reasons To Archive Data From Patient Medical Records

Electronic record keeping made significant improvements over paper records for storage and access to health records. Ease of access and low storage costs are among the most obvious and paved the way for those records to be maintained in a DATA ARCHIVE.

The storage of electronic records is easier, record retrieval takes less time and costs less. However in the practical application of creating and using electronic health records, the ways in which they can be used and abused have increased many fold.

In this article I will identify and discuss the ten most important items to be considered before making a business decision to implement an ARCHIVE of electronic health records.

– Quality of Patient Care

– Referring Provider

– Mandated Record Retention

– Security, HIPAA and PHI

– Profitability through Cost Reduction

– Disaster Recovery

– Scalable Solution

– Interoperable

– Legal Requests

– Vendor Neutral Solutions

1. Quality of Patient Care

Patient care is always the first consideration. Quality care is most important, timely care is a close second. A DATA ARCHIVE will accurately preserve all your health data records for easy, immediate access which gives you a great platform for patient diagnosis and treatment.

2. Referring Provider

Using A DATA ARCHIVE you can export a patient's chart record in electronic or print form and deliver it to another provider or the patient. The data is organized by type ie all medications are seamlessly listed together in date order.

A few years ago my son-in-law requested a copy of his medical records. He is an RN with fifteen years of nursing experience. After receiving his records, this was his comment. “In 2006 we got a copy of my medical records and it was obvious that personnel with no medical background had done the copying.

3. Mandated Record Retention

Yes, practitioners are under Federal and State mandates for retaining patient health records. Those mandates are likely to change in favor of longer terms. Already some practitioners are opting for lifetime retention, not because it is required but because it takes this concern off the table.

A DATA ARCHIVE provides complete control over retention of Electronic Health Records. The database is not vendor dependent. Keep it as long as you like.

4. Security, HIPAA and PHI

ARCHIVED records can be delivered on a removable hard drive that is encrypted to meet current HIPPA standards. It will fit into your existing security compliance requirements. Its use and security control are completely managed by you.

5. Profitability through Cost Reduction

You can not remain in practice unless you are sufficiently profitable. As you well know, what you can charge for medical services continues to be restrained, even pushed down. On the bright side, saving money on the expense ledger will always improve your bottom line.

Using a DATA ARCHIVE preserves the investment made to get patient charts into an electronic format. There is a one-time cost to get records into a DATA ARCHIVE. There are no ongoing costs to maintain or use a DATA ARCHIVE

6. Disaster Recovery

The encrypted hard drive, on which the archived data will be delivered, can be stored offsite as part of a Disaster Recovery program. Alternately, the program and data can be copied and stored as needed. The program requires a windows operating system and a current version of Microsoft Access. No problem there.

7. Scalable

Many clinics today are growing by merging with or being being purchased by another medical facility. Also, the amount of data stored for each patient has increased dramatically as we have moved from paper to electronic health records. A DATA ARCHIVE is a good choice to manage your data regardless of its size.

8. Interoperable

Electronic Health Records stored in a DATA ARCHIVE can be exported individually or in groups, in PDF format complete with a catalog indexing all records.

9. Legal Requests

It is necessary to be prepared for suits against you and / or in which your patient may become involved. Records exported from a DATA ARCHIVE are logically organized for use by legal entities.

10. Vendor Neutral

Today your data is subject to vendor specific software. It is stored and maintained in their highly structured database and is under the control of complex programs which link it together and provide access via a large array of overlapping queries. A DATA ARCHIVE is vendor agnostic-accepting of all vendors. Information can be accepted from any PM or EHR system. the query program will maintain current, inactive and legacy data for simple and immediate accessibility.


It is common knowledge that dealing with complex EMR functionality is a challenge and requires a significant and ongoing investment beyond the initial purchase and installation of an EMR, whether that is a new system, an upgrade or a replacement.

A DATA ARCHIVE will reduce the level of complexity, lower one-time and ongoing costs, provide for growth and mergers, and fit well into security and disaster recovery procedures.

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5 Must Haves for an ICD-10-CM Specialty Code Book

ICD-10-CM is coming on like a freight train. If you are in the medical profession and you do not know what it is, you must have been in a coma for the last few years.

ICD-10-CM is a long overdue update to the ICD-9-CM diagnosis code set that was introduced over 25 years ago. Where ICD-9 had about 9,000 diagnosis codes, ICD-10 has nearly 70,000 – an almost 10 fold increase. Many ICD10 codes are much more specific than their ICD9 counterparts.

And if you are thinking that ICD-10 only affects the coders and billers – watch out! It will have a huge effect on how providers document patient encounters. Because of the requirement for higher specificity with ICD-10, providers will need to ensure that their documentation includes the specifics needed for the coders and billers to arrive at a highest specificity ICD-10 code.

Although there are still many “unspecified” codes in the ICD-10-CM code set, many payers, including Medicare, have indicated that they may pay less for claims that use those unspecified codes – and may just deny those claims, or return them asking for more documentation.

Medicare has recently announced a “grace period,” wherein they will not penalize or deny claims if the ICD-10 code is “in the same family” as the correct code, but all people in the claims workflow from the provider to the denial manager need to get up to speed on proper ICD-10 coding as soon as possible.

There are many in-person trainings, online courses and books being promoted to help with the ICD10 transition. But when looking for that essential ICD-10-CM book that will become your constant companion for the next 6 months, there are 5 essential “must haves.”

1. Code Mapping – Almost none of the ICD-10-CM books include helps to translate your old ICD-9 codes to the new ICD-10 codes. Medicare published the General Equivalency Mappings or GEMs, but most publishers have chosen either to not include them in their books or to sell a separate book with just the GEMs. The ideal ICD-10-CM specialty book would include just those mappings needed for the specialty, in the same book.

2. Official Guidelines – About half of the books on the market have included the CD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting, as published by the CDC and CMS (Medicare). But few books, if any, list the relevant sections in the Guidelines with each code or section of codes. No one is going to read and memorize all the Guidelines, so a book that lists Guideline references next to the codes is a must have.

3. Provider Documentation Guides – The real problem implementing ICD-10-CM will not be figuring out which code to use. The real problem will be ensuring that the doctors and practitioners are specific enough in their documentation, that a coder or biller will be able to assign a ICD-10-CM code at the highest specificity possible. Whether or not your practice, office, or hospital gets paid WILL depend on the level of your providers' documentation.

The ideal ICD-10-CM code book will have specialist specific guides for providers to help them understand and make the changes in their documentation habits. These guides should show the familiar ICD-9 code and the new variations of the ICD-10 codes, as well as guidelines on what terms to include in the documentation to help the coders and billers assign the most correct code.

4. Enhanced Tabular Section – Most of the current ICD-10-CM books on the market simply regurgitate the ICD-10 code information without giving much thought to other information that would help coders and billers. An enhanced tabular section should include: references to the Guidelines, references to ICD-9 codes, alerts for gender, age, maternity, and manifestation codes.

5. Readable Font – Yes, a readable font. So many of the ICD-10-CM books that have been published over the past few years are in a microscopic font that will give you H53.10 (eye strain). The problem is most publishers try to pack the entire set of 70 thousand codes into one book. You will be grateful for an ICD-10 book that you can comfortably read as you refer to it more and more.

So there you have it. As you review the different types of ICD-10-CM code books and the useful of specialty books that are on the market, keep in mind these “must haves” and select a book that will work best for you.

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The Future for Electronic Medical Record Archiving

In my article (Ten Reasons To Archive Patient Medical Records) I discussed the ten most important considerations for creating an electronic Patient Data Archive. In this article I will discuss the future of information archives and why now is a good time to get started.

Currently less than 10% of all businesses create an archive for some or all of their mission critical information. By the year 2019, that will increase to 75%. Two of the key forces expected to drive this rapid growth are the need for enhanced compliance and the ease of electronic access.

Patient Medical information, while vital for medical clinics, is only a small part of all business information. Yet for those who are dedicated to the practice of medicine, it is actually the only consideration for archiving.

In addition to dramatic this increase, the future of data archiving will include email and patient internet correspondence. This will likely become a legal requirement especially for pediatric clinics, and geriatric clinics with patients who are not able to manage their own affairs. The advocates (guarantor) for these patients need to create more points of communication than individuals who manage their own health care therefore increasing the need for better control, easier search access and duplicated backup storage.

Sorting through this additional information in search of specific notes, will become problematic if for no other reason than sheer volume. It will also require correlation of data, that is, matching a request with all, and only, the information related to a request. Failing to provide all associated information can lead to an inaccurate health diagnosis and / or a legal issue. Providing unrelated information will be confusing at least.

Begin now. Recover the data you have and get it loaded into an archive. Basic archive requirements must include: ease of access, a standard uncomplicated database format, a database that is maintained separately from the primary patient database. The query program needs to be simple, straight forward and intuitive to learn.

Further, specifications for data archiving best practices must include a “read only” restriction where changes in the data are prevented programmatically. All data including any changes to the data need to be entered into the “system of record” which is typically the EMR System, and its rigorous edit criteria. Maintaining a single system of record preserves the integrity of the patient data. Audits of the archive database will then satisfy the requirement that its data can not be compromised.

The cost to implement a data archive is relatively low.

Security concerns and other problems regarding lost and unrecoverable data will be reduced via the archive's separate, protected database. As the patient data “system of record”, the primary EMR database is, and should be, the workhorse for validating, storing, updating and retrieving electronic patient records.

The future is now.

You can remove Data Archiving from the list of future concerns and eliminate the crisis which will occur when data archiving becomes a government, industry or business mandate.

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