Health information technologies are making everyone’s lives better – patients and providers alike. Electronic health and medical records have improved patient safety, 'handoffs' and caregiver communication, and the effective management of informatics has led to cost savings and workflow efficiencies for healthcare providers. Now physical therapists practice on clouds. Though cloud computing is relatively new to the physical therapy and rehabilitation arena, the Internet-based infrastructure is being used effectively by healthcare providers to capture treatment data in real time as care is being administered by therapists. cloud computing for physical therapistsArmed with an iPod, iPad or other cellular device, a physical therapist presses the start application when therapy begins and hits stop when therapy ends. In the interim, details such as medicines, equipment used, treatment methods and related billing information are all recorded. For healthcare providers, cloud computing may be the ultimate in tracking therapist performance, productivity and beside accountability. Cloud computing is defined as a set of virtual servers working in tandem over the Internet. In contrast to grid computing, which divides larger tasks into smaller ones running on parallel systems, cloud computing encompasses a collection of resources, many of which work independently and [+]

Convenient, safe and affordable, outpatient surgical centers (ASC) are taking over the healthcare landscape. Patients are saving as much as 61 percent on same-day procedures and outpatient centers are outclassing hospitals in areas of patient safety, satisfaction and preventable deaths.[1] Presently, more than 5,000 outpatient facilities operate in the U.S. They’ve grown in number at an annual rate of about eight percent since 2000 and represent roughly 40 percent of total health system spending in the U.S. Outpatient centers are heavily concentrated in California, Florida and Texas – states with large numbers of retiring baby boomers. healthcare staffing challengesMore hospital employers have realized the value of the outpatient model recently and have adopted plans for expansion. Margins hover around 26 percent and outpatient populations are typically healthier and better insured. Additionally, Medicare payments to outpatient facilities have increased 11.4 percent year over year. But as standalone outpatient centers continue to penetrate less densely populated areas of the U.S., sourcing qualified surgeons, nurses and therapists will present challenges to healthcare employers and investors exploring new markets. To that end, the StayStaffed Candidate Direct Marketplace enables outpatient facilities nationwide to source hard-to-find, highly-skilled candidates. The Marketplace healthcare staffing solution is [+]

A fully configured vendor management system could be part of your answer This year hospitals have until March 15 to complete HHN’s Most Wired Survey, a series of about sixty questions that aid an elite panel of hospital and information technology leaders in determining which U.S. hospitals lead the pack in the adoption and implementation of innovative healthcare technologies. The idea behind the survey is to recognize hospitals for unique healthcare IT projects that improve the wellbeing of patients, staff and stakeholders. What’s different about this year’s Most Wired Survey is the heightened emphasis on hospitals’ use of analytics and reporting, business processes reshaping the way healthcare does business in an era when performance, measurability and accountability are the new kings of conscientious hospital CEOs. most wired hospitalsFor example, the survey question: “What management tools are available online?” which asks survey takers if they engage an enterprise management solution, shift-bidding, or a workforce management tool that measures staff productivity and cost trends. What would your answer be? Would it be: "Yes, my hospital vendor management tells me how much my contingent workforce costs me in a click of a mouse." or "No, you’ll have to give me a day [+]

Healthcare facilities of all sizes can contain costs, track contingent workforce activities and optimize healthcare staffing spend Human resource professionals find oasis in Vendor Management System contingent labor technologies You're a human resources leader at a busy hospital facility. The pressure is on to make every healthcare staffing penny count, and with healthcare reform expanding patient populations and restructuring reimbursements, higher ups are calling on you to support healthcare staffing decisions with ROI. Enter "Vendor Management Systems" or VMS. A means of tracking patterns in staffing volume, quantifying the performance of contingent workers and managing all costs associated with a contingent workforce of nurses, doctors, therapists, PAs, interns, orderlies and volunteers. It's free to implement, and peers in the profession have told you their vendor management system saves time and money. It's tremendous, say peers, to view and manage all of their healthcare travelers, per diems, locum tenens and scope-of-work contractors in real time and with just an Internet connection. Having access to a highly competitive healthcare staffing environment, where staffing agencies bid on postings and where volume pricing with preferred vendors can be negotiated. Sue Higgins“Whereas one staffing vendor agency may have a stated  bill rate of $64 an hour  [+]

Simulation testing gaining in healthcare employer nurse training circles With healthcare reform’s focus on patient safety, lower readmission rates and reduced medical errors, it makes sense for healthcare employers to conduct nursing simulations as a means of assembling surgical checklists, timing procedures and correcting flaws in protocols, equipment and training before something goes awry in the real world. nurse simulationWhat nursing simulation does for nurse training, say hospital administrators, is give nurses the opportunity to practice in virtual environments where they aren’t “under the gun,” so as to better familiarize nurses with how to prioritize in critical situations. Additionally, nursing simulation allows practitioners to train on new clinical processes and to enhance individual and team skills before encountering patients in the real world, where stressful situations can lead to medical errors. Though simulation testing is nothing new to the nurse training world, the process an ideal way for healthcare employers to evaluate where patient care delivery can be streamlined and made more convenient and safer for the patient and medical staff. One Abington Pennsylvania healthcare employer reported great success with nursing simulation when developing an ER program to improve upon the hospital’s left-without-treatment rates.  Another relied on nursing [+]

Higher levels of education in healthcare have been tied to improved patient safety, outcomes and satisfaction. The demand for nurses with advanced degrees, such as the Advanced Nurse Practitioner, is increasing in clinical and educational settings, and even physical therapists are finding their skills in high demand, especially DPT's in sought-after specialties. The growth in outpatient care and the profession’s thirst for direct patient access, means that the DPT (Doctorate of Physical Therapy) is becoming the minimum for entering the field. Employing the best-educated, experienced nurses and therapists can make all the difference in quality patient care, no matter the type of facility. Consequently, hospitals and outpatient centers have begun increasingly upgrading the educational levels of their staffs and searching for caregiver graduates with terminal degrees. For this reason, healthcare employers choose to utilize the services of  Candidate Direct Marketplace TM (CDM) - a web-based, leading-edge technology that enables nurse managers and administrators to fulfill contingent workforce needs and to source candidates from anywhere in the country. This simplified workforce management solution helps healthcare organizations increase fill rates, decrease staffing spend, and, perhaps most importantly, significantly reduce time to hire. Product Development Manager for Candidate Direct, Sue Higgins, said [+]

IT Partnerships in Patient Safety and Healthcare Staffing Where will hospitals and healthcare facilities find qualified nurse practitioners? A nurse practitioner enters the room. As the nurse practitioner greets the patient, he or she is immediately identified by 'smart room' technologies that confirm the nurse practitioner is an authorized caregiver. The nurse practitioner’s name appears on a flat screen for patients and family members to see and is prompted to wash his or her hands by a spotlight that points to the sink. Smart room technologies and electronic health and medical records systems are being deployed by hospitals nationwide to curb medical errors, reduce mortality rates and altogether enhance patient safety and outcomes. But what technologies are hospitals using to source and recruit savvy nurse practitioners? What healthcare management solutions to ensure a seamless transition in patient care when one nurse practitioner goes on leave and another takes over, or to eliminate countless phone hours finding last minute replacements for call outs and spikes in patient census? More importantly, "How does a hospital find nurse practitioners knowledgeable of EMRs and EHRs, smart room technologies and informatics?" Smart room technologies will only be as good as the "smart" nurses and doctors charged with entering and maintaining the [+]

Though ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) present patients with unbridled convenience and investors with margins superior to hospital settings, the rapid growth of ambulatory care centers has revealed some unsettling risks.  The Centers for Disease Control, along with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently evaluated the infection control practices of nearly 70 ASCs across Maryland, North Carolina and Oklahoma. Findings were shocking. More than 20 percent of ASCs surveyed had lapses in proper hand washing and the use of protective gloves. Fifty seven percent were cited for deficiencies in infection control and 30 percent reprimanded for deficiencies related to medication administration, including use of single-dose medications for multiple patients. Of the 68 ASCs surveyed, lapses included: Insufficient cleaning of high touch surfaces in patient care areas Inappropriate handling of equipment used for blood glucose monitoring Failure to adhere to recommended practices regarding reprocessing of surgical equipment Deficiencies related to injection practices Although most states require ASCs to meet various licensing requirements and conduct periodic inspections – not all do - or strictly enforce state requirements, resulting in lapses in quality patient care at under-inspected ASCs. And though nurse pay in Ambulatory Surgery Centers typically falls above the median, according to government statistics, ASCs pay often six to [+]

Talk of healthcare information technology, EMRs and EHRs is fast growing among hospital administrators nationwide.  Healthcare reform laws passed last March give hospitals until 2013 to put electronic medical and health records systems in place and to meet a slew of meaningful use guidelines set forth by reform’s Healthcare Information Technology Act (HITECH). How much can this potentially cost hospitals? By some estimates, as much as $120,000 per physician for a competent EHR in terms of equipment, software, services, training time and potential lost revenue. Coincidentally and to the detriment of hospitals, these expenditures come at a time when providers are reeling from one of the worst economic downturns in decades. And to make matters worse, investors are shifting their focus to outpatient centers, leaving hospital administrators no choice but to improve efficiencies and cut costs to meet HITECH mandates on time. Sue HigginsSusan Higgins, Product Development Director for Candidate Direct, a leading provider of healthcare staffing solutions, said one way hospitals can save money is to streamline their permanent and contingent workforce staffing needs. From recruitment to payroll, Higgins said their company provides hospitals with customizable, automated staffing solutions to hire and retain candidates who possess [+]

Nurses play vital role in EHR design and informatics For some, the advent of electronic health records (EHRs) is no secret. EHRs support clinical decision making, improve patient documentation and enhance patient safety through accuracy and error detection. nursing informatics Though in their relative infancy, EHRs are part of a growing healthcare field known as Nursing Informatics, a blossoming center of study focused on the research and development of best practices in the use of EHRs by healthcare staffing agencies will soon begin pursuing nursing informatics professionals as the profession matures and demand for the skill increases among healthcare employers. Nursing informatics programs are already underway at major universities and, with healthcare technology at the forefront of patient care, hospitals and outpatient centers will soon be on the lookout for nursing candidates fluent in informatics. While in the past, information technology experts were typically the ones who designed software for utilization in clinical settings, IT professionals often possess limited knowledge of work processes in the perioperative environment, leaving nurses best suited for EHR system design and processes development. A healthcare career in nursing informatics is ideal for RNs looking for less patient contact - the discipline is centered [+]

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