Apr 10

Interview with HealthSystemCIO.com – Parts 2 & 3

Kate Gamble over at HealthSystemCIO.com has posted parts 2 & 3 of our interview on their website, and I am posting the files here also.  In Part 2, I talk about my role as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) in addition to being the CIO, and my goals of being CEO.  In part 3, I talk about education, credentials, and some of the mentors that I have had the pleasure of working with during my career.

 

Thanks Kate for the opportunity to speak with you.  I will be speaking at the National Rural Health Association annual conference in Las Vegas on April 16th, and at Becker’s Hospital Review in Chicago on May 17th. I look forward to seeing you there.

 

Spencer

Mar 13

Interview with HealthSystemCIO – Part 1

I get asked from time-to-time to do interviews or speak at industry events.  The last time that I was at CHIME, someone suggested that if I could get a copy of the audio or video files, that I should make them available here on the ITPodcast website.

Recently, Kate Gamble over at HealthSystemCIO asked me to do an interview.  The podcast below is from that interview with Kate.  This has been broken into two parts.  Part 1, included here, addresses my thoughts on the following:

Chapter 1

  • About Taos Health
  • Meditech Magic since the mid-90s
  • Athenahealth in the clinics
  • Taos’ “very active” PHO
  • Eyeing population health — “We’re going to have to be frontrunners.”
  • Infrastructure challenges & Internet outages
  • “Everybody wants to sell you on a cloud-based system.”

You can access the original podcast and narrative transcript at the HealthSystemCIO website through this link:

http://healthsystemcio.com/2014/03/12/spencer-hamons-cio-coo-taos-health-systems-chapter-1/

Jan 05

Working with the CMIO & Tackling Readmissions

Two topics in this week’s podcast.  First, a quick discussion about the CIO / CMIO relationship.  The second and extremely urgent topic is the necessity for hospitals to gain control of their readmission rates or risk penalization in the form of reduced Medicare payments.

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in hospitals are still learning how to work with their Chief Medical Information Officers (CMIOs).  The relationship in some organizations is wonderful, in others the relationship is tenuous, and at some the relationship is non-existent.  On this show, I talk a bit about the CIO / CMIO relationship, and the necessity of the CIO learning to work with, not against, their CMIO.  I also devote significant time discussing what is going to be a hot topic in 2012 and 2013, right up there with achieving Meaningful Use, the evolution of HIPAA 5010 compliance, and ICD-10 implementations – reducing hospital readmissions.

I am continually surprised how many CIOs are unaware of the penalties that will face hospitals with high Medicare readmission rates beginning in 2013.  Penalties in federal fiscal year (FFY) 2013 will begin at 1% of all IPPS payments to offending hospitals, climbing to 2% in 2014 and up to 3% in 2015.

CIOs need to work closely with their CMIOs to begin addressing these issues now, if work has not already begun.  With the clinical process redesign activities hospitals are undertaking as part of their Meaningful Use initiatives, right now is the perfect time to begin incorporating changes that can positively impact readmission rates.

I hope you enjoy this podcast.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at spencer@itpodcast.org or log into this website and post your own comments.  I guarantee that I will personally respond to anyone who emails or posts comments.

You can listen to the podcast streaming directly from this site, or add the feed to your iTunes or RSS consolidator using these links:

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Useful Links:

Thank you for listening!

Spencer Hamons
ITPodcast.org

 

Aug 17

Differences between Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs

In this week’s show, we explore the differences between the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs.  Yes, there are significant differences between the two programs, ranging from how much the incentives are worth, who is considered an eligible provider (EP), and even the deadlines for filing.  One of the most significant differences between the two programs is that while the Medicare EHR incentive program requires an eligible provider to demonstrate meaningful use to receive payment, the Medicaid program requires the EP only to sign a contract for a certified EHR.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The podcast about this and other differences is below, and further down in this post is a matrix detailing the differences between the two programs, along with other useful links.

You can listen to the podcast streaming directly from this site, or add the feed to your iTunes or RSS consolidator using these links:

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Below is the matrix detailing the high-level differences between the two programs.  Further down are the links that I mention in this episode’s podcast.

CMS Official Matrix - Differences between the Medicaid and Medicare EHR Incentive ProgramsUseful Links:

As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.  Please feel free to email me at spencer@itpodcast.org and I will get back with you.  I answer all listener emails.

Thank you again for listening,

Spencer Hamons

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Jul 29

USAC Funding for Rural Healthcare Telecommunications

On today’s show, we talk about USAC’s rural health program and the process that healthcare providers must undertake to receive subsidies for critical telecommunications links to rural facilities.  Even if you work in a large metropolitan area, if your hospital or clinic is partnering with smaller facilities or has outreach facilities located in rural parts of the country, you should listen to today’s show.  The potential to have the cost between the rural rate and the urban rate for telecommunications and Internet service for healthcare providers is substantial.  The services that USAC commonly subsidizes are ATM, Centrex, DSL, Ethernet, Fiber, Fractional T1’s, Frame Relay, Internet, ISDN, Mileage related charges, MPLS, Network Reconfiguration Services (NRS), OC-1, OC-3, Redundant Circuits, Satellite Services, Telephony Services, T1’s, T3’s, and DS3’s.

Background

The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) funds the FCC’s Universal Service Fund.  There are four programs that USAC administers, the high cost program, the low income program, the E-Rate program for schools and libraries, and the rural health program.  You can find out how much money was disbursed to telecommunication providers in various states in 2010 here.

Important information about how to go about applying for universal service fund subsidies, as well as information essential to developing a selection process is available in the podcast, as well as in the links below.

I hope this short primer on USAC helps some of you gain access to funds that may help you improve the healthcare infrastructure of your rural and outreach facilities.  If you have any questions, or if you have additional tips, you are welcome to add them here, or email me at spencer@itpodcast.org.

If you want to add this feed through iTunes, please click here: Will Open iTunes

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Spencer Hamons

Mar 15

New Managers First 30 Days

This week, we talk about the “Peter Principle” and the tendency for people to obtain promotions until they reach their own level of incompetence.  With that in mind, we discuss some very simple time management techniques that brand-new managers can use to help get their feet underneath them in that first or second management job.  Even if you aren’t a brand new manager, it is never too late for all of us to learn some new techniques.  I’m not going to spoil the podcast for you…instead, I will let you listen to the show and decide how valuable the content is on your own.

Mentioned during the show today is the blog Time Management Ninja by fellow blogger Craig Jarrow.  You know my feelings about the importance of life-long learning. Regardless of how long you have been a manager or leader, there is always something new to learn that has the potential to make you even more effective at your job.  Craig’s site is full of excellent time management tips presented in a very concise format.  I encourage you all to visit.

As always, I welcome your comments either here on the blog, or by emailing me directly at spencer@itpodcast.org.

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Spencer Hamons

 

Mar 08

How do you use your metrics?

As I close on the last few weeks of my graduate degree program, I finally have some time to produce this podcast once again. I would like to thank all of you that wrote me over the past months asking where I was, checking to be sure I was okay, and for all of the well-wishes you have sent to me. Talk about making a guy who loves technology and operations feel like a rock-star.

This week, I revisit the necessity for all leaders in healthcare to work to improve communications with all of the various stakeholders that we serve.  Not only the hospital staff, but our providers, the Board, and yes…our patients.  Unfortunately, a recent study suggests that while transparency is taking hold in the healthcare market, technology staff has not embraced the concept to its fullest potential.

A recent Dell survey illustrates some of this disconnect.  This study focuses on electronic medical record implementations, but I contest that the concept of open and honest communication of strategy, tactics, and realistic goals expands much further than just how EMRs will be used in healthcare.  To see Dell’s report, click here.

The same concept of using your performance data to enlist the assistance of stakeholders whose value as partners is many times overlooked because of the perception of “being too hard to work with”, can be found here.  Specifically, this report confirms what we have been talking about on this show for a number of years…the necessity of involving physicians and other professional clinicians in the decision making, design, and implementation of successful solutions.  To clarify, I’m not just talking about technology solutions, but process re-engineering solutions as well.

I graduate from Colorado State on April 16th.  I promise, I will strive to deliver more timely podcasts once I complete this program.

As always, I welcome your comments either here on the blog, or by emailing me directly at spencer@itpodcast.org.

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Apr 18

Analysis of ARRA Funding for Health IT

For today’s podcast, I did some research at http://www.recovery.gov , looking for recipient reports for “Health IT”.  The results were pretty interesting.  In the show, I talk about some of the information that I found, some trends that I saw, and talk about a few of the more humorous projects (like one for the study of the efficacy of lifestyle changes for obese men with erectile dysfunction).

One of the common themes that I found was that a significant amount of the ARRA money that was supposed to be used to change the face of healthcare IT  is really only being used to augment systems that are already in place.  This means that a lot of the money is being used for tactical purposes in organizations, and not fulfilling strategic needs.

This podcast is being used for my feature at ADVANCE for Health Information Executives for the month of April as well.

To hear the podcast, you can use the plugin here:

If you want to add this feed through iTunes, please click here: Will Open iTunes

If you want to add this feed to your Google homepage, please use this link: Add to Google

As always, if you have any questions, you are welcome to contact me directly at spencer@itpodcast.org. I respond to all emails and posts to this blog directly.

If you would like to add me to your Facebook or LinkedIn profiles, you can use these links for that connection.

Spencer Hamons

 

Mar 17

FCC National Broadband Plan Report Analysis

As many of you are no doubt aware, the Federal Communications Commission released their much anticipated National Broadband Plan on Tuesday, March 16, 2010.  The plan is about 360 pages long and includes a lot of good information about the current state of broadband in the United States, as well as some ideas on what needs to be improved in the coming years to increase penetration and allow growth in both the wireline and wireless delivery networks.  In today’s podcast, I review the plan’s highlights, specifically how it relates to the health IT.

If you are so inclined, I suggest that you download a copy of the entire  plan by clicking this link.  The plan is very well written, and has a lot of potential uses with your project sponsors, physicians and other providers, and the executive team.

This podcast is being used for my feature at ADVANCE for Health Information Executives for the month of March as well.

To hear the podcast, you can use the plugin here:

If you want to add this feed through iTunes, please click here: Will Open iTunes

If you want to add this feed to your Google homepage, please use this link: Add to Google

As always, if you have any questions, you are welcome to contact me directly at spencer@itpodcast.org. I respond to all emails and posts to this blog directly.

If you would like to add me to your Facebook or LinkedIn profiles, you can use these links for that connection.

 

Feb 19

Are IT Certifications Worth Anything?

m4s0n501

On this podcast, I talk about various technology certifications and their value to the IT organization.  Everyone wants to know, “what is the best IT certification to get”.  Personally, I think that certifications have lost some of their luster over the years, primarily because the role of the IT organization has changed from being a group of geeks sitting in a room staring at screens, trying to improve the speed of the Linux box they were able to get running on that old 386 that they found…to a group of people whose job is to solve business problems.  Unfortunately, most certification programs have not taken this change into account, and still favor the geek in a t-shirt to the technology professional who is comfortable in a suit.

I don’t get into a lot of detail in the podcast, but I do give a quick tutorial of the different levels of various certifications from Cisco and Microsoft, as well as talk about the pros and cons of some of the current certifications that are out there.  A word of warning though, if you are one of the many MCSE’s (Microsoft Certified System Engineers) out there that hasn’t fully embraced the MCITP and the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) programs, you might not like what I have to say.

As always, I invite you to look at the data and make your own decisions.  You can look at the IT professional certifications offered my Microsoft, Cisco and VMWare by clicking the appropriate links.

This podcast is being used for my feature at ADVANCE for Health Information Executives as well.

To hear the podcast, you can use the plugin here:

If you want to add this feed through iTunes, please click here: Will Open iTunes

If you want to add this feed to your Google homepage, please use this link: Add to Google

As always, if you have any questions, you are welcome to contact me directly at spencer@itpodcast.org. I respond to all emails and posts to this blog directly.

If you would like to add me to your Facebook or LinkedIn profiles, you can use these links for that connection.

Spencer Hamons

 

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