Various devices and forms of communication appear along with the words: Achieve Healthcare Interoperability with ActiveXCHANGE.

How Does ActiveXCHANGE Help Achieve Healthcare Interoperability?

| No Comments

HealthWare Systems Blog

How Does ActiveXCHANGE Help Achieve Healthcare Interoperability?

Posted on Monday, October 12, 2020

ActiveXCHANGE is our solution for helping organizations achieve healthcare interoperability. Below you’ll find information on the basics of interoperability in healthcare, the challenges healthcare facilities face, and how we can help you solve them.

What Is Healthcare Interoperability?


According to HIMSS:

“In healthcare, interoperability is the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged. Data exchange schema and standards should permit data to be shared across clinician, lab, hospital, pharmacy, and patient regardless of the application or application vendor.

Interoperability means the ability of health information systems to work together within and across organizational boundaries in order to advance the effective delivery of healthcare for individuals and communities.”

Why Is Achieving Interoperability Important?


  • Interoperability is vital to patient safety and public health and a lack of interoperability leads to poor health outcomes and higher healthcare costs.
  • Seamlessly sending, receiving, interpreting, and integrating data significantly improves the patient experience and patients often expect that their information will be readily available to them and their healthcare providers.
  • Federal efforts to achieve healthcare interoperability are aimed at giving patients access to and control over their own medical information.
  • Interoperable technology streamlines organizational workflows and increases efficiency, plus cuts costs, by eliminating manual and redundant steps in the process of exchanging data.
  • Better interoperability helps with reducing physician burnout, which is often tied to EMR frustrations and administrative burdens that can be traced back to interoperability problems (such as sifting through an overwhelming abundance of low-quality data to find the information they need and spending more time with the computer than with the patient).
  • The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) states that “Seamless data flow will also accelerate progress on a range of national health priorities that include combatting the opioid epidemic, spurring clinical innovation, and accelerating science.”

What Are the Challenges to Achieving Interoperability in Healthcare?


Various devices and forms of communication appear along with the words: Achieve Healthcare Interoperability with ActiveXCHANGE.

Achieve healthcare interoperability with ActiveXCHANGE.

  • Disparate Technology Systems – there are numerous distinct EMRs in use today by different health providers and organizations, and most were not made for the purpose of integrating with others.
  • No Standardization – there has been no uniform method of identifying patients or shared clinical terminology used among different EMRs, resulting in inaccuracies when matching individuals to their health data, duplicate medical records/patient accounts, and costly repeat testing.
  • Fragmented Data & Information Delays – variations between systems in the way they handle information also leads to incomplete medical records and slows down the transmission of data.
  • Unstructured Data – information may be exchanged in a myriad of different formats, including fax, scanned images/documents, hard copies, and other non-electronic forms of unstructured data; many facilities are only able to integrate this information through manual work.
  • Design and Usability – the ONC found that barriers to interoperability identified by healthcare providers and other stakeholders include “the differences in user-interface design across developers variations in the design that make day-to-day use complicated when a health care provider uses multiple systems and the lack of developer engagement with end users of health IT regarding design needs.”
  • Cost of Replacing Technology – providers have made large investments in their EMRs and other health IT systems and may be unable or hesitant to purchase new solutions.
  • Security Concerns – providers are also cautious of maintaining patient privacy and HIPAA compliance when considering new solutions.
  • Information Blocking* – due to “legal and business incentives,” health “information networks and their participants often treat individuals’ electronic health information as an asset that can be restricted to obtain or maintain competitive advantage,” per the ONC.
  • Third Party Integration – challenges extend beyond the internal solutions used by the healthcare provider. Third party solution providers and service vendors introduce additional challenges for sharing information between systems.

*In accordance with the Cures Act and Interoperability and Patient Access final rule (CMS-9115-F), in late 2020 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will start publicly reporting “eligible clinicians, hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) that may be information blocking” and “those providers who do not list or update their digital contact information in the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES).”

How Does ActiveXCHANGE Solve These Challenges to Help Achieve Healthcare Interoperability?


ActiveXCHANGE helps facilities achieve healthcare interoperability in the following ways:

  • Provides a bi-directional gateway for consolidating information from any source (this includes multiple scheduling systems, custom interfaces, HL7, FHIR, XML, web-based requisition systems, EHRs/EMRs, faxes, direct messaging, e-mail, hard copies, scanned documents/images, and verbal appointments).
  • Interprets all information and makes it actionable, regardless of the structured or unstructured format in which it’s received.
  • Automatically transforms all incoming information into an electronic format.
  • Performs “image cleanup” (e.g. corrects alignment issues, discards blank or irrelevant pages, “de-speckles” to remove unwanted marks) on graphic images and scanned documents and extracts key data from each page.
  • Intelligently manages information objects by using business rules to find and make usable relevant data, determining what to do with that information, and flagging errors and exceptions (for example, detecting missing signatures or required forms/documentation) for resolution.
  • Drives and automates processes and workflows based on business rules and triggered by incoming information objects.
  • Routes information through business rules and account matching to the appropriate destination (e.g. EMR, physician portals, document management systems, other third-party applications) in virtually any format and in a user-friendly form that the destination system can accept.
  • Operates bi-directionally to manage incoming and outgoing communication (e.g. automated voice message (TTS), text, e-mail, pagers, fax, traditional mail) between healthcare facilities, patients, physicians, affiliated organizations, remote workers, payers, and vendors – whether the recipient has an ActiveXCHANGE server or not.
  • Ensures the secure, HIPAA-compliant exchange of information.
  • Supports custom workflows and can be configured to meet the unique needs of each department across a client enterprise.
  • HealthWare Systems specializes in integrating proprietary and third-party patient access technologies and provides the platform for connecting disparate health IT systems and EMRs/EHRs, so there is no need to replace your investment in your current technology.
  • All costs (e.g. software, implementation, training, transaction fees, hardware) for our solutions are included in one monthly subscription payment and there are NO upfront fees, creating a more immediate return on investment for our clients.

As the ONC wrote, “Improved interoperability can strengthen market competition, result in greater quality, safety, and value for the healthcare system, and enable patients, health care providers, and payers to experience the benefits of health IT.”

Contact us today to learn more about how ActiveXCHANGE can help you achieve healthcare interoperability or schedule a live demo of our solution.


By Stephanie Salmich

A patient tracking system will improve the healthcare employee experience.

Improve the Healthcare Employee Experience with a Patient Tracking System

| No Comments

HealthWare Systems Blog

Improve the Healthcare Employee Experience with a Patient Tracking System

Posted on Friday, November 15, 2019

Patient tracking systems are known for improving the patient experience… But did you know HealthWare’s patient tracking system, ActiveTRACK, can also improve the healthcare employee experience?

ActiveTRACK captures data in real-time. Its real-time dashboards improve the healthcare employee experience in the following ways:

Better Resource Allocation

Access to actionable, real-time data enables supervisors to proactively manage resources and staff based on actual patient flow. Workloads can be better balanced so that one group or individual is not needlessly or disproportionately overwhelmed, which can greatly reduce workplace stress.

Holds Everyone Accountable

ActiveTRACK monitors productivity, creating the opportunity to reward or recognize high achievers. It also allows managers to identify low performers and ensure that every employee pulls his/her weight.

It’s very frustrating for a team when one member brings the rest down. Without a tool like ActiveTRACK it’s hard for managers to hold everyone to the same productivity standard. With ActiveTRACK, managers can put low performers on a work improvement plan and improve team engagement.

Correctly Determines Responsibility

Management can also immediately and accurately pinpoint where any bottlenecks in patient throughput occur thanks to ActiveTRACK’s real-time data.

An acute care facility in the Chicago Suburbs used ActiveTRACK for this purpose, and discovered that patient delays had been incorrectly attributed to its Registration Department. Data from ActiveTRACK revealed that patients were actually being held up in other areas. (You can read the full case study here.)

When healthcare employees are mistakenly blamed for workflow issues, they will feel irritated at best and unjustly treated at worst. A patient tracking system can bring your healthcare employees the relief and security of knowing their good work will be properly credited to them and won’t go unnoticed.

You may also be interested in: “3 Healthcare Solutions for Improving Employee Satisfaction, Engagement, & Retention

Improves Communication & Patient Visibility

In addition to real-time data, ActiveTRACK also delivers real-time communication among departments. And, patient status is visible to all departments across the enterprise. This eliminates calls between clinical areas, to greatly improve the healthcare employee experience.

A patient tracking system will improve the healthcare employee experience.

You can improve the healthcare employee experience by providing the tools and resources healthcare employees need to do their jobs well.


Annette Franz (customer experience thought leader and founder/CEO of CX Journey Inc.) says when she interviews employees, “some of the biggest pain points of their experiences are most often about their inability to do a good job”:

“At the heart of it all, employees want to do their jobs and do them well. Unfortunately, they can’t if they aren’t provided with the tools, processes, and resources needed to do that.”

ActiveTRACK is the tool healthcare employees need to do their jobs well. And when healthcare employees are happy and engaged, so are patients!

Download our Product Sheet to learn more about how ActiveTRACK can improve the healthcare employee experience at your facility.


By Stephanie Salmich

Support Your Physicians: An administrator and doctor shake hands.

Support Your Physicians by Asking These 3 Questions

| No Comments

HealthWare Systems Blog

Support Your Physicians by Asking These 3 Questions

Posted on Friday, March 30, 2018

National Doctors’ Day (March 30th) provides a great opportunity to reevaluate the steps your facility is taking to support your physicians who work so hard for you and your patients.

Support Your Physicians: An administrator and doctor shake hands.

Happy National Doctors’ Day!

Here are a few questions to consider when assessing how well you support your physicians:

 

Are You Fueling Your Physicians’ Sense of Purpose?

One of the best ways you can support your physicians is by encouraging their passion, whether it be for medicine, for helping patients and their families, for serving the community, or any other meaningful reason they have for doing the work they do.

Fostering a sense of meaning in work can improve employee engagement, reduce physician burnout, and lower employee turnover.  According to Forbes contributor David K. Williams, the secret to helping employees find meaning in work is communication:

“If leaders focus on communicating the company’s mission, and the employee’s place in the success of that mission, they can have a significant impact on the overall level of fulfillment of their employees.”

He suggests that leaders “frequently discuss the meaning of the organization” and recognize employees for their personal contribution to that meaning.

 

Are You Making Your Physicians’ Jobs Easier or More Difficult?

Physicians are extremely busy.  Is the technology you provide them helping or hindering their time management?

Time-consuming and cumbersome administrative tasks and paperwork can overwhelm physicians and distract them from the reason they became doctors in the first place:  to help patients.

Alleviate physician stress by implementing solutions that:

1. Eliminate lost physician orders

2. Facilitate the sending, receiving, finding, and integrating of critical data to achieve interoperability

3. Prevent reimbursement issues

4. Provide real-time communication across departments

Are You Investing in Your Physicians?

Do you provide opportunities for your valuable physicians to learn and grow in the vital roles they fill for your organization?  Millennial healthcare employees may especially appreciate opportunities for growth and development, continued training, and education at work.  You can also support your physicians by offering or funding mindfulness training, empathy training, and emotional support programs to help prevent or reduce physician burnout.

Again, National Doctors’ Day is TODAY (March 30th)!  Now is the perfect time to rejuvenate your commitment to support your physicians with these suggestions.  And remember to celebrate the physicians who have made a difference for you and your family by personally thanking them and honoring them each March 30th for the hard work they do all year long.


You can also find ideas for promoting other health observances throughout the year here, and a detailed calendar of this year’s health observances and recognition days here.


By Stephanie Salmich

A group of Millennial healthcare employees appears with the blog title: Attracting and Retaining Millennial Healthcare Employees (Part 1)

Attracting and Retaining Millennial Healthcare Employees (Part 1)

| No Comments

HealthWare Systems Blog

Attracting and Retaining Millennial Healthcare Employees (Part 1)

Posted on Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A group of Millennial healthcare employees appears with the blog title: Attracting and Retaining Millennial Healthcare Employees (Part 1)

Promoting your mission and investing in education will help you in attracting and retaining Millennial healthcare employees.

Attracting and retaining Millennial healthcare employees should be a major priority for health systems. 

This group now makes up the largest share of the U.S. workforce and is projected to make up 75% of it by 2025.  Hospitals must improve employee retention when it comes to Millennials in order to avoid costly employee turnover from this increasing majority in the workplace.

Here are some suggestions for attracting and retaining Millennial healthcare employees:


Promote Your Mission

Many Millennials have a desire to find purpose in their work.  Research conducted by Great Place to Work found Millennials are six times more likely to plan to remain with their employer when they find “special meaning” in their work, and that “leading employers use different ‘meaning archetypes’ to help employees connect to their work and feel part of something significant.”

For example, Millennials tend to care about corporate social responsibility.  An organization that prioritizes “going green,” charitable giving, or service opportunities may appeal to a Millennial job seeker.  Jennifer Thew, a nurse and editor for HealthLeaders Media, suggests:

“Perhaps an opportunity to work at an organization that helps improve the health of patient populations who are dealing with poverty, poor health incomes, unemployment, or are part of an immigrant population could be attractive to a millennial nurse.”

The healthcare industry naturally fits into this category of meaningful work as most healthcare workers pursue this field with the desire to help others.  But, it’s not enough to rely on that convenience; a facility must actively communicate its mission.  As Benjamin Anderson, CEO of Kearny County Hospital, stated in an interview with HealthLeaders Media:

“If you don’t know your mission, then the default mission becomes to stay open another day, and I don’t know very many mission-hearted, bright medical providers or clinicians that get excited working for an organization whose goal is to stay open another day.”

Furthermore, he points out the importance of the employee’s and organization’s goals aligning:

“It really is about understanding each recruit’s motivations, and knowing the mission and purpose of the organization, and matching the two.  If they don’t match, the person is not going to stay.  If they do, it’s a very good thing.”

Prioritizing and nurturing your clinicians’ passion for helping patients and making a difference will improve employee engagement with their work and may also help prevent the burnout that often results from emotionally exhausting work, which is another major cause of turnover.

Invest in Education

Millennials are set to be the most educated generation thus far, and polls indicate that this generation of workers values continued learning.  According to a recent Gallup report:

  • 59% of Millennials “say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job.”
  • 87% of Millennials “rate ‘professional or career growth and development opportunities’ as important to them in a job.”
  • Only 39% of Millennials “strongly agree that they learned something new in the past 30 days that they can use to do their jobs better.”
  • Less than one in two Millennials “strongly agree that they have had opportunities to learn and grow in the past year.”
  • Only one-third of Millennials “strongly agree that their most recent learning opportunity at work was ‘well worth’ their time.”

HealthLeaders Media describes how Fairview Health Services improves employee retention through its internal perioperative nurse training program, which it developed in response to serious perioperative nursing vacancies it was facing.  The organization invests in its employees’ education by paying for the cost of the training and paying the nurses a salary while they learn.  In return, hired nurses commit to work at their accepted position for at least two years.

In the article, Laura Beeth (Fairview’s System Vice President of Talent Acquisition) explains that “‘perioperative skills are not part of the prelicensure nursing curriculum while they attend college, so it is critical we have pipelines in place to teach these additional skills.’”

Additionally, partnering with nearby colleges can offer a mutually beneficial opportunity to fill any skills gap you may be experiencing with new hires.  Hospitals & Health Networks reports that four Cleveland health systems are collaborating with a consultant to create a report “on what the future health care needs of the region will be and what the existing resources are at area colleges.”  The colleges who participate will make curriculum changes accordingly.

Investing in education by offering Millennial healthcare employees plenty of opportunities to grow and learn will not only improve employee engagement, but also supply you with superior, skilled employees.


Promoting your mission and investing in education are two excellent ways you can improve employee engagement for Millennial healthcare employees.  Be sure to check out Part 2 of our 2-part blog about attracting and retaining Millennial healthcare employees in which we will outline two more strategies to help you improve employee retention for this generation of workers.

Editor’s Note:  This is Part 1 in a 2-part blog series.


By Stephanie Salmich

A clock and stethoscope representing the blog, 3 Simple Time-Savers for Physicians.

3 Simple Time-Savers for Physicians

| No Comments

HealthWare Systems Blog

3 Simple Time-Savers for Physicians

Posted on Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The following time-savers for physicians can help busy doctors who don’t always have as much time to meet with each patient as they’d like.

Provide your doctors with these three simple time-savers for physicians to help them more efficiently use the time they do have, generate better health outcomes, increase patient satisfaction, and reduce physician burnout.

A clock and stethoscope representing the blog, 3 Simple Time-Savers for Physicians.

Share these 3 simple time-savers for physicians with your doctors.

1. Set an Agenda with Your Patient


Begin the appointment by agreeing on your expectations and priority items for the visit. Determine what your patient’s primary concerns are and list your own, then make sure you cover these first; then if there’s time you can focus on any others.

You will increase patient satisfaction if you ensure their most pressing concerns are addressed, even if that means scheduling another appointment for the lesser concerns that you didn’t get to in one meeting.  The Language of Caring for Physicians® can guide you through how to “establish the concept of time limits upfront.”

2. Practice Physician Empathy


Another way to make certain you address your patients’ most important concerns is through empathic behaviors, such as refraining from interrupting when patients explain what’s bothering them and consistently asking “what else?” to prompt patients to divulge more.

Physician empathy produces better health outcomes, can increase patient satisfaction with their provider, and will save you time by getting straight to the critical details that may not otherwise be revealed until the “Doorknob Moment,” when you’re about to leave but the patient says, “oh, one more thing…”

Physician empathy is a learned skill that you can hone through physician empathy training programs.

3. Write Legibly & Proofread


Although it may seem like it saves time to scribble out a prescription as quickly as possible or speed-type instructions into a patient’s record and skip reading them over, these behaviors actually slow doctors down in the long run (and lead to patient safety errors).

Write carefully and legibly and proofread your typed notes.  This will help you avoid the time-consuming rework that consists of answering phone calls and messages from other providers or pharmacists looking for clarification on any confusing or incorrectly recorded information.  Better health outcomes are also much more likely when mistakes and miscommunication are prevented.  

Time-Savers for Physicians: The Benefits


Each of these tips will benefit your doctors and patients.  Setting an agenda will result in more productive visits; physician empathy will improve patient-physician relationships; double-checking their own notes will decrease frustration for your doctors later.

These simple time-savers for physicians will not only increase patient satisfaction and generate better health outcomes, but also help in reducing physician burnout because your doctors (and their time) will no longer be spread so thin.


By Stephanie Salmich

Doctors give the thumbs up to reducing physician burnout.

Reducing Physician Burnout to Improve Physician Retention

| No Comments

HealthWare Systems Blog

Reducing Physician Burnout to Improve Physician Retention

Posted on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

According to a study published by the Mayo Clinic, 54.4% of physicians in the U.S. report experiencing at least one symptom of professional burnout, a growing problem in healthcare.

The Maslach Burnout Inventory, an instrument used to measure burnout, defines it as “a psychological syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment.”  Doctors suffering from physician burnout feel drained emotionally, grow cynical toward their patients, and view their work as meaningless.  These physicians may provide a lower quality of care, commit more medical errors, and develop an increased desire to leave a practice.

Not only does physician burnout and its ensuing turnover create significant consequences for doctors and patients, but also for healthcare facilities.  A study featured in the American Journal of Medical Quality found that physician turnover can affect an organization’s finances, patient satisfaction, other healthcare providers, and institutional public relations.

How Can You Help?

It’s in the best interests of everyone (doctors, patients, and the entire organization) when hospitals take steps toward preventing and/or reducing physician burnout:

Show Them You Care

The fact that you are searching for information on reducing physician burnout already shows you care about your physicians.  It’s important to make sure they are aware of your efforts so that they feel their work is valued and appreciated.

Investing in the well being of your doctors can pay huge dividends for your facility.  Many facilities are seeing substantial improvements in their attempts to increase physician satisfaction after introducing mindfulness training and on-the-job emotional support programs.  An added benefit of these is that they increase patient satisfaction with doctors as well.

Doctors give the thumbs up to reducing physician burnout.

Reducing physician burnout will help you increase physician satisfaction.

Help Them Rediscover Their Passion

Your physicians probably pursued a career in medicine because they wanted to make a difference in people’s lives; they didn’t become doctors for the administrative duties.  Yet, research highlighted in the Canadian Family Physician journal found that two contributing factors to physician burnout and stress are too much paperwork and long waits for specialists and tests.

You can make it easier for your doctors to focus on the aspects of their job that bring them the most meaning by implementing solutions that simplify administrative tasks.  A solution like ActiveXCHANGE, for example, can help you manage incoming physician orders and third party documentation and greatly reduces physician complaints related to lost or incomplete orders.  In fact, this system is known to increase physician satisfaction.

Eliminate Financial Stressors

In a Mayo Clinic Proceedings study, frustration with reimbursement issues was among the reasons physicians surveyed planned to reduce their working hours or leave medicine altogether.

You can limit payment glitches, and improve physician retention, by ensuring patients are financially cleared before they even present.  Read here about solutions that can verify treatment is authorized by payers before it is administered, how to prevent errors that result in payment delays and denials, and financial assistance screening tools that can help your self-pay patients.


Reducing physician burnout is crucial for both your organization and the health of the people who serve your patients.  If you can help your physicians find joy in their work, you will increase physician satisfaction and physician retention; this in turn will lead you to increase patient satisfaction with their happier, more emotionally-present physicians.


By Stephanie Salmich