HIMSS18 Pushes Immediate Patient-Centered Change

We have all heard the saying, “the customer is always right.” Consumers should drive how a business functions, next steps and where the industry is headed. In healthcare, it is no different. Patients expectations are raising higher standards in technology, experience and outcomes. The providers who fail to recognize the patient-centric culture forming will struggle to stay competitive.

HIMSS18 brought a multitude of insights to over 45,000 healthcare IT professionals on how to provide better patient outcomes. Technology is booming in healthcare, but adoption still lags behind other industries. Here are four themes from HIMSS18 to competitively propel healthcare providers:

  • Consumerism is here to stay. Patients are looking for a patient experience built on consumer preferences, personalization, flexibility and clear communication. This can include digital options for registration and billing, better ways to share EHRs digitally and personalized physician-to-patient interactions. Providers must use patient communities as an eye toward the next direction of their organizations.
  • Healthcare is moving from diagnosis and treatment to anticipation and prevention. Start looking at technology abilities not only as a tool or data storage, but to analyze and predict. Smart data enables insights toward physician care decision making, patient experience improvement, readmission reduction, population health management and prescription monitoring. The latter comes into play with the country’s opioid crisis, as prescribing systems are now working to flag addiction patterns and medication discrepancies.
  • Artificial Intelligence is the name of the game. AI has been introduced before, but its presence is finally in practical application in healthcare. Artificial intelligence will allow healthcare professionals to analyze the healthcare data they already have stored, alarm physicians of things that should be noted and let physicians better focus on patient experience while the machines look for gaps in data. The next step though is to make the technology accessible in practice at the point of care without adding workflow burden to end users.
  • Disruption is key. Healthcare organizations must focus on the consumer and how technology will evolve their abilities. Some say that health systems will be known as tech companies with a healthcare focus considering all of the technology advances leading to the future of healthcare.

Here’s a look at how several CHIME provider organizations are staying ahead with these themes: http://bit.ly/2Fs5dNU

HIMSS18 elicited many insights for the future of health IT. After all, it is not every day that you get to talk about machine learning detecting cancerous tissue. Then again, HIMSS brought up many tactics applicable to any healthcare organization despite differences in budget, patient communities, region or specific EHR. The conference teases what’s on the horizon for care possibilities but also grounds us with consideration of where reporting, CIO pain points, physician burnout and standardization need to be addressed.

Tips for Negotiating with EHR Vendors

Before signing the contract with a new EHR vendor, think about the immediate and future implications on your healthcare organization, end users, workflow, business operations and the patient community. Be willing to consider the following questions when approaching this daunting IT decision:

  1. What is the main goal we are trying to achieve?

    Don’t buy or opt in for additional or added features when you don’t need them for your practice. Additional functionality and available modules can always be negotiated from a pricing standpoint (which you should be able to be lock in for at least two years) as an option exercised at a later date if the scope of the practice changes and there is a need for the additional product. Another thing to remember is, just like cars and furniture, software is always on sale. The level of discount you are able to achieve will depend on a number of factors, including success of the vendor, timing in the quarter or fiscal year and length of agreement you are willing to enter into.

  2. What’s the best way to achieve win-win outcomes in the negotiation with a new EHR vendor?

    Remember that the best executed software agreement is one that both the customer and the vendor feel good about. The goal is for the agreement to be a win-win result. It should provide a quality and supportable product for the medical practice in an agreement that the vendor feels good about to provide the appropriate support. With a win-win agreement, the vendor is much more likely to go the extra mile in assisting the customer when issues arise outside of the normal support process.

    There doesn’t necessarily need to be a bad guy in the negotiating scenario if open and honest communication is on the table during the negotiation process. Both the customer and the vendor are going to having non-negotiable items that they cannot concede on for various reasons. These should be communicated at the appropriate time during the process. Good representation from the right individuals from both a financial and clinical perspective will help to ensure that expectations are communicated for what is required and what the vendor is offering to meet the needs.

  3. What else should you consider when working with a new EHR vendor?

    Reference checks are the key to making this very important decision for your practice. Ask for a minimum of three references and at least one of those references should be a “bad” reference provided by the vendor. Although it may not have necessarily completely been the vendors’ fault for the bad references, it will provide you, the potential customer, with some insight on why that reference failed with the implementation or has not been able to fully utilize the capabilities the vendor is proposing to your healthcare organization. Good references are just that, but take the time to learn as much as possible from them about how they feel they successfully implemented the product. What was their staffing model? How long did the implementation take? Did it stay within the budget parameters? What would they have done differently to make it an even better implementation? Exchange contact information with the good references in hopes of communicating with them further in the future.

Best of luck with your negotiations!

Healthcare Pressures Call for New IT Exec Capabilities

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When you think about individuals in a hospital c-suite, what characteristics come to mind? Perhaps passion and drive with combined analytical and relational skills? These characteristics unite to meet the needs of today’s patients and industry demands while aiding cross-organizational collaboration. Collaboration is a critical component in leading a complex and integrated healthcare system of care. No longer can separate facets of a healthcare organization operate in individual information silos, and CIOs hold an increasingly important role in connecting a hospital through technology. Considering the building pressures of executives, here are three quick tips for healthcare IT leadership:

Planning for the Future

Healthcare organizations now look to leaders who are seasoned team players, willing to offer up fresh perspectives affecting the whole. While much of the healthcare industry is in flux, looking toward the future may seem difficult. However, long-term strategies are important for executives new to a position or an organization, especially when considering demands to stretch tightening budgets.

Leading by Example

Frontline staff, from check-in to patient visit follow up, play a crucial role in patient satisfaction. With such a significant role, healthcare leaders need to motivate and lead these individuals by example to impact their actions and decisions toward each patient interaction. C-suite leaders should take the time to engage one-on-one when possible with frontline staff. Those who deliver valuable care are incredibly important to the success of a healthcare organization.

In an article by Becker’s Hospital Review, former Modern Healthcare publisher and author/public speaker Chuck Lauer said the following:

“The healthcare field needs new ideas and courageous leaders to make them happen. Leaders must show resolve and a willingness to change if the conditions merit doing so. On the other hand, a leader must also be consistent and mature in their personal behavior. After all, a leader sets the tone of a given organization and if they are not consistent that can often sow the seeds of unrest and stress. Any of those things can be a major component of failure and consequently must be avoided!”

Addressing “No”

By all means do we understand the incredible juggling act that c-suite executives manage in balancing multiple projects, but what happens when stakeholders want an exciting new project that really isn’t within bandwidth? Within the same Becker’s article, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka shared that “What not to do is as important as what to do, because each of us gets this laundry list of hundreds of things that stakeholders want. The technique I usually use is not to say ‘No.’ ‘No’ is such a negative word, so loaded with emotion. So, I say, ‘Not now.’ My role on the resource side is not to create fear, uncertainty and doubt, but to explain to the board what we need to do.”

Share Your Voice in the Annual Health IT Industry Outlook Survey

With less than one week until the HIMSS16 Annual Conference begins in Las Vegas, thousands of healthcare IT professionals are finishing up last minute conference preparation. Last year’s show had over 43,000 registered attendees, but that’s not the only figure that stood out. Our HIT Annual Survey conducted at the conference showed noteworthy results regarding industry barriers related to healthcare data analytics.

Completed by project managers, CIOs, IT directors and consultants, last year’s survey revealed that most (51 percent) showed confusion toward what and how much healthcare data to actually collect in data analytics initiatives. A majority (34 percent) also felt that the lack of buy-in across their healthcare organizations was the largest barrier to IT initiatives, including data analytics and achieving meaningful use. The full results from 2015 can be found here.

This year for HIMSS16, we’re excited to gain industry insights again by launching the Fourth Annual Health IT Industry Outlook Survey. This year’s survey presents six questions focusing on healthcare leaders’ top initiatives and concerns for the remainder of 2016. By participating, individuals can enter into drawings for $200 Amazon gift cards. Survey responses will remain anonymous.

Can’t attend HIMSS16 or want to participate in advanced? Not to worry! Take the quick survey here.

Amazon Gift 2016 Outlook Survey

As always, for those headed to Vegas, stop by Stoltenberg’s booth #3621 for prizes, refreshments, meet ups with our executives, and survey live visual results. Plus, help us celebrate our 20 years as strategic health IT advisors on social media with the hashtag #20inHIT.

See you in Vegas!

Throwing it Back to 1995 in Honor of Stoltenberg’s 20 Years

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As Stoltenberg Consulting continues its 20th anniversary celebration, we thought we’d have a little fun looking back to 1995- the year that Sheri Stoltenberg, founder and CEO of Stoltenberg Consulting, Inc., started it all.

Throwback to 1995 when:

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  1. The cost of a gallon of regular gas was $1.15.
  2. Starbuck’s Frappuccino was released in 1995. We’re sure a lot of Starbuck’s has helped our consultants through some tough project and go-lives.
  3. The George Forman Lean Mean Grilling Machine was released.
  4. The World Series champions were the Atlanta Braves.
  5. The Super Bowl XXIX champs were the San Francisco 49ers.
  6. The first ever full-length computer animated feature film Toy Story was released.
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  7. HTML 2.0, the first formal HTML standard, is published.
  8. Netscape released Javascript, an object-oriented script language.
  9. Amazon.com sold its first book in July of 1995.
  10. Ebay launched.
  11. Windows 95 was released.
  12. DVDs were first distributed in Japan.

As we move forward today, Stoltenberg has grown over the past two decades to a consultant base of more than 120 resources with an average of 15 years of direct, onsite experience and vendor certifications in Cerner, Siemens, Epic, Meditech, NextGen, Allscripts, Zynx and McKesson. The first has served over 250 healthcare organizations throughout the country and has expanded services to Stoltenberg’s unique offerings, like the Consultant Development Program, the 2014 Best in KLAS Help Desk Service Line, financial and clinical optimization, and BI and healthcare data analytics capabilities with Deerwalk, Infor, and Qlik partnerships.

Members of the Stoltenberg team continue to celebrate the anniversary, sharing personal thoughts on the company’s 20 years of service:

“It has been great to be part of the Stoltenberg family for the last eight years. It is a great feeling to know you work for such a wonderful company that treats you as a family member instead of a number.” -Deb, EpicCare Ambulatory Manager

“Sheri Stoltenberg founded this company because she saw the need for a consulting firm that worked differently. If a customer needs a customized solution, be flexible and work with them to create it. If a customer needs standardization, use your industry experience and background and deliver it. Her guiding philosophy was simple: Always do what’s right for the customer, and don’t just meet their expectations- exceed them! Those principles will continue to set Stoltenberg apart from other firms, and I’m proud to work for a company that is passionate about what it does and delivers what it promises.” -Jonce’ Smith, VP Revenue Management

“It’s wonderful to be part of an organization that is so well respected in the industry. Wherever I go for client work, Stoltenberg is well respected raising high expectations of me.  It’s an honor to be part of that.” -Carole Kemmer, Senior Healthcare System Consultant

Over the past year that I’ve been with Stoltenberg, I have become very aware of the importance this company places on excellence, whether it is from the resources we sell or the staff managing those resources. The fact that we have been around and thriving for 20 years means that our clients value us and our services. They see something in us that sets us apart from the rest.  I am proud to be a member of the Stoltenberg team and am excited to see the company continue to grow and prosper in the years to come.” -Christen Gregory, Strategic Account Manager

A Big Thank You for Best in KLAS

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Last Thursday, we were thrilled to announce that Stoltenberg Consulting strengthened its legacy of renowned healthcare IT consulting services by earning not one, but two 2014 Best in KLAS awards! (Wahoo!)

In the 2014 Best in KLAS: Software & Services report, KLAS Research awarded Stoltenberg 2014 Best in KLAS for both IT Outsourcing (Partial), which includes Stoltenberg’s legacy support and IT Help Desk Service Line, and Clinical Implementation Supportive with scores of 90.9 and 97.9 out of 100 respectively*.

These accolades would not be possible without your help. We are sincerely thankful for the honest, unbiased feedback our clients provided to KLAS Research, like the following:

“I feel like I can trust Stoltenberg Consulting as if they work for me directly.  I have really come to depend on them. They work around the clock to help our project stay on track and be successful. I am really appreciative of their dedication and follow up. In addition to working with them side by side every day, we also have a monthly tracking call so we can all see where we are and what needs to get taken care of. I find that call to be very productive and helpful.”

-IT Director, December 2014 **

READ FULL PRESS RELEASE 

Annual Best in KLAS reports independently monitor vendor performance through the active participation of healthcare executives, managers and clinicians representing over 4,500 hospitals and 2,500 clinics. For a complete view of commentaries related to these services, visit KLASresearch.com.

Thank you again to our clients for their continued support! We’re so pleased to be with you on your journey towards improved patient care and efficiency.

* “2014 Best in KLAS Awards: Software & Services,” January 2015. © 2015 KLAS Enterprises, LLC. All rights reserved. www.KLASresearch.com.

** The above selected commentary may not represent the whole of provider sentiment related to this product or service. Visit http://KLASresearch.com for a complete view. Collected about IT Outsourcing (Partial), by KLAS in December 2014 © KLAS Enterprises, LLC. All rights reserved. http://www.KLASresearch.com.

First-Timer’s Look at Midwest HIMSS Fall Tech Conference

Mike Meyer and Christen Gregory represented SCI at the Midwest HIMSS event.
Stoltenberg team at the Midwest HIMSS event

The following post highlights our Strategic Accounts Manager’s first regional HIMSS event experience.

Last week I attended my first Midwest HIMSS conference in Chicago, Illinois-  the 2014 Midwest HIMSS Fall Technology Conference.  Being new to the company and to HIMSS conferences, it was a truly eye-opening and educational experience for me. It is neat to see a group of professionals come together from different states, companies and backgrounds all under one roof sharing the latest news and technologies in the healthcare world.  I enjoyed meeting people and networking as well as observing how other companies engaged with people as they came to booths.

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Attendees and exhibitors network in the Promenade Ballroom at Midwest HIMSS.

The keynote speakers and breakout sessions were a wealth of knowledge. I was not only able to learn from the speeches but also the Q&A sessions at the end of each of them. Of all the breakout sessions, the session led by Laura McCrary of Kansas Health Information Network was my favorite.  Laura spoke on the future of health information exchange (HIE) and the initiatives the state of Kansas has taken to unite nearly all the hospitals and clinics in the state, so there is a quick, smooth transfer of information and ultimately improved patient care.

Morning sessions and keynote speakers pumped attendees up each day, getting them excited about health IT.
Morning sessions and keynote speakers pumped attendees up each day, getting them excited about health IT.

All in all, I took a lot away from the conference, and I hope to attend more of these conferences in the future and get more plugged into the HIMSS network!

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The original House of Blues hosted the conference evening event.