In the Trenches: Communicating How We Work More Clearly

From: Intuit Small Business Blog, by Brett Snyder on

We just had our annual Cranky Concierge get together in June, and as always, it was a lively couple of days. We came up with a laundry list of things we want to do better, and one of the bigger themes was around better communicating how our business works.

Oh sure, our clients usually know what they’re getting when they sign up for our service, but there are bits and pieces of the business that they we could explain better and earlier in the process. The hard part has always been figuring out how to share this info without overwhelming people. Fortunately we were able to work through a lot of those issues.

One example is our struggle around business hours. We’ve come to realize that instead of just focusing on trying to expand our business hours, we should do a better job of communicating what we offer. One thing we did recently was to begin turning on an out-of-office message as soon as we close up shop for the night. It doesn’t turn off until we come back to work. The message includes our office hours and also explains how to reach us in case of an emergency.

This has the added benefit of improving my life as well. See, having this message sets expectations for our clients, and that means I can worry less about being able to meet them. When people send us notes over the weekend or at night, we now know that they’re aware of our hours. So we don’t have to worry that people will get angry if they don’t get a quick response. Now we need to expand this to other areas, like the auto-generated message that gets sent to people who sign up online, and to the website itself.

We also revamped the emails we send in certain situations to help clarify our policies. When we ticket a client and send the confirmations, we now have a bulked-up standard template we use to more clearly explain our change fees. Again, this notes that we normally make changes during business hours, but  if we do it outside of those hours would cost more. There are more examples like these and we keep going down the list, checking them off.

In the end, this is going to make our clients happier, and it’s going to help us rest easier. That’s a good combo.

HIE goes live with eHealth Exchange

From Healthcare IT News, Erin McCann, Associate Editor, July 28, 2014

A new state health information exchange has officially signed on with the eHealth Exchange, bringing an additional 16 million patient records into the national HIE pool.

Georgia Health Information Network announced this past week that it was joining the already 70 participants live with the eHealth Exchange, formerly the Nationwide Health Information Network, a non-profit public-private initiative created by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to spur healthcare quality and efficiency by establishing a platform for exchanging health data across borders. The participants, which include more than 1,000 hospitals and 6,000 medical groups and 60 million patients, exchange millions of transactions each year.

[See also: Nation's eHealth Exchange stands up.]

Officials say the new partnership will allow the some 16 million patient records in the Georgia network to be readily exchanged across the continuum of care, ultimately leading to improved care, a decline in readmissions, reductions in duplicate testing, prescription compliance and continuity of care.

“With GaHIN’s national connectivity comes Georgia’s ability to share medical information immediately and securely with neighboring states, and eventually more states across the U.S.,” said Denise Hines, executive director of GaHIN, in a July 24 press statement. “This expanded connectivity allows for the delivery of the right health information to the right place at the right time – no matter where the patient is receiving care – across a robust national network.”

Currently, GaHIN, established in 2009, has connected members consisting of regional HIEs, hospital systems, physician groups and individual practitioners that currently reach counties across the state.

[See also: HIE network sees record participation.]

Officials note that GaHIN members have access to all existing and future services, including lab routing; admission, discharge and transfer alerts; referral requests; and secure messaging.

ICD-10 Resources Spotlight: Road to 10

CMS News Updates| July 25, 2014

Looking for help planning and executing your ICD-10 transition?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has developed the Road to 10, a free online resource built with the help of physicians in small practices. Available on the Provider Resources page at cms.gov/ICD10, this tool is intended to help small medical practices jumpstart their ICD-10 transition.

The Road to 10 can help you:

  • Understand the basics of ICD-10
  • Build an ICD-10 action plan to map out your transition
  • Answer frequently asked questions
  • Learn how ICD-10 affects your practice with tailored clinical scenarios and documentation tips for Family Practice and Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopedics, Cardiology, and Pediatrics

The Road to 10 is regularly updated, so check back frequently for new information.

Keep Up to Date on ICD-10Visit the CMS ICD-10 website for the latest news and resources to help you prepare. Sign up for CMS ICD-10 Industry Email Updates and follow us on Twitter.

Google Might Turn New York Payphones Into Wi-Fi Hotspots

From: The Daily Caller – Tech, July 21, 2014, by Kate Patrick

New York is turning its outdated payphones into something more practical: Wi-Fi hotspots.  Since most people own cellphones, it makes sense to provide free Wi-Fi rather than a public payphone, according to a report from Bloomberg.

A document on New York City’s Information Technology and Telecommunications website reads, “The widespread adoption of mobile devices reduces the overall need for public telephones, yet not everyone owns a mobile phone, and not everyone who owns one has connectivity at all times. The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) is currently exploring the future of the public pay telephone and potential alternative or additional forms of telecommunications facilities on NYC sidewalks, such as wireless access.”

TechCrunch reported that Google, Samsung, Cisco and IBM attended a meeting to discuss possible wireless options, with Google leading the pack. An announcement released on Monday revealed that the city has officially decided to go forward with the project. New York is still undecided about which tech giant will pave the way, but because Google already provides wireless access in the Mountain View and Chelsea neighborhoods, Google is likely to win out. <READ MORE>

Time for a Technology Audit

From: Law Technology Today, July 9, 2014, This post was written by

Occasionally, law firms need help to move their technology forward, but they are not sure what they need or how to begin. They know that they are not taking advantage of the latest technology, have done some research and every product they see is “a perfect fit” for their firm (at least that is what the sales person is telling them).They seem to need EVERYTHING; from encrypted email to document management, to a secure wireless network.

Where do they start the process? It might be best to start with a technology audit.

What is a technology audit?

A technology audit is an evaluation of the systems that your firm has in place. Before a firm can move forward, they need to know what type of technology that they have and options to improve the firm’s state of technology. From the security of your data to recommended software, a technology audit is a useful roadmap to guide your firm’s technology.

What would I expect during a technology audit?

A comprehensive technology audit begins with a series of onsite office visits and interviews of key decision-makers, including administrators and internal or external IT staff. Any reports of hardware and software inventory as well as maintenance contracts are very helpful in the audit process.

Typically, a technology audit evaluates the following areas: <READ MORE>

People Problems – Tools You Can Use – 3 Part Series from LTT

Challenges with technology come up from time to time. You call tech support, an IT specialist or a trainer, and the problem eventually gets resolved.

But what do you do when the frustrations that bring you to a boiling point stem from people problems? You probably don’t have a 24/7 support number to call.

In a three-part series, recently posted in Law Technology Today, you get a few tools to add to your communication and management toolbox for troubling situations with other people – see below.

 

Tech Support Manual for Problems with People – Part 1

 

Tech Support Manual for Problems with People – Part 2 

 

Tech Support Manual for Problems with People – Part 3 

Should You Buy a New Top-Level Domain Name for Your Business?

From: Intuit Small Business Blog, by Kathryn Hawkins on

Now it’s easier than ever before to buy a branded URL for your business. With the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ rollout of more than 1,400 themed domain extensions over the course of the year, you can now buy the website address of your choice with a .bike, .coffee, or .lawyer top-level domain, to name just a few of the options.

If the .com website address of your choice isn’t available, a themed domain extension may seem like an attractive option — but is it worth building your online brand around it? Consider the following points.

.Com Domains Still Dominate

There are more than 100 million registered .com domains, according to statistics from VeriSign [PDF], which far exceeds the use of any other domain extension. On a practical level, that means most people will default to including “.com” when typing in your URL unless you make a major branding effort to get customers to remember your custom domain.

What if You Can’t Find a .Com Domain That Suits Your Brand?

Domain names ending in .com are generally preferable, but what if your top choice — or even your tenth choice — isn’t available? That’s a common occurrence for small-business owners. In a study conducted by  Wakefield Research, 55 percent of respondents surveyed said they believe  they have lost business because of their domain names. If a suitable .com URL isn’t available, it may make sense to move to a themed top-level domain. For instance, if you own a business called Sunrise Coffee and can’t purchase sunrisecoffee.com or any suitable variants, consider purchasing sunrise.coffee instead. <READ MORE>

Vendor group urges action on MU rule

From Healthcare IT News, CHICAGO | July 11, 2014, Bernie Monegain, Editor

Calls for no changes that could pose problems to stakeholders

The EHR Association, which is made up of nearly 40 EHR companies, urged the Office of the National Coordinator and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide the meaningful use final rule ASAP.

“We emphasize the priority of a quickly issued final rule in eliminating wasted time and effort regarding 2014 work, and urge publication as soon as possible,” it wrote. “We note that, due to time constraints, we anticipate that many physicians and hospitals will make decisions based on the proposed rule, as seems to have been your intent. We urge that these already-made decisions be considered as you finalize this rule, and that no changes be made in the final rule that would prove problematic for those who acted in good faith based on the proposed rule.”

The EHRA is also looking ahead, and it asked the agencies take a close look at the timeline for Stage 3 meaningful use.

“We are concerned … that the proposal for the Stage 3 timeline presents many of the same challenges as were encountered in Stage 2,” the association wrote in its July 10 letter to the agencies, adding that the group had consistently given feedback that 18 months is required after all rules, specifications, test procedures, test tools, test data, implementation guides, etc., are final and available, for EHR vendors to make safe changes and distribute them to their customers. <READ MORE>

7 Ways to Stop Procrastinating Right Now

From: Intuit Small Business Blog, by Lee Polevoi on

As many as 20 percent of adults in the United States identify themselves as chronic procrastinators, but it’s a safe bet the number of people who often delay making decisions or taking action is much higher. “For the most part, we don’t realize that it’s happening or that, in the process, we’re undermining our own happiness,” notes Health.com author Gail Salz, M.D. Procrastinators tend to be far more stressed than those who don’t have this habit; they get sick more often, too.”

Being a chronic procrastinator (or even a frequent one) can spell trouble for a small-business owner. There are too many things to take care of to make “putting things off until tomorrow” a viable strategy.

Here are some tips on how to change your mindset and behavior to stop procrastinating right now: <READ MORE>

Microsoft Boosts Encryption for Outlook Webmail and OneDrive

From: The Hackers News – Wednesday, July 02, 2014 by

After the wide chain of scandals over US global snooping that seriously damaged the trust on the top U.S. Tech companies, Google and Yahoo! came forward and took initiative to provide more secure, encrypted and NSA-proofed service in an effort to gain their reputation again among its users.

Now, Microsoft has also announced several improvements to the encryption used in its online cloud services in order to protect them from cyber criminals, bad actors and prying eyes. The company effort detailed in a blog entry by Matt Thomlinson, Microsoft’s Vice President of Trustworthy Computing Security.
MICROSOFT’S COMMITMENT
Last December, Microsoft promised to protect its users data from government snooping by expanding encryption across its services, reinforcing legal protections for its customers’ data and enhancing the transparency of its software code, making it easier for the customers to reassure themselves that its products contain no backdoors. <READ MORE>