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10 Ways to Protect Your Hospital from Cyber-Attack

Schumacher Clinical Partners' Blog Editor

When health care providers think of viruses, it's rarely in a digital context. That doesn't make computer viruses any less harmful, however, particularly given the rise of cyber-attacks on health care systems. And unfortunately, it's no longer "if" your system will suffer attack, but "when."

Some 94 percent of medical institutions said their organizations had been victims of a cyber-attack, according to the Ponemon Institute, and nearly half have experienced multiple attacks.

A 2015 report by TrapX, a cyber security firm, revealed three instances where hospital equipment -- a blood gas analyzer, picture archive and communications system, and an X-ray system -- was the conduit through which hackers infected hospital networks with malware. (So much for the Internet of Things!)

One particularly damaging strain of malware, ransomware, lets hackers gain access to data, encrypt it, and then...

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Telehealth - Is It Really for my Organization?

Rehan Virani

Wherever you turn these days in healthcare you are likely to see something on Telehealth or Telemedicine. Market predictions estimate the U.S. market to grow to ~ $40 billion by 2018 at annual growth rates from 18-30%. Industry statistics report greater than 50% of US hospitals have some form of Telemedicine. The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) reported >15M Telehealth encounters in 2015 with exponential growth predicted in 2016 and beyond. CMS reported reimbursement for Telehealth in 2015 was 25% greater than 2014. This may lead many healthcare providers to wonder whether now is the right time to delve into Telehealth or expand current Telehealth services. It’s a great question and one that requires strategic thinking to ensure an organization meets its goals and objectives.

At Schumacher Clinical Partners (SCP) we developed a Telehealth Maturity model to demonstrate...

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Zika Care Guidelines: Patient Triage and Pregnancy Screening

Schumacher Clinical Partners' Blog Editor

Two events are taking place in Brazil right now: the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and the Zika virus outbreak. Whereas the Olympic Games are fostering a sense of national pride, the Zika outbreak is causing a state of worldwide concern.

A major fear in the run-up to the Olympics was the threat Zika would pose not only to the athletes—but also to the throngs of visitors attending the games from across the globe; most importantly, how the attendees becoming infected could potentially result in the worldwide spread of the virus.

Brazil, like the rest of Central and South America, along with the Caribbean, Oceania/Pacific Islands and, most recently, the North Miami neighborhood of Wynwood are breeding grounds for the Zika-carrying mosquito. The Aedes aegypti mosquito also carries the virus responsible for dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. This mosquito is active in the daytime,...

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Top 10 Emergency Medicine Mobile Apps

Schumacher Clinical Partners' Blog Editor

It's been more than a year since we talked about emergency medicine mobile apps. With the rapid advancements in mobile technology, it’s time for an update.

Here are the top ten EM mobile apps worth considering. Note that while some are free, others may have a price tag attached.

1. WikEM

WikEM, the Global Emergency Medicine Wiki, is a point-of-care reference available via a dedicated mobile application. Its emergency medicine knowledge base has thousands of quick problem-specific notes to help you care for patients. It has been downloaded by more than 100,000 users and is one of the top ten most popular emergency medicine apps.

It serves a broad range of medical practitioners predominantly among the specialties of emergency medicine, pediatric emergency medicine, critical care, EMS, and urgent care medicine.

WikEM is available for Android and iOS.

Cost: Free

2. palmEM: Emergency...

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How to Protect Yourself Emotionally When Disaster Strikes

Schumacher Clinical Partners' Blog Editor

It seems that lately, with every week that passes, there is more chaos in the world. Apparent random acts of violence fill emergency departments with patients experiencing severe, life-threatening trauma. It’s our job to care for them -- but there is a cost.

The strain of dealing with incidents like those most recently seen in Orlando, Dallas, and Baton Rouge is enough to put any doctor's emotional health at risk.

But the strain is not limited to providers who have experienced such events first hand. The sense of foreboding ("Where will the next massacre take place?") and gnawing concern ("Could such a thing happen here?") can cause anyone to experience bouts of anxiety and fear.

How, then, do we cope, both in living with the uncertainty that disaster could strike at any moment, and, if and when it does, the psychological and emotional trauma that will inevitably follow in its...

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Ambassador Travel Team: Interview with Dr. Philip Oliver

Schumacher Clinical Partners' Blog Editor

Schumacher Clinical Partners interviewed Dr. Philip Wayne Oliver, a recent graduate of the University of Louisville (KY) School of Medicine’s residency program, to learn why he chose emergency medicine as his specialty, why he joined with Schumacher Clinical Partners, and why he signed on to become a member of the Ambassador Travel Team as a regional ambassador.

Here’s what he had to say.

Why Choose Emergency Medicine?

Dr. Oliver said he chose a career in emergency medicine due to the variety it offers.

“When doing rotations in medical school there were things I liked about each area of specialty,” he said. “But I felt some of the disciplines fell into a routine, doing the same things over and over again. Emergency medicine, on the other hand, offered lots of variety. I never knew what to expect each day that I came to work, and that appealed to...

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SCP, ECI Merger: What's Next?

Schumacher Clinical Partners Blog Editor

Last month, SCP and ECI Healthcare Partners, Inc. announced that the merger had closed, resulting in a combined presence across the U.S. that includes 450 programs in 32 states, caring for more than eight million patients per year.

Combining the two networks allows for an “expansion of resources, a further growth of service offerings, and the utilization of industry leading best practices,” the announcement said.

ECI stated in a recent blog post that, after 44 successful years as an independent organization, the time had come to change, due to a range of factors that include:

  •  Sweeping health care reforms, which mandate the need to join forces to “grow bigger” and “get stronger”;
  •  Benefit from increased footprint, expanded network, and greater resources;
  •  Access to data, which the post said would enable the joint partners to "wring...
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What You Can and Should Do About Negative Patient Reviews and Social Media

SCP Clinical and Compliance Leadership

Consumers have reviewed restaurants, hotels, and retail stores in online platforms regularly for years. Now, they are adding clinicians and hospitals to the mix as well.

Even Yelp has gotten into the health care review business, joining sites such as RateMDs,, HealthGrades, and Vitals.

It's understandable for a clinician to take exception to the opinions of patients expressed online, particularly when the comments take a negative turn.  “We take pride in ourselves and our work,” Dr. Steve Nichols, Chief of Clinical Operations Performance for Schumacher Clinical Partners, said. “So it is natural to want to react when someone says something negative about it.  This is important since mishandling a situation like this can result in damage to your reputation, and even legal actions, which can be far more damaging to your career.”

You may...

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Modeling Value on Investment (VOI): Crucial Strategy Adopted by Successful CCM Programs

Monica Leslie & Rehan Virani

A Follow-up to Realizing Value with Telehealth in Chronic Condition Management Programs

In our last post on the topic of Chronic Condition Management (CCM), we explained why chronic conditions would continue to be a focus of cost and utilization issues in our nation’s health care system. We also introduced telehealth as an effective tool to supplement existing CCM efforts for increased value creation.

In this follow-up post, we ask Monica Leslie, MHA, Senior Consultant, and Rehan Virani, PMP, Consulting Manager, to expand on how SCP is helping organizations think differently about their investment in CCM technology and how the value on investment (VOI) it creates dwarfs the idea of return on investment (ROI).

If you don’t quite know what that means, we explain in this Q&A.

SCP: Why do you think Value on Investment (VOI) is the new Return on Investment (ROI)?


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We’re Growing

Schumacher Clinical Partners Blog Editor

Earlier this month, we announced the recent merger of SCP and ECI, a former competitor whose structure, footprint, and services are a noticeable balance to ours. The union of our two companies means we are now bigger, better, and stronger – together. “They were considering strategic alternatives, and we emerged as a potential partner,” stated Lee White, SCP Chief Operating Officer. “The bottom line is that the complementary qualities of our companies were extremely apparent – it’s why we joined forces. We’re able to provide an even higher quality of service to our client hospitals and the nearly 8 million patients we now collectively treat.”

Our ECI partners recently authored a blog post detailing the benefits of this new combination. Read more here - Our Merger with Schumacher Clinical Partners: Why Now?

Our Merger with Schumacher...

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Physician Burnout on the Rise, Study Says

Clinical Leadership Council

Physician burnout is reaching epidemic proportions says an Advisory Board article.

More than 50 percent of doctors now report having at least one symptom of burnout and it’s resulting in a negative effect on patient outcomes, patient satisfaction, and post-discharge delivery time.

"Physician burnout is everywhere," the article says. "From the lay press to health care news outlets, it’s making headlines. And there is a seemingly never-ending supply of sobering data points that underscore why this is such a large — and growing — issue for medical groups."

AMA/Mayo Clinic Survey

The article cites a survey, conducted in 2014 by the AMA and Mayo Clinic of 6,880 physicians, the purpose of which was to "evaluate the prevalence of burnout and physicians’ satisfaction with work-life balance compared to the general U.S. population relative to 2011 and 2014." The...

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SonoSim Offers Virtual Ultrasound Training for Clinicians

Clinical Leadership Council

SCP is now partnering with SonoSim to provide an innovative solution for our valued providers. SonoSim is a comprehensive portable virtual ultrasound training solution that utilizes more than 1,000 actual patient cases representing a broad range of normal and pathological conditions. In fact, the company offers the world's largest collection of real-patient ultrasound training cases, covering more than 55 topics in all, using a modular format.

How the SonoSim Ultrasound Training Solution Works

SonoSim's platform integrates didactic course training with hands-on scanning. Providers can customize the training to meet their individual needs and some of the modules qualify for CME credits.

Providers receive real-time patented probe-positioning guidance and expert feedback while scanning actual patient cases. Plugging the SonoSim Probe into a USB port turns any computer into a bedside...

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Items Emergency Medicine Doctors Would Never Have in Their Homes

Clinical Leadership Council

An article in the Huffington Post caught our attention recently. It listed eight things emergency room doctors refuse to have in their homes. Topping the list were trampolines.

“We see a lot of serious trampoline injuries ... upper-body fractures, broken femurs, neck injuries," said Ferdinando Mirarchi, MD, medical director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, in the article. "That’s why most ER doctors I work with won’t buy trampolines for their kids. They’re all trouble. There’s no good kind. Unfortunately, parents get a false sense of reassurance; when there’s a net around something, they think their kids will be safe."

Adding his thoughts to why trampolines ranked number one, Mark Olivier, MD, risk management medical advisor, SCP, said, “Even before looking at the [Huffington Post] article,...

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CMS Delays Rating System Release Due to Controversy

Clinical Leadership Council

CMS postponed the release of the new overall quality star rating for U.S. hospitals one day before the scheduled April 21 release, bowing to pressure from lawmakers and industry stakeholders. The delay results from controversy about the ratings methodology used and the potential to mislead consumers.

In a notice to Congress following the decision, CMS said it would delay the release of the star ratings on its Hospital Compare website until July or possibly later if the methodology is still undergoing analysis or revision, National Public Radio (NPR) reported.

"CMS is committed to working with hospitals and associations to provide further guidance about star ratings," the notice said. "After the star ratings go live in their first iteration, we will refine and improve the site as we work together and gain experience."

Of the 3,600 U.S. hospitals reviewed earlier this year, only 87...

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May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month; Help Employees and Patients Prepare

Clinical Leadership Council

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main culprit, along with tanning booths or sunlamps.

Melanoma, the most dangerous type, accounts for only one percent of skin cancer cases but causes the vast majority of deaths. The American Cancer Society anticipates that more than 76,000 new melanoma cases will be diagnosed this year, and over 10,000 deaths will occur as a result.

The good news is that skin cancer can almost always be cured when found and treated early. Health care providers, along with communities and families, can work together to prevent skin cancer or detect it in its initial stages.

Make a Difference This Month

With the summer months approaching, now is the perfect time to get the word out about the dangers of exposure to UV radiation.

These ideas, from the American Academy of Dermatology, sponsor...

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Realizing Value with Telehealth in Chronic Condition Management Programs

Monica Leslie & Rehan Virani

Chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes impact the health of over half of the American population and represent more than 80 percent of all health care spending — over $850 billion dollars.

Many of these conditions are actually reversible or preventable. Typically, they stem from health risk behaviors such as lack of exercise, poor nutrition, use of tobacco, and drinking too much alcohol.

As our population ages, so will the need for effective methods of managing, improving, and, to the extent possible, preventing chronic conditions. Most of that will occur outside the four walls of the hospital, in the patient's home.

Implementing Chronic Condition Management Programs

Some health care organizations have established chronic condition management (CCM) programs, which reduce the incidence of preventable hospitalizations and adverse events by managing the...

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PX Week Celebrates Health Care Staff Who Impact Patient Experience

Clinical Leadership Council

This week, April 25 - 29, is Patient Experience (PX) Week, an annual event to celebrate the many ways health care staff impact the patient experience.

Sponsored by The Beryl Institute, an organization dedicated to improving the patient experience, PX Week provides a focused time for hospitals and other health care facilities to celebrate accomplishments, reenergize efforts, and honor employees who actively contribute to their patients' welfare.

By supporting Patient Experience Week, facilities show their employees that they appreciate their hard work and encourage their continued efforts on behalf of patients.

"In recent years, the concept of patient experience moved from the fringes of the health care conversation to the heart of all health care encompasses," said Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., president of The Beryl Institute.

"Challenged by some as a fad, even in the face of emerging policy...

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Zika: CDC Concludes Zika Virus Causes Microcephaly and Other Birth Defects

Clinical Leadership Council

Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have concluded, after careful review of existing evidence, that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.

In the report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the CDC authors describe a rigorous weighing of evidence using established scientific criteria.

"This study marks a turning point in the Zika outbreak," said Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC. "It is now clear that the virus causes microcephaly."

A statement from the World Health Organization (WHO) backs up these findings and suggests there is scientific consensus that the Zika virus not only causes microcephaly but also Guillain-Barré syndrome:

“While intense efforts continue to reinforce and refine the link between Zika virus and a range of neurological disorders within a rigorous...

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Life After Residency: 4 Tips for Graduates to Manage the Transition

Andrew Pacos, MD, Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs

As graduation day approaches and you get ready to move from residency to your first job as an attending EM or HM physician, you will find that your life is about to change drastically.

A blog post from KevinMD sums up the changes best. In it, they explain the shifts from:

  • Student to clinician;
  • Bread eater to bread winner;
  • “Life on hold” to “life on the go”;
  • No business to KNOW business;
  • An internal focus (lectures, rounds, boards, research, study, call) to an external focus (employer, patient care, malpractice, kids, spouse, financial obligations, house and car);
  • Obligations to yourself and obligations to others.

This is a huge transition in your life. As the mentioned post details, you begin to create your own “curriculum” versus having it created for you. You’re certainly approaching the unknown in this post-residency lifestyle.

The four...

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The Emergency Department: Strategic Asset or Necessary Evil?

Clinical Leadership Council

One fact is non-negotiable when it comes to emergency departments: they must continue to deliver an excellent standard of care for patients with acute illness and injury.

However, the shift from volume-driven to value-based care and the need to balance quality, patient satisfaction, and cost of care, has forced hospital administrators and other industry professionals to reevaluate the role EDs play in the care continuum.

And though some consider the emergency department to be a necessary evil due to the significant overall expense, selected outcomes being the same or not better than other care settings, and costs that must be absorbed by the hospital, there are many reasons to value it as a strategic asset.

An article in the March/April 2016 edition of Spectrum, a publication of the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (a division of the American Hospital...

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