Health Care Insights

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Weathering the Storm: Providers and Staff Face Hurricane Matthew

Schumacher Clinical Partners' Blog Editor

In the early morning hours on Oct. 5, Dr. Dean Dalili, Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs, Hospital Medicine at SCP, was well aware that Hurricane Matthew was barreling down on the Florida coast and that Wuesthoff Medical Center Rockledge was in its path. 

“Working with hospital administration, our original plan was to assemble a hurricane emergency team of clinicians who could stay at the hospital for the next 24-36 hours, not really knowing what we would face or how bad the storm would be,” explained Dr. Dalili. But by the next day, Floridians were alerted that Matthew had strengthened to a Category 4 storm, with the eye headed straight for Cocoa Beach. “We were 36 hours from landfall, and our facility is classified to withstand Category 3 storms. But at this strength, we knew we had to evacuate.” 

Taking Action

With the combined efforts of...

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Why Case Management Matters Now More Than Ever

Joanne Wetch, Director of Consulting Services

With the expansion of alternative/bundled payment models, a focus on value-based care delivery, and the inclusion of care coordination in the National Quality Strategy, the role of Case Management is becoming increasingly important. In fact, Case Management should be the linchpin in an effective value-delivery strategy. Managing the financial risk in value-based reimbursement models requires optimization of care settings, avoidance of duplicate services, polypharmacy management, early detection and intervention to avoid ED visits and readmissions, and re-assessment of the care plan as the patient’s condition changes. Doing these things within the inpatient setting is one thing; doing them – and doing them well – across the full continuum of the patient’s episode of care is quite another.

Historically, hospitals have focused on what the Centers for Medicare and...

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4 Ways to Foster Better Doctor-Patient Communication and Improve Patient Satisfaction

Schumacher Clinical Partners' Blog Editor

It's been said that patients don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Communicating effectively, at a level the patient can understand, is one way to express care. The words you use and the way you use them is central to establishing a positive relationship that can result in improved outcomes both clinically and in patient satisfaction scores as reported in the HCAHPS survey, part of which deals with communication specifically.

In fact, many of the complaints we hear from patients have less to do with the physician's clinical competency and more with a breakdown in communication, which adversely affects the doctor-patient relationship and reflects poorly on the provider.

With that in mind, here are four ways to improve communication that will result in better patient satisfaction.

Understand Patient Expectations

A patient's satisfaction is tied to his...

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Top 6 Mobile Apps to Facilitate Doctor-Patient Communication

Schumacher Clinical Partners' Blog Editor

The importance of effective doctor-patient communication in an emergency or hospital medicine situation cannot be overstated. As SCP Chief Medical Officer Jeffrey A. Schwartz, MD, FACEP, explained, “A lack of clear communication could lead to further clinical consequences.” That’s where mobile apps can be of immense help. Dr. Schwartz helped us to identify the following six mobile apps specifically focused on providing clearer physician/patient communication.

The first three provide translation capabilities, which is particularly useful when addressing non-English speaking patients. The remaining three use images to communicate, enabling the patient to better understand the nature of their condition and its location in the body.

1. Canopy Speak

CMT-product-mockApproximately 30 million patients have limited English proficiency, and nowhere is the language barrier more critical than...

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Getting "Back to Basics" in Healthcare Management

Namar Al-Ganas and Robert Wagner, MD

Over the last six and a half years, many new and innovative strategies for delivering healthcare have surfaced, especially with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 signed into law by President Obama. Transitioning from volume to value in healthcare reimbursement is well underway with the introduction of bundled payments for Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacements (CJR) on April 1, 2016, and soon, a bundle in cardiology. In the midst of these radical and important changes to the U.S. healthcare system, this becomes a great opportunity to excel at the basics of healthcare management in order to better respond to the turbulence that change often brings. This includes but isn’t limited to market positioning, margin awareness, revenue cycle essentials, effective recruiting, and tackling fear.

Market positioning can simply be defined by how your...

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Top 5 Things to Do at ACEP16 in Las Vegas

Schumacher Clinical Partners' Blog Editor

SCP and ECI Healthcare, a Schumacher Clinical Partner (ECI), are rolling the dice in a big way at this year's ACEP Scientific Assembly, ACEP16, in Las Vegas, October 16 - 18.

And whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a brand new attendee, we want you to join us. You’ll find new ways to learn, new opportunities to network, and new reasons to build a solid foundation for emergency medicine.

Here are the top five things to you should put on your “ACEP to-do list” that involve SCP and ECI.

1. Learn About the SCP/ECI Merger

SCP and ECI have teamed up to deliver more for providers and the patients they serve. That includes an expansion of resources, further growth in services offerings, and the utilization of industry-leading best practices.

At ACEP16, the fact that we've joined forces will be hard to miss. We're proudly putting the merger on display with signage...

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‘Think with Your Ink’: 4 Reasons Why Proper Medical Record Documentation Is Vital

Schumacher Clinical Partners' Blog Editor

Properly documenting patient’s medical records has always been important, but never more than now, given today's health care landscape where the government ties reimbursement to the quality of the medical record.

"Medical reimbursement is reflective of what you document, not what you do," says David Thompson, MD CHC FACEP, chief medical information officer, SCP. "I can take care of a patient with a wrist fracture, pneumonia, or a myocardial infarction, but if there is no documentation, there is no reimbursement."

For that reason and more, Dr. Thompson encourages providers to "think with your ink" and put good documentation practices into place.

Four Reasons to Document Properly

Dr. Thompson cites four reasons why it’s vital to properly document patients’ medical records.


1. Communicates with other health care personnel

Documentation communicates the quality of...

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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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