Take a Vacation – Doctor’s Orders

vacationWell it is officially the dog days of summer.  Scorching heat and in the Northeast, stifling humidity have come to call reminding us all that back-to-school time is just around the corner.  Since August is typically a big month for family vacations,  I thought it would be timely to reveal a recent study performed by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, showing that there are tangible health benefits to taking a break from your daily grind. Continue reading…

Nancy Drew, Girl Detective

Some of you may already know this about me … others maybe not. At one time, I was just like you, believe it or not. I always knew that one day I go back to school and finish my education. Early on I thought I really wanted to be a nurse, even started nursing school. However, life did get in the way and I needed to drop out for a while. I had a problem pregnancy and lost a child. Eventually, I found my way back to school. By that time, I decided I no longer wanted to be a nurse. I had spent many years taking care of others so I wanted something new. I knew I wanted to stay in healthcare but what could I do that would let me help people? I discovered the world of Health Information Management … coding to be exact! It was a like a dream come true! I could become the girl detective I always wanted to be growing up. My heroine years ago was Nancy Drew. I wanted to be like her. Remember the “Secret of the Old Clock?” Well, that was me!! As a young girl, I thrived on those books and becoming my own girl detective. I made my own secret code, used invisible ink, and spied on my brothers and their friends! Oh, how they hated that! You get the picture, I am sure! Well, I found medical coding is a lot like that except someone else made up the secret code! You must learn a brand new language, the language of the medical field, and transfer that language into codes! You must dig deep sometimes in the patient’s medical record to determine the patient’s diagnoses and procedures the physician carried out in treating the patient! It is a lot of fun! It can be frustrating when you don’t find the right code or information. Once you do though there is a feeling of Eureka! I found it! I did it! So tell me what you are discovering? What your thoughts? <<COMMENTS FOR THIS POST HAVE BEEN CLOSED>>

File Under: Easier Said Than Done

Of all the individual ideas for healthcare reform proposed by President Obama, the notion of transitioning to a fully electronic process for the maintenance of medical records would seem to be the most obvious. It also seems like one of the easier things to accomplish, given the other, more ambitious reforms on the agenda. After all, its clear that the technology for such complex electronic record keeping already exists and is currently in use by other industries. Yet nearly two decades after the beginning of the information revolution, while the technology has grown exponentially there has been little will to apply it to medical record keeping. President Obama was not the first inhabitant of the White House to suggest that enormous savings could be captured through the application of information science and Internet technology to replace old, paper based data management. Maximizing efficiency is one, legitimate way the insurance industry could keep the climbing costs of healthcare down without cutting service levels. Presidents G.W. Bush and Bill Clinton also supported moving in this direction. So what are the obstacles? Among the roadblocks to adoption of widespread Electronic Medical Records or EMRs in the US are such issues as: Interoperability – the ability (or inability) of disparate computer systems to “speak” with one another. Doctors’ offices, hospitals, labs, insurers, public health institutions, etc. Privacy – developing protocols for transfer of data among the numerous providers in a way that protects personal information (partially addressed in HIPAA) Legacy Data Capture – the logistics involved in scanning and entering existing patients’ medical histories into the system to avoid discarding valuable, historical, medical perspective Change Management – the process of fostering adoption of new technologies and practices across entire enterprise level industries is challenging Other obstacles to adoption include: cost of implementation, unclear standards across all programs, problematic legal issues (digital signatures and data preservation procedures etc.). Everyone seems to agree that implementing EMRs in the US is a worthy goal. Yet, as with so many goals worth achieving, this one is easier said than done.

Best Job Markets in the US – Part 1

The current economic challenges have had the unintended consequence of spurring a lot of media coverage regarding employment figures nationwide. The upside of this focus on job data is – if you’re starting a new career – you have access to a wide array of data on where you can find a good job in an area projected to enjoy continued growth. Since lately I seem to be stumbling across a lot of state-by-state lists of “Top Growth Jobs”, I have decided to write a series of posts detailing the career environments in different areas of the country for people with medical billing and coding expertise. This virtual tour of great American destinations (and their respective job markets) may be as close as this writer gets to a vacation this year, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I plan to. Today, let’s look at the data from California, a State I once called home and a great place to be if you’re working towards a career in the healthcare field. The current recession has spurred significant job losses and a lot of coverage about California’s unemployment. Yet, less reported are the thousands of new job openings filled in the Golden State every day. According to labor statistics, California’s total employment is predicted to approach 20 million or more by 2016. That’s good news! What’s even better is that the healthcare sector is number one on the list of “growth industries” and medical billing is included in the list of “25 Jobs to Increase through 2016” in California. That makes the Golden State a good place to consider living and working. This blogger lived in San Francisco during and after the Internet boom/bust and even in the dark economic days, post-bubble, I always found it a great place to find gainful and rewarding employment. It also has the added benefit of being a truly beautiful place to live. Pristine beaches, majestic mountains, acclaimed wineries, world-class golf, diverse music, innovative cuisine…***sigh***. Great place to begin your own Gold Rush. Have a look at the full report on California’s employment environment here: http://hubpages.com/hub/Top_California_Jobs