Tag Archive for System

Bio-Threat Early Warning System Gets Booster Shot

A statewide bio-surveillance system designed to provide early detection of potential health threats has received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to continue its research efforts.

Called the North Carolina Bio-Preparedness Collaborative (NCB-Prepared), the group was formed in 2010 through an initial $5 million grant from the DHS. The public-private partnership includes representatives from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and SAS. The new funding will be used to expand the system and help determine how information from the collaborative can best be used by local, state and federal agencies.

The group’s detection system accumulates disparate data streams from a number of different sources. Those feeds include recent life-threatening disease cases from emergency medical services, reports about food production and information from animal and human clinical services. 

That data is combined and analyzed by NCB-Prepared members using the collective’s proprietary text analytics and analysis approaches. The group is then able to predict whether a particular health event is a sign of a pending disease epidemic or evidence of a terrorist release of a pathogen in the food, air or water supplies.

According to Charles Cairns, principal investigator with NCB-Prepared, the collective’s goal is to detect outbreaks quickly and get the data to decision-makers who can intervene and save lives. He views the system as a way to speed-up intervention efforts, as opposed to traditional disease surveillance methods that are centered on investigating a health event and its origins.

“One of the things we’re trying to do is literally detect things within hours or days,” Cairns said. “And we’re trying to recognize cases, classify them as a particular disease or health challenge, understand the change … over a particular geography or a particular time, and then be able to understand what’s going to happen next.”

The University of North Carolina’s Department of Emergency Medicine played an early critical role for the collective by taking a close look at emergency department data across the entire state. The department developed data standardization approaches including information collection forms and systems that were used statewide in the system’s beginning stages.

The NCB-Prepared team is made up of public- and private-sector medical, public health, technology, sociology and psychology experts. The group also includes emergency management officials and first responders.

Barbara Entwisle, vice chancellor for research at UNC Chapel Hill, called the collective and its system a “powerful tool” to stopping outbreaks before they become widespread public threats.

“This is one of those areas where, using data and new technologies, university researchers and our industry partners can make a real difference in peoples’ lives,” Entwisle said in a statement.

Early Returns

The system has already been successful in several cases. In 2011, the collective identified an outbreak of norovirus three months earlier than it was announced by public health officials. Cairns explained that his team used the bio-surveillance system to obtain data from pre-hospital providers, such as paramedics, and using the collective’s analytic approaches was able to determine the outbreak’s severity. The findings were made public at a meeting of the International Society for Disease Surveillance in 2011.

NCB-Prepared also was successful in determining the severity of last year’s flu outbreak in North Carolina. The collective evaluated a series of Internet search terms and emergency medical services records, and accurately predicted the severity of the 2012 flu season three months ahead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public announcement.

According to Cairns, the group is effective because of the early access it has to data from an event where people cross paths with the health-care system.

“Our current approach is to really look at emergency health data, so we’re not looking for things that aren’t severe or aren’t life-threatening,” he said. “We’re really focused on that slice of data because we think that’s the best opportunity to intervene and save lives.”

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Iowa Plans Rapid Deployment of New Eligibility System

Come October, Iowa expects to have a new human services eligibility system online — less than a year out from starting the project.

The timeframe is ambitious, as eligibility system rollouts can often take years to fully implement. Just ask Texas, which spent eight years getting its project done. But as Iowa Department of Human Services Administrator Ann Wiebers explained, the rapid overhaul is a necessary step for the state to meet some of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The ACA requires states to have online health insurance exchanges established by January 2014, so that citizens can purchase health coverage. But Wiebers said Iowa’s eligibility system wouldn’t be able to provide the real-time Medicaid determinations needed so that an exchange can work properly. Built in the late 1970s, the front end of the current system was installed in 1983 and isn’t easily upgraded.

“It is very difficult to change and it takes a significant amount of effort … and we knew that in order to do a seamless integration with the exchange that we had to replace it,” Wiebers said. “There was no discussion about trying to put a [new] front end onto the mainframe because it was so old.”

Iowa chose Accenture to handle the new eligibility system implementation. Debora Morris, managing director for integrated services for Accenture, said the age of the state’s current system isn’t necessarily a challenge for the company, but in order to meet Iowa’s Oct. 1 project deadline, the company had to forgo a phased implementation process.

Accenture will instead install the new system and have it running immediately. Then in the months and years to follow, they’ll add enhancements based on the state’s RFP as well as suggestions from workers using the system.

Morris added that the major challenge on Accenture’s part is working without final details from the federal government on the health benefit exchanges.

“We’re doing this at a time when the feds are still getting out some of the guidance to states and building out their federal exchange,” Morris said. “So there are a few unknowns out there that we’re working a little blind on.”

From Iowa’s perspective, they’ve been prepping for quick turnaround of the eligibility system for a while. The state got its RFP out for the project last January and in December, they announced that Accenture was awarded a six-year base contract through 2018 with four one-year extension options. The total value of the contract over 10 years is approximately $77.7 million and includes software, hardware, maintenance and training.

Early Preparation

Weibers said that Iowa also spent the latter part of 2012 evaluating how its current eligibility mainframe connected to its separate Iowa Automated Benefits Calculation (ABC) System. She called ABC a “workhorse” that interfaces with more than 100 different subsystems. State personnel were identifying all those connections to make sure all functions were accounted for so Accenture had no surprises when starting the transition.

Given the short timeframe, Iowa is also supplementing its support staff in the Department of Human Services. In addition to hiring Accenture, the state has hired a project oversight, management and implementation contractor and a quality assurance and independent verification and validation contractor. Another “seven or eight” positions were also built into the project budget to augment state staff.

Wiebers added that the contractors hired have worked on other eligibility system projects in the past and are sharing lessons learned with the staff. Iowa is also in close contact with California and Idaho, who operate the same Accenture system and are willing to share their experiences.

“I think that we have done everything that we possibly can to mitigate any issues,” Wiebers said.

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5 Definite Reasons To Integrate Transcription With EMR System

Medical transcription business has reached a new milestone with the integration of eMR. In this article; we look at different reasons to integrate transcription services with eMR system.

With the emergence of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system; there was a big question mark over the medical transcription industry. But with the synchronization of both these processes medical practitioners have been able to save lot of time, increase productivity and get accurate documentation in a timely manner. Let us now look at some of the reasons to integrate transcription with eMR system:

Quick and efficient output: Medical practitioners are usually busy in their clinics/practices so they do not have time to type patient’s notes into eMR system. Hence; dictation systems helps medical practitioners in saving time and directly integrates the transcribed document in eMR system. This enables the doctors to keep up the pace with their productivity rate.Synchronization with eMRs: eMRs have significantly reduced the workload of medical transcriptionists. With the help of the software the transcribed documents can be directly inserted in the eMR of the respective medical practitioner by using Discrete Reportable Transcription (DRT). eMRs are meeting the “meaningful use” requirements, and a complete and accurate patient visit record is being recorded.Generates profit: It becomes quite cumbersome for the medical practitioners to stop typing into eMR during each patient visit. This results in reduced patients which ultimately reduces the profit. Using a lucrative dictation system, medical practitioners can continue to see more patients thereby increasing the profits.Decreases data-entry costs: Medical practitioners cannot be used for data-entry tasks. They are too good of a resource to be wasted on data-entry tasks. If you hire an in-house medical transcriptionist you need to pay salary and benefits. Voice recognition systems are too costly and show a higher error rate than a human transcriptionist.Accuracy of information: If the medical practitioners type their own notes it can lead to higher error rate. Usually they have to shift from one appointment to another which can affect the accuracy of the notes. Also there are times when medical practitioners use copy-paste or copy-forward function on eMR which results in inaccurate information being stored on patient’s record.

With the amalgamation of eMR with Medical Transcription business it becomes very easy for Medical Practitioners to conduct their day-to-day activities. A global medical transcription company exploits the services of eMR in an expertise manner; and gets the transcribed documents done in a quick time.

Mediscribes, Inc. is one of the fastest growing Medical Transcription & document management systems providers in United States, based in Metro Louisville. Mediscribes is an ISO 9000-2001 certified company, rendering cost-effective consolidated transcription solutions to major hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities in United States. Mediscribes is the most value-providing organization in the market today with a strong presence in America and offshore locations. The firm specializes in providing highly accurate transcription adhering to ADHI guidelines in unbeatable turnaround time with robust & proven document management system as its vantage point to its esteemed clientele.

Mediscribes provides end-to-end transcription solutions as its primary offering. For our customers, we focus on dictation systems, both ASP as well as enterprise level solutions, with the help of our most valued asset   ezVoiceIntelligence (ezVI), providing specialty-specific qualitative transcription along with a “whole nine yards” document management system. Mediscribes specializes in EMR data integration as well. Our data dispatch department is highly proficient in integrating transcribed reports into any type of EMR. Healthcare facilities that do not have EMR get the option to use our web-based file monitoring interface called eTranscribe for global access to their data. eTranscribe has special features of E-signing, E-faxing, auto-printing, and user-friendly document search criteria.

For additional information, please visit http://www.mediscribes.com

Media Contact (Mediscribes)

Mike Perry



12806 Townepark Way

Louisville, KY 40243-2311

Ph: 502-400-9374



Tags: Cardiology Transcription, Medical Dictation, Medical Transcription, Medical Transcription Companies, Medical Transcription Service, Medical Transcription Services, Outsource Medical Transcription, , Transcription Service

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Virginia Launches Online Public Assistance System

Virginians in need of public assistance can now file for benefits online from the comfort and privacy of home.

The state launched CommonHelp, a self-service website that allows residents to apply for benefits, check on the status of applications or renew for assistance electronically. The system saves them the hassle of having to travel to a social services branch office to do paperwork and speeds the process of eligibility determination.

Developed in tandem by Deloitte and Virginia technology and social services staff, the site went live earlier this month. CommonHelp took approximately 18 months to build and can be used by citizens to apply for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, child-care services, energy assistance, food assistance and some medical assistance.

“Virginians can now apply for our services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from their homes, libraries, schools or anywhere the Internet is available to them,” said Virginia Department of Social Services Commissioner Martin D. Brown in a statement. “For some of our most vulnerable citizens, including the disabled and seniors, online services will make it easier to screen and apply for assistance.”

In an interview with Government Technology, Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources William A. Hazel said the change was necessary due to aging back-end processing systems and a huge uptick in the number of people applying for benefits the past few years. 

Hazel explained that three years ago, approximately 600,000 people were enrolled in Medicaid. But with the difficulties brought on by the recession, that number is now roughly 960,000. In addition, eligibility determinations have skyrocketed, with more than 1.2 million being done last year for Medicaid and another 1.1 million for the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

But as the applications have increased, the budget for staffing, benefit eligibility determinations and other related tasks has not. Hazel said the situation has increased the amount of time customers have to wait for their eligibility to be verified and a backlog of work on staff that turns into error rates on applications.

In 2009, the percentage of errors on a Medicaid eligibility application was 16 percent — pieces of information were missing, applications were incomplete, etc. That drove the decision to create CommonHelp.

“We were faced with the thought that we had to have a more permanent solution to provide better access to citizens and reduce the eligibility application [error] rates,” Hazel said.

“This ultimately is not simply about eligibility determinations,” he added. “It’s about better case management and providing a higher quality service and being able to measure the results of the services we provide.”

Deloitte’s involvement in the project began years ago. The company was originally brought on by the Virginia Department of Social Services to build a website so that residents could apply online for child-care benefits.

But as the Department of Health and Human Resources decided to integrate its siloed systems and transition to service-oriented architecture — a collection of Web services and technology components that can help connect disparate systems — the initial child-care project was expanded.

Deloitte used the original technology it developed for a similar project in Michigan and adapted it to fit Virginia’s needs.

Virginia staff was also a big part of the portal’s development. The language used on the website was vetted through test audiences to ensure words were understandable, and social service workers were consulted so that the system was intuitive even to users not familiar with computers.

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