World Hepatitis Day: a chance to reflect on achievements to date and redouble efforts

World Hepatitis Day this year comes at a time of unprecedented optimism for the future, but is also a good time for us to take stock of what has been achieved so far.

Spotlight

HealthLoop

At HealthLoop, we believe that patients are the most underleveraged resource in the achievement of better outcomes. With HealthLoop, care teams are no longer forced to make difficult trade-offs about which patient populations to support outside of the care setting. HealthLoop’s solution enables care teams to engage all patients before and after admission through automated daily check-ins.

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

Ways to Drive Practice Revenue and Reduce Your Accounts Receivable

Article | July 14, 2023

Managing accounts receivable (A/R) in private practice is a constant battle for physicians. Though most understand that lowering their A/R is critical for improving their practices’ efficiency and profitability, physicians often do not know how to address issues like lengthy collection periods and insurance claim denials. It can be complex to manage A/R, as doing so involves various parties, including insurance carriers, the patient, the front office and billing staff, and the provider. All must work together to achieve a clean claims rate and avoid denials. The best way to improve medical billing A/R is to reduce claim denials and speed up the patient collections process. In addition, you’ll need to ensure that patients and staff are filling out paperwork correctly and submitting claims on time. Other areas to manage are the follow-ups to correct errors and past-due accounts. Accounts receivable is a collaborative effort Each member of the practice staff plays an integral role in reducing claims denial rates. Take an all-hands-on-deck approach in order to identify issues and develop solutions. Start by making every team member privy to the A/R management process. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and involved. It will also help to increase efficiency, avoid redundancies, and eliminate mistakes that could waste time or profitability. The front office staff is the front line of A/R. They are the first to verify and update patients’ insurance and personal details like address and contact information. They must also ensure that patients sign certain documents, like financial policies. Providers are the next line of A/R. Providers select current procedural terminology (CPT) codes, and must be mindful of tedious details such as bundling correctly in order to ensure that claims are approved. A conscientious provider should not only select appropriate billing codes but also double-check the patient information that the front office staff provide. The billing office is a final line of defense and should triple check that the patient’s information and the CPT codes are correct. Billing office staff are also responsible for ensuring the claims are submitted on time and that duplicates are not submitted. Establish financial policies Every practice needs clearly defined financial policies around patients or clients. Having these policies in place helps to clarify financial details and creates workflows and processes for staff to follow. Here are a few elements to consider: State whether the practice will accept personal checks and, if so, what charges or actions are in place for bounced checks. Consider implementing technologies that convert paper checks to electronic transactions and verify them before patients leave the office. Include a financial responsibilities section with information about who is responsible for the claim(s) if a patient’s insurance carrier partially or fully denies their claim. Define the debt collection process. Patients should quickly know how long they have to pay their bills and at what point you may sell their debt to a third-party debt collectors agency. Medical records can be copious, and practices often need to make physical copies of them. Consider implementing a policy that covers a pay-per-page cost associated with medical records. Automate patient statements and payments Offer different payment options for patients by implementing technologies and creative solutions that make it easier for them to pay their bills. Look for solutions that reduce manual work and provide reporting that tracks efficacy across delivery modes. Here are a few approaches to consider: Automate sending statements via text message or email to help improve the rate of online payments. Add QR codes to online and paper statements to help patients quickly access payment portals. Offer payment plans, especially with low to no interest, to make it easier for patients to pay down balances. Establish a written collections process Not collecting patient payments at the time of service is the biggest challenge to patient collections. Establishing a written collections process can help to alleviate that pain point and clarify the practice’s policies and procedures so that patients can understand them more clearly and easily. Here are some guidelines to follow when creating your policies: Include when, how, and how often bills are sent. Provide information on payment plans and assistance programs, if available. Explain the different available payment options and whether patients can pay over the phone, online through a payment portal, etc. Clarify which extraordinary collection actions may be used, including selling the debt or taking legal action. One of the most important processes to develop with collections is to respond to patients’ behavior. Communication should not be a one-size-fits-all approach. Patients expect personalization, and reaching out to them based on their preferred means of communication leads to optimal results. Perseverance is vital when it comes to collections. By establishing clear policies and implementing integrated technology throughout your processes, you can improve the patient experience by eliminating confusion while streamlining workflow to reduce the administrative burden on billing and administrative staff. Although implementing these steps can help your practice lower your accounts receivables, sometimes choosing to outsource to a medical billing company can help you save time, money, and resources. Medical billing companies can provide medical practices with specialized expertise, technology, and infrastructure to efficiently manage the revenue cycle and ensure timely payments. Outsourcing medical billing can also free up staff time and resources, allowing healthcare providers to focus on patient care and other essential aspects of running their practice. Whether you choose to outsource or to keep your medical billing in-house, these tips will help you to reduce your costs and increase your revenue.

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Healthtech Security

Wearable Technology is the New Healthcare!

Article | August 31, 2023

Do you know you can now wear technology? With the help of wearable technology, it's now easier to keep track of useful information in one go! This go-to technology has made people’s lives easier and smoother health-wise. In the last five years, more people have started using wearable technology to monitor health data and live healthier lifestyles. According to the Deloitte Global Survey, today, more than 80% of people are interested in using wearable technology. Statista also studied that the ear-worn wearable technology market will be worth more than 44.16 billion US dollars by 2023. These data show that customers are gravitating toward wearable technology due to its simplicity and convenience. The Tech is Getting Smarter Wearable technology has enabled the concept of self-checking, evaluation and monitoring of certain health conditions. The Internet of Things (IoT) technology is transforming and improving the entire lifestyles of millions of people. So it's no surprise that the technology is spreading. Thanks to IoT and AI, which have pushed these technologies into individuals’ hands in the form of smartwatches, fitness bands, and other devices. In this case, app development has also been a critical success factor. Consumers of all age groups actively use wearable technology for multiple physical benefits, such as monitoring daily activities (running, walking), water intake, heartbeat, sleep cycles, blood pressure, oxygen level, and mobility levels. In fact, the tech helps them to stay motivated by maintaining and extending their good habits. Wearables can measure these characteristics through an effective data model that is instantly responsive. The readings can be saved, displayed, or forwarded to a doctor for medical study. This interface of wearable technology saves money and time traveling to clinics, hospitals, GPs, and other medical facilities. The next feature that only wearable technology provides is reminders and inspiring information! Due to the addition of automatic functionalities, users have invested considerably in wearables and sparked the usage at the current time. Furthermore, wearable technology is also seen in other medical devices such as ECG monitors, which is again a cutting-edge consumer electronic device that users can use to measure electrocardiograms at home. A Deloitte study found that due to the rising demand and supply together, nearly 200 million wearable gadgets will be marketed globally by 2023. Transforming Healthcare Towards Intelligence The pandemic accentuated the importance of wearable technology the most, particularly for health monitoring. As a result, the technology was available in every second home. Wearable innovation is exceptional with the advancements in sensors, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and algorithms. Sensor data provides insights regarding an individual's activity levels, cardiac pattern discrepancies, and other aspects. For example, many companies and manufacturers employ PPG, Raman spectroscopy and infrared spectrophotometers to enable blood pressure monitoring features in smartwatches and portable medical devices. The combination of technology with intelligence is creating a whole new world of healthcare where individuals can track, record, and improve their health issues in a lesser timeframe. A Committed Future of Healthcare So, will technology for health improvement thrive? The answer is yes. Wearable technology delivers real-time health data and allows consumers to improve their health without incurring high costs. Consumers' willingness to share their data with healthcare professionals indicates a surge in future demand for wearable technology gadgets.

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

What’s So Great About FHIR? Find Out Here

Article | September 7, 2023

Affordable healthcare is the need of the hour and interoperability is the means to that end. The healthcare ecosystem is looking into ways they can enable this affordability as soon as possible, and that is where FHIR comes in. FHR promises an on-demand exchange of secure healthcare information. It has become an increasingly popular protocol, thanks to its commitment to ensuring interoperability in the app economy, via apps. The privilege enjoyed by consumers and participants in most industries is the ease of accessibility of information. With most of it being on the cloud, a URL ensures access to the same information regardless of where it is being accessed from or which internet enable device. This is the privilege FHIR aims to introduce in healthcare, over the current document-based approach where forms are either faxed, emailed, or electronically exchanged. FHIR is for Building new healthcare apps Develop cloud-based health apps that integrate with social networks Providing a simple to use standards-based API for cloud-based health integration services The government looking to implement a national EHR FHIR Aims to Reduce Cost The medical expenses of an average American in a year are north of $12k and rising. The reasons are the unnecessary complications in the healthcare IT infrastructure. With FHIR, HL7 aims to reduce the burden on providers in sharing and accessing healthcare data at the point of care, thereby reducing the administrative expenses spent on moving data back and forth. It also promises to grant on-demand access to patients – enabling them to make better-informed healthcare decisions. What is part of FHIR? Pre-defined Resources and API A common way to represent data as building blocks and rules for connecting them Target support for common scenarios Implementer Friendly Familiar tooling and technologies using web standards Multiple Libraries available for faster implementations Mobile Friendly Concise and easily understood specifications, RESTful API and JSON Leverages cross-industry web technologies Multi-paradigm Thick client, browser, or mobile devices Supports human readability as the base level of interoperability Large Community for Support Heaps of open-source software and training events, webinars, and connectathons Specification feedback welcomed, including update requests-tracker Out-of-the-box Interoperability Base resources can be used as it is, can also be adapted for local requirements Seamless exchange of information using messages or document Start The FHIR Health plans are jumping on the FHIR bandwagon faster than ever thanks to the Interoperability and Patient Access rule as well as the latest proposals. Do not get left behind or sustain the ramifications of non-compliance with CMS regulations.

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Future of Healthcare

The promising future of Wellness Industry in India

Article | October 25, 2021

In today's uber-fast-paced world, the human race, in general, has gotten highly comfortable running on all cylinders in the rat race of life, especially people in India. Our country is a land where opportunities are aplenty, and competition is ever-present, which makes every day life so tedious and constant that taking a breather is something that people can rarely afford. This has led to increasing cases of anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and insomnia. These cases rose to such high numbers that it gave way to one of India’s most prominent industry sectors: The Wellness Industry. Though the industry captured global attention between 2015 and 2017, a study conducted by McKinsey & Company found that the wellness industry is currently valued at $1.5 trillion globally. This sudden boom can be attributed to the realisation that it is more important to remain healthy than getting healthy. Furthermore, the report, produced after analysing 7500 consumers in six countries (including India), has offered keen insights into consumer behaviour. When it comes to wellness consumers, their trends can be grouped into six categories: Health: People are now investing in many remote medical devices that can constantly monitor their state of well-being. With the increase in popularity in digital wearables, telemedicine, and remote patient monitoring services, this trend is bound to increase. Fitness: People are exercising more. Whether it’s jogging, going to the gym, investing in a pedometer, FitBit, etc., there has been a steady increase in people exercising more. Nutrition: Dieting has always been a significant part of being healthy. An increase in dietary food, supplements, nutrition coaches can be observed in recent years. Aesthetics: With a major chunk of India’s youth population getting invested in their social media, notably the pictures that they post, aesthetic well-being has seen a sharp increase. This includes investments in specific Athleisure clothing apparel (Nike, Addidas, Puma), skincare products (collagen supplements, face masks), and plastic surgery. Sleep: Burning the midnight oil is counterproductive. There has been a steady increase in consumers willing to invest in sleep medications, specialised mobile applications that track their sleep and the state of their sleep, ASMR generating devices, White noise devices, and other products that can enable a consumer to maintain a healthy sleep cycle. Mindfulness: Introspection, understanding the body and its processes to the molecular level, and figuring out ways to implement clarity of thought and methods for improving focus have been huge draws for the wellness industry. Furthermore, with central government’s schemes like AYUSH and the introduction of International Day of Yoga by the United Nations, this particular trend has seen enormous growth. Impact of these trends on the future of Indian wellness industry Organic Products: According to APEDA, India has become one of the largest producers of organic products. A growing number are actively investing monthly in organically grown produce, meat that is organically processed, oil that is wood-pressed or cold-pressed, cosmetics made from organic materials, and clothes made from pure cotton instead of manufactured materials. People becoming more conscious of what they put in their bodies has led to a steady increase in organic shops across India. Exercise, Dieting & Nutritional Supplements: From using simple Calcium supplements and energy drinks to adhering to a strict diet regimen, today’s consumers are genuinely worried about falling sick. This has led to an increase in purchasing supplements. Another trend can be observed where an increasing number of consumers have started buying vitamin, Zinc, and iron tablets, to shore up immunity. Furthermore, Indians have begun consuming gluten-free cereal, cold-pressed juices, Kale products, Avocados, and other food products recommended to be healthier alternatives. Indians have also become BMI-conscious, and an increasing number of them have started to invest in gyms, yoga/cardio classes, exercise-wear, sports wearables, and other products that can enable a person to work out more effectively. Constant Increasing Demand for Oxygen: Even before the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, getting access to 99% breathable oxygen has pure oxygen was a necessity considering the rising concerns of pollution in Indian cities. As per the ‘World Air Quality Report, 2020’ prepared by Swiss organisation, IQAir, 22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India, with Delhi being ranked as the most polluted capital city globally. Moreover, people who indulge in extreme physical workouts exercise, or suffer from high-altitude sickness, need oxygen handy to maintain their wellbeing. In India, prominent wellness companies like UCS Wellness Pvt Ltd have made significant strides to ensure that every individual has access to oxygen through their innovative specially outfitted 18-litre aluminium-bottled oxygen cans of 18 litres under their brand gO2therapy. With the pollution rate showing no signs of slowing down, and the steady increase in demand for oxygen, it would be no surprise to find every household medical kit fitted with a portable oxygen cylinder. Transitioning to Digital Platforms: With the increase in popularity of Telemedicine and Remote-patient monitoring, healthcare and the wellness industry are gaining an aggressive online presence. There are many online exercises/online videos, fitness apps, meditation apps, motivational apps, power coaches, and so much more. Indians find it easier to use these online tools combined with a digital wearable to keep their well-being in the best of conditions. Investing in Social Media Influencers: With the increase in online dependence, the voice of social media influencers is soon to be gospel when it comes to maintaining a fit body and healthy mind. Much like how mainstream celebrities endorse various products, the wellness industry has seen great rewards in deploying online influencers to support their products. Typical examples can include a famous workout specialist advertises particular apparel, gadget, energy drink, or brand of Whey Protein distributors as part of their video. Alternatives to Allopathy: In the Indian market, the wellness industry has seen a shift in paradigm where an increasing number of consumers opt for Siddha, or Ayurveda substitutes, instead of conventional medicine. This is seen more in the age group of 40+. This particular age group has patients with a long history of high BP, high cholesterol, and other ailments that require continuous monitoring and medication. They feel that the healthier choice is in traditional medicine or treatments like Panchakarma, Ayurveda, or Siddha. Conventional medication provides them with little to no side effects, which is the primary reason for its increasing popularity. India is expected to become a wellness hub in the global community following a 12% growth per annum. The Make in India initiative is expected to bring in more investments and opportunities in this sector. The Ministry of AYUSH, with a separate department for Yoga, has been exempted from service tax. A budget of around ?3,400 crores has also been earmarked to be spent over the next five years to help set up and strengthen Ayush Wellness Centers under the National Ayush Mission. This has sparked an increase in startups and businesses focusing on the wellness sector. Meanwhile, the global pandemic is also giving rise to a new consumer behaviour called wellness rebound where they are becoming more health-conscious and striving towards regaining their health soon after recovering from an illness. Considering the aftermath of the pandemic, the aggressive implementation of technology, and the constant consumer market in India, it can be inferred that the wellness industry will evolve and expand further with little to no backslide.

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Spotlight

HealthLoop

At HealthLoop, we believe that patients are the most underleveraged resource in the achievement of better outcomes. With HealthLoop, care teams are no longer forced to make difficult trade-offs about which patient populations to support outside of the care setting. HealthLoop’s solution enables care teams to engage all patients before and after admission through automated daily check-ins.

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AIIMS researches working on orally-administered Hepatitis B

June 08, 2016

Researchers at AIIMS have developed nanoparticles loaded with antigen protein segments which, if yield positive results on human trials, could lead to what they claim to be first oral hepatitis B vaccine in the world. According to Dr Amit Dhinda, Professor of Pathology at the All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS), who led the research, if all goes well, the oral vaccine would become a reality by 2021, doing away the need for injections and booster doses which are administered by way of syringes…

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AIIMS researches working on orally-administered Hepatitis B

June 08, 2016

Researchers at AIIMS have developed nanoparticles loaded with antigen protein segments which, if yield positive results on human trials, could lead to what they claim to be first oral hepatitis B vaccine in the world. According to Dr Amit Dhinda, Professor of Pathology at the All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS), who led the research, if all goes well, the oral vaccine would become a reality by 2021, doing away the need for injections and booster doses which are administered by way of syringes…

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