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Healthcare Innovation Authors: Jaun Parker, Progress Blog, LeanTaaS Blog, Yoel Knoll, Mark Hoover

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Time is Money in Healthcare

NG Healthcare Summit has just taken place

The much publicized Healthcare reform has taken its effect on the industry. Job losses are ripping through the heart of America and continuing government pressure to improve systems to deal with Obama's changes brings their own challenges, so leading healthcare executives met at the illustrious NG Healthcare Summit last week in Florida as a result.

The United States spends around $2 trillion a year on healthcare expenses, more than any other country across the globe, but critics are still questioning if the country's finances will be able to support the reform. Despite original predictions that costs would be reduced it would do little to stem healthcare expenditure, something which executives from the industry are determined not to let happen.

"Electronic medical records (EMR) have been named as a result of the gathering as key technology innovation to improving patient care and reducing medical errors" say the NG Healthcare committee. This has been backed through federal stimulus money that along with legislation can reshape the healthcare industry.

Still, if you talk to people in healthcare, it is clear that there are a myriad of issues that need to be resolved before there is unanimous adoption of electronic records. Key challenges include financing the conversion from paper to computerized records, designing the work flow, making systems easier to use, integrating files from multiple sources and, of course, ongoing technical support.

As heated discussion lead by Greg Caressi -the SVP of Healthcare and Life Sciences at  Frost and Sullivan concluded that "Staff time is valuable especially within the healthcare industry where understaffing can mean the difference between life and death. Rather than paying trained staff overtime to enter data at the end of their shift it allows them to update as they go along without having to input the same thing multiple times" Participants included, Mark Elmer, the CTO of Texas Health Resources; Paul Brown, the CIO of Trinity Health; Tom Doyle, the VP & Chief Architect from HCA; Eric Paternoster, SVP and Unit Head-Insurance, Healthcare & Life Sciences at Infosys Technologies; Jeff Gartland, VP of Business Development for RelayHealth and Diana Nole, President of Digital Medical Solutions for Carestream Health.

The Federal stimulus Bill has promised anywhere from $44,000 and $65,000 to doctors who convert to electronic records but the funds will be paid in increments over a span of a few years and there are still questions the committee wants answered.

"We must also remember that a shift to electronic files will not just be a financial strain but will require an overhaul of the processes used for treating patients, to make this a smooth transition is key to success"Continued the NGH committee (who run the summit with GDS International) "With the targets set it is now up to us to implement the strategies to achieve greatness within the industry.

Despite the concerns it has never been argued that change isn't hard but with a united industry and the budget to support the future seems set.

More Stories By John Funnell

John Funnell has worked in online media for over ten years, after achieving his First Class BSC Hons Degree (BBC Sponsored), John won Bos 18-21 Princess Trust Entrepeneur of the year at 21, setting up Clean Living Records Ltd (including www.BeatReview.com) with great success having many acts that charted in Europe and Canada. After selling the business John looked for a new challenge and joined GDS International, having a successful career in sales and Delegate acquisition, he worked up to Event Director EMEA, forging contacts with some of the biggest technology names in the world, this lead to John having a lead role in the creation of MeettheBoss.com and MeettheBoss.tv – the worlds largest business IPTV channel. John then took over as Marketing and Communications Director and ran a multifaceted global Marketing team for GDS International in New York, Sydney, Kuala Lumper and the UK.. John joined Global in 2011 with the challenge of supporting its growth by developing a solid Marketing foundation through various Digital, PR and brand initiatives.