What Is MACRA and How Does It Relate to Meaningful Use?

Posted by Betsy Weaver, Ed.D. on Mar 9, 2016 8:00:00 AM

In January 2016, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt announced that CMS would update Meaningful Use to focus more on patient care and outcomes.

At the same time, Slavitt brought renewed attention to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015—MACRA—triggering confusion among hospitals and health systems already scrambling to attest to Meaningful Use. 

Many questions arose. What is MACRA? What is the relationship between MACRA and Meaningful Use? Is Meaningful Use over?

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Topics: Meaningful Use, Quality of Care, Patient Outcomes, Patient Portals

Patient Portal 2.0: How HealthEast Gets Meaningful Engagement From a Patient Portal

Posted by Todd Smith, MD on Feb 18, 2016 8:30:00 AM

By now it seems that every hospital has a patient portal. But is everyone—hospitals and patients alike—using them to their full potential? According to one survey, many patients still don’t know their providers offer portals. As providers, we also depend on getting patients to visit their portals to initiate patient-provider communication. When used well, portals help hospitals engage patients and meet Meaningful Use requirements. The challenge is in how to make good use of your patient portal.

HealthEast Care System was determined to use our portal to improve health outcomes through proactive, consistent health information that patients could access anywhere. Here’s how we did it.

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Topics: Meaningful Use, Patient Education, Quality of Care, Patient Outcomes, Guest Blog, Pregnancy Education, Digital Patient Engagement, Patient Provider Communication, Patient Portals, Health Care Interoperability, HealthEast Care System, Innovation, Customers

4 Steps to Improving Patient Experience—One Hospital's Story

Posted by Christopher Smalley on Jan 27, 2016 8:30:00 AM

In 2011, the BirthPlace at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Plymouth (BID-Plymouth), in Massachusetts, was losing patients to other maternity units, and the hospital considered closing it. Instead, we decided to rebrand the BirthPlace and our outpatient OB/GYN and Midwifery practices with a focus on improving the patient experience.

We determined that we could impact patient experience best by working cross-functionally—aligning the marketing, clinical and IT teams—and implementing digital health tools that supported the new brand by improving patient-provider communication and increasing patient satisfaction.

We were right! Here’s how our hospital did it and what we learned.

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Topics: Patient Education, Hospital Workflows, Patient Outcomes, Pregnancy Education, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, Patient Experience, Health Care Interoperability

CMS’s Bundled Payment Plan for Joint Replacement Is Here to Stay

Posted by Deirdre Wilson on Nov 23, 2015 11:30:00 AM

This week, CMS released its final rule for Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR), putting 790 hospitals on notice that hip and knee replacement reimbursements from the nation’s largest insurer will be tied to cost containment and high standards for patient care. 

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Topics: Joint Surgery, Patient Outcomes, Hospital Readmissions, Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement

Hospitals benefit from setting patient expectations early

Posted by Betsy Weaver, Ed.D. on Oct 14, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Setting expectations early is shown to improve patients' episodes of care, improve patient outcomes and reduce readmission rates. It also prepares your hospital for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) initiatives like Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR).

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Topics: Joint Surgery, Patient Outcomes, Hospital Readmissions, Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement

3 Reasons Providers Need to Manage the Entire Episode of Care

Posted by Deirdre Wilson on Oct 6, 2015 8:30:00 AM

Preparing for the CMS Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Project


Research continues to find that in-home rehab after joint surgery is as cost-effective and equal in outcomes and patient satisfaction to inpatient rehab facilities.   

The most important takeaway from the latest CMS effort to rein in costs, achieve positive patient outcomes and lower hospital readmission rates and complication rates is that hospitals must now manage the entire episode of care.

CMS’s Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) bundled-payment program mandates that 790 U.S. hospitals take responsibility for the care quality and total cost of hip and knee replacements, from surgery out through 90 days of rehabilitation and recovery. But the writing is on the wall for all hospitals, health systems and providers: Engaging patients throughout the care continuum—before, during and after surgery—will improve outcomes, decrease readmissions, earn CMS incentive payments and avoid penalties.

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Topics: Joint Surgery, Quality of Care, Patient Outcomes, Hospital Readmissions, Value-Based Care, Patient Satisfaction

7 Easy Ways to Help Doctors Connect With Patients

Posted by Betsy Weaver, Ed.D. on Sep 16, 2015 10:00:00 AM

The concept that it takes seven interactions—or “touches”—before a person becomes a customer is well documented in the marketing industry. Less is written about how this can apply in a healthcare setting. 

In this era of value-base care, patients are synonymous with customers, and engagements are the new touches. Unlike in marketing—where a touch can simply drive a sale—a touch in healthcare can really impact patient outcomes and the cost of care, build patient satisfaction and confidence and make patients feel involved in their care.

Surely, it’s time to start taking the theory of seven touches into the healthcare realm. I’ll start by offering seven easy ways you can engage/connect with/touch patients. 

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Topics: Patient Education, Patient Outcomes, Value-Based Care, Patient Provider Communication, Cost of Care, Patient Satisfaction, Patient Activation Measure

Want to Improve Health Outcomes? Start by Building Patient Confidence

Posted by Deirdre Wilson on Aug 11, 2015 2:00:00 PM

You’ve likely heard the adage, “Confidence breeds success.” It’s a saying that doesn’t only apply to goals and achievement. Confidence can also have a powerful influence on your health.

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Topics: Meaningful Use, Patient Education, Patient Outcomes, Self-Efficacy Theory, Digital Patient Engagement, Hospital Readmissions, Self-Management of Chronic Disease, Value-Based Care, Patient Activation Measure

You Can’t Improve What You Don’t Measure

Posted by Betsy Weaver, Ed.D. on Jul 29, 2015 11:47:00 AM

Why is it so hard to understand—and apply—this concept?

With good information (i.e., reliable data) that is easily accessible, you have the power to change the world. Well, perhaps not the entire world, but your own part of it!

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Topics: Return on Investment, Patient Education, Patient Outcomes, Digital Patient Engagement, Patient Provider Communication, Patient Activation Measure

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Hear from the UbiCrew, our hospital clients and industry experts about how to:

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