After the patient treatment information is signed off by the provider in the EHR, the treatment information is made available
to the patient in the portal. According to Deloitte's Center for Health Solutions, 10 percent of Americans currently use patient
portals, but that number is predicted to rise as patients begin to expect access to their clinical information online. Patient
engagement is a top priority for the government through the HITECH Meaningful Use program. Stage one of the Meaningful Use
program required physicians to provide patients timely access to their health records. Stage two increased the patient engagement
mandate requiring physicians to provide secure messaging between patient-physician, enabling patients to view, download, and
transmit their health information and educating patients on their conditions and treatments. McKesson Specialty Health's My
Care Plus patient portal's connection to the iKnowMed EHR provides real-time access for patients to view their health records.
My Care Plus enrolled over 25,000 patients in the first year alone, an example of the strong demand for online health record
information. My Care Plus also provides a new way for pharmaceutical-biotech companies, payers, and other healthcare stakeholders
to engage patients in a HIPAA compliant way, through prescribed content, surveys, virtual advisory boards, and focus groups.
Tracking financial health
After the treatment plan is completed, it is sent to the practice's management system, to the clearinghouse, and ultimately
the payer. The claim and remittance data can be extracted from the PMS and imported to a FRS. A big challenge for the oncology
practice is generating analytics that provide a view into the financial health of the practice. Understanding reimbursement
challenges, denial rates and reasons, and cash flow is critically important for these small businesses in this tough economic
environment. McKesson Specialty Health's Lynx TotalView solution provides the ability for practices to glean financial intelligence
that offers greater insight into critical financial metrics. The system also provides benchmarks at the regional or national
level, providing insight into reimbursement rates across those areas.
Better health 2020: the outlook
Oncology practices are facing tough headwinds, but the oncology market continues to present strong opportunities, and health
information technology will provide efficiencies needed to survive and thrive in the marketplace. Spending on health information
technology will continue to accelerate as providers look to improve operational efficiencies and meet government regulations.
Community oncology clinics have a number of tools available, including EHRs, IMSs, FRSs, and provider and patient portals.
These solutions also provide invaluable information and insight for pharmaceutical-biotech companies, payers, and other healthcare
stakeholders into the oncology market around product utilization, segmentation and targeting, comparative effectiveness, and
reimbursement challenges. Equipped with the right insight, brand managers can better provide assistance and education to providers
and patients. We have only scratched the surface on the intelligence that we can collect from these systems; as health information
technology products become more pervasive, the quantity and quality of data will continue to improve, providing powerful insights
to the user.
Dan Lodder is Vice President, Technology, Sales, Service, and Portals at McKesson Specialty Health. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org