Archive for month: June, 2019

Spotlight: Bart Segal

Categories: Team Member Spotlight

Family – married? Children? Pets? Wife Kara. Jeremy (22), Ilana (19), Tori (14). Dog Tov.

Where did you grow up? Interests as a child? What did you want to be “when you grew up”? Suburban Philly. Always loved science – anything science related. Swimming. Boating. Mineral collecting. What did I want to be – Engineer.

What college did you attend? What did you study? Best memories of those years? Drexel University in Philladelphia. Studied computer engineering. Was nerdy in high school – came out of my shell in college, so socialization was the best of memories .

Where in Atlanta do you live? What brought you here? Marietta, East Cobb. I owned a software company in Philly that was sold to a company in Atlanta circa 1997. I still in the same house.

Hobbies? Any charity or philanthropy? Mineral collecting, swimming, juggling, travel. Support a number of charities – ALS society mainly.

If money were no issue, what would you do with your time? Travel – everywhere.

Favorite food? Worst food? Favorite – everything (lobster? Sushi? A good steak!). Worst – raw tomatoes.

Cook or clean dishes? Clean because I don’t want to starve.

Favorite sports team(s)? Favorite book? Favorite movie? Eagles! Philly anything really. Shawshank Redemption.

Non-fiction books. Harry Potter.

Furthest you’ve ever traveled? Best trip of life? Israel. Most unique was Iceland.

Speak any other languages? No Mountains, beach, or staycation? Beach

Role model in your life? Einstein or Stephen Hawking because he overcame so much.

What is one tidbit of information about you we wouldn’t expect? Grew up very shy and nerdy.

When practices come to us for help transitioning off their software many ask “What are the best practices for switching EHRs?”

Categories: Articles

If you’re thinking about changing your software you’re not alone. According to the Medical Economics 2017 EHR Report Card, 62 percent of physician respondents indicated that they had already switched EHR systems at some point. High level physicians and admins almost always begin the transition process by asking “What are the best practices for switching EHRs?”

The marketplace has partially answered where to start with an EHR switch, practices are demanding more user-friendly EHRs that offer better interoperability. In other instances, practices are searching for specific functionality to help them thrive. Often, the need to switch EHRs is driven by frustration that your current software impedes rather than speeds your workflow.

Undertaking an EHR switch can feel daunting—after all, it’s a big investment. You may be wondering:

  • How do I identify the need for an EHR switch?
  • What steps should I take to find the right vendor for my practice?
  • How can I best prepare my practice to make this change?

To help you on your journey, the following are our best practices for switching to a new EHR.

Focus on your functional requirements

Consider your daily workflow. What types of capabilities does your practice need from an EHR? Of course, physicians want mobile capabilities, e-prescribing and integration with billing systems but it’s also important to look at the functional needs of your specific practice. List each functionality you want and create a scorecard to rate how well each vendor’s solution can meet your needs. Be sure to ask for input from people in a variety of roles at your practice.

Keep emerging needs in mind

Identify EHR software that helps you use data analytics to benefit both your patients and your practice. From population health management to merit-based incentive payment system (MIPS) reporting that helps practices receive reimbursement for value-based care, your EHR’s capabilities should offer both the tools and the interfaces that allow you to leverage the power of data. Your practice will also want an EHR with strong internal reporting functionality that allows you to create custom queries and leverage your data in the real world.

Be sure you’re in a position to Promote Interoperability

When evaluating new EHR software, ask how the candidate system operates with regard to interfaces with labs and hospitals in your area, how well it handles referral management, and does it support the newer initiatives evolving for on demand data requests such as Commonwell, Carequality, and Surescripts National Record Locator and Exchange. This is important with regard to the CMS Promoting Interoperability, a component of MIPS, compliance guidelines. You can read more about how we help our practices with MACRA/MIPS here.

Seek a vendor with a proven track record of success

Identify potential EHR vendors by reviewing published ranking lists and awards from third parties such as KLAS Research. Insight from your peers is also valuable and can be attained by attending industry conferences, or talking to other physicians in your specialty.

Verify ease-of-use

An EHR that checks all the boxes on paper may not necessarily perform to your expectations in practice. When you demo the system, make sure it fits into YOUR workflow versus changing how you practice to accommodate the software. A great EHR is designed with the user in mind, helping you work the way you want to and reducing the time you spend on routine tasks.

Enlist a variety of power users to give the EHR a test drive

A system that works well for a physician may have shortcomings that only the administrative or billing staff can detect. Conversely, the same EHR that your office manager loves, may also be the EHR the physician loathes. After you’ve developed a shortlist of EHR products to test, gather people from different areas of your practice to test the EHR for issues. Be sure everyone is on board with the same EHR before making your final decision. Keep in mind that not everyone may get exactly what they want, a little give and take may be necessary in choosing the best solution overall for the organization.

Confirm the availability of responsive customer support

When you have questions concerning your EHR, you want answers as quickly as possible. Ask EHR vendors whether they have a U.S.-based support team available during regular office hours and, again, look at published lists and rankings that detail the vendor’s approach to support.

Don’t skimp on training

Proper training is essential for every EHR user. Not only can it help reduce the frustration of adapting to a new system, it can help users become proficient more quickly—lessening the impact on your practice and patients. The vendor you choose should offer robust training options to help you experience a smooth implementation. Although everyone who uses the system must attend training, it is also valuable to select a person or persons depending on the size of your practice to be a “super-user” who will cross train on clinical, billing, and admin capabilities.

Invest in long-term gain

Although switching your practice’s EHR system is a major undertaking, the gains achieved by increased interoperability, more easily sharing patient data and reducing administrative workload can reap long-term benefits. Find the EHR that’s the right fit for your practice and focus on the future. Also be sure to consider the experience of the potential vendors in assisting practices in making a change. The path to successful change can be bumpy, but experience and proven processes can avoid many of the potholes along the way.

Your next step is to add Aprima to your shortlist. Our track record of industry praise, long-term client retention (98% of practices have remained customers after 10 years!), and expertise in helping practices switch EHRs make Aprima an EHR you should know!

 

Tri-Med Solutions, Inc.

Bart Segal

770-579-0719
bsegal@trimedsolutions.net

 

20 Things We Should Never Say to a Graphic Designer – But We’re Often Asked to by Customers

Categories: Articles

#2 of a 4 part series… part 1

Graphic designers can be hard to communicate with. That’s the reason we communicate with them on our customer’s behalf.

Having worked with designers for about 25 years, it helps that we know the right kind of questions that will move the project along and create a final product that everyone will be happy with. They expend time and energy to come up with ideas, concepts and designs to achieve their goals. Sometimes, our customers will ask us to ask our designers questions that bring the project to a crashing halt, with incorrect assumptions about the design process.

  1. Don’t say: “Can I make just one more change? I promise it’s the last one.”

We are fairly certain that there will probably be other changes after this one. After all, you’ve asked for multiple tweaks already. So let’s just be upfront about it and nicely, apologetically say something like: “I’m so sorry to keep taking up your time like this, but I found another change I’d like to make. Can you change this [word / font / graphic / color]? Feel free to add the extra time for these edits to your invoice.” Graphic designers are short on time just like you are, and although they do want to help you make sure the design fits your needs, they also appreciate the acknowledgement that their time is valuable. So next time, try compiling a list of all the changes you’d like to make and hand them over all at once, which is more efficient for everyone.

  1. Don’t say: Can you do something that looks exactly like [this other designer’s work]?”                                                                                                                    ­­­

Aside from copyright issues (and possible legal consequences), this should be a matter of ethics. No designer should be okay with copying another artist’s work outright, and you shouldn’t expect them to. Instead, try pointing out what you like about the design specifically, and ask your designer to do their own take on the style or try certain elements inspired by the work, like a color scheme, basic layout, or general aesthetic (clean, vintage, bold, etc.)

  1. Don’t say: “Can you use this image I found online?”

Turning to Google for images can backfire in a number of ways. For one, like the previous point, you could run into legal trouble for using a copyrighted image — one that’s not licensed for personal or commercial use. Additionally, it’s likely that the image won’t even look good in your design, or print cleanly, because the resolution is too low. If you’re looking for an alternative to paying for stock photos, there is an increasing number of sources where you can find quality, free stock photos.

  1. Don’t say: “Can you have this done by tomorrow?

Graphic design isn’t an instant process that is done with a few clicks of a mouse. Every project will have its own process and time requirements. Realistically, some designs can be whipped out in a day, while others will take much, much longer. It completely depends on the project (and the designer’s creative process). We usually let him or her know about any time constraints and ask for a realistic estimate on how long the design will take.

 

  1. Don’t say: “I know someone who works for half that. Could you lower your rate to match?”

Why? Designers set their prices based on multiple components: geography, cost of living, style, skill, experience, and many more. Every designer will have a different combination of strengths and abilities to offer, and there’s no special formula for determining if a designer’s rate is competitive or “fair.” Generally, though, we get what we pay for — so we encourage our clients and prospects to decide what characteristics are most valuable to in the design process (speed? quality? originality? cost? personality?). That’s not to say price negotiation is not an option, but if our first encounter with one of our designers on a particular project is an effort to “lowball” their rate —while expecting the same quality of work — that will be an immediate turnoff, and is disrespectful to the designer, and to us. As with most things…there is always someone who can do it cheaper.

 

Submitted by Sheila Fox-Lovell from Shandy Creative Solutions

sheila@shandycreative.com

770.951.0305

Retirement Through The Decades

Categories: Articles

‘Retirement’ is defined, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary, as the withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life. Depending upon your age bracket, the word retirement conjures up different meanings and different emotions. And the age in which one will retire differs just as much as the images of what one will do once they are no longer in the workforce. Retirement viewed through the decades:

During your 30s:

Individuals in their 30s have watched their parents save and because they are now years into their own careers are doing a reasonable job of saving. According to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, seventy-six percent are saving for retirement and thirty percent who participate in their 401(k) or similar type plan are contributing more than 10 percent of their annual pay.

During your 40s:

This age bracket of individuals begins to feel the pressure of the looming word ‘retirement.’ Fortysomething individuals are often referred to as the ‘sandwich generation’ – they may be responsible for the care of aging parents while working and juggling their own families and kids. This busy lifestyle leaves many feeling like their life is a constant hamster wheel. Only 10 percent are very confident that they will be able to retire with a comfortable lifestyle. Twenty-two percent state that paying off credit card debt is their greatest financial priority. Although this age cohort is often frazzled with what life is throwing at them, they are usually a focused group as eighty-two percent of those who are offered a 401(k) plan are participating.

During your 50s:

During your 50s many are well into their careers and beginning to realize they may live a lot longer. It is important at this stage of life to contribute as much as you can to your 401(k) and if possible, capitalize on the catch-up provisions which allow additional contributions to your employer-sponsored plans if you are over age 50. Now is the time to also pay down any debt you may have incurred over the years. Ideally, you want to enter your 60s debt free. For many families, by the time you reach your mid 50s, kids are leaving the house which may provide more disposable income. Close to 60 percent reported they plan to work past age 65 years old. This is most likely due to the fact that only 45 percent believe they are building a large enough retirement nest egg.

During your 60s:

People are living well into their 80s and 90s. This generation of adults are forced to think about the looming question – “What will retirement look like financially, socially, emotionally and physically?” Forty-seven percent of sixty-somethings expect Social Security to be their primary source of income when they retire. And a little over half of this age cohort (52 percent) plan to continue working after they retire with their top two reasons being income and health benefits.

Building a retirement income strategy is one of the most productive actions you can take to feel more confident with your financial future. The mindset you have and the strategies you engage regarding your current finances change as you move through each decade of your life. During your 30s, retirement may seem far off, however, it is the perfect time to begin making minor adjustments to your savings which can have a potentially major impact on your confidence level during your later decades.

*Statistics cited in the blog are based upon a Retirement Throughout the Ages: Expectations and Preparations of American Workers May 2015 survey from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies®.

Joel Johnson Contributor

I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and the managing partner at Johnson Brunetti, a Retirement and Investment firm that specializes in working with retirees…

Article submitted by Joshua C. Harper, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, RICP®

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