How to Lose Money with an EHR

Apparently, the easiest way to lose money with a new EHR in your practice is to do nothing, according to recent research supported by the Massachusetts Medical Society and American College of Physicians.

Electronic Health Records do not bring greater productivity and efficiency to your practice by themselves. EHRs are a wonderful tool with great potential. But everything depends on how you manage your time and staffing to manage that tool. This article in Medpage Today, entitled “If Practices Don’t Change, EHRs Lose Money,” highlights this fact:

The average physician lost nearly $44,000 over 5 years implementing an electronic health record system, a large pilot study found, but the technology itself was just part of the reason….

But the vast majority of practices lost money because they failed to make operational changes to realize the benefits of EHRs such as ditching paper medical records after adoption, Julia Adler-Milstein, PhD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues wrote.

We would add virtual medical scribes to one of the operational changes necessary to ensure an effective EHR for your medical practice. It’s an argument we, and others, make throughout this blog, and in a growing body of medical practice management literature. Medical scribes help answer the thousand-dollar question any doctor and practice manager has to consider when adopting a new EHR: Who is going to manage effectively for us all of this data in this new EHR tool we have introduced into our practice?

‘For all their brilliance, computers can be thick as a brick,’ said Tom M. Mitchell, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University.
And so, while programming experts still write the step-by-step instructions of computer code, additional people are needed to make more subtle contributions as the work the computers do has become more involved. People evaluate, edit or correct an algorithm’s work… Humans can interpret and tweak information in ways that are understandable to both computers and other humans.

The human element: This is sorely lacking in the EHR adoption policies undertaken by CMS, and ignored by many investing hundreds of millions in EHR technology. Too few are investing the time and energy to ensure there is a new, highly-trained generation of healthcare workers able to input and manage EHR data for doctors and healthcare systems.

We need people – medical scribes, for example – to ensure the money devoted to healthcare IT and EHRs is well-spent. Fortunately, there more and more companies like Physicians Angels that are the addressing the needs and opportunities to improve the healthcare system for doctors and patients through better data management. As more doctors and healthcare practice managers struggle with the crush and demands of EHR data, they will demand data management solutions, like medical scribes. Articles like this one only echo the obvious to the thousands of doctors and office managers struggling with EHRs today.

What is Freezer Burn and How Can You Prevent it?

Using your chest freezer to store bulk quantities of food can be a great way to save money and to ensure that you always have meal ready to prepare. However, if your food is not prepared properly to be frozen it can develop greyish, frost spots on its surface. Freezer burn doesn’t spoil the food, but it does cause it to toughen up and not taste very good.

However, it is very easy to prevent freezer burn so that you can keep your frozen produce, meats and other foods fresh and tasting good.

What is Freezer Burn?

What exactly is happening when your food undergoes freezer burn?

The scientific reason why freezer burn happens is because when you freeze food its water molecules form into ice crystals. If there is one part of the food which is colder than the rest, the water molecules will gather there and form frost. This will leave the rest of the food dehydrated. When this happens with food that contains fat, such as meat, the dry areas will become oxidised which will spoil their flavour.

How to Prevent Freezer Burn

It’s quite easy to prevent this from happening to your food, just follow these simple tips:

Prevent Exposure to Oxygen

Freezer burn occurs when food is exposed to oxygen, so the best way to prevent it is by tightly sealing your food with freezer-safe plastic bags and squeezing out as much excess air as possible. There are also special containers that you can buy which will create an airtight seal that will help to prevent freezer burn on your food.

Keep Your Freezer Temperature Constant

Temperature fluctuations within your freezer can result in a difference in temperature between the food and the air around it. This speeds up the crystallisation of the water molecules. Don’t change the freezer temperature and try not to leave the door open for long periods of time. Also, avoid placing hot food directly into the freezer as it will warm up everything else around it.

Don’t Leave Food for too Long

The longer you keep food in the freezer, the more chance it has of developing freezer burn. When you put something in the freezer, look up the limit on how long it should be frozen for. Write the date on the package and try to eat it before then.

Freezer burn doesn’t mean that your food is ruined, it will still be edible. However, the taste will be greatly compromised and it can be quite un-appealing. In order to enjoy the benefits of freezing food and be able to keep your food fresh and tasting great in your chest freezers for many months, follow these tips for avoiding freezer burn.

How to Choose Your First Commercial Dishwasher

If your business is involved with food preparation then there is a good chance that you will be using a dishwasher of some kind. There is nothing like owning one of these devices to get items clean and ready for use again in a short space of time. Of course, not all businesses have gotten round to purchasing one of these devices.

Here are some tips if you find yourself thinking about getting your first commercial dishwasher.

Increased Productivity

Clearly there will be a cost involved when the time comes to get your first dishwasher. However some of this could well be recouped from additional productivity from your existing employees. Taking the pressure off of people having to perform mundane cleaning tasks will help to make any kitchen environment more productive.

Specific Requirements

Although most people will have come into contact with a domestic dishwasher, it should be noted that the commercial dishwashers are very different. The commercial variety will perform individual functions instead of being used to clean anything and everything like the home types.

This specialisation is important to ensure that optimum cleaning is carried out every time they are used. Significantly faster cleaning cycles are available to allow for an increased volume of cleaning. After all commercial dishwashers wouldn’t be very good if they took 40-50 minutes to clean a selection of items.

If your business has many different items that need cleaning then it might be that you need two or more units to cope with the specific requirements. Examples of the types of dishwashers are as follows:

• Glass washers
• Pot washers
• Counter dishwashers
• Pass-through dishwashers

It is sensible to understand what your exact need is. Only then can you be sure of getting the unit that fits your requirements.

Cheap Does Not Always Provide the Best Results

Grabbing a bargain is something that most businesses will appreciate; especially when purchasing capital equipment for the first time. That said it can sometimes be a false economy if you buy too cheaply.

Commercial dishwashers are very often in almost constant use. As a result of this you should be looking for something that will stand the test of time. The better units are made from stainless steel, as opposed to the plastic home dishwasher types.

These commercial dishwashers work at extremely high temperatures. This is how they can clean quickly and efficiently. Stainless steel finishes will last much longer than any other type of finish. Buying a recognised brand will often cost a little more; however, if it means it lasts longer and runs more efficiently then it will have been money well spent.

Maintenance Friendly

To get the best from any cleaning system it is vital that the unit is cleaned down after use. Some of the very best commercial dishwashers only have a few parts that need to be removed to aid cleaning. This will be another great way to improve productivity in your kitchen facility.

The most important thing that should be considered when buying commercial dishwashers is that you buy the one that fits your requirements.