Our Business World Under Attack

By now you’ve probably heard of the new nasty cyber-bug that is wreaking havoc across the globe. WannaCry slammed into the internet last week and continues to proliferate through under protected PCs and networks worldwide. This new tactic is not “phishing” related and we can’t blame our staff or each other for opening something we shouldn’t. Instead this one slipped out of NSA and is targeted at a known exploit in Microsoft’s operating systems.

Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith responded, “This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem”. No matter what side of the fence you stand on, the stark truth is we need to protect ourselves.

Behind the scenes MedCo Data has been running scans on all our clients to find anyone missing updates and pushing the needed patches to any weak points we find. Building layers of security and monitoring the integrity of our systems is the core of our strategy. Over the past couple of years you’ve seen more mass communications from me relating to ransomware than anything else. I don’t see this threat diminishing anytime soon. We must keep our defenses high.
Our entire team is standing guard. Please let us know if you need us.

Sincerely,

Dan Rodgers, CEO
MedCo Data
www.medcodata.com
813-321-1551

Top 10 Review Sites Where Your Patients Are Leaving A Review

Why do healthcare providers need to pay attention to patient reviews? 77% of prospective patients use online reviews as the first step in choosing a physician. Reviews are the first impression patients get of your practice. Why patient reviews on review sites are important They contribute to a good online reputation Patients want a provider […]

Why Your Patient Surveys May Not Be Working

Traditional patient surveys vs. modern patient satisfaction

Scientific market research really made a name for itself in the mid- 20th century, establishing many practices still in use today: questionnaires with non-leading questions, multiple-choice answers, anonymous respondents, all generating data used for extensive statistical analysis. With all the success large corporations and politicians have seen with market research over the years, most businesses implement these same practices without a second thought when trying to gauge customer satisfaction.

The trouble is, the advent of email and online survey platforms transformed the economics of patient questionnaires–it’s now cheap and practically instantaneous to ask your patients what they’re thinking. This means more surveys sent to each customer more often, which has led to ironic circumstances: the process of conducting customer satisfaction research often decreases customer satisfaction levels. But even this is difficult to determine since the percentage of survey respondents has dwindled to almost nothing: the average response rate for customer satisfaction surveys is about 10%. For patient surveys, this falls to lower than 10% on average.

pic3 (3)Such a low average response rate means whatever results you are receiving are shaded by non-response bias: this refers to when the respondents’ opinions differ substantially from the non-respondents’. The lower the response rate, the higher the non-response bias. Of course, as a business, you want to know as much as you can about your patients. However, if your survey is too lengthy, patients won’t just get bored, they’ll assume that the survey was designed for corporate objectives rather than to improve their experience. Timing is another factor to consider: if you wait too long to send your survey, it won’t elicit a response relevant to the patient journey. It likely won’t elicit any response at all, as it interrupts the customer’s day-to-day life.

Reimagine the survey

To measure customer satisfaction accurately, you’ll have to embrace Customer Journey Thinking. Start from scratch, taking these key points into consideration:

  • What is the patient’s goal? What needs must be met to reach this goal?
  • What did they do right before? This affects how they will respond to an interaction with your practice.
  • What will they do right afterwards? Understand how to best help them with later interactions.
  • What will make them happy? They expect to be satisfied, but how can you go above and beyond their expectations to create a memorable experience?

With these questions in mind, plan the structure of your survey. How can you avoid being lengthy and irrelevant? By being concise and in-the-moment.

Keep your surveys as short as Millennials’ attention spans. 1-2 question surveys sent at critical touch points during the patient journey not only increase response rate, but enable proactive service. Reaching out when the patient is still thinking about your practice gives you time to remediate any problems they’re having and salvage the experience.

Once you start stacking up responses, use them to their full potential. Analyze more than just your scores; examine the driving causes behind them to learn where operational improvements can be made. With the right approach, your surveys can help both you and your customers tremendously. Don’t diminish customer satisfaction by trying to measure it. Instead, use customer surveys to engage with, understand, and optimize the customer experience, consistently.

Many of our clients use Patient Surveys and get very important feedback, good and bad, that can help our clients make improvements where they need to be made. So, surveys do work, you just have to know your patients.

Adapted from BirdEye blog.

Sophos Intercept X Security

Redefining Ransomware Security With Intercept X, Sophos is redefining what customers should expect from next-generation endpoint security products. No other vendor offers signatureless exploit prevention, ransomware detection, visual root-cause analysis, and advanced cleanup technology in a simple to install, easy to manage package. Watch and learn more about Sophos Intercept X Endpoint Security: Let Us […]

Microsoft Warns of Ransomware with Self-Propagation Features

“We are alerting Windows users of a new type of ransomware that exhibits worm-like behavior,” Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center alert reads. “This ransom leverages removable and network drives to propagate itself and affect more users.”

Microsoft has released an alert today warning about a new ransomware variant called ZCryptor, which comes with the ability to self-propagate via removable and network drives.

A security researcher named Jack, behind the MalwareForMe blog, first discovered and wrote about this threat on May 24. Three days later, Microsoft ‘s security team also took note of the new wave of infections.

Read more at Softpedia.com

Ransomware Data Backup Protection

Be Prepared for Ransomware Because You Will Get Hit Eventually

It has happened again. Another hospital system has been attacked by a ransomware. A malicious software that locks down our systems, encrypts our files and will only release them once a fee has been paid. This time It’s MedStar Health in the Baltimore area. http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-hs-medstar-computer-outage-20160328-story.html

Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance, Presbyterian Medical Center in Southern California, Kentucky Methodist Hospital, Chino Valley Medical Center and Desert Valley Hospital have all been in the headlines for ransomware attacks recently. Thousands of infections go unreported and the nefarious programmers who designed this are making serious money. One FBI agent is quoted during a cyber security conference as stating “the easiest thing may be to just pay the ransom… the ransomware is just that good.” –rrstar.com

As the CEO of a national IT firm, I’ve watched my team battle with the rise in virus and ransomware attacks over the past couple of years. I’ve even found myself standing in front of a teller at a national bank, transferring money into a total stranger’s account for an express bitcoin purchase to pay the ransom for a client who had no other choice. Trust me, the entire exercise is unnerving.  The reality is we do have a choice, but only before the infection. We have to educate, plan and protect to avoid falling into a situation where the only options left are to either sacrifice the data or pay these cyber thugs.

The primary point of entry for ransomware is through an unsuspecting employee who really thought there might be a FedEx tracking number attached to that email, or Amazon was truly rewarding them for being a loyal customer with a gift certificate. The lures are getting smarter and so should we. Sound the alarm.

Warn the team that we all have to be incredibly conscientious when opening emails. Unless you know the sender and you are expecting it, do not click on a download, link or attachment. If its suspicious, ask administration or your IT support to take a look. Additionally, we need appropriate security measures in place as well as a solid backup solution. Onsite backup strategies with multiple generations as well as offsite snapshots of our data is a must. No data that is important to us should be stored on individual machines that are not backed up. Centralize the files for simplified backup and security. Reevaluate your disaster and recovery safeguards to include contingencies for malicious software attacks. At the rate this epidemic is spreading, the question is not IF you will face this challenge, but WHEN will it happen.

Fortunately, 98% of our clients who have endured ransomware infections have been prepared. We were able to avoid paying the ransom by tracking down the installation, removing the threat and restoring valid data from backups. Pre-planning and strategic preparation is the only way to currently protect our businesses. We’ve helped hundreds of businesses, like yours to put these preparations in motion. If you have any concerns about how ready you might be for a ransomware infection or disaster of any kind, I invite you to schedule a call with one of our security specialists. We’d be happy to review your current strategy and help plug any holes we find.

Ransomware Virus Alert

As you know MedCo Data manages medical practices and businesses all across the United States. We’ve witnessed an alarming rate of ransomware infections over the past several weeks.

Ransomware is a malicious application that is usually introduced into the office via email, or a website that, “you” the recipient believes to be safe. Once launched, it encrypts all files on you PC and shared drives where all the important stuff is stored. The only options are to restore from a backup, forgetting what might be lost because it wasn’t backed up, or pay the ransom, over the internet with bitcoins to a foreign maleficent organization.  Please be cautious and aware.

If you don’t know who it came from, do not open any attachments. Walmart, Amazon.com, Target, etc.… are NOT sending you gift certificates or awards of any kind for being loyal. You do not have a personal message from the IRS, even though it is tax season. You have not won the lottery, or even a scratch off. There is no package with a tracking number attached.

There may be a yes or no choice attached to the message. Both mean yes, so either way you are infected. It doesn’t matter what you select, it invites the infection. Close the message, delete and move on. If it’s a popup from the web, do not click any choice. Best bet is to shut down the PC and start it back up if you don’t know how to open task manager and close the browser.

At work or at home, the game has changed. Be very, very careful. There is a cost if you make the wrong decision.

Ask Dr Dave Article 78

Ask Dr. Dave: How will ICD-10 Impact My Practice?

In my travels throughout the country, I get asked a lot of questions. The hottest topic, by far, is ICD-10 and what it will mean to the average independent practice. To be candid, as Chief Medical Information Officer for MedcoData, it is my responsibility to speak with medical professionals regarding the various solutions we’ve designed to help practices transition to ICD-10. As such, I have a vested interest in making sure that you are properly forewarned of the implications associated with what could prove to be a very disruptive event for the average independent practice.

Regardless of my interests, though, you, as a medical professional, need to be acutely aware of how different your day at the office could be on October 1st if you haven’t taken the necessary steps to prepare. More importantly, you’ll need to be fully prepared for just how different the patient experience projects to be.

Here are just a few of the more significant implications of the roll-out;

  • Physicians/clinical staff will need comprehensive training on coding
  • Fundamental changes to templates, superbills, etc. will be necessary
  • Interfaces may need to be re-written to accommodate codes
  • Custom reports will likely need to be re-written
  • Patient’s problem list & family-history must be updated to ICD-10 codes
  • Cash flow may very well be a serious concern if you’re not prepared

As a physician, I understand the vital need for comprehensive and efficient processes when it comes to the management of a medical practice. As a business executive, I understand that no enterprise, much less a medical practice, can survive externally imposed changes to process without a plan. Likewise, no enterprise can survive a sustained downturn in receivables caused by the negative impacts of change, and this is likely the most significant issue of all. As you and your team adjust to the new ICD-10 reality, it is highly probable that fewer patients will be seen. Fewer patients equates to less revenue, of course, and so the need for preparation becomes clear.

For a great resource on all things ICD-10, please go to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website, cms.gov. Once there, you’ll have access to a number of great resources and articles on how to prepare for October 1st and beyond. There is a lot of information to dig into, of course, and very effective recommendations as well. If you’re curious or concerned about where to begin, or if you’re coming to the conclusion that perhaps you’ll need some expert assistance to get the job done, the following list of links will take you to the many solutions MedcoData offers to help the independent practice manage what may prove to be a truly challenging time.

As you’ll see when you go to the cms.gov website, the clock is ticking. If you think MedcoData may be able to help, give us a call today and breathe easier, knowing that our team of trusted advisors will be there for you every step of the way.

Workflow Centric Analysis
http://medcodata.com/it-services/workflow-centric-analysis/

Revenue Cycle Management Services
http://medcodata.com/revenue-cycle-management-rcm/

Technology Solutions
http://medcodata.com/it-services/technology-solutions/

The 3 best social media platforms for healthcare

The 3 Best Social Media Platforms for Your Healthcare Practice

With numerous opportunities to market healthcare practices (such as dermatologists, radiologists, plastic surgeons, and orthopedic surgeons), the primary social media platforms that will have an impact on your business are Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. These three tend to have the most impact on the healthcare profession than other outlets. In a poll by Pulse Digital Marketing, 51% of patients say that they feel more valued as a patient when doctors use social media, blogs, and other digital means to communicate. The poll also found that 41% said social media influenced their selection of a healthcare provider. However, directing the focus of your social media posts is really the key.

FACEBOOKfacebook

Facebook is the obvious choice for digital marketing, especially for healthcare professionals in B2C (Business-To-Consumer). Your target audience is looking for healthy living ideas, such as diet and exercise, to health education and events to videos from hospitals and healthcare providers just like you. Along with Facebook’s options to create display ads, and develop engaging posts, the ability to target specific users, it can also become the “voice of the patient”. You can select options like location, connections, demographics and interests. Here are some marketing benefit you can find for your healthcare practice:

  • It is FREE and not much time is required to get started.
  • Facebook provides a huge connected and targeted community. Why not try advertising on Facebook?:
    • Connections: You have the ability to contact people who are connected to your event, app, or page. You can also connect with their friends, offering you a plethora of potential patients.
    • Demographics: You can select the audience based on the demographic parameters you want, such as age, education, gender, and more.
    • Interests: Find new patients based on their interests, hobbies, and pages that they already like on Facebook.
  • Listening to interaction and feedback—sometimes, candid feedback—is extremely valuable to understanding the needs and wants of the customer/patient.
  • It is excellent for search engine visibility and visitor traffic. With a PageRank of 1, creating a Facebook page and linking it to your website, blog, or other online accounts will help capture more traffic.

Obviously, there are more benefits to establishing your healthcare business on Facebook. Getting started on Facebook is easy, and will enable you to begin forming personal relationships with patients and other professionals.

Read how to make your Facebook posts more personal and engaging.

GOOGLE+google-plus

Google+ should be in your arsenal of social media and can be a useful tool for marketing your practice. Google+ tends to be more about sharing ideas and content.

According to a 2013 Pew survey, one-third of U.S. adults who have ever gone online to try to figure out a medical condition they are dealing with – diagnosis, and 59 percent of U.S. adults say they went online in the past year to gather health information.

  • Rise in the ranks: Participating in Google+ give you an advantage because the content you share has an “edge” against other stories. Everything you post on Google+ is automatically indexed by Google, significantly boosting your search engine results without any extra work.
  • Your activity is amplified: As your following gets larger, content that is shared with your followers will also show up on those followers’ relevant Google.com searches. This helps keep your, say, dermatology practice on the top of followers’ minds.
  • Be noticed in the crowd: Google+ allows you to create circles to group the people or companies you would like to follow. You can create custom circles, like Customers, Colleagues, Friends, Competitors, etc. without them having to ‘follow you back’. This will help you avoid sharing irrelevant content with people and tailor content you share to specific groups.

There are other advanced tools such as Circles, Communities, and Hangouts (Video chats…a webinar maybe?) that a healthcare marketer can utilize that will increase your visibility. I recommend that everyone that wants to promote themselves via social media familiarize themselves with all the tools at their disposal through Google+…there are many.

linkedinLINKEDIN

Over the past several years, the number of healthcare professionals on LinkedIn and their use of the platform have grown at an increasing rate. At the end of 2013, there were over 4.4 million healthcare practitioners, executives, channel followers, and opinion leaders on LinkedIn. It has over 332 million users and is a place where you can do professional networking. If you have been in business long, you know how crucial networking with others in your field or area is to stay abreast of the latest news, and create “referral” based relationships.

  • Engage in groups by joining industry-specific groups that allows you to interact with potential patients and take part in discussions by posting to group forums.
  • Creating Showcase Pages now allows companies that have unique aspects of their business with their own message to share, and a unique audience to share with. This LinkedIn page explains, “Showcase Pages allow you to extend your Company Page presence by creating a dedicated child page for those aspects of your business. Interested members can then follow your Showcase Page as they follow any Company Page”.
  • Write “Influencer” Posts if you are a blogger. Linkedin announced its new blogging feature last year allowing anyone to become an “influencer”. However, to properly post the published posts they should be your own original views, not something copied and pasted from your company blog.
  • Seek out recommendations and referrals by getting to know other healthcare professionals on the site. Then ask them to refer you to patients in need of your healthcare services.

Social media continues to expand and add tools to aid in building professional contacts so establishing yourself as a trusted medical expert is only going to become more important over time. It is a unique way to market yourself and your healthcare business by choosing a variety of social media marketing tools in today’s fast-paced digital world. With the cost of healthcare rising, patients won’t hesitate traveling longer distances to get better treatment at a lower cost either.

 

Why Your Patient Surveys May Not Be Working

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Scientific market research really made a name for itself in the mid- 20th century, establishing many practices still in use today: questionnaires with non-leading questions, multiple-choice answers, anonymous respondents, all generating data used for extensive statistical analysis. With all the success large corporations and politicians have seen with market research over the years, most businesses implement these same practices without a second thought when trying to gauge customer satisfaction.
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