Can Cloud Computing Really Simplify and Secure Healthcare Administration?

Put simply, yes. U.S. healthcare currently spends billions to implement ongoing reform. Yet fraud is at an all-time high. This is where the cloud solution steps – rather floats – in to challenge your patient and IT systems operations problems. Why carry the risk in-house, when you can shift the financial burdens to the cloud? Cloud computing is the new way to save in healthcare spending.

 

How? The cloud brings simpler storage and optimized security to the notoriously automated system of healthcare claims, processing and delivery. By migrating healthcare operation to the cloud, the bottom line savings alone fight ‘healthcare crime,’ reinforcing patient confidence and provider investment. The automation of false claims is a widespread threat to the industry, damaging to healthcare professionals and the patients who together bear the brunt of a knock-on effect.

 

Costs must rise if claims are high: simple math.

Conversely, health-specific IT is now being designed to prevent fraudulent claims. According to Linda Kloss, former CEO of AHIMA (American Health Information Managers Association), fraud costs 7 cents for every $100 processed. If that’s not convincing enough, one federal estimate is that 4 percent to 9 percent of all paid claims are potentially fraudulent, costing the healthcare between $53 billion and $171 billion each year.

So how can the IT cloud solution challenge such a large problem? Well, because the problem is one of systems not human error. Healthcare fraud is nothing more than human criminal intelligence manipulating a weak on-site data system. IT solutions – with sensible investment – can be secured in the present to prevent fraud in the future. In other words, increased healthcare security is an IT-solution consequence of cloud migration.

First, choose your service provider wisely. The below security methods all operate in the cloud under the umbrella service providers of IBM, Amazon, Apple or Google. Second, employ a cloud migration company that specializes in the healthcare industry. Never heard of IT companies that specialize in healthcare updates, simplify supply chain management, and secure data operations? Read on.

Cloud computer healthcare solutions

Cloud computing has made leaps and bounds from 2009 in terms of standardized reference terminology. Today, new classification systems that facilitate the automation of clinical coding are essential to the adoption of EHRs (Electronic Health Records) and IT-healthcare fraud management programs. Administrating healthcare in the cloud would thereby cut fraud down in its tracks, boost patient retention and confidence, and reap economic benefits for all providers in the healthcare supply chain.

The NHIN (Nationwide Health Information Network) policies and benchmarks must prevent, detect and challenge healthcare fraud rather than react with indifference. The overall aim is to make healthcare fraud management the responsibility of all healthcare stakeholders. Technology companies who offer the migration service to the cloud play an important role in the process. But ultimately, the goal is greater consumer awareness by the public whose ‘real human health’ the companies represent. This would take the form of a greater recognition of the Healthcare Fraud Abuse and Control Program.

What methods in particular? To name the crucial ones, computer-assisted coding, analytic models, date profiling and rank scoring techniques could be used by manufactured neural networks to detect fraud. As above, the importance of coding systems is that they can be engineered to be ‘proactively preventative.’ Why let your IT department literally account for next year’s low budget when this year’s minor investment would put you ahead of the curve?

That leaves the ongoing criminal challenge to the healthcare industry – identity fraud – and 2011’s IT solution: transferring healthcare administration to the public or private cloud. The choice is yours, but the cloud is hovering. As with online reading devices and touchscreen technology, now is the time to investigate a tech solution, and migrate to the innovative, cost-cutting ‘global platform’ supported by the internet age.

Identity theft and healthcare fraud

The intersection of identity theft and healthcare fraud is a match made in hell for the healthcare industry. One solution – also serviceable in the cloud – is to assign patients ‘unique health identifiers’ to track their healthcare, rather than an anonymous federal number. If patients have self-generated IDs, they would be more likely to be aware of their abuse or misuse by identity scams.

Nimbo Tech and cloud migration

Solutions such as Nimbo Tech’s commitment to healthcare migration on the Windows Azure platform is impacting the current wave of mixed uncertainty and excitement. As Ira Bell, CIO, explains: “New, intelligent applications that are streamlined to the cloud make it easier for physicians to reference patient history, dispense prescriptions, process referrals, and interact with the patient community. Healthcare professionals – and consequently patients – will more easily be able to access their medical history files, such as dental records and MRI scans, without data transfer or delay.”

Healthcare office benefits of cloud migration

Equally beneficial to medical staff and office administrators, one cloud computing IT solution to your medical office environment is ease of access to data. No need for rows of physical filing cabinets or paper files. Cost savings is a great bonus. As you start delivering these applications more consistently, you can add incremental innovation on top a lot more easily. The idea is to create a known platform – as the word suggests – that you carefully build on. This creates a known hub or data center, rather than the old method of multiple access points to the same application.

There is a distinction here between company identity in the cloud being singular and separate, yet amorphous and multiple. The cloud belongs to everyone, but you still have to select a company in order to access it. Freedom, even in the world where IT meets healthcare, is never free. But that is precisely what guarantees the quality.

‘Structure’ conference and public or private cloud?

With the build-up to the Structure flagship conference on ‘Cloud Computing and Internet Infrastructure’ in San Francisco, June 22nd and 23rd, the new focus is on four central goals: achieving simplified pricing, centralized administration, running reliable on-going client support and anti-fraud security measures. If your company is focused on the healthcare bottom line, you can now pay for IT infrastructure based on usage. Yes, cloud computing is effectively a form of renting in which you possess the power to connect and disconnect. The public cloud of Google, Apple, IBM and Amazon will then contain your private cloud. The question becomes is your company a large blue chip and more traditional, in which care, your operations may suit the private cloud. If you are cutting edge and smaller and need to make fast decision, the public cloud is better. Whichever cloud (or migration service company) you choose, the cloud allows the daily decisions of health providers to operate more efficiently, at lower cost.

Cloud migration for healthcare – and new, flexible business operations

I asked Nimbo Tech CEO John Shaw and about the ultimate goal of such cloud migration operations – and was surprised by the business-minded answer that envisions the evolving role of healthcare companies, how they may ultimately serve a wider proportion of clients.

“The ultimate goal is to envision companies that are David and Goliath hybrids. In the cloud, we all become large entities that can serve a dynamic market at the speed the consumer expects from a small business.”

In other words, healthcare companies that specialize in being providers, but also far more secure warehouses of patient information, of use to other aspects of the business community (for instance, large insurers, or medical equipment manufacturers) – only this time with the benefit of cloud migration ‘speed-to-market,’ reduced server costs, and much more securely than in the past.

Like many small tech companies that are also cloud migration specialists, Nimbo’s attention to the details of the healthcare industry is why large clients are seeking their business. These small, ‘hybrid companies’ can move the data of the large industry players. If you are a healthcare provider, they can establish your vendor selection, create new organizational structures for claims, and secure compliance from clearing houses, all crucial systems for delivery on customer promise, improving patients’ well being and satisfaction.

The result: a reduction in claim fraud, reduced overall operational costs, and the confirmation that cloud computing can simplify and secure healthcare administration.

Cutting the middleman from the cloud

Much fraud is committed by ‘middlemen’ that are neither patients nor healthcare providers – companies that often work in a freelance capacity incorrectly reporting diagnoses and operations to boost billing, sometimes for services that didn’t even happen.

As former CEO of AHIMA, Ms. Linda Kloss, remarks above, healthcare fraud is big business and the U.S. government agrees. To quote United States Attorney General Eric Holder from May 2010, “These crimes harm all of us – government agencies and programs, insurers and healthcare providers, and individual patients – but we’re fighting back.”

Nor is this a ‘paper threat’ by the federal government: as recently as fiscal year 2009, under President Obama’s signature the U.S. government negotiated or won circa $1.63 billion in settlements of healthcare fraud. A further $441 million in federal Medicaid money was transferred separately to the U.S. Treasury – 28% more than in FY 2008.

In 2011, the trend continues – all the more reason why cloud computing, with new security measures, can help save your company from the scammers and medical middlemen who find ways to abuse the current on-site, non-cloud system – the way most of ‘big health’ still operates in America.

Cloud computing is a new IT innovation in the healthcare industry, and this makes people nervous. Cloud computing has leapt up the charts in TechRepublic over the last 12 months, though, and a recent survey of over 1,500 global CIOs showed that cloud migration was a number 2 priority for 2010-2011.

Is it number 2 for your healthcare business?

Written by Dr. Matt Fullerty, Professorial Lecturer in English at George Washington University. Published by International Healthcare Technology (IHT). Photo Copyright Dr. Matt Fullerty. Nimbo Tech logo copyright Nimbo Tech.

About Nimbo Tech

Nimbo Tech is a cloud integration and SaaS company headquartered in New York City. Nimbo Tech is named after “Nimbo Stratus”, meaning rain cloud. Our mission is to use cloud computing in a disruptive way to the traditional methods of Information Technology while developing innovative solutions to help customers solve pressing business problems.

Nimbo works alongside Microsoft in the business technology sector as a Gold-Certified Partner specializing in healthcare solutions and products. Our consultants are encouraged to continually update technical certifications and pursue educational opportunities empowering us to remain at the forefront of new technology. Our consultants have a wide range of technical and business expertise including Windows Azure, SharePoint, SQL Server, Business Intelligence, and BizTalk.

Matt Fullerty is the author of two literary historical novels, THE MURDERESS AND THE HANGMAN, a murder story set in 1879 London, and THE KNIGHT OF NEW ORLEANS, a novel about a chess genius set in 1850s New Orleans.

THE MURDERESS AND THE HANGMAN is currently (November 2010) connected to a national press story in the UK, the discovery of a skull in Sir David Attenborough’s garden in Richmond, London. The skull turns out to be 131 years old and belongs to the murder victim in Matt’s novel – about the murder of Julia Thomas by her housemaid – a long-forgotten case that has now resurfaced!

Matt is currently adapting the novel into a narrative non-fiction book, THE LADY, THE MAID AND THE HANGMAN.

Matt’s first novel, THE KNIGHT OF NEW ORLEANS, tells the life story of New Orleans world chess champion, Paul Morphy, and a working girl from Basin Street, Clara Young, with whom he becomes infatuated. It won the Bookhabit Unpublished Novel Award 2008 ($5000), was Semi-Finalist in the William Faulkner-Wisdom Competition 2008, and a Second Round choice in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2010. Matt’s adapted screenplay, also titled THE KNIGHT OF NEW ORLEANS, is registered with the Writers Guild of America, East.

Can Cloud Computing Really Simplify and Secure Healthcare Administration?

 

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