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Direct Primary Care Provider Time & Money-Savings Calculator

April 22, 2014 by


I pay my nurse practitioner(s) $a year.

On average I get new patients each month.

Of the pages collected, on average we only need pages for each patient.

Your nurse practitioner doing this would cost you $0 a year.

If Zweena Health collected and digitized your patients’ records it would cost $0.

With Zweena collecting and digitizing your patients’ medical records you would save $0 (0%).

With your current staff and patient intake, Zweena would not be a cost effective solution for you. We’re here when you’re ready to scale your business!

Based on our research, we’re assuming it takes hours to collect one persons records.

How Much Money Would Your Direct Primary Care Clinic Save by Using Zweena?

We know that Zweena Health can help direct primary care providers, but wanted to be able to show doctors and their staff exactly how much. With our Direct Primary Care Provider Time & Money-Savings Calculator, now we can!

Click on the green text to change the values specific to your company’s unique situation and either “tab” or click elsewhere on the page to calculate your company’s savings. Then update the numbers to scope for scalability; how much would Zweena save you now and in the future?

Have feedback about our calculator? Let us know in the comments below! And if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us at 1-877-848-4248 or at info@zweenahealth.com.

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Cheat Sheet for Signing Up for Healthcare Insurance

March 31, 2014 by

Have you secured health insurance yet?

For those who are aware of the deadlines involved in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), you know that today is a very important day.

The open enrollment period ends today, March 31st.

Individual Americans who have not enrolled for health insurance through a health insurance exchange (H.I.E.) or directly from a medical provider by March 31, 2014 will be subject to a fine of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child (max of $285 per family) OR 1% of your taxable income, whichever is greater.

Have no fear!

Our team discovered a safe, reliable shortcut to obtain health insurance and avoid the open enrollment penalty. We’ve documented these steps in an easy-to-follow three-step guide that covers the following subjects:

  1. Shopping for and selecting the right plan for your family
  2. Avoiding H.I.E. hang ups and securing insurance directly from a provider
  3. Collecting and organizing your family’s medical information

Step 1: Window Shop through Exchange Websites

As a first step, we recommend visiting your state’s health exchange website. Unsure of your state’s particular website? Click the image below to visit the Healthcare.gov Health Insurance Marketplace to find out.

Marketplace

At your state’s health insurance exchange (H.I.E), compare and contrast different healthcare options for your family. You’re in window shopping mode right now — no need to make a purchase!

The purpose of visiting state-based health exchange websites is to Window shop through different plans to see what option fits your family’s needs

Step 2: Buy Health Insurance Direct from Providers

Essentially, health exchanges are like online travel agents such as Orbitz, Kayak or Booking.com. And a lot of people are clogging up their phone lines and flooding their chat support.

chat

Save time and go directly to a provider. Exchanges do not provide medical care. They only act as an aggregator of healthcare plan options for you to select from.

Save an immense amount of time by going directly to the medical provider’s website instead of through the H.I.E.

Step 3: Collect and Organize Your Health Information

After securing health coverage for your family, make sure to follow these steps to grab your family’s medical information:

  1. Own Your Health Information: Call each one of your doctors and request the medical records from your visits
  2. Organize Your Health Information: Find a safe place to securely store your families health information. If you’re going to upload them to your family computer, make sure to store them in a secure place that is HIPAA compliant, if possible

For those who need help with the record collection process, we’ve put together a useful spreadsheet to assist you. You can download it by clicking the image below.

get-your-medical-records-worksheet

Why is having your medical records collected and available so important?

If you’re switching medical insurance, you may be switching providers. And that provider does not have a complete understanding of your health history if they don’t have proper documentation. This will save you money making sure unnecessary tests aren’t ordered; continuing your current health plan instead of rewriting it.

Not sure if the do-it-yourself route is right for you?

If the process of collecting and organizing your medical records sounds daunting, it’s because it is! The good news is that Zweena is here to help.

For only $10 each month, our trained nurse practitioners can contact all your doctors, collect your medical records and upload these records into our HIPAA-certified Zweena Personal Health Record! So every time you view your medical information from your computer, on-the-go on your smartphone or on your couch via a tablet device, new records are automatically added after visits to the doctor.

Like magic.

Pretty much making the collection and organization process the exact opposite of “daunting.”

Click the button below to let our trained team of specialists here at Zweena take care of you.

$10 per month. We do all the work.

Patient Portal Vs. PHR Series Part 1: The History

March 28, 2014 by


Patient Portals and Personal Health Records

This is the first post in our patient portal vs. personal health record (PHR) series. This first post involves going over the history of how this dynamic relationship has come into fruition and quickly showing how the healthcare industry evolved into what it is today: a patient-centric system that is more and more pushing patients into controlling their own healthcare.

Once Upon A Time…

There was a time when healthcare decisions were solely in the hands of physicians; patients did what they were told by their doctors, on a schedule dictated by their doctors. This was the days of paper records and zero online access to patients via a patient portal. These days – for patients – are thankfully in the past.

A driving force for this change was an effort by health insurance providers to curtail rising healthcare costs by limiting or reducing reimbursements, thereby dictating what services physicians could offer. At the same time, patients were receiving their healthcare from an expanding and constantly shifting pool of providers in order to remain “in-network” for their health insurance plan.

The deleterious results of these changes were:

  1. Physicians were forced to spend more time charting in order to ensure appropriate reimbursement from insurance companies.
  2. More time charting = less time spent with patients.
  3. Patients’ health records became convoluted and increasingly fractured as the number of providers they saw grew. Even in this era of early EHRs, systems used by different providers could not exchange information, leaving some providers with limited historical information about their patients.

As you might imagine, these changes made it so that the patients suffered and they were justifiably unhappy. Fortunately, however, the environment is changing again, and this time, in favor of patients.

Fast Forward to 2014

Like so many other aspects of life in the digital age, technology is reshaping the face of the healthcare system. This is true for both physicians and patients. Doctors have more resources available to them than they ever have before. Electronic health records, computerized order entry, and the ability to order tests and check results from computers and mobile devices has vastly improved the quality and speed of delivery of healthcare services.

Stay tuned for the second part in our Patient Portal Vs. PHR Series, which we’ll go over how patient portals help individuals stay happy and healthy.

Cash-Based Healthcare Vs. Standard Insurance-Based Care

March 13, 2014 by


Retail Medicine

Is retail medicine the answer to healthcare costs?

As healthcare costs continue to rise, patients across the country decry the additional fees they are asked to pay in the form of deductibles and co-pays. Increasing health-related expenses, juxtaposed against what many see as a declining level of physician attention and services, has left numerous patients crying out for a solution.

While a great deal of attention in the popular press has focused on the aforementioned issues, the physician side of this equation is often ignored.

The truth is, that a significant number of doctors are unhappy as well.

This discontent is apparent amongst Primary Care Physicians, who provide 75-85% of the care for the most common medical conditions.

Many of these front-line healthcare providers identified health insurance companies as a major factor in the driving force behind their discontent. While this may seem counterintuitive, since it is insurance companies that provide these physicians with their revenue streams, it is actually the nature of this relationship to which an increasing number of physicians object.

Defining Insurance-Based Healthcare Delivery

The traditional model of insurance-based healthcare delivery was initially conceived such that both the healthcare provider and the insurance company would glean benefits from the relationship.

Specifically:

  • For physicians, accepting a specific insurance plan would provide a steady stream of patients, and therefore, revenue.
  • In exchange for providing a steady stream of patients, insurance companies could negotiate discounted rates for services and procedures, thereby reducing their costs.

On the surface, this seems like a reasonable and mutually beneficial relationship, and it remains the prevailing model for physician payment today. However, over time, more and more of the burden of filing and processing claims has been shifted from the insurance companies to the physician practices themselves.

The effect on these practices is that sometimes as much as 60% of their revenue is needed to cover the administrative costs associated with insurance claims.

In order for physicians to maintain a steady income, and to cover rising administrative costs, they are forced to see an ever-increasing number of patients. With a finite number of office hours each day they can spend less time with individual patients.

In addition, physicians are often limited in terms of what tests or procedures they can order or perform based on stipulations in their health insurance company contracts. The end result is that both patients and physicians are unhappy.

Defining Cash-Based and the Direct-Pay Model

As a solution to this growing problem, an increasing number of PCP’s are eschewing the insurance-based model in favor of a “cash-based” or “direct-pay” model.

The premise of cash-based systems is that, by not dealing with insurance companies, physician groups can dramatically reduce their costs since they are able to eliminate the complex and expensive systems needed to file and process insurance claims.

This change brought about a few adjustments for cash-based physicians:

  • With marked reductions in overhead, physicians are no longer forced to maintain high patient volumes in order to cover their expenses.
  • Instead, they are able to charge reasonable, flat rates for their time.
  • For example, a physician might charge $66 for a 15 minute office visit, $90 for 30 minutes, or $2-300 for a house call.

In addition, many cash-based practices are able to negotiate discounted rates on laboratory and imaging studies.

In my professional experience, patients appreciate this transparency of costs, as it gives them a firm understanding of what they are paying for and what their expenses will be at the front-end, which allows them to effectively budget their resources.

The Advantages of a Cash-Based System

For healthcare providers making this switch, the goal is to be able to spend more time with individual patients and provide better care, while maintaining the revenue targets of their practice.

For patients, this transition means they get more face-to-face time with their physician which leads to increased overall satisfaction with care, and ultimately, improved health-related outcomes.

Purveyors of cash-based healthcare do recommend that patients carry some form of high-deductible or catastrophic health insurance in case of an emergency or development of a serious medical condition. However, even in doing so, they point out that most patients still stand to save thousands of dollars each compared to traditional insurance-based coverage.

Who is using direct-pay models?

The direct-pay model is most prevalent amongst Primary Care Providers, and it’s popularity is increasing. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the number of physicians in cash-based practice models has increased dramatically since 2010.

However, physicians in other fields are beginning to make the switch, including orthopedic and general surgery. Surgeons cite the same reasons for changing practice models—lower, uniform, and transparent costs, improved patient and personal satisfaction, and general freedom from constraints imposed by third-party payers.

What does the future of healthcare hold for patients?

For the near future, the traditional insurance-based coverage will likely remain the standard method for Americans to finance their healthcare. However, the benefits of the cash-based model for both patients and physicians are undeniable. The expectation for growth in this sector of the healthcare delivery market is immense since high-quality care delivered at an affordable cost by a happy provider makes everyone a winner.

How to get your medical records

March 6, 2014 by


get-your-medical-records-worksheet

Zweena is a powerful tool that allows you to securely store and access your medical records online via computer, smartphone or tablet.

However, this implies you have your medical records in the first place!

This post goes over the process of how to get your medical records so you can access, view and share medical information when and where you need to.

Follow the steps below to learn how to collect your medical records:

1. Compile a list of your medical providers

Did you know that medical providers have to keep patient’s medical records seven years after the last treatment date? If a patient is deceased, those records have to be retained for three years after the date the patient passed away.

However, a provider may hold on to your records after seven years… so it’s best to compile a list of the last known providers you’ve seen even past seven years.

Doesn’t hurt to try!

2. Call medical offices and inquire about their process

Once you have a list of the medical providers you’ve seen in the last ~7 years, you need to get in contact with them via phone and ask some questions.

Your short list of questions should include:

  • I’m calling to collect my medical records from this office. What do I need to complete to do this?
  • Do you have a specific records release form that I need to fill out? If so – where can I obtain this form?
  • Do you charge a fee for making or sending copies of my medical information? If so, how much?
  • If there is a fee for making copies, do we pay that in advance or after-the-fact?
  • What’s the typical timeline for your office to find, photocopy, and mail copies of my medical information to me?

Answers to these questions will vary by medical office, so we recommend you keep an organized list of the answers by medical provider.

3. Hurry up … and wait

Medical offices can take up to 60 days to send you your medical records.

You’re pretty much at the mercy of each medical provider’s during this process.

Zweena is here to help

We want to empower patients to take an active role in their health. This begins by gathering and organizing a complete picture of their medical history.

To help you track down all your medical records, we’ve created an Excel worksheet that is specifically designed to help track of the record-gathering process as you contact each of your medical providers.

Download Now

We know the process is time-consuming and can greatly vary office-to-office; this worksheet will help you keep tabs on everything so you know when you contacted an office, their copy charge fee structure, when you expect copies of your records to come in, and more.

If you need us, just ask!

If you’re pressed for time or find this process daunting, let Zweena do the work for you.

For only $10 a month, our medical experts will collect medical records from all your providers, upload them into the Zweena platform and show you how to access, view and share your medical information from your desktop, smartphone or tablet.

For more information, view our all inclusive plan details now.

2014: The Year of Patient Engagement

February 24, 2014 by


The age of mobile and interactive computing is here, and there is no turning back.

Consumers of all ages are more connected to one another now than they ever have been. Recent connectivity between individuals have grown. People came to expect the same level of digital functionality from the products and services they used.

Users demand more sophisticated electronic solutions to help them solve problems. Technology companies responded with svelte devices that did just that. These devices provided non-essential services, like cellular modems for laptops or robotic vacuum cleaners. Supply drove demand for these products.

Consumers became aware that interconnected digital devices could help manage and improve their lives.

The healthcare industry is catching up with advances in consumer electronics

The Healthcare Industry is a salient example of how technology to enhance lives. This concept is not new to healthcare providers.

For patients this is a new paradigm.

They are likely to embrace it because the opportunities for personal engagement in this arena … offer staggering benefits when compared to what was, until now, the standard of care.

Consumers of health information know more about products and services available to them.

Hundreds of people joined our Journey to 50,000 Pages, showing consumers are becoming more active in managing their health.

Healthcare + Active Patients = Healthier Patients

The healthcare industry noticed these trends and look to improve patient engagement. Everyone involved are cognizant of how healthcare IT will help achieve this goal.

Attendees of this year’s annual meeting of Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) will walk away knowing 2014 is the year for patient engagement.

In my opinion, the key to successful patient engagement is accessibility of information.

  1. Any single patient will have health-related information from many sources.
  2. This data will be healthcare provider-generated, from office notes to laboratory test results.
  3. patient-generated data, such daily fitness metrics from wearable fitness devices (e.g.Fitbit), is more prevalent.

What makes all this data useful?

Devices and healthcare information systems need to communicate in a seamless and reliable manner. This is oftentimes referred to as interoperability. Compatibility failure could lead to decreased patient satisfaction.

For example: a patient has four doctors and uses two medical devices at home (a glucometer and a pedometer).

Health data shared between these six sources will improve the quality of the care that he or she receives. Also, patients are more likely to engage when they see the benefits of health information.

Engaged Patients = Healthy Patients

As technology improves consumers will continue to demand more from it. Healthcare IT systems will need to keep pace with the growth of Health IT infrastructure and focus on individual patient outcomes.

As Amy Edgar of the Children’s Center for Integrated Success (CCIS) says:

How are you going to get patients’ dopamine flowing? How are you going to get them excited and jumping out of their seat to take part?

2014 is  the year of patient engagement, but it is only the beginning…

Your Free Zweena Personal Health Record

We now offer a version of our product for FREE, allowing you to upload your own medical pages!

Learn more about our free account and all its features here.

Register for your Free Account

Why You Need Your Medical Records Digitized During a Snowpocalypse

February 19, 2014 by


From Georgia to Maine, the East Coast hasn’t seen this much snow since the late 1800′s.

New York City had just 11 school closings in the last 40 years yet struggled to keep all 132 schools open during recent heavy snow fall this winter. New Jersey dropped 40,000 tons of rock salt to keep drivers safe on the road. The Pennsylvania Turnpike had a 100 car pile up with 30 injuries, five of which were listed in critical condition. And last but not least, 21 people died so far from snow plows, heart attacks, and other injuries as a result of the snow storms.

And there are still more snow storms to come.

While the winter storms have caused some trouble, they have also given east coasters time away from our busy lives to enjoy some peace and quiet. In fact, the snow is even more enjoyable when you’re prepared for the worst.

Our infographic below breaks down five ways to be prepared for the next wave of winter storms. Let’s focus on the last one: Digitize.

Why you should digitize your medical records

This matters! If you or a loved one end up in a hospital you can simple share your medical records with the doctors to allow them to make faster, more informed decisions about your health. Also, in case of an emergency or when you are hurt, it’s difficult to remember the details of your medical history. Digitizing your medical records ensures you don’t have to.

How do I digitize my medical records

With Zweena specifically, the process is straight forward

  1. Register here for you free personal health record by clicking this link
  2. Fill in the request HIPAA form, which grants doctors with permission to securely release your medical records
  3. Fax or email the HIPAA request form to your doctors. Ask them to fax, mail, or email all your medical information to you.
  4. Easily upload your pages into Zweena so that you can easily share them with doctors or loved ones in case of an emergency.
  5. BONUS: Download the Microsoft HealthVault app on your smartphone to always have your medical information available to you on the go.

Can Zweena digitize my medical records for me?

We certainly can.!

For just $10 a month we’ll automatically call all your doctors, request the appropriate medical information and upload this information into a Zweena Health Personal Health Record.

Additionally, every three months our customer support team will call your doctors and make sure the medical information is completely up to date.

Sign up for this plan by clicking this link.

Now, back to the infographic with five tips everybody needs to follow to be prepared in a snowpocolypse.

7 ways to be prepared a snowpocolypse its not overvisit zweenahealth.com to get your free health record. | Create Infographics

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3 Reasons Why Americans are Turning to Concierge Medicine in 2014

February 18, 2014 by


concierge medicine

What is concierge medicine and who is using it these services?

Over the past decade, the trend in Primary Care Specialties has been for physicians to see an increasingly large panel of patients. This is due, in part, to decreasing reimbursements from Medicare and private insurance companies for primary care services. In many cases, physicians today see more patients for the same, or less, compensation than they received in the past.

As doctors struggle to see more patients each day, appointment lengths are shortened, and any delays are felt by multiple patients. As such, many people experience long wait times when they go to see their Primary Care Provider (PCP).

Even with an appointment, it’s not uncommon to wait more than an hour to see the doctor. In addition, patients are finding it increasingly difficult to get an appointment in a reasonable amount of time—it is often necessary to schedule visits several months in advance.

In response to these problems, PCPs developed the idea of “Concierge Medicine” (also referred to “Boutique Medicine” or “Direct Care”).

The basic idea behind Concierge Medicine is that patients pay a monthly or yearly fee that gives them increased access to their physician. The fee itself does not generally cover costs of services rendered; it is more like a membership fee—it give you direct access to the doctor.

Reason #1: Speedy Visits with Little Waiting Time or Advanced Planning

Perhaps the biggest reason Americans are turning to Concierge Medicine is speed and convenience. Examples include:

  1. No waiting
  2. No need to plan months in advance
  3. Test results delivered the same day

These features appeal to those individuals who desire instant gratification.

Reason #2: Equal Service Levels and Fees

Another reason for the popularity is the variety of levels of service one can receive for different fees.

For example:

  1. A lower level of service might only offer priority appointment scheduling and free parking.
  2. A top-tier plan could include features like 24/7 physician access via their personal cell phone or house calls.
  3. A third reason for Concierge Medicine’s rising popularity is that users feel like they are buying peace of mind.

Reason #3: Easy Access to Medical Information

Patients think, rightly or wrongly, that by paying the extra fees, their doctors will pay more attention to them, and that they’ll get better care.

This latter point may be true, although regular PCPs would likely debate this, but the ability of a Concierge physician to provide quality care is largely dependent on their ability to access patient’s medical records.

If a physician wants to be able to offer medical care 24 hours a day, they must have rapid and consistent access to electronic health information. Whether it’s reading notes from consultants, ordering imaging studies, or interpreting lab results, without fast, secure, and reliable access to this data, Concierge PCPs simply cannot provide the level of service for which their patients are paying a premium price.

The Closing Argument for Concierge Medicine

Therefore, it would behoove any Concierge physician group to be sure that their practice has a robust electronic health information system. Without such a system, they risk failing to be able to provide the services that their patients demand.

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Structured Health Data vs Unstructured Health Data

February 12, 2014 by

What is structured or digitized health data?

This is one of the most common questions we hear at Zweena Health. Most healthcare consumers think that anything stored in a computer or digital fashion is considered ‘structured’ or ‘digitized’ health information, which quite honestly couldn’t be farther from the truth!

To help answer this question, we filmed a quick 90 second video that defines the difference between structure health data and unstructured data. Additionally, we’ve transcribed this video as well if you’d prefer to read through the differences.

Structured Health Data Defined

Video Transcription

We are surrounded by data on a daily basis; in raw format, this data is represented by 1’s and 0’s.

Health data is no different. Hi, I’m Kerry and I’m going to compare the difference between structured health data to unstructured data.

This is your health information in a structured format. What does structured mean?

Structured data is programmed to allow consumers to easily spot trends in their vital health statistics: lab results, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and more! Imagine a line graph that you create in Microsoft Excel; this graph easily allows you to notice dips and spikes in certain bits of information.

Structured data is many things, but it is not a static PDF or of your health information from you doctors.

Structured data is entered and coded by a registered health data professional that has the ability to input the data in a way that makes it easy for you to view, share and access.

Now imagine you don’t have that easy ability to notice trends. Welcome to unstructured data, usually represented by static pages of health information on your computer.

This information is static; you cannot touch it or chart it into any easy, actionable insights.

With unstructured health data, you’d have to open every single doctors note for the past few visits and take notes of your blood sugar level, for example, and then look back at the trends of all these notes to understand if you were getting healthier or not visit over visit.

Structured health data makes the medical world go ‘round!

In addition to the patient example earlier, structured data also enables:

  1. Enable health information exchanges, made more popular by the Affordable Care Act
  2. Correlate population health trends
  3. Standardize how providers and patients share health information across different doctors, caregiving groups and health systems
  4. Have any questions about structured health data? Ask them in the comments!

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Get Your Free Personal Health Record Now

February 11, 2014 by

Owning Your Health Record is Now Easier then Ever

Your first step in taking control of your healthcare is to own your health data.

Data is power.

It empowers you to be your own healthcare advocate and do the following:

  1. Easily switch doctors or get a second opinion without the hassle of rerunning tests.
  2. Read your doctors notes after each doctor appointment and research the prognosis so you can ask your physician important questions, ultimately allowing you to make more informed decisions
  3. Take preventative action instead of emergency action, which is more costly both to your health outcome and wallet

Zweena Health believes every person should own their data – get in the habit of requesting your medical documents or pages every time you leave the doctors.

Owning your health information is a great first step, but in order for data to be usable and accessible, it should be stored online in a secure Personal Health Record (PHR), like Zweena Health.

To make it even easier, Zweena Health now offers a FREE Personal Health Record option. Upload up to 100 pages, share your health history with important family members and doctors, and access this information anywhere all for free.

That’s right, 100% free. Set up your own personal health record to store all of your medical records and files. Or set up accounts for your family and easily set up sharing properties so each family member has access to each other’s medical files. How about a personal health record for your pet? Go for it!

Don’t have your medical records? Our paid plans to collect and digitize your medical records are still in place.

Get going and register for a free PHR and become your own healthcare advocate today!

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