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Study: Stroke assessments via mobile devices match bedside care Print E-mail
Written by Medical News Today   
Wednesday, 06 July 2016 00:00

Almost all -- 96% -- of stroke assessments made with the Improving Treatment with Rapid Evaluation of Acute Stroke via Mobile Telemedicine <iTREAT> protocol using a tablet were as good as those performed at the hospital bedside, per a study in the journal Neurology. Researchers said that iTREAT mobile assessments help reduce the time from stroke event to the best treatment and allow emergency teams to make better decisions while the patient is still in the ambulance.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 July 2016 17:40
Even when treatment won't help, doctors recommend it, study finds Print E-mail
Written by Aine Cryts | Fierce Healthcare   
Monday, 20 June 2016 00:00

The futile treatment of patients occurs when doctors know what they're prescribing won't help, but they recommend it anyway.

A startling 96 percent of doctors surveyed in a study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics put themselves in the hot seat when it comes to providing futile treatment to patients at the end of life.

Physicians confessed that they need to learn to communicate better, be mindful of their emotional attachment to patients and be willing to deal with the murky emotional issues related to death and dying, according to the study, which included 96 Australian doctors across 10 specialties.

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What to do when your practice is high-tech but your patients are low-tech Print E-mail
Written by Accountable Care Options, LLC   
Friday, 17 June 2016 11:36

Florida's retirees are getting better with technology, but some elderly patients just don't get it. They lack the skills to use apps and they'll never be comfortable with telemedicine.

Government initiatives for online communication such as Web portals, electronic access to medical records and streamlining care coordination make sense, but they may not be relevant to a 90-year-old in a wheelchair. Physicians must develop creative ways of engaging patients in their own care that don't require pushing a power button.

The process starts with asking individuals about their online habits. Do they have an e-mail account? How active are they online?

Some are super-savvy on social media. Others are not, so pushing news and information online about their conditions and self-care is not going to improve their outcomes.

When dealing with health care and disease states, it's so difficult to understand the medications, protocols and disease processes. A physician can throw technology at a patient, but if it's not well-received, then the result is a poor outcome.

Doctors need to ask, "What's best for you?" and integrate the response into the patient's health care plan.

If an individual doesn't use technology, find a family member or authorized caretaker who does. That person can retrieve medical records, find online answers to patient questions and check appointment schedules.

During an office visit, the doctor or staff members should review, not just hand pamphlets to the patient, and highlight the most important information. Information sheets should be printed in large type for easy reading by patients with limited eyesight.

The key is to adapt the technology to the patient, not the other way around. Keep the process human and patient-centered. Ultimately, physician practices are measured by outcomes, regardless of the technology used to achieve them.

Last Updated on Saturday, 09 July 2016 16:16
9 Ways Your EHR can Stop Physician Burnout in Its Tracks Print E-mail
Written by HealthFusion   
Friday, 03 June 2016 00:00

Physician burnout isn't fun. It can lead to increased errors and lower-quality care for patients - and in some cases, consequences for patients are irreversible. Some physicians equate EHR use with more homework, believing the common misconception that spending extra hours each night, finishing up notes, addressing inboxes, and catching up on messages and emails, is inevitable. It's not. While many physicians feel that technology, along with government regulation and the tremendous change in the healthcare industry, adds to today's main burdens contributing to burnout - optimizing the right EHR software will actually greatly increase a physician's efficiency. A good EHR will serve your workflow, not hinder it; a sophisticated, integrated EMR system will function as a useful physician tool. When all of the components of your software speak to each other seamlessly, the stream of your practice as a whole improves.

Part of making sure your EHR helps you evade burnout (rather than cause it) is learning how to utilize the entire system optimally. You should strategize your EMR use and need to document. Your EHR needs to do everything from allow you to flow efficiently through a chart to improve your revenue cycle time. Optimize all of these functions and you'll increase your profits and overall quality of patient care. That way, you can enjoy all of the reasons you really became a physician - and go home at a reasonable hour.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 June 2016 17:15
IRS Phone Scammers Threaten Taxpayers Print E-mail
Written by Jeffrey B. Kramer, CPA   
Thursday, 02 June 2016 00:00

Many taxpayers have received what they thought were phone calls from IRS agents demanding immediate tax payments.  These calls are from scammers trying to extort payments from innocent taxpayers.  According to the IRS, phone scams continue to be a serious issue.  The scammers use different scripts but in most cases the callers threaten taxpayers with arrest or court action if a payment is not immediately made to the IRS.  These scams are common throughout the country, especially in South Florida.  In fact, during May five suspects were arrested in Miami for defrauding 1,500 victims of nearly $2 million.

It seems so unlikely that a caller would be able to impersonate an IRS agent and convince a taxpayer that a problem exists and collect a payment.  Since many fear the IRS, and because the IRS impersonators are aggressive and threatening, some taxpayers have fallen for the scam and paid money to avoid threatened IRS prosecution.

According to the IRS website, phone scams remain on their “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams for the 2016 filing season.  According to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, if you receive an unexpected phone call from the IRS, then you are probably not hearing from the IRS.  Rest assured that the IRS generally sends mail correspondence a number of times before attempting to call a taxpayer.  Additionally, the IRS does not demand payment without first giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal any amount they say is due. Additionally, scammers ask for immediate payment using cash, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, MoneyGrams and most recently (and unbelievably) iTunes cards.  The IRS does not demand immediate payment and would not ask for a payment to be made via cash or debit card.  Furthermore, the IRS will never call and threaten to arrest a taxpayer for not paying a tax, request a credit card number over the phone or require the use of a specific payment method to pay taxes.

Many phone scammers have altered or spoofed their caller ID numbers to make it look like the call is coming from the IRS.  They may also have the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), have received reports of roughly 896,000 phone scammer contacts and are aware of over 5,000 victims collectively paying over $26.5 million as a result of scams.  Anyone receiving a call from the IRS demanding payment of taxes should refuse to give out any personal information and should hang up immediately.  Additionally, TIGTA may be called at 1-800-366-4484 or visit the “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page.
As tax scams are becoming increasingly more prevalent, individuals should be aware of the methods being used by the scammers to avoid being victimized.


Article by Jeffrey B. Kramer, CPA, Partner at Goldstein Schechter Koch, PA Las Olas Office. Jeff can be reached at or (954) 989-7462.
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