Ever since I started working as a report developer for the healthcare industry five years ago I have created numerous reports and data extracts. Along the ways the reports and data extracts have offered me tremendous insight into the daily to daily hospital operation and the key metrics for a healthcare organization. Unlike an application coordinator who might focus on one or two modules, a report developer needs to understand different categories of a hospital organization.
Financial Reporting – This is the most important category for obvious reasons. This set of reports is tailored for finance, accounting and individual department managers. The reports are usually broken down into either hospital billing or clinical/physician billing. A typical report focuses on charges, payments, debit adjustments, and credit adjustments grouped in different metrics such as insurance/payer.
First of all Happy New Year everyone! Hope you had a wonderful holiday season and is excited to go back to work in the ever changing field of Healthcare Information Technology. As my first post of the New Year I like to write a response to a question I get on a frequently basis: I am a OBIEE report writer with a number of years of experience, how do I become an Epic Clarity Report writer?in which OBIEE (Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition) can be substituted with any other reporting tool such as Cognos.
Here are the key knowledge area that you can learn that is not Epic specific:
1. SQL - a large part of building and testing reports require an individual to run SQL statements directly against the Epic Clarity database. If you know another tool such as OBIEE you should be very proficient in SQL. The typical database that is used is either Oracle or SqlServer.
2. Crystal Reports - This is the defacto reporting tool that Epic has provided in terms of reporting off Epic Clarity database. There are a number of preexisting Crystal reports build for each of the different Epic modules (e.g. Hospital billing). However, chances are these reports will require some modifications so it definitely helps to have prior experience with Crystal Reports.
3. Business Objects Enterprise & InfoView - This is one of the key way in which the reports are delivered to the end user. Often times you might have to act as the Business Enterprise administrator in terms of creating users and grant permissions.
4. Business Objects Universe - This is very similar to OBIEE in which a semantic layer is placed above the actual database schema so savvy analysts can develop their own reports without understanding how the data is structured underneath.
A search on Google should result in lots of documentation and tutorials for each of these areas.
Once you refreshed your reporting knowledge listed above come the hardest part. In order to get work with Epic Clarity you you will need to find a hospital that is looking to hire local report writers. In most cases your local hospital that is on Epic prefers to hire individuals locally for full time positions for cost saving reasons. As for how to find those jobs, I find it easiest to setup alert monitors on job aggregate sites where you can setup alerts to be notified if a position comes up. However, your local hospital might not be in need of a report writer currently. In that case your option is to either be patient or consider relocate to another location.
The good news is if they do hire you they will be send you to Epic for training and Epic certification where you will learn additional application reporting tools that are specific to Epic such as Epic Radar and Reporting Workbench.
I love being a consultant. You feel like you are truly helping out with an organization implementation and the perks from travel essentially enable my family to take vacations to places where I otherwise wouldn’t. However, the problem with being a report writer consultant is you are dealing with corporate which means there are a lot of inefficiency.
Some times the inefficiency just drives me crazy. It also doesn’t help to see cool mobile apps like Cardiio iOS app which all makes me want to become a developer for mhealth apps. Cardiio is a very cool app that enable to you take your heart rate by using the camera on your iOS device. The way it works is it analyzes the difference in the color of your face as a result of your heart pumping more blood to your face with every heart beat. The implication for telehealth is huge if we can start capturing accurate vital signs without additional devices. Just make sure you are not wearing too much makeup when you are playing around with this app!
Alright maybe after little rant I will go pick up a book on mobile app development. Does anyone have a good one to recommend?
I was reading about different technologies awhile back and one of the article mentioned this interesting Kickstarter project called Remee – The Rem Enhancing Lucid Dreaming Mask. The basic idea behind the is to create an eye mask that while you are in your deep sleep it flashes a series light pattern based on 6 rear facing LEDs. The light is not strong enough to wake you up but will shape your dream. Definitely sounds pretty cool and something I will give it a try when they release it. I don’t hink I would enjoy flying (as a traveling consultant I am already in the air way more than I like.) but I wouldn’t mind dreaming of time travel to relive moments in life where I cherish the most.
What does this has to do with EHR or reporting you ask? Not much except that sleep is such an important aspect of a person’s health. If there is a way setup the dream to make the person more at ease and release the daily stress/tension, it will make everyone a bit healthier. More importantly, this illustrates that there are a lot of technological innovation that is occurring that can be applied to healthcare industry and getting certification from reputable EMR vendor is not the only way (no denying that it definitely helps). So if you are having trouble breaking into the healthcare scene due to the lack of certification, be sure to open up your horizon other areas that might be more interesting and rewarding!
I read an article today from Information Week today regarding the state of Health IT jobs and how Epic implementation is the hottest job right now. Definitely a great read. A couple of my thoughts after I read the article:
Epic is definitely the most influential player right now as they dominate the large health care organizations. With the cost increasing a lot of physicians would might have own their own clinic once upon a time is gradually being absorbed (willing or unwillingly because of cost) into these large organizations. So Epic might not be the biggest in term of revenue, but they are definitely the most influential.
There is a LOT of premium associated with having an Epic certification. However, the premium is not a result of the certification itself but rather you are working as a consultant vs a full time employee. I have worked with a lot of different applications/software and I have never seen such a disparity in compensation between someone who is working as a consultant vs full time employee even though the skill sets of the two might be comparable. In order to be a consultant certification is (almost) mandatory but not the case for full time employee.
Health IT compensation is in a bubble that is a result of HITECH act and the potential Medicare penalty. As a result, a lot of hospitals are forced to implement a new EMR system for a short time and thus creating a strong demand. My suggestion is always keep your skill sets up to date with the latest technology.
The skill set of the consultants vary quite a bit. Due of the strong demand, if you have a certification, chances are you will get a decent/high paying gig. However, from the healthcare organization perspective, I suggest exercise some due diligence during the interview process. The key to be a good consultant is to be able to come up with solutions to unexpected problems rather than certification.
February seems to be a month of changes for Healthcare IT.
Here are some of the major events that happened this month:
HIMSS conference -The largest Healthcare IT conference that occurs every year. If you are looking for ways to get into Healthcare IT, be sure to read blogs and news regarding what is happening at the conference and the industry.
Of all three, the one that impacts reporting the most is obviously Meaningful Use Stage 2. Even though most of the EMR systems will have model reports tailored toward Meaningful Use, report writers are often asked to modify model reports to tailor the report for specific conditions. For those of you who want to get into Healthcare IT, be sure to follow the development from those three areas. Words of caution, even though the industry is on fire right now, there is a high chance that the hospital EMR market is peaking soon or has peaked. At the end of the day, be sure to find something you enjoy doing!
While 2012 is going to be a continuation year for Meaningful Use reporting for a lot of health care organizations the deadline for ICD-10 is fast approaching. For readers who don’t know what much about ICD codes it is a coding standard that play an important role to fill the gap between charges that are filed to a hospital account and the set of codes billed to the insurance (check out my post regarding hospital billing and reporting if you like more detail regarding how that works). Currently everything is coded in ICD9. However, a regulatory mandates the implementation a much more extensive coding set called ICD-10 by October 1st, 2013. ICD10 coding is going to be an extremely valuable skill set in the upcoming year and if you have been thinking about how to enter the field of Healthcare IT this is definitely a good approach.
With that said, The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) just recently announced a new set of onlines courses tailored toward individuals who would like this training regarding transition to ICD-10. While AHIMA already has instructor led ICD-10 Training Academies, I personally find an online courses much more suitable for most people’s busy schedule and cheaper cost. Definitely check them out!
I write about Epic Clarity a lot on this blog since I have been working with one version or another of their software for the last past couple years. However, for anyone familiar with healthcare IT market knows Cerner is another popular EMR vendor. If you are an Epic Clarity Report Writer your skillsets definitely qualifies you as a Cerner Report Writer.
First a little background vocabulary regarding Cerner reporting product: PowerInsight. PowerInsight is Cerner’s business intelligence platform based on Business Objects Universe (If you are not familiar with Business Objects check out my post regarding Business Objects Enterprise here). In the hospital I worked with the architecture is setup in a cloud fashion where a secure local area network connection is created to Cerner’s data center where the data is hosted. Cerner then creates a semantic layer on top of their schema called PowerInsight (A name for their specific Business Object Universe). If you are an analyst familiar with Business Objects Universe, you will bypass the learning curve as you can drag and drop the pre-build semantic attributes and calculations to construct your report based on your familiarity with Business Objects.
In one of my previous post, I went over the different components of Business Objects Enterprise. However, one of the key element of a successful business intelligence software deployment is report distribution. The final success of business intelligence software depends on the end user integrating the reports into their day to day workflow rather than the bells and whistles of the business intelligence software.
Here are the different methods a report can be distributed. Please note I am using Business Objects Enterprise as an example for almost all business intelligence software should comes with these features. Continue Reading →