Cybersecurity and Interoperability: You Can’t Have One Without the Other

cybersecurity and interoperability in healthcare

The Pandemic’s Perfect Storm

During a national emergency, there will always be those who seek to turn the chaos to their own profitable ends— and the coronavirus pandemic has been no exception. 2020 was the fifth straight year in which reports of hacking incidents increased, with the 2020 number 42% higher than 2019. Hacking incidents made up 62% of patient data breaches, affecting over a million people a month— and there may have been attacks so successful we don’t even know about them yet.

How did this happen? The simple answer is, not enough to go around. With hospital staff stretched to the breaking point, many administrative functions were put on hold or suspended altogether in order to redistribute the work hours to patient care. This switch, while necessary, resulted in too many care facilities not keeping up with their data protection measures, leaving themselves vulnerable to security breaches.

Finding the balance between setting (and sticking to) security protocols while quickly responding to the evolving demands of healthcare organizations is a challenge that IT professionals are struggling to meet— and ironically, one solution they’re calling for is an idea that’s already much talked about in healthcare IT circles: increasing interoperability.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

According to recent studies, more than three quarters of healthcare workers say that email— the most commonly used communication method between hospitals and care facilities— introduces a high level of cybersecurity risk. Telehealth was a close second at 70%— and we all know how many people have come to rely on telehealth during the pandemic.

Legacy systems— that is, outdated systems no longer supported by their manufacturers— also pose a significant security risk, because a lack of manufacturer support means a lack of patches and updates to protect those systems against new threats. Many organizations continue to use legacy systems because they’re too expensive to upgrade or because an upgrade may not exist. This means those systems also lack the capability to integrate with other technologies— in other words, they lack interoperability.

The Ponemon Institute recently presented findings that show large healthcare organizations use an average of 47 discrete cybersecurity tools across their networks, and the research firm ESG reports that these tools are sourced from an average of 10 different vendors. It’s little surprise, then, that healthcare organizations struggle to get their systems to talk to each other, when even implementing and training employees on their use is such a large task.

What’s more, using so many different tools from different sources creates roadblocks to interoperability that makes all of these tools less efficient than they would be if they worked in concert. Manual threat analysis is no longer a viable response to the pace and skill of cyberattacks, and with different tools comes different information sets that can sometimes contradict each other.

For too many years, cybersecurity companies have treated interoperability as a bug, not a feature— but they can no longer waste time protecting their proprietary threat data, when standardizing that data and sharing it is the key to defending against those threats. Integrating cyber-defense tools to operate alongside other systems will remove the onus from healthcare organizations to understand and enact cybersecurity protocols, and instead let them focus on the life-saving work they do in the field.

How Do We Get There?

The FBI has repeatedly reported that healthcare is the sector most often targeted by cyberattacks. However, their spending on cybersecurity is only reported as 4-8% of their annual budget, compared to 16-20% from the finance sector. Higher risk should lead to higher spending on protection— and with the volume of attacks still increasing, mitigating the healthcare sector’s risk will be a staggering job, one that will take not just bodies on the ground but the right technology, and the tactical strategies to best implement it.

What would that technology look like? Ideally it would look like a standardized list of protocols, processes, and open-source software that can link cybersecurity tools to each other, helping them work in tandem instead of at cross purposes. If tools spoke the same language, they could share threat intelligence, identify and classify threats in real time, and automate responses to those threats. This would not only make it significantly easier for organizations to protect their patients’ data, but it would allow cybersecurity companies to make greater strides in innovating security solutions.

Adopting open standards for cybersecurity and interoperability will take time, and organizations can encourage this by giving the feedback to their cybersecurity providers. By promoting the creation of a more interoperable cybersecurity landscape, companies can take the lead on building a global, sustainable, cybersecurity network. We must work to create a structure that supports the healthcare community as a whole, and speaking up as a unified voice eager for interoperability is the first step toward that support.

Contact HCRS today to learn more about cybersecurity and interoperability.

A Guide to Patient Data Standardization

data standardization

In the world of health care, data standards are the key to increasing interoperability— a term you’ve probably heard before, which refers to the ability of health-related technology to exchange medical data seamlessly across distances and systems. Data standards existed before COVID-19, but the pandemic has only brought to light the pressing need for wider implementation. We’ve put together an overview of data standardization and why it’s important.

What Does Patient Data Standardization Involve?

At its base level, data standardization is the act of storing data in an agreed-upon format that allows for collaborative research, large-scale analytics, and sharing of tools and methods. This is important because sharing knowledge is a well-documented way of improving healthcare practices and patient outcomes. To avoid ambiguity and enhance understanding among all parties, healthcare systems have adopted classification systems and codes for diagnoses, medications, procedures, and other facets of patient care.

Patient data can be collected for many reasons, whether it’s insurance reimbursement, clinical research, or for use in patient care. Without data standards in place, sharing that data with other providers and organizations can get tricky— it can be stored in formats that are incompatible with another provider’s systems, or use a different database that the other provider doesn’t have access to. And without a standardized list of terminologies adopted by all providers, the same condition or treatment might be referred to by any number of different abbreviations or codes.

What Do Data Standards Cover and Who Creates Them?

There are several different types of data that it’s important to ensure organizations can all receive, read, and understand. One is terminology, possibly the most dangerous not to have standardized. Providers can exchange patient data without a common vocabulary, but if three systems call the same condition or treatment by a different name— or the opposite, if each of the three use the same term to describe three different things— the miscommunication can be fatal.

There are also content standards that outline the structure of patient records and other documents, the types of data they contain, and how they are organized; transport standards, which define the formats, data elements, methods, and APIs that should be used to optimize interoperability; and privacy/security standards, which are administrative and technical guidelines to protect patients’ health data and ensure HIPAA compliance.

These standards are all created by the various standards development organizations (SDOs) in the healthcare field. These organizations work to identify what factors should fall under patient data standardization and how, and work with health IT users to keep the standards up-to-date and relevant.

What Are the Benefits of Standardization?

While these SDOs have been hard at work defining and updating these standards in the hope of increasing interoperability, there has been a lack of organizations adopting and using them. With slow rollouts and a lack of widespread use, they’re much less effective.

But the downside isn’t just to the healthcare industry as a whole. A lack of patient data standardization can result in incomplete data collection, inaccurate reporting, missteps in patient matching, and slower workflows— no one in healthcare is a stranger to the backlog of paperwork. For patients to receive the best care from their providers, those providers will need access to current, accurate, and comprehensive patient information. Access to this exchange of information can also lower readmission rates, improve treatment coordination, and save hospitals both time and money in the long run.

If you’re a provider and your hospital or organization isn’t actively participating in using standardized data collecting methods, it’s never too late to start. Organizations can improve their level of standardization to improve the flow of information between them and other systems, facilities, and practices. The Interoperability Standards Advisory and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology are considered the authority on interoperability standards for American medicine; their website has more information here:




What to Know About the New CPT Codes for COVID-19 Vaccines

What are CPT Codes?

Current Procedural Terminology codes are created, copyrighted, and maintained by the American Medical Association. This is a huge task, as health care practices are constantly shifting, requiring new codes to be created for new services and current codes to be revised or retired as needed. Thousands of codes are in use, and the AMA updates them annually.

A Breakdown of the Coronavirus Vaccines CPT Codes

On September 1, 2020, the AMA released the 2021 CPT code list, which went into effect on January 1 of this year. There was a total of 329 CPT code changes, including 206 code additions, 54 code deletions, and 69 code revisions. Among those added to the list were a unique CPT code for each of five coronavirus vaccines— those from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, which had at the time of release, received emergency use authorization from the FDA; and those made by AstraZeneca and Novavax, which at the time of release were still awaiting EUA— as well as administration codes unique to each such vaccine.

The CPT codes clinically distinguish each coronavirus vaccine from its fellows. This allows for better tracking, reporting, and analysis of the use and results of each vaccine, which will in turn enable data-driven planning and allocation. Making it easier for providers to update and track patients’ records will make it easier for

AMA President Susan R. Bailey, MD., said, “[A]ccurately correlating vaccinated patients with one of the available COVID-19 vaccines is critical for managing immunizations. This challenge is managed with unique CPT codes that clinically distinguish each COVID-19 vaccine and provide the needed informational precision to ensure optimal vaccine distribution and administration.”

For quick reference, the Category I CPT codes and long descriptors for the vaccine products are:

  • 91300: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, mRNA-LNP, spike protein, preservative free, 30 mcg/0.3mL dosage, diluent reconstituted, for intramuscular use.
  • 91301: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, mRNA-LNP, spike protein, preservative free, 100 mcg/0.5mL dosage, for intramuscular use.
  • 91302: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, DNA, spike protein, chimpanzee adenovirus Oxford 1 (ChAdOx1) vector, preservative free, 5×1010 viral particles/0.5mL dosage, for intramuscular use.
  • 91303: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, DNA, spike protein, adenovirus type 26 (Ad26) vector, preservative free, 5×1010 viral particles/0.5mL dosage, for intramuscular use.
  • 91304: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, recombinant spike protein nanoparticle, saponin-based adjuvant, preservative free, 5 mcg/0.5mL dosage, for intramuscular use.

This level of specificity is a first for vaccine CPT codes, which offers the ability to track each vaccine dose, even when the vaccine is not reported in a claim (i.e., the dose was given to the patient for free). There are also administrative codes that accompany each CPT code to indicate dosage amount; this incorporates the specialized tracking needs of the CDC and CMS. The code group above identifies a specific vaccine product, and the other provides a vaccine administration code that is both vaccine and dose specific. It is important to select the code that has been created for that manufacturer’s vaccine.

In order to assist with this process, the AMA has put out a resource to assist you in finding the right CPT code combination for the type and dose of vaccine you are using. Visit their website to use the tool and find the right codes in minutes.

How Contact Tracing Works

how contact tracing works

In the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and health organizations scrambled for ways to protect vulnerable people and slow the spread of the virus. One vital strategy has been contact tracing, which involves warning those who have been in contact with the virus. Once someone learns of their exposure to the virus, they can quarantine to limit further spread.

Contact tracing is an effective strategy for limiting viral spread. Whether on the community, state or federal level, contact tracing keeps people informed and helps better organize quarantine efforts. Learn how contact tracing works, who performs it and how you can find contact tracing services for your workplace.

What Is Contact Tracing?

Contact tracing is one way a community can slow the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. In essence, it’s the practice of tracking positive test results and notifying others of close contact with the virus. A contact alert lets people know they need to quarantine. Contact tracing has helped reduce the spread of COVID-19. It was also beneficial during the SARS epidemic of 2004, and advancing technology could make the strategy more effective during future viral outbreaks.

location tracking and contact tracing services

How Does Contact Tracing Work?

Contact tracing is a straightforward procedure in theory, though it can be challenging on a massive scale. With a highly infectious virus such as COVID-19, identifying every exposed person is easier said than done. Even so, the process for contact tracing is as follows:

  1. A patient takes a test for an infectious disease and has a positive result.
  2. A public health professional reaches out to the patient as soon as possible to inform them of their positive status.
  3. They explain how and for how long the patient should quarantine.
  4. They ask the patient to identify anyone they’ve been in close contact with during the time they were infectious.
  5. They then reach out to everyone the patient has been in close contact with and let people know about their exposure to the virus without mentioning the patient’s name.
  6. They provide information and support to exposed people. For example, they may offer a referral for testing, help them monitor for symptoms of the virus and connect them with any services they need for quarantine.

A crucial factor in this process is finding everyone the patient has come in contact with. As you can imagine, this can pose a challenge, especially in heavily populated areas. Even with group gatherings suspended, people must still shop for supplies and groceries or use public transportation. Emerging technology may make contact tracing easier, thanks to location tracking on cellphones. If most people used location tracking and contact tracing services, it would be much simpler to identify everyone a patient has been in contact with.

How Does Contact Tracing Help?

One of the most fundamental ways to stop the spread of a virus is awareness of exposure. One primary issue with many viruses, including COVID-19, is that many people have no idea they’re carrying the virus until they’ve already infected others. Symptoms may not appear until after the infectious period. Fast, effective contact tracing alerts those who may be carrying the virus so they can quarantine themselves right away. This strategy stops the virus in its tracks.

who performs contact tracing

Who Performs Contact Tracing?

Many different organizations can perform contact tracing, including small and large health offices and other institutions. In addition to HCRS, it’s possible to outsource contact tracing to any of the following entities.

Public Health Agencies

Public or government health agencies focus on providing the public with information and resources. Examples of public health agencies include the FDA and the National Institutes of Health. Such agencies tend to operate on a large scale and have gained overall public trust, so they’re perfect for performing contact tracing services on a national level.

State Health Departments

State health departments are responsible for protecting and improving citizens’ health. All 50 U.S. states have a state-level health department devoted to this purpose. Government involvement at the state level is beneficial, as state health departments have access to broad-scale data collection and other infrastructure. These departments can help with contact tracing during the spread of an infectious disease.

Local Health Departments

Local health departments are also helpful for contact tracing. These departments are responsible for upholding health standards in individual establishments like hotels, restaurants and schools. They can help limit viral spread within each community through contact tracing and enforcing sanitation standards.


Nonprofits can boost contact tracing’s effectiveness by aiding in communication. For instance, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials provided nationwide training for COVID-19 contact tracing in April 2020. ASTHO is a national nonprofit organization connected with public health agencies across the country. This training helped local health facilities better understand how to implement contact tracing in their communities.

Private Entities

Many private companies have also helped improve contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies involved with geolocation data, cybersecurity, app development and other technology have made contact tracing quicker and more effective. In addition, private firms have improved health data quality and programs.


Universities nationwide have gotten involved with contact tracing. Schools may provide on-campus health services, including COVID-19 tests or tests for other infectious diseases. They can then alert students of contact. Since many schools function as miniature communities, this can successfully limit viral spread on college campuses.

Regardless of who performs contact tracing, these services can help stop the spread of infectious diseases. Alerting people of possible or confirmed exposure helps them take action to separate themselves from others. The sooner and broader-spread these alerts, the more effective they are.

how to get contact tracing services

How Can I Get COVID-19 Contact Tracing Services?

Contact tracing is one of the most effective ways to stop a virus from spreading. Viruses rely on their ability to jump from host to host — this is how they survive and thrive. Alerting individuals of exposure to a virus gives them a chance to isolate themselves before they can infect others. Wide-scale, fast and effective contact tracing can eradicate a virus.

Now that many workplaces are reopening, contact tracing services for employers are particularly crucial. If you’re looking for contact tracing for your workplace, consider Healthcare Resolution Services. We offer data quality and performance services for health organizations with a mission to improve overall outcomes. Reach out today to learn about our workplace contact tracing services.

Celebrating World Health Day and Healthy People 2030

celebrating world health day

World Health Day, an annual celebration of progress internationally, took place on April 7th. It gave us a time to reflect on how we can all work to make the world an even healthier and more equitable world. One of the biggest initiatives this year from the World Health Organization is Healthy People 2030. How can you get involved in these exciting global initiatives?

What Is Healthy People 2030?

This framework has been carefully created with international health experts. The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on how some people have better access to health services, medical care and the environment needed to stay healthy than others. Throughout the globe, there is a tremendous disparity between those who can make ends meet and those who struggle with poor employment opportunities, dirty water and air, gender inequality, little access to safe environments, food insecurity and much more. While this is unfair, that does not mean it is irreversible, and Healthy People 2030 is determined to make that change.

What Will Healthy People 2030 Involve?

  1. Working Together: Communities and individuals who are at a disadvantage will work alongside governments to make lasting, powerful change.
  2. Collecting Better Data: Without quality health data, it’s hard to know what the best path forward will be. By collecting timely and reliable health data, governments will be better able to address disparities and develop solutions that build towards Healthy People 2030.
  3. Tackle Inequalities: The Healthy People 2030 program encourages governments to take a holistic approach to tackle the root causes of inequality and invest more annually into primary care and healthcare.
  4. Think Globally: It’s easy to think about yourself, but the whole world needs help. The program encourages governments to think globally and work together to improve life for all of us.

As you read some of the action steps above, how can your company or business get involved and help play a role in making your community and the entire world a better place? HealthCare Resolution Services is always here to help!

Celebrate World Health Day with Healthcare Resolution Services

HealthCare Resolution Services is a professional services firm dedicated to providing healthcare industry clients with value-added consulting solutions and health information management services. From our headquarters in Columbia, MD, we provide services to practices throughout the country. To learn more about how we can optimize your business, call us today at (866) 599-4277.

Celebrating National Minority Health Month

national minority health month

April is National Minority Health Month. This initiative, led by the Office of Minority Health (OHM), is committed to improving the health of racial and ethnic minorities throughout the country through education, awareness events and critical conversations. This year, the theme of the month is shining a light on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic minorities.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Minority Communities

Studies have already been completed on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on minority communities, and the results are alarming. The cumulative infection and death rates related to the pandemic were higher among minority groups. Minorities were also more likely to experience hospitalization as a result of their infection. Some of this is due to existing disparities and social vulnerabilities that were exploited by the devastating pandemic.

Some of the factors pinpointed through research include:

  • Discrimination throughout medical systems
  • Lower access to healthcare and higher rates of uninsured individuals
  • Working occupations that are more likely to be deemed essential, including healthcare facilities, farms, grocery stores, public transportation and factories
  • Educational, income and wealth gaps that can limit future career opportunities and make minorities more likely to hold low-paying or less stable jobs
  • Steep housing costs that lead to multigenerational households where social distancing is not possible

These factors are just some of the things that will be examined in the aftermath of the pandemic and during National Minority Health Month to ensure better health outcomes in the future.

Get #VaccineReady

Another key initiative of this year’s National Minority Health Month is encouraging communities throughout the country to be #VaccineReady. How can you prepare yourself and your community for the vaccine rollout?

  1. Familiarize yourself with how the various COVID-19 vaccines work and the differences between the most common types on the market, Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
  2. Read the fact sheets from the CDC talking about the symptoms you might experience after getting the vaccine, what to do if you experience them and how to report them.
  3. Talk with your doctor before getting the vaccine to discuss any concerns that you have and get more information about your risk factors.
  4. Check the convenient VaccineFinder tool from the CDC to discover vaccination sites near you.
  5. When it is your turn to get the vaccine, register as soon as possible and ensure that you schedule the second dose (if required) in a timely fashion. When we all work together, there can be great, dramatic results.

Celebrate National Minority Health Month with Healthcare Resolution Services

HealthCare Resolution Services is a professional services firm dedicated to providing healthcare industry clients with value-added consulting solutions and health information management services. From our headquarters in Columbia, MD, we provide services to practices throughout the country. To learn more about how we can optimize your business, call us today at (866) 599-4277.


Coping With Work and Stress During COVID-19

Coping With Work Stress During Covid19

The COVID-19 pandemic has been very tough on workers, whether you have been working remotely or going to the office every day. The relationship between work and stress has long endured, but stress rates have climbed over the course of the pandemic. From fear about the disease to workplace stress, it is a recipe for burnout and poor results on the job. How can you cope with work and stress during COVID-19?

Are You Feeling Stressed?

Before you can work on balancing work and stress, it’s important to recognize what you are dealing with. Some of the signs that you are experiencing high levels of stress include:

  • A lack of motivation
  • Feeling more irritated or angry than usual
  • Feeling depressed or sad
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling anxious or uncertain
  • Feeling burnt out or overwhelmed
  • Trouble concentrating

A lot of these symptoms have flourished due to the unique circumstances surrounding work and stress during the pandemic. Needing to take care of at-home schooling for a child while working on your own workload, for example, can dramatically increase stress levels over time. Uncertainty about your job, work schedule and managing new technology can all also make you feel more stressed out.

How to Manage Work and Stress

  1. Communicate with your supervisors and coworkers about the best way to manage work and stress so that everyone can thrive even during difficult times. It’s also important to understand any available mental health resources that are provided to you through your workplace.
  2. Control as much as you can. Keeping a schedule is one way that you can feel like you are in control, so focus on exercising each day, keeping a regular sleep schedule, ending work around the same time every day and spending time with your loved ones safely.
  3. Do as much as possible to control your exposure to COVID-19. By staying healthy and doing your part, you can help to limit the damaging impact of work and stress during this period. Your actions do matter, even if it might not seem that way.
  4. While it’s good to have access to some information, many of us can rapidly slide into information overload. Practice taking a break from reading the news or checking social media for a few hours or days at a time. If anything really important happens, you will hear about it elsewhere. In the meantime, you can get a break.

Take Time for Yourself with Healthcare Resolution Services

HealthCare Resolution Services is a professional services firm dedicated to providing healthcare industry clients with value-added consulting solutions and health information management services. From our headquarters in Columbia, MD, we provide services to practices throughout the country. To learn more about how we can optimize your business, call us today at (866) 599-4277.


Why Employee Assistance Programs Are Essential for Work Life Balance

why EAPs are essential for work life balance

Employee assistance programs are one way that companies help employees balance their personal lives with the demands of their careers. While it might seem like an extra benefit that isn’t necessary, research shows that, when they are offered, employees can truly thrive. What are some of the benefits of offering employee assistance programs at your workplace?

What Are Employee Assistance Programs?

These programs are benefits designed to help employees manage any personal challenges that could make their job more difficult. For example, if an employee is also a caretaker for their elderly parent, the stress of coordinating care for them might take away from the time and effort they are able to give their job. Employee assistance programs could connect the worker to resources that would help make their life easier. While the program is covered in full by the employer, the services are offered by an experienced third party.

Why Employee Assistance Programs Are So Important

  1. Increased Productivity: When employees are having a tough time outside of the office, it will often show in their in-office performance. From calling out more often to being distracted on the job, employee assistance programs can help reduce external problems off the job so that employees can stay more focused on the job. Studies have found that employee assistance programs can decrease time lost at work by 2/3 and reduce work-related accidents by a whopping 65%.
  2. Reasonable Cost: Productivity losses add up to billions of lost wages and revenue every year for businesses, and investing in employee assistance programs is one way to recoup some of those losses. In most cases, it only costs $10-100 per employee to enroll, which is much less than it costs to have chronic distraction or absenteeism.
  3. Improved Retention: Employees want to feel supported and valued, and employee assistance programs are one way to make them feel like you care. When you show that you care, you build loyalty in your employees and make them more likely to stick around. When you genuinely care, your employees can tell.

Take Time for Yourself with Healthcare Resolution Services

HealthCare Resolution Services is a professional services firm dedicated to providing healthcare industry clients with value-added consulting solutions and health information management services. From our headquarters in Columbia, MD, we provide services to practices throughout the country. To learn more about how we can optimize your business, call us today at (866) 599-4277.

HCRS Attends The National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Conference


HCRS Meets President Biden

Columbia, MD business owner Brenda Doles, who with her husband, built a successful government contracting business into a multimillion-dollar enterprise with 400 full-time employees.

Ms. Doles attended a White House reception on Aug. 26, 2009, during the National Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference in Washington, D.C.  Ms. Doles, a Registered Nurse of 30 years, was acknowledged by then Vice President Biden, for her service to our country. 

Founded in 1998, HCRS helps healthcare organizations improve data quality, program outcomes, and organizational performance through a suite of Health Information Management (HIM) and Health Information Technology (HIT) services that include medical coding and auditing, data abstraction, research and survey support, plus, clinical staffing services. We offer a depth and breadth of experience across the healthcare continuum that distinguishes us in the industry. Since our founding in 1998, HCRS has focused exclusively on serving the needs of public healthcare programs. In the ensuing decades, we have developed specific technologies and national best practices that are the best in class in terms of results and quality.

Our clients Department of Defense (Army, Air Force, Navy), Veterans Administration, Health and Human Services, Cigna Health Care, are just a few of our long-term clients. The spectrum is vast, diverse, and inclusive. 

HCRS is based in Columbia, Maryland, and more than 90 percent of our employees work virtually. “We have boots on the ground in nearly all 50 states. We are positioned and ready to meet the needs of our clients in any place at any time. As the principal of our company, I am committed to growing and expanding in a way that keeps us at the forefront of the health care industry.”

Interested in working with HCRS? Tell us about your organization and we can discuss how HCRS can lend the support you need to move forward. Fill out our contact form today to get started.


How HCRS Can Provide Support During the Medical Research Process

How HCRS can provide support in medical research

Medical research is the engine of innovation in healthcare. Research drives new discoveries in the ways pathogens behave, how to treat patients and how to forge a path to better healthcare. By necessity, clinical research is an exacting and exhaustive process. Each step forward needs to be supported by clinical statistics and relevant data. Medical research is accompanied by robust documentation and quality assurance processes to ensure results are accurate and replicable.

Medical researchers with academic institutions and government agencies are experts in their fields, but they have to juggle multiple demands on their time and resources. HCRS offers medical research support to help the experts do what they do best.

Data Abstraction

Medical records are an essential source of information for researchers. They can be used in various ways, often under guidance by an institutional review board (IRB). Medical records contain a wealth of data on various health conditions and approaches to treatment.

With the advent of electronic health records, these documents have become even easier to search and access. Yet, medical records remain dense. Depending on the scope of the study, researchers may be tasked with sifting through thousands upon thousands of pages to find the data relevant to their efforts. Manually searching takes a significant amount of time and resources, which are assets that are limited for researchers.

Outsourcing clinical data abstraction can help reduce the amount of time searching for data, giving researchers more time to study data and make progress in their work. HCRS has a qualified team of coders, statisticians and nurses who can examine medical records and pull out the necessary data.

For example, HCRS has provided text string coding for the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) in support of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. MEPS is a set of surveys that provide insight into healthcare utilization and cost, as well as insurance coverage. The HCRS team translated narrative data into codes for use of the surveys.

Interpret stats in medical research

Data Analysis

Clinical research support can go beyond pulling the relevant data. Once researchers have amassed the data relevant to their work, they need to make sense of it and recognize patterns. With the growing role of big data in healthcare, the sheer amount of data and the opportunities it represents are enormous. How is the data stored and organized? How is it read?

Data analysis in medical research is another time-consuming piece of the puzzle that researchers set out to solve. Statistics for medical research are complex, and analysis is a painstaking process that often takes a multidisciplinary approach. HCRS also has team members with the expertise to read, interpret and analyze this data for research projects.

HCRS has worked on a project with Truven Analytics, supporting the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analytics (CHIA). The study was designed to compare All-Payer Claims Databases (APDCs) between states. The project involved delivering a state-by-state analysis, which CHIA could use to inform the integration of Medicare data going forward.

Provide Training

Medical research is a carefully designed process with defined protocols to ensure the quality and ethics of the work being conducted. IRBs must approve research project design and protocol before it can begin. Naturally, protocol writing in clinical research is an essential skill.

Clinical research protocol is an action plan that determines how a study will be conducted. Typically, a chief researcher is the central figure in establishing a clinical research protocol, but medical studies usually involve a team of people. Postgraduates and researchers who are new to the field may be a part of the team. Seasoned researchers need the support of team members like this, but they may not have the bandwidth to teach them the ins and outs of creating research protocols and writing a research proposal.

Improper documentation and poorly written proposals can cause delays in the research process. Researchers want their full team up to speed as quickly as possible to avoid those potential errors. Mistakes made in the clinical protocol process can lead to issues during IRB review. HCRS provides training on research protocols to help everyone on the team be prepared to write clear, effective protocols that are ready for IRB review.

We also work with our clients to provide project management training. Medical research has many different moving parts. It is essential that members of the clinical research team are prepared to manage the different elements of a project, keeping it on-time and on-budget.

Provide Experience and Expertise

At HCRS, we understand the importance of quality assurance in clinical research. We have been providing clinical research support for decades, which means we have extensive experience working with the strict government protocols that dictate the research process. Even small errors can lead to research being disqualified. All of the hard work poured into a project can go to waste without careful adherence to research protocols.

Our team provides exhaustive quality assurance and training to help your team through every step of the research process. With the right support, you can be assured your hard work will meet the necessary requirements and make the hoped for contribution to medical research.

HCRS has built its experience in part through serving as a principal investigator. Principal investigators are the cornerstone of effective clinical research. This role is responsible for the overall management of a clinical research project, carefully monitoring the design of the project and its execution. All of the work a principal investigator does is within rigorous government, organizational and institutional standards. In this role, HCRS has been the leader guiding research from start to finish.

Our experience and expertise help to guide our clients and assure them they have the support they need to complete their research. No matter where we lend our support, we have years of experience backing our service.

HCRS Can Support Your Medical Research

Medical research is essential to our future. No matter your project, we can help. HCRS offers support through data abstraction and analysis, medical coding and auditing, and project management. We have helped support organizations like IMPAQ International, Advanta Healthcare Partners, Truven Analytics and RTI International. If you want to outsource healthcare research support, we have the expertise and the track record to work with you.

Tell us about your organization and your research project, and we can talk about how we can lend the support you need to move forward. Fill out our contact form today to get started.

HCRS can support your medical research