Ascellon at 2017 HIMMS Conference (Part 1)

2 Mar

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Ascellon was represented at the 2017 Annual HIMMS Conference in Orlando in February.  There were many exciting and cutting edge products and innovations to be seen at the conference.  From Ascellon’s perspective, the most exciting things happening at the intersection of information technology (IT) and patient care today are cost reduction, and privacy and security.

Foremost on everyone’s mind is the risk posed to patients by unauthorized access to medical records and identifying data.  Beyond the usual identity theft issues, there could be life-threatening consequences if unauthorized or malicious activities are introduced into a medical device that is in active use, or even the interception of an electronic prescription.  Several vendors exhibited new and exciting products to counter such threats.  Ascellon has developed channel partnerships that will allow us to recommend the best solutions for our customers based on the relationships we have developed with industry leaders in this field.

In the next post, we will discuss how cutting edge IT systems are helping providers and payers to control cost without jeopardizing quality of care.

Ascellon Partners with Junior Achievement to Mentor Youth on Financial Literacy

27 Feb

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Under the leadership of Ascellon Corporation CEO, Sheila Scott, employees from the company facilitated a workshop with students at the Junior Achievement Finance Park, Prince George’s County, Maryland on February 13, 2017.  At the workshop, students from William Wirt Middle School learned about the importance of creating a budget, saving, and investing in a hands-on and fun environment.  Junior Achievement Finance Park is part of Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, an international non-profit founded in 1919 dedicated to preparing youth to become future leaders in a global economy.

The workshop involved using a software simulation program in which students learned how to navigate real-life financial situations. They were taken through exercises based on a given monthly income, create a budget, pay bills and other expenses, and deal with financial emergencies.  Ascellon’s volunteers guided students through the simulations and advised students on how best to budget their monthly incomes, save, and spend.

Ascellon is proud to be of service in our community.  Volunteering to support the mission of Junior Achievement of Greater Washington is one of the ways we hope to make a difference and prepare our students for a competitive economy. For more information about Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, please visit  http://www.myja.org/.

For information about Ascellon in the community and volunteer activities, please email: info@ascellon.com.

Ascellon President Joins Foundation School Board

28 Nov

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Ascellon Corporation is pleased to announce that Company President, Ade Adebisi has joined the Board of Directors of the Foundation Schools of Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.

The Foundation Schools’ mission is to provide a highly-specialized educational and therapeutic program for students with emotional disabilities, as well as those with social, emotional and learning challenges.

Through 40-years of history, thousands of students have benefited from academic and therapeutic services the schools have provided in the Washington Metropolitan area.

“I am proud to join the board of such important institutions,” Adebisi said. “The Foundation Schools’ core values in service to its students mirror our own, both in our corporate personality, and in our commitment to corporate citizenship. I look forward to helping generate support for the schools, the students and the families they serve.”

Ascellon Corporation Re-Registered as an ISO 9001:2008 Company

24 Oct

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After weeks of updates to our cloud-based, Quality Management System (QMS), various Internal Audits and Team Working Sessions, Ascellon Corporation has officially received its re-registration as an ISO 9001:2008 Company. Ascellon has maintained, without interruption, ISO 9001 registration since 2007.  The current renewal of our registration is valid through September of 2018.  The re-certification illustrates Ascellon’s commitment to quality, consistency, and continuous improvement throughout the organization.

ISO 9001:2008 has recently allowed Ascellon to achieve 100% On-Time Delivery (95% Goal), and a 97.1% Customer Satisfaction Rating (90% Goal). The specific requirements for ISO 9001:2008 are highlighted below:

  • Ability to consistently provide product that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
  • Aims to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including processes for continual improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

 

Beyond the EHR – Big Data Analytics in Healthcare

2 Jun

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As the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) reach critical mass, the healthcare industry is increasingly looking for ways to optimize on this now digital data. As we look beyond the implementation of the EHR, we have to ask ourselves, what’s next?  Digital health data, and the ability to mine that data, holds the promise of improved efficiency, lower costs, fewer errors, better health outcomes and greater accessibility.  Access to actionable and easy to understand personal health data could also be helpful in creating a more consumer focused health system.

While it is likely that most health entities have begun to collect some form of electronic health data, the challenge now is to figure out how to use big data to achieve the promise.  Healthcare entities should be planning their big data future. Entities should define their strategic objectives, and go about the work of developing a roadmap. Start with the end in mind. The big consideration is insourcing vs. outsourcing. Insourcing can be a high cost, high-risk proposition but it is an option that may pay out in the long run if done properly. Outsourcing offers a lower entry cost and lower risk option in that it allows you to push off the costs of implementation, development and maintenance. Regardless of which path an entity takes, a well-planned process will yield results by giving payers, providers, and patients access to the right data, at the right time for the right outcome.

How to Decide: Waterfall versus Agile Methodology

23 May

Often the success or failure of a software development project depends on deploying the appropriate methodology.  While Agile has many benefits, and appropriate for many projects, it has its limitations as well. Therefore, employing Agile Methodology does not guarantee success.  For example, Agile Methodology, when applied improperly, or without understanding structured software development techniques, can lead to an undisciplined and undocumented run-away project.  As developers go through iterations of refinements and unplanned complexities, Agile’s weaknesses become more pronounced, and the customer becomes unhappy.

On the other hand, a disciplined Waterfall Methodology is appropriate when requirements are well documented and straight-forward, the technology is familiar, and there are relatively few key users of the application.  In such cases, the Waterfall approach gets right to the point.  The designers know exactly what to do, and the developers are able to code to the design with relative ease.  There is no need to go through continuous iterations, except to address defects.  The overall mission is accomplished in relatively short order.

The important point is that each approach has its own unique challenges and advantages.  Deciding which one works best for your project is one of the most important decisions that will determine if the project can be completed on schedule and within budget.

Maintaining an Effective Quality Management System under ISO 9001:2008

10 May

This month, Ascellon passed our semi-annual ISO surveillance audit without any non-conformance citations.  It is our 18th straight semi-annual audit without any non-conformance citation.  Surveillance audits are conducted by independent certification auditors recognized by the ISO governing body. The purpose of the regularly scheduled surveillance audit is to assure the ISO certification body that the quality management system is put into practice for business operations.  The audit typically focuses on the results of internal audits which are conducted regularly, whether metrics are collected, and how the data collected are used to implement corrective or preventive actions and to improve business processes.  Our customers who require our ISO certification as a condition for doing business with us are further assured of our status as a certified organization based on the results of the surveillance audits.

As an organization, we have found that maintaining an effective ISO 9001:2008 certified quality management system requires continuous management, focus and energy.  The goal is to design a management system that is in line with the organization’s business, while satisfying the requirements of ISO.

Second, we maintain a rigorous internal audit schedule, such that all parts of the system are audited at least twice each year.  This is invaluable in preparing for external surveillance audits.  The organization hardly needs any additional preparation for surveillance audits if internal audits are well-conducted.

Finally, we get everyone involved.  The quality management system is not something for the Quality Assurance Department – it is a way of doing business across the entire organization.

In summary, management at the highest level must lead the quality management system effort, the organization must design a quality management system that fits its business processes while maintaining compliance with ISO, and the quality management system belongs to everyone, not just the QA Department.

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