Category: Healthcare Industry News

  • Study: U.S. Spends More on Healthcare Than Other High-income Countries But Has Worse Outcomes

    Date: October 8th, 2015Source: The Commonwealth FundTopics: Population Health, Value-Based Care, Healthcare Policy, Quality Improvement
    New analysis from the Commonwealth Fund draws upon data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and other cross-national analyses to compare healthcare spending, supply, utilization, prices, and health outcomes across 13 high-income countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These data predate the major insurance provisions of the Affordable Care Act. In 2013, the U.S. spent far more on healthcare than these other countries. Despite spending more on healthcare, Americans had poor health outcomes, including shorter life expectancy and greater prevalence of chronic conditions.
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  • Senate Seeks More Interoperability, Openness for Certified EHRs

    Date: October 8th, 2015Source: Health IT AnalyticsTopics: EHRs, Health IT, Interoperability, Healthcare Policy, Information Blocking
    With the infamous specter of information blocking now hanging over industry efforts to improve the interoperability of electronic health records, Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) are attempting to take a bi-partisan approach to fostering transparency and strengthening the data exchange capabilities of certified EHR technology (CEHRT). A new bill, called the Transparent Ratings on Usability and Security to Transform Information Technology (TRUST IT) Act of 2015, plans to establish a health IT ratings system that would make it simpler for healthcare organizations to understand the interoperability capabilities and other features of future EHR products.
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  • Senators Propose Bill to Rate EHR Systems

    Date: October 8th, 2015Source: Becker's Health IT & CIO ReviewTopics: EHRs, Health IT, Interoperability, Healthcare Policy, Information Blocking
    Newly introduced legislation seeks to create a rating system for EHR products to promote transparency around them and ensure they are functioning as promised. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), MD, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), introduced the bill earlier this week. They named the legislation the "Transparent Ratings on Usability and Security to Transform Information Technology Act of 2015," or TRUST IT Act.
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  • OIG Issues Information Blocking Alert Around Anti-Kickback Statute

    Date: October 8th, 2015Source: Healthcare IT NewsTopics: HIE, EHRs, Healthcare Policy, Information Blocking
    In case you forgot, allow a new OIG alert to remind you: Healthcare providers and EHR vendors who engage in information blocking might get in serious trouble with federal anti-kickback laws. This week, HHS Office of Inspector General released a policy reminder for industry stakeholders that information blocking can violate anti-kickback statute and in some cases does not fall in the realm of safe harbor conditions. For hospitals or healthcare providers who furnish electronic health record software to a physician practice that may act as a potential or current referral source, for instance, this may violate the statute.
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  • Stage 2 Reporting Burden Shaved in Half

    Date: October 7th, 2015Source: Health Data ManagementTopics: EHRs, Meaningful Use
    Providers participating in the electronic health records Meaningful Use program during the next couple years will have far fewer objectives and measures to report under final rulemaking modifications to Stages 1 and 2.
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  • CMS Drops Final Stage 2 and Stage 3 Meaningful Use Rules

    Date: October 6th, 2015Source: Healthcare IT NewsTopics: EHRs, Meaningful Use, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Health IT
    It's final. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and ONC have released final rules for the EHR Incentive Programs, which they say will ease reporting requirements for providers and allow for 90-day reporting periods. They also announced major news on Stage 3 of the program. The 2015 rule builds on 2011 and 2014 and is reflective of input from industry stakeholders, according to Karen DeSalvo, MD, national coordinator for health IT and acting assistant secretary for Health at HHS. The final rules, as CMS and ONC officials announced late Tuesday, "make significant changes in current requirements." Chief among them are easing the reporting requirements for providers, said Patrick Conway, MD, of CMS, in a media call Tuesday afternoon. The rules also allow for a 90-day reporting period for providers in 2015, and new providers in 2016 and 2017.
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  • HHS Dials Back Reporting in Meaningful Use Stage 3

    Date: October 6th, 2015Source: MedCity NewsTopics: EHRs, Meaningful Use, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Health IT
    Responding to waves of public backlash, the Department of Health and Human Services is easing compliance and reporting requirements in Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use incentive program for electronic health records. HHS officials late Tuesday released the long-awaited Stage 3 rules, as well as modifications to the current Stage 2. HHS also is pushing back the start of Stage 3 yet another year, to Jan. 1, 2018. All providers will follow the calendar year.
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  • In the Trenches on Population Health: Medical Group Leaders Move Forward

    Date: October 2nd, 2015Source: Healthcare InformaticsTopics: EHRs, Health IT, Population Health, Data Analytics
    Amid all the broad, policy-oriented discussions, and the very broadly strategic discussions, about population health management, these days, what has it actually been like to execute on the population health promise, at the large multidisciplinary medical group level? In a word, challenging. Medical group leaders are clear on the fact that they’re trying to do something that essentially has never been attempted before in the U.S. healthcare system, and that is to transform the processes of care delivery. What are the common denominators? In interviews with Healthcare Informatics, the leaders of pioneering medical groups, while pursuing a wide variety of strategies, are finding common challenges and opportunities in wading into the deep end of the pool in several key, overlapping areas.
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  • HHS Awards $685M in Funding for Healthcare Transformation Initiatives

    Date: September 30th, 2015Source: Healthcare InformaticsTopics: HIE, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Transformation Support Services, Population Health, Behavioral Health, Quality Improvement
    Continuing its investment in The Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $685 million to 39 national and regional healthcare networks and supporting organizations to help give clinicians the necessary tools and support to improve care, increase patients’ access to information, and reduce costs. The Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative is one of the largest federal investments designed to support doctors and other clinicians in all 50 states through collaborative and peer-based learning networks.
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  • 10 Provisions Up for Discussion in MIPS Regulation

    Date: September 30th, 2015Source: Health IT InteroperabilityTopics: MACRA, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), Health IT, Value-Based Care, Healthcare Policy
    A request for information (RFI) to be published in the Federal Register on Oct. 1 seeks public and stakeholder comment on implementation of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS). The RFI gives insight into the range of specifications the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is considering in the forthcoming regulation. The changes in ways physicians will be paid cover a broad spectrum as set forth in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which replaces the sustainable growth rate methodology for PFS updates with MIPS for eligible professionals (EPs). MIPS becomes effective with EP payments for items and services furnished on or after Jan. 1, 2019.
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  • Can Big Data Analytics, Data Governance Restore Joy to Medicine?

    Date: September 29th, 2015Source: Health IT AnalyticsTopics: Health IT, Physician Workflow, Data Analytics
    Physicians who are struggling to muster up the enthusiasm to continue the practice of medicine may not feel like adding a mountain of big data to the mix will do much to help them recapture the joy of patient care. After all, burdensome reporting programs, an inundation of quality metrics, and increased documentation requirements are some of the primary reasons why clinicians are so disgruntled in the first place. But as the healthcare system evolves into a value-based, data-driven care continuum, big data analytics is poised to become the solution to physician dissatisfaction, not its cause. If providers can make meaningful changes to their information governance programs in the present, they will be positioning themselves for success in the very near future.
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  • Post-Acute Care Transformation Taking Hold in SNFs

    Date: September 28th, 2015Source: HealthLeaders MediaTopics: SNF, Value-Based Care, Hospital Readmissions, Long-Term Care, Accountable Care
    Transformational change has reached a critical mass in the post-acute sector in general and at skilled nursing facilities in particular, a pair of experts in the field says. "The skilled nursing facility industry has migrated from an industry that was based on residential services to an industry that is based on healthcare services," says Philip Glassanos, vice president for business development at Norwell, MA-based Welch Healthcare & Retirement Group. An ever-increasing number of SNFs nationwide are embracing the shift from fee-for-service medicine to delivering quality care at the lowest possible cost, says Kris Mastrangelo, MBA, president and CEO of Harmony Healthcare International, a post-acute care consultancy based in Topsfield, MA.
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  • Survey Finds Patients Prefer More Digital Healthcare

    Date: September 28th, 2015Source: CMIOTopics: HIE, Health IT, Patient Engagement
    Patients are aware of the gaps in information sharing that make it challenging for them to manage their health, according to results from Surescripts' Connected Care and the Patient Experience survey. “Dangerous voids in health information sharing can easily be solved through the use of digital communications and technology. This survey proves patients take notice and are ready for a change,” said Tom Skelton, Surescripts CEO. “As an industry, we need to come together to connect the nation’s healthcare system -- to enhance the patient experience while improving quality and lowering the cost of care.”
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  • MACRA: New Opportunities For Medicare Providers Through Innovative Payment Systems

    Date: September 28th, 2015Source: Health Affairs BlogTopics: PQRS, MACRA, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), Value-Based Care, Healthcare Policy
    Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a Request for Information (RFI) to seek public comment related to new provisions in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA): Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), Alternative Payment Models (APMs), and a physician-focused payment model (PFPMs).
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  • Report: More Than 80% of Docs Now Use EHRs

    Date: September 18th, 2015Source: Healthcare IT NewsTopics: EHRs, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Health IT
    More than eight in 10 doctors across the country, or 83%, have adopted electronic healthcare record (EHR) systems, according to a new report from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). Counting only certified EHR adoption, however, that rate goes down to 74%. Also, 51% of doctors are using only basic EHR functionalities, according to ONC.
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  • Deloitte Survey: Hospitals & Health Systems Look to Healthcare Analytics But Lack Strategy

    Date: September 16th, 2015Source: EHR IntelligenceTopics: Population Health, Value-Based Care, Accountable Care, Data Analytics
    Despite significant interest in leveraging healthcare analytics, few healthcare organizations have the necessary strategy for blending financial, operational, clinical, and other data effectively, according to a recent Deloitte Center for Health Solutions survey. Comprising responses from CIOs, CMIOs, and senior leaders from 50 health systems, the survey also finds healthcare data analytics adoption and spending falling short of industry predictions despite support for leveraging these emerging technologies for value-based care.
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  • Oncology Group Asks Congress to Bolster EHR Interoperability & Eliminate Info Blocking

    Date: September 16th, 2015Source: iHealthBeatTopics: HIE, EHRs, Interoperability, Healthcare Policy, Information Blocking
    On Tuesday, the American Society for Clinical Oncology released a position statement urging Congress to pass legislation that would strengthen interoperability of electronic health records, Modern Healthcare reports. The statement was released during a Capitol Hill briefing on big data. In the statement, ASCO noted that to achieve a fully interoperable health IT system "all health IT initiatives that utilize big data must have the ability to electronically share clinical information between practitioners."
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  • CMS to Host Call on Medicare Payment Adjustments, PQRS

    Date: September 15th, 2015Source: EHR IntelligenceTopics: PQRS, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Provider Reimbursement
    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is preparing to update eligible professionals and group practices on its plans for 2017 Medicare payment adjustments in an upcoming Medicare Learning Network (MLN) Provider Call on September 24. The call will focus on the penalties for non-compliance levied against EPs and group practices for falling short of requirements for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program and Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS). CMS applies payment adjustments to Medicare EPs and group practices for their non-participation in these incentive programs during the previous reporting year.
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  • Social, Behavioral Data Must Be Included in EHRs, Nurses Say

    Date: September 14th, 2015Source: Health IT AnalyticsTopics: EHRs, Population Health, Primary Care, Behavioral Health
    Electronic health records (EHRs) are incomplete and potentially insufficient for use in population health management programs when they are missing social and behavioral data, states the American Academy of Nursing in a new policy brief and call to action. Without collecting data on patient behaviors and the impacts of socioeconomic circumstances on clinical health, providers are operating with an incomplete picture of the challenges patients face outside of the organization’s purview.
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  • ONC Launches Online Complaint Form for Providers to Report EHR Issues, Data Blocking

    Date: September 11th, 2015Source: EHR IntelligenceTopics: HIE, EHRs, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Health IT, Interoperability, Healthcare Policy, Information Blocking
    The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has launched a new tool for reporting complaints about certified EHR technology (CEHRT) and health IT. "ONC launched [the form] to address these concerns and be the single point of entry for you to report problems or complaints about your health IT product," said Acting Deputy National Coordinator Jon White, MD. "The new reporting mechanism will help us here at ONC better triage, track, route and respond to your health IT concerns or challenges." ONC has laid out five instances where providers should contact the federal agency, including "health information blocking."
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  • Rethinking Patient Engagement as “Systems of Engagement” Around Healthcare Consumers

    Date: September 9th, 2015Source: Healthcare InformaticsTopics: Health IT, Patient Engagement, Accountable Care, Health Plans
    As healthcare providers, health plans, and new entrants into the healthcare competitive marketplace, such as retail pharmacies and non-healthcare-based technology companies, all rush in to try to capture healthcare consumer mindspace at a time of great tumult and change in U.S. healthcare, what strategies must traditional providers—hospitals, medical groups, and integrated health systems—employ in order to thrive in the emerging healthcare landscape?
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  • ‘Innovate Or Die?’ Mission-Driven Home Health Providers Choose the Former

    Date: September 3rd, 2015Source: Health Affairs BlogTopics: Value-Based Care, Home Health, Accountable Care
    Home health providers are ready, willing, and able to build the skills and infrastructure necessary to succeed in a value-based purchasing environment. Mr. Marchica should be applauded for his recent post on this Blog that highlights the need for innovation in the home health sector. Yet the image he paints of an industry staunchly resistant to change conflicts with our experience working with our members at the Visiting Nurses Association of America (VNAA). Many mission-driven home health providers are discovering innovative ways to adapt and provide the highest quality care efficiently.
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  • Primary Care Providers View Health IT Use in Positive Light

    Date: August 27th, 2015Source: EHR IntelligenceTopics: EHRs, Health IT
    Primary care providers view health IT use as a welcome addition to delivering high-quality, but remain skeptical of the benefits of accountable care organizations (ACOs) in the provisioning of high-quality, according to new research published by the Commonwealth Fund in collaboration with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Of the more than 1,600 physicians surveyed, exactly half (50%) view the impact if increased use of health IT as positive, compared to 28 percent who deemed its impact to be negative.
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  • “Doc Fix” to Change How Physicians Are Paid; Meaningful Use Continues to Play an Essential Role

    Date: August 25th, 2015Source: MD NewsTopics: Meaningful Use, PQRS, MACRA, Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)
    As the sea change of government initiatives transforming healthcare continues, another high-impact piece of legislation became law this spring. President Obama signed the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), which introduces an entirely new method of paying for healthcare services. Known as the “Doc Fix,” the law takes effect in 2019, but the path forward really begins in 2015. The new Medicare reimbursement system is based on the quality of clinical outcomes. It establishes a 0.5% reimbursement increase beginning in 2015 and running through 2019. Value-based payments also begin in 2019. The new program will combine three existing quality incentive programs, reshuffling them into four performance categories that will determine provider payments.
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  • Four People You Need For an Easy EHR Transition

    Date: August 25th, 2015Source: Healthcare IT NewsTopics: EHRs, Meaningful Use, Physician Workflow
    Facing a new electronic health record (EHR) implementation is like facing the boogeyman of the health IT world. Transition to a new system can be a nightmare. There's staff resistance, technical difficulties, disrupted workflow and a steep learning curve. But as technology advances, transition from one EHR system to the next is sometimes a necessity. A 2014 survey showed 67% of physicians do not like the functionality of their current EHR systems. But an effective EHR is key to increasing efficiency and reducing costs. For many hospitals, health systems and practices, it may be time to switch to a better system.
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