Category: Healthcare Industry News

  • SGR Repeal is a “Game-Changer” for Health IT

    Date: April 15th, 2015Source: Healthcare InformaticsTopics: Healthcare Policy, Meaningful Use, PQRS, MACRA, Provider Reimbursement
    Industry stakeholders are overwhelmingly praising Congress for passing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, which repealed the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula for reimbursing physicians under Medicare.
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  • The Tangle of Coordinated Healthcare

    Date: April 13th, 2015Source: The New York TimesTopics: Care Coordination
    Who coordinates the coordinators? More specifically, who coordinates the proliferating number of health care helpers variously known as case managers, care managers, care coordinators, patient navigators or facilitators, health coaches or even — here’s a new one — “pathfinders”? Rachel Schwartz, a licensed clinical social worker for close to 20 years, came face to face with this quandary earlier this month. Employed by a home care agency in Virginia, she visited a woman in her late 70s who had recently come home from the hospital. The patient, who lives with her husband and daughter, has diabetes and dementia. Ms. Schwartz, during the scant one to three social work visits that Medicare will cover, planned to help her sign up for community services like Meals on Wheels. “We’re trying to keep people at home and out of hospitals,” she said. But the woman also had a care manager through her Medicare Advantage program, her daughter reported, handing over a business card. Not wanting to duplicate those efforts, Ms. Schwartz left the care manager a message, then later texted a former colleague who worked for the same program. Did she know this care manager? They should collaborate. No, the colleague didn’t know her. She might not be a field case manager, she texted back; she might be a telephonic manager.
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  • CMS Proposes Significant Changes to Meaningful Use Stages 1 and 2

    Date: April 12th, 2015Source: Health Data ManagementTopics: Patient Engagement, EHRs, Meaningful Use, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services late in the day on April 10 came out with yet another proposed rule to make modifications that will ease compliance with Stages 1 and 2 of the electronic health records meaningful use program. The rule changes the reporting periods to attest for meaningful use, substantially scales back several Stage 2 measure thresholds, and eliminates the need to report multiple measures as conducting these measures has essentially become common practice.
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  • ONC Calls Out Health IT Developers for Blocking Information Exchange

    Date: April 10th, 2015Source: Healthcare IT NewsTopics: Interoperability, EHRs, Healthcare Policy, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    Having received many complaints in recent months about vendors and providers engaging in information blocking, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is "becoming increasingly concerned about these practices, which devalue taxpayer investments in health IT and are fundamentally incompatible with efforts to transform the nation’s health system." That's according to National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, and Jodi G. Daniel, ONC's director of the Office of Policy Planning, writing in a blog post that calls out "persons or entities (who) knowingly and unreasonably interfere with the exchange or use of electronic health information."
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  • A Hybrid Approach to Avoiding Readmissions

    Date: April 9th, 2015Source: Hospitals & Health NetworksTopics: Hospital Readmissions
    The costs associated with hospital readmission for recently discharged patients manifest themselves in many ways. It costs the hospital in resource allocation and in real dollars, particularly for the growing number of facilities that take capitated risk, participate in an accountable care organization or partner in their own health plan. It costs the government meaningful dollars (that otherwise could have been redirected toward other health care needs) in reimbursing for the costs for Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries who are commonly the highest sources of readmission.
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  • Ten Things a Practice Needs to Be a Successful PCMH

    Date: April 2nd, 2015Source: Physicians PracticeTopics: Transformation Support Services, Medical Home Model
    Many practices are transitioning, or considering transitioning, to a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH). But it can be a challenging and complex process. To help provide some guidance, we asked physicians, practice managers, and consultants familiar with the medical home transition process to share their top pieces of advice.
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  • Demand Grows for Care Coordinators

    Date: March 28th, 2015Source: Modern Healthcare (registration may be required to view)Topics: Patient Engagement, Care Coordination, Medical Home Model, Primary Care
    Dr. Grace Chen's frail and elderly patients can be bewildered by the automated phone directories of their healthcare providers and may give up before getting through for help. Understanding their new medications can overwhelm them. And they may miss medical appointments because they lack transportation. Their confusion and anxiety can end with a trip to the emergency department. Chen, a geriatrician at the UCLA Health System in Los Angeles, previously worked with clerical assistants to handle her patients' questions and help them with their healthcare logistics. That often took a lot of their time each week. This changed three years ago when UCLA Health System started hiring full-time care coordinators to work alongside doctors in its primary-care clinics.
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  • Patient-centered medical homes need better IT tools

    Date: March 23rd, 2015Source: FierceHealthITTopics: Transformation Support Services, Health IT, Medical Home Model
    To serve patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs), health IT needs to evolve from digitized patient record repositories into interoperable electronic collaboration platforms to further care coordination, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
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  • Interoperability Key to Stage 3 Meaningful Use Requirements

    Date: March 23rd, 2015Source: Health IT InteroperabilityTopics: Meaningful Use, Interoperability
    The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has released its proposed conclusion to the EHR Incentive Programs with a strong emphasis on data exchange made possible through interoperable certified EHR technology and others forms of health IT. “The flow of information is fundamental to achieving a health system that delivers better care, smarter spending, and healthier people. The steps we are taking today will help to create more transparency on cost and quality information, bring electronic health information to inform care and decision making, and support population health,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a public statement.
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  • Patients Want No-Cost Health Data Exchange, Survey Finds

    Date: March 20th, 2015Source: iHealthBeatTopics: HIE, EHRs, Patient Engagement
    The majority of U.S. adults say that health care providers should be capable of easily sharing patients' health information and that such data exchange should be available at no cost to patients and providers, according to a new survey. The survey was published by the Society of Participatory Medicine. The poll included responses from 1,011 adults. Overall, 75% of respondents said it is very important that their health care providers be able to share patient health information among themselves. According to the survey, 20% of respondents said they or a family member had experienced difficulties receiving medical treatment because their records could not be shared electronically with other providers.
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  • Stage 2 Helps Boost Hospitals' Reporting of Public Health Data

    Date: March 11th, 2015Source: iHealthBeatTopics: Meaningful Use, Public Health Reporting
    During 2014, eligible hospitals in Stage 2 of the Medicare meaningful use program significantly increased their electronic reporting of health data to public health agencies and registries, according to the latest data from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. The data, presented at a Health IT Policy Committee meeting on Tuesday, show that 72% of eligible hospitals reporting to Stage 2 for fiscal year 2014 have reported on all three public health measures.
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  • FCC Passes Net Neutrality Rules; Health Industry Weighs Effects

    Date: March 2nd, 2015Source: iHealthBeatTopics: Health IT
    On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to adopt rules that tighten oversight of mobile and fixed broadband providers to better protect net neutrality. Net neutrality is the idea that the Internet should be open and that all telecommunication companies should be required to treat all Internet traffic equally. Health care stakeholders appear split on whether the new rules will serve to help or harm the industry which is increasingly adopting health IT tools that rely on fast wireless connections.
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  • Spotlight on Unnecessary Care Likely to Get Brighter

    Date: March 2nd, 2015Source: Hospitals & Health NetworksTopics: Value-Based Care
    Unnecessary care — usually associated with excess testing, surgical procedures or overprescribing — accounts for up to 25 percent of what's spent in health care according to the Institute of Medicine. That's more than $750 billion per year spent for services that do not improve outcomes. Some of this is done as a precaution: About $60 billion annually of unnecessary testing is spent to avoid liability. But what about the rest? Some would say no harm, no foul. After all, patients often request procedures and pills not knowing what might work best (this is called "preference-driven demand") and that drives costs up but, far and away, "supply-driven demand" is the major reason for spending for unnecessary services.
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  • CMS Grants Eligible Professionals More Time for EHR Attestations

    Date: February 25th, 2015Source: iHealthBeatTopics: EHRs, Meaningful Use, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    On Wednesday, CMS announced that it has extended the deadline for eligible professionals to attest to the Medicare meaningful use 2014 reporting period. The new deadline for eligible professionals is March 20, pushed back from the original Feb. 28 deadline.
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  • Doctors Say EHR Fees are Blocking Health Reform

    Date: February 23rd, 2015Source: PoliticoTopics: EHRs, Interoperability
    As they move to exchange patient information with hospitals and other health care partners, doctors are suffering sticker shock: The vendors of health care software, or electronic health records (EHR), want thousands of dollars to unlock the data so they can be shared. It may take an act of Congress to provide relief. The fees are thwarting the goals of the $30 billion federal push to get doctors and hospitals to digitize health records. The exorbitant prices to transmit and receive data, providers and IT specialists say, can amount to billions a year. And the EHR industry is increasingly reliant on this revenue.
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  • The 'Small Data' Revolution

    Date: February 18th, 2015Source: For the RecordTopics: EHRs
    Before focusing on Big Data—systems that rely on mass amounts of accurate data to intuit connections and causality without significant human programming—health care organizations must get their small data right. Ensuring that EHRs are accurately capturing data, storing it efficiently, and transporting it directly is a necessary precursor to an effective Big Data program.
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  • EHR Business Environment Must Change to Achieve Interoperability

    Date: February 4th, 2015Source: Health Data ManagementTopics: EHRs, Interoperability
    The main challenges for the nation’s health IT interoperability are not technical but business related. That’s the word from former National Coordinators for Health IT speaking in a panel session on Tuesday at ONC’s Annual Meeting in Washington. Farzad Mostashari, M.D., former National Coordinator for HIT and currently CEO of start-up Aledade which partners with independent primary care physicians, warned that business practices among some electronic health records vendors are inhibiting the sharing of health information by restricting information exchange with users of other EHR products.
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  • Patient-Centered Medical Home Reduces Cost, Raises Quality

    Date: February 2nd, 2015Source: HealthIT AnalyticsTopics: Medical Home Model
    The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is an effective way to reduce healthcare spending while raising quality indicators, says the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC) in a new report. The organization’s annual review of evidence of the impact of the PCMH shows that the model can produce widespread cost cutting, improvements in service utilization, higher patient satisfaction scores, and better access to care for patients in a number of independent studies.
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  • CMS Intends to Modify Requirements for Meaningful Use

    Date: January 29th, 2015Source: The CMS BlogTopics: EHRs, Meaningful Use, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced their intent to engage in rulemaking to update the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs beginning in 2015. These intended changes would help to reduce the reporting burden on providers, while supporting the long term goals of the program. CMS is reviewing proposals to realign hospital EHR reporting periods to the calendar year and shorten the EHR reporting period in 2015 to 90 days.
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  • Better, Smarter, Healthier: In historic announcement, HHS sets clear goals and timeline for shifting Medicare reimbursements from volume to value

    Date: January 26th, 2015Source: HHS.govTopics: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    In a meeting with nearly two dozen leaders representing consumers, insurers, providers, and business leaders, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell today announced measurable goals and a timeline to move the Medicare program, and the health care system at large, toward paying providers based on the quality, rather than the quantity of care they give patients.
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  • What is the Argonaut Project and Can it Make Exchanging Health Data Easier?

    Date: January 26th, 2015Source: InformationWeek HealthcareTopics: Health IT
    The Argonaut Project has a big, maybe even audacious ambition: to make health data-sharing easier by using Internet-based open messaging and documents standards instead of complex, healthcare-specific ones. The project's champion, John Halamka, is one of the best-known figures in health information technology. He's the CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a full professor at Harvard Medical School, the chairman of the New England Health Electronic Data Interchange Network (NEHEN), co-chair of the HIT Standards Committee, and a practicing emergency physician.
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  • Colorado Lawmakers Advance Bill to Spread Telehealth Across State

    Date: January 22nd, 2015Source: Denver PostTopics: Telehealth
    A bill that would boost telemedicine in Colorado by preventing health insurance plans from requiring in-person care to patients when it can be appropriately provided remotely progressed to the House floor on a unanimous committee vote Thursday. If passed, the bill would preclude health plans from requiring in-person care if consulting, monitoring and other care could be administered as effectively at a distance. It would prevent plans from reimbursing providers who deliver telehealth on a different basis than for in-person care. Health plans could not charge different deductibles, co-payments or co-insurance amounts or set different annual or lifetime dollar maximums.
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  • Study Shows Care Coordination Hampered by Inadequate Discharge Summaries

    Date: January 16th, 2015Source: HealthIT AnalyticsTopics: Care Coordination, Care Summaries
    Hospitals do not always provide complete, timely, and accurate discharge summaries to physicians in order to improve patient care coordination for those with heart failure, finds a new study from Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal of the American Heart Association. The vast majority hospitals lack at least some of the seven basic Transitions of Care Consensus Conference elements that should be included in a discharge summary, and only one third of providers documented transmission of a patient discharge summary to his or her primary care physician.
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  • Study Shows Health Information Exchange Reduces Repeat Imaging Tests

    Date: January 15th, 2015Source: Weill Cornell Medical College NewsTopics: HIE, Duplicate Testing
    The use of health information exchange (HIE) to share reports on imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRIs, can help reduce the number of times patients undergo the exact same test, according to Weill Cornell Medical College researchers. Their study, published Jan. 14 in the American Journal of Managed Care, suggests HIE technology that gives healthcare providers immediate, electronic access to a patient's medical history may improve the quality of care while reducing unnecessary costs.
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  • KLAS Report Weighs In on Analytics

    Date: January 9th, 2015Source: Healthcare IT NewsTopics: Health IT
    The explosion of big data has created a big market for clinical and business intelligence – and means some big decisions for providers looking to make smart analytics purchases. A new report from KLAS weighs the merits of BI vendors large and small. KLAS researchers spoke with more than 400 providers about their experiences with analytics software. The report reveals which vendors provide the best client experience and which create the most value for providers. "Biggest is not always best," according to KLAS, which found the providers it surveyed reporting that vendors' size had little bearing on their performance.
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