Category: Healthcare Industry News

  • In a Pressurized Policy Environment, Health Care Leaders Seek Clarity

    Date: August 20th, 2014Source: Healthcare InformaticsTopics: HIE, Health IT, Value-Based Care, Accountable Care
    It would be hard to dispute that the health IT industry is in the thick of an exciting journey that will transform the U.S. healthcare system. As we shift from a fee-for-service-based payment system to one that rewards value-based care, plenty of initiatives are on healthcare organizations’ plates, such as meaningful use, ICD-10, value-based purchasing, bundled payments, data privacy regulations, and accountable care organizations (ACOs). These programs, efforts, and mandates all are part of the voyage to the “new” healthcare, one that began a few decades ago but was reinforced with President Obama’s Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in 2009, which authorized tens of billions of dollars in federal subsidies to doctors and hospitals for the meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs).
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  • Health Groups Emphasize Interoperability To Enhance Patient Care

    Date: August 19th, 2014Source: iHealthBeatTopics: EHRs, Interoperability
    Several health care organizations have sent letters to Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) highlighting the importance of health care data transparency and interoperability, EHR Intelligence reports. The letters came in response to a June request from Wyden and Grassley seeking ideas "to enhance the availability and utility of health care data" while protecting patient privacy from 200 health care industry individuals and groups. Aug. 12 was the deadline for responses to the senators' query.
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  • Small Primary Care Physician Practices Have Low Rates Of Preventable Hospital Admissions

    Date: August 14th, 2014Source: Health AffairsTopics: Hospital Readmissions, Primary Care, Patient Care
    Nearly two-thirds of US office-based physicians work in practices of fewer than seven physicians. It is often assumed that larger practices provide better care, although there is little evidence for or against this assumption. What is the relationship between practice size—and other practice characteristics, such as ownership or use of medical home processes—and the quality of care? We conducted a national survey of 1,045 primary care–based practices with 19 or fewer physicians to determine practice characteristics. Compared to practices with 10–19 physicians, practices with 1–2 physicians had 33 percent fewer preventable admissions, and practices with 3–9 physicians had 27 percent fewer.
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  • Senate Panel Orders Scrutiny of Alleged EHR 'Information-Blocking'

    Date: July 28th, 2014Source: FierceHealthITTopics: EHRs, Interoperability
    The Senate Appropriations Committee has directed the ONC's Health IT Policy Committee to submit a report on the technical, operational and financial barriers to information-sharing among electronic health records systems--what it calls the "information-blocking problem"-- and what should be done to combat it. "ONC should use its authority to certify only those products not block health information exchange," the budget report states.
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  • Is Capitol Hill Leaning Toward Relaxing Healthcare Privacy Regs?

    Date: July 25th, 2014Source: Modern Healthcare - free registration may be required to viewTopics: Healthcare Policy, Data Security
    Capitol Hill's recent focus on digital health has seen bands of witnesses testifying about what policies might enable more innovation in the sector. A significant number of those witnesses agree: Rethinking healthcare policy rules is one potential target. The House Energy & Commerce Committee has, of late, been running a series of hearings and roundtables called “21st century cures,” intended to promote innovative treatments. Of the witnesses that the committee has called, at least seven have mentioned the need to change privacy regulations.
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  • Live From the Denver iHT2 Summit: If the Healthcare Cloud Is One Thing, It’s Complicated

    Date: July 22nd, 2014Source: Healthcare InformaticsTopics: Data Security
    When it comes to shifting towards cloud-based computing in healthcare, the landscape remains highly complicated along a number of dimensions—core infrastructure and technology, data security and privacy, process, and above all, people. That much was clear, as the Health IT Summit in Denver kicked off on Tuesday, July 22nd.
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  • Why the Long-Term Care Industry Needs to Get Connected (And Supported)

    Date: July 17th, 2014Source: Healthcare InformaticsTopics: Interoperability, Long-Term Care, Transitions of Care
    The long-term care market—and its growing need for health IT—has largely been ignored. According to a January 2014 report from the California Healthcare Foundation and Bluepath Health, a Calif.-based consulting firm, “HITECH [the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act] ignored most critical skilled nursing and interim care facilities, resulting in an enormous disconnect between the acute site and rehabilitative care. This disconnect may prove to be a significant barrier in achieving new payment models that rely on providing seamless care transitions.”
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  • Six Ways Big Data Can Lower Costs

    Date: July 10th, 2014Source: Healthcare IT NewsTopics: EHRs, Data Analytics
    Brigham and Women's Hospital has put forth a new report showcasing a half-dozen ways to lower health care costs through the use of big data. With electronic health records now common across the U.S., the amount of clinical data ripe for research and analytics is on the rise. This is opening big opportunities to arrive at insights that could improve the value of patient care, say B&W officials. A new study published in the July issue of Health Affairs shows how big data analytics is helping pave the way toward reduced costs.
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  • Physicians Practice 2014 Technology Survey Results

    Date: July 9th, 2014Source: Physicians PracticeTopics: EHRs, Interoperability
    Physicians Practice, an online news service and community for physicians and practice management professionals, has been asking visitors about their use of technology for over a decade. The Physicians Practice 2014 Technology Survey has recently been released and physicians' top concerns are EHR adoption and lack of interoperability between EHRs.
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  • Electronic Transmission in Stage 2 MU: Not So Simple

    Date: July 9th, 2014Source: Healthcare IT NewsTopics: EHRs, Meaningful Use, Care Summaries
    On paper, it sounds easy. Eligible hospitals that refer patients to another care setting must electronically transmit "a summary of care record for more than 10 percent of such transitions and referrals." The twelfth of Stage 2 meaningful use's 16 core measures requires that such a summary of care be either transmitted to another recipient using certified electronic health record technology, or with help from an organization that's either an "NwHIN Exchange participant or (operates in) a manner that is consistent with the governance mechanism ONC establishes for the nationwide health information network."
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  • Apps That Store Personal Medical Records Are Growing in Popularity

    Date: June 16th, 2014Source: Boston GlobeTopics: Health IT, Patient Engagement
    Heather Earley used to lug a 5-inch binder to every pediatrician’s appointment, filled with hundreds of pages of specialists’ notes, test results, and other medical records for her 11-year-old son, who was born with a rare genetic disorder. Now Early, 47, a mother of three from Libertyville, Ill., just brings her iPad.
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  • Telehealth Gets Big Boost From AMA

    Date: June 12th, 2014Source: Healthcare IT NewsTopics: Telehealth
    The nation's largest physicians' association has officially put its foot forward with telemedicine, after establishing guiding principles to ensure appropriate coverage and reimbursement for telemedicine services. It's the latest in a continuing barrage of votes, letters, position papers and announcements from professional organizations, trade groups and other telemedicine advocates to push the needle ahead on this technology and give providers the support they need to use telemedicine, telehealth and mHealth tools.
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  • Panel Advances Behavioral Health Data Exchange Recommendations

    Date: June 11th, 2014Source: iHealthBeatTopics: HIE, Care Coordination, Behavioral Health, Data Security
    On Tuesday, June 10th, the Health IT Policy Committee approved recommendations from its Privacy and Security Tiger Team that are aimed at safeguarding the privacy of behavioral health data included in electronic health records. The Privacy and Security Tiger Team recommended that EHR systems used by behavioral health providers have the ability to tag documents containing sensitive behavioral health information. That information then would be transmitted in documents using the Consolidated Continuity of Care Document format and its "data segmentation for privacy" tagging format.
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  • How to Reduce EHR Adoption, Meaningful Use Complexities

    Date: June 3rd, 2014Source: EHR IntelligenceTopics: EHRs, Meaningful Use
    It’s generally accepted that there are many advantages to healthcare organizations adopting EHR systems. Ubiquitous availability of patient records, convenience and timeliness of mobile access to information, and streamlined communication among healthcare professionals and patients are among the greatest gains. But as with many advances in the workplace, EHR presents a number of challenges to healthcare organizations and providers. Here are lessons learned from early adopters.
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  • ACO Landscape Shows Physicians Key to Success

    Date: June 3rd, 2014Source: Healthcare IT NewsTopics: Health IT, Accountable Care
    To move things forward, shake things up, embrace change, a strong leader proves essential. In healthcare, this leader is often the physician. From getting staff on board with health information technology or adopting new value-based care models, physician leadership is key to success, particularly with accountable care organizations, a new study suggests.
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  • The Right Data Can Work Wonders

    Date: June 3rd, 2014Source: Healthcare IT NewsTopics: HIE, Interoperability
    The excitement was palpable at this week's Health Datapalooza event. The theme: endless possibilities. In fact, the ways that the gathering of the appropriate data and the analysis of it can improve health outcomes is astounding. But first the right data must to be collected.
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  • CMS Proposes Stretching 'Stage 1' in EHR Incentive Program

    Date: May 20th, 2014Source: Modern Healthcare (free registration may be required to view)Topics: EHRs, Meaningful Use, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    Healthcare providers will have one extra year to use 2011 Edition software in their electronic health record systems under the federal incentive program for health IT under a proposed rule the CMS issued Tuesday. Providers scheduled to jump to the program's Stage 2 criteria will have another year to stay at Stage 1. Hospitals, physicians and other eligible professionals trying to meet the program's Stage 1 meaningful-use criteria can continue to use 2011 Edition software under the proposal, which will give them “more flexibility,” according to a joint announcement by the CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
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  • Substance Abuse Patients Suffer from Privacy, Data-Sharing Rules SAMHSA Says

    Date: May 9th, 2014Source: Modern Healthcare (free registration may be required to view)Topics: Behavioral Health, Data Security
    Existing federal privacy regulations are keeping healthcare organizations, including health-information exchange (HIE) organizations, accountable care organizations (ACO) and coordinated care organizations from relaying information about patients' substance-abuse disorders, according to HHS' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This inability to share information is preventing some patients from fully benefiting from appropriate treatment models, the agency said. As a result, SAMSHA is now attempting to tweak regulations so those individuals can have full access to coordinated care, while still ensuring their personal information isn't at risk for exposure to unauthorized personnel, the agency said in a federal notice.
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  • CMS Reminds Providers of 'Meaningful Use' July 1st Hardship Exception Deadline

    Date: May 8th, 2014Source: Medscape Medical NewsTopics: EHRs, Meaningful Use, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is reminding physicians who did not attest to meaningful use (MU) of electronic health records (EHR) in 2013 that they have until July 1 of this year to apply for a hardship exception so they can avoid a financial penalty in 2015. Physicians who attested in previous years but don't attest to MU stage 2 this year have until July 1, 2015, to apply for a hardship exception to sidestep a penalty in 2016. Hardship exceptions are valid for one year and then must be renewed.
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  • In a World of EHRs, Should Physician Notes Be Turned Upside-Down?

    Date: May 8th, 2014Source: Healthcare InformaticsTopics: EHRs, Physician Workflow
    Brian Patty, M.D., vice president and CMIO at the four-hospital, HealthEast Health System, based in St. Paul, Minn., is one of many CMIOs around the U.S. working to improve physician documentation in patient care organizations, for the sake of everyone—physicians, nurses, other clinicians, administrators, and above all, patients. Patty has been in the trenches working with his colleagues at HealthEast to improve the way in which physicians document.
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  • Survey Shows Health Info. Exchange is on the Rise

    Date: May 6th, 2014Source: Healthcare IT NewsTopics: HIE, Health IT
    Despite the often-heard doom and gloom about interoperability, the reality of hospitals engaging in health information exchange appears to be brighter. HIE among U.S. non-federal acute care hospitals has been trending upward since 2008, in fact, and it took some major leaps forward in 2013.
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  • Unprepared EHR Vendors Making MU Thornier for Practices

    Date: May 1st, 2014Source: Medical Practice InsiderTopics: EHRs, Meaningful Use
    Achieving meaningful use in 2014 will be a substantial challenge for small and midsize practices, primarily because EHR vendors haven't yet upgraded their systems to 2014 criteria. Practices in such a situation would file a hardship extension with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which administers incentive payments under the MU program. An exemption category applies to eligible providers who are unable to implement meaningful use due to 2014 EHR certification delays.
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  • ONC Reminds Providers of July 1 Hardship Exception Deadline

    Date: April 23rd, 2014Source: EHR IntelligenceTopics: EHRs, Meaningful Use
    Eligible professionals (EPs) have until July 1, 2014, to submit their applications for a hardship exception to avoid a payment adjustment as a result of failing to demonstrate meaningful use during reporting year 2013, according to a reminder issued by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).
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  • DeSalvo Calls for Restructuring of HIT Policy Committee Workgroups

    Date: April 14th, 2014Source: Health Data ManagementTopics: Health IT, Healthcare Policy
    National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo wants to see changes made to the Health IT Policy Committee's current "somewhat siloed" workgroup structure. In a meeting last week of the HIT Policy Committee, DeSalvo called for fewer workgroups but expansion of their scopes so that they are more "strategic and forward-thinking" with the restructuring slated to begin in May for a couple of the workgroups and the rest of the transition continuing this summer.
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  • 'Silo' One of Healthcare's Biggest Flaws

    Date: April 10th, 2014Source: Healthcare IT NewsTopics: HIE, EHRs, Interoperability
    To healthcare mogul Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, the dirtiest four-letter word in the realm of digital health is "silo." Unfortunately, it's everywhere. Hospitals, clinics and doctor's offices all keep close tabs on their information -- as do departments within the hospital or health network. Digital health devices and services silo their data, and let's not even talk about EHR vendors. In short, everyone in healthcare these days has control over a certain subset of data, and they're not into sharing.
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