Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 30 July, 2010.

Here are a few I have come across this week.

Note: Each link is followed by a title and a paragraph or two. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or payment.


The Health Geeks

Microsoft’s bid to fix medical care.

by Daniel LyonsJuly 09, 2010

The more you look at the problems involved in overhauling our health-care system, the more hopeless they seem. But that is exactly what made Peter Neupert, a Microsoft millionaire and dotcom entrepreneur, want to try. “It is completely overwhelming,” he says. “My wife reminds me all the time that there are many things a lot simpler that I could be doing. But I just have a genetic predisposition for big, hairy problems.”

That’s why, in 2005, having already made two fortunes—as a Microsoft executive and then as CEO of Drugstore .com—Neupert returned to Microsoft to create software for health-care providers. His division, the Health Solutions Group, now has 800 employees and sells to hospitals nationwide.


The Economics of Privacy Pricing


I wrote a Sunday column about a San Francisco start-up that is betting the time has come to make personal information online not only an asset consumers can manage, but also a virtual currency that can be traded someday.

Others, of course, have tried making a business from trading click streams and other online personal information on behalf of consumers, like Root Market years ago. But part of the start-up Bynamite’s calculation is that these days, the data is far richer and the technology has matured enough to make such a service easy to use, effective and flexible. More people seem to be concerned about privacy today as well.

But if personal information can be made a good in an open marketplace, there is a big challenge. “There is no way to know in advance what the value of this information is,” said M. Ryan Calo, a senior research fellow at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society.

A paper by three scholars from Carnegie Mellon University does not answer that question precisely, but it does provide some insights from behavioral economics about how people value their personal information, and make money-privacy tradeoffs.

The paper — “What is privacy worth?” — was presented at a conference at the end of last year and is awaiting publication in a professional journal. Its authors are Alessandro Acquisti, an associate professor in information technology and public policy; Leslie John, a doctoral candidate; and George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology.


Hospitals try new approach to patient-specific marketing

Technically Speaking. By Pamela Lewis Dolan, amednews staff. Posted July 19, 2010.

Any member of a customer-loyalty program at a grocery store chain has likely noticed that, at the end of a transaction, the register spits out coupons for products he or she uses routinely. That's not a coincidence.

The ads are generated by what's called a customer relationship management system. That same technology is making its way into the health care industry so hospitals can market to patients and physicians the same way supermarkets do -- by sending information they think a customer needs or wants based on their history.

"It's about relationships and management. And at the end of the day, relationships are built with people through dialogue," said Anil Swami, an executive partner with the global management consulting firm Accenture, which helps clients implement customer relation management strategies and systems. "Our experience has been that the technology is the enabler, and the people deliver."


HIT-ting a wall on privacy of health records

By Joseph Conn / HITS staff writer

Posted: July 22, 2010 - 12:00 pm ET

The federally chartered Health Information Technology Policy Committee received from its privacy and security "tiger team" a list of policy recommendations on the use of electronically stored and shared patient information Wednesday.

And although the HIT Policy Committee unanimously accepted the recommendations, it did so recognizing that a serious division exists within the group recommending the various forms of control a national system of interconnected health IT should give patients over the sharing of their sensitive medical information.

The HIT Policy Committee and the HIT Standards Committee were created last year under the authority of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Their charge is to advise the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS on health IT matters. In June, ONC quietly furloughed two privacy and security work groups, one from each committee, replacing them temporarily with what was presumed to be one smaller and more-nimble privacy and security “tiger team.”


CMS Offers Insight On Meaningful Use Stage 2

Comments from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicate that Meaningful Use stage two will expand on stage on by making the current "menu" set part of future core requirements.

By Anthony Guerra, InformationWeek

July 22, 2010


Much of what will become Meaningful Use Stage 2 can be found in the recently released Stage 1, according to comments from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) Tony Trenkle, who spoke during this month's HIT Policy Committee meeting.

Meaningful Use Stage 2, he said, will expand on Stage 1 by making the current "menu" set part of future core requirements. Trenkle, director of the CMS Office of e-Health Standards and Services, said the organization also wanted to get certain administrative requirements -- which were included in the NPRM but dropped from the final regulation- along higher CPOE levels, into Stage 2.

"We would also like to look at higher thresholds for other measures," he said. "That is our intent, and it will be framed by feedback and recommendations that come from the Policy Committee."


GE Healthcare ePrescribing Solution Approved In Ohio

The Centricity electronic medical record Advanced ePrescribing solution that uses biometrics to authenticate physicians ordering patient medications has been approved by the Ohio Pharmacy Board.

By Nicole Lewis, InformationWeek

July 20, 2010


GE Healthcare's ePrescribing solution, which uses fingerprint-scanning technology to verify a doctor's identity before they order medications, has been approved by the Ohio Pharmacy Board for use by the state's physicians.

Announced on Monday, GE executives said the technology met Ohio's stringent ePrescribing requirements by successfully integrating biometrics technology into its Centricity Electronic Medical Record solution. By adding an external scanner, the technology calls for physicians to identify themselves by providing their fingerprint before ordering a patient's prescription.


Patient Money

Losing Weight the Smartphone Way, With a Nutritionist in Your Pocket

Published: July 16, 2010

FOR most of us, the formula for losing weight is a simple one: eat less, exercise more. But humans are anything but simple, and the majority of Americans struggle endlessly with losing pounds and keeping them off.

“We really haven’t come up with one good weight-loss solution,” said Dr. James A. Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic. “If we had, everyone would be using it.”

Consuming fewer calories is perhaps the most difficult part of the weight-loss equation; many dieters are daunted by the prospect of tabulating their daily intake. That’s why many experts and consumers are excited about the new weight-loss programs available for iPhone, BlackBerry and other smartphones.


Survey: EHRs number one priority for healthcare IT professionals

July 19, 2010 | Molly Merrill, Associate Editor

SAN FRANCISCO – Seventy-four percent of healthcare IT professionals reported that their existing information on meaningful use and electronic health record certification was "adequate" and that their technical implementation questions have been answered, according to a new survey.

The survey, by Embarcadero Technologies, a San Francisco-based provider of databases tools and developer software, was conducted throughout the months of March and April 2010 and primarily reflects the opinions of Embarcadero’s healthcare IT professional contacts (developers, DBAs, architects, consultants, executives) in the United States.


Mass. Hospital Breach Affects 800,000

HDM Breaking News, July 21, 2010

South Shore Hospital in South Weymouth, Mass., has announced that back-up computer files that were sent to a contractor to be destroyed have been lost, a breach that could affect approximately 800,000 individuals.

The files contained extensive amounts of protected medical and financial information. They were not encrypted because a back-up process for the files did not permit them to be encrypted. Specialized technology and knowledge, however, are required to access the files, according to the hospital.

The hospital has prominently placed a notice of the breach on its Web site, along with a sample notification letter, the steps affected individuals can take to protect their medical and financial information, and a Q&A page. The hospital also has notified state and federal authorities.


UHN establishes first telepathology system in Ontario

New system connects UHN pathologists to Northern Ontario communities over the Internet

July 21, 2010 (Toronto, ON) - Physicians in three Northern Ontario communities are now virtually linked at all times to pathology specialists at University Health Network (UHN), thanks to a revolutionary new way of diagnosing pathology cases over the Internet.

The new telepathology system is the first of its kind in Ontario. It allows physicians in rural and remote hospitals to access and consult with specialized UHN pathologists by instantly transmitting digital images of pathology samples enabling fast and accurate diagnosis for patients regardless of where they live. The first three sites connected to UHN are community hospitals in Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and Kapuskasing all of which are over 600 kilometres from Toronto.


WIRED in Wis.: info-exchange plans detailed

By Joe Carlson / HITS staff writer

Posted: July 20, 2010 - 11:15 am ET

The Wisconsin Relay for Electronic Data for Health Board, also known as WIRED for Health, released a 164-page draft of a plan for developing and operating a statewide health information exchange. The board is soliciting public input on the proposal until Aug. 1.

The plan spells out the state's proposal for spending a $9.4 million federal grant to implement a statewide system for healthcare providers to exchange patient clinical information, with the goal of fostering both healthy competition and cooperation among providers.


Government axes £15m for children’s IT

19 Jul 2010

The government has axed £15m of funding promised by the previous Labour government to help local authorities implement integrated children’s systems.

Education secretary Michael Gove has written to directors of children’s services and chief executives to set out the details as part of the Department of Education plans to save £1 billion from its capital budget in 2010-11.

In his letter Gove said the £15m additional capital grant that had been announced by the previous government would not now be available.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Progress Made on Stimulus Package Provisions, Funding

by Helen Pfister and Sandy Newman, Manatt Health Solutions

The federal government continues to move ahead with implementing various provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This update summarizes certain significant developments throughout June and July.

Health IT Policy and Standards

On July 13, CMS released the much-anticipated "meaningful use" final rule on the Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record incentive program, and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT released the final rule on standards for certified EHR technology.


AMA lists concerns with meaningful-use rules

By Andis Robeznieks / HITS staff writer

Posted: July 21, 2010 - 12:00 pm ET

The American Medical Association released a memo stating that although the final requirements physicians must meet to qualify for federal health IT subsidies represent an improvement over what the CMS originally proposed in December, barriers to electronic health-record adoption and implementation remain.

Regarding the rules, issued last week, the AMA said the CMS followed its recommendations to remove administrative requirements from the first stage of the program, reduce the initial qualifying criteria and reduce the volume of quality measures while granting greater flexibility.


The Vendor View of Meaningful Use

HDM Breaking News, July 19, 2010

As providers gear up to go after government incentive payments for meaningful use of electronic health records, there's been a nagging fear that vendors won't be able to increase staff and other resources quickly enough to meet demand. That's a legitimate concern, says Charles Christian, director of information systems and CIO at Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, Ind.

"What others expected, we're already seeing as their resources are strained," he adds. The hospital is implementing practice management and electronic records software, which it will host for owned practices, from Chicago-based Allscripts. The hospital has about 25 physicians in 10 owned practices and expects that to double by next summer.


CMS abandons absolutes, adds flexibility to meaningful use

By Mary Mosquera

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In its final meaningful rule published today, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has abandoned its original all-or-nothing approach to offering incentives for electronic health record adoption and opted for flexibility.

Healthcare providers will now have various ways of reporting objectives to demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs, and some that are deemed too difficult to achieve by the original 2011 deadline will be delayed a year.

One of the major changes in the final rule now requires providers to meet a “core” group of objectives, such as electronic prescribing, providing patients who request it an electronic copy of their health information and maintaining an active medication list. Physicians must meet 15 of those core requirements, and hospitals must meet 14.


CMS Meaningful Use Rules Are Final: Now What?

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, July 20, 2010

Leaders from healthcare organizations and associations, lawyers, consultants, IT vendors, and a host of other experts are slogging their way through all 800-plus pages of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services final rule for the meaningful use of electronic health records. They have plenty of opinions about what's right and what's wrong with the rules. And that's fine. But it's also a good idea to think about something more important than what could have or should have been: What happens next?

The long-awaited final rules spell out exactly what hospitals and physicians must do to qualify for their share of a pool of roughly $27 billion in bonus Medicare payments over the next ten years for using electronic health records (EHRs). Eligible professionals can get up to $44,000 under Medicare and $63,750 under Medicaid, and hospitals may receive millions of dollars for implementation and meaningful use of certified EHRs under both Medicare and Medicaid.


HHS Addresses Privacy, Security Concerns in EHR Program

Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, July 16, 2010

HIPAA privacy and security concerns with the government's EHR certification program are so great that hundreds of practitioners have called for the program's cancellation, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced in its final rule on meaningful use released Tuesday.

It hasn't happened, of course.

The final rule, issued through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), defines "meaningful use" for the first two years (2011 and 2012) of a long-term financial incentive plan through Medicare and Medicaid under the Health Information for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama February 17, 2009.


HHS to create online inventory of research on effective treatments

By Mary Mosquera

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Department of Health and Human Services plans to develop a national inventory of research on the treatments and medical interventions that are most effective for patients.

The collection of comparative effectiveness research and information will be available through a searchable online tool to physicians, policymakers and the public, according to a request for information posted July 16.


Certification issues remain, providers say

By Joseph Conn / HITS staff writer

Posted: July 19, 2010 - 11:45 am ET

With the final rule on meaningful use of electronic health-record systems out, there's one fewer item on the federal government's checklist for implementing the EHR subsidy program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

One looming potential problem for health information technology executives, though, is the government's long delay in establishing a procedure to recognize organizations to test and certify EHRs and their modular components.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology didn't publish final rules on a first-round process to name "temporary" testing and certification programs until June 18 and didn't start taking applications from organizations seeking to qualify as testing and certification organizations until July 1.


EHRs aid in abuse-screening project

By Jennifer Lubell / HITS staff writer

Posted: July 19, 2010 - 11:45 am ET

A federally funded health project has shown measurable success in helping Native American victims of domestic and sexual violence, raising the rate of women screened for abuse from 4% to 48%, according to a recently released report on the project.

Building Domestic Violence Health Care Responses in Indian Country: A Promising Practices Report, produced by the Family Violence Prevention Fund, details the progress of the initiative, which the fund developed in partnership with faculty from Sacred Circle and Mending the Sacred Hoop Technical Assistance Project.


Epocrates Files to Go Public

HDM Breaking News, July 19, 2010

Epocrates Inc., a vendor of software to access drug reference information via mobile computing devices, has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell up to $75 million in a public offering of stock.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based company plans to use proceeds to pay $27.2 million in dividends to preferred Series B stockholders, and for general corporate purposes that could include acquisitions. The company is developing an "affordable" electronic health records system for solo and small physician practices.


'Meaningful Use' Hoists Hospital IT to Next Level

By Matthew Weinstock and Suzanna Hoppszallern

Meaningful use. Those two words have so dominated the health information technology marketplace for the past year and a half that it's been difficult to see the forest for the trees.

For most hospitals, the challenge is understanding how meaningful use fits into broader strategic, quality-of-care and patient-safety goals. Chief information officers at the 2010 Most Wired hospitals and health systems recognize that it is not an end, but a guide on the journey to create technology systems that enable clinicians to provide the best care possible.

Click here for the 2010 Most Wired Hospitals


Meaningful Use Core Requirements For Healthcare Providers

So what are the more than two-dozen core "meaningful use" requirements that healthcare providers need to meet in order to qualify for financial incentives? Take a look here.

By Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, InformationWeek

July 19, 2010


To qualify for the first wave of HITECH meaningful use incentives starting in 2011, hospitals have to meet 14 core requirements and eligible professionals -- such as doctors and nurse practioners -- must meet 15 core requirements.

In addition to those core requirements, healthcare providers also must meet five objectives of their choosing from a menu of 10.

Here is a summary of the core requirements healthcare providers must meet in their "meaningful use" of health IT such as e-health records and computerized physician order entry systems.




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