Saturday, May 26, 2012
Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 26th May, 2012.
Note: Each link is followed by a title and few paragraphs. 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 subscription payment.
By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
ARLINGTON, VA – By the end of 2011, 58 percent of office-based physicians were using e-prescribing, with solo practitioners contributing the most significant growth, according to Surescripts, which released today “The National Progress Report on E-Prescribing and Interoperable Healthcare Year 2011.”
Included in the report is data analysis that documents the prevalence of e-prescribing adoption and use in the United States from 2008 through 2011.
Author Name : Stephen C. Burrows, DPM, MBA | Date : May 17, 2012
Many health professions have a mechanism for certifying individuals as to their knowledge and competence. While there have been a few to certify individuals in the field of healthcare information technology (HIT), none have dominated the field.
As part of a nationwide strategic plan for advancing the use of healthcare IT, Congress passed the HITECH Act and provided a significant amount of grant money for a number of initiatives. Included is a knowledge assessment program for HIT Professionals known as the Competency Examination Program. According to the ONCHIT, this program will “enable health IT professionals, employers, and other stakeholders to assess their own health IT competency levels or the competency of their health IT staff members, as appropriate.”
By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
ANN ARBOR, MI – Health Level Seven International (HL7) announced Wednesday the inception of its pilot membership program and launched a website aimed at increasing caregivers’ participation in the development of electronic health record (EHR) standards.
"For several years, the HL7 leadership has voiced its concerns about the typical first encounter with the standards development process,” said Charles Jaffe, MD, CEO of HL7. However, he added, “Now we are in a better position to translate the practical clinical expertise of these caregivers into tangible improvements in the interaction with the health record technology."
May 18, 2012 | By Ken Terry
A body that advises the state of Massachusetts about health information exchanges has devised an unusual approach to maintaining the privacy of patient information while allowing the use of audit trails.
In a recent blog post, John Halamka, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, explained that the technology workgroup of the Massachusetts State HIE Advisory Committee recently grappled with an issue that arises from the use of the Direct secure messaging protocol: When one provider sends a Direct message to another, it is surrounded by an electronic "envelope" that contains key information about senders, receivers and content in the form of metadata. While unauthorized parties cannot access that information, it is also unavailable for audit purposes.
By Susan D. Hall
Created May 17 2012 - 11:55am
Providers are increasingly turning to big tech companies to help their data mining efforts, according to an article  at Bloomberg Businessweek.
Vendors such as Microsoft, SAS, IBM and Oracle are giving mounds of data the once-over in an analytics industry that generated more than $30 billion last year, according to research firm IDC. That figure is expected to grow to $33.6 billion in 2012--and healthcare is a leading customer.
The article gives some enticing examples.
For example, a hospital in Washington, D.C., called in Microsoft to help look at readmission rates--the data helped pinpoint the infected room.
Created May 17 2012 - 12:04pm
The top four search engines all provide "rich" health and medical information, but none of them stand out as the best, according to a new study  published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
The researchers, from the University of Missouri and China, compared the top four search engines--Google, Bing, Ask.com and Yahoo!--for usability and search validity. They noted that most people use just one search engine when conducting research on a health-related topic, and then view the websites only on the first page of the search. The researchers wondered if this was the best way to obtain information.
Written by Jeff Byers
May 15, 2012
Understanding end users' perspectives towards health information exchange (HIE) technology is crucial to the long-term success of HIE, according to researchers from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn., who developed an in-depth understanding of HIE usage by applying qualitative methods.
Publishing their findings in the May edition of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Kim M. Unertl, PhD, department of biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt Implementation Sciences Laboratory, and colleagues conducted an ethnographic qualitative study from January to August 2009 in six emergency departments (EDs) and eight ambulatory clinics in Memphis, Tenn.
Posted By Stephanie Baum On May 16, 2012 @ 5:48 pm In MedCity News eNewsletter,SYN,
One of the most significant factors influencing healthcare costs is patient adherence or lack thereof. If diabetes patients don’t take their medications, watch what they eat and monitor their blood-glucose levels, they risk complications that can lead to hospitalization.
A semifinalist in Sanofi US’ (NYSE:SNY) Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge , iRetainRx  believes it can overcome that challenge by providing a cloud-based system to help patients and caregivers connect with pharmacists and providers. Using a mobile device such as a computer, iPad or smartphone, they can get a video link to their pharmacist to get answers to questions and pharmacists can call attention to issues such as risky drug interactions.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
by John Sharp
Two years ago I wrote an iHealthBeat Perspective, titled, "Social Media in Health Care: Barriers and Future Trends." Let's take a look at how far we have come and whether my predictions are on target.
Online Communities and e-Patients
Since 2010, pharmaceutical companies have joined startups, patient communities and providers in the social media realm. Many startups, particularly those enabling patient communities, have matured and broadened their scope. PatientsLikeMe has expanded to more than 1,000 conditions, CureTogether has gained the attention of major press outlets and 23andMe is defining personal genomics.
In addition, both PatientsLikeMe and 23andMe have published results in medical journals, bringing further validation to social networks and social media as having legitimate contributions to medicine. A PatientsLikeMe study, titled "Perceived Benefits of Sharing Health Data Between People With Epilepsy on an Online Platform," was published in the journal Epilepsy and Behavior, and a 23andMe study, titled "Efficient Replication of Over 180 Genetic Associations With Self-Reported Medical Data," was published in PLoS One, as well as the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
By Jordan Robertson on May 15, 2012
When hospitals turn to Microsoft Corp., it's no longer just for the latest office software. Some are asking the technology giant for help in diagnosing their patients.
In one instance, a hospital in Washington, D.C., asked Microsoft to examine its medical records to determine why certain patients were getting sick soon after being discharged. The company crunched the data from MedStar Washington Hospital Center and found something surprising: Patients who stayed in the same room had come down with the same infection.
"There was a bug in the room -- people were getting infected," Scott Charney, vice president of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing group, said recently at a security conference. Such infections are often caused by bacteria on medical instruments or furniture.
By Larry McClain, Contributing Writer
NASHVILLE, TN – Leading financial analysts scoffed at the notion of a healthcare IT “bubble” that could slow the pace of mergers and acquisitions this year. Speaking on a panel called “Financing The Deal” at the Nashville Health Care Council, they predicted that 2012 M&A activity would be brisk, though not superheated.
In the health IT sector, there’s currently a glut of buyers and not enough companies to acquire. There are many non-healthcare players like Lockheed-Martin wanting to buy healthcare IT companies – and many suitors for a limited number of clinical decision support companies. “There are still a lot of great opportunities for technology-enabled healthcare companies with a demonstrable ROI,” said David Jahns, managing partner at Galen Partners.
MAY 16, 2012 12:31pm ET
3M Health Information Systems will release a public version of its Healthcare Data Dictionary as open source software, making it free and available worldwide.
Placing the dictionary, called HDD, in the open source market is part of a contract 3M has reached with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The departments will use HDD to enable semantic interoperability for its integrated electronic health record initiative.
Semantic interoperability enables the exchange of data with the meaning of data preserved, such as to normalize test results, which vary depending on the lab doing a particular test and the system it uses.
Created May 16 2012 - 12:22pm
Although genome sequencing has shown promise as a tool for the type of preventive care that will be necessary for successful accountable care, several drawbacks--such as the potential for over-treatment--remain, according to a Wall Street Journal article .
In particular, over-treatment could result from unique genetic variations in each patient that could, at first, raise concerns, but ultimately might not cause any disease, Michael Watson, executive director of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, told WSJ.
Created May 16 2012 - 1:58pm
The healthcare industry still has room for improvement when it comes to health information exchange privacy, even in states that have an opt-in or opt-out option, according to a recent article  from Bloomberg News.
Although not all states are required to tell patients if their medical data is being used, even those that do so aren't necessarily doing a good job, according to the article. In New York, for example, a state with an opt-in option for patients, studies published in March by the state's civil liberties union and the Consumers Union  determined privacy "rules of the road" to be undefined, patient education efforts to be weak, and the opt-in effort to be too broad. As it stands, a one-time opt-in allows "blanket permission" by providers to release all medical information.
May 13, 2012
Two decades ago, a woman having a difficult birth in a Ugandan village would have had few options to get life-saving treatment if there was not a nearby health clinic. But today, mobile technology can help her get advice from a doctor in Kampala over the telephone, alert a community health worker about her situation, or even get her to a hospital.
Mobile technology is changing the landscape of health care delivery across the developing world by giving people who live in rural villages the ability to connect with doctors, nurses and other health care workers in major cities.
“Now, a phone call can compress the time that it would have taken before to come to that decision point and get the woman care more often and quickly,” said Dr. Alain Labrique, a professor of International Health and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore.
May 15, 2012
What is the government’s role in developing new technology? Some would say to stay out of the way. Dr. Farzad Mostashari, the national coordinator for health information technology, said that’s overly cynical.
But, Mostashari said in an interview, government is no longer the major producer of innovative products and services that it once was, creating things for military purposes or space exploration that work their way into the consumer market.
“That’s not the model anymore,” he said. “The investments in research and development that are going on in the consumer technology space are now dwarfing the investment and innovation that are happening in, say, the military.”
May 16, 2012
In a blog post by the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Farzad Mostashari, M.D., the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has announced the creation of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer and an Office of Consumer eHealth. The primary function of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer will be to infuse a clinical perspective across ONC on all activities which have clinical implications. The Office of Consumer eHealth will work on consumer engagement.
By Mike Miliard, Contributing Editor
While some $560 million in federal health information exchange funding may soon run dry, changing reimbursement models mean market-driven growth will continue, says a new report on HIEs from Chilmark Research.
Profiling 22 HIE vendors, the study, "2012 HIE Market Report: Analysis and Trends," shows a market that's evolving, making the shift toward serving healthcare organizations of all sizes as they position themselves for payment reform, its authors say.
Increasing HIE technology adoption is spurred by two factors, say researchers. First is the need to meet proposed Stage 2 meaningful use requirements, which put a far greater emphasis on data exchange. More crucially, big changes on the horizon with regard to reimbursement means healthcare organizations are implementing HIE technology to support community-wide care coordination.
By Roger Foster, Senior director, DRC’s high performance technologies group, and advisory board member of the technology management program at George Mason University
Fraud and the abuse of healthcare services in the U.S. cost an estimated $125-175 billion annually. This represents the second largest component of the $600-850 billion surplus in healthcare spending. Healthcare organizations and government agencies must leverage big-data collections of patient records and financial billing to identify and eliminate system abuses.
By Bernie Monegain, Editor
CHICAGO – In real estate, it’s all about location, location, location, they say. In healthcare IT, you might say it’s about integration, integration, integration. Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman is keenly aware of how critical product integration is, he says, and he’s working on it. It’s the difficulties with integration that seem to have led to the EHR company’s recent troubles – at least it’s what Allscripts customers and analysts mention most often. Then came April 25 and the ousting of Allscripts’ board chairman, which triggered three board members to quit in protest, the departure of its CFO (for reasons unrelated, according to the company) and a dismal quarterly report, all of which led to stock price plunging 44 percent.
Health minister Earl Howe launched South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust’s MyHealthBox project on Tuesday. Reporter Rebecca Todd went along to hear more about the innovative online patient records scheme.
15 May 2012
“Exciting” was the word of the day for speakers at the launch of MyHealthBox. “Innovative” and “empowering” also popped up more than once as people spoke about why patient controlled records are a good idea.
MyHealthBox uses Microsoft’s HealthVault platform to create a patient record for South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust’s service users.
The online portal can pull data from the trust’s Electronic Patient Journey System and from primary care - and patients can contribute to it themselves.
15 May 2012 Rebecca Todd
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust is today launching personal online health records for its patients, using Microsoft’s HealthVault platform.
Director of information strategy, Mike Denis, presented on the MyHealthBox project at the Health+In4matics conference in Birmingham last week.
He told attendees the project was a partnership between the trust, the Institute of Psychiatry and service users. It aims to improve patients’ engagement in their care and the use of outcome measurements across the trust.
By Susan D. Hall
Created May 15 2012 - 12:47pm
In a pair of point-counterpoint articles  at Forbes, contributors Dave Chase and David Shaywitz face off on the question of whether mobile apps could someday be more effective than prescription drugs--a response to health app company Happtique's plans to build a platform for physicians to "prescribe" apps to their patients .
Chase, the CEO of patient portal and relationship-management company Avado.com, sounds a dire warning  that apps pose a huge threat to a lethargic pharma industry. He likens pharma execs to those of the newspaper industry 15 years ago, who saw the landscape changing around them, but did too little to adapt.
Chase urges pharma execs to get out of the stands and put more skin in the game in terms of money and people.
By Susan D. Hall
Created May 15 2012 - 1:24pm
Contrary to previous research, the use of electronic health records failed to improve care for diabetic patients in a study  published in the Annals of Family Medicine.
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey researchers compared data from 16 practices in the Northeast that used EHRs and 26 practices that did not, assessing the care for 798 patients.
They found, in fact, that patients at clinics using paper records were more likely to meet all of three targets for hemoglobin A1c levels, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and blood pressure after two years than those in practices that used EHRs.
If Marcus Welby, MD, were practicing on TV today, would he be letting data drive his decision-making? I'm on a journey to find the answer to this and related questions. Last week this journey took me to Atlanta for a HealthLeaders Media Roundtable on business intelligence and predictive analytics, and then onward to North Carolina for a conference dedicated to healthcare analytics.
While in North Carolina, I got to sit down with Don Berwick, MD, former administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and prior to that, founding CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. We talked about data analytics, but our discussion ranged far and wide around healthcare IT. Here is a portion of our conversation.
By Michelle McNickle, Web Content Producer
Although data encryption is becoming a valuable resource to protect against breached PHI, according to a new report by WinMagic Data Security, certain myths and misconceptions about it still exists.
"IT professionals, at the enterprise level, frequently turn to encryption for protecting data," read the report. "Although encryption is a proven technology that delivers strong, effective data security, common myths and misconceptions about it persist, even among some people who are generally knowledgeable about computers. All too often, the myths surrounding encryption are based on misunderstanding of the technology or outdated concepts."
The report outlines and debunks seven common myths about data encryption.
Posted: May 14, 2012 - 4:00 pm ET
The Defense Department has released an outline of how the proposed joint electronic health-record system for use by the Military Health System and the Veterans Affairs Department's healthcare organization is to be developed.
The 55 page report (PDF), "Department of Defense Enterprise Architecture to Guide the Transition of the DoD Electronic Health Record, and Related Matters," was submitted to Congress by Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.
The "envisioned target state" of the joint EHR is "a coordinated, 'best-of-breed' approach that includes a mix of existing SOA (service-oriented architecture)-compliant capabilities, commercial-off-the-shelf, open-source and custom systems." The Defense Department's Manpower Data Center will be the "single identity management source," the report said, while the department's Defense Information Systems Agency will run the EHR's data centers. The EHR will have a common user interface.
This article appears in the May 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
Computer-based clinical decision-support systems offer great opportunities to improve care and reduce costs, but healthcare leaders have to remember who's ultimately in charge: the human operating the computer. Implementing even the best technology for decision support can become a costly, frustrating failure that ultimately degrades patient care if you don't factor in the human element.
That was one of the lessons learned when Penn Medicine in Philadelphia adopted a computerized physician order entry system. Penn Medicine used the Eclipsys Sunrise Clinical Manager to achieve 100% CPOE in the inpatient setting. In addition, 1,800 physicians actively use the Epic electronic medical record system in the ambulatory setting.
Physicians make about 15 million hits per year in Penn's internally developed physician portal to view patient information and results. All physicians have access to an internally developed data warehouse that maintains 2.4 billion rows of data to help ensure patient safety and quality care, as well as support clinical trials and research.
By Mary Mosquera, Contributing Editor
WASHINGTON – The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is calling for public comment on proposals for rules of the road to govern the nationwide health information network (NwHIN).
ONC will use the comments to help it develop a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), according to a May 11 announcement in the Federal Register preview section. Once it is officially published May 15, the public will have 30 days to offer its views.
ONC seeks help on a range of topics, including the creation of a voluntary program under which entities that enable electronic health information exchange could be validated based on meeting ONC-established “conditions for trusted exchange.” ONC also wants to hear views about the scope and requirements included in the initial conditions for trusted exchange and processes used to revise them over time.
By Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
OREM, UT – More and more providers are taking software-as-a-service EMRs seriously, according to a new KLAS report. They're intrigued by the systems' lower price and easy maintenance, and reassured by advances in the security of cloud-based data storage.
The study, "SaaS EMR 2012: Is It For You?" assesses the performance of software-as-a-service EMR products from vendors including AdvancedMD, athenahealth, Bizmatics, CureMD, MedPlus/Quest Diagnostics, MIE, OptumInsight, Practice Fusion, Sevocity and Waiting RoomSolutions.
11 May 2012 Chris Thorne
NHS Direct is considering a pilot that will allow patients in Lincolnshire to use a smartphone app to book appointments with their GP.
EHealth Insider understands that negotiations are taking place with some GPs in Lincolnshire to start allowing practice systems to directly interface with NHS Direct, for a trial to start this autumn.
The trial would involve patients using a GP appointment booking smartphone app or the NHS Direct website to book their own appointment, linking directly into the GP system.
Created May 14 2012 - 6:34am
In a discussion at the recent American Telemedicine Association (ATA) conference, panelists bewailed the absence of electronic health record vendors from the meeting, according to a post  in NHIN Watch.
"Politically, commercially--it's an issue," said Hon Park, M.D., CEO of Diversinet, which provides secure two-way connectivity for mHealth applications. Pak said that mHealth apps, EHRs, and health information exchanges must be integrated for effective care coordination, according to the post.
Michael Lemnitzer, an executive with Philips Home Healthcare Solutions, said his company is "working aggressively" with EHR vendors to develop interfaces, because 90 percent of Philips' contracts with healthcare providers require connectivity with EHRs. Lemnitzer predicted that by 2015, the majority of EHR companies would have interfaces for telemedicine applications. For that to happen, he said, more interoperability standards would be necessary, according to the post.
Doctors have nearly doubled their use of tablets since 2011, a May 10 report by Manhattan Research revealed.
In its annual "Taking the Pulse" study, Manhattan Research found that tablet use by doctors reached 62 percent in 2012, compared with 35 percent of physician tablet adoption in 2011.
By Mary Mosquera
The Veterans Affairs Department has described how it will protect the information of veterans and military service members that it shares as part of the virtual lifetime electronic record (VLER) program.
The VLER program enables the electronic sharing of health, benefit, disability determination and administrative data with VA, Defense Department and participants in the nationwide health information network (NwHIN) Exchange.
VA published in the May 11 Federal Register a notice of a Privacy Act System of Records, in which federal agencies detail how they will manage personal information according to federal security requirements. Robust privacy and security safeguards can increase trust and confidence in health information exchange.
May 14, 2012, 8:58 a.m. EDT
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 14, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- InterSystems Corporation, a global leader in software for connected care, today launched the next generation of its InterSystems HealthShare(TM) strategic informatics platform for interoperability and active analytics. Designed originally for public health information exchanges (HIEs) at regional, state and national levels, HealthShare has been extended and rearchitected to also deliver the advanced technologies needed by integrated delivery networks (IDNs).
InterSystems, an IT vendor that powers many state health information exchange (HIE) platforms, has introduced a new version of its HealthSense record-exchange software that adds new data modeling and analytics capabilities.
Announced May 14, the latest version features InterSystems' iKnow technology, which allows doctors to search through unstructured narratives of patient histories. Most clinical data, such as images and text, are unstructured and in multiple file formats.
Monday, May 14, 2012
by John Moore, iHealthBeat Contributing Reporter
Third-party business partners represent a significant security risk to health care providers, who may need several layers of protection to ensure the security of patient data.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule refers to third parties as "business associates" and defines them as individuals or organizations that handle protected health information, or PHI, in the course of working with a covered entity. The category may cover a range of companies, including data processing firms, IT consultants and cloud computing providers.
HIPAA's Security Rule calls for covered entities to create contracts with business associates to ensure that the partner "will appropriately safeguard" PHI. The HITECH Act of 2009 further strengthened HIPAA's rules regarding business associates and security obligations.
Many of the government’s proposed Stage 2 Meaningful Use criteria for e- health records won't be easy to meet. Here's how providers are meeting the challenge.
By Paul Cerrato, InformationWeek
May 14, 2012
For many healthcare organizations, Stage 2 Meaningful Use feels more like Stage 2 cancer: a threat to life and limb.
As written, the proposed regulations will require providers to give more than half of patients e-access to their health information; make sure more than 10% view, download, or transmit their health information to a third party; and provide more than 10% with EHR-generated educational resources.
Those are high hurdles, especially for smaller hospitals and practices. Several health IT and clinical stakeholders have taken the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to task on these issues.
14 May 2012
Prague, May 11 (CTK) - The IZIP patients' e-health files project, subsidised by the state-controlled VZP insurer for ten years now and widely criticised as disadvantageous for the state, will be wound up, Prime Minister Petr Necas and Health Minister Leos Heger agreed on Thursday, Heger's spokesman told CTK.
The VZP, the country's biggest health insurer whose board of managers comprises 10 representatives of the government and 20 representatives of parties in parliament, invested 1.8 billion crowns in the IZIP project in the past decade.
Heger's spokesman Vlastimil Srsen said an assessment of the project's hitherto results has shown that the IZIP does not work effectively. That is why the ministry has decided "not to protract the agony," he said.
Posted by Dr David More MB PhD FACHI at Saturday, May 26, 2012