Saturday, September 22, 2012

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 22nd September, 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.

Interoperability ‘not the goal’

By John Andrews, Contributing writer
Created 09/14/2012
Connectivity between healthcare providers has been a sharp focus for IT initiatives since 2004, and the concept has assumed many forms
An idea can change a lot over eight years and while the intent of interoperability remains essentially the same, its application has split off in various directions since 2004, when the Bush administration called for establishment of electronic health records, universal connectivity between healthcare providers and named David Brailer, MD, as national health information technology coordinator.
EHRs remain a work in progress, though Brailer is long gone from his post and interoperability has meandered down divergent paths of connectivity. Over that time, new initiatives have sprung up as well, such as meaningful use, accountable care organizations and ICD-10 conversion. The lofty regional health information organization concept originally proposed has been largely scaled down to smaller health information exchanges.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Markle Foundation Releases Blue Button Video to Show Promise and Potential of Consumers Access to their Own Health Information


Top 5: Data breach winners and losers by state

By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
Created 09/13/2012
In an epoch of Web hackers, procedural slackers, unauthorized users and viewers, PC pinchers and server swindlers, it’s a hard knock life for patient privacy.
Nearly 20 million patient health records have been compromised since the Aug. 2009 Breach Notification Rule, which requires that HIPAA-covered groups give notification following a data breach involving 500 or more individuals. And breach numbers haven't shown signs of waning any time soon.
In fact, according to a 2011 Redspin report, which collected data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the total number of records breached jumped 97 percent within a single year. Moreover, according to some reports, data breaches can cost the healthcare industry, on average, $6.5 billion annually.

Tailoring Treatment for Cancer

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , September 13, 2012

This article appears in the September 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
When then President Richard Nixon in 1971 called for a "cure for cancer," he envisioned a crusade akin to the efforts that developed the atomic bomb and led to the moon landing.

But more than 40 years later, it has proven to be an elusive goal, and one that has changed dramatically over the decades. Now, the vision has transformed from seeking a singular cure for cancer to finding a multitude of cures for a complex disease that differentiates into the hundreds of types. The emerging singular focus now in the so-called war on cancer is personalized medicine, which involves tailoring drugs for each patient to attack that person's individual kind of cancer. Some have dubbed it one pill for one patient, or even named it individualized medicine. Others have a different take, describing it more as precision medicine, narrowing treatment for groups with certain ailments.

Telepharmacy Really Does Make A Difference

Rural hospitals can use telepharmacy to review orders when a pharmacist is unavailable, says study.
Patient safety improves when telepharmacy services backstop clinicians in rural hospitals when their pharmacists are not on the premises, according to a new study. In a baseline sample, 30% of hospitalized patients had one or more errors in medications ordered after hours. But when orders were faxed to and screened by pharmacists at the University of California Davis Health System, the study found, the pharmacists caught errors in medications ordered for 19.2% of the patients.
"Telepharmacy represents a potential alternative to around-the-clock on-site pharmacist medication review for rural hospitals," concluded the paper in the journal Telemedicine and e-Health. AdTech Ad
In fact, researchers from the UC Davis and the University of Utah Schools of Medicine noted that less than half of rural facilities have full-time pharmacists on staff; unsurprisingly, rural and critical-access hospitals have a higher incidence of medication errors than do other hospitals.

Officials downplay insurance exchange hack

September 14, 2012 | By Dan Bowman
The web portal for the Utah Health Exchange was hacked and littered with "graffiti" last month, rendering the site useless for a little more than a week, the Salt Lake Tribune reported this week. The attack is the second this year for a statewide healthcare entity, but is unrelated to the breach last March that jeopardized medical information for hundreds of thousands of Medicaid patients, according to a state official.
Mike Sullivan, a spokesman from the Governor's Office of Economic Development, told the newspaper that the graffiti consisted of "garbled" words and "blurred" headlines, but only on informational pages for the website. He added that no criminal investigation would be conducted, comparing the incident to a "kid who spray paints your mailbox."

Providers Seek Consulting Firms For Smaller EHR Projects

With EHR installation a done deal, many health providers look to consulting firms for smaller Meaningful Use projects, KLAS study shows.
Healthcare organizations seeking to meet Meaningful Use Stage 1 requirements are much less inclined to hire consulting firms to fully install an electronic health record (EHR) and more likely to turn to these firms to help with smaller projects that enhance the features and functionality of their EHRs, a new KLAS report reveals.
Rapid Growth of Meaningful Use Consulting: Why Providers Are Reaching Out examines the performance of third-party firms during the last two years. These firms are involved in preparing providers to attest to Meaningful Use Stage 1 requirements, which health providers must meet before they can qualify to receive payments under the federal EHR Incentive Programs. AdTech Ad

Devices and desires

BYOD – bring your own device – has been a hot topic in the IT industry for months; but the idea has been slow to catch on in the NHS. Chris Thorne asks why; and whether that’s about to change.
6 September 2012
‘Bring your own device’ is a phrase that seems to strike an equal measure of excitement and fear into the hearts of those working in the NHS.
By all accounts, clinicians are starting to hammer on the door of their IT departments, demanding access to flashy tablet devices such as Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy range.
But in a cost-cutting, ‘Nicholson challenge’ NHS environment, the idea that trusts will be able to supply £400 devices to every member of staff is unrealistic, bordering impossible.

Groups warn of safety threat when health IT 'rights' go wrong

September 13, 2012 | By Gienna Shaw
We've all heard the "rights" that define successful use of health IT: Getting the right information to the right person at the right time. But when one of those rights is wrong, it can put patients in danger, warns the Society of Hospital Medicine.
Despite CMS' "celebratory declarations" that 2012 is the year of Meaningful Use, experts are concerned that the use of HIT "falls short of its promise--and might even endanger patients--due to shortcomings in system interoperability, safety, accountability, and other issues," according to an article in the society's The Hospitalist.

PACS market set for slow but steady growth

September 13, 2012 | By Gienna Shaw
The market for picture archiving and communication systems is set for slow but steady growth in coming years as healthcare organizations replace legacy systems and adopt new image and information management platforms, according to a Frost & Sullivan analysis.
The radiology informatics market lost ground between 2009 and 2011 due to factors such as market saturation and a focus on electronic health records and chasing Meaningful Use incentives.

IT Critical To New Health Learning System

U.S. healthcare system needs to transform itself into a "continuous learning machine" that uses technology to provide doctors with timely information, says Institute of Medicine report.
For America to consistently deliver reliable performance and improve patient outcomes, providers must apply computing capabilities and analytical tools that allow clinicians to share real-time insights from routine patient care. In short, the entire U.S. healthcare system must transform itself into a continuous learning machine that drives efficiency and curbs costs, a new study released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concludes.
Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America says the healthcare industry, unlike the banking, airline, and auto industries, lags far behind in its ability to establish the practices and procedures that raise its performance level. Furthermore, the report said the industry has not done enough to provide patients and clinicians with timely, relevant, and useful information, and added that inefficiencies in healthcare have cost the nation in lives and treasure. AdTech Ad

5 ways voice recognition tech cuts costs

By Steff Deschenes, New Media Producer
Created 09/12/2012
Many may think of data in terms of numbers and text, but not only does voice documentation have a place in the array of data collection tools that can be used by healthcare companies, it offers financial benefits. 
Documentation with voice isn't just about capturing information, which is historically how people have thought about it. "It's now doing it in such a way that the document can be reused throughout an organization's downstream for other efforts like billing, quality assurance functions and medical and utilization reviews," explained Mike Raymer, senior vice president of solutions management at M*Modal, a company that provides clinical transcription services, documentation workflow solutions and unstructured data analytics. "Voice is about turning information into a language of understanding," he said. "It takes unstructured text and brings meaning to it that's transferrable from system to system."

AHIMA unveils tool to spur PHR use

By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
Created 09/12/2012
CHICAGO – Officials at the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) announced Tuesday a new online guide to help spur patient understanding of their medical records. 
The Understanding Your Medical Record guide was posted to, a resource for seniors, caregivers, physicians and parents. AHIMA launched the website in 2006 as a resource for consumers interested in maintaining their own personal health records.
The guide was announced at the second Consumer Health Summit facilitated by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)

ONC chief urges vendors to go for Blue Button ASAP

By Mary Mosquera, Contributing Editor
Created 09/12/2012
WASHINGTON – Farzad Mostashari, MD, the national health IT coordinator, has challenged vendors to make it easy for consumers by early 2013 to view, download and transmit to another party their health information in the form of a Blue Button feature.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has established a Twitter hashtag of #VDTnow for companies and organizations to post their commitment to establishing the feature.
Implementing the functionality for view, download and transmit (VDT) to a third party, “I think, is underappreciated for how significant that’s going to be to the concept of consumer-mediated health information exchange,” Mostashari said at a Sept. 10 ONC summit on consumer health IT.

Free Privacy/Security Training Game Available for Practices

SEP 12, 2012 12:09pm ET
The Office of the National Coordinator for HIT has launched a free Web-based health information security training application.
Called CyberSecure: Your Medical Practice, the game walks a user through multiple privacy and security challenges that come up in practices. These include a co-worker needing to borrow a password to access information and help a patient waiting on the phone; and a subordinate requesting to take her laptop home tonight to catch up on billings for last week.

Winchester switches off Cerner in ED

10 September 2012   Rebecca Todd
The Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester has switched off Cerner Millennium in A&E and moved to Patient First.
The electronic patient record system will also be switched off for theatres and order communications at the old Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust.
Basingstoke and North Hampshire NHS Foundation Trust merged with Winchester and Eastleigh in January this year to form Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Meaningful Use Stage 3 may require multi-factor authentication

September 11, 2012 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
The healthcare industry is getting a peak at what Stage 3 of Meaningful Use may look like. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's HIT Policy Committee voted Sept. 6 to accept the Privacy and Security Tiger Team's recommendation to require multi-factor authentication in certain cases involving remote access to patient protected health information, Healthcare Info Security reports.
The situations that would require such multi-factor authentication, according to the Tiger Team, include:
  • Access from outside of an organization's/entity's private network
  • Access from an IP address not recognized as part of the organization/entity or that is outside of the organization/entity's compliance environment
  • Access across a network any part of which is or could be unsecure (such as across the open Internet or using an unsecure wireless connection).
The multi-factor authentication would need to meet National Institute of Standards and Technology Level of Assurance 3, NIST 800-63-1, according to the article.

Patients open to data sharing if they control access

September 12, 2012 | By Susan D. Hall
The state of New York requires patient consent to have their data accessed through health information exchange, and a majority surveyed are willing to have their data stored automatically, as long as they can retain control over it. The study published in the Annals of Family Medicine was based on a 2008 telephone survey of 170 residents.

ONC's new dashboard tracks health IT progress

Posted: September 11, 2012 - 2:15 pm ET
Want to know how many folks have enrolled in health information technology training programs at U.S. community colleges under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act?
It's 28,096.
How many of those IT students have graduated?
So far, 14,400, with another 3,080 currently enrolled.
Where is the closest community college to you offering the federally subsidized training?
Check the map and see.

AHRQ project cuts bloodstream infection in ICU by 40 percent

By Bernie Monegain, Editor
Created 09/11/2012
WASHINGTON – A nationwide patient safety project funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reduced the rate of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) in intensive care units by 40 percent, according to the agency's preliminary findings.
The project, billed as one of the largest one to date, used the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) to achieve its results that include preventing more than 2,000 CLABSIs, saving more than 500 lives and avoiding more than $34 million in healthcare costs, according to AHRQ.

ICD-10: Time's Up; No More Excuses

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , September 11, 2012

As worrisome as the final deadlines for use of ICD-10 codes are, it's time to devote significant resources to getting ready for them.
Belittled in some quarters as a make-work, vendor-enriching government regulation, ICD-10 actually gets right to the heart of improving the quality of care.
Don't take my word for it, even if you read my recent story in HealthLeaders magazine. Listen to Sharon Korzdorfer, director of information management at St. Luke's Hospital of Kansas City.
St. Luke's is a not-for-profit, acute-care, tertiary academic teaching institution with more than 600 beds. It is one hospital out of an 11-hospital health system. Eight of the facilities run McKesson EMRs, and the three critical-access hospitals use CPSI, a platform designed specifically for critical access hospitals, with a completely different billing process to McKesson's.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Health IT Promotion Goes Direct-To-Consumer

by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn
Most U.S. physicians are in the process of implementing electronic health records, motivated by the incentives provided through the HITECH Act.  As physicians use EHRs more meaningfully, engaging with patients and their data is a primary goal for the investment of roughly $40 billion worth of taxpayer dollars.
But as physicians and IT workers continue to build the national health information infrastructure, will patients engage in turn? Many people in the U.S. aren't aware that their health data are indeed "theirs." Without patient engagement in their health data and knowing their numbers, people don't achieve optimal health outcomes, driving more intense health care resource utilization and costs downstream.
The Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT addressed this challenge in a video released last month. Think of this as direct-to-consumer promotion of health IT.

ONC scraps plan for NwHIN 'rules of the road'

By Mary Mosquera, Contributing Editor
Created 09/10/2012
WASHINGTON – The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has dropped pursuit of a regulation for establishing “rules of the road” for the nationwide health information network (NwHIN) based on feedback it has received.
Commenters from industry and the public made it clear that federal regulation could slow development of health information exchange just as those activities are starting to emerge and pick up steam, “perhaps more than is widely appreciated,” according to Farzad Mostashari, MD,national coordinator for health IT.
ONC issued a request for information (RFI) in May to collect public comment on a possible approach for rulemaking to spell out “conditions of trusted exchange,” including safeguards and technical and business practices. ONC wanted to receive broad input before issuing a proposed rule, he said.

Scant mention of health IT in party platforms

By Tom Sullivan, Government Health IT
Created 09/10/2012
WASHINGTON – It’s a joke without a punch line: Both Republican and Democratic national party platforms make sparse mention of health IT.
To be certain, there’s plenty of focus on the broader healthcare issues. The GOP platform, in fact, dedicates its first two sections to ‘Saving Medicare for future generations’ and ‘Strengthening Medicaid in the states’, while the Democrats also address the issue early on with a section about healthcare as part of ‘The middle class bargain’ and another on ‘Social Security and Medicaid.’
As for any particulars of health IT, well, that’s another matter. Quite literally, each party offers up a single sentence on its intentions for health IT.

Diabetics closer to a life without needles via nanosensors

September 10, 2012 | By Jeff Byers - Contributing Writer
Diabetics may soon be able to focus on tissue fluids such as sweat or tears rather than blood when checking blood glucose levels. Recently developed biosensor technology in nano-form from Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems (IMS) is offering the chance of a non-invasive approach via digital biometric analysis that can be radioed to a mobile device.
With the ability to continuously measure glucose levels using tissue fluids including sweat or tears rather than blood, this technology could serve as relief to patients with the desire to stop sticking themselves with sharp needles as part of their daily routine. This announcement adds to a string of news offering the promise of a needle-free life for diabetics. In August, research from Purdue University's Birck Nanotechnology Center and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory discussed a new material for glucose monitoring can detect minute levels from saliva, tears and urine. What's more, in July 2011, researchers from Northeastern University in Boston announced an iPhone add-on using LED lighting and nanosensors that could help detect the presence of the compound in a patient's bloodstream.

Lack of ROI, quality metrics jeopardizes HIE sustainability

September 10, 2012 | By Susan D. Hall
Health information exchanges must develop metrics to gauge their impact on quality improvement and show return on investment to continue to convince stakeholders of their value, researchers say in a study published at Perspectives in Health Information Management.
Though health information exchanges provide a "necessary foundation" for accountable care organizations, the long-term sustainability of many organizations is not clear--and the tech market for HIEs remains in flux as it's all being sorted out.
"The last decade has seen significant progress in HIE technologies and substantial investments in HIT adoption, yet the lack of evidence on the value delivered by such efforts remains a major hurdle in making a strong case for both adoption and investment at the local level," the authors say.

It's not the size of your data--it's what you do with it

September 10, 2012 | By Gienna Shaw
I've heard a variation on this story at least a dozen times: A hospital gathers data from all corners of the organization, recruits doctors and nurses to supplement it by filling out forms and checking all kinds of little boxes. Then they run reports slicing the data this way and that way and send them to the doctors and nurses--and department heads and board members and whomever else they can think of.
And then nothing happens.
The thing is, just having access to the massive amounts of data that lies in electronic medical records, monitoring and other medical devices, health information exchange warehouses and public and private databases isn't enough. In fact, gathering all that data and using it to run reports isn't enough, either.

UPMC Invests in IBM Intelligent Infrastructure for Personalized Medicine

September 7, 2012
UPMC, the 20-plus academic hospital system in Pittsburgh, Pa., is investing $120 million over the next four years in data intelligent infrastructure from theArmonk, N.Y.-based tech giant, IBM. The goal of UPMC is to change the way that treatments are designed for individual patients by effectively using massive volumes of patient and research data.
“UPMC is keenly focused on creating new models of effective and affordable care, supported by good science and smart technology. Extending our long partnership with IBMis a key part of that strategy,” UPMC CIO Daniel Drawbaugh said in a statement.

FDA offers four-pronged plan to strengthen postmarket device surveillance

By Rene Letourneau, Editor
WASHINGTON – In a report released Thursday, the FDA outlined a four-step plan to intensify its postmarket medical device surveillance system.
According to the report, “Strengthening our National System for Medical Device Postmarket Surveillance,” the plan is designed to bolster the agency’s efforts to better monitor and report on the effectiveness and safety of medical devices.
“Although the United States has a robust postmarket medical device surveillance system, we believe our system can be strengthened by implementing four key changes to our existing program. It bears emphasizing that modernizing medical device postmarket surveillance is a long-term effort. Our proposed strategic changes are intended to complement our existing programs,” FDA officials said in the report.

Cancer Care Portal Connects Docs To Patients

Oncologists can use the tool to help meet Meaningful Use regulations on patient engagement.
Oncologists are looking for ways to meet Meaningful Use requirements that call for them to facilitate patients' access to their medical information online. Navigating Cancer has announced a tool to help accomplish that goal. Its patient portal has signed up more than 500 oncology providers across the country, enabling them to provide a more coordinated, patient-centered approach to care.
At the same time, the Seattle-based company's product, the Patient Engagement Portal, will help patients build their own online personal health records (PHRs) to manage their care and access medical information from their providers. AdTech Ad
Company officials said Navigating Cancer hit the milestone of adding 500 oncology practices to the patient portal in mid-August and has signed up several large practices including Advanced Medical Specialties in Miami, Michiana Hematology Oncology in Northern Indiana, and the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Fort Worth, Texas.

ONC releases draft 2014 test procedures for EHRs

Posted: September 7, 2012 - 5:15 pm ET
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology released the first draft of a set of test scripts to be used for the testing and certifying electronic health-record systems against the recently released 2014 Edition of standards and certification criteria for the federally funded EHR incentive payment programs.
The draft test procedures will be posted "in waves" on the ONC's website,, according to a news release.


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