Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 27th October, 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.

5 ways cloud computing will transform healthcare

By Benjamin Harris, New Media Producer
Created 10/17/2012
As its name may suggest, "the cloud" is a mysterious yet increasingly ubiquitous presence in all parts of life. Realistically, its definition is simple: cloud computing takes advantage of economies of scale and resource pooling to provide massive amounts of storage and computing power to any users who sign up for the service. Google's suite of "apps," ranging from Gmail to its online document management system is one example. Amazon's S3 data service is another.
Cloud computing is still a relatively new force in computing, but it's already it is beginning to make big inroads in health IT as well. Greg Arnette, CTO at Newton, Mass.-based Sonian, which develops cloud-based technologies, describes five of the major ways the cloud will transform healthcare.

NGA launches virtual health policy and HIT resource center

By Diana Manos, Senior Editor
Created 10/19/2012
WASHINGTON – The National Governors Association (NGA) has unveiled a new website, State Health Policy Options, designed to provide a “one-stop shop” for health policy information.
NGA officials say the site is a virtual resource center developed by NGA that will make it easier to explore potential solutions to health policy problems that state policymakers face. The website also will provide policymakers with innovative approaches from expert analysis and the experience of states in their efforts to improve health care access, affordability and quality.

Trial and error marks much early HIE implementation

October 19, 2012 | By Julie Bird
Different states are trying different approaches to setting up and managing health information exchanges, in some cases after high-profile failures.
In California, for example, the University of California-Davis Health System's Institute for Population Health Improvement is taking on the HIE governance role on behalf of the California Health and Human Services Agency. It will manage the California Health eQuality program, replacing the public, not-for-profit Cal eConnect, reports

How IT Can Prepare for Mobile Forensic Investigations

– Thor Olavsrud, CIO
October 16, 2012 
As mobile devices proliferate in the enterprise, whether corporate-owned or part of a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy, security organizations need to ensure they're prepared for the unique challenges of mobile forensic investigations.
This is especially true of organizations subject to compliance with regulations like PCI-DSS or HIPAA, but any organization could find itself in trouble if it can't get its hands on emails and SMS messages during an ediscovery process.

CMS officials offer snapshot of recent MU progress, $7.7B paid out

By Anthony Brino, Associate Editor
Officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) took stock of the federal government’s Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive programs and pointed to recent signs of progress.
With some growing pains, the Meaningful Use program has emerged as a model for multi-stakeholder collaboration in healthcare, Rob Tagalicod, director of CMS’s Office of Health Standards and Services, said during the HIMSS Government Health IT Virtual Briefing on Wednesday.
In September 2012, nearly 20,000 eligible professionals (EP) registered for EHR incentive payments. By CMS's guess, about half of EPs and nearly 81 percent of eligible hospitals are registered.

Report: Get Patient Data Out Of Silos

New study from PwC says improved insurer-provider communication will lead to better patient care.
If providers and insurers hope to improve medical care, they need to join forces to maximize the amount of patient data available to clinicians, said a recent report by PwC. Incorporating this larger pool of data into an organization will become critical as the landscape evolves into a more outcome-based approach.
According to the report, data can serve as a "powerful weapon" in the fight for constraining costs, but today's data tends to be trapped in silos, whether the pharmacy, the insurance company, the physician’s office, or the patient's computer. As a result, the benefits of informatics have largely bypassed the patient. AdTech Ad

Healthcare CIOs Opt for the Cloud

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , October 18, 2012

This article appears in the October 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
Cloud computing is taking hold in healthcare as a form of data sharing and for archival storage, an infrastructure cost-cutter and a time-to-market accelerator, and even as a method of recovering from disaster. But as author William Gibson famously said, if the future is already here, it isn't evenly distributed yet, and cloud computing is a textbook example. Concerns about security, privacy, regulatory compliance, and service-level agreements are just a few of those cited in and around healthcare as go-slow signals for adoption of the cloud.
Just don't show those signals to a growing contingent of CIOs and other healthcare technologists who are making real use of cloud computing today to help solve pressing needs.
"We have several examples of what we're doing in the cloud,” says Joe Bengfort, executive director and CIO of University of California San Francisco Medical Center, which posted net patient service revenue of more than $1.8 billion in 2011. "Some are quite closely related to the medical record system and patient care. Some of them are more back in the weeds of the infrastructure and the back-end technology.”

Inaccurate EHR info can spoil research, public health efforts

October 17, 2012 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
Data entered incorrectly in electronic health record systems can render not only that patient's record inaccurate, but also can adversely impact the results of research based on that data, according to a recent blog post by Anna Lembke, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford's School of Medicine.
Lembke, writing on the school's blog Scope, points out that one of the benefits of EHRs is to use their information for "big data" purposes and that EHRs are being data mined to make "important decisions" about clinical care and health policy. 

Report: EHR market to grow almost 8% a year

October 16, 2012 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
The market for electronic health records in North America is projected to grow 7.85 percent a year until 2015, based in large part on government support, according to a recently released report from Elmhurst, Ill.-based IT-research firm TechNavio.
The report identified key EHR vendors as Cerner, McKesson, Epic and Siemens. It also warned that privacy and security concerns and the increasing adoption of software-as-a-service-based EHR systems could both pose a challenge to this market growth.

Dr Foster flags weekend dangers

16 October 2012   Lis Evenstad
Dr Foster Intelligence’s director of research has called for hospitals to move to seven day working, after the information provider published new figures showing there is a significant increase in mortality at the weekend.
Roger Taylor said “other industries have adopted effective weekend operating, so these mortality figures are a worrying sign of the NHS’ failure to modernise its working practices.”

Mobile apps, medical records fuel healthcare's digital transformation

October 18, 2012 | By Julie Bird
By Julie Bird
It's always interesting when the popular press tackles topics that healthcare industry leaders have been talking about for ages. It brings a different perspective and a fresh voice that's sometimes lacking in board room discussions, conference lectures and trade publication articles.
In a recent series titled "The Digital Doctor," the New York Times offers a glimpse into what the average consumer sees when he or she stands at the intersection of healthcare and technology: how health IT is changing medicine and doctor-patient relationships from the patient's point of view. 

Mostashari: Paper records are great ... if you're Harry Potter

October 18, 2012 | By Gienna Shaw
Farzad Mostashari, M.D., always speaks with enthusiasm about health IT, and his address yesterday afternoon to members of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives was no exception. Peppered with references to Harry Potter and magical thinking, the National Coordinator for Health IT covered topics ranging from patient safety to accountable care to national patient identifiers.

Computer Viruses Are "Rampant" on Medical Devices in Hospitals

A meeting of government officials reveals that medical equipment is becoming riddled with malware.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Computerized hospital equipment is increasingly vulnerable to malware infections, according to participants in a recent government panel. These infections can clog patient-monitoring equipment and other software systems, at times rendering the devices temporarily inoperable.
While no injuries have been reported, the malware problem at hospitals is clearly rising nationwide, says Kevin Fu, a leading expert on medical-device security and a computer scientist at the University of Michigan and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who took part in the panel discussion.

Exercise vitals, in conjunction with EHRs, promise big things for healthcare

By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
Created 10/17/2012
PASADENA, CA – A new initiative to systematically integrate a patient's physical activity data into their electronic health record (EHR) has shown considerable promise for improving patient treatment and care quality, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Study findings, officials say, reveal that the electronic Exercise Vital Sign initiative developed by Kaiser Permanente has successfully compiled accurate and valuable information that can help clinicians better treat and counsel patients about their lifestyles.

Mostashari: Technology is not enough

By Diana Manos, Senior Editor
Created 10/17/2012
WASHINGTON – The U.S. is making strong and fast headway on the adoption of electronic health records, but technology is not enough on its own to reform the nation’s healthcare, said National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Farzad Mostashari at a recent event in Washington, D.C.
At a briefing hosted by the Alliance for Health Reform, Mostashari said healthcare IT is crucial, but it’s not only about technology. “It’s how we use the technology and how we accomplish the goals we set for ourselves.” The goals are threefold, he said: driving better care, encouraging better health and lowering healthcare costs.

Think again about Lorenzo

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has been under intense scrutiny for its implementation of Lorenzo, but is now keen to talk about what it has achieved. EHealth Insider editor Jon Hoeksma went to the trust to see progress for himself.
15 October 2012
Over the past four years, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has been under the spotlight as the key reference site for Lorenzo Release 1.9.
This, of course, is the new electronic patient record system that CSC was contracted to deliver to the NHS under the National Programme for IT in the NHS.
And that made success at Morecambe Bay a make or break condition on CSC retaining its local service provider contracts for the North, Midlands and East of England.
The resulting press scrutiny has been tough, and has included extensive reporting from eHealth Insider; but the trust is now keen to talk about what it has achieved.

Interoperability Initiative Poised To Transform Healthcare

Public-private partnership aims to simplify making connections among EHRs and HIEs, decrease interface costs, and better integrate clinical workflows.
A public-private consortium is about to make a quantum leap in the interoperability among disparate electronic health record (EHR) systems and health information exchanges (HIEs). If the initiative is successful, it will provide "plug-and-play" connectivity between EHRs and HIEs and between HIEs. This would drastically cut the expense of interfaces and would allow more than half of the U.S population and their healthcare providers to access health data shared among multiple states and systems.
As previously reported, Healtheway, the new private-sector entity that operates the eHealth Exchange (successor to the Nationwide Health Information Network or NwHIN Exchange), has partnered with the EHR/HIE Interoperability Work Group to implement standards that will make it easier to exchange health information. The Interoperability Work Group (IWG), led by the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeHC), is a consortium of 15 states, 19 EHR vendors, and 18 HIE vendors that has been developing implementation guides for interoperability since February 2011. AdTech Ad

Mandatory Use of CPOE Prevents Blood Clots

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , October 16, 2012

An effort to force Johns Hopkins doctors to order appropriate treatment to prevent venous thromboembolism or blood clots in their trauma patients has paid off, with more patients getting appropriate medications and fewer patients developing potentially lethal clots.
That's according to a report in the Archives of Surgery by Elliott Haut, MD, associate professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and colleagues, including Peter Pronovost, MD.
A VTE-programmed computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system "allowed the use of appropriate prophylaxis in patients who did not have a contraindication to these medications to jump up significantly" over the three-year study period, Haut says. Additionally, fewer patients actually developed pulmonary emboli, in which a blood clot found its way to a patient's lung.

Nuance speech tech goes mobile with Epic

By Bernie Monegain, Editor
Created 10/16/2012
BURLINGTON, MA – Clinicians who use an Epic electronic health record system can now also use speech recognition technology on the go – on their iPhones or iPads, with the newest offering from Burlington, Mass.-based Nuance Communications.
Customers will be able to capture clinical information through Epic Haiku for the iPhone and Epic Canto for the iPad because of the recent integration of Nuance’s cloud-based voice recognition with the Haiku and Canto applications.
Jeffrey Westcott, MD, medical director of the Cardiac Catherization Lab at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle – whose day is filled with angioplasty, cardiac catheterization, cardiac testing, cardiac ultrasound and echocardiography – says being able to document on the go will be a boon.

ONC Offers Guidance on Getting Consent for HIE

OCT 16, 2012 12:26pm ET
Physicians, in most cases, should be responsible for educating patients about health information exchange and obtaining “meaningful choice”--a decision on consent--from the patient, according to recent guidance from the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT.
“Meaningful choice ensures patients understand how and with whom their provider can share their information and the impact of their choices,” notes the guidance on the ONC blog site.

GP suppliers woo jilted CSC customers

11 October 2012   Jon Hoeksma
The major primary care software vendors turned out in force to woo jilted CSC primary care customers in Cheltenham today.
More than 200 users of Synergy, Premiere and Ganymede have gathered at a packed iSoft National User Group conference at Cheltenham Park Hotel to hear the sales pitches from TPP, EMIS, INPS and Microtest.
As first reported by EHI in September, CSC has announced it is pulling support for its primary care products from October next year. The 400-odd practices using CSC primary care systems now need to quickly find new suppliers, resulting in a surge in interest in the iSUG event.

InterSystems and eHealth Technologies announce partnership

By Diana Manos, Senior Editor
Created 10/15/2012
NEW YORK – InterSystems Corporation, a provider of software for connected care, and eHealth Technologies, which develops imaging solutions for electronic health records and health information exchange solutions, have announced a new partnership.
Leaders of the two companies said the partnership will provide single-click access to diagnostic-quality images such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds via the InterSystems HealthShare strategic informatics platform. HealthShare is currently used by hospitals, integrated delivery networks and regional and national health information exchanges worldwide.

Pariscribe bets on Microsoft Surface for mobile EMR

By: Neil Versel | Oct 15, 2012
At $499 per download, the most expensive piece of software in the new online Microsoft Windows Store for the forthcoming Windows 8 operating system is a mobile electronic medical record from Pariscribe, a Toronto-based health IT vendor. It also is the first EMR built for the Microsoft Surface line of tablets that will hit the market when Windows 8 is released Oct. 26.
Pariscribe introduced the product, called EMR Surface, last month, in anticipation of the latest version of Windows, which Microsoft is positioning as a more business-oriented operating system than the two platforms that hold almost a duopoly on the mobile market, Apple iOS and Android. “We feel Microsoft Surface and Windows 8 will dominate, at least in the office environment,” Pariscribe President and CEO Manny Abraham tells MobiHealthNews.

Physician alerts fail to boost VA colorectal cancer screenings

October 16, 2012 | By Susan D. Hall
A system at U.S. Veteran Affairs (VA) hospitals that sends electronic reminders to physicians when patients are due for colorectal cancer screening has been ineffective in increasing the number of screenings, according to a new study, published at Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Eight VA hospitals implemented the Oncology Watch system in 2008 to not only boost screening rates but also to provide timely diagnosis and surveillance.
The study looked at screening rates for the two years before it was came online and two years after. It also compared screening rates with the other 121 VA hospitals that did not have the system.

Costly computerized checklist improves blood clot treatment

October 16, 2012 | By Susan D. Hall
Forcing physicians to click through a checklist of best practices for preventing blood clots in trauma patients reduced the number of preventable events, according to Johns Hopkins research, although experts question to what extent.
When physicians entered medical orders in the computerized provider order entry-based decision support system, an automated checklist showed evidence-based best treatments, such as low-dose blood thinners or compression devices to keep blood flowing in the legs, according to an announcement. The researchers reported better results than previous methods, which included handing out laminated cards with best treatments or lectures on the subject.

Massachusetts launches statewide health information exchange

October 16, 2012 | By Dan Bowman
After much buildup, Massachusetts officially launched its statewide health information exchange this morning. At a kickoff event, known as the "Golden Spike," at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Gov. Deval Patrick (D-Mass.) sent his own health record between Mass General and Springfield, Mass.-based Baystate Medical Center.
"This marks another huge advancement for the state's healthcare information infrastructure and the safe and efficient transportation of [electronic health records]," Micky Tripathi, CEO for Waltham, Mass.-based Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative's (MAeHC) Quality Data Center, said in a statement.

Government Walks Fine Line on HIT Regulation

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , October 16, 2012

As the election nears, I'm not surprised to see the shortcomings of today's electronic medical records being used as yet another political football. But could it be true that the federal government isn't regulating EMRs enough?
According to an October 4 letter from four House Republicans to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the just-published Meaningful Use Stage 2 regulations are "in some respects, weaker" than Stage 1 regulations. They called for immediate suspension of distribution of EHR incentive payments.
(Note of clarification: The regulations just published include a set of updated Stage 1 regulations that will also take effect in 2014, as the Stage 2 regulations will.)

Supercomputer Speeds Up Cancer Analysis

Supercomputer dramatically reduces time required to analyze tumor cells, promising to bring genomic medicine to the bedside.
By marrying good science to a supercomputer, researchers have found a way to do the genomic analysis of a cancer tumor, a process that once took 8 weeks, in just 47 seconds per patient. The news could for the first time give oncologists critical information about the cancer they are going to treat before they begin treatment.
"We have quietly amassed the largest collection of cancer genomes in the nation," Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, chairman of NantHealth and the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Advanced Health, said at a press event held recently at The Newseum in Washington D.C. AdTech Ad

EHRs linked to higher quality care, study says

By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
Created 10/09/2012
NEW YORK – The findings of a new study underscore the positive correlation between high quality care in physician practices and the use of electronic health records (EHRs). Experts say the study is one of the first to examine and subsequently validate the clinical value of EHRs.
Officials say the study, published in the October issue of The Journal of General Internal Medicine, demonstrates that the significant investment in EHRs by both the federal government – which has already invested some $29 billion in meaningful use incentives – and physicians who use them will result in better care.

Coalition launches HIE testing initiative

By Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
Created 10/11/2012
NEW YORK – A coalition led by the EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup and Healtheway, the newly formed public-private partnership of the eHealth Exchange, has established a program to test and certify electronic health records and other health IT to ensure interoperability and reliable data exchange.
The coalition of 15 states, 37 technology vendors and 34 HIEs has set up an automated testing program to verify that, once tested, a system is capable of exchanging health information with many other systems. With this testing, a single set of standardized, easy-to-implement connections can support communication among systems.
The effort is being jointly led by the EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup, a New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC)-led consortium of states and vendors, and Healtheway, the newly formed public-private partnership of the eHealth Exchange, a network of 34 public and private organizations representing hundreds of hospitals, thousands of providers and millions of patients.

5 not-so-easy pieces of MU Stage 2

By Benjamin Harris, New Media Producer
Created 10/15/2012
As healthcare providers pore over the Stage 2 meaningful use requirements, they will notice a number of changes, tighter requirements and higher percentages to hit.
Dan Prevost of Arcadia Solutions, a healthcare consulting firm that advises clients on technology developments, says providers need to be aware of key developments in Stage 2 in order to attain their full incentive payment upon implementation of an electronic health record.
"That payment requires a certain level of documentation, and you need a report to monitor that development and show what that documentation is," said Prevost, whose firm helps to create documentation for MU incentives.

New poll takes pulse of HL7 profession

By Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
Created 10/15/2012
RALEIGH, NC – A recent survey of healthcare professionals who deal with HL7 integration, conducted by Core Health Technologies, finds some interesting facts about their use of technology, knowledge of programs such as meaningful use and strategies for information security.
Charlie Rogers, CEO of Core Health, which specializes in technology integration and security, calls the integration market "one of today’s most dynamic spaces in healthcare and in technology."
His firm polled some 1,350 individuals – CIO, CTOs, IT managers and other HL7 professionals – seeking to gauge their feelings on the state of technology, organizational priorities, meaningful use preparedness and confidence in interface software vendors.

Presidential Commission Seeks More Protection for Genetic Data

OCT 15, 2012 12:28pm ET
The falling cost of genomic sequencing could raise ethical dilemmas because advancements in genetic testing are moving faster than policies to protect privacy, according to a presidential commission.
“The life-saving potential of genome sequencing depends on gathering genetic information from many thousands (perhaps millions) of individuals, most of whom will not directly benefit from the research,” says Amy Gutmann, Ph.D., chair of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, in a new report. Those willing to share such information should be assured of appropriate confidentiality, she notes. But right now, they aren’t.

Hospital execs working to learn how biomed, health IT increasingly fit together

October 15, 2012 | By Susan D. Hall
Hospital technology is creating a link between biomedical engineering and the CIO. In a recent panel discussion with Hospitals & Health Networks, several hospital IT executives talked about the reporting structure involved, their integration challenges and how the technology works with clinical workflows.
At University of Chicago Medical Center and Biological Sciences, the clinical engineering department reports to the chief technology officer, who reports to Eric Yablonka, vice president and CIO for Chicago BioMedicine Information Services.

Age, education, income not linked to PHR adoption

October 15, 2012 | By Susan D. Hall
Age, education level and income were not good indicators of patients' willingness to adopt personal health records according to the results of a recently published study, though the patients' perceived ability to access and understand the information was.
Researchers from the University of Central Florida in Orlando polled 562 patients in a physician practice that was considering offering PHRs, but wanted to know whether patients would use them. Their findings, published in Perspectives in Health Information Management, did not support the notion that older, less educated and low-income patients would be less willing to adopt PHRs.
Of the total, 74 percent of the participants indicated that they would adopt a PHR. In the most common age group (41-55), 77 percent said they would use a PHR. Fifty-two percent of the patients had a high school education or less, yet 71 percent of that group expressed willingness to adopt a PHR. Meanwhile, 59 percent of patients were in the lowest income category (less than $20,000 annually) for 2008, and 75 percent of those indicated a willingness to use a PHR.

CCHIT details work for info exchange network

Posted: October 12, 2012 - 2:15 pm ET
The Chicago-based Certification Commission for Health Information Technology will test and certify the computer systems used by health information exchange organizations and the users of those products as part of a plan for a public-private version of the proposed Nationwide Health Information Network.
"I think a good way to think about it is there is product testing and then there is participant testing," Dennis Wilson, CCHIT's technology and testing director, said. CCHIT will do both, testing against criteria developed by a partnership of two health information exchange coalitions: the multistate and vendor-participating EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup, led by the New York eHealth Collaborative, a not-for-profit that operates the Statewide Health Information Network of New York, and Healtheway, a Richmond, Va.-based not-for-profit organization that supports the eHealth Exchange, another group of HIEs and healthcare organizations (PDF).

ZocDoc adds remote check-in for doctors appointments

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 11, 2012
Last week New York City-based online appointment booking site ZocDoc added its first new product since its launch: Remote check-in. On its company blog ZocDoc heralded the launch of ZocDoc Check-In as “the end of the clipboard”. The company said that making the tedious check-in process easier and remote has been the top request from its user base since launch.
Up until now ZocDoc has focused simply on helping patients find nearby doctors, gain access to their schedules, and book appointments online. Now ZocDoc users will take it one step further and get at least some of their basic medical history information into the doctor’s office system before they arrive on-site and are handed the check-in clipboard.

OHSU to put $1M to work on 'smarter' EHR

By Bernie Monegain, Editor
Created 10/12/2012
PORTLAND, OR – A $1 million grant awarded to Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will fund research to address some of the challenges connected to EHRs and create smarter EHR systems.
“Most tools used in medicine require knowledge and skills of both those who develop them and use them,” said William Hersh, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology at OHSU. “Even tools that are themselves innocuous could be detrimental to patient care if used improperly.”
For example, Hersh explained that while it is difficult to cause direct harm with a stethoscope, improper use of a stethoscope could lead to inaccurate results, tests or treatments. Similarly, improper use of EHRs could lead a clinician astray, especially in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where an average of 1,300 data points per patient are logged every 24 hours.


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