Saturday, January 19, 2013

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 19th January, 2013.

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.

3 best practices for internal security

By Benjamin Harris, New Media Producer, Healthcare IT News
Created 01/11/2013
When it comes to securing a hospital's IT, the focus is on keeping unwanted or unauthorized people out of the system. Strengthening a system to bar access to the wrong people while making it easy for the right ones to get in is always on IT managers' minds. What most people think about in the realm of security is referred to as "perimeter control," or securing a system from outside intruders.
But this is not the only area that needs focus,as there are just as many threats to network security within an organization as there are without. Paul Christman, Vice President, Public Sector Sales and Marketing at Dell, speaks about three key elements of internal controls that help ensure a system's IT is as strong inside a hospital's corridors as it on the outside.

mHealth market to hit $10.2B by 2018

By Rene Letourneau, Editor, Healthcare Finance News
Created 01/11/2013
The global mHealth market will grow at a compound annual rate of 41.5 percent in the next five years to reach $10.2 billion by 2018, up from $1.3 billion in 2012, according to a recent report from market research firm Transparency Market Research.
The increasing popularity of smartphones and the uptick in chronic diseases are key drivers, said Pawan Kumar, head of ICT and Semiconductor Practices at Transparency Market Research.

11 data security tips for a healthy organization in 2013

By Rick Kam, President and co-founder ID Experts
2013 is the Year of the Snake in Chinese culture. In the healthcare world, I predict 2013 will be the Year of the Data Breach. The numbers back me up: 94 percent of healthcare organizations surveyed suffered data breaches, according to the Third Annual Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy & Data Security, a report recently issued by Ponemon Institute. Given their frequency, data breaches have become what I call an everyday disaster.
Healthcare organizations want and need to protect against organizational and financial stresses of data breaches, but the pervasive nature of electronic protected health information (PHI) makes this a difficult task — an understatement — to be sure.

Patients have questions about HIE data

January 11, 2013 | By Gienna Shaw
Before they agree to participate in health information exchange (HIE), patients want to know who their information would be shared with, what type of information would be shared and if they could change their decision in the future, according to a survey conducted by HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
The survey was part of research for the eConsent Trial Project, sponsored by the ONC, according to an article in Becker's Hospital Review and the results were delivered at the Jan. 8 meeting of the federal Health Information Technology Policy Committee.

Sorting Out the Differences between ‘Interoperability’ and ‘HIE’

JAN 10, 2013 12:34pm ET
The words “interoperability” and “health information exchange” often are used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing, says Doug Fridsma, M.D., chief science officer in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Exchange.
In a new blog posting, Fridsma gives a tutorial on the terms that could serve as good guidance for educating C-level executives and others in an organization grappling with how better to share and use electronic health information.

Smart Health Care Strategy Hidden in ‘Cliff’ Deal

JAN 9, 2013 5:15pm ET
Editor’s Note: Peter Orszag, vice-chair of corporate and investment banking at Citigroup and a former director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Obama Administration, has written commentary for Bloomberg News on a provision in the Fiscal Cliff law to advance physician use of clinical registries. Section 601(b) of the law, on pages 84-88, enables physicians to opt out of other quality reporting requirements if they participate in a federally qualified clinical data registry. For a copy of the law, send an email to
Here is the commentary:
One little-noted provision I was encouraged to see tucked in last week’s fiscal-cliff legislation is Section 601(b): an incentive for doctors to expand their use of something called clinical data registries.
These registries collect information on patient characteristics, patterns of care and outcomes that can be crucial to evaluating what medical techniques and strategies work and which ones don’t. Unfortunately, registries are not as widespread as they should be -- and the ones that exist often are limited to particular types of care.

Patient ID Best Practices Coming Soon?

Advisers Call for Guidance in Time for HITECH Stage 2

By Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, January 9, 2013.
Federal regulators are one step closer to issuing guidance on best practices for how healthcare organizations should authenticate the identities of patients when they want to view, download or transmit their health records online.
The Health IT Policy Committee on Jan. 8 approved recommendations from its Privacy and Security Tiger Team regarding patient IDs in cyberspace. The committee advises the Office for the National Coordinator for Health IT on policy issues related to the HITECH Act electronic health record incentive program.

In 2013, Your Health IT Should Enable a Sustainable Operational Strategy

Written by Kathleen Roney | January 08, 2013
Social Sharing
In 2013 and beyond, healthcare organizations will have an opportunity to deploy a surplus of information technology innovations to solve strategic challenges. According to the "2013 Payor and Provider Industry Perspective" report compiled by Booz & Company, changes in health IT are in store for healthcare organizations as the industry becomes more patient centric.
According to Booz & Company's report, the following four IT outcomes are likely:
• Interoperable electronic health records could provide seamless transitions for patients and better clinical decision support for physicians.
• "Big data" could generate actionable consumer insights and better risk management.
• Cloud computing could reduce costs and connect care within and among sites.
• Telehealth could improve patients' access to care and lower costs.
• Social media could help engage and mobilize consumers in more effective ways.

Health IT Policy Committee Meeting: The Year Ahead and a Glimpse at Stage 4 of Meaningful Use

January 8, 2013
At the Jan. 8 Health IT Policy Committee meeting, Farzad Mostashari, M.D., national coordinator for health IT, and Paul Tang, M.D., vice chair of the committee, outlined some priorities for the year ahead, including a glimpse of what Stage 4 of meaningful use might address.
Stage 1 of meaningful use was defined as getting data structured; Stage 2 about getting it where it is needed in the health system; Stage 3 is about measuring and improving outcomes. “You might think of Stage 4 as moving toward the learning health system,” Tang said, “for both professionals and patients, so that we make better and better use of data.” That includes how to incorporate patient-generated data, shared care plans and observations of daily living and encouraging the active participation of patients in their care as well as support of continuous learning for healthcare professionals. “It’s a big lift and we have to start thinking about it,” Tang added.
Mostashari put ONC’s work for 2013 and 2014 into three buckets.

Interoperability summit calls for better standards, systems engineering to improve safety

January 10, 2013 | By Susan D. Hall
The healthcare industry needs a better understanding of the risks and improved interoperability standards before it can truly grapple with the patient-safety issues posed from healthcare technology, according to a paper compiled from a summit on medical device interoperability conducted by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The report, "Medical Device Interoperability: A Safer Path Forward," focuses on seven "clarion themes" distilled from the discussion. The themes largely echo those in the Institute of Medicine's report on health IT safety, according to an announcement.

Digital healthcare, wearable devices take center stage at CES

January 10, 2013 | By Ashley Gold
Roughly 500 people chose to attend a digital healthcare panel discussion moderated by Huffington Post Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington that featured a slew of health technology heavyweights at the start of this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this week, the Las Vegas Sun reports
Huffington kicked things off by calling the healthcare system "dysfunctional and expensive." She added that healthcare IT can reduce stress on people's lives, noting that new devices allow patients to make good decisions about their health that can help lead to the prevention of chronic disease.

Electronic communication could cause doc shortage to 'evaporate'

January 9, 2013 | By Dan Bowman
Electronic communication could help put an end to the perennial physician shortage problem in the U.S., according to new analysis published this month in the journal Health Affairs.
In fact, the physician shortage problem may be overestimated due to the increasing adoption of technology in healthcare, according to Linda Green, a professor of Business at the Columbia School of Business; Sergei Savi, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School; and Yina Lu, a doctoral student at Columbia's business school.
Thursday, January 10, 2013

Patient Portal: Not Just Another Static Text-Field Form

Meaningful use Stage 3 (yes, Stage 2 is already old news) is getting all the headlines lately due to the public comment period that runs through Jan. 14. One of the key areas of Stage 3 that I think is helping to build buzz is the call for increased patient access to self-management tools.  More specifically, the Stage 3 recommendations require health care providers to electronically accept patient-generated health information, according to a December 2012 iHealthBeat feature.
The idea of patient-generated health information as part of the "patient portal" may seem perplexing for some clinicians who are still wrestling with the digital shift to electronic health records themselves. Still, many of the technologies clinicians are using to overcome EHR challenges could be applied to the patient realm to make communicating faster and easier. Voice recognition is one such technology. If you can talk to your car and your coffee machine to get what you need fast, why can't patients at home use speech recognition to satisfy the digital patient information exchange that Stage 3 may call for in the coming years?

Patient Safety Tool Helps ID Hospital Errors

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , January 10, 2013

This article appears in the December 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
Reporting and analyzing every error that almost harmed a patient may be an expensive hassle. But for Paula Holbrook, RN, BHS, JD, CPHRM, associate director of risk management and clinical risk manager for the University of Kentucky Healthcare's A.B. Chandler Medical Center, it's just as valuable for preventing harm as reviewing those mistakes that did hurt patients.
Holbrook and her team want to capture the "near misses, the little things that don't reach the patient," she says. "They signal the need for change because of a potentially or actively defective process." Near misses happen more frequently, and thus are goldmines for process improvement.
Here's one example, she says. "A patient with the same last name as another patient is taken to the operating room and is nearly at the point of anesthesia induction when someone reports, 'Hey, we took the wrong patient.'

Experts: mHealth poses privacy challenge

By Diana Manos, Senior Editor
Created 01/09/2013
Despite the potential of mobile healthcare, experts say they worry about the added risks of security breaches, privacy violations and other concerns that come with the increasing use of mobile technology.
Lisa Gallagher, senior director for privacy and security at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), says the biggest privacy concern with the use of cell phones in healthcare is lost or stolen phones that contain unencrypted patient data.

EHR incentives over $10B to date

By Mary Mosquera, Senior Editor
Created 01/09/2013
Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record payments are estimated to have blasted through $10.3 billion to a total of 180,200 physicians and hospitals through December since the program’s inception. December’s payments of $1.25 billion were driven by the largest amount of hospital payments for an individual month, according to Robert Anthony, a specialist in CMS’ Office of eHealth Standards and Services.
“We will pay out in December more than $1 billion in Medicare and Medicaid hospital payments, our single largest month of payments by a factor of almost three, and a total of $1.2 billion. It will bring our year-to- date, although it’s not our program year-to-date, to over $10.3 billion paid out in incentives as of the end of December,” he said at the Jan. 8 Health IT Policy Committee meeting.

Copying and pasting of EHR info 'common'

January 7, 2013 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
Most physicians are taking advantage of the copy and paste function in their electronic health records and copying progress notes rather than creating new, original ones, according to a new study published in the journal Critical Care Medicine.  
The study examined 2,068 progress notes by 62 residents and 11 attending physicians of 135 intensive care unit patients in a medical center in Cleveland, using plagiarism detection software. The researchers found that more than four-fifths (82 percent) of the residents and three-fourths (74 percent) of the attendings' notes contained at least 20 percent of copied information. While the residents authored more copied notes, they copied a bit less information than the attendings (55 percent to 61 percent).

Download My Data: HL7 Releases Tool to Allow Patients to View Their Personal Health Information

January 8, 2013
Health Level Seven International (HL7), the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based global authority for interoperability and standards in healthcare information technology, has announced the release of a Continuity of Care Document (CCD) to Blue Button Transform Tool.
The tool allows organizations to convert information already available in the existing HL7 CCD format into a Blue Button ASCII text format. The Blue Button, developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs  in collaboration with the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Defense, empowers patients by providing a simple method to download, view, print and transmit their personal health information. Because most certified health information electronic health record (EHR) systems already have CCD-export capabilities, the tool will allow EHR users to create Blue Button consumer-friendly downloads without having to write a separate utility. 

RAND: Health IT No Bargain Yet

Problems in design and implementation of EHRs, lack of interoperability, and provider resistance hamper productivity gains and cost savings, says RAND report.
Health information technology won't create the kind of cost savings predicted in a 2005 RAND Corp. study until the technology is far more widespread and is used to its full potential, a pair of RAND researchers conclude in a new Health Affairs report.
The earlier RAND report, authored by Richard Hillestad and his colleagues, predicted that the potential efficiency and safety improvements made possible by health IT could save the U.S. healthcare system $81 billion a year. Since 2005, annual health spending has soared from $2 billion to $2.8 trillion, yet quality and efficiency have improved only marginally, despite an increase in health IT adoption, note researchers Arthur L. Kellerman and Spencer S. Jones in the new paper. AdTech Ad

3 steps to improving medical data error reporting

By Kristine Martin Anderson, Senior vice president, Booz Allen Hamilton's healthcare market and Kathryn Schulke, Senior associate, Booz Allen Hamilton
As is often the case in life, we hope to learn from our mistakes, and not repeat them. The same could be said for our healthcare system.
Each year, medical errors affect millions of Americans. Medical errors — some mild, others more severe — cost the healthcare system an estimated $17.29 billion in wasteful spending. Unfortunately, only a fraction of medical errors and near-misses are actually reported — whether systematically or anecdotally — by providers to healthcare organizations, state, or national regulators.
Why? Many estimate that the fear of retribution, possible litigation, or financial consequences creates significant barriers to accurately reporting medical error data. In addition, patchwork systems of reporting, compounded by a lack of awareness by providers on how or where to report error data, create a disconnected healthcare ecosystem. Regardless of the reason, insufficient medical error data reporting and surveillance limits critical understanding and insights for the healthcare system. More systematic sharing of data could lead to more effective interventions and improved care, helping to save lives and reduce healthcare costs.

Hard Times

EHI Primary Care’s latest, exclusive survey of staff working in primary care IT shows that the reforms have been hard; and may yet take a greater toll. Fiona Barr reports.
3 January 2013
The last 12 months have been tough for those working in primary care IT - and the coming year holds no guarantees of improvement.
That, at least, is the impression given by EHI Primary Care’s exclusive survey of more than 100 IT staff working in primary care trusts, for health informatics’ services, and for the bodies that will take on commissioning, IT and information support in three months’ time.
One respondent, who has found a job in a commissioning support unit, likened the process of getting it to “mental torture.”

Unforeseen factors can throw a wrench in the best HIE plans

January 8, 2013 | By Susan D. Hall
A study of health information exchange implementation by the New York State Department of Health zeroes in how unforeseen factors can affect a complex technology implementation.
The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, uses system dynamics modeling, which the authors say are valuable tools for strategic thinking on complicated and intense processes. These models can be produced with fewer resources than a full simulation, yet still provide timely and relevant insight, the authors say.

Timely Reminders Boost Childhood Immunizations Rates

January 7, 2013
Collaboration between practices and health departments is effective, according to study
Research from the Children's Outcomes Research Program at Children's Hospital Colorado shows that timely reminders by state or local health departments are more effective at increasing immunization rates among preschool children than those from primary care practices.
The study, published the American Journal of Public Health, underscores the importance of partnerships between state and county health departments and primary care practices to keep children up-to-date on recommended vaccines.

Interbit Data to bring its EHR services to 750 hospitals

Boston Business Journal by Maureen McCarthy, Special to Mass High Tech

Date: Monday, January 7, 2013, 2:51pm EST - Last Modified: Monday, January 7, 2013, 3:33pm EST
Interbit Data CEO Arthur Young said the this deal, as well as other developments it is working on, will give the company an opportunity to significantly grow in terms of revenue and staff. 
Healthcare software solutions company, Interbit Data of Natick and MMRGlobal (OTCQB: MMRF) of California, a healthcare information company, have entered into a patent license agreement to sell MMR-patented technologies and MMRPatientView and MyMedicalRecords Personal Health Record (PHR) services to more than 750 hospitals utilizing Interbit’s NetDelivery secure software solution.
Currently, Interbit Data, the creator of secure and cost-effective software solutions dedicated to improving operational efficiency of healthcare providers, has a customer base in 49 out of 50 states nationally with 35 healthcare organizations specifically in Massachusetts.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Caregiver Distractions From Mobile Devices Becoming an Issue

A resident fails to complete a patient's medication order after responding to a text from a friend about a party. A nurse checks her Facebook account during a coronary bypass operation. A physician attending inpatient rounds misses an important detail about a patient because he gets an email from his wife.
Providers are increasingly raising alarm over caregiver distractions from smartphones and other mobile devices, warning that hospitals and health systems should put policies in place that discourage their personal use during patient encounters.
Indeed, a few health systems and provider associations are leading the way in establishing policies on the issue.

Scot Silverstein's Good Health IT and Bad Health IT

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , January 8, 2013

Inevitably, when the subject turns to the pitfalls of bad health IT, you will find Scot Silverstein, MD, ready to comment. He has been writing about health IT difficulties since 1998.
Silverstein is an adjunct professor at Drexel University who I recently interviewed for an upcoming HealthLeaders magazine story on physician resistance to health IT.
A recent Silverstein blog post caught my eye for the following statement: "It is impossible for people, especially medical professionals, to be 'ready' for a system that 'is not ready for them.'"

What will it take for docs to use apps?

By Diana Manos, Senior Editor
Created 01/07/2013
With events such as the Consumer Electronics Associations’ 2013 International CES conference this week in Las Vegas, featuring a dizzying 3,000 global app companies and a digital health summit, there is a lot of hype around what apps can do for healthcare. 
But as the apps flood forth, what about regulation, in a world where the sluggish wait for FDA approval is a dirge often heard? What do experts advise doctors to look for when they want to use an app?
Kerry McDermott, the former director of healthcare for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), now senior director of health care technology policy for West Health Institute, a non-profit organization focused on lowering healthcare costs, says there is “a lot of consternation in the market.”

DH plans to become 'digital examplar'

3 January 2013  
The Department of Health has said it wants to become a “digital exemplar in Whitehall” in a plan for doing more of its work online and through social media.
The DH’s first ‘Digital Strategy’, published just ahead of the Christmas and New Year break, outlines the steps it will take to become a ‘digital first’ organisation, in line with the government’s wider digital strategy and plans for civil service reform.
The strategy says the DH will open up policymaking by making more use of digital technologies to collect and analyse views on policy proposals, and adopt a digital first approach to communications.

Email reminders encourage end-of-life talks

Thu, Jan 3 2013
Jan 4 (Reuters) - Email alerts may encourage cancer doctors to talk with terminally ill patients about their end-of-life wishes and to record those preferences in their medical records, according to a U.S. study.
Oncologists who were reminded each time one of their patients started a new chemotherapy regimen were more than twice as likely to note patients' wishes before they became very sick, said researchers in a report published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
"If, God forbid, the patient does end up in a medical emergency and it's unclear what their medical wishes are, then it's always a difficult situation for the doctor and the family," said Jennifer Temel, who led the study at Massachusetts General Hospital cancer Center in Boston.

4 health privacy threats that will freak you out

January 7, 2013 | By Gienna Shaw
Imagine walking into your practice offices one sunny Monday morning in June, carrying a cup of coffee, the morning newspaper queued up on your iPad. You greet your co-workers, grab a bagel from the bag someone left in the break room, settle into your office and turn on the computer.
That's when you find the electronic note posted to your server from hackers who are holding your electronic health record data for ransom. You can't log into the system, you can't access email and you have no idea whether or how much patient data was compromised.
If we were handing out awards for the strangest data security breach of 2012--and worst Monday morning moment of 2012--the Surgeons of Lake County in Libertyville, Ill., would surely take the dubious prize.


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