Saturday, June 01, 2013

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 1st June, 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.
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Impatient About Electronic Health Records

MAY 23, 2013 12:59pm ET
I’m impatient about realizing the benefits of electronic health records—we all are. But, as the futurist Roy Amara once cautioned, “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.”
Amara’s law came to mind recently when six U.S. Senators published a report called “Reboot” that questioned recent government investments in health information technology. Like me, the Senators are also impatient to see results.
The report, released by lead author South Dakota Senator John Thune, is critical of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, a portion of the President’s 2009 stimulus bill that encourages physicians and hospitals to swap paper charts for electronic records.
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Pentagon Says 20 Vendors Can Meet its Electronic Health Record Needs

The Defense Department has found 20 commercial software vendors capable of modernizing its electronic health record system, Frank Kendall, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told reporters at the Pentagon today.
Yesterday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel backed the use of commercial software in a memo to Kendall. Hagel said he supported competitive procurements for undefined “core” EHR commercial software systems. Kendall said these procurements will provide a modernized Defense health record to replace the department’s existing Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application system, known as AHLTA.
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  • NEXT IN TECH
  • May 20, 2013, 8:07 p.m. ET

Forget to Take Medicine? These Pills Will Tell Your Doctor

Startups Devise Ways to Help Patients Stick to Their Pill-Taking Schedule

By TIMOTHY HAY

Startups are coming up with new technologies, such as "digital pills," aimed at getting people to take medicine only as directed. Timothy Hay joins The News Hub. Photo: AdhereTech.
Startup companies are coming up with new technologies aimed at getting people to take medicine only as directed.
Taking medication haphazardly—skipping doses, lapsing between refills or taking pills beyond their expiration date—has been linked to health complications and hundreds of millions of wasted dollars for insurers and hospitals.
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Mostashari: Beacons 'taught us'

By Tom Sullivan, Editor, Government Health IT
The Beacon Communities proved that organizations can advocate changes to how healthcare is paid for by working with payers and providers, while  improving quality and safety at the same time — lessons learned locally but applicable to the entire nation, said Farzad mostashari, MD, national coordinator for health IT. “These were the pillars of the Beacon Community activities, and they taught us,” Mostashari said. “They showed what we needed to do.”
Mostashari spoke May 22 during an online event titled The Beacon Community Experience: Illuminating the Path Forward. The idea was to assess how the 17 Beacon Communites had fared over the past three years. The 17 communities across the country were funded by ONC with $250 million to serve as models for changing healthcare. ONC named 15 communities at first, and added two later.
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£260m fund to boost e-prescribing

17 May 2013   Lyn Whitfield & Rebecca Todd
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced a £260 million fund for hospitals to increase their use of e-prescribing and electronic patient records.
The ‘Digital Challenge’ fund will be used by hospitals to, “replace outdated paper based systems for patient notes and prescriptions, and is a critical stepping-stone in helping the NHS go digital by 2018”, the Department of Health says.
Hunt explained: “In many places, right now, a paramedic picking up a frail elderly woman who has had a fall will not always know she has dementia, because he or she cannot access her notes.
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Huge support for CCIOs in EPR Debate

22 May 2013   Jon Hoeksma
An overwhelming 93% of respondents to The Big EPR Survey say that every NHS trust should have a chief clinical information officer.
The figure was 10% higher than support for every trust to have board level chief information officer, still a resounding 83%.
Many trusts do not have board level IT directors or CIOs, with information often being a responsibility of the finance director.
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With risky symptoms, patients don't use portals

May 23, 2013 | By Susan D. Hall
Despite the widespread growth of patient portals, a new study from the Mayo clinic suggests that's not the communication medium patients use with time-sensitive symptoms.
Unlike a phone call, response to patient messages and eVisits might not provide immediate assistance for symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath, the authors write in an article at the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, and wondered if that puts patients at risk. 
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Content on health websites often too complex for patients

May 23, 2013 | By Ashley Gold
If you feel like you're lost in a sea of jargon when navigating healthcare-related websites, you're not alone. A new research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine assesses readability of patient education resources found online, determining that such materials often are too complex for their intended audience.
For the research, resources from 16 medical specialties were examined with software called Readability Studio, where readability was assessed using different formulas and indexes. All assessments showed that materials were too complex for the sixth-grade reading level; the average American adult reads at approximately a seventh- to eighth-grade level, according to the authors.
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PatientsLikeMe Launches Open Research Exchange

Social networking site PatientsLikeMe loans its 200,000-member community to academic and pharma researchers to validate online questionnaires that measure patient outcomes.
PatientsLikeMe, a social network that lets patients share health information with each other online, has announced it is piloting a medical research platform that lets researchers test new methods for measuring patient outcomes.
Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, PatientsLikeMe's Open Research Exchange allows researchers "to pilot, deploy, share, and validate new ways to measure diseases within PatientsLikeMe’s community of more than 200,000 members," according to a news release. The researchers might be from academia or pharmaceutical companies, said Paul Wicks, PatientsLikeMe's research and development director, in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare. AdTech Ad
Founded in 2004, PatientsLikeMe initially focused on about 10 conditions, including multiple sclerosis and Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS). It developed online questionnaires, known as "instruments," to measure the outcomes of patients with some of these diseases. Two years ago, Wicks explained, the company decided to expand its site to encompass patients with all kinds of conditions. Today, the network's database includes data, treatments and symptoms for about 1,500 conditions.
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E-mail effective for treating anxiety

May 22, 2013 | By Ashley Gold
E-mail therapy was found to be effective for treating anxiety patients, according to a trial of 62 patients conducted by professor Nazanin Alavi, M.D., of King's University in Ontario, MedPage Today reports.
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A patient simulator for primary care physicians starts with diabetes

May 20, 2013 3:16 pm by Stephanie Baum | 0 Comments
The brainstorming for how to deal with the impending physician shortage is happening on many different fronts. Some think cutting the length of medical school from four to three years would help. Federal legislation aimed at creating more government-backed training spots at teaching hospitals is under review. Others think more nurse practitioners will help. California is reviewing legislation to delegate more duties to nurse practitioners and pharmacists.
One concern remains: Fewer physicians mean fewer mentors to train doctors in diagnosing and treating patients with chronic conditions that could lead to costly complications.
A joint venture between a health system and simulation developer called SiMCare Health has led to the development of Web-based patient simulators tapping thousands of patient experiences. The first of these focuses on diabetes.
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Market for Data Breach Insurance Heats Up

by John Moore, iHealthBeat Contributing Reporter
Hospitals and other health care providers are beginning to purchase data breach insurance as the number of security incidents reported in the health care sector continues to grow.
Data breach insurance, sometimes called cyber liability insurance, provides some peace of mind for health care executives faced with the near inevitability of an intrusion. Insurance products in this field date back to the late 1990s and early 2000s, but demand has picked up over the last couple of years. Insurance brokers and security consultants report an uptick in interest in such policies among health care providers and their business associates.
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Health IT: Make sure the policy umbrella is big enough for everyone

By Patricia Flatley Brennan - 05/22/13 02:30 PM ET
The growing trend toward incorporating health information technology (HIT) and patient-defined and patient-generated data into the healthcare delivery system is clear. From funding included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to provisions included in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, to the call for inclusion of patient-generated data in Stage 3 meaningful use, HIT implementation is an essential component of federal plans to improve healthcare quality and lower costs.  
The trend may be clear, but we still need a better comprehension of how broad the range of patient-generated data really is. Some data that can only be captured by patients, like blood pressure readings taken at home at night, are well understood by clinicians. But there is another kind of valuable data that is not only generated by patients but defined by individual patients – the detailed observations people make as they go about their daily lives. We need to find ways to integrate patient-defined and -generated data into the clinical setting in a secure, meaningful way.
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Beyond the HIT Boom

MAY 20, 2013 12:52pm ET
The thriving health care information technology industry is no longer news. But, much like the real estate market, there’s a crash coming, and soon.
The American health care industry is normally described in three distinct sectors – providers, insurers and life sciences. While all three sectors contribute to health care, they operate in very different ways, with periodic blurring of relative roles and responsibilities. Life sciences include multi-national pharmaceutical and biotech corporations that focus on research and manufacturing. The health care insurance industry has consolidated dramatically over the last twenty-five years and now less than half a dozen corporations provide the vast majority of private insurance in the United States. The insurance sector has periodically increased patient care related interventions, but normally has just passed on ever increasing medical expenses to employers. The provider sector consists of a highly fragmented delivery system of primary, acute and post-acute caregivers. This sector is mostly non-profit and historically local and/or regional in nature. All of these sectors are dramatically impacted by government policy and reimbursement rates.
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DoD to go to market for its EHR

By Bernie Monegain, Editor
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has notified the Department of Defense that it will look for an electronic health record system available on the commercial market rather than develop its own based on the Department of Veterans Affairs VistA system.
"I am convinced that a competitive process is the optimal way to ensure we select the best value solution for DoD," Hagel wrote his May 21 memo to Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall and Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright.
The memo was first obtained and reported by Nextgov.
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Why healthcare is slow to go mobile

May 22, 2013 | By Alicia Caramenico
With the quick advancement of remote access technologies showing no end in sight, it's time for healthcare organizations to get on board the mobile technology train or risk getting run over, iHealthBeat reported.
Yet privacy concerns over sharing and accessing sensitive data from remote locations has made healthcare slower than other industries in securing the paths used to access that data.
In fact, a recent HealthcareInfoSecurity survey of about 200 healthcare CIOs, IT directors, CISOs and other senior-level employees found 58 percent allow bring-your-own-device (BYOD) but only 46 percent encrypt data stored or accessed on those devices, iHealthBeat noted.
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Doc EHR use differs based on uncertainty of management perceptions

May 22, 2013 | By Dan Bowman
Physician perceptions of uncertainty--and the role of information technology in managing that uncertainty--heavily factor into their use electronic health record systems, according to research published online this week in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
For the study, researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the University of Texas at Austin and the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle interviewed 28 physicians working at the same ambulatory care organization about their perceptions of uncertainty and their EHR use patterns. Specialties represented included primary care, endocrinology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, neurology and podiatry.
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Maine HIE Org. Gets Every Acute-Care Hospital under Contract

May 21, 2013
HealthInfoNet, the Portland, Maine-based non-profit that operates the statewide health information exchange (HIE), has announced that it has signed every single acute-care hospital within the state to connect to the query-based HIE.
Thirty-four of the state’s 38 hospitals in this area are already connected and HealthInfoNet expects the remaining four to connect by the end of the year. This will make Maine one of the few states in the country that has been able to get all of its hospitals connected to a query-based HIE. The first state do so was Maryland
 “This is a huge milestone for us and a testament to the collaborative nature of the hospital community in Maine,” Devore Culver, HealthInfoNet’s CEO, said in a statement. “We’re lucky in Maine. Our hospitals and ambulatory provider systems have chosen not to compete on patient data and agreed early on that creating a centralized system was in the best interest of patients.”
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Electronic Health Data Gaining Favor

By LOUISE RADNOFSKY

More than half of U.S. doctors have switched to electronic health records and are using them to manage patients' basic medical information and prescriptions, according to federal data set to be released Wednesday.
The Department of Health and Human Services says it has reached a tipping point as it seeks to steer medical providers away from paper records. Advocates for electronic health records say they have the potential to make medical care safer and more efficient. In 2015, the federal government will start penalizing providers that haven't begun using electronic health records in reimbursements they get for treating patients.
But some doctors have been cautious about changing long-standing practice, saying that typing into a computer while talking with patients requires more attention than taking notes by hand. Others are concerned that electronic systems don't allow for enough family history or fail to highlight the important parts of a patient's medical record. Some critics also cite privacy concerns.
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Over half of docs have received EHR incentive payments

Posted: May 22, 2013 - 2:00 pm ET
Key federal programs to boost electronic health records systems use passed a milestone last month as more than half of physicians and other “eligible professionals” have received incentive payment for attesting to the adoption of a certified EHR system.
As of April, 191,305 physicians and EPs have received EHR incentive payments from Medicare, while 88,903 have received payments from Medicaid and 11,117 from Medicare Advantage under programs created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
In January, the CMS reported that 527,200 EPs are eligible for payments, so 55.3% of all EPs have now received some form of EHR incentive payment, according to the latest CMS data.
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AHA: Meaningful Use needs work, not an overhaul

May 21, 2013 | By Dan Bowman
While both the American Hospital Association and Healthcare Innovation Council, led by health IT consultancy Anthelio, agree with several Meaningful Use concerns laid out by Republican lawmakers in a white paper published last month, AHA officials say the program should not be rebooted.
In a letter to the six senators who authored the paper, AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack (right) says that despite "uneven progress" that has led to a "digital divide" among hospitals, the reimbursement horse essentially is out of the barn.
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CCHIT: Interoperability breakthrough near

May 21, 2013 | By Susan D. Hall
The healthcare industry is on the verge of a breakthrough in interoperability as "plug and play" capability becomes more than a dream, according to a whitepaper published by the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT).
This is true in two important areas, the group says: the ability of healthcare providers to send and receive care summaries within their clinical workflow, and their ability to look up patient records seamlessly across disparate electronic health records used by other healthcare organizations, not by going to a website.
National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari has sought consensus in establishing interoperability, and this progress comes from the work of a powerful private-public coalitions--the EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup (IWG), a New York eHealth collaborative; and Healtheway, the public-private partnership that operates the eHealth Exchange (formerly known as the Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange).
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American Stroke Association launches app to ID symptoms

By: Aditi Pai | May 20, 2013
This week the American Stroke Association, American Heart Association, and Ad Council officially launched Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T., an app that aims to help users identify when someone is having a stroke. The app was based on Think FAST, and app launched by Australia’s National Stroke Foundation in 2010.
F.A.S.T. stands for the steps a bystander should take to determine whether someone is having a stroke. “F” prompts the bystander to ask the patient to smile, while checking if his or her face droops on one side. “A” reminds the bystander to ask the patient to raise his or her arms and check if one drifts downwards. “S” stands for asking the patient to repeat a simple phrase as the bystander assesses if that person’s speech is slurred or strange sounding. “T” stands for time and reminds the bystander to quickly call 911 if they believe the person they are with is suffering from a stroke.
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Coalition to Senate: Time to ‘Re-do’ Meaningful Use

MAY 20, 2013 4:00pm ET
The electronic health records meaningful use programs has not improved the quality and efficiency of care and needs to be redone, a small coalition of industry leaders say in a letter to six Republican members of the Senate.
Unless the program is revamped, the Healthcare Innovation Council, led by outsource consultancy Anthelio urges a halt to meaningful use and that remaining funds for financial incentives be spent on providers who demonstrate meaningful use “through whatever means they choose.”
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Health Care Industry's Slow Embrace of Remote Access Technologies

by Patrick Oliver Graf
We are all familiar with the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and consumerization of IT trends that have taken the modern workforce by storm in recent years. And during that time, there has been no shortage of controversy over whether the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to the use of mobile devices and remote working, particularly in the health care industry.
Take, for example, the imaging capabilities of smartphones and tablet computers. They have evolved to the point where physicians can use them to document patient injuries and conditions and make remote diagnoses, often equaling what you would get from an in-person examination. This could drastically improve collaborative efforts across the medical field and the ability to solicit expert opinions from specialists on the other side of the globe.
But as more and more sensitive data are shared and accessed from remote locations, privacy concerns abound. In the past, the health care industry focused almost exclusively on how to safeguard data where they are stored. But with BYOD and remote access quickly becoming the rule rather than the exception, organizations must look at technologies that secure the paths used to access that data.
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Insurer's App Aims to Lower Healthcare Costs, Securely

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , May 21, 2013

Aetna will allow patients and providers to communicate directly via a mobile application that protects data privacy and indicates when care options are high cost, out of network, or present challenging payment arrangements.
If you have any doubt that leading mobile health apps are about to become a whole lot more important to providers, let Aetna's iTriage set you straight.
Aetna's application developers are preparing to allow patients and providers to directly communicate with each other in a new version of the iTriage app due to hit the streets in the next two months.
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California Developing Guidance for Patient Consent of HIE

MAY 17, 2013 3:42pm ET
The California Health and Human Services Agency has released a guidance tool on requirements for obtaining patient authorization and consent for providers to electronically exchange information for treatment purposes.
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New HIPAA rule not meant to block clinical trial progress, expert says

By Diana Manos, Senior Editor
Ever since the updated HIPAA rule took effect last March, some hospital IT departments see themselves as “the HIPAA police,” clamping down in ways that the rule doesn't require, says one industry expert. 
“Suddenly everybody is a judge, and that’s very dangerous. It’s a huge obstacle, and it slows down progress,” says Abraham Gutman, founder of AG Mednet, the provider of software used by more than 17,000 customers in 60 countries to automate the process of quality control, including pixel de-identification and DICOM de-identification.
 “It’s not so much that the new HIPAA regulations are more stringent; they are more structured,” says Gutman, an industry expert in the de-identification of patient information specific to clinical trials. “The new HIPAA is like a river. All data should be allowed to flow, as long as it stays within the banks of what HIPAA allows.”
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Analytics will be the 'nervous system' of ACOs

May 20, 2013 | By Susan D. Hall
A new report from the Institute of Health Technology Transformation (iHT2) resonates a familiar theme: Analytics are the key to population health management and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).
The paper aims to help healthcare leaders "identify and understand models for innovative uses of data" that will help them improve care and cut costs. It focuses on "creating a nervous system and solid infrastructure foundation that leverages storage, processing, analysis, and data management to make better, evidence-based business and clinical decisions."
While it concedes that there is "no single roadmap to achieving analytics excellence," it sets out an analytics framework starting with establishing a data governance committee, putting together an analytics team through setting benchmarks and ways to measure efforts.
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Marin General Hospital on the right path to fix CPOE safety issues

May 20, 2013 | By Gienna Shaw
The cynic in me almost dismissed last week's story about Marin General Hospital nurses who said the Greenbrae, Calif., hospital's computerized physician order entry system is unsafe for patients. There's a shocker, I thought: A business with employees who don't like change.
But at a board meeting, Marin nurse Susan Degan begged to differ. "This is not about resistance to change. It's about accountability," she said. "My most important role is that of patient advocate. I am held accountable when errors are made."
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Health information group launches medical app user guide

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 20, 2013
The American Health Information Management Assn. has released a guide that physicians can recommend to patients to pick the best health apps and use them securely (link).
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Watson goes to Washington: IBM shows off latest health-care work to lawmakers

Watson, IBM’s supercomputer named after company founder Thomas Watson, was on Capitol Hill Thursday to show off what it has learned since it dove into health care roughly a year ago.
 “I thought I was coming up to play chess with a computer,” said Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Tex.) as he took the podium in the House Energy and Commerce committee room during an event hosted by IBM and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), vice chair of the committee. But the now-famous servers were nowhere in sight, since Watson’s computing power is now accessible to authorized users through the cloud.
Burgess, a medical doctor, was among a group of lawmakers invited to attend the event Thursday afternoon. Nearly all of the invited members, minus Blackburn who was unable to attend, were formally trained in the sciences.
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Enjoy!
David.

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