Here are a few I have come across this week.
· By Dr. Charles Jaffe
· Friday, December 04, 2009
By Dr. Charles Jaffe and John Quinn
Dr. David Blumenthal, director of the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology, recently urged the healthcare industry to break down barriers to electronic exchange of healthcare information in order to improve the quality of care and better serve patients.
To reach that goal, we must develop a greater degree of interoperability among healthcare IT applications than we have today. To discard the existing data interchange standards and to replace them with something new and “simpler,” as some are proposing, would be counterproductive.
Medical identity theft is on the rise and expected to worsen.
The problem has grown during the recession as more uninsured people use the coverage of a friend, relative or even a stranger to get care. Of particular concern is the fact that most of the fraud is committed by people who pay medical workers for patients' information.
In one case, a front-desk clerk at a medical clinic in Weston, Fla., downloaded the personal information of more than 1,100 Medicare patients and gave it to a cousin, who made $2.8 million in false Medicare claims.
11.24.09, 7:00 PM ET
Glance at 2009's data breach statistics, and you might think the IT world had scored a rare win in the endless struggle against cybercrime.
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, government agencies and businesses reported 435 breaches as of Nov. 17, on track to show a 50% drop from the number of breaches reported in 2008. That would make 2009 the first year that the number of reported data breaches has dropped since 2005, when the ITRC started counting.
By Associated Press
Posted: December 4, 2009 - 11:00 am EDT
Oregon has launched a computerized statewide registry to help make sure people's end-of-life medical wishes are easily available to doctors and paramedics.
HDM Breaking News, December 3, 2009
A survey of CIOs and other top information technology leaders at provider organizations finds most respondents worry to some degree about being able to implement standards recommended by the HIT Standards Committee to meet current deadlines for the meaningful use of electronic health records.
By Mary Mosquera
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Health information exchange will spring from a variety of sources and methods beyond the federal government’s work to set-up a nationwide health information network (NHIN), Dr. David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health IT, said yesterday.
“We want to continue to make [NHIN] an option for the exchange of information and for aggregating enhanced uses of data, but we expect others to evolve,” he said at a panel discussion Dec. 2 sponsored by the Brookings Institution.
December 1, 2009, 1:46 PM ET
Yes, health IT systems done right can help improve patient safety. But health IT systems done wrong can actually create new safety risks, a doctor and patient-safety expert says in a new article published by the journal Health Affairs.
We heard something similar a few weeks back, when we chatted with a senior Kaiser doc who warned of “magical thinking” on health IT. Today’s commentary comes from Bob Wachter, a UC San Francisco hospitalist, who writes:
“recent experience has confirmed that health IT is harder than it looks … Several major installations of vendor-produced systems have failed, and many safety hazards caused by faulty health IT systems have been reported.”
December 4, 2009
WASHINGTON, December 3, 2009 - While Congress debates whether health care reform would control health care costs, today employer purchasers point to 45 hospitals that lead through example-delivering the best quality care in the nation while attaining the highest levels of efficiency. Thirty-four urban, eight children's and three rural hospitals have been named 2009 Leapfrog Top Hospitals, based on results from The Leapfrog Hospital Survey. The survey (found at www.leapfroggroup.org) is the only national, public comparison of hospitals on key issues including mortality rates for certain common procedures, infection rates, safety practices, and measures of efficiency.
03 Dec 2009
One in 10 written hospital prescriptions contain mistakes, most are minor and spotted but some are potentially lethal.
In many cases the errors result from poor or illegible handwriting, transcribing errors, ambiguous prescriptions or other communication breakdowns.
This is the finding of major new research commissioned by the General Medical Council, which says despite the prevalence of errors most are spotted and few lead to serious harm to patients. Unlike some previous studies the focuses just on prescribing rather than covering prescribing through to medicines administration.
30 Nov 2009
The Dr Foster Hospital Guide 2009 names 12 NHS trusts which it says significantly underperformed on its new measure of patient safety.
The guide, published over the weekend, identifies patient safety as the single most important element of hospital care. For the first time the guide has introduced a Patient Safety Score which bands trusts with similar scores awarding scores of one to the poorest performers and five to the best.
Posted: December 3, 2009 - 11:00 am EDT
Are personal health records privacy risks? Most people are at a loss trying to figure that out, according to the Patient Privacy Rights Foundation, which is the premise behind its new report card on selected PHRs.
“They're pretty much an unregulated new product,” said Ashley Katz, executive director of the Austin, Texas-based not-for-profit.
HDM Breaking News, December 3, 2009
The numbers are daunting. Nearly two decades after the advent of community health information networks and more than five years after the Bush Administration starting pushing for electronic health records and health information exchanges, only 28 states have one or more operational HIEs. And operational doesn't mean everyone in a region, much less a state, is active in the HIE.
December 3, 2009 — 1:54pm ET | By Neil Versel
Tuesday marked the 10th anniversary of the publication of To Err Is Human, the eye-opening Institute of Medicine report with the now-familiar assertion that preventable medical errors in U.S. hospitals kill 44,000 to 98,000 people every year. The landmark tome, plus a follow-up report, Crossing the Quality Chasm (2001), and other subsequent IOM publications called for greater use of health information technology to help reduce the number of mistakes and assure greater care coordination.
By: Shane Schick On: 03 Dec 2009 For: CIO Canada
The Information & Communications Technology Council releases a report that indicates the country could require thousands of IT professionals with health-specific skill sets. What we need to do to prepare
While the Ontario government is dealing with the political fallout of the eHealth Ontario scandal and Ottawa reviews its funding commitments to Canada Health Infoway, a new research report suggests Canada may need to fill approximately 12,000 IT-related health-care jobs within the next five years.
01 Dec 2009
A new website that provides a platform to enable people to take more responsibility for their health has been launched in Moray, Scotland.
The new Health-e-Space website, which went live earlier this month, provides local health information, links to recommended websites and suggestions on how to live with health conditions.
Community Health-e-Space, the websites sister site supplies a social networking platform for people to share their health concerns and experiences with others in the Moray area.
Posted: December 2, 2009 - 11:00 am EDT
Part two of a two-part series (Access part one):
David Blumenthal, head of HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, said last month he would be looking into the papers produced by the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics.
Posted: December 2, 2009 - 11:30 am EDT
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a three-year, $235 million Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program, including $220 million to contract with up to 15 not-for-profit and government organizations that are leaders in health information technology to "generate and disseminate valuable lessons learned that will be applicable to the rest of the nation's communities."
HDM Breaking News, December 2, 2009
Convinced the government is moving in the wrong direction to encourage adoption of electronic health records, Evan Steele, CEO of software vendor SRSsoft in Montvale, N.J., recently cautioned Aneesh Chopra, chief technology officer in the Obama Administration, that the federal approach won't work.
SRSsoft sells what it calls a "hybrid EMR" that includes extensive use of document imaging and management software. In a letter to Chopra, Steele speaks of the volume of skeptical physicians posting to the "FACA blog," which is the blog for the HIT Policy and HIT Standards federal advisory committees.
By Mary Mosquera
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) announced it would reorganize the office to better reflect its role as a leading force in the adoption of electronic health records and other health IT, including closer oversight of privacy issues.
Appointing a chief privacy officer is one of the main moves detailed in a notice published in the Federal Register. The notice is dated Nov. 20, but the changes are effective as of Dec. 1.
Today I have a special guest post from Mike Nusbaum. Mike's a great guy and knows quite a bit about participating in multiple standards organizations. He has been in leadership positions to my knowledge in ISO TC-215, HL7 and IHE, and also facilitates and writes for ANSI/HITSP here in the US. Mike helped establish the Canadian framework for standards harmonization, and I asked him to write a guest post on the topic. Here's Mike:
Guest contribution by: Michael Nusbaum, BASc, MHSA, FHIMSS
(a Canadian healthcare IT consultant who also works with HITSP in the US)
A Canadian Perspective on Standards Harmonization
As the US health reform freight train continues to roar down the tracks, the IT standards imperative becomes increasingly critical. The government's well-funded priority to stimulate reform through the establishment of an interoperable nationwide health information network (NHIN) has put incredible pressure on standards harmonization activities over the past 6 months. Clearly, interoperability is achieved through the implementation and use of standards, and funding directed towards state and regional health information exchange (HIE) initiatives is contingent upon the adoption of those standards within all stakeholder communities.
30 Nov 2009
A score to predict the risk of patients suffering fractures due to osteoporosis has been developed using the QResearch database.
The fracture risk algorithm, QFractureScores, can be used by clinicians and patients to calculate an individual’s percentage risk of an osteoporotic fracture over the next ten years, allowing early interventions to take place according to researchers.
The tool is available as open source software www.qfracture.org and users are asked to enter details including age, sex, weight, height and illnesses to determine the risk of a fracture.
01 Dec 2009
GP practices report that receiving records via GP2GP saves time on the first consultation and time spent summarising records, according to GP2GP benefits survey developed as part of the national SHA benefits return.
CfH conducted two surveys earlier this year covering the clinical and administrative benefits of the GP2GP project which enables the almost instant transfer of patients’ electronic record between practices.
By Lisa Gallagher
Today’s healthcare organizations are being urged to adopt electronic health records in the midst of complex legal and regulatory changes, especially in the areas of privacy and security. In this environment there is a clear need for a security framework specifically designed to help healthcare organizations build a security program that addresses all current data protection requirements.
For years, there has been considerable opinion in the healthcare industry that HIPAA does not adequately protect health data in today’s rapidly changing IT environment.
HDM Breaking News, November 30, 2009
The Harris County Hospital District in Houston recently terminated 16 employees for violating the HIPAA privacy rule after improperly accessing patient information on a colleague who was shot during a robbery attempt, the Houston Chronicle reports.
HDM Breaking News, December 1, 2009
GE Healthcare has acquired Living Independently Group Inc., which sells the QuietCare wireless, sensor-based passive patient monitoring system for use in assisted living facilities, senior communities and private homes. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, November 24, 2009
Understanding that there is a lack of qualified technical workers, Health and Human Services said today it will make $80 million in grants available to develop the nation's healthcare information technology workforce. Community colleges will get $70 million of the grant money to develop training programs, and the remaining $10 million will be used to develop educational materials to support those programs, HHS said.
Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health want to be the repository of choice for millions of personal health records. Are they up to the task?
By Mitch Wagner, InformationWeek
Dec. 1, 2009
Microsoft and Google are taking their rivalry to the doctor's office, running competing services that allow people to store their medical records online for access by family members and healthcare providers.
Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault are similar approaches: They let patients input their own medical data either by typing it in or by giving permission for the vendor to get the information from a healthcare provider or insurer with which it's partnering. Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault then provide tools for those partners to give the patient personalized health advice and other services built around the person's records.
"They've standardized the content so we can exchange and have interoperability with health records," explains the CIO of Children's Hospital.
By Mitch Wagner, InformationWeek
Dec. 1, 2009
Three Colorado hospitals have tied themselves in an information exchange, sharing medical records to improve patient care and reduce unnecessary redundant tests.
The program unites the Children's Hospital, Exempla Healthcare, and Kaiser Permanente Colorado, to share complete medical records, including medications, discharge results, lab results, radiology reports, and more. All three hospitals use EMR software from Epic Systems, which simplifies the process.
The Ottawa Citizen
It is good to see that the spending scandal at eHealth Ontario has not sabotaged plans to bring health records online in Eastern Ontario.
The eHealth scandal was about spending abuses and lack of oversight. Provincial auditor Jim McCarter concluded that Ontario taxpayers did not receive value for the $1 billion that had been invested in the project. The agency's mismanagement put Ontario behind most jurisdictions in the effort to set up a province-wide network of electronic health records.
BY KAUSTUV BASU
Trauma doctors in Brevard County will soon be armed with technology that makes life-saving care available to patients before they roll up to the emergency room door.
Brevard County Fire-Rescue is implementing Bluetooth technology to transmit electrocardiogram readings from cardiac patients in the field to hospitals so doctors are better prepared to treat them.
Posted: November 30, 2009 - 11:00 am EDT
In radiology, the availability of virtual technology has long been a reality. But questions over effectiveness and reimbursement have hindered widespread adoption of the cutting-edge technology.
It has been roughly three decades since doctors began using virtual imaging—CT, MRI or ultrasound scans converted into three-dimensional images—as a screening, diagnostic and surgical-assist tool, and a growing number of studies are finding the technology to be nearly as effective as more invasive surgical alternatives when it comes to detecting diseases and conditions.
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, November 25, 2009
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is readying a Nov. 30 mass mailing to some of its 3.1 million customers in the Volunteer State who may have had their Social Security numbers and other private data compromised after an Oct. 2 hard drive theft at a remote training facility in Chattanooga.
"It's going to be a progression of mailings, with those who would be most at risk receiving the first mailings, depending upon how many people had a Social Security number compromised," says BCBST spokeswoman Mary Thompson.
November 25, 2009 | Bernie Monegain, Editor
OREM, UT – The anesthesia information system (AIS) market is small and immature, but early adopters are seeing benefits, including better patient care, a reasonable return on investment and even decreased liability, according to KLAS.
In "The Growing Market for Anesthesia Software: Liability, Integration and the Benefits of Adoption," KLAS interviewed 100 organizations that use AIS, representing an estimated 75 percent of those doing anesthesia documentation in the United States.
The Sydney Morning Herald and ZDNet in Australia report that the University of Sydney removed from its website - temporarily - a negative essay about a Cerner system which had been installed at hospitals in New South Wales.
The author of the essay is a medical IT professor, Jon Patrick, who is reported to have claimed that NSW Health, which is part of the government of New South Wales, put pressure on the university to take down the paper.
01 Dec 2009
Kingston Hospital NHS Trust has confirmed that it has gone live with its Cerner Millennium Care Records Service (CRS) programme.
E-Health Insider can exclusively reveal that the trust switched from its iSoft CliniCom Patient Administration System (PAS) to the new Cerner system at the weekend with “different areas coming up on stream” over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The final functionality went live yesterday morning in the outpatients department.
The most crucial component of going digital is connectivity.
The economic stimulus package signed earlier this year earmarks $19 billion for health information technology (HIT) improvements that demonstrate "meaningful use" to improve patient safety and outcomes. While HIT covers a range of technological tools and advancements, much of the discussion has focused on electronic health records (EHRs) and computerized provider order entry.
Investment in these key systems will bode well for patient care, but it is only scratching the surface of the technological advances needed to make the U.S. health care system a seamless, error-free entity. Connecting EHRs to other medical technologies used in patient care and ensuring those technologies work together—for example, to automatically document medical procedures in patient records—is where health care systems will see the biggest return. It is also where the stimulus package goals (improvements in quality of care, care coordination, and reductions in medical errors and duplicative care) will be fully realized.
Electronic medical recordkeeping may not cut the overall cost of care, but by eliminating redundant procedures and reducing errors, quality may be improved
When physician Andrew Wiesenthal needs to work out a problem, he runs around Lake Merritt, across the street from his Oakland (Calif.) office at Kaiser Permanente. As one of the main drivers behind Kaiser's decades-long, multibillion-dollar effort to overhaul the way patient health records are kept, Wiesenthal has had a lot of laps to run.
Doctors and other medical professionals across the country will be working through similar challenges in the coming years. President Barack Obama plans to spend $17.2 billion to induce care providers to maintain patient records electronically, scrapping the current paper-based system. The Obama Administration wants electronic health records for every American by 2014.