Here are a few I have come across this week.
Note: Each link is followed by a title and a paragraph or two. For the full article click on the link above title of the article.
Proposed rules address stimulus law payments, meaningful use and certification
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Jan 04, 2010
Physicians will have to submit 80 percent of their clinical orders electronically, while hospitals will have to do so for 10 percent of their orders, under expansive new proposed regulations released by the Health and Human Services Department for meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs).
The Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) released a 556-page proposed rule on Dec. 30 about the definition of “meaningful use” and how eligible professionals and hospitals may qualify for incentive payments as meaningful users under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009. The Recovery Act allocates at least $17 billion for such payments by doctors and hospitals that buy and meaningfully use certified EHR systems.
Dom Nicastro and Janice Simmons, December 31, 2009
With the release yesterday of its "meaningful use" definition and standards, government agencies have laid the foundation for an "evolutionary process in achieving and maintaining the meaningful use of certified EHR technology," says Frank Ruelas, director of compliance and risk management at Maryvale Hospital and principal, HIPAA Boot Camp, in Casa Grande, AZ.
CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Improvement Technology (ONC) on Wednesday, December 30, released two anxiously-awaited regulations providing both the definition of "meaningful use" for electronic health records (EHRs) and the standards to improve the efficiency of health information technology used nationwide by hospitals and physicians.
Health and consumers
By Marianne Slegers | Monday 04 January 2010
The Spanish EU Presidency has set out three main priorities for public health. Health inequalities, human organs and chronic diseases are high on its agenda. On the first priority, Spain will organise an expert conference in April ahead of the informal Health Council on 22-23 April. According to sources, the “main challenge” is to agree on “better indicators” and improved health information systems across the European Union to make it easier to identify inequalities in the first place.
Spain’s third priority in this area is to provide a policy framework to tackle the looming EU wide problem of chronic diseases. The Presidency will organise two expert conferences on this issue: one will focus on e-health and the other on patient safety related to infectious, cardiovascular and chronic mental health diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, which will become common as a result of the EU’s ageing population.
Monday, January 04, 2010
by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn
Health IT is one of the fastest-growing business sectors, expected to grow by 11% annually through 2013, according to Scientia Advisors. That's a bullish expectation, especially in the context of continued financial challenges for U.S. health providers.
Health IT purchases will be made despite fiscal constraints such as reimbursement pressure, inflationary costs for labor, supplies and other operating expenses, as well as high patient bad debt expenses.
Necessity being the mother of invention, a constrained economic environment will lead to health IT innovations in two ways.
Tech vital to medication adherence
04 Jan 2010
Information technology has a vital role to lay in cutting medication-related errors and improving medication adherence among older people, suggests a recent report.
The report says that of the 3 billion medication prescriptions issued each year in the US, 12% are never picked up by the patient and 40% are not taken correctly.
Published by the US Centre for Technology and Aging in Oakland, California, the report says "widespread use" of technology aimed at older people has the potential to save thousands of lives and billions of dollars.
December 30, 2009 | Molly Merrill, Associate Editor
CHICAGO – The use of telemedicine in intensive care units does not improve patients' risk of death or length of stay, according to a recent study.
The study, published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, assessed the effect of a tele-ICU intervention on mortality, complications and length of stay in six ICUs of five hospitals in a large U.S. healthcare system. It was led by Eric J. Thomas, MD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and colleagues, who measured outcomes before and after implementation of the tele-ICU system.
"Remote monitoring may be a partial solution for the intensivist shortage, but it is expensive, its use is increasing and there are few data in the peer-reviewed literature evaluating its effect on morbidity and mortality," said the authors.
At 88, Grif Crawford knows he’s at risk of a fall or other sudden health problem. So he wears a pendant around his neck that can summon help if something goes wrong.
"It’s kind of like life insurance," said Crawford, of Lee Summit, Mo. "I feel very comforted with this."
The device has come a long way since the days when it merely allowed the wearer to alert someone that he or she had fallen and couldn’t get up. Crawford’s equipment also can be programmed to answer his phone, remind him to take his medicine or alert him to a fire, among other things.
It’s one of several new products designed to help seniors stay in their homes rather than move to a nursing home or assisted living facility.
, Jan 6, 2010 01:51 PM
Yesterday, on the way home from my interview of Free Software Foundation founder and president Richard Stallman, I listened closely as Slate's Farhad Manjoo told NPR's Neal Conan the facts about Apple's forthcoming tablet PC: that there are no facts. Well, there's one. Apple's brand has gotten so powerful that everyone including the stock market is putting faith in pure vapor as though the tablet mode of Microsoft's Windows 7 doesn't matter. Nary a mention. What gives?
The credit Apple is already getting for reinventing the tablet market is 100 percent lock stock and barrel based on the belief (faith for many) that Apple can do for tablets what it has done for music and smartphones. Although I love Apple (I made the switch to Mac OS X over 2 years ago and have never looked back and own several iPods), I'm unconvinced that a tablet from Apple can achieve the same sort of market success.
Posted by Lora Bentley 06-Jan-2010 12:58:12
Interestingly, the seond-most-read governance post of the year touched on both the HITECH Act and privacy issues -- it addressed the data breach notification rule included in the HITECH Act.
To review, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act was enacted as part of the American Recovery and Rehabilitation Act, which Congress passed shortly after President Obama took office. Along with setting aside nearly $22 billion for health information technology, the act extended the reach of the data privacy and security requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to include business associates of health care organizations.
By Jianggan Li | 7 January 2010
Malaysia’s Ministry of Health has come a long way on its e-health journey, with many success stories as well as lessons learned. Some of the key planners share their stories with Jianggan Li.
Like many of its neighbours, Malaysia has been experiencing changing disease patterns. The era of acute infectious diseases and malnutrition has been succeeded by one of chronic diseases and lifestyle related illnesses. So the country’s healthcare strategy has had to shift from making traditional health and hygiene improvements to promoting healthier lifestyles and managing chronic diseases.
“This calls for change in the role of healthcare professionals and the delivery interface between the consumer and health system,” says Dato’ Dr Jai Mohan, Professor of Health Informatics at Kuala Lumpur-based International Medical University and the Vice President of the Malaysia Health Informatics Association.
Posted: January 5, 2010 - 5:59 am ET
Family physicians who use electronic health-record systems employ a wide range of products, have been using them for only a few years, and are generally not that happy with vendor training and support, according to a survey of American Academy of Family Physicians members published in the most recent issue of Family Practice Management, an AAFP journal.
The survey questionnaire was open to the AAFP's 94,600 members and was published in the journal and posted online with 2,556 members responding. Out of those, 544 were excluded for various reasons such as those who responded by saying they don't use an EHR (477), while others named a practice-management program instead of an EHR when asked which system they used.
Carrie Vaughan, for HealthLeaders Media, January 5, 2010
The long-awaited definition of meaningful use is finally here. Just before the New Year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator released both the definition of "meaningful use" for electronic health records and the standards to improve the efficiency of health information technology.
Hospital and provider group organizations have already offered their criticism of the proposed regulations. Yesterday, my colleague Janice Simmons offered a good evaluation of the American Hospital Association, Medical Group Management Association, and the American Medical Association concerns.
I was curious what individual providers thought of the definition, so I asked physicians, chief information officers, and other industry leaders whether they thought the meaningful use bar was set too high or low, and what they thought was the most significant change to the HIT Policy Committee's recommendations, if any. Many executives are still delving into the 700+ page document, but here are their initial reactions.
National-level alliance has been elusive goal
By Keith Darcé, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
Wednesday, January 6, 2010 at 12:01 a.m.
Kaiser Permanente and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs today will launch an electronic medical-data exchange program in San Diego that could become the seed for the much touted but equally elusive national health records system.
The collaboration, which will be detailed at a news conference in La Jolla, marks the first time a computerized patient-records system operated by a federal agency has been linked to one operated by a private organization.
Technology helps hospital executives apply business strategies to health care.
By Marianne Slight
As in traditional corporations, health care providers are facing increased pressure to accomplish strategic business goals, such as increasing profitability, reducing costs, improving patient satisfaction and doing more with less. As a result, many hospitals function like business corporations: Management sets high-level objectives; objectives cascade down the organization in the form of targets and budgets; and those targets are turned into tactical operational plans, which evolve and change based on external pressures and internal constraints.
Because the health care industry is now expected to accomplish the same sorts of strategic goals as ordinary businesses, it should come as no surprise that business intelligence (BI) is becoming increasingly utilized by health care organizations to make course corrections, hit targets at all levels of the organization and accomplish strategic objectives.
05 Jan 2010
The Department of Health has announced that it has appointed Charles Gutteridge as the first national clinical director for informatics.
Dr Gutteridge has been the medical director at Barts and the London NHS Trust since 2002, and the DH says he has been closely involved in confidentiality, patient safety and informatics issues.
He was the Caldicott Guardian for Barts, led the Health Foundation’s Safer Patients Initiative from 2006-8, and chaired the Clinical Informatics Design Authority.
By Mary Mosquera
Friday, January 08, 2010
To accelerate use of the nationwide health information network (NHIN), a panel of the Health IT Policy committee met yesterday to explore methods to verify the identity of healthcare providers who will use the network to exchange patient data.
Authentication verifies identity and assigns credentials for electronic transactions but there are a variety of approaches to accomplish this basic component of e-health exchange, experts told the NHIN work group Jan. 7.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
by George Lauer, iHealthBeat Features Editor
CalRHIO, one of the country's first organizations designed to oversee the exchange of digital health information, has been thrown into a state of flux after failing to win designation as California's lead health IT agency. Leaders and employees have left. Some of CalRHIO's board members may still be active in negotiations with the state, but the future of the organization is unclear.
The upheaval at the California Regional Health Information Organization leaves the recently reorganized California eHealth Collaborative as the front-runner in the race to win the state's nod to oversee billions of federal stimulus dollars for health IT projects. The first wave of federal money -- about $40 million -- is expected to begin flowing into California early this year. The state-designated agency could end up disbursing billions of dollars through a variety of federal programs over the next several years.
State now lists infection rates of hospitals on Web site
By ERIC NALDER
The state aired the dirty laundry, or shall we say the infected laundry, of certain hospitals on Wednesday.
And there were some surprises when the Washington State Department of Health went live shortly before noon with its long-awaited Web site revealing the infection rates for hospitals statewide.
The biggest shock involved Swedish Medical Center, one of the state's biggest and most prominent hospitals. Swedish was listed as one of only two hospitals in the state with unusually high infection rates caused by tubes known as "central lines" that are inserted into patients.
January 07, 2010 | Bernie Monegain, Editor
WASHINGTON – Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has unveiled The National Health Security Strategy, focused on protecting people's health during a large-scale emergency.
Sebelius said the "comprehensive" document, the first for the nation, sets priorities for government and non-government activities over the next four years.
"As we've learned in the response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, responsibility for improving our nation's ability to address existing and emerging health threats must be broadly shared by everyone – governments, communities, families and individuals," Sshe said. "The National Health Security Strategy is a call to action for each of us so that every community becomes fully prepared and ready to recover quickly after an emergency."
Figures is £2bn less than original forecasts due to slow progress on scheme
Written by Tom Young
Computing, 08 Jan 2010
The government will have spent £6.1bn on the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) by April, some £2bn less than it had forecast.
The figure is for central spending by Connecting for Health only – it doesn't include any of the £3.6bn which was expected to be spent by NHS trusts on the NPfIT by now. However it does include recent contracts awarded to BT in the South.
The figures were released by NPfIT minister Mike O'Brien in response to a parliamentary question by shadow health minister Stephen O'Brien.
04 Jan 2010
David Cameron has promised that online health records will underpin a new direction for the NHS if the Conservative Party is elected in this year’s general election.
In a speech at Westminster today, the Tory leader unveiled the first chapter of the Conservative Party’s draft manifesto, which focuses on the health service.
Cameron said: “It’s the patient who’ll have the power in our NHS. You’ll be able to check your health records online in the same way you do your bank account.
30 Dec 2009
Software to help GPs to detect the early signs of cancer is to be trialled in England in 2010.
The new computer-assisted cancer risk assessment announced by cancer tsar, Professor Mike Richards, will help GPs to decide whether the symptoms a patient presents with indicate the presence of cancer and whether further tests or investigations are needed.
Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, January 4, 2010
Major breaches of patient information in 2009 break down into three types: snoopers, hackers, and those involving large quantities of data.
So let's examine the top breaches from the past year and find out what facilities can do to prevent similar problems.
By Mary Mosquera
Monday, January 04, 2010
Health providers and IT policymakers returned from the holiday weekend on Monday having had just enough time sort through the administration’s “meaningful use” proposal, its 700-page incentive plan designed to spur hospitals and physicians to pursue digital make-overs of their practices.
Their first impression: That the administration’s hugely ambitious, carefully crafted, $20 billion incentive plan may provide too much stick for the carrot.
HDM Breaking News, January 4, 2010
A small survey of 58 hospitals of all sizes shows they are not ready for meaningful use of electronic health records requirements.
Consulting and I.T. services firm Computer Sciences Corp. conducted the survey this past fall and released results on Jan. 4. The proposed rule for meaningful use requirements issued on Dec. 28 retains many expected provisions that were first recommended by federal advisory committees last summer.
Full survey results are available at csc.com/musurvey.
Posted: January 4, 2010 - 5:15 pm ET
The National Quality Forum is endorsing 70 performance measures that combine data from various electronic sources—such as administrative claims, pharmacy and laboratory systems, and registries—in order to advance the use of electronic data platforms to measure, report and improve quality.
The NQF reviewed more than 200 measures used by health plans to assess physician performance, but endorsed less than half of those.
HARTFORD — In the 1950s, children with cystic fibrosis usually died before they reached kindergarten age, their airways choked with mucus by a genetic disorder that disrupts their ability to clear infections from their lungs.
Today, many people with the disorder are living well into their 30s and beyond, and children like Caroline Castonguay, a preteen patient at the Central Connecticut Cystic Fibrosis Center here, can do all the things their classmates do — ski, ice-skate, play soccer, get top grades in school.
These patients owe their lives, at least in part, to a carefully updated nationwide collection of personal profiles called a patient registry.