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.
By SINDYA N. BHANOO
COPENHAGEN — Jens Danstrup, a 77-year-old retired architect, used to bike all around town. But years of smoking have weakened his lungs, and these days he finds it difficult to walk down his front steps and hail a taxi for a doctor’s appointment.
Now, however, he can go to the doctor without leaving home, using some simple medical devices and a notebook computer with a Web camera. He takes his own weekly medical readings, which are sent to his doctor via a Bluetooth connection and automatically logged into an electronic record.
“You see how easy it is for me?” Mr. Danstrup said, sitting at his desk while video chatting with his nurse at Frederiksberg University Hospital, a mile away. “Instead of wasting the day at the hospital?”
He clipped an electronic pulse reader to his finger. It logged his reading and sent it to his doctor. Mr. Danstrup can also look up his personal health record online. His prescriptions are paperless — his doctors enters them electronically, and any pharmacy in the country can pull them up. Any time he wants to get in touch with his primary care doctor, he sends an e-mail message.
The crisis-hit £12.7bn NHS IT programme is under attack from the Tories, but it is working well in Scotland
Few tears were shed when the chancellor, Alistair Darling, appeared to sound the death knell last month for the hugely costly NHS national programme for IT. Yet it turned out to be a premature obituary for the £12.7bn scheme, which, instead of being scrapped, will have £600m – less than 5% – cut from its costs.
The programme, one of the most ambitious IT projects in the world, is designed ultimately to provide staff in hospitals and GP surgeries with potentially life-saving electronic health records on everyone in England. But it has been beset by problems since its inception in 2002. As a result, parts of it – including the core patient record project – are years behind schedule, it is costing several billion pounds more to implement than initially forecast, and has become mired in controversy over privacy issues.
Parts of the programme are running successfully, notably the computerised Choose and Book appointment booking service, the NHS N3 broadband network, and the electronic picture archiving and communications service (Pacs), which allows medical staff to quickly call up scans on a computer. As of March 2009, £4.5bn had been spent on these projects and other work.
HDM Breaking News, January 12, 2010
Hospitals may well wish to hire a consultant to help them wade through the meaningful use rules and formulate a strategy for compliance. But John Halamka, M.D., gave the industry a 25-point cheat sheet for that strategy via a Jan. 3 posting on his Web blog, http://geekdoctor.blogspot.com/.
HDM Breaking News, January 11, 2010
Some 104 organizations including 95 software vendors are participating in the 11th Annual IHE North American Connectathon this week in Chicago, testing the ability of their products to transmit patient data to disparate information systems.
January 11, 2010 | Patty Enrado, Special Projects Editor
SAN FRANCISCO – The "hand of thoughtful policy" created the proposed criteria for meaningful use, according to David J. Brailer, MD, former healthcare IT czar for the Office of the National Coordinator.
"It would have been easy to be symbolic rather than meaningful," the founder and chairman of the San Francisco-based healthcare investor firm Health Evolution Partners said. He expected the criteria to "be looser, less meaningful." Instead, he said, "I'm pretty impressed."
A federal advisory panel says EHR regulations should include doctors' narrative notes
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Jan 13, 2010
The Health and Human Services Department might have missed an opportunity to include a requirement for physician progress notes to be collected within subsidized electronic health records (EHRs) in its recent proposed regulation, according to members of a federal advisory committee that met today.
HHS’ Health Information Technology Policy Committee convened to discuss possible missed opportunities, areas needing clarification and other gaps in the proposed rule, which was released on Dec. 30, 2009.
Health IT executives can determine the future of information security with the decisions they make today.
Why do information security at all?
It's an interesting question.and one that's simple to answer. We "secure" or protect information that has value. Often-cited examples include national security information, battlefield intelligence and trade secrets. In the health care industry, patients and their families entrust us with their personal information along with their personal health and safety. A violation of this trust can have consequences ranging from personal embarrassment to medical identity theft.
For more than a decade, however, we've had another reason to protect personal information -- regulatory compliance. In 1996, the U.S. Congress passed the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). A portion of HIPAA -- the Privacy Rule -- requires the protection of specific personally identifiable health information, referred to as protected health information (PHI). This caused an initial flurry of activity in the industry and was a driving force behind the creation of executive-level compliance and privacy offices in many health care institutions. Unfortunately, it had little impact on how PHI was protected once it became digital.
By Associated Press
Posted: January 13, 2010 - 11:00 am ET
Kaiser Permanente says a computer drive containing thousands of patient records was stolen from an employee's car.
Hospital officials said Tuesday the external drive stolen Dec. 1, 2009, held data on as many as 15,500 patients throughout Northern California, including the patient's name and Kaiser medical records number.
By the Associated Press
Posted: January 14, 2010 - 9:15 am ET
Computer hard drives stolen from a BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee closet in Chattanooga contain personal information on 220,000 members, and that count could more than double, an ongoing investigation shows.
A Wednesday statement from the state's largest health insurer shows that as many as 500,000 members, including some in other states, could eventually be identified as facing a risk of identity theft.
Posted: January 15, 2010 - 11:00 am ET
Implementation of health information technology is a means if not an end, with the end being healthcare reform, and with reform being defined as improved patient and public health outcomes and improved healthcare delivery, according to Judy Murphy, vice president of information services at Milwaukee-based Aurora Health Care.
"It's not about IT implementation, it's about practice change," Murphy said at the opening of a program held in Rosemont, Ill., titled "Takin' HIT to the Streets" sponsored by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
The update will address how health IT will be used to reduce errors and improve the quality of care
Jan 12, 2010
A federal advisory panel to the Health and Human Services Department began considering a framework today to update the Federal Health Information Technology Strategic Plan guiding adoption of electronic health records. The updated plan is expected to be released by October.
HHS initially created a strategic plan for health IT in June 2008 to cover the period through 2012. Under the economic stimulus law, HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT must update that plan.
By Aliya Sternstein 01/11/2010
The Food and Drug Administration is constructing a nationwide electronic system to continuously track the safety of drugs and medical devices using anonymous patient data, but federal officials and health care specialists say its usefulness might be limited without more personal information.
The Sentinel initiative, launched in May 2008, will complement existing systems that monitor side effects and other adverse changes in health linked to FDA-regulated products. The system will tie together information from various registries, including electronic health record systems and insurance claims databases, allowing FDA workers to query an issue quickly.
Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, January 13, 2010
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is suing Health Net of Connecticut, Inc., after the insurer reportedly failed to secure private medical records and financial information of 446,000 Connecticut members and then did not promptly notify them of the possible security breach for six months.
According to the AG's office, the insurer learned that a portable computer disk drive disappeared from the company's Shelton office about May 14, 2009. The insurer contends that it was misplaced, but the AG's office says that it was stolen. The disk contained protected health information, social security numbers, and bank account numbers, according to the AG's office.
Posted: January 13, 2010 - 11:00 am ET
Physicians, programmers and vendors interested in leveraging the public investment by the Veterans Affairs Department in health information technology will meet on the campus of Arizona State University this week for the 20th VistA Community Meeting. The four-day gathering begins Thursday.
Ignacio Valdes, a psychiatrist and developer of the new Astronaut family of tools to install enable clinicians to install and use open-source versions of the VA's Veterans Health Information System and Technology Architecture clinical information system, including a “cloud”-based instance of VistA.
By Mary Mosquera
Monday, January 11, 2010
A Health & Human Services Department advisory panel Friday explored potential clarifications and tweaks of its proposed meaningful use rules, the set of requirements healthcare providers must meet in order to qualify for thousands of dollars in federal health IT incentive payments.
It its first session on Jan. 8 following the release of the proposal, the meaningful use workgroup of HHS’s Health IT Policy Committee signaled it might revisit aspects of the plan, including the number of quality measures it requires and the effect on physicians trying to apply them.
But the panel said it would concentrate on “philosophical” comments instead of specific changes. “Clearly, clinical quality reporting and quality measures tied to outcome improvement is one of those big topics,” said Paul Tang, the workgroup co-chairman and chief medical information officer at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
Carrie Vaughan, for HealthLeaders Media, January 12, 2010
Every hospital leader that I have spoken with in the past six months or so has been confident that his or her organization is in a position to qualify for meaningful use and capture all of the incentive payments from the HITECH Act. Yet, both hospital and physician organizations have recently expressed concern about providers' abilities to meet the requirements of meaningful use defined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator.
The Pre-Budget Report put some numbers on the scale of efficiency savings that the NHS will be expected to find over the next few years. Another reason for the NHS to get a grip on its data, says Daloni Carlisle.
The Pre-Budget Report in December 2009 threw a number of challenges to the NHS in general and to its chief executives, directors of finance and IT managers in particular.
Squirreled away beneath the hoo-ha over whether the National Programme for IT in the NHS was to be axed or trimmed by £600m or £500m, the PBR called for interim savings of £10 billion a year by 2012-13 through value for money initiatives.
January 14, 2010 — 11:36am ET | By Neil Versel
The lead in a Federal Computer Week story pretty well sums up the conundrum: "Is VistA a diva in disguise?" The open-source EMR at the heart of the Department of Veterans Affairs' health IT strategy "is the best health information system in the world, bar none," says Ed Meagher, a former VA deputy assistant secretary of information and technology, but, he adds, it's also an old system that's difficult to manage and very high-maintenance.
Meagher, now a private consultant, has been hired by VA CIO Roger Baker to lead a workgroup that will make recommendations on how to modernize VistA and make it more adaptable to the private sector. "VistA is very old technology. That does not mean it does not work or is not useful. It is not a perfect answer, but I think there are potential uses for it," explains Dr. David Kibbe, a health IT consultant to the American Academy of Family Physicians. "This is a very good trend that is occurring."
12 Jan 2010
David Cameron has said people should not believe “scare stories” about patients’ medical records being handed over to companies such as Google and Microsoft, if the Conservatives are elected.
In response to a question from E-Health Insider about how the party would deliver on its manifesto pledge to give people online health records, Cameron said: “Some of the scare stories you will have read in the papers that it will all be handed over to Google or some other company, don’t believe that.”
The Conservatives launched the first section of their draft manifesto last week. It dealt with the party’s pledges for the NHS, and said that patients would be able to check their health records as easily as their bank accounts and choose who to share them with.
Posted: January 11, 2010 - 11:00 am ET
The massive new federal rule issued by the CMS on Dec. 30, 2009, has been getting most of the attention, but a smaller, companion rule by the Office of the National Coordinator at HHS also will affect providers and developers of electronic health-record systems.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the stimulus law, requires the ONC to “keep or recognize a program or programs for the voluntary certification of health IT as being in compliance with applicable certification criteria adopted” by HHS.
And, according to ONC rule writers, HHS is obliged under the stimulus law to adopt standards, implementation specifications and certification criteria that will “enhance the interoperability, functionality, utility and security of health information technology.”
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.
HDM Breaking News, January 7, 2010
Drug store chain Walgreens now enables its pharmacy patients to download their prescription history from the Walgreens.com Web site to a personal health record on the Microsoft HealthVault platform.
A global resource can enable nurses to translate healthcare evidence into practice at a local level. A project looked at how it was implemented and evaluated
Penny Bond, MSc, BSC, RN, is professional practice development officer; Jill French, MPH, BSc, MCSP, is project lead; both at NHS Quality Improvement Scotland.
Bond P, French J (2009) Implementing online tools and resources to help nurses apply evidence based care. Nursing Times; 106: 1, early online publication.
While nurses may be aware of tools and resources for quality improvement, this does not necessarily mean they are used in practice. An alliance between NHS Quality Improvement Scotland and The Joanna Briggs Institute in Australia has been set up to promote and facilitate the use of online tools and resources designed to support the development of practice and ultimately to enhance care. This article summarises the tools available and discusses the implementation and evaluation of this project.
January 08, 2010 | Bernie Monegain, Editor
MINNEAPOLIS – Recent stimulus-induced EHR deals show sooner-than-expected adoption, especially in the hospital sector, according to investment firm Piper Jaffrey.
The second half of 2010 and all of 2011 are likely to show a large number of EHR deals, Piper Jaffrey analyst Sean Wieland wrote in his analysis Friday.
Wieland noted a growing trend of hospitals buying or subsidizing EHRs for physician practices.
Posted: January 11, 2010 - 11:00 am ET
A government survey indicates there was an 18.7% increase in the use of electronic health-record systems in physician offices to 41.5% in 2008 from 34% in 2007, but preliminary results for 2009 show only a slight increase up to 43.9%.
Doctors were asked, “Does this practice use electronic medical records or electronic health records (not including billing records)?” with options for answering “all electronic,” “part paper and part electronic,” “no” or “don't know.”
Monday, January 11, 2010, 7:08am PST
Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal
Sunnyvale-based NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) said the registry is powered by its storage technology, and the company donated more than $600,000 in hardware, software and services.
The Gastric Cancer Fund is working with the Stanford Comprehensive Cancer Center and Stanford Genome Technology Center to aggregate clinical and genetic data on gastric cancer patients and serve as a resource in developing strategies for this cancer's detection, treatment, and prevention.
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.
11 Jan 2010
NHS Stockport has become the seventh site to implement iSoft’s Lorenzo electronic patient record system.
The primary care trust has gone live with Lorenzo Regional Care Release One (LRC 1) clinical documentation model.
This is being used by a community rehabilitation therapy team, following an implementation from local service provider, CSC, under The National Programme for IT in the NHS.
12 January 2010
Lots of interesting links.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
by George Lauer, iHealthBeat Features Editor
After a fall vacation in the Caribbean, a restful holiday at home and a toast to the new year, the visionaries from SEEDIE and Extormity say they're ready to help usher in the digital age of U.S. health care.
If you're not already familiar with the work of these two health IT organizations, you should probably check out SEEDIE.org and Extormity.com before proceeding much further with this feature. What you're about to read will make a lot more sense, or at least you'll be better armed to appreciate the non-sense, after a visit to these sites.
SEEDIE is the Society for Exorbitantly Expensive and Difficult to Implement EHRs. Extormity is explained online like this: "At the confluence of extortion and conformity lies Extormity, the electronic health records mega-corporation dedicated to offering highly proprietary, difficult to customize and prohibitively expensive health care IT solutions."