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. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or payment.
Emphasizing the link between improvements in healthcare quality and patient safety and health IT – HIMSS and ASQ (American Society for Quality) announce the selection of 16 real-world and peer-reviewed case study submissions. The case studies were selected for inclusion in Stories of Success! Leveraging HIT, Improving Quality & Safety program. Members of the HIMSS Patient Safety & Quality Outcomes Committee and additional subject matter experts from The Joint Commission, the National Committee for Quality Assurance and the American Society for Quality contributed to the review process. The National Quality Forum also supports the project.
Introduced in October 2009, Stories of Success! showcases outstanding accomplishments in the adoption and use of information technology to achieve improved patient safety, quality, effectiveness and efficiency. The call for case studies highlights the fulfillment of the national priorities established by the National Priorities Partnership (NPP) and The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals (NPSG).
Your hospital can get there from here.
The United States boasts some of the world's finest hospitals, but they face a potentially daunting task with the government's mandate regarding the move to electronic medical records (EMRs). The adoption of EMRs is a rare point of health care policy consensus. Most believe the EMR is a necessary prerequisite to shift hospitals from the incentives of "fee for service" and toward integrated clinical practice, better patient outcomes and lower unit costs. The EMR promises to support coordination across providers, services and settings, reduce errors and highlight lower cost, more effective practices. In fact, a RAND Corporation study projects an annual savings of $77 billion from EMR adoption.
The EMR has existed in various forms for nearly 20 years, but its cost and complexity have kept it beyond the reach of many hospitals. Although transition to the EMR appears complicated and costly, your hospital can make a smooth changeover -- with careful planning and execution.
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 3, 2010
IBM has signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Initiate Systems, a Chicago-based provider of information-sharing software for healthcare organizations and government. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of March. Financial terms were not disclosed.
It's the 30th acquisition IBM has made in the information and analytics arena, as Big Blue positions itself for the release of about $20 billion in federal stimulus money for the comprehensive, nationwide adoption of electronic medical records.
"With the addition of Initiate's software and its industry expertise, IBM will offer clients a comprehensive solution for delivering the information they need to improve the well-being of patients at a lower cost," said Arvind Krishna, general manager, Information Management, IBM, in a joint media release. "Similarly, our government clients will now have even more capabilities for gathering and making use of information to serve citizens in a timely and efficient manner."
February 04, 2010 | Chip Means, New Media Manage
Providers eager to capitalize on incentives offered through the federal government's definition of 'meaningful use' of healthcare IT may find themselves evaluating their relationships with existing and new IT vendors.
Modifying an agreement with a vendor during the contract phases can be a crucial step to aligning IT projects with federal incentive funds, said Jeffery Daigrepont, senior VP at Coker Group. "Many vendors offer a money back guarantee if their product does not comply with stimulus," Daigrepont said. "Every contract should have a warranty that requires a vendor to correct defects at their expenses and under NO circumstances should you ever sign a contract without being entitled to future upgrades and new releases."
Tue Feb 2, 10:04 pm ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than half of Americans looked up health information on the Internet last year, U.S. government researchers reported on Tuesday.
But only 5 percent used email to communicate with their doctors, the survey by the National Center for Health Statistics found.
Researcher at the center used a survey of 7,192 adults aged 18 to 64 questioned between January and June 2009.
February 1, 2010 — 2:00pm ET | By Neil Versel
While the majority of doctors still do not communicate with patients via email, secure messaging portals or instant messaging, online patient-physician communication is no longer a rarity, according to a new report from Manhattan Research. About 39 percent of physicians now have electronic communications with their patients, a 14-point increase since 2006, the healthcare market research company says.
Posted: February 3, 2010 - 11:00 am ET
It appears the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel, or HITSP, has become yet another organization formed at the behest of the Bush administration that is being forced to reapply for its job under the federal government's new heath IT regime.
HITSP was launched in 2005 by American National Standards Institute, a certification body for standards development organizations. ANSI had help from “strategic partners” the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, a trade association for health IT users and vendors; Booz Allen Hamilton, a technology and management consultancy for healthcare and national intelligence services; and the Advanced Technology Institute, an arm of SCRA, an organization that, among other things, provides project management services for Defense Department weapons systems research and development programs and IT for intelligence sharing for ports security and law enforcement, according to its Web site.
February 01, 2010 | Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
WASHINGTON – Doctors who have shopped for healthcare software have sometimes come to regret their purchases, according to a new story reported by the Huffington Post Investigative Fund.
In her feature, Emma Schwartz finds that physicians are often frustrated with their switch from paper to electronic medical records – spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on software programs, only to find that the new systems are faulty or ineffective. Sometimes, the software vendors go out of business, leaving the doctors with no choice but to file suit in order to recoup their investment. One Florida surgeon called his experience with new IT "a disaster."
HDM Breaking News, February 3, 2010
IBM Corp. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire health care data management vendor Initiate Systems Inc. for an undisclosed price.
Privately held, Chicago-based Initiate sells enterprise master patient index, provider registry and record locator applications.
Initiate in 2009 acquired Irvine, Calif.-based Accenx Technologies Inc., bringing Initiate expanded integration and interoperability technologies. Accenx's software suite includes a health information exchange platform to connect hospitals and physicians for orders, results and other interactions. The suite also includes practice management/electronic health records integration, secure messaging and data synchronization applications, as well as consulting services.
Wednesday - February 3rd, 2010 - 12:43pm EST by Brian Dolan
The Mobile Health Initiative (mHI) event in Washington D.C. this morning began with two keynotes from the mHI’s founders Peter Waegemann and Claudia Tessier, who built on their previous presentation of the mHI’s 12 clusters for mHealth and overall vision for mHealth’s opportunity.
While it may not be too surprising given the mHI’s previous focus on EMRs as the Medical Records Institute, the thrust of much of their presentations were on provider-prescribed and physician-driven mHealth applications as opposed to consumer- or patient-directed. As one attendee noted, consumer adoption would follow physician adoption, but a good portion of the current activity in mHealth seems to be the other way around.
02 Feb 2010
GPs feel anxious when patients bring information from the internet to a consultation, but are developing strategies to overcome their anxiety, according to a new study.
Research to be published in the February issue of the British Journal of General Practice found GPs “experienced considerable anxiety” when patients brought online information into consultations.
It found their concerns focus on the poor quality of some online information, the time involved in dealing with internet information, and a feeling that their expertise is being challenged.
· By Lorraine Fernandes
· Monday, February 01, 2010
Over the last few years, federal and state health IT policymakers have paid little attention to the problem of managing provider identities.
The exception is the National Provider Identifier (NPI), a unique 10-digit identification number the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began issuing to providers in 2006 to help manage transactions protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
But while the NPI supports Medicare and Medicaid payments, it does not address broader provider identity management challenges that will become more critical as health information exchange (HIE) evolves and the nationwide health information network (NHIN) begins to spreads its roots.
By Mary Mosquera
Thursday, January 28, 2010
The Commerce Department’s National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) said it wants to develop standards to help evaluate the ease-of-use of health IT systems.
In a notice on a federal contracting web site, NIST announced it was looking for companies that could create a “usability framework” for health IT systems. The job would require , “development, refinement and harmonization of HIT usability standards and certification processes.”
Sarah Kearns, for HealthLeaders Media, January 29, 2010
In 2007, The Joint Commission made an addition to Goal #8 regarding medication reconciliation: Along with compiling a list of medications upon admission, each patient must receive a list of his or her medications upon discharge.
Washington Hospital Healthcare System (WHHS) in Fremont, CA, embarked on a mission to comply with this goal by implementing a new admission and discharge process concerning medication reconciliation.
Kinzi Richholt, RN, MSN, clinical nurse specialist and chief of system operations and management support; Nasim Karmali, RPh, medication safety officer; and the medication reconciliation team began the process of changing the facility's medication lists from being handwritten to electronic lists that are easy to read and accessible to all physicians.
Since introducing the new electronic tool, more than 99% of patients at WHHS have a home medication list compiled upon admission.
Carrie Vaughan, for HealthLeaders Media, February 2, 2010
It is an understatement to say that many hospitals, health systems, and physicians could use a helping hand when it comes to purchasing, implementing, and becoming meaningful users of certified electronic health record products. One of the biggest hurdles is finding the money to purchase health IT, because providers won't receive their share of the government incentive payments outlined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 until after the technology is in place, and they are deemed meaningful users of the technology.
But a little known provision in ARRA, known as the Bank-Qualified Rule, may help solve that challenge for some nonprofit healthcare providers. I recently spoke with Randy Waring, managing director at GE Healthcare Financial Services, about how this provision can help organizations purchase health IT.
Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 1, 2010
Why do hospital teams unintentionally leave more than 30 types of surgical tools or other items inside their patients, a category of hospital error that California officials say is the second most common preventable adverse event in acute care?
And why does the number of these forgotten items continue to increase?
State health officials want to find out and propose using $800,000 in administrative penalties collected from hospitals since 2007 for a collaborative project to study the problem.
By Liz Szabo, USA TODAY
Concerned that Americans may be accumulating too much lifetime radiation exposure from medical tests, doctors at the National Institutes of Health will begin recording how much radiation patients receive from CT scans and other procedures in their electronic medical records.
A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine in December estimated that radiation from such procedures, whose use has grown dramatically in recent years, causes 29,000 new cancers and 14,500 deaths a year.
Posted: February 1, 2010 - 11:00 am ET
Working with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan and the University of Michigan, the Society of Hospital Medicine announced that it will be launching a 15-site implementation of its program designed to avoid unplanned or preventable hospitalizations and emergency department visits 30 days after discharge.
The program is called Project BOOST, which stands for Better Outcomes for Older adults through Safer Transitions, uses tools such as identifying high-risk patients, educating patients on their conditions and possible side effects of medication, scheduling follow-up physician appointments, and medication reconciliation at discharge to ensure that drugs prescribed at discharge don't harmfully interact with previously prescribed drugs, said Mark Williams who edits the SHM's Journal of Hospital Medicine and serves as the principal investigator of the project.
February 1, 2010 — 1:18pm ET | By Neil Versel
So much for the Revolution.
Revolution Health, a much-hyped venture of AOL co-founder Steve Case, is terminating one of its signature products, an online personal health record for the masses. In an email to users, the company said: "Thank you for being a loyal user of the Revolution Health Personal Health Record. Unfortunately we will be discontinuing this service as of the end of February 2010 and removing all records, information, and data from the Revolution Health website." No further explanation was given.
The company recommended that users print out or download the contents in a PDF file so they don't lose their records. That likely means that the data can't simply be imported into another PHR product, providing yet another example of siloed electronic health information.
January 28, 2010 | Bernie Monegain, Editor
WASHINGTON – Most personal health record offerings are not ready for prime time, says Marjorie Martin, general manager for Everyday Health, the parent company of Revolution Health. For consumers, the experience can be laborious and frustrating, she said.
Martin explained Wednesday why Revolution Health was retiring its PHR offering on its Web site. In an e-mail to users on Wednesday Revolution Health said it would discontinue the PHR offering on Feb. 10 and destroy the records. The company advised users to download their records in a PDF format for future reference.
Martin attributed the decision to retire the platform to "low utilization."
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
by George Lauer, iHealthbeat Features Editor
Revolution Health's exodus doesn't necessarily mean the PHR market is moribund, but it probably does mean the world isn't ready yet for a do-it-yourself version for consumers, industry observers say.
Revolution Health, started by AOL co-founder Steve Case in 2005, launched its personal health record a couple years after the company's start. The product attracted much fanfare, and predictions abounded that PHRs would empower patients and change the system by giving people tools and information to actively manage their health. Last week, Revolution Health told account holders the PHR service will shut down at the end of February.
"I think this shows the direct-to-consumer market for PHRs just doesn't work," said John Moore, founder of Chilmark Research, a research and analysis company specializing in health IT. "It's too much work for consumers -- you can't expect them to collect, input and keep track of all that data," Moore said.
The president wants to increase funding for the national health IT czar to get doctors and hospitals using e-heath records meaningfully.
By Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, InformationWeek
Feb. 1, 2010
President Obama's proposed federal budget for fiscal 2011 released on Monday includes $78 million for programs to help propel health IT adoption and use.
In the proposed fiscal 2011 budget released by the White House, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is requesting funding of $78 million for its Office of National Coordinator for Health IT, an increase of $17 million over the $61 million allocated to the office for fiscal 2010.
01 Feb 2010
NHS East Midlands has decided to defer two of its three Lorenzo deployments for 2010 until next year.
The board paper shows that only Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will implement Lorenzo, the strategic EPR system from iSoft that is due to be implemented by local service provider CSC under the National Programme for IT in the NHS. It is expected to go-live in May 2010.
The board papers, which were published in November 2009, state: “The strategic health authority is working with local health communities to identify the organisations and deployment dates for the period from June 2010 through to December 2010.
"Based on a modest capacity profile provided by the Lorenzo delivery team, it is unlikely that there will be any further East Midland organisations scheduled to go-live with Lorenzo systems in that period.”