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.
File-sharing programs might put doctors' patient records at risk: Study
By Laura Stone, Canwest News Service
OTTAWA — Doctors who trade music on file-sharing programs might also be accidentally swapping something else: their patients' health records.
In the first study to test the way personal health information is disclosed through file-sharing applications, researchers from the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa discovered that software installed on home computers can make health and financial documents vulnerable to fraud or theft.
For example, if a health-care professional uploads records onto his or her computer, and then uses file-sharing software to download music, patient information could be inadvertently released, said the study published last Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
Issue Date: March 2010
Improving Patient Care Through Data Availability in the ICU
At Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, clinician and IT leaders together created an innovative dashboard for ICU intensivists and nurses
by Mark Hagland
For the physicians and nurses at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, a member of the 20-hospital University of Pittsburgh Medical Center health system, the logic behind going totally paperless as the clinicians and staff prepared to move into the hospital's new replacement facility in 2009 was inescapable. Already live for several years with its EMR and CPOE, the hospital's move to its brand-new facility was to be accompanied by the elimination of nearly all of its remaining paper-based processes.
And because the hospital's IT staff, led by vice president and CIO Jacqueline Dailey and CMIO James Levin, M.D., Ph.D., had long been collaborating closely with clinician leaders, the organization was well-positioned to reap all the benefits of automation in preparation for the move, which took place in June of 2009.
Posted: March 5, 2010 - 11:00 am ET
Meeting the 25 meaningful-use criteria required to receive the financial incentives contained in the federal stimulus law will result in reduced physician productivity, according to 67.9% of those who responded to a Medical Group Management Association member survey released March 4.
With one being “very easy” and five being “very difficult,” the survey also asked on a one-to-five scale how easy or difficult certain proposed requirements would be to fulfill. According to the 353 respondents (out of 445) who answered the question, the most difficult requirement would be using a certified electronic health record to provide at least 10% of all patients with electronic access to their health information within 96 hours of the information being available. That requirement received a 3.72 difficulty rating with only 14 respondents saying meeting the requirement would be very easy, 90 saying it would be difficult and 99 saying it would be very difficult.
Friday, March 05, 2010
It's been quite a year for health IT.
While a great proportion of the Advisory Board Company's research this year has focused on parsing out the implications of "meaningful use" requirements for hospitals and physicians, we've continued to emphasize that it's important not to lose sight of the longer-term imperative for these investments -- strengthening the health IT foundation that will allow hospitals to be successful under evolving health and payment reforms and finding a way to start accruing benefits from these significant capital outlays.
With health IT industry leaders caught up in the feeding frenzy around the stimulus dollars, many have ignored the implications of payment reform -- a market force that will place even greater demands on health IT than the meaningful use requirements. The stimulus package's incentives for health IT use are just one piece of the larger health care reform ambition that is working towards expanding coverage, promoting efficiency and ultimately reducing demand to inflect the total cost curve.
San Francisco Business Times - by Chris Rauber
The nationally known Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said Wednesday it’s awarded more than $2.4 million to five research teams to study how “patient-recorded observations of daily living” can be captured and integrated into clinical care.
Three of the five teams are based in California, including two in the Bay Area: one at San Francisco State University and a second team made up of researchers at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and The Healthy Communities Foundation.
(CNNMoney.com) -- When Dr. Bradley Block, a family physician in Florida, began to investigate electronic medical record systems for his four-doctor practice, he discovered that many of the largest firms in the field were not particularly interested in his business.
One company refused to return numerous calls to set up a demonstration of its product. Another charged all practices -- no matter their size -- a six-figure setup fee that it refused to adjust.
By Bob Brewin 03/04/2010
The Veterans Affairs Department closed off access to the Defense Department's huge electronic health record system on Monday because it found errors in some patients' medical data clinicians downloaded from the Defense network, according to a departmental patient safety alert, which Nextgov obtained.
Although no patient was injured, the errors shed light on how software glitches could affect the accuracy of electronic medical records and a planned national system that has been backed by the Bush and Obama administrations.
Submitted by Amit Pathania on Fri, 03/05/2010 - 14:16
With the launch of British Columbia's $259-Million move to promote the e-health project, three people connected to the province's drive to adopt electronic health records have been alleged in the corruption criminal cases. The aim of the health system remains to create electronic health records to enable patients' information from lab tests to prescriptions which can be shared between health-care providers all across the country.
A special prosecutor John Waddell has directed that charges should be laid within a month against Ron Danderfer, a Former Assistant Deputy Minister of Health, who had helped in awarding Millions in contracts for the Government's high-profile electronic health initiative, Consultant Dr. Jonathan Alan Burns and Jim Taylor, a Manager with the Fraser Health Authority who administered an annual budget of $9 Million. They have been accused of fraud, breach of trust and influencing peddling.
The Power of the PHR and What It Means to You
By Steven Kraus, DC, DIBCN, CCSP, FASA
Ever have one of your patients enter your office with a binder of medical paperwork? They have old X-rays, MRIs, and reports, articles downloaded from the Internet, and copies of correspondence between their GP and four different specialists.
They've been through it all, and rather than just tell you their history, they're actually bringing along the data to prove it. Now imagine this same scenario not with one complex patient every once and awhile, but with every new patient, every single day. The day is coming with personal health records (PHRs). It could transform your practice, because PHRs are well on their way to transforming our patients.
01 Mar 2010
The Department of Health is struggling to find four sites in the South of England willing to take the Cerner Millennium hospital system, bought by NHS Connecting for Health as part of a £540m deal with BT.
Despite offering the system at no cost, the DH has been unable to find four NHS trusts willing to commit. The reluctance appears to centre on the realisation that trusts will have to pick up ongoing revenue costs, payable to Cerner from 2015, after CfH contracts expire.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
ATLANTA -- On Wednesday morning, the country's health IT chief admitted to a room full of health IT enthusiasts that when his employer -- Partners HealthCare System in Boston -- made the switch to electronic health records about 10 years ago, it wasn't "a match made in heaven."
While giving the keynote speech at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's annual conference in Atlanta, National Coordinator for Health IT David Blumenthal said he was trained with paper records and a prescription pad and "didn't really see the need for change." However, he said, "Gradually, slowly, I found it was making me a better doctor" and "truly added value to my work."
The health IT convert, now tasked with bringing the U.S. health care system into the 21st century, said he is "optimistic" that we'll see widespread use of EHRs and other health IT tools in the near future.
Published February 23, 2010 12:59 PM by Andrew Serwin
E-mail has gone from being an obscure form of communication for a Web-addicted generation to the predominant form of communication among business professionals.
The rules regulating e-mail communication in the workplace haven't necessarily followed suit. Even seasoned e-mail users don't always consider some basic e-mail communication guidelines. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
E-mail is permanent
Despite its relatively informal nature, e-mail is still a permanent form of communication. Whether it is stored on a server, by the recipient or by the business whose system is being used, in most cases, e-mail is forever. Even deleting an e-mail doesn't always ensure it's really gone.
By Mary Mosquera
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
The National Institute of Standards and Technology plans to test various health information exchange standards to see how well they meet the needs of clinical information exchange among providers and other health care organizations.
Standards are the foundation for health information exchange, according to Dr. David Blumenthal, the national health IT coordinator. The HITECH Act assigned NIST, an agency of the Commerce Department, a role to study and test technical standards.
As a part of its Health Information Technology Standards and Test Methods Project, NIST said it will examine high priority standards for “maturity, robustness, stability and suitability of a particular standard for use,” according to a Feb. 22 announcement seeking contractor support for the program.
About three-quarters of health IT executives plan to boost IT spending over the next two years, report shows.
By Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, InformationWeek
March 1, 2010
While the federal government hasn't yet hammered out all the criteria of its "meaningful use" health IT stimulus programs, the upcoming requirements already appear to be inciting an increase in IT spending among healthcare providers, according to a study released Monday.
Findings of the annual survey, conducted by the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS ) was revealed at the organization's conference in Atlanta Monday.
Seventy-two percent of respondents expect their IT operating budgets to increase over the next two years, according to the Web-based survey of nearly 400 healthcare CIOs and other senior IT executives.
By Mary Mosquera
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
ATLANTA -- In a surprise announcement at the Health Information and Management Systems Society conference here today, national coordinator of health IT Dr. David Blumenthal and his staff unveiled the administration’s proposal for how electronic health record systems will be certified under the health IT incentive plan.
The notice of proposed rulemaking details a two-stage process that would enable health IT vendors initially to receive temporary certification for their products in time for providers to meet looming 2011 deadlines for qualifying for first stage meaningful use requirements.
To meet that time frame, certified electronic health records must be “available before fall 2010,” according to the proposed rule.
Posted: March 3, 2010 - 5:59 am ET
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS will exercise the authority it was given by Congress and expedite the authorization of organizations for the certification of electronic health-records systems under the federal stimulus law.
The ONC action, which came in the form of a proposed new federal rule released Tuesday, could ease a major bottleneck to a multi-billion federal program to subsidize the purchase of electronic health-record systems by hospitals and office-based physicians under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the stimulus law.
02 Mar 2010
In the annual survey of chief information officers run by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, achiving a fully interoperable electronic medical record has emerged as the top priority.
Top business objectives unveiled by the survey at the HIMSS10 conference in Atlanta were to improve the quality of care and patient safety, closely followed by the need to sustain financial viability.
These are the same top three concerns as in 2009, but financial concerns rank lower this year than 12 months ago.
HealthVault Community Connector gives patients and their dotors Web access to patients' hospitalization data upon discharge.
By Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, InformationWeek
March 3, 2010
Microsoft has unveiled HealthVault Community Connect, software aimed at helping the coordination of care between hospitals and referring-doctors while engaging patients.
HealthVault Community Connector allows hospitals of any size to to give post-discharge access to patient data to patients and their referring doctors. The application, unveiled at the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS )conference in Atlanta Tuesday, is the latest in Microsoft's family of HealthVault products.
02 Mar 2010
Conservative health spokesman Stephen O’Brien has accused the government of trying to tie the hands of an incoming Tory government over the future of the National Programme for IT in the NHS.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, O’Brien said he was “very concerned” that the current negotiations that are being held with suppliers could result in contracts that “potentially tie a future government’s hands more rigidly than would they may already be under the current contracts.”
01 Mar 2010
The BMA has criticised the roll-out of the Summary Care Record programme, claiming patients do not have enough information and that it is too hard for them to opt out if they want to.
The doctors’ union has publicised its concerns as the government steps up efforts to roll-out the SCR across five strategic health authorities over the next year.
Public Information Programmes (PIPs) for patients in the five SHAs are due to be completed by the end of March, so that the SHAs can take advantage of central funding.
Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 1, 2010
Although federal guidelines are not yet set for meaningful use, nearly three-fourths of hospitals and other healthcare organizations say they will increase information technology spending in anticipation of stimulus fund reimbursement. However, security issues remain a concern for hospitals.
Nearly half of the 72% of the 398 healthcare leaders who responded to this year's Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) survey on meaningful use spending said they expected their IT budgets to increase, adding that meeting "meaningful use" criteria is a driver of that spending.
HIMSS Analytics Awards Another 12 Kaiser Permanente Hospitals Highest Recognition
OAKLAND, Calif., March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente, the nation's leading health care provider and not-for-profit health plan, received 12 Stage 7 Awards from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. The Stage 7 Award honors hospitals that have achieved the highest level electronic health record implementation. The 12 awards were presented at the HIMSS 2010 annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
Kaiser Permanente is known for leadership in the use of health information technology and its groundbreaking electronic health record, Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect®. Last year, Kaiser Permanente also received 12 Stage 7 Awards, meaning that two-thirds of the system's 36 hospitals have now received these premier awards. Only 39 American hospitals have achieved this status; 24 of those are Kaiser Permanente hospitals.
Posted: March 2, 2010 - 5:59 am ET
Part two of a two-part series. To read part one, view the story Making IT work.
Findings of Modern Healthcare's annual information technology survey show how the federal stimulus law is driving project priorities.
John May, chief financial officer at 41-bed Wetzel County Hospital, New Martinsville, W.Va., may be typical of many survey respondents this year.
“Our biggest challenge is going to be to get compliant with the ARRA,” May says. For now, however, he says, “We're nowhere near that, and a lot of it is going to depend on our vendor being in compliance.”
“We'll make it over the total term of this thing, but whether or not we'll make it in year one, we're not sure,” May says. “We're not a critical-access hospital, but we're a small hospital, so I'm not sure how we're going to get this money at this point.”
Posted: March 2, 2010 - 5:59 am ET
Part two of a two-part series. To read part one, view the story Zero tolerance.
With health information technology money up for grabs, many electronic health-record vendors are offering financing deals to attract business. But, just like shopping for a car, experts warn about reading the fine print before buying.
Some of these vendors have been offering financing to potential customers for years, either through partner lending institutions or their own financial arms.
“This is not anything new from that light,” said Dan Michelson, an executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions. He wasn't sure exactly what remedies were in place should a customer fail to make payments to Allscripts' partner, U.S. Bank. “Whatever we've put in the contracts, people have gotten comfortable with at this point.”
Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, March 2, 2010
Technology infrastructure can impact both the relative high cost and low quality of healthcare in the U.S., said Paul Tang, MD, vice president and CIO of Palo Alto (CA) Medical Foundation at a feisty "town hall" style discussion at the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) 2010 CIO forum held in Atlanta, GA, on Sunday.
"The government can't do it," said Tang, who is also the vice chair of the HIT Policy Committee and the chair of the Meaningful Use Work Group. "They don't have the expertise that's in this room and in the field."
Proposed Rule for the Establishment of Certification Programs for Health Information Technology
A Message from Dr. David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
March 2, 2010
Today the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) outlining the proposed approach for establishing a certification program to test and certify electronic health records (EHRs). The HITECH Act mandates the development of a certification program which will give purchasers and users of EHR technology assurances that the technology and products have the necessary functionality and security to help meet meaningful use criteria. While we are making significant strides toward modernizing our health care system, these efforts will only succeed if providers and patients are confident that their health information systems are safe and functional.
The proposed rule incorporates two phases of development for the certification program to ensure that eligible professionals and eligible hospitals are able to adopt and implement Certified EHR Technology in time to qualify for meaningful use incentive payments. The rulemaking process will take time, so this phased approach provides a bridge to detailed guidelines to support an ongoing program of testing and certification of health IT.
Monday, March 01, 2010
ATLANTA—Health care providers, vendors, policymakers and other health care stakeholders convened at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta yesterday for the first official day of the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Conference.
At a media briefing, HIMSS CEO Stephen Lieber said that so far the conference has attracted 25,989 attendees and that more could register before the conference finishes on Thursday. He said that there are 1,100 fewer vendor representatives this year, noting that the decline likely was caused by the economic downturn. Still, the number of overall vendors exhibiting at the conference increased from the mid 800s last year to 924 this year, Lieber said.
Certification Commission for Health IT now tests and certifies oncology and women's health EHR products.
By Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, InformationWeek
March 2, 2010
The Certification Commission For Healthcare Information Technology--CCHIT--is expanding its certification programs for e-health record systems.
CCHIT officials unveiled new programs for EHR products catering to the needs of cancer and women's health specialists at the HIMSS health IT conference in Atlanta.
The Oncology and Women's Health EHR certification programs are the CCHIT's latest for products used in medical-specialty practices. Others include cardiovascular medicine, pediatrics, emergency departments, behavioral health, clinical research, dermatology, long-term care, and post acute care.