Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links 18-03-2010.

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.


Down To Business: Electronic Healthcare Won't Be Denied

Obstacles abound, no doubt. But three huge constituents will demand it: government, large providers -- and the customers who will benefit.

By Rob Preston, InformationWeek

March 9, 2010

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=223300167

What we're witnessing is "the single fastest transformation of an industry in the history of the United States." The commentator: Glen Tullman, CEO of Allscripts. The industry: healthcare, where system vendors like Tullman's are at the center of driving that digital transformation.

Is this just hyperbole from an industry player? Consider that the federal government is spending upwards of $20 billion to get healthcare providers to digitize their records and processes, and that 70% of that money must be spent over the next three years. For an industry still mired in 20th century practices, an electronic overhaul in just a few years would indeed be historic.



E-health records on radar

By Pamela Cowan, Leader-PostMarch 13, 2010

Government officials are being tightlipped about the upcoming provincial budget, but money for electronic health records could be on the radar.

When Health Minister Don McMorris was recently asked by the Leader-Post if the March 24 budget would include funding for electronic health records, he said that area has been a priority in the province and "it would be just foolhardy to stop right now." "It was a Patient First recommendation and we can see the efficiencies that it creates for patients and as well as for physicians that are involved, so we need to keep moving on that front," McMorris said. "But all those decisions will be read on (budget day)." The total cost for the province's electronic health record is estimated to be $600 million, which includes $285 million spent from 1997 to the end of 2010. Canada Health Infoway -- an independent, federally funded organization that is tasked with accelerating the development of electronic health records across Canada -- contributed $40 million of the money spent so far.



Stimulus To Push Electronic Health Records Could Widen 'Digital Divide'

By Fred Schulte
Huffington Post Investigative Fund

Created 2010-03-08 13:43

Federal Plan May Leave Behind Small Hospitals and Rural Doctors

A year after Congress agreed to spend billions of dollars to encourage a national switch to electronic health records, many doctors and hospitals have grown skeptical of the pace and details of the plan.

Medical societies, both large and small, say that federal officials are pushing doctors to phase out paper charts too quickly. Some rural health organizations fear the program could exacerbate a “digital divide” by concentrating the funding in elite hospitals that already computerize their records. Even some of the elite hospital systems aren’t satisfied, seeking help from lawmakers to plead their case for more money.

“I don’t think any of the recipients are happy,” said Robert Tennant, a senior policy advisor with the Medical Group Management Association, which represents medical practices with nearly 275,000 doctors.



Consumers weigh in on top 10 meaningful use arguments

March 08, 2010 | Molly Merrill, Associate Editor

WASHINGTON – A Washington-based advocacy group has collected consumer and employer perspectives on the top 10 arguments concerning meaningful use. And with only a week left before the public comment period on meaningful use comes to a close, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is urging the public to weigh in with their own thoughts.

While the healthcare provider community's concerns with the government's proposed definition of "meaningful use" of healthcare IT are well-documented in the media, less attention has been paid to the consumer and employer perspectives, said officials of the Consumer Partnership for eHealth or CPeH, a coalition led by the National Partnership for Women and Families.


RSA: Google, PayPal, Equifax, Others Form Open Identity Exchange

The companies have created a non-profit to manage the process of certifying identity providers.

By Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek

March 3, 2010

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=223101402

Google, PayPal, Equifax, VeriSign, Verizon, CA, and Booz Allen Hamilton on Wednesday at the RSA Conference announced that they have formed a non-profit organization to oversee the exchange of online identity credentials on public and private sector Web sites.

The organization, The Open Identity Exchange (OIX), will serve as a trust framework provider. A trust framework is a certification program that allows organizations and individuals to exchange digital credentials and to trust the identity, security, and privacy assertions associated with those credentials.

With help from the OpenID Foundation and the Information Card Foundation, OIX has been authorized to serve as a trust framework for the U.S. government. It will certify identity management providers to make sure they meet federal standards.



CDC uses shopper-card data to trace salmonella

By DAVID MERCER (AP) – 2 days ago

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — As they scrambled recently to trace the source of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds around the country, investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention successfully used a new tool for the first time — the shopper cards that millions of Americans swipe every time they buy groceries.

With permission from the patients, investigators followed the trail of grocery purchases to a Rhode Island company that makes salami, then zeroed in on the pepper used to season the meat.

Never before had the CDC successfully mined the mountain of data that supermarket chains compile.



VA working on ‘Aviva’ -- next generation of VistA

By Mary Mosquera

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Veterans Affairs Department is at work on the next-generation of VistA, its 20-plus year-old electronic medical record system, which is often praised by users but considered a headache to planners working to bring VA health systems fully into the Internet age.

The new system – dubbed Aviva – is designed to be Web-enabled, modular in design and capable of easily exchanging health records with other EMRs and organizations using standards built for the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN).

In contrast, the current version of VistA resides on tens of thousands of computers, is difficult to upgrade and presents obstacles to VA plans to share information with other agencies and heath organizations, according to its chief technology officer.



CMS extends Medicare-Tricare PHR test

By Peter Buxbaum

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A personal health record pilot in South Carolina, which incorporates both Medicare and military Tricare claims data, has been extended through Sept. 30, 2010.

The Internet-based My Personal Health Record-South Carolina (MyPHRSC), a Medicare project, provides its 4,500 participants 24 months of Medicare A and B claims history and 24 months of Tricare pharmacy data upon request.

The pilot went live in April 2008 and began incorporating Tricare data in January 2009. In July, 2009 a calendar reminder feature, and a Health Tracker tool were added to the PHR.

"The Health Tracker allows users to track their blood pressure, cholesterol, hemoglobin A1C, and weight in a graph or table format," said Chris Gayhead, a project officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The number of participants "exceeded our expectations," said Gayhead. Six-hundred sixty thousand South Carolina Medicare beneficiaries are eligible to participate in MyPHRSC. Tricare beneficiaries who are Medicare eligible can authorize to have their Tricare data incorporated in the PHR.



Healthcare industry one of the most mobile

March 11, 2010 | Mike Miliard, Managing Editor

BLUE BELL, PA – Healthcare IT workers are among the biggest users of smart phones and other mobile technology, but addressing the security needs of such devices remains a critical concern, according to a survey released today.

Forrester Consulting conducted the study on behalf of Fiberlink, the Blue Bell, Pa.-based developer of cloud-based "Mobility as a Service" (MaaS) solutions.

The study, titled "Managing and Securing Mobile Healthcare Data and Devices," found that 95 percent of healthcare enterprises relying on smartphones for work, making the industry one of the most mobile across all verticals.



Study shows risks of sharing data

By Jeff Rowe, Editor

There’s been no shortage of stories recently about the increase in attempts by hackers to get access to digitized health information, but a recent Canadian study shows that many healthcare providers may unwittingly be giving the hackers a helping hand.

Published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, the study is reportedly“ the first of its kind to empirically estimate the extent to which personal health information is disclosed through file-sharing application.”



Google Health is not at all well

Posted by Dana Blankenhorn @ 6:18 am

During HIMSS there was the usual crowd at the Google booth.

The show giveaways — plastic tape measures (shown) and zip-pouches with emergency supplies (band-aids and aspirin) that can be clipped to a backpack — were welcome and very popular. That’s why they had to be kept in these huge plastic tubs. The tubs were refilled regularly.

But there was nothing shown at the Google booth that wasn’t available in 2007. There were screens showing Google Health, and screens showing Google enterprise services. That was all.



BMA says 'suspend SCR roll-out'

10 Mar 2010

The British Medical Association has written to the government calling for the roll-out of the Summary Care Record to be suspended.

In a letter to health minister Mike O’Brien, the doctors’ union claims the roll-out of the SCR has been accelerated before sufficient independent evaluation of the pilot areas has taken place.

It calls on the Department of Health to consider halting implementation in areas where Public Information Programmes have not yet started.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, BMA Council chairman, said: “The break-neck speed with which this programme is being implemented is of huge concern. Patients’ right to opt-out is crucial and it is extremely alarming that records are apparently being created without them being aware of it.



Oh, Vienna

11 Mar 2010

What are the key trends in PACS/RIS technology and management? Linda Davidson asked some of the participants at the vast European Congress of Radiology in Vienna last week.

What are the next steps for the information systems used in digital medical imaging? For Derek Danois, Accenture’s newly-appointed managing director for medical imaging services, the emphasis has to be on helping healthcare organisations to “build value in their investments and deliver value over a long period of time.”

“It’s not about refreshing that existing infrastructure but [about] how you take advantage of that infrastructure,” he said. One of the areas in which he sees advances in prospect is the use of analytics from digital medical images and their associated reports to monitor and improve the quality of care.

For example, he explained, analytics can be used to understand the effectiveness and quality of different radiological protocols laid down by bodies such as the UK’s Royal College of Radiologists. Reports can show whether protocols are being followed, while tracking deviations from protocols could indicate that an investigation or intervention is needed.



Healthcare mistrusts cloud security

08 Mar 2010

A new survey has indicated that healthcare organisations have yet to be convinced of the merits of cloud computing.

Only 33% of healthcare organisations said they planned to adopt a cloud storage strategy for any data over the next 12-24 months.

An overwhelming majority of respondents - more than 80% - reported that the most significant barrier is concern about security and availability of data.

Respondents also cited cost and a lack of conviction that cloud storage offers significant benefits when compared to local media.



All part of the plan

Systems integration is back on the agenda following the Department of Health’s instruction to shift from a “replace all” to a “connect all” philosophy. Daloni Carlisle looks at the challenges ahead.

In December 2009, the Department of Health announced a shift in emphasis for healthcare IT. The Informatics Planning guidance for the coming financial year said it should move from a “replace all” philosophy to “connect all”.

It is a change that is welcomed by many, but which comes with its own challenges. David Rivett is head of systems integration and chief technical operating officer of Hytec and has spent the last 20 years connecting systems.

“In a sense this takes us back to the days before NPfIT,” he says. The trouble is that in the intervening years, a multitude of different interim solutions have sprung up that now need integrating.”



Interoperability Tookit update

The NHS has been promised an interoperability toolkit to get good, local ideas working with existing and national programme systems. Daloni Carlisle gets an update on its progress.

In April last year, Christine Connelly, the NHS’ director general of informatics, promised that an ‘app store’ style toolkit would be developed for the health service.

Connelly said that while the “core aims” of the National Programme for IT in the NHS would be retained, the toolkit was needed to “allow new products to be developed locally, accredited centrally and linked to existing deployments of information systems such as Cerner and Lorenzo.”

In other words, the toolkit was to provide more local flexibility, and to encourage trusts to learn from and spread innovation between each other.



Clinical informatics moves toward certification

By Joseph Conn / HITS staff writer

Posted: March 10, 2010 - 11:00 am ET

The role of medical informatics in healthcare is rapidly expanding, as is the use of information technology itself. What is not moving rapidly—at least to an outside observer—is an already 5-year-old effort by institutional medicine that has perhaps another three years to go before creating a program of subspecialty board certification in clinical informatics.

To insider Don Detmer, however, what would appear to some as a glacial pace is actually “moving amazingly fast, as far as these things go” given that medical boards and medical education organizations “move very, very slowly.”



Chopra cites fed projects as health IT catalysts

By Mary Mosquera

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A National Cancer Institute registry service that will allow patients, federal health researchers and healthcare providers to access its data is just the first of a slew of examples that the Obama administration hopes will spur meaningful use of health IT.

“We’re looking for success stories and where we can help to accelerate adoption,” said Aneesh Chopra, the White House chief technology officer. “The standards for meaningful use are not new – some organizations have been engaging in meaningful use for some time.”



Survey shows nurses spend most of their time on paperwork

March 09, 2010 | Bernie Monegain, Editor

ALPHARETTA, GA – A new survey of hospital nurses found that they estimate spending one quarter of their 12-hour shift on indirect patient care, with paperwork taking up much of the rest of their time.

In the survey, conducted by Alpharetta, Ga.-based Jackson Healthcare, nurses reported having to document patient care information in multiple locations, in addition to having to complete logs, checklists and other redundant paperwork that prevented them from having more time with their patients. Beyond these paperwork redundancies, nurses reported significant time being wasted trying to secure needed equipment and supplies.

When asked for solutions to these challenges, nurses recommended a combination of ancillary staff support, hospital-wide communications technology and reductions in redundant regulatory requirements.



Meaningful Health Information Exchange

It's about connecting people, not just systems.

By Brad Hawkins

We live in an age of instant information. As a culture, we use our computers, our phones and our handheld devices to stay in touch with one another and with the world at large. For most of us, online banking has been a way of life for more than a decade. We shop, connect with high school classmates, watch TV programs virtually commercial-free, and book travel plans all online. On any given day, 25 percent of Americans say they have watched a short video on their phones [Deloitte 2009 Survey of Health Care Consumers; May 2009].

While other industries have set high expectations for electronic interaction with consumers, the health care industry lags. Technology has certainly advanced health care, but the progress ends where recordkeeping and communication begin. Many health care organizations continue to maintain paper-based systems to schedule appointments, track patient interaction, and for the most part, handle billing. Those organizations that have made the transition to electronic systems have found that system integration is a critical issue.



GE launches ehealth platform

10 Mar 2010

GE Healthcare has launched its next-generation e-Health Solutions platform – which includes expanded services for health information exchange, a clinical portal and a patient health management system.

The new platform is designed for international as well as domestic GE Healthcare customers and is said to be adaptable for regional markets in either hosted or deployed models.

“Healthcare professionals around the world recognize that connecting the healthcare IT ecosystem has enormous potential to improve the quality of health outcomes and to reduce costs,” said Vishal Wanchoo, president and CEO of GE Healthcare IT.



9 March 2010

eHealth Worldwide

:: Canada - No More Dithering On e-Health (2 March 2010 - Medical News Today)

Canada is lagging behind many countries in the use of electronic health records and it is critical that the country's medical and political leaders set targets for universal adoption, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). While Canada has invested more than $1.6 billion in federal funds to develop integrated electronic health records, only 37% of general practitioners use electronic records compared with 97% in New Zealand and 95% in Australia.



No boundaries plan needs shared records

09 Mar 2010

The abolition of GP practice boundaries will increase the importance of shared medical records, according to the Department of Health.

The DH has launched a consultation on its plans to scrap GP practice boundaries which it argues will meet demand from a “significant minority” of patients to move to a different practice.

The consultation looks at the implications of enabling patients to register with any practice of their choice including the impact on home visits, urgent care, co-ordination of care, access to secondary care, resource allocation and IT and access to patients’ medical records.

The consultation says “the need for a more accessible clinical record will increase” if patients are able to register with a GP practice some distance from their home and rely on a local service for urgent care and home visits.



Letter errors fuel SCR roll-out row

09 Mar 2010

The British Medical Association is to write to health minister Mike O’Brien as the row over the roll-out of the Summary Care Record escalates.

Local medical committees have reported that their attempts to include opt-out forms in information sent to patients has been blocked.

Meanwhile, a glitch at a mailing house used by NHS Connecting for Health has led to patients receiving information packs addressed to other patients.

The BMA’s General Practitioner Committee has also issued guidance to GPs on the roll-out, which says it is “deeply concerned by this sudden acceleration in the roll-out and feel that it being rushed.”



EHR regulations may discourage IT adoption: AHA

By Joe Carlson / HITS staff writer

Posted: March 9, 2010 - 11:00 am ET

The American Hospital Association says the regulations proposed by federal administrators to use stimulus payments to encourage widespread adoption of electronic health-record systems may actually discourage many providers from even trying to use the technology.

The government's proposed list of 23 measures to demonstrate so-called “meaningful use” of EHR systems is so daunting that even hospitals that already have long-established systems may not qualify for stimulus payments because regulators have proposed hospitals meet every criteria before they become eligible to receive the federal grants, according to the AHA.



HIMSS attendees urged to focus on patient care

By Andis Robeznieks / HITS staff writer

Posted: March 9, 2010 - 11:00 am ET

Though some tried to change the subject, “meaningful use” of health information technology—and the billions of dollars in federal stimulus-law subsidies that are attached to that term—dominated discussions at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society annual conference and exhibition March 1-4 in Atlanta.

Original estimates of the amount of money the federal government would dish out to help subsidize healthcare provider investments in IT ranged between $14.1 billion and $27.3 billion. However, during a conference presentation, John Halamka, a physician who is chief information officer at 621-bed Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, and Harvard Medical School, said the current best thinking was that the government would be paying between $22 billion and $23 billion to those who met its meaningful-use requirements for health IT subsidies.



More to HIMSS than EHRs: Four Technologies for Patients and Providers

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, March 9, 2010

Amidst all the buzz about clinical data sharing and the accompanying alphabet soup of acronyms (EHRs, EMRs, PHRs, RHIOs and HIEs, not to mention ARRA and HITECH), it's easy to forget that the annual HIMSS conference is also a showcase for technology of the hardware variety—physical products and gadgets you can see, feel, and, in some cases, hold in one hand.

Keep in mind that there were about 900 vendors with booths in two exhibit halls so large you measure them not in square feet but in acres.

According to my pedometer, I walked about 26 miles over the course of six days—a literal marathon of keynotes, sessions, and tours of vendor booths. So with apologies to the other 896 vendors at the show, here are four products that impressed me. I have only one complaint about three of the technologies—along with many others at the show—but I'll get to that later.



E-Medicine: A pilot success in Nigeria

G overnment officials and private sector stakeholders gathered recently in Ibadan to review the progress of the pilot e-medicine scheme undertaken in the six geographical zones of the country. Buoyed by the success of the field trial, they are calling for nationwide implementation of the revolutionary healthcare service delivery, reports WOLE OYEBADE.

LOLA did not register formally for the revolutionary workshop held recently in Ibadan, Oyo State. She sneaked into the hall where stakeholders were discussing the introduction of telemedicine in Nigeria.

After three hours of listening to experts talking about 'medicine of the future", she exclaimed: "If these people (discussants) had introduced this scheme before now, my aunt's only son would not have died in our village. The doctor attending to the boy could not get expert advice quick enough hence the only child of my aunt died. Two years after, my aunt has not recovered from the shock. The nation needs to move with the times".



Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Stimulus Programs Aim at Health IT Problems

by Helen Pfister and Karyn Bell, Manatt Health Solutions

With a nod toward averting future problems as well as educating the public about current ones, the federal government's campaign to move the health care industry into the digital age spawned a couple of offshoots over the past two months.

HHS announced it will award a contract to develop ways to identify "undesirable and potentially harmful" unintended consequences of programs funded and administered by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. That effort includes consideration of the electronic health record "meaningful use" incentive program. The public comment period for CMS' proposed meaningful use rule ends March 15.

In addition, HHS will engage a contractor to support a comprehensive two-year public education campaign that fulfills the HITECH mandate to educate the public about privacy and security of protected health information. The campaign will be jointly led by ONC and the HHS Office for Civil Rights.



Health IT Design That Keeps End-Users in Mind

Heather Comak, for HealthLeaders Media, March 5, 2010

This is part two in a two-part series on human factors engineering and its impact on patient safety. Go here to read part one.

Human Factors Engineering (HFE) principles are often being applied to the design of healthcare information technology (HIT).

HFE is defined by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society as the "scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data, and other methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance."

As HIT increasingly becomes a part of clinicians' everyday jobs, it's important to consider their design. If HIT is not designed with the end-user or end-facility in mind, it may fail at facilitating patient safety.



Blumenthal: ONC Shifting From HIT Policy to Implementation

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, March 8, 2010

In the near future, electronic health records and other health information technology will be as accessible and important as the stethoscope, the operating room, or the exam table. And there's no question that that the federal government will be required to support the acquisition of health technology, added National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal, MD, at the HIMSS convention in Atlanta last week.

"It will be assumed as a professional attribute," he said.

Blumenthal did talk about the meaningful use of EHRs—no question the hot topic at this year's conference—saying that the HITECH provisions are an "ambitious" and "evolving vision."



Five Ways Health IT Leaders Can Fight Medicare Fraud

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, March 5, 2010

Fair warning to health IT professionals: Harry Markopolos, the man who infamously warned the government that Bernie Madoff was up to something fishy, is setting his sights on Medicare fraud. And the first place he'll look for evidence is in your system's e-mails, documentation, and databases.

When Markopolos, who now works full-time investigating fraud, looks into a case, he always starts with the IT department. What does he look for? Bills submitted to Medicare by dead patients or from dead doctors, up-coding or billing for procedures that were not performed, and other fraudulent billing practices. He'll check your books for evidence of kickbacks, slush funds, and sudden inexplicable increases in revenue.



Coral Gables couple again accused of stealing, selling patient records

A Coral Gables couple are indicted a second time on charges of stealing the private records of patients to sell to lawyers for personal-injury claims.



Last year, they were charged with running a racket to pilfer patient records from Jackson Memorial Hospital to sell to lawyers for personal-injury claims.

Now Ruben E. Rodriguez and wife Maria Victoria Suarez have been indicted again for paying an ambulance-company employee to steal information on patients transported to Miami-Dade hospitals and healthcare clinics. That theft scheme dates all the way back to 1995, according to an indictment filed last week.

In both federal cases, the Coral Gables couple are accused of brokering the stolen computer records of patients' names, addresses, telephone numbers and medical diagnoses to several attorneys in exchange for kickback payments. The lawyers paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars for the referrals after settling injury claims, authorities say.



CCHIT has jump on EHR certification competition

By Joseph Conn / HITS staff writer

Posted: March 8, 2010 - 11:00 am ET

One of many potential beneficiaries of last week's release of a proposed federal rule outlining the process by which HHS will authorize organizations to test and certify electronic health-record systems is the not-for-profit organization formed in 2004 to do those very tasks.

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology has a first-mover advantage under the new rule announced by David Blumenthal, head of HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, during the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society convention held last week in Atlanta.



Hospitals' patient-safety data systems fall short: HHS

By Andis Robeznieks / HITS staff writer

Posted: March 8, 2010 - 11:00 am ET

Billing data may not be a reliable source of hospital adverse event information and voluntary hospital incident reporting systems may be an unreliable source of information for patient safety organizations, according to Adverse Events in Hospitals: Methods for Identifying Events, a new report released by the HHS Inspector General's office.



ONC top doc says he does not use e-prescribing

By Paul McCloskey

Monday, March 01, 2010

ATLANTA -- Dr. David Hunt, the Office of the National Coordinator’s chief medical officer, told a crowd of physicians here yesterday that as a practicing surgeon he does not use electronic prescribing.

The reason, he said at the Health Information and Management Systems Society annual conference, is to avoid the impractical – and potentially unsafe – consequences of working around a federal ban on the e-prescribing of controlled substances.

The ban, imposed by the Justice Department, has had the effect of suppressing e-prescribing, widely considered a prime example of meaningful use and a potentially heavy driver of health IT adoption.


Iatric Introduces Health Data Tool

The patient portal provides online access to electronic health records and can be integrated with Google Health and Microsoft Healthvault.

By Antone Gonsalves, InformationWeek

March 5, 2010

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=223101704

Iatric Systems has introduced for hospitals a patient portal that provides online access to personal health information and the ability to pay bills.

PtAccess is available to hospitals that have implemented electronic health records. The Web-based portal can provide patients with discharge instructions, visit history, clinical results, provider contract information, and medication order history.

Patients can also input information useful to healthcare providers, such as home medication inventory, surgical and medical history, and allergies. Patients can also view and pay hospital bills.



Computer-Assisted Coding Gives a Boost

HDM Breaking News, March 3, 2010

A computer-assisted coding project underway in a Maine health system is showing early returns, including reduced expenses and improved cash flow. Mandy Reid, coding manager at Eastern Maine Medical Center, discussed the technology at the HIMSS 2010 Conference & Exhibition, noting that the 7-hospital rural delivery system had reduced FTEs and improved accounts receivable during the project's first phase.

Serving as a pilot site for coding software vendor 3M Health System, Eastern Maine began the project on the inpatient side, where it logs some 21,000 annual patient visits.



Monday, March 08, 2010

Health Care Is Local: In Search of Meaning at HIMSS '10

by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

It's been a year since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the HITECH Act got the president's signature. Since then, there have been countless meetings of standards-setters, CIO experts and medical informatics pros, all opining on the meaning of "meaningful use," the criteria for certifying electronic health records and the vision for a Nationwide Health Information Network.

As they asked in "Seasons of Love" from Rent, "565,600 minutes … how do you measure a year?" The chorus's response: "In cups of coffee, in inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife." And 525,000 journeys to plan.

That's about the number of physicians who will be affected by the 2009 federal economic stimulus plan, and based on what I heard among those clinicians who haven't yet adopted an EHR, they're barely willing to Rent, let alone Buy, an EHR based on their latest understanding about what's involved with the process of adopting what seems to be a still-evolving set of rules.



HIMSS10: IBM marches into HIE after closing Initiate deal

March 8, 2010 — 2:44pm ET | By Neil Versel

It may have been a coincidence that IBM closed on its acquisition of Initiate Systems just as HIMSS10 got underway in Atlanta last week. We're certain that it was no coincidence that IBM introduced a product called Initiate Exchange on the very same day it announced the closing of the Initiate deal. "The acquisition was driven by IBM's desire to enhance its ability to help healthcare clients draw on data from hospitals, doctors' offices and payers to create a single, trusted shareable view of millions individual patient records," an IBM press release read.



IT scurries to meet e-health records deadline

Health care providers must start EHR projects before the feds finish writing the rules. By Lucas Mearian

Lucas Mearian

March 8, 2010 (Computerworld) U.S. hospitals and physicians have four years to deploy comprehensive electronic health records (EHR) systems if they hope to snag some of the billions of dollars the federal government has earmarked to reimburse them for the work.

However, although health care companies must begin such efforts soon if they want to meet the reimbursement deadlines, the federal government has yet to finalize technology and product specifications for e-health systems, causing concern among health care IT officials.

"I think we have nontechnology people making decisions about technology," said Gregg Veltri, CIO at the Denver Health and Hospital Authority.




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