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.
Posted: April 23, 2010 - 12:30 pm ET
Widespread adoption of home health monitoring won't happen without changes to the payment system and expansion of affordable broadband services, experts said at a Senate hearing.
The Senate Special Committee on Aging took on the topic of e-care, the burgeoning field of remote health monitoring. New at-home technologies include blood pressure and glucose monitoring and devices that measure such factors as prescription drug intake and balance and coordination to prevent falls.
By Mary Mosquera
Thursday, April 22, 2010
The Health IT Policy Committee endorsed recommendations for the creation of a national database to which healthcare providers can confidentially report patient data errors and unsafe conditions they encounter using electronic health records. Reporting of safety issues would become part of Stage 2 of meaningful use requirements.
A patient safety organization will also be established to analyze the reports and will emphasize tracking and sharing information from the database to make healthcare a learning system, according to the Health and Human Services Department advisory panel at its meeting April 21.
April 22, 2010 | Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
WALTHAM, MA – Brandeis University has announced that it will offer a new online master's degree in health and medical informatics – part of its effort to help create the 50,000 new IT jobs necessary to usher the healthcare system "fully into the digital age."
The Health and Medical Informatics program will address the growing need for professionals who possess both analytical skills and business acumen, with the goal of improving healthcare delivery systems through information technology.
Cultural change, training and communication are key to solid EMR implementations, survey says.
By Nicole Lewis, InformationWeek
April 20, 2010
Implementing electronic medical record systems often requires changes to a healthcare provider's management culture, according to a recent survey of hospitals that are far along in their EMR efforts.
Other best practices cited in the report include effective communication, hands-on IT training and flexibility in financing costs associated with digitizing medical records. The report is based on a survey of 28 hospitals that are members of the Premier Healthcare Alliance, a network of 2,300 nonprofit U.S. hospitals and 63,000 other healthcare sites.
A summary of the survey's results, authored by Susan D. DeVore, Premier's president and CEO, and Keith Figlioli, the organization's senior VP of healthcare informatics, was published in the April issue of Health Affairs.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
by Kate Ackerman, iHealthBeat Senior Editor
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- When you think of large-scale disasters, such as the recent earthquake in Haiti or 2008's Hurricane Ike, Facebook, text messages and telehealth technologies might not be the first things that come to mind, but these tools are playing an increasingly important role in emergency response efforts.
At an event held by the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., this week, disaster relief and emergency management experts discussed how telehealth, mobile communications and social media are changing the way the U.S. responds to disasters.
Posted: April 22, 2010 - 12:30 pm ET
Part one of a two-part series
A federal health information technology policy work group has called for the creation of a national monitoring program for patient safety problems stemming from the use of a broad range of healthcare IT systems.
The recommendation by the electronic health-record certification and adoption work group of the Health Information Technology Policy Committee came Wednesday during a meeting in Washington, while, perhaps ominously to some, an official with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration listened in.
The FDA currently regulates medical devices and has received more than 200 reports of adverse events associated with health information technology, according to a recently published report by a team of investigators for the online news outlet, the Huffington Post. Meanwhile, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has shown an interest in HHS or FDA monitoring health IT systems.
HDM Breaking News, April 21, 2010
The Food and Drug Administration has given 510(k) clearance to Proteus Biomedical Inc. to market the Raisin Personal Monitor, a wireless personal, wearable health status-recording device.
The monitor attaches to skin with an adhesive layer and is worn like a bandage. It records such data as heart rate, respiration rate, physical activity, and body position, which is transmitted via Bluetooth technology to a mobile phone or other computing device.
Hospitals can implement computerized provider order entry systems quickly, as long as they avoid pitfalls and reject common myths.
Thanks to the financial incentives (and disincentives) built into the HITECH provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, many hospital executives are accelerating plans to implement or optimize computerized provider order entry (CPOE), one of the requirements for "meaningful use" that must be demonstrated under the HITECH provisions. CPOE has been identified as a critical element in every Institute of Medicine report, beginning with To Err Is Human in 1999, and was mentioned in the ARRA, along with the clinical decision support that can be delivered during electronic ordering.
The Goal for Hospitals
The HITECH timeframe for demonstrating meaningful use is very tight, especially in the approximately 86 percent of hospitals in which CPOE is not yet in use. (See Craig A. Pedersen and Karl F. Gumper, "Assessment of the Adoption and Use of Pharmacy Informatics in U.S. Hospitals—2007" [ASHP National Survey on Informatics], in American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, vol. 65 [Dec. 1, 2008].) Reaching Stage 1, the first incentive milestone, requires that 10 percent of orders for hospitalized patients be entered directly by the authorizing providers (physicians and other clinicians such as nurse practitioners who can order services under applicable state law); there are indications that this bar will be raised in Stage 2 or 3.
21 Apr 2010
The Slovakian Ministry of Health has signed a €32.4m deal with US company Ness Technologies to implement the first phase of its electronic healthcare system.
The two year deal will provide an 'electronic health book' for every citizen to provide doctors with a patient’s health data.
It will also lead to the creation of a National Health Portal, to centrally distribute public health-related information to patients, staff and external organisations.
The company will also build eAllocation, an electronic appointment and scheduling system aimed at improving patient access to services, and e-prescribing system for drug distribution.
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Magazine, April 8, 2010
A collaborative ACO model is yielding clinical and financial results.
One of the first sites in the country to test the relationship involving a patient-centered medical home, value-based insurance design, and a community collaborative that includes healthcare providers, local employers, consumer groups, and payers initially got a kickstart with a rejection.
Today, this Michigan collaborative, called "Pathways to Health," has been garnering national attention because it has the outlines of the new delivery model—an accountable care organization (ACO)—that has received close attention during the healthcare reform debate. Plus, new data show that patient health is improved and money saved when it comes to using this patient-centered model to care for patients with chronic conditions.
Several years ago, Integrated Health Partners, a physician hospital organization that joins the Battle Creek (MI) Health System and the Calhoun County Physicians Organization, had been participating in a BlueCross BlueShield of Michigan's (BCBSM) Physician Group Incentive Program that financially rewarded physicians in a PPO network by addressing issues such as chronic disease management and generic drug use.
HDM Breaking News, April 20, 2010
A vendor survey of more than 200 hospital executives finds instances of health information data breaches and medical identity theft continue to increase despite new federal regulations like the breach notification rule and the Red Flag rules.
Identity Force, a Framingham, Mass.-based vendor of identity theft prevention services, conducted the survey between March 30 and April 13 among members of the American Hospital Association. The company received e-mail outreach assistance from the AHA, which previously endorsed its services.
The full report is available at identityforce.com/Press.php.
Drive engagement, boost satisfaction and improve treatment outcomes.
Social media technology can help drive engagement, boost satisfaction and improve treatment outcomes.
By Amy Cueva
Odd looking red spot on your arm after working outside? Kids come home from school with a note stating that their classmate has "fifth disease"? Can't remember whether to starve your cold or feed your fever? Chances are good that you fired up your computer and "Googled" it.
According to a recent Pew Internet and American Life Project survey, 61 percent of Americans go online for health information. We self-diagnose, check out our doctors' credentials, and refill our prescriptions. And now millions of us have been "found" on Facebook and follow each other on Twitter. How long before it's common practice to use social media sites to address common medical questions?
Social media is beginning to change the healthcare landscape. It connects people with shared experiences. It facilitates the exchange of ideas, information and emotional support.
When it comes to preventing data breaches, employees can be the best defense or the worst enemy.
There is no debate that the HITECH Act and proliferation of electronic health records (EHRs) are prompting new concerns over the privacy of patient data. As the explosion of soft data unfolds across the industry, health care providers -- from both a regulatory and reputation standpoint -- are struggling to comply with the information security demands that customers, policymakers and regulators are placing on them.
To that end, health care CIOs are feeling the heat. New legislation expands current privacy and security protections for health information and places stringent breach notification requirements on insurers and providers. The new laws also demand that patients get increased control over what medical and personal data are disclosed and to whom, which is forcing CIOs to build systems that closely manage control of information access among employees, contractors, partners and would-be hackers.
Even more daunting is the reality of regulator audits to ensure that privacy practices are in compliance with the new laws. A failure to comply or adequately deal with a data breach can mean running afoul of regulators, potential business disruptions and long-term reputational harm.
Reports Link System Malfunctions to Injuries, Deaths
Huffington Post Investigative Fund
One day in March 2009, hospital workers misread small print on a computer screen, causing them to dispense 10 times the prescribed dose of a drug. Result: The patient has a heart attack.
Another time, a computer fails to alert doctors and nurses when a patient is moved from intensive care to their ward. Left unattended during the night, the patient suffers seizures for hours.
In December 2009, there’s a report of a software glitch that delays a patient’s medical treatment, causing a disabling injury. “Breakdowns of this magnitude endanger hundreds of patients simultaneously,” warns a report on the incident.
Scores of reports on file with the Food and Drug Administration detail consequences to patients when an electronic medical record system fails. Those reports, reviewed by the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, show that a central function of the record systems, known as computerized provider order entry, or CPOE, has been linked to instances in which patients died or suffered serious injuries.
While the data obtained by the Investigative Fund affords only a small glimpse at problems with the system, it could suggest a much larger challenge as the nation’s medical establishment swiftly moves from paper medical files to digital ones.
16 Apr 2010
The Department of Health has suspended the roll-out of the Summary Care Record in the five strategic health authorities where accelerated implementation has been underway.
The DH said SCRs would not be created in the regions identified for accelerated implementation “until appropriate professional and public awareness has been raised."
The move was welcomed by the BMA, which wrote to health minister Mike O’ Brien last month calling for a suspension of the roll-out.
It claimed this was being carried out without patient awareness and before the independent evaluation of the early adopter areas had been published.
20 April 2010
Funding for the first phase of an initiative to connect African research centres and link them to an existing European network has been approved by the European Commission. The approval follows a report that identified sufficient IT infrastructure in Africa to support the AfricaConnect Initiative, which aims to improve research collaborations and access to information.
Andrea Kraynak, for HealthLeaders Media, April 19, 2010
Physicians need to take control of technology.
EHR documentation can be dictated by billing rules and legal requirements, or by your need to describe your patients and provide quality care, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
"Clinicians need to take back ownership of the medical record as a tool for improving patient care; such a move could have many benefits, including reducing the frequency of diagnostic errors," according to authors David W. Bates, MD, and Gordon D. Schiff, MD.
Increasing physician efficiency and improving patient care may be possible through the use of EHRs—but a system lacking the right capabilities can hinder the process. For this reason, physicians may want to weigh in when it comes time to adopt new technologies or upgrade older systems at their organizations.
By Mary Mosquera
Monday, April 19, 2010
The National Cancer Institute plans to release a lightweight electronic health record designed to capture data specific to a cancer patient’s office visit.
The standards-based software has core EHR features for sharing information about patient diagnosis, treatment and outcomes, said Ken Buetow, associate director for bioinformatics and IT at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
The EHR is based on a early reference implementation of the Patient Outcomes Data Service, an open source “ultra-light record” derived from standards of NCI’s Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG).
Doctors are increasingly prescribing medications electronically, abandoning the traditional paper scripts that can result in drug errors due to hard-to-read writing or coverage denials by a patient's insurer.
The number of e-prescriptions nearly tripled last year to 191 million from the previous year's 68 million, representing about 12% of the 1.63 billion original prescriptions, excluding refills, according to Surescripts LLC, whose online network handles the bulk of the electronic communications. The growth has accelerated. For the first three months of this year, nearly one in five prescriptions was filed electronically, Surescripts says. About 25% of all office-based doctors currently have the technology to e-prescribe, more than twice as many as at the end of 2008, Surescripts says.
Posted: April 20, 2010 - 12:00 pm ET
A brief sense of palpable relief flowed through much of the health information technology community last month when David Blumenthal, head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS, announced the release of a draft rule governing the process ONC would use to select organizations to certify electronic health-record systems under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Bettijoyce Lide was not so much among the relieved as among the empowered and the belabored.
Lide is a scientific adviser and the coordinator of the health IT program for the National Institute for Standards and Technology, the federal agency charged by Congress under the stimulus law with a key role in helping the ONC establish a national program for testing and certifying EHRs.
Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, April 16, 2010
The number of entities reporting breaches of unsecured PHI affecting 500 or more individuals has doubled since the agency that enforces the HIPAA privacy and security rules first posted them on its Web site two months ago.
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in February posted a list of 32 entities that since September 22, 2009, had reported the egregious breaches to OCR. On Friday, that number climbed to 64.
HITECH requires OCR to make public any breaches of 500 or more. OCR said on the site it will continue to update the page as it receives new reports of breaches of unsecured PHI.
Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, April 16, 2010
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) confirmed in an e-mail to HealthLeaders Media Friday afternoon that it will begin posting on its breach notification Web site the names of entities they consider "individuals" regardless of whether or not those entities give consent.
Currently, OCR does not post the names of such entities (namely sole practitioners) who report breaches affecting 500 or more individuals if they do not give OCR consent; OCR treats them as protected "individuals" per the Privacy Act of 1974. Instead, OCR lists them as "private practice."
April 19, 2010 — 11:45am ET | By Neil Versel
Even with the vast majority of medical records still stored in paper files, health IT already has had a profound effect on the ways in which people seek and receive care, thanks to social networking, electronic patient-physician communication, mobile applications and, of course, the growing number of EMRs, some experts say.
"For as long as we've known, healthcare has been 'I go to the physician, and they tell me what to do, and I do it,'" says Dr. Nitu Kashyap, research fellow at the Yale Center for Medical Informatics, tells Scientific American.
To learn more:
- have a look at this Scientific American story
HDM Breaking News, April 15, 2010
The health information exchange market will dramatically change during the next two years as providers seek electronic health records systems that support data exchange to qualify for meaningful use incentives, according to a new report from research firm IDC Health Insights.
Enterprise HIEs serving delivery systems will be the fastest-growing segment of HIE networks, the Framingham, Mass.-based firm believes. "Unlike regional health information organizations and statewide or national HIEs, Enterprise HIEs can establish a sustainable business model and are not as encumbered by organizational and data governance issues."
HDM Breaking News, April 15, 2010
A new, free report from consulting firm Computer Sciences Corp. examines the data crosswalks, particularly a bi-directional crosswalk, that will be required to transition from the ICD-9 code sets to ICD-10.
The Falls Church, Va.-based consultancy notes that with many items at the top of priority lists, few health organizations are far along in their preparations for the new diagnosis and procedure codes, which have a compliance date of 2013.
"The sheer magnitude of the business process and technology changes that are required for ICD-10 implementation may be a deterrent to assessment and planning as well," according to the report. "The fact remains, however, that organizations that have not begun their ICD-10 remediation efforts are at risk of missing the current deadlines. What's equally clear is that the deadlines are unlikely to be adjusted again."
Supplying medical providers with health information technology will ultimately yield improvements in patient health, says a government report.
By Nicole Lewis, InformationWeek
April 15, 2010
If the nation is to achieve a higher quality of healthcare in the foreseeable future, the adoption of health information technology is a critical step that will empower providers as they administer care to patients, a National Healthcare Quality Report said.
Published on Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services, the report said medical providers need reliable information about their performance which will help them improve their activities.
Monday, April 19, 2010
by Bruce Merlin Fried, Esq.
Last July, I bemoaned the fact that there was no health IT component to the health care reform proposals then under consideration. In that iHealthBeat column, I urged Congress to go beyond the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and HITECH to recognize that other health care providers, in addition to hospitals and doctors, could benefit from health care IT investments, specifically the long-term care (LTC) community.
Well, what do you know, sometimes you get what you wish for.