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, June 11, 2010

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links 10-06-2010.

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.



Making community health information as useful as weather data

Open health data from Health and Human Services is driving more than 20 new apps.

by Alex Howard | @digiphile |

Human Services, Todd Park, is fond of using the National Ocean and Oceanographic Association (NOAA) as a metaphor for the innovation that may be unlocked through releasing public data. NOAA data underpins Weather.com and nearly every commercial meteorological service in the United States. Park has been working closely with other government officials and the technology community to put community healthcare data into a parallel role as a catalyst for innovation. In other words, HHS is creating a framework for government to act as a platform through the Community Health Data Initiative.

"The idea to make our community data as useful to the world as weather data or other types of data is to other parts of American life," said Park yesterday at a media briefing. "The real magic is that HHS put data out there on March 11 and the world responded. Innovators responded -- from Google to Microsoft to startups -- and have built amazing apps that HHS could never have built itself. That's built amazing value for citizens."



Home monitoring gives heart failure patients boost

June 01, 2010 | Bernie Monegain, Editor

BERLIN – Heart failure patients who used an interactive telehealth system with motivational support tools at home spent less time in the hospital and reported their quality of life had significantly improved over 12 months evaluation period, according to a new study.

The research, called CARME (CAtalan Remote Management Evaluation) was conducted at the Spanish Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, and supported by Royal Philips Electronics, The Netherlands-based conglomerate that is the parent company of Andover, Mass.-based Philips Healthcare.



When Patients Meet Online, Are There Side Effects?


COULD we cure diseases faster, or at least better control them, through crowd-sourcing?

That is the premise behind social networking sites like CureTogether.com and PatientsLikeMe.com, which offer online communities for patients and collect members’ health data for research purposes.

PatientsLikeMe provides forums where more than 65,000 members with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and more than a dozen other disorders are encouraged to share details about their conditions and the success or pitfalls of specific drug treatments.

“When patients share real-world data, collaboration on a global scale becomes possible,” the site says. “New treatments become possible.”



The Doctor Will See You Now. Please Log On.

Published: May 28, 2010

ONE day last summer, Charlie Martin felt a sharp pain in his lower back. But he couldn’t jump into his car and rush to the doctor’s office or the emergency room: Mr. Martin, a crane operator, was working on an oil rig in the South China Sea off Malaysia.

He could, though, get in touch with a doctor thousands of miles away, via two-way video. Using an electronic stethoscope that a paramedic on the rig held in place, Dr. Oscar W. Boultinghouse, an emergency medicine physician in Houston, listened to Mr. Martin’s heart.

“The extreme pain strongly suggested a kidney stone,” Dr. Boultinghouse said later. A urinalysis on the rig confirmed the diagnosis, and Mr. Martin flew to his home in Mississippi for treatment.



HIEs choose different approaches to privacy

June 01, 2010 | Patty Enrado, Special Projects Editor

A recent virtual roundtable hosted by Symantec on health information exchanges (HIEs) highlighted the different approaches states are taking to protect patient health information.

Oregon is blessed with having a culture for well-documented public processes and embracing the planning process, according to Carol Robinson, State Health IT Coordinator for Oregon State Health Information Technology Oversight Council or HITOC. The state also enjoys a high rate of EHR adoption, with more than 65 percent of providers with some sort of electronic system in their offices, she said.



Surveys point to health IT jobs on the rise

June 02, 2010 | Bernie Monegain, Editor

NEW YORK – A majority of employers and recruiters (52 percent) expect to hire more career professionals in the second half of 2010 than they did in the first half of the year, according to a new survey by Dice Holdings, Inc., which operates specialized career Web sites for professional communities, including healthcare.

The Dice survey does not break down numbers by industry sectors. However a recent report from the U.S. Department of Labor anticipates demand for health information technology workers to grow.

Jobs in medical records and health information technology are expected to grow by 20 percent through 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Industry insiders estimate 50,000 new jobs will be created by the push to transform healthcare from a mostly paper-based industry to a digital one.



Kiwi companies bring healthcare IT expertise to the U.S.

May 21, 2010 | Eric Wicklund, Managing Editor

BOSTON – Nine healthcare IT companies from New Zealand are taking a tour of the United States, in hopes of finding new markets for their products and getting a piece of the American healthcare reform pie.

The companies, chosen from 104 that participated in the New Zealand Trade & Enterprise Agency’s year-long “Focus on Health Challenge,” are visiting San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C. and Boston this month. They were selected by a seven-member international panel that included Harvard Medical School’s John Halamka and Jay Srini of Lifewire and SCS Ventures.

“New Zealand has the agility, as a small country, to expedite innovation in a way that larger countries, with multiple rules, regulations and bureaucratic processes, have difficulty doing," Srini says on the New Zealand Trade & Enterprise Web site.



Big growth projected for HIS market

June 02, 2010 | Mike Miliard, Managing Editor

NEW YORK – The worldwide market for Hospital Information Systems (HIS) is positioned for significant growth in the coming years, according to a new study from GlobalData.

The global market is forecast to exceed $18 billion by 2016, after growing at a compound annual rate of 13 percent from its $7.8 billion valuation in 2009.

That growth is primarily driven by hospitals that stand to receive government reimbursements, as they try to improve care and increase workflow efficiency with information technology. Overall, the study shows, hospitals strongly believe that adopting HIS will greatly increase efficiency and reduce medical errors, thus improving quality of care.

The electronic medical records (EMR) segment is by far the largest segment in the HIS market – valued at $3.4 billion in 2009 and expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.3 percent over the next seven years.


Dell, Practice Fusion Offer SaaS EMR

The software-as-a-service offering aims to help smaller medical offices overcome steep barriers to electronic medical record system adoption.

By Nicole Lewis, InformationWeek

June 3, 2010

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=225300323

Dell and software-as-a-service provider Practice Fusion will offer an electronic medical record package for small and medium-size medical practices looking for an affordable EMR system.

Today's announcement builds one part of Dell's healthcare strategy: to penetrate medical practices with 20 physicians or less, where limited budgets present barriers to EMR adoption.



Web-Exclusive Report: Physicians Found Craving iPads

A recent survey suggests that many clinicians are on-board with the I-Pad.

By Mark Hagland

Are physicians in the U.S. craving the just-released Apple iPad? Well, let’s put it this way: they certainly are intrigued by the device, if the results of a recent survey accurately reflect their views. In late February (more than two months before the iPad actually made its commercial debut, researchers at the San Mateo-based Epocrates, the drug-reference solution vendor, asked physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners what they thought of the iPad, and how much they wanted it.

Here’s what the researchers found: of 392 total clinicians surveyed (of whom 260 were physicians and the remainder were physician assistants and nurse practitioners), a significant plurality (23 percent) were already planning to buy the iPad for their use, a couple of months before its commercial release. Of that 23 percent, 9 percent were planning to buy the mobile device “when it’s available,” while another 14 percent expected to do so “within the next year.” Another 38 percent queried said, “Maybe, I need to learn more information,” while 40 percent described themselves as “not likely to buy” the device.



Hospital Nearly Doubles Medication Scanning Rates

Sarah Kearns, for HealthLeaders Media, June 1, 2010

In April 2008, Baystate Medical Center (BMC), a 653-bed teaching hospital in Springfield, MA, began implementation of its Bar Code Point of Care (BCPOC) technology to positively impact medication administration in reducing errors.

In the early pilot programs, BMC reported a 50% bedside scanning rate for all medications and a medication error rate of 1.2 errors per 1,000 patient days.

Following the implementation of an organizationwide bar code scanning process in September 2008, BMC improved its medication scanning rates to 87%-90%. The medication error rate also decreased to 0.3 errors per 1,000 patient days, a 75% reduction.



Health centers share plans for HHS grants

By Jennifer Lubell / HITS staff writer

Posted: June 4, 2010 - 12:15 pm ET

Community health centers that got a share of the nearly $84 million in HHS stimulus money to adopt electronic health records will be doing more than just deploying EHR systems.

Some will develop online health-information warehouses to share best healthcare practices; others will upgrade their health information technology infrastructure. All seek to help define and demonstrate the "meaningful use" of information technology.

The funds are part of the $2 billion administered to HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to expand healthcare services to low-income and uninsured individuals through its health-center program. Forty-five grants will support new and enhanced EHR implementation projects as well as various health IT innovation projects. Professionals practicing in health centers who are able to demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology may be eligible to receive incentive payments from Medicare and Medicaid, the department announced.



EHRs on the Run

By Emily Long

E-health records may serve a valuable purpose outside hospitals and physicians' offices. The organizers of last year's Detroit Free Press Marathon, held in October, collected medical information from participants prior to the race and stored it on a secure server, reports Scientific American.

On race day, medical staff were given laptops with access to runners' health records and were able to treat those in distress using that information. To maintain confidentiality, the records matched runners' bib numbers, the article says. The purpose of the project was to speed race-day treatment and to study injury patterns so organizers can better prepare for future events.



Shred-it Calls on Healthcare Leaders to Make Sure Patient Information is Secure

DALLAS, June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Shred-it, an information security company that provides secure information destruction services worldwide, is pleased to offer free copier hard drive destruction to every healthcare organization that becomes Shred-it's client in 2010. Shred-it will destroy up to 100 hard drives, a potential value of $1,200.

"Healthcare administrators selling or disposing of used photocopying machines may inadvertently do so without removing and securely destroying the hard drives that contain private medical information," says Vincent R. De Palma, President and CEO at Shred-it, a company that serves over 1,500 hospitals and clinics worldwide.

In fact, more than 60 percent of Americans do not realize that copiers contain a hard drive that stores images, according to a recent CBS report. In the healthcare environment, information stored within copier hard drives may include personal patient data.



AHRQ introduces patient-data app

By Maureen McKinney / HITS staff writer

Posted: June 3, 2010 - 12:30 pm ET

A free software application unveiled by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality promises to streamline the quality reporting process and could potentially save users hundreds of thousands of dollars, the agency said.

The Windows-based tool, known as MONAHRQ, allows state and local organizations to create their own website populated with patient data for use in quality improvement and reporting initiatives. AHRQ estimated that creating this kind of online resource would likely cost at least $300,000 and take up to a year to develop. MONAHRQ, on the other hand, can be up and running in a few days, the agency said in a news release.



AHRQ, vendors seek EHR usability standards, development best practices

June 3, 2010 — 11:58am ET | By Neil Versel

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is calling for the creation of an independent entity to lead development of voluntary EHR usability standards, and apparently has support from some parts of the vendor community.

A report, prepared by James Bell Associates and the Altarum Institute on behalf of AHRQ says that EHR vendors tend to turn to best practices for general software design since there aren't any specific standards for EHR usability. This, according to the report, leads to the need for extensive customization to meet each customer's specific requirements.



Google denies report that it's giving up on Google Health PHR

June 3, 2010 — 11:14am ET | By Neil Versel

Google is denying a report by an industry analyst that it is giving up on its much-hyped but little-used Google Health PHR.

"The project is alive and well from a staffing perspective," an unnamed source is quoted as saying on eWeek's "Google Watch" blog.

"We continue to invest in Google Health--we see it as a multi-year effort and think that finding ways to empower consumers help solve important problems, in health information and beyond, is very much in line with our corporate mission. As we demonstrated at HIMSS [in March], we continue working to add new features and grow our ecosystem of new partners with Google Health, and will have more to share in the coming months," a company spokesperson says in the same blog post.



Cerner implementation at UK hospital has 'gone remarkably well'

June 3, 2010 — 12:32pm ET | By Neil Versel

Here's something you don't see every day: an EMR success story in England's massive National Programme for IT.

Implementation of a Cerner Millennium system at the Kingston Hospital National Health Service Trust, on the outskirts of London, has "gone remarkably well," Kate Grimes, CEO of the trust, says in an extensive interview with E-Health Insider. Kingston Hospital NHS Trust has been live with Millennium since November, and was the first to follow a new, local implementation model with Cerner and British Telecom that was developed following widely publicized failures at two other NHS trusts.



Doc-developed EMR in Canada boosts workflow with heavy templating

June 3, 2010 — 12:59pm ET | By Neil Versel

It's time to re-open the debate over templating vs. free text in EMR documentation. For this, we turn to Canada.

Dr. Ravi Murthy, a family physician in the Toronto area, wanted to improve record-keeping and efficiency while also maintaining some of his personal autonomy because his staff was prone to constant turnover; but he didn't like most of the EMRs on the market. So through his own company, GoHomeDoc, Murthy built his own EMR and is now bringing Promise EMR to market in the province of Ontario with the promise that it can save doctors two to three hours a day.



Study advises EC on e-health models

03 Jun 2010

A study to evaluate business models for e-health in Europe has made a series of policy recommendations for the European Commission to follow to improve the quality and efficiency of e-health services.

The study, which was funded by the ICT for health unit of the European Commission’s DG Information Society and coordinated by RAND Europe in partnership with Capgemini Consulting, used semi-structured interviews with European experts in the field of e-health.

It also examined five case studies of value-creating and sustainable e-health systems in Europe.


EHRs Lack Standards, Best Practices

Vendors support an independent body to develop best practices and usability standards for electronic health record products.

By Nicole Lewis, InformationWeek

May 28, 2010

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=225200548

A report raises growing concerns that electronic health record products are being developed without specific best practices and design standards related to EHR product use in a healthcare setting. To overcome this difficulty, many vendors support an independent body guiding development of voluntary usability standards for EHRs, the study found.

The Electronic Health Record Usability Vendor Practices and Perspectives report was published this month by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The study, which was conducted by James Bell Associates and the Altarum Institute on behalf of AHRQ, interviewed vendors of ambulatory EHR products that came on the market during the mid-1990s to 2007.

The study's objective was to examine vendors' processes and practices with regard to: the existence and use of standards and "best practices" in designing, developing, and deploying products; testing and evaluating usability throughout the product life cycle; and supporting post-deployment monitoring to ensure patient safety and effective use.



Ohio legislation trains docs in medical home IT

By Heather Hayes
Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Ohio General Assembly completed a legislative package last week that will establish 44 existing primary care practices as training centers for patient-centered medical homes. The bill, which passed both the Ohio House and Senate unanimously, is expected to be signed by Gov. Ted Strickland as early as this week.

Medical homes rely on health information technology, including electronic health records, health information exchanges, decision support tools and e-prescribing, to enable a medical team led by a primary care physician to coordinate aspects of a patient’s preventive, chronic and acute care.

Many advocates say that medical homes go a long way toward achieving the holy grail of healthcare: better outcomes at a lower cost.



HIEs Blossoming

An interview with Janie Tremlett, Senior Vice President of Strategic and Clinical Consulting, Concordant

By Mark Hagland

Janie Tremlett is senior vice president of strategic and clinical consulting at the Chelmsford, Mass.-based consulting firm Concordant, which specializes in health information exchange (HIE) development and related areas, and is currently working with numerous HIE initiatives nationwide. Tremlett spoke recently with HCI Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland regarding her perspectives on HIE development.

Healthcare Informatics: What is the general landscape of HIE development like right now?

Janie Tremlett: What we’re seeing is that you have different states in different stages—Vermont, Maine, Maryland—all these statewide HIEs that have actually been around for a while and have now gotten new life because of the HITECH grant money that’s been awarded under HITECH [the federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act/Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (ARRA-HITECH) Act]. But there’s still high anxiety regarding sustainability. The HIEs have been living grant by grant. And everybody’s been feeling that we’re reaching the end of that era. Altogether, the figure is in the hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for HIE support under HITECH; but one of the requirements for receiving the funds is for the HIEs to document how they’ll be sustainable. So each state is in a different stage, but the commonality among everyone is to try to figure out the sustainability.


Health IT Lacks Innovation, Integration

An HP executive's assertion that the healthcare sector isn't investing enough in health IT is backed up by a Dow Jones study.

By Nicole Lewis, InformationWeek

June 1, 2010

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=225200742

If health IT is to meet the challenges of a reformed healthcare system, the industry needs greater investment in health IT innovation, more integrated systems, and a focus on finding ways to enable patients to better manage their health, a Hewlett Packard executive says.

In an interview with InformationWeek, Harry Kim, HP's director of enterprise business healthcare, argued that the United States is not driving the level of innovation needed to meet the new healthcare realities.

"We have the best medical technology, but our information technology to bring it all together is lacking investments. It lacks the structure inside the country to drive progress," Kim said.



Health IT work group debates privacy, consent

By Joseph Conn / HITS staff writer

Posted: June 2, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

A key government advisory panel on healthcare information privacy continues to wrestle with how much—if any—control patients should have over the use and movement of their electronic health records.

Patient consent for movement and use of records “is absolutely a part of this framework,” said Deven McGraw, chair of the Privacy and Security Workgroup of the Health IT Policy Committee. Still, patient consent should not be the linchpin of healthcare information privacy, she argued at the committee's May 19 meeting, “because then you've asked the patient to bear that burden.”


National health data initiative unveiled

By Jennifer Lubell

Posted: June 2, 2010 - 10:00 am ET

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Harvey Fineberg, president of the Institute of Medicine, unveiled the Community Health Data Initiative, a national effort to promote the use of community health data to spur innovation and development of new applications.

In taking steps to improve quality of care and build a healthcare system “that meets the needs of every American,” HHS wants to leverage new health information technology tools to achieve those goals, Sebelius said during a community health data forum in Washington sponsored by the IOM.



HHS to Make Health Data Available

HDM Breaking News, June 2, 2010

The Department of Health and Human Services has launched an initiative to make federally generated community health data widely available to the public in easily accessible and useful formats.

"Our national health data constitute a precious resource that we are paying billions to assemble, but then too often wasting," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said while announcing the Community Health Data Initiative. "When information sits on the shelves of government offices, it is underperforming. We need to bring these data alive." Doing so can help communities determine best approaches to improving health status, she added.



Kaiser Permanente Honored for Health Information Technology Innovation with CIO 100 Award

OAKLAND, Calif., June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente was recognized by IDG's CIO magazine with a CIO 100 Award for using information technology in innovative ways that provide value. The award was specifically in honor of Kaiser Permanente's first-of-its-kind Mobile Health Vehicle.

The MHV increases and extends access to critical health care services, including a broad range of screenings, for Kaiser Permanente members and uninsured patients who would otherwise lack access to these services. The 500-square-foot, 10-wheeled vehicle was the nation's most wired private mobile health solution at the time of its deployment, having full access to Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect®, the organization's comprehensive electronic health record, so that care teams aboard could wirelessly access complete health information for patients being treated.



Telus launches e-health system that talks to medical devices

6/2/2010 7:00:00 AM By: Brian Jackson

Telus is using Microsoft HealthVault to power Health Space, its patient-managed and Web-based electronic health records system. Users will be able to track their medical information and share it with doctors or family members.

Telus Corp. has launched a Web-based electronic health records management service accessible by customers and members of 12 partner groups, the Calgary-based firm announced Monday.



Web calculator identifies statins risks

26 May 2010

Researchers have developed a web calculator to identify patients at high-risk of adverse events from statins after a study found some may have unintended effects.

The study on statins, published in the BMJ, used the QResearch database of patients from UK GP practices to look at adverse outcomes from statins and found some can lead to an increased risk of liver dysfunction, acute renal failure, myopathy and cataracts.

Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox, professor of clinical epidemiology and general practice, and Carol Coupland, associate professor in medical statistics from Nottingham University, went on to develop algorithms so that the risk could be estimated for individual patients.



BMA’s Ingrams says four SCRs ‘barmy’

01 Jun 2010

A senior BMA IT representative has criticised the creation of four separate emergency summary records for the four countries in the UK.

Dr Grant Ingrams, co-chair of the BMA and Royal College of GPs Joint IT Committee, told last week’s British Computer Society Primary Healthcare Specialist Group conference that it did not make sense to have the Summary Care Record in England and different emergency summaries in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

He added: “Four different summaries none of which talk to each other is barmy. There are plenty of people that live along the borders and people do move around. We don’t have a national summary care record – just one in each area.”



GP plans nursing home access to records

28 May 2010

A GP is to explore giving nursing home staff electronic access to patient records in a move he claims could save the NHS millions of pounds.

Dr Amir Hannan, a GP in Hyde Cheshire who has pioneered patient access to records, has launched a project to enable a local nursing home to access patient records, make appointments and order repeat prescriptions online.

Dr Hannan told this week’s British Computer Society Primary Healthcare Specialist Group conference that nursing homes were becoming equivalent to the leprosy hospitals of the past, with increasingly dependent patients cut off from the rest of their communities.



Security breach: Mailing machine wreaks billing havoc at New York hospital

May 24, 2010 — 8:04pm ET | By Caralyn Davis

Think data breaches involve only human misuse or errors? Think again. Out of 2,500 patient bills that Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y., mailed out on April 19, roughly half went to the wrong patients due to a malfunctioning automated billing machine, reports The Democrat and Chronicle.

The billing machine, which folds bills and puts them in envelopes, picked up several billing statements at once instead of individually. As a result some patients received their own bills as well as bills for at least one additional patient. Strong Memorial didn't learn of the problem until patients started calling the hospital about the extra bills.



VA names winning ideas for IT improvements

By Joseph Conn / HITS staff writer

Posted: June 1, 2010 - 12:15 pm ET

An information technology industry advisory panel recently recommended that the Veterans Affairs Department hold off on further development of its VistA clinical IT system, but it appears the VA may be heading in the opposite direction.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced May 28 the 26 winning entries of an in-house competition held by the VA's Office of Information & Technology to come up with innovative ideas for using IT to improve services to veterans.

Many of the winning ideas involved improvements to VistA and its primary electronic health-record module, the Computerized Patient Record System.



EU sets major investments in health IT, telemedicine

By Brian Robinson

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The European Commission is proposing ambitious, wide-ranging public investments in digital technologies that will allow it to tackle looming challenges, including the support of an aging population and limiting health care costs.

As part of a decade-long action plan, the EC has proposed establishing a number of major pilots throughout the European Union that will lead to all Europeans having secure, online access to their medical health data by 2015. The plan also calls for widespread deployment of telemedicine services by 2020.

As the precursor to all of this, the EC is also proposing that a minimum, common set of patient data be defined that will allow patient records to be accessed or exchanged electronically across all of the EU's 27 member states by 2012.




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