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, July 23, 2010

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 22 July, 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.


Kodak, MedCo Data Automate Health Chart Scanning

Paper-based patient charts are converted to digital files for transfer into electronic medical records.

By Nicole Lewis, InformationWeek

July 14, 2010

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=225800154

As healthcare delivery organizations make the transition from a paper-based system to electronic medical records (EMRs), a new product from Kodak and MedCo Data will help doctors automate conversion of paper-based patient charts to digital files for secure storage and transfer into EMRs.

Launched in late June at the TechData Technology Solutions Tour, the Patient Chart Scanning Solution uses Kodak Capture Pro Software and Kodak Scanners to capture data from patient charts and transfer it automatically into MedCo Data Vault -- a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant product -- where the information can be stored and accessed as needed.

According to Kodak executives, because scanned files are automatically formatted using industry-accepted health data standards, including HL7, NCPDP, and CCD, the Patient Chart Scanning Solution facilitates easy and accurate export from the MedCo Data Vault into the practice's existing or future EMR system.



EHR certification? What certification?

July 15, 2010 | Bernie Monegain, Editor

BURLINGTON, VT – A new poll of 850 healthcare providers across the country shows most providers view certification of their electronic health record systems as critical, yet they remained uncertain of the requirements to qualify for government incentives.

The "2010 U.S. Ambulatory Electronic Health Records Certification Study" from research and consulting firm CapSite aims to assess the industry views on ambulatory EHR certification.

"The study provides clear evidence that there is considerable confusion in the market in terms of the certification requirements for Ambulatory EHRs," says Brendan FitzGerald, research director for CapSite. "Although the ONC has not designated Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies (ATCB) at this time, 69 percent of respondents were not aware there will be federally accredited alternatives to CCHIT (Certification Commission for Health IT) for ambulatory EHR certification."



Verizon Launches Health Information Exchange

July 14, 2010 | Carol Wilson | Post a comment

Verizon Business today announced its entry into the health information exchange business, launching a cloud-based service that makes personal medical records available to authorized medical personnel.

The Verizon Health Information Exchange (VHIE) will provide a unified view of a patient's medical record that can be accessed via an Internet connection from a doctor's office or hospital.

Built using Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL)'s Enterprise Master Patient Index, which enables all the medical records of a given patient to be associated to a unique key, the VHIE will have built-in identity management to protect individual records, and Verizon security to prevent denial-of-service attacks and other threats.



Knowledge Networks says half of docs now use EMRs

July 15, 2010 — 1:05pm ET | By Neil Versel

Hard to believe, but 52 percent of specialists and 50 percent of primary-care physicians claim to be using EMRs, up from 42 percent and 38 percent, respectively, two years earlier, a new survey indicates. The survey does not specify what EMR usage means.

"While use of this technology will soon be mandated, these 'early adopter' levels suggest a desire for digital convenience at a time when patient record keeping promises to become exponentially more complex," reports New York-based survey firm Knowledge Networks. The company conducted the study of nearly 11,000 healthcare professionals through the Physicians Consulting Network, which maintains a research panel of physicians and other caregivers.



'Most Wired Hospitals' for 2010 named

July 14, 2010 | Molly Merrill, Associate Editor

CHICAGO – The Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking study, conducted annually by Hospitals and Health Networks, has named the "Most Wired Hospitals and Health Systems" for 2010. The survey included new questions about meaningful use.

The survey recognizes organizations for their achievements in four focus areas: infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety and the care continuum. Hospitals were awarded under the categories of "25 Most Improved," the "25 Most Wireless" and the "25 Most Wired - Small and Rural" hospitals.



Public comments reshaped CMS final rule

By Mary Mosquera

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services received some 2,000 comments after it published its proposed meaningful use rule in January, and they were key both to changes in the scope of the final rule published today and to the speed with which it was adopted.

“We have sought and received extensive input from the healthcare community, and we have drawn on their experience and wisdom to produce objectives that are both ambitious and achievable,” Dr. David Blumenthal, the national health IT coordinator, said in announcing the final rule.


CIOs, Others React To Meaningful Use Final Rule

Most healthcare stakeholders are reacting positively, so far, to the feds' meaningful use final rule, but not everyone is pleased.

By Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, InformationWeek

July 14, 2010

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=225800167

While CIOs, vendors and other health IT stakeholders are still poring over the 864-page e-health meaningful use final rule released this week by the Dept. of Health and Human Services, reaction so far to the HITECH Act's $20 billion-plus financial incentive program's regulations has been mostly positive.

That's mainly because HHS and its various advisory committees took to heart the gist of many of the approximately 2,000 comments it received from the public -- including hospitals, nurses, doctors, medical associations and patients -- during the crafting processes of the final rule.




July 14, 2010

Canadian medical schools slow to integrate health informatics into curriculum

In a world where Canada will spend billions to computerize all health records by 2016, it seems almost simple minded to ask if Canadian medical schools have begun training their students in how to create, understand, and make best use of that data.

Simple minded in theory, but when a quartet of researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia surveyed 16 of Canada’s 17 medical schools, they discovered that none have included what is formally known as health informatics into their core curriculum. And while three schools reported offering health informatics as an elective course, it was unclear whether any students were actually enrolled in these courses.



Privacy rule exempts conduits: HHS lawyer

By Joseph Conn / HITS staff writer

Posted: July 13, 2010 - 10:30 am ET

So-called “conduits” used to move electronic health records are not covered by the recently released federal privacy and security rule, according to an HHS privacy expert. And Google's and Microsoft Corp.'s personal health-record platforms may also be exempt, at least in terms of some of their current and future relationships with healthcare providers, according to the expert.

Adam Greene, a lawyer with HHS' Office for Civil Rights, gave an overview of the new rule July 9 at a meeting of the Privacy and Security Tiger Team of the Health IT Policy Committee.



Lansley leads information revolution

13 Jul 2010

The government has promised an “information revolution” for patients in its white paper, ‘Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS’.

The white paper, which was presented to the House of Commons by health secretary Andrew Lansley yesterday, uses much of the same language as the Conservative manifesto in the run-up to the general election, but sets out some specific steps to bring about the "revolution".

It says that assessments of commissioner performance will be published, that quality audits will be extended to more NHS providers, and that clinical teams will be subject to “meaningful, risk adjusted assessment of their performance against their peers”, with the results put into the public domain.



White paper backs Choose and Book

12 Jul 2010

The NHS white paper published yesterday by health secretary Andrew Lansley gives a major role to Choose and book in radically extending patient choice across the health service.

The paper – 'Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS' – says the government wants to “maximise the use” of the NHS’ electronic booking service, on which it says momentum has “stalled.”

“It has remained the case for several years that just under half of patients recall that their GP has offered them choice.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Preserving Public Trust in Personal Health Records

by Deven McGraw

Personal health records have great potential to empower patients to manage their own health care. Through PHRs, people can monitor chronic conditions, explore treatment and insurance options, ensure their health information is correct, share data with others to gain insight and support, and hold health care providers to high standards of accountability. However, as a 2010 California HealthCare Foundation survey recently demonstrated, the success of PHRs will depend in substantial part on whether consumers trust that their sensitive information is protected.

To preserve this trust, the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) believes PHRs should be subject to a comprehensive policy framework comprised of a mix of legal requirements and voluntary best practices. CDT will be recommending baseline rules in a report on PHRs to be released this month; this piece provides a summary of those rules. CDT further urges that the best practices be modeled closely on the Markle Common Framework for Networked Personal Health Information. The Markle Foundation's Common Framework was developed and supported by a diverse group of 56 organizations, including leading technology companies, consumer organizations and representatives of HIPAA-covered entities.



Computerized monitoring systems linked to use of best practices in war on infections

July 13, 2010 — 2:15pm ET | By Sandra Yin

Hospitals that adopt more advanced computerized monitoring systems to identify healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are more likely to have implemented best practices to prevent such infections, according to a study presented at an annual meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Only one-third of hospitals use computers to identify infections in a timely and accurate way, according to a survey of quality directors at 241 general acute care hospitals in California.



Thursday, July 15, 2010

Long-Awaited Final Rule on 'Meaningful Use' Strikes Compromise

Much of the health care community is still sifting through the 864-page final rule CMS released Tuesday describing how health care providers can demonstrate "meaningful use" of electronic health records to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments under the 2009 federal stimulus package.

The long-awaited rule comes exactly six months after CMS published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on meaningful use. Federal officials received more than 2,000 comments on the proposed rule, often getting conflicting advice.

Some health provider groups -- such as the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association -- argued that the proposed rules were unreachable for most health care providers and needed to be relaxed. On the other hand, consumer groups -- such as the National Partnership for Women & Families and AARP -- urged federal health officials to maintain the high bar of the proposed rule. Even lawmakers weighed in, offering recommendations on how to improve upon the proposal.



A First Look at Final MU Criteria

HDM Breaking News, July 13, 2010

The Department of Health and Human Services has released the final rule establishing Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs for the meaningful use of electronic health records. The rule is available for download now at ofr.gov/inspection.aspx, and will be officially published July 28 in the Federal Register, effective 60 days later. Also released was an accompanying final rule to establish initial data standards, implementation specifications and certification criteria for EHRs.

Meaningful use criteria in the final rule are substantially relaxed from what was previously proposed, but still comprehensive and a challenge to meet. David Blumenthal, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology in recent months has said federal officials heard "loud and clear" that the proposed criteria were too ambitious. The final rule represents that the message was received, as the criteria no longer is the "all or nothing" approach that was proposed. "We very much want well-intentioned providers to become meaningful users of electronic health records," Blumenthal said during a media conference call on July 13.



Winners and Losers in HHS Final Meaningful Use Rule

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, July 13, 2010

There were a number of changes from the proposed to the final version of HHS' meaningful use rule—requirements that will qualify hospitals and physician practices for federal reimbursements for electronic health records and other IT initiatives, many based on feedback in roughly 2,000 letters responding when the rule was first proposed in January.

The HHS meaningful use final regulations announced Tuesday specify what physicians and hospitals will have to do to receive a share of up to $27 billion in bonus Medicare payments for adoption of electronic health records over the next ten years. Eligible professionals can get up to $44,000 under Medicare and $63,750 under Medicaid, and hospitals may receive millions of dollars for implementation and meaningful use of certified EHRs under both Medicare and Medicaid.



Telefónica trumpets global e-health Unit

Sarah Griffiths - 13 Jul 10, 4:19pm

Mobile medicine

Telefónica has launched its global e-health Unit and healthcare sector strategy in a bid to become a major player in the industry by providing products and services based on communications technologies.

The Spanish company which owns O2 has proposed the healthcare sector should decentralise clinical processes by using integrated service networks plus remote access to services, which will "increase efficiency and modernise the sector."

Speaking at the firm's e-health workshops, chairman of Telefónica, César Alierta said: "This global unit has a cross-company character and already has local units in Spain, Europe and Latin America, composed of professionals who define the strategy and planning of services and their industrialisation, operation and support. It aims to become a standard bearer in the areas of products, pilot projects and know-how."


HP Offers Hospitals, Doctors EHR Help

The EHReady program offers affiliated doctors financing and support services and marketing assistance to hospitals for for e-health record deployments.

By Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, InformationWeek

July 13, 2010

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=225702927

With tens of thousands of small, independent physician practices in the U.S.---many of them spread apart by dozens of miles in rural communities--one good way to get the word out to them about the government's meaningful use of health IT programs is to reach them through their affiliated hospitals. That's what Hewlett Packard is trying to help hospitals do via a new program introduced today.

The HP EHReady offering is aimed at helping hospitals work with their affiliated doctors in deploying electronic health records. Under HP EHReady, HP will provide hospitals with customized or standard marketing support services to educate affiliated physicians about programs to get doctors deploying e-health record systems in their practices.



Feds publish final e-health 'meaningful use' rules

Just 20% of physicians, 10% of hospitals have basic EMRs today

Lucas Mearian

July 13, 2010 (Computerworld)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today issued the final guidelines that will determine how doctors, hospitals and other medical care facilities can qualify for reimbursements by rolling out electronic medical records (EMR) over the next four years.

Dr. David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health information technology, said the final "meaningful use" rules offer greater flexibility to physicians and hospitals than the initial guidelines first proposed earlier this year.

The new rules were finalized after a three-month public comment period during which more than 2,000 recommendations were received by HHS on its preliminary "notice of proposed rule making" effort. The final document is 864 pages long.



Factory Efficiency Comes to the Hospital

Published: July 9, 2010


TWO years ago, the supply system at Seattle Children’s Hospital was so unreliable that Susanne Matthews, a nurse in the intensive care unit, would stockpile stuff — catheters in the closet, surgical dressings in patients’ dresser drawers and clamps in the nurse’s office. And she wasn’t the only one.

“Nurses get very anxious when we can’t get our hands on the tools we need for our patients,” Ms. Matthews says, “so we grabbed them when we saw them, and stashed them away.” This, in turn, made the shortages more acute.

On a busy day last month in the I.C.U., it took Ms. Matthews just a few seconds to find the specialized tubing she needed to deliver medicine to an infant recovering from heart surgery. The tubing was nearby, in a fully stocked rack, thanks to a new supply system instituted by the hospital early last year following practices typically used in manufacturing or retailing, not health care.



HealCam offers new model for health info and support

July 08, 2010 | Mike Miliard, Managing Editor

EL GRANADA, CA – Medgadget, an El Granada, Calif.-based blog that's maintained by a group of doctors and biomedical engineers from around the world, has announced the beta release of a new interactive online service for people with medical conditions.

HealCam (healcam.com) is a video chat site designed by Medgadget (medgadget.com) members that enables users to speak, on camera and in real time, with other people who share conditions such as diabetes or depression.



Putting IT to work

By Joseph Conn / HITS staff writer

Posted: July 12, 2010 - 12:00 pm ET

The nine winners of this year's annual awards for outstanding achievement in applied medical informatics from the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems share a common theme, according to AMDIS President William Bria—they know how to employ information technology to get the patient-care improvement job done.

The AMDIS competition previously yielded as winners many physician champions who led their organizations through the perilous waters of vendor selection and systems implementation.

Read profiles of the AMDIS award winners



Health systems embracing single sign-on while still working out the bugs

July 12, 2010 — 12:44pm ET | By Neil Versel

Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill, Pa., has greatly streamlined the process of logging on to its Eclipsys EMR by implementing biometric technology for single-sign-on access.

"SSO definitely saves time logging in to the network, and subsequently into individual applications," Chief Medical Information Officer Dr. Richard Schreiber tells CMIO magazine. "There is no doubt that going up to an SSO machine, putting my finger down and getting into the network to quickly jump into an application within a few seconds is clearly an advantage."



Microsoft touts cloud computing in healthcare as providers wait for better security

July 12, 2010 — 12:09pm ET | By Neil Versel

While acknowledging the myriad privacy and security concerns about cloud computing, a top Microsoft healthcare official is touting the technology as an affordable means of network maintenance, health information exchange and strengthening relationships between hospitals and referring physicians.

"Cloud computing promises enormous benefits for [the] healthcare world," Steve Aylward, Microsoft's U.S. general manager for health and life sciences, writes on the company's blog. "These could include improved patient care, better health for the overall populations providers serve and new delivery models that will make healthcare more efficient and effective. And cloud computing can help do all of this in a cost-effective way.




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