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By Mary Mosquera
Monday, December 20, 2010
Dr. David Blumenthal, the national health IT coordinator, expects to aggressively pick up the pace on health information exchange following the recent call from the White House for a common language and format for exchanging data between electronic health records systems.
To that end, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT will create an advisory panel to see how to implement some of the ideas laid out in the White House report. The work group, comprised of members of ONC’s Health IT Policy and Standards Committees and other privacy and security experts, will make recommendations to both committees by April.
The report, published Dec. 8 by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), directed ONC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to develop the technical definitions and descriptions for the standard language and include them in requirements for meaningful use of electronic health records in 2013 and 2015.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Fourteen percent of surveyed U.S. adults said they have access to their health care information electronically, according to a new survey by the Health Research Institute at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Among respondents who have this access, 58% can check lab reports, 56% can read prescription medication orders and history, 53% can see their immunization records and 52% can view upcoming health care appointments.
The survey also found that 48% of such individuals can obtain physician visit notes and that 33% can view suggested preventive health screening.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Health politics, a hyper-market for health IT, health-engaged consumers and privacy ambiguities … 'tis the season when Jane Sarasohn-Kahn provides iHealthBeat readers with her annual health IT forecast for the new year.
Read on for Sarasohn-Kahn's look into the health IT tea leaves for 2011.
Bipartisan support for health IT. It's a long, long way between December 2010 and January 2014, when most provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) are scheduled to be implemented. While it's rational to expect that the Republican-led House will try to strip out various provisions in the law, there's long been one area of bipartisan support: health care IT. The HITECH Act, which was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), will withstand the Republican health reform hazing in Congress. While health reform may be in limbo -- individual mandate, state lawsuits, etc. -- health IT is bipartisan. So from a legislative standpoint, expect the health IT stimulus for electronic health records to still be a "go" in 2011.
Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , December 20, 2010
Record spending on health information technology is greatly increasing the demand for experts in the field and tops a list of hot issues on the minds of healthcare leaders.
That's according to a survey and report by PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute, which ranks the top 6 issues facing healthcare leaders in the coming year.
1.Electronic health records. PwC says federal requirements that hospitals and doctors meet at least one stage-one meaningful use requirement for an electronic health record system in 2011 in order to receive federal stimulus funds has providers scurrying to order the right software and equipment. Additionally, FDA rules will require online reporting of adverse events related to medical devices, resulting in deployment of tracking technology throughout the supply chain.
Electronic health record conversion also means upgraded coding, and the use of the new Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act formats require more than, 1,300 system modifications by Jan. 1, 2012.
December 22, 2010 — 10:21pm ET | By Janice Simmons - Contributing Editor
In 2011, healthcare executives, especially CIOs, will be on the frontline for what is expected to be a record year for health information technology (HIT) spending.
In particular, new requirements that hospitals and physicians achieve at least Stage 1 of the government's new "meaningful use" criteria for electronic health records will present new challenges in providing patients with electronic copies of their health records upon request, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on the top health industry issues of 2011.
December 22, 2010 — 12:31pm ET | By Sandra Yin
The use of iPads in healthcare settings is likely to surge in the coming year, according to a survey of nearly 950 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) members. Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed said they plan to deploy the iPad and other iOS devices next year. And more than one in four said they plan to deploy the devices immediately.
Point-of-care apps are driving the rapid deployment of iPads in hospitals and other healthcare organizations. One-third of those polled said point-of-care applications--such as lab order visualization and results, clinical decision support and medical image viewing application--were top priorities.
Guerra On Healthcare: EHR Certification Boosts Competition
Electronic health record vendors are applying for -- and receiving -- a government-backed stamp of approval, expanding options for vendors and buyers.
By Anthony Guerra, InformationWeek
Dec. 21, 2010
No one is a bigger critic of the government's Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) program than I, but I have to give credit where it's due.
Before we started down this road, there was one certification organization -- the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT). And it had all sorts of PR problems in the form of links to the vendor-run Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). But at that time, without certification tied to the distribution of taxpayer money, no one could too vociferously decry a lack options. HITECH, however, changed all that.
The rising number of iPad point-of-care applications are accelerating its use by physicians, finds Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society survey.
By Nicole Lewis, InformationWeek
Dec. 20, 2010
Results from a survey of nearly 950 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) members indicates that iPad deployments are accelerating in large part due to the mobile device's compelling point-of-care applications and uses.
Conducted October 26 during an online webinar cosponsored by HIMSS and BoxTone, a mobile service management (MSM) company, the survey's results were released earlier this month.
KLAS' year-end report also cites Siemens, Cerner, and McKesson for making strong improvements in the health IT industry in 2010.
By Anthony Guerra, InformationWeek
Dec. 22, 2010
In its end-of-year report, 2010 Top 20 Best in KLAS Awards: Software & Professional Services, health IT (HIT) analyst firm KLAS finds Epic is the top-ranked overall software vendor, with a performance score of 87.0 out of 100, followed by Picis and Philips. The top-rated overall services firm is Hayes Management (90.5), followed by Vitalize Consulting Solutions and CTG.
KLAS president Adam Gale said people keep asking him if Epic can maintain its position at the top of the HIT heap. After reviewing the vendor's last 13 go-lives this year, and finding they aggregate to an "A" score on the KLAS scale, he said there's no reason to think Epic will falter anytime soon.
Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media , December 21, 2010
What is on the holiday wish list for privacy and security officers?
A recent Ponemon Institute study on data security, it's more staff, more time, and more resources to protect patient privacy.
Of the 65 hospitals surveyed, most in the 100- to 600-bed range, 71% said they have inadequate resources to prevent and quickly detect patient data loss. We caught up with some privacy and security officers ourselves to see what they're hoping for this holiday season:
Health Data Management Blogs, December 16, 2010
The recent federal court ruling that the Obama health reform bill is unconstitutional—due to its mandate that individuals must purchase health insurance—reminds me of a seminar on personal health records I attended several years ago. The speaker, a physician who was running a PHR software company, was asked if the technology would have any impact on health outcomes. His answer: Americans are in denial about their own health. He cited the rising incidence of obesity (which has since grown even more dramatically), the corresponding spread of expensive chronic diseases, and the overall reluctance of many people to take responsibility for their own health, PHRs or no.
There’s no telling how the courts may ultimately rule on the reform law. But I have no problem with the government telling us we need an ownership stake in health insurance. We have become so disassociated from the economic reality of paying for care that we take health care services for granted. We are fast becoming a nation that wants to eat, drink, smoke, snort and inject itself into oblivion, without regard for the fiscal fall-out—let alone regard for our bodies.
Over the next couple of blog posts, I want to discuss the PCAST report on health information technology a little further.
You recall that the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology plopped down its tome on health information technology Dec. 8. It recommended that the feds push harder on health information exchange by adopting an XML-based universal exchange language that enables meta-data tagging for record identification, aggregation and privacy protection.
The presidential advisers want to see their changes rolled into the upcoming meaningful-use requirements. The Stage 2 requirements—along with a "roadmap," if not all of the specifics, for Stage 3—are in development now.
This month's report on health information technology by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, or PCAST, has startled some in the health IT community and challenged others—while getting everyone's attention.
Particularly arresting and discouraging for some was its call for applying federal persuasion for the healthcare industry to adopt an Internet-friendly "universal exchange language" for storing, retrieving and swapping healthcare data.
Healthcare IT professionals aren't short on opinions when it comes to last week's report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, or PCAST. Among its recommendations, the report calls for the use of meta-data tagging as a way to promote patient privacy.
Howard Landa is the chief medical information officer for the Alameda County (Calif.) Medical Center and a pediatric urologist for Kaiser Permanente in Hawaii. He also is vice chairman of the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems, a professional association for physicians in applied medical informatics.
"I think they underestimate what it's going to take to get to that level of specificity," Landa said. "I think we're moving toward that, but any data standards that exist, whether it's on the level of diagnosis or treatment, (are) still not complex enough to really exchange data at a meaningful level.
By Joseph Conn
Posted: December 21, 2010 - 11:00 am ET
Finally, a very thin majority of office-based physicians have some form of electronic health-record system in use, according to preliminary data from federal health agency.
The annual survey, which the National Center for Health Statistics conducted between April and July 2010, questioned more than 10,000 office-based physicians (excluding anesthesiologists, pathologists and radiologists)—its largest sample size to date.
One question NCHS surveyors asked was: "Does this practice use electronic medical records or electronic health records (not including billing records)?"
Published: 21 December 2010
The European Union and American health authorities have agreed to work more closely on a common approach for electronic health records and education programmes for medical professionals.
By Mary Mosquera
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Regional health IT extension centers have already recruited more than 28,000 physicians and have been signing providers up at a rate of 1,000 each week over the past three months, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.
Some of the centers are already far along towards meeting their primary care target enrollments. Those in Mississippi and Maine, for example, are at 60 percent of their goals.
December 16, 2010 | Molly Merrill, Associate Editor
STAMFORD, CT – Information technology research and advisory company Gartner, Inc. has released its second annual Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25, which identifies organizations striving for supply chain excellence and better patient care.
The "2010 Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25" ranks healthcare manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retail pharmacies based on quantitative assessments of their supply chain costs, productivity and efficiency. The organizations were then evaluated according to the opinions of supply chain leaders from the most senior levels of healthcare organizations, as well as a selection of Gartner analysts.
Health Data Management Blogs, December 20, 2010
When the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology on December 8 recommended adoption of a "universal exchange language" to facilitate the exchange of health information while protecting privacy, I thought, "This is a game changer for meaningful use."
The belief was strengthened when six days later National HIT Coordinator David Blumenthal told the HIT Policy Committee that the Obama administration strongly supports the recommendation and the committee needs to start seriously looking at the issue as it develops future meaningful use criteria. AND, Blumenthal's office recently asked for public comments on how a quick transition in HIE policies and technologies would affect Stage 2 meaningful use criteria.
Universal exchange languages, known as "extensible markup languages" or XML, are widely used in other industries. Here's how PCAST explained such languages in its 108-page report: "The best way to manage and store data for advanced data-analytical techniques is to break them down into the smallest individual pieces that make sense to exchange or aggregate. These individual pieces are called 'tagged data elements' because each unit of data is accompanied by a mandatory 'metadata tag' that describes the attributes, provenance, and required security and privacy protections of the data."
Posted: December 20, 2010 - 12:00 pm ET
An information-exchange organization created by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and the Radiological Society of North America is now formally incorporated, according to its founding groups. IHE USA, whose name stands for Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise, works to improve standards for electronic health information exchange.
December 20, 2010 — 12:41pm ET | By Neil Versel
It's been a busy year in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and for health IT in general.
"It's been a whirlwind of activity. Many of you have spent many sleepless nights...dealing with all the things we have worked at. It's easy to forget how much we've accomplished," Blumenthal said during an ONC update last week, CMIO reports. "The 'meaningful use' framework is unprecedented in the history of electronic health information systems....We've started that process; it will evolve."
December 20, 2010 — 2:09pm ET | By Neil Versel
We have separate publications called FierceHealthIT and FierceEMR for a reason: Thanks in no small part to the federal "meaningful use" incentive program, EMRs are front of mind for many health IT professionals, but health IT is so much broader than just EMRs. It is with this in mind that we write about Computer Sciences Corp. highlighting six technologies that show promise for improving patient care and making a better working environment for clinicians, particularly nurses.
December 20, 2010 — 3:22pm ET | By Neil Versel
Interoperable IT could be just the thing to help healthcare reduce the expensive duplication and potential adverse events associated with fragmented care, according to just-published research from Massachusetts. While this is hardly a new notion, the sheer extent of the fragmentation could add new urgency to the push toward a connected health system.
In a study appearing in the December issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers from Children's Hospital Boston found that of the 3.6 million adults receiving acute care in Massachusetts over a five-year period, 31 percent of patients visited more than one hospital and accounted for 56.5 percent of hospitalizations in the state. About 1 percent, or nearly 44,000 patients, went to five or more hospitals and were responsible for approximately one in 10 acute care visits during the study period.