Quote Of The Year

Quotes Of The Year - 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."

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 08 January, 2011.

Here are a few I have come across this week. Catch Up!

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 subscription payment.



12.28.10 | Dr. John D. Halamka | MedCitizen

Getting a secure electronic medical records system

Over the past few years, I’ve posted many blogs about the importance of transport standards. Once a transport standard is widely adopted, content will seamlessly flow per Metcalfe’s law. We already have good content standards from X12, HL7, ASTM, and NCPDP. We already have good vocabulary standards from NLM, Regenstrief, IHTSDO and others. We have the beginnings of transport standards from CAQH, IHE, and W3C. We have the work of the NHIN Direct Project (now called the Direct Project).

After working with Dixie Baker/the HIT Standards Committee’s Privacy and Security Workgroup on the Direct evaluation and after many email conversations with Arien Malec, I can now offer a strawman plan for transport standards.

Based on the implementation guides currently available, the HIT Standards Committee evaluation found the SMTP/SMIME exchange defined by the Direct Project sufficiently simple, direct, scalable, and secure, but stressed the need to develop implementation guidance that is clear and unambiguous. I’ve received many emails and blog comments aboutSMTP/SMIMEverses other approaches. I believe I can harmonize everything I’ve heard into a single path forward.



Hospitals' focus on patient safety hasn't eliminated preventable deaths

By Manoj Jain
Monday, December 20, 2010; 6:57 PM

Some years ago, I got a call at 3 a.m. from the hospital because a patient of mine had spiked a high fever. Suspecting an infection, I called in some antibiotics. A few hours later, a frantic nurse called to say my patient had turned red and was wheezing, likely from an allergic reaction.

I rushed to the hospital and saw my own note in the patient's chart stating that the patient was allergic to the antibiotic I had ordered. I had made a preventable medical error; so had the nurse who had missed the allergy wristband on the patient and the pharmacist who had neglected to check the patient's allergy drug list.

Last weekend when I was on call and seeing my sixth consult, I inadvertently ordered a penicillin-family drug for a patient with a penicillin allergy. This time the pharmacy's software flagged the potential error.

Despite the best of intentions, errors are common in hospitals even with new safeguards. A decade ago the Institute of Medicine published its landmark report "To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System," which estimated that 44,000 to 98,000 deaths occur annually because of preventable medical errors in U.S. hospitals.



Minimal health IT standards, data control are a start for learning health system

By Kathryn Foxhall
Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A minimum of required health IT standards and centralization of data is what’s needed to foster the best climate in which to develop a learning health system and provide a foundation for its expansion, according to the Institute of Medicine.

These were some of the main conclusions garnered from various workshops held throughout 2010, sponsored by the IOM and Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, which focused on ways to promote technical advances in health care, generate and use information, and engage patients.

A report on the workshop results--Roundtable on Value and Science-Driven Health Care-- was published Dec. 20, and laid out various strategies for using IT to accelerate progress in improving healthcare.



Patients still moving slowly on HIT

By Jeff Rowe, Editor

A new survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) indicates that the healthcare sector is going to spend significant amounts on HIT during 2011, but it also suggests consumers still haven’t decided whether or not to jump onto the IT train.

As this article introduces the survey, "While 2011 promises to be a year of increased health IT spending, a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) show that 86% of consumers do not access their medical records electronically . . . "



EHR Incentives Registration Begins January 3

Andrea Kraynak, CPC, for HealthLeaders Media , December 23, 2010

CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced that registration will begin January 3, 2011, for eligible providers hoping to participate in the Medicare electronic health record (EHR) incentive program, according to a December 22 CMS press release.

Several states will also be starting registration for the Medicaid incentive program on that date, including Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Several other states (California, Missouri, and North Dakota) will begin registration in February, according to CMS. Others are likely to begin in the spring or summer of 2011.



Data’s Impact on Diabetes

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media , December 28, 2010

Technology to help diabetics manage their disease—such as the artificial pancreas or mobile phone apps that help monitor glucose readings—might make a difference on an individual level, but the real key to tackling the disease is by making diabetes care more coordinated and patient-centered. The technology that will make a difference in that area is more familiar and less flashy: electronic health records, telemedicine, and basic information networks for sharing and collecting data.

Smart devices that can send glucose data to an information network will only be effective when there is an established and interconnected network for them to talk to, writes Elyas Bakhtiari in the December issue of HealthLeaders magazine. And although the healthcare industry hasn't yet built that base, hospitals and health systems are increasingly making it a priority.



HITECH: 2 Years In, Verdict Still Out

Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media , December 28, 2010

By the time the New Year arrives, HITECH will have been signed into law for approximately 23 months. Some regulations, such as the breach notification interim final rule, have been in effect, but we wait on others like modifications to the HIPAA privacy, security, and enforcement rules.

So as the New Year arrives, it's time to analyze what we've gotten out of HITECH. What is its effect on the healthcare industry right now? Qui bono? Patients, providers, or the government regulators?

The answer? It's probably too early to tell.



A healthy niche

Program aims to prepare midcareer professionals for jobs in health care information technology.

By CHEN MAY YEE1, Star Tribune

Last update: December 27, 2010 - 9:32 PM

Some lost their jobs in the recession. Others are midcareer professionals looking to diversify their skills.

With an average age of 50, all are hoping for a bright future in one of the few parts of the economy that's adding jobs: health information technology.

Last month, about 70 students started an online course at Normandale Community College in loomington aimed at churning out professionals to work with electronic medical record systems at hospitals and clinics. The nondegree course lasts six months. Students, who must have either a health care or IT background, pay $500 to enroll.

The program is funded by a grant of $800,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to train a total of 300 students over 18 months.

For students, it's a bit of a gamble.



OCR Shines a Harsh Light on Data Breaches

Health Data Management Magazine, 05/01/2010

Between Sept. 22, 2009, and Feb. 15, 2010, at least 47 instances of breaches of unsecured protected health information occurred in the United States, each affecting at least 500 individuals with one affecting more than 500,000.

We know this because a new federal rule requires the reporting of such breaches to the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services. The OCR on Feb. 22 launched a Web site listing the initial batch of health care organizations that reported breaches (see list, pages 34 and 36).

The posting, which the OCR will regularly update, is mandated under the HITECH Act. Breach notification rules from HHS and the Federal Trade Commission (covering personal health records vendors) were published in August 2009 and have been in effect since last September.



Canada to Now Focus on e-health Care System

The doctors of Canada are now going to adopt the simple slogan to improve the health systems of the country and that is “You can do it, we can help.” Now it is going to urge people to take care of their health themselves, more than relying on their doctors.

With a recent report from Commonwealth Fund ranking Canada last in the management and prevention of the chronic diseases, Canada is pulling up their socks by doubling their expenditure on the health systems. The expenditure has rapidly increased to $192-billion from $95-billion.



Surescripts becomes ONC's sixth certifier

By Andis Robeznieks

Posted: December 29, 2010 - 11:15 am ET

Surescripts, the Arlington, Va.-based for-profit electronic prescribing network created by pharmacy associations and several of the largest pharmacy benefits managers, has been named an authorized testing and certification body by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS.



Virtualization, EHR-Linked Devices, m-Health to Lead Health Care IT in 2011: Analysts

By: Brian T. Horowitz


In 2011, we'll see EHRs reach the adoption phase, data centers get virtualized, stand-alone medical devices connect to EHRs and m-health take off, according to industry experts.

As we move into 2011, the Obama administration's meaningful-use requirements governing health care IT and EHRs (electronic health records) will continue to influence how health care companies adopt technology to improve patient care.

In 2010, companies began to purchase EHR applications, but in the coming year health care companies will enter an adoption phase for EHR or EMR (electronic medical record) applications, predicts IDC in an upcoming report.

"While purchasing and selection will continue for many providers, early adopters will begin to struggle with the challenges of implementation and adoption of EMRs in 2011," wrote IDC analysts Judy Hanover and Lynne A. Dunbrack.

As adoption of EHRs heats up, Shahid Shah, CEO of IT consulting firm Netspective Communications and author of the Healthcare IT Guy blog, shared with eWEEK his top 5 predictions for the health care IT industry in 2011.



December 23, 2010, 3:52 pm

New From Google: The Body Browser


Six years ago, I took a hard fall while playing soccer and tore a ligament in my knee.

As I weighed my treatment options in confusion, I searched on the Internet for images and videos to help me better understand how the knee works.

I wish I’d had access to Google’s Body Browser, a new, free 3-D tool that lets users rotate the body, peel back layers of it, and zoom in and zoom out, all from within an Internet browser window. There’s a search feature, so I typed in “anterior cruciate ligament” and it zoomed into the part of the knee that I’d injured.

It’s like a Gray’s Anatomy coloring book, come to life. I was curious, though, about what medical practitioners think about it. Is it something that medical students might use, or that doctors might use to educate patients?



2010 Best in KLAS Vendors Named

HDM Breaking News, December 15, 2010

KLAS Enterprises LLC has issued its 2010 Best in KLAS Awards based on customer satisfaction with health information technology vendors and consultants.

The awards are based on data from more than 17,000 interviews the Orem, Utah-based vendor research firm has conducted during the past year from thousands of hospitals and physician practices.

The complete Best in KLAS Awards report includes analysis of satisfaction scores from more than 900 software products and types of services in more than 100 market segments. In addition to Best in KLAS, the report also names "category leaders" for dozens of niche products and five professional services



EPIC Signs the Universe!

Vince Ciotti
Health Data Management Blogs, April 12, 2010

Dateline: Verona, Wisconsin; April 12, 2010

EPIC systems today announced the signing of their largest contact to date: the entire Universe, which has agreed to implement EpicCare throughout the galaxy. Details:

• Specific terms of the deal were not announced, but it is estimated that it will cost even more than the $5 billion invested by Kaiser before a gag order was placed on any further financial disclosures there.

• The rulers of the Galaxy are being required to attend special 2-day classes at Epic HQ in Verona, where they may get to meet Judy Faulkner in person, if her busy schedule permits.



EHR Effectiveness for Hospital Care Questioned

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , December 29, 2010

A large RAND study of nearly half the acute care hospitals in the U.S. calls into question the value of electronic medical records, saying that except for basic systems used to treat congestive heart failure patients, EHRs are not improving process of care measures for many large hospitals that have them.

"The lurking question has been whether we are examining the right measures to truly test the effectiveness of health information technology," says Spencer S. Jones, a RAND scientist and lead author for the report. "Our existing tools are probably not the ones we need going forward to adequately track the nation's investment in health information technology."

Jones and authors write that their "results should temper expectations for the pace and magnitude of the effects of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) legislation. The challenges and unintended consequences of EHR adoption are well documented."



2011 "much tougher" for NHS IT

30 Dec 2010

Analysts expect the NHS to stop spending money on IT in 2011; unless it can show that technology will provide a return on investment or efficiency gains in a matter of months.

Tola Sargeant, research director at TechMarketView, forecast “a much tougher year for NHS IT overall" and said that she expected the market to contract by around 7% in 2011 and 4% in 2012 before returning to growth.

Last year, the market for software and IT services was £1.48 billion. This declined to £1.38 billion in 2010 and will drop to £1.33 billion in 2011.



Here comes 2011

30 Dec 2010

Over the course of 2010, a new coalition government came into power, another round of reform was unleashed on the NHS and the end of the National Programme for IT in the NHS was announced; although its local service provider contracts live on.

At the end of a sometimes difficult 12 months, EHI reporter Sarah Bruce asks analysts and policy experts to look ahead to 201. What would they like to happen to the NHS and its IT? And what do they think will happen?

Christine Connelly, director general informatics, Department of Health

Innovation will grow at a local level as the wider NHS reforms progress during 2011.There are two key ambitions I hope to see begin to be realised during the year. We will encourage transparency by publishing data before it has been ‘polished’. We will also encourage data collection at the point of care, so we can improve its quality and accuracy, instead of relying on “after the event” memories. Finally, there is a great opportunity to help the efficiency and productivity drive by offering parts of the service online. Being able to communicate via secure email with a clinician, rather than waiting for an appointment, gives patients an accessible service, responsive to their needs.



New website helps consumers shop for hip, knee surgery

Floridians can find high-volume doctors, hospitals

By Bob LaMendola

Sun Sentinel

December 20, 2010

About 65,000 Floridians get their hips or knees replaced every year, and now they have a new way to figure out who might be best to do the job.

State health officials last week set up a new online service that lets consumers look up which doctors and hospitals performed many joint surgeries, as well as how much hospitals charge for them.

Studies have shown medical personnel who have the most experience performing a treatment or service tend to have the best results.



ONC Adds to FAQ Page

HDM Breaking News, December 21, 2010

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has posted new entries on its Frequently Asked Questions page covering electronic health records certification and meaningful use criteria.



New drug law will track more prescriptions

By Sarah Favot and Caroline Hailey/ Daily News correspondents

MetroWest Daily News

Posted Dec 26, 2010 @ 11:14 PM


Massachusetts residents face a new routine when they pick up certain prescription drugs at the pharmacy on Jan. 1.

Under a law passed last summer, they will have to show a driver's license or another approved ID before the druggist can give them prescriptions ranging from addictive opiates to certain medicines for diarrhea. Their purchases will be recorded in a massive database that will include their names, addresses and the kinds and amount of pills they take.

The goal of the law is to combat the growing problem of prescription drug abuse, particularly among teens and young adults. According to one federal survey, Massachusetts ranked 8th among those 18-to-25 who have used drugs not prescribed to them.



CMS to modernize IT systems

By Andis Robeznieks

Posted: December 27, 2010 - 11:30 am ET

The CMS is preparing to modernize its information technology systems under a plan that envisions how the agency will transform "from a passive payer of claims to an active purchaser of quality healthcare" by improving communications and information-sharing, acquiring new quality-of-care assessment data and enhancing payment and delivery systems.

In the report "Modernizing CMS Computer and Data Systems to Support Improvements in Care Delivery" (PDF), it's noted that this upgrade was called for in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which directs the HHS secretary to make data available to help healthcare providers and suppliers better manage and coordinate care for Medicare beneficiaries and to "support consistent evaluations of payment and the delivery system reforms under CMS programs."




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