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."

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 05 March, 2011.

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 subscription payment.



Age of meaningful use is here: Blumenthal

By Paul Barr

Posted: February 24, 2011 - 11:00 am ET

The year 2011 will stand out “as the time when medical care entered a new era—the age of meaningful use of health information,” Dr. David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health information technology at HHS, wrote in a letter posted on the HHS website.



The Doctor Will Tweet You Now

Thursday, 02/17/11 4:38pm

Scott Hensley

I'm pretty sure my internist isn't on Twitter. And I think it's better that way. I really do.

When I take a look at what some doctors tweet I get a little worried. Would they describe my visit, sometimes explicitly, in 140 characters?

Turns out I'm not the only one to wonder about this. In a letter published this week in JAMA, Dr. Katherine Chretien, a hospitalist at the Washington DC VA Medical Center, and some colleagues describe their look at what "self-identified physicians" were tweeting about.

What did they find in their analysis of 260 accounts that had at least 500 followers?



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Economy, Health IT Policy Take Center Stage at HIMSS11

ORLANDO -- The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and its annual conference have come a long way. As the organization celebrates its Golden anniversary, it is clear that HIMSS has grown significantly -- both in membership and influence.

Twenty-five years ago, the HIMSS annual conference attracted 3,000 attendees to Scottsdale, Ariz., according to C. Martin Harris -- director of the HIMSS Board of Directors and CIO and chair of the IT division at the Cleveland Clinic.

At HIMSS11 -- which kicked off Monday in Orlando -- the organization expects more than 31,000 attendees, according to HIMSS President and CEO H. Stephen Lieber. As of Monday, conference registration was 18% higher than registration figures at the same time last year, Lieber said.

The exhibition side of the conference is getting bigger, too. This year, the 450,000 square-foot exhibit hall boasts more than 1,000 exhibitors -- the most in conference history. The interoperability showcase alone takes up one acre.



Initiative to Harmonize Data Exchange Standards

HDM Breaking News, February 20, 2011

The Office of the National Coordinator has launched the HL7/IHE Health Story Implementation Guide Consolidation Project, an initiative to consolidate and harmonize required health information exchange specifications that support meaningful use of electronic health record systems.

Project collaborators include the Health Level Seven International standards development organization, the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise industry stakeholder initiative and the Health Story Project, an industry collaborative that develops technical implementation guides for electronic documents transmitted using HL7 standards.

Volunteer participants will consolidate exchange standards for eight common types of clinical documents along with the HL7 Continuity of Care Document standard into a single implementation package that establishes a foundation for health information exchange. The project also will address minor areas of ambiguity within the specific meaningful use requirement to implement HL7 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) Release 2, Continuity of Care Document according to HITSP C32 specifications.

Electronic health records, clinical document management, infrastructure, middleware and natural language processing vendors will contribute volunteers to the initiative.


More details and an opportunity to volunteer are available here.

--Joseph Goedert



ONC to help work on EHR harmony

February 19, 2011 | Bernie Monegain, Editor


The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology announced Sunday at HIMSS11 the launch of an industry project to consolidate and harmonize required health information exchange specifications that support meaningful use of electronic health record systems.

The project, called the “HL7/IHE Health Story Implementation Guide Consolidation Project,” is a collaboration of Health Level Seven (HL7) International, Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) and the Health Story Project.

Working through the HL7 standards development organization, volunteers will consolidate exchange standards for eight common types of clinical documents along with the HL7 Continuity of Care Document (CCD) standard into one comprehensive implementation package that establishes a foundation for health information exchange.



e-Autopsy: Kaiser Hospitals Dig In to Data to Assess Mortality

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , February 24, 2011

You've heard the macabre joke that hospitals and doctors "bury their mistakes." Well, here's an interesting twist: At Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Southern California, doctors are doing precisely the opposite. They're rolling back time in the death process – exhuming their unknown mistakes so to speak – to see what, if anything, they can learn in order to save similar patients the next time around.

But they're not doing it the old way through invasive autopsies. Those are expensive, increasingly unpopular with families, forbidden by some religions, and often don't reveal that much about errors in the process of hospital care.

Kaiser has a new concept, the e-Autopsy.

Kaiser's hybrid manual and electronic mortality review uses storytelling and specialists' scrutiny to study medical charts of patients who died in the hospital. The process builds a precise timeline of what happened. The goal is to prevent death and/or improve end-of-life care by looking for places to improve—from ambulatory settings prior to admission to the inpatient bedside.



Robotic Scrub Nurses Could Boost OR Efficiencies

HealthLeaders Media Staff , February 22, 2011

Robotic scrub nurses that intuitively recognize hand gestures? They're not here today, but neither are they the merely stuff of science fiction. One day, surgeons might use gestures to control a robotic scrub nurse or tell a computer to display medical images of the patient during an operation.

It's a concept reminiscent of the film Minority Report, observes Juan Pablo Wachs, PhD, assistant professor of industrial engineering at Purdue University and one of the brains behind the innovation.

Hand-gesture recognition and other robotic nurse innovations might help reduce the length of a surgery and the potential for infection, according to Wachs. And vision-based hand-gesture recognition technology could have other applications, including coordinating emergency response activities during disasters.



NeHC releases stakeholder survey on HIE concerns

February 23, 2011 | Molly Merrill, Associate Editor

WASHINGTON – Privacy and security, sustainability and funding were identified as the top three pain points in health information exchange (HIE), according to the results of the National eHealth Collaborative's (NeHC) first ever Stakeholder Survey.

NeHC established this survey initiative in December 2010 to encourage stakeholders across a wide range of specialties to contribute their suggestions on major concerns in health information exchange.


Microsoft, Athenahealth Collaborate On Amalga, HealthVault

The Microsoft and Athenahealth alliance will funnel cloud-based Athenahealth e-health record and practice management data to Microsoft Amalga and HealthVault platforms.

By Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, InformationWeek

Feb. 22, 2011

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=229219054

Microsoft and Athenahealth have announced a strategic alliance to connect Athenahealth's cloud-based EHR and practice management software with Microsoft's Amalga enterprise health intelligence system.

In addition to developing the new AthenaNet-Amalga connector, the companies also announced at the Health Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) event in Orlando that they are working on projects with two healthcare customers -- Steward Health Care System in Massachusetts and Cook Children's Health Care Systems in Texas -- to push data from Amalga, including Athenahealth data, into Microsoft's HealthVault personal health record platform.



E-health must be a priority, researchers say

System would bolster chronic disease management and improve access to care

An electronic health record system should be the backbone of health care reform in Canada and more must be done to speed up the implementation of this initiative across the country. Furthermore for this system to be put in place effectively, doctors and front line health care workers and administrators must be encouraged to play a more active role. These are the findings of an innovative new study assessing the effectiveness Canada Health Infoway's e-health plan. The study, which was conducted by scientists at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and McGill University, was published today in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

"For all levels of care, but particularly primary care, which is where most care is provided in Western Countries, Canada and US have the lowest adoption of e-health records," says Dr. Robyn Tamblyn, lead author of the study and Medical Scientist at the Research Institute of the MUHC. "We have some urgent issues to address to ensure that improved management of chronic disease and timely access to care is enabled through e-health technologies."



HIMSS lays out policy priorities

By Joseph Conn

Posted: February 22, 2011 - 12:15 pm ET

The looming budget battle may dominate the news from Capitol Hill, but deficit hawks aren't likely to succeed in cutting federal stimulus law funds earmarked for health IT incentive payments, according to Dave Roberts, vice president of government relations for HIMSS at the trade group's convention Monday in Orlando, Fla.

“Currently, there are seven pieces of legislation on Capital Hill that want to rescind any funding for economic stimulus,” Roberts said during his annual briefing on doings in Washington. But it's already too late to claw back $2 billion in direct appropriations from the stimulus law, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS. That money has been spent or obligated, Roberts said. Only one of the seven bills appears to take aim at the big IT money, the estimated $27 billion in funds that could be distributed for EHR incentive payments to providers under the Medicare and Medicaid programs, Roberts said. But it is unsure whether that bill would pass even the Republican-controlled House, much less the Senate, he said. And if it did, President Barack Obama would likely veto it, and Roberts said there is even less of a chance that opposition could raise enough votes to override a veto.



3M, Nuance partner to create computer-assisted physician documentation

February 17, 2011 — 6:18pm ET | By Ken Terry

Computer-assisted coding, which recently has spread from hospital outpatient departments like radiology to some hospitals' inpatient departments, now is invading physician coding, as well. But unlike computer-assisted coding, which partly automates hospital coding, the new approach is helping doctors adjust their documentation so that coders can more easily prepare claims.

3M Health Information Systems, a leader in computer-assisted coding, just joined with Nuance Communications, the leading maker of voice recognition software (Dragon), to create a new application called Computer-Assisted Physician Documentation (CAPD). CAPD is being touted as a way to accelerate the transition to the new ICD-10 diagnostic code set, which is vastly more complex than the current ICD-9 code set. It can also be used, however, with ICD-9 until ICD-10 becomes mandatory in October 2013.



Patients Uneasy About Security of Electronic Health Records

By Matthew Harwood

A new survey finds patients wary of the move to electronic health records and the ability of their healthcare providers to secure them.

During the last week of January, CDW Healthcare surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults who had been to a doctor's office, a hospital, or an outpatient facility in the past 18 months. What the survey found was a broad cross-section of the American public who were uneasy about the potential security problems associated with the move from paper to electronic records.

Nearly one-half of all respondents believed electronic health records would negatively impact the privacy of their personal information and health data. Patients' concerns varied from fears their information would wind up on the Internet to cybercriminals using the information to blackmail them or steal their identity. Respondents also worried that if employers gained access to their health information, they could use it to manage their benefits and compensation or to make hiring decisions.



Patients find plenty of health information on line, but not all of it is reliable

Monday, February 21, 2011; 11:29 AM

The Internet has no equal as an information storehouse. The trick is to know how to get right to a source of useful information and not waste time on Web sites that are biased, trying to sell you something or just plain wrong.

Marvin M. Lipman, Consumers Union's chief medical adviser, recalls having a patient who made a Google search and somehow settled on an abdominal aortic aneurysm (a worrisome bulge in the body's main blood vessel) as the logical explanation for his midback pain. No reassuring on Lipman's part eased the patient's apprehension. It took a sonogram to convince him he wasn't at death's door.


VA, DoD To Finalize Joint EHR Standard

Agreement on a common electronic health record should be in place within the next two months, the Veterans Affairs CIO told a Congressional committee.

By Elizabeth Montalbano, InformationWeek

Feb. 22, 2011

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=229219043

The Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense are close to an agreement on a common standard for electronic health records (EHRs), a move that should drastically improve how the agencies share patient data, the VA's chief information officer told a congressional committee last week.

VA CIO Roger Baker said the two departments are weeks away from agreeing on a "single electronic health record." He made his comments in testimony before the House Veterans Affairs Committee during a Feb. 17 meeting about the VA's 2012 budget request.



Report highlights rise of Hoosier health IT

By Andis Robeznieks

Posted: February 24, 2011 - 11:00 am ET

BioCrossroads, the public-private research collaborative that organized the Indiana Health Information Exchange, released a report at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society annual conference in Orlando, Fla., this week detailing how Indiana's health IT industry has grown to include 72 startup companies with 2,500 workers and $202 million in revenue.

The 36-page report, From Dishwashers to Digital Medical Records—Indiana's Leadership in Health Information Technology (PDF), credits part of this growth to more than $115 million in philanthropic research grants given to such establishments as the Indiana University School of Medicine's Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis. The title of the report is a nod to a source of some of those funds: the fortune Sam “the Dishwasher King” Regenstrief developed by integrating digital controls into kitchen appliances.



New Survey Reveals Increasing Prominence Of Nursing Informatics

The 2011 Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey highlights the role nurse informaticists play in the implementation of clinical applications such as clinical/nursing documentation and clinical information systems, computerized practitioner order entry and electronic records.

Respondents’ average salary, $98,702, increased by 17% when compared with a similar survey in 2007 and 42% from 2004. Only 3% of respondents indicated their salary is not augmented by benefits, such as medical/dental insurance and retirement savings plans.

Unlike in 2004 and 2007, financial resources were not the most oft-cited barrier to success. Lack of integration/interoperability was mentioned most frequently as a primary or secondary barrier, followed by financial resources.



Patient Engagement Key to EMR Success

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , February 24, 2011

Hospitals are spending billions of dollars to achieve meaningful use of electronic medical records, but if patients don't use the new technology, hospitals may not reap the federal stimulus payments that await.

That's the conclusion of a report -- Putting Patients into Meaningful Use – from PwC's Health Research Institute, which found that 14% of 1,000 consumers surveyed last fall said they get their medical records electronically from their physicians, and 30% of patients said they didn't know why they would need to.

Bruce Henderson, director and national leader of the EHR-HIE Practice at PwC says hospitals need to build in patient input earlier in the process to comply with Stage 2 of meaningful use requirements.


Health IT Execs To Boost Spending In 2011

Qualifying for Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record incentive funds is driving most hospital CIOs to increase their budgets and staff, found HIMSS survey.

By Nicole Lewis, InformationWeek

Feb. 22, 2011

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=229219048

Hospital IT managers credit the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 as the driving force behind their current healthcare IT investments, according to a study released Monday by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) to coincide with its annual conference in Orlando, Fla.

The report is one of the clearest indications yet that the Obama administration's stimulus spending, which established the Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive programs to help providers adopt and achieve meaningful use of EHRs, has spurred hospital spending on health IT modernization -- a measure that will transform and improve the quality of patient care for decades to come.



IOM wants to use EHRs, community data to keep people healthy

By Kathryn Foxhall

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Institute of Medicine is exploring the role of electronic medical records, health insurance information and other data systems, perhaps even grocery store data, to gauge the activities and habits in communities in order to focus efforts to keep people healthier instead of waiting until they are sick.

An IOM committee on public health strategies to improve health has begun considering how to use various sources of data to measure population health performance and drive accountability for levels of health.

In December, the committee issued a report noting that despite “the national preoccupation with the cost of clinical care,” improving the clinical care delivery system “will probably have only modest effects” on population health without an “ecological, population-based approach” to health improvement.



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ONC Officials Outline Plans; Satirical Websites Come Clean

ORLANDO -- Deputy National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari kicked off the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT Town Hall at the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference on Tuesday by applauding National Coordinator for Health IT David Blumenthal's work in shepherding federal health IT efforts.

He said Blumenthal, who will leave his post as the country's health IT chief to return to academia in April, "set us on the path we're on."

Mostashari said, "We have a plan, we have a strategy," adding, "We together have to carry the ball forward." He said, "There is momentum. We are on the right track." However, Mostashari acknowledged, "Boy, there's a lot of work to do."



Kaiser Permanente Honored for Electronic Health Record Implementation

HIMSS Analytics Awards Another 11 Kaiser Permanente Hospitals Highest Recognition

Published Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011

/PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente, the nation's leading health care provider and not-for-profit health plan, continues to lead the nation in the number of Stage 7 Awards from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. The Stage 7 Award honors hospitals that have achieved the highest level of electronic health record implementation. In the last three years, Kaiser Permanente has now received a total of 35 awards in recognition of its health information technology expertise. The 11 additional awards were presented this week at the HIMSS 2011 annual conference in Orlando, Fla.



CDC awards grant to build online connections between hospital labs, public health agencies

February 21, 2011 — 10:37am ET | By Ken Terry

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded a grant to connectivity vendor Surescripts, the American Hospital Association (AHA), and the College of American Pathologists (CAP) to link hospital laboratories with public health agencies so that the labs can electronically transmit reportable test results.

During the two-year grant period, AHA, CAP and Surescripts will recruit, educate and connect a minimum of 500 hospital labs--including at least 100 critical access or rural hospitals--to the appropriate public health agencies. The collaborators will provide the necessary technical assistance to enable these hospital labs to begin electronically transmitting lab results to public health systems within six months.



HIMSS 2011: Exchange is in the Air

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media , February 22, 2011

Healthcare reform, meaningful use, interoperability, and privacy and security are hot topics among attendees at the annual CHIME and HIMSS conferences in Orlando this week, of course. But this year there seems to be an increased emphasis on secure and accurate exchange of healthcare data—whether among members of local or regional cooperatives, private for- and non-profit exchanges, state-run HIEs, or individual systems that just want the hospitals, clinics, specialists, and primary care physicians in their network to do a better job of communicating electronically (and no, faxing doesn't count).

At one point, Kaiser Permanente had 2,000 systems that were barely communicating, said John Mattison, MD, CMIO of Kaiser Permanente Southern California during a CHIME town hall on health information exchange. "I couldn't solve the problem locally without solving it globally," he said. Solutions, he explained, include open-source collaboration and standardized terminology.



Study: Canada needs to clarify e-health vision

Written by Editorial Staff

February 24, 2011

To accelerate adoption of EHRs and realize a timely return on investment in Canada, an e-health policy needs to be tightly aligned with the major strategic directions of healthcare reform, according to a recent study published Feb. 22 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Doctors and front-line healthcare workers and administrators must be encouraged to play a more active role in EHR implementation, wrote Robyn Tamblyn, MD, medical scientist at the Research Institute at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in Montreal, and colleagues.

The Canada Health Infoway project was implemented in 2001 with the goal of accelerating e-health implementation and creating a national system of interoperable EHRs. After 10 years and $1.6 billion of investment in 280 health IT projects, Canada still lags behind countries such as Denmark, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, according to Tamblyn, who is also a professor at the departments of medicine and epidemiology, biostatistics and occupational health at McGill University, and colleagues.



Privacy and genes

Joseph Conn’s Blog

Two eminent physician information technology leaders engaged in a colloquy Sunday on the secondary use of patient data and privacy at the physician IT symposium Sunday at the Health Information and Management Systems Society convention in Orlando, Fla.

In the audience in a room packed with 400 fellow physicians was Dr. John Mattison, chief medical information officer and assistant medical director of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group.

On stage at the podium was Dr. Christopher Chute, a professor of medical informatics in the division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics in the Department of Health Sciences Research at the Mayo Clinic. Chute is a member of the federally chartered Health IT Standards Committee. Mattison is a member of the Health IT Policy Committee's workgroup on governance of a nationwide health information exchange.



Siemens hires Overhage for CMIO post

By David Burda

Posted: February 21, 2011 - 11:45 am ET

Siemens said its hired health information exchange veteran Dr. J. Marc Overhage as the chief medical informatics officer of the company's health services business unit. Overhage will assume his new position on March 28. Overhage founded the Indiana Health Information Exchange and serves as the IHIE's president and CEO. He's also the director of medical informatics at the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis.



Doctors Need 1,600 Robot-Aided Prostate Surgeries for Skills, Study Finds

By Michelle Fay Cortez - Feb 16, 2011

Doctors who perform robotic-assisted prostate cancer surgery aren’t proficient and able to remove all the malignant cells surrounding the tumor until they have done the procedure more than 1,600 times, researchers said.

Results from a study suggest the operations using Intuitive Surgical Inc.’s da Vinci robot are being performed too often at community hospitals by surgeons without enough experience, said Prasanna Sooriakumaran, lead author and urologist at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. Doctors have embraced the approach because studies show it can be learned quickly, uses smaller incisions, causes less blood loss and speeds recovery.

More than 90,000 men in the U.S. have their prostate gland removed each year because of cancer, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The surgery is done mainly with robotic technology introduced in 2000 by Sunnyvale, California- based Intuitive Surgical, typically by doctors who perform 100 or fewer procedures annually, Sooriakumaran said.



HIT Recruitment Help Desk

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , February 13, 2011

When the federal government last year made available about $20 billion to incentivize healthcare providers to install interoperable electronic medical records systems, there was anxiety about finding the right people to operate these complex and expensive systems.

The ideal candidate was thought to be a hybrid: a clinician who understood the job demands and requirements of bedside nurses and physicians, and a technician who understood computer systems. It is a rare skill set, and hospitals are reporting varying success in finding the right people.

Denton Arledge, vice president and CIO at WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh, NC, says his health system’s proximity to the high-tech Research Triangle, some of the best universities in the nation, and the region’s overall desirability have created an adequate supply of qualified computer technicians.



GAO: CMS should reconcile e-prescribing, EHR incentive reporting

By Mary Mosquera

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should reduce the duplicate requirements in its two programs that pay incentives to healthcare providers who use health information technology. It should also reconcile areas in the two programs that are similar but inconsistent to relieve some of the reporting burden for participating physicians, according to the Government Accountability Office.

CMS administers two programs, for electronic prescribing and electronic health records, which pay incentives to eligible Medicare providers who adopt and use health IT, and imposes penalties on those who do not use the digital tools after several years.

In 2009, the first year the e-prescribing program disbursed incentive payments, CMS paid out $148 million to about 8 percent of the about 600,000 Medicare providers who were eligible. From 2012 through 2014, CMS will decrease the amount of payments for claims to providers who do not establish e-prescribing, said GAO in a report published Feb. 17.




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