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, January 14, 2012

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 14th January, 2012.

Note: Each link is followed by a title and few paragraphs. 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.

How CIOs Cope When the Going Gets Tough

Edward Prewitt, for HealthLeaders Media , January 3, 2012

Healthcare IT is subordinate to the medical mission. Information technology in hospitals and healthcare systems operates in the service of executives, medical staff, and especially patients, and healthcare CIOs tend to focus on industry-specific issues such as meaningful use, healthcare information exchanges, and EMRs/EHRs/PHRs. The professional organizations for healthcare CIOs, CHIME and HIMSS, speak to the specific issues of their members.
Yet I am struck by how similar the healthcare CIO's job is becoming to that of CIOs across other industries. John Halamka, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School and a noted blogger, recently penned a column titled "The modern healthcare CIO job: It's becoming a Mission Impossible." He recounts a host of difficulties, including "compliance burdens, overwhelming demands, and impossible expectations."

The telehealth year in review

December 29, 2011 | Government Health IT Staff
It is hard to imagine a more interesting time in the healthcare industry than today. The realm is undergoing unprecedented change, and all segments are converging on a common set of goals to leverage innovation and technology to provide quality care, improved outcomes, and cost-efficiency.
Five years from now 2011 may be looked at as a pivotal time in the evolution of Telehealth. We saw a continued trend of federal funding that provides direct incentives for the use of Telehealth technology, and promising results from major pilots in the field. But most importantly, there were significant developments in the regulation of Telehealth technology and coverage of Telehealth-enabled care. These game-changers will lower the barriers to entry and accelerate the adoption of Telehealth.

Less than 1 percent of hospitals fully use tablets

By: Chris Gullo | Jan 2, 2012
Less than one percent of US hospitals have fully functional tablet systems, according to Jonathan Mack, director of clinical research and development at the West Wireless Health Institute. Despite financial incentives from the government, US hospitals are still slow to adopt EMRs, Mack told Kaiser Health News in a recent interview. Those that do might not have access to a native tablet application from the EMR developer, and even then, the app might include only read-only functionality. To circumvent this, virtualization programs such as Citrix are used on EMRs designed for keyboard input, making for a slow and frustrating usage experience.

Diabetic Tester That Talks to iPhones and Doctors


While consumer technology advances by leaps and bounds, the devices patients use to manage diseases often seem stuck in the past. A glaring example is the glucometer, the instrument diabetics use to measure the sugar in their blood—information they use to adjust their diet, exercise and medication.
These meters, which analyze drops of blood drawn from fingertips, typically resemble crude PDAs from 10 or 15 years ago. They offer little feedback and can't connect to the Internet to show results to caregivers. Most diabetics who use them log their readings on paper, which they hand doctors weeks or months later.

Microsoft researcher: Passwords aren't dead but they need fixing

  • Tim Greene (Network World)
  • 05 January, 2012 08:29
Password use needs an overhaul that is driven not by guesswork but by actually understanding the real damage that can be done when password security is compromised, according to a Microsoft researcher.
While many call for replacing passwords altogether with something else, they may be doing so based on little or no hard evidence, says Cormac Herley, a principal researcher at Microsoft Research.
Keystroke logging, brute force attacks, phishing and session hijacking are all used to get around passwords, but it would be impossible to draw a pie chart of how much each method was used because nobody knows, he says in a paper on the subject. "We don't know the slice sizes — not even approximately," he says.

FDA's approach to clinical decision support software: A brief summary

By bthompson
Created Dec 28 2011 - 9:53am
We wrote this paper for those who have little experience with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulation of clinical decision support (CDS) software. Our goal is to provide background for those who want to participate in FDA's ongoing efforts to clarify its regulatory approach to CDS. In 2011, FDA announced plans to publish a new guidance document that will define which types of CDS it will regulate. To gather the information needed to write the guidance, the agency held a hearing in September 2011, and we anticipate FDA will propose its guidance document perhaps early in 2012.
While the topic is very complicated, in this paper we try to distill it down to the fundamentals, and probably risk oversimplifying in the process.

App challenge winners harness public data for cancer treatment

January 05, 2012 | Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
HONOLULU – Two new winners of a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) innovation challenge have created health IT applications that use public data and to help patients and healthcare professionals prevent, detect, diagnose and treat cancer.
The winning apps, which were presented this week at the Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences, were each awarded $20,000 by the Office for the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

Microsoft's PHR goes mobile with iTriage

December 30, 2011 | Bernie Monegain, Editor
DENVER – The consumer healthcare technology platform iTriage will integrate its iPhone mobile application with the Microsoft HealthVault personal healthcare record (PHR).
The connection will enable iTriage users to view and access their records stored within Microsoft HealthVault, via the iPhone.
More than three million people have used iTriage to view information on symptoms, diseases, procedures, medications, and to access a nationwide directory of medical providers, according to iTriage executives, who note that iTriage has been touted by ABC News as the one-stop app that allows patients to not only know what’s wrong with them, but also know where to go for treatment.

Riding the Revolution

JAN 1, 2012
Intermountain Healthcare is equally renowned for cutting-edge information technology and health care quality improvement. Though it hasn't formally attested for meaningful use (mainly because its homegrown EHR system has to be certified first), health informatics pioneers were using computers for decision support at Intermountain's flagship LDS Hospital as early as the 1950s, and it has had electronic medical records in some form since the 1970s.
It's currently developing a new EHR system in collaboration with GE Healthcare; modules are expected to start reaching the market sometime later this year. Using its advanced I.T. capabilities, Intermountain conducted some of the first formal studies on health care quality, utilization and efficiency in the mid-1980s. The Intermountain Institute for Health Care Delivery Research, founded in 1990, routinely breaks new ground in finding ways to make care more efficient and effective.

Federal health IT market poised for growth

December 29, 2011 | Bernie Monegain, Editor
HERNDON, VA – Investments in health IT systems and services by federal government agencies will increase from $4.5 billion in 2011 to $6.5 billion in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate of 7.5 percent, according to a new GovWin report from research firm Deltek.
“Federal Health Information Technology Market, 2011-2016” explores the federal health IT market environment and future trends and their anticipated impact on vendors, VARS, systems integrators, and federal contractors over the next five years.

Building One Big Pipe

Elizabeth Gardner
Health Data Management Magazine, 01/01/2012
Thanks to smartphones, the Internet, and streaming Netflix, the general public no longer draws the traditional distinctions among data, voice and video. They're all just one big stream of information and communication-a stream that users expect to be able to tap at will from wherever they are, with whatever gadget is handy. And hospital CIOs are scrambling to meet that expectation, not only for their clinicians but for the many devices that generate data, images and alerts for those clinicians to use in patient care.
"Our doctors look like Batman with a utility belt" because they're carrying multiple cell phones and pagers to connect with the people and data they need, says Chuck Christian, CIO of Good Samaritan Hospital, Vincennes, Ind. "We would like one device to take the place of all those things, and then to create a single conduit for communications."

Halamka to test ways to reduce mobile device distraction

By: Neil Versel | Dec 22, 2011
Perhaps the best-known hospital CIO in the country loves the potential of mobile devices to improve care, but he cautions that healthcare organizations had better understand and act to mitigate the risks mobility can introduce.
Writing on the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality’s Web M&M online journal, Dr. John Halamka, CIO of CareGroup Healthcare System in Boston, discusses his experience with mobile devices at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Halamka suggests hospitals need to develop best practices for employing mobile devices in clinical settings.

Hackers Target Patient Records on Mobile Devices

By Janet Maragioglio | Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:34 am
Patient data breaches are surging as mobile device use increases among healthcare personnel, underscoring a need for greater privacy protection.
According to the Ponemon Institute, data breaches in healthcare rose more than 30 percent this year, with 96 percent of healthcare organizations reporting at least one breach involving patient information over the past two years.
The rise in medical data breaches parallels the increase in mobile device use in healthcare, becoming one of the industry's biggest challenges as more hospitals and physicians' offices digitize patient records.

The 7 Deadly Sins of EMR implementation

By Michelle McNickle, Web Content Producer
Created 09/07/2011
Congratulations! You've committed to an EMR, which is an accomplishment in itself. But the hardest part is still to come: getting it to work.
From failing to plan to skipping out on training, many mistakes can be made during the implementation process. And although they may not be as juicy as wrath, envy or lust, the Seven Deadly Sins of EMR implementation could wreak just as much havoc.
Steve Waldren, MD, director of the American Academy of Family Physicians' Center for Health IT, and Rosemarie Nelson, principal of the MGMA Consulting Group, gave us the worst sins providers can commit during EMR implementation.

Health IT Tools Reduce Readmissions At Philadelphia Hospitals

With the help of health information technology, more than 400 patients avoided being rehospitalized and 18 facilities saved a total of $4 million in one quarter.
By Nicole Lewis,  InformationWeek
December 22, 2011
A survey of 29 Philadelphia-based hospitals has found that the 18 facilities that submitted patient readmissions data saw a 7% drop in their 30-day same-hospital readmission rates. The figures represent more than 400 patients who avoided being re-hospitalized and $4 million in savings for the third quarter of 2011.
How did they accomplish these goals? According to the Transitions of Care Survey Summary Report, recently released by The Health Care Improvement Foundation, hospitals participating in the 18-month Preventing Avoidable Episodes (PAVE) Project improved upon strategies that enhance transitions of care and prevent hospital readmissions. Those strategies could not have happened without electronic health records (EHRs) and related health information technology tools.

Year in review: Top 10 trends in healthcare data privacy and security

December 22, 2011 | Rick Kam, President and CEO, ID Experts and Christine Arevalo, director of healthcare identity management, ID Experts
Forget the hospital dramas on TV. Our top 10 list of this year’s trends in healthcare privacy and security has excitement to rival any show. 2011 has been the year of the policing of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) police, mobile technology and massive-scale data breaches:
1. More policing, more penalties, OCR-style.
The OCR has entered a new phase of increased enforcement and fines that are stiffer than an overstarched lab coat. In February,
Cignet Health was fined $4.3 million for denying patients access to their medical records. At about the same time, Massachusetts General agreed to pay $1 million for the loss of 192 patients’ PHI.
2. Increase in healthcare data breaches.
Despite increased enforcement of federal regulations, the frequency of healthcare data breaches are on the rise, up 32 percent, according to
a new benchmark study by the Ponemon Institute. Data breaches have become a when, not if, reality in the lives of healthcare professionals. The Ponemon study found that hospitals and healthcare providers are averaging four data breaches a year. These data breaches are costing the healthcare industry an estimated $6.5 billion annually, according to the study.

Computer Sciences Warns of $1.5 Billion Write-Down


Computer Sciences Corp. warned it might write off the $1.5 billion value of a disputed contract with the U.K.'s state-run health service, the latest in a string of setbacks for the technology-services company.
CSC has been negotiating with Britain's National Health Service since mid-November over the scope of an electronic patient-records system the company is helping to develop. Uncertainty over the deal's value, along with struggles in CSC's core business and a regulatory investigation of its accounting, have dimmed investors' view of the Falls Church, Va., company.

ONC’s Five-Step Process for Adopting EHRs

HDM Breaking News, December 22, 2011
Provider organizations still mulling over whether or when to adopt electronic health records can get help from a five-step implementation program on the Web site of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
The program walks through assessing practice readiness, planning your approach, selecting or upgrading to a certified EHR, training and implementation, and achieving meaningful use and quality improvement.
December 18, 2011

Digital Data on Patients Raises Risk of Breaches

One afternoon last spring, Micky Tripathi received a panicked call from an employee. Someone had broken into his car and stolen his briefcase and company laptop along with it.
So began a nightmare that cost Mr. Tripathi’s small nonprofit health consultancy nearly $300,000 in legal, private investigation, credit monitoring and media consultancy fees. Not to mention 600 hours dealing with the fallout and the intangible cost of repairing the reputational damage that followed.
Mr. Tripathi’s nonprofit, the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative in Waltham, Mass., works with doctors and hospitals to help digitize their patient records. His employee’s stolen laptop contained unencrypted records for some 13,687 patients — each record containing some combination of a patient’s name, Social Security number, birth date, contact information and insurance information — an identity theft gold mine.

IBM's Watson computer to aid Cedars-Sinai cancer center

The artificial-intelligence computer will guide doctors at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute on diagnosis and treatment.

By Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times
December 17, 2011
IBM's Watson supercomputer may be best known for handily beating "Jeopardy!" game show champs.
Now it's being harnessed to help doctors at Cedars-Sinai's cancer clinic in Los Angeles stay up-to-date on medical breakthroughs and treatments.
Doctors at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute will be the first to use the technology, IBM said, and they will help the computer company make tweaks to the system — the first commercial application of the computer since its "Jeopardy!" debut early this year.

Federal health IT market set to grow to $6.5B by 2016

December 20, 2011 | Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
HERNDON, VA – Federal spending on healthcare IT will reach $6.5 billion by 2016, according to a new survey from Deltek, Inc. That represents a compound annual growth rate of 7.5 percent -- outpacing forecasted growth of just 1.1 percent for overall federal non-health IT spending for the same period.
Federal health IT spending includes funding for payment systems, technology used to deliver healthcare services including electronic health records (EHR) systems, and IT to support federally-funded health research and promotion, according to the survey, conducted by Deltek, which develops IT for professional firms and government contractors.

Interoperability should be top priority for NHS, report says

November 28, 2011 | Jamie Thompson, Web Editor
The Interoperability Toolkit (ITK), a set of standards and guidelines intended to help the NHS across England to connect health IT systems, is touted as an important resource in bringing about interoperability in the region. A new report co-authored by Paul Cooper, IMS MAXIMS Head of Research, titled We Should Talk: Interoperability and the NHS, delves into this topic.
The report recognizes the benefits of the ITK, such as its ability to ensure results at a local level. But it recommends that more needs to be done to engage suppliers and that many people still need to be persuaded to accept interoperability.

Year-end: 3 security threats and 4 tips for protecting health data

December 16, 2011 | Moti Rafalin, CEO, WatchDox
This year, we witnessed several trends that have major implications when it comes to the security of our most precious resource – our documents. And document leaks are on the rise. The Ponemon Institute recently released a study showing a 32 percent increase in data breaches in the healthcare field. Also, 96 percent of healthcare organizations indicated they had suffered from a data breach in the last two years. The combined cost of such data breaches is estimated to be $6.5 billion annually.
So what are the trends that are causing this increase? This article will review the major trends changing the world and the way people consume information, as well as the effect these trends have on document security.

Ohio first state to use Direct messaging across state lines

December 16, 2011 | Diana Manos, Senior Editor
COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio is the first state in the nation to successfully send and receive health information across state lines, using Direct secure messaging, through its statewide health information exchange, CliniSync, according to the Ohio Health Information Partnership (OHIP). The OHIP, a Medicity client, is the state-designated HIE for Ohio.
Medicity announced Friday that it has helped OHIP to conduct live messages between one physician's office in Lima, Ohio and another in Biloxi, Miss. Mississippi's state-designated HIE, the Mississippi Health Information Network (MS-HIN), is also a Medicity client. The partnership also performed live instances of Direct messaging within the state of Ohio. 

VA's Blue Button expanding nationwide and beyond

December 19, 2011 | Diana Manos, Senior Editor
WASHINGTON – In 2010, the Veterans Administration launched the Blue Button, a standards format that allows simple exchange of a patient's personal health data. Initially designed for use by veterans, the idea has taken off in the private sector and has been supported by at least one major care provider overseas.
According to VA’s chief technology officer and Blue Button’s developer Peter Levin, Blue Button is expanding much more than your average American is aware of. With regard to the future, “this changes everything,” Levin said. “Blue Button really is on the vanguard of changing the clinical encounter. Patients now have access to their record.  It's all there, all organized.”

Consumer group lists top 6 data breaches of 2011

December 19, 2011 | Stephanie Bouchard, Contributing Editor
SAN DIEGO – Of the six most significant data breaches in 2011, three were in the healthcare industry, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit consumer protection and advocacy organization.
Breaches at Sutter Physicians Services/Sutter Medical Foundation ranked third on the list, Health Net came in fifth and Tricare Management Activity/Science Applications International Corporation came in sixth.

Implementation support needed for small practice EHR adoption to take off in 2012

December 18, 2011 — 6:06pm ET | By Ken Terry
Long ignored by leading electronic health record vendors because of the high cost of selling to them, small practices finally are getting the spotlight. Motivated by the government's EHR incentive program, Dell and Costco recently launched campaigns to market EHRs to these small businesses, which have adopted the technology at a far slower rate than have medium-sized and large groups.
Dell is selling a package of computer hardware, software and services to physicians in small practices through a network of 30 value-added resellers (VARs) that eventually will grow to as many as 150 firms. Physicians can choose among a dozen well-known EHRs, including those of Allscripts, Cerner, eClinicalWorks, e-MDs, Epic, Greenway, Ingenix, NextGen, Practice Fusion, McKesson, and MEDITECH.


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