Saturday, February 25, 2012
Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 25th February, 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.
An article published Feb. 13 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal outlines 10 “rights” that clinicians should expect in the performance of an electronic health records system, as well as corresponding responsibilities of the clinicians to use the EHR to improve the quality of care.
The article’s authors are Dean Sittig, PhD., a biomedical informatics professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; and Hardeep Singh, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine, who have collaborated in the past on studies of improving EHR use and safety, including a call in late 2011 for establishment of a National EHR Safety Board.
By Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
REDMOND, WA – GE Healthcare and Microsoft have announced senior executives and the name of their joint health IT venture, which was announced in December. The new company, called Caradigm, is expected to launch in the first half of this year.
The name is meant to embody paradigm shift in care delivery, said the firm's CEO-designate, Michael J. Simpson – said he was pleased to find such an evocative moniker
"You see a name that reflects your company and your mission, and it just works out," he said. "We were very surprised it hadn't been taken before."
By Mary Mosquera
Created 2012-02-13 07:15
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT will test in New York its standards and services for electronic and distributed population health queries.
The Primary Care Information Project (PCIP) in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will test the standards and a reference model for the Query Health project with the New York State Department of Public Health in a pilot to expand population health monitoring, according to Rich Elmore, ONC coordinator for the Query Health initiative.
PCIP, which supports the adoption of health IT among primary care providers who tend to the city's underserved populations, will use the Query Health standards and reference implementation to expand its population health monitoring network to encompass citywide health information exchange organizational coverage of inpatient and outpatient encounters.
By TOM MURPHY 02/14/12 10:19 AM ET
-- UnitedHealth Group's Optum business is launching a service that allows doctors to share information about patients over the Internet, as health care companies continue their push to improve care with better coordination.
The system, known as cloud computing, involves storing information and software applications on remote servers that are accessed through a secure Internet connection.
In health care, this means a doctor does not have to go to a particular computer for patient information or care updates. He or she can use portable devices like smart phones or tablet computers.
Created Feb 15 2012 - 1:36pm
Sepsis is no laughing matter--but a new tool aims to at least make learning about the dangers of the deadly infection a little more pleasant for docs.
The web-based game--Septris--is modeled after the popular computer game Tetris. Developed by Stanford University Medical Center physicians, researchers and education technology experts, the game can be played on a mobile phone, a tablet or a computer.
It's no secret that, in general, rural healthcare providers lag behind their counterparts in urban and non-rural areas when it comes to the implementation of electronic medical records and other healthcare information technology.
The Office of the National Coordinator recently announced that only 9% of critical access hospitals had attested to meaningful use of EHR in 2011, compared with 16% of hospitals in non-rural settings. Frankly, neither statistic is worth bragging about. But the lagging achievement in critical-access hospitals points to some unique challenges that rural healthcare providers face.
9 February 2012 Jon Hoeksma
Computer Sciences Corporation has made a $1.49 billion write-off against the National Programme for IT in the NHS, in what is thought to be the biggest ever write-off against a single IT project in the UK.
The US computer services company announced the write-off in its quarterly financial results yesterday.
The write-off equals CSC’s entire investment in the contract for the North, Midlands and East of England, where it has been struggling to install the Lorenzo electronic patient record system at trusts.
Signals that federal officials might "re-examine the pace" of next year's implementation dates for ICD-10 are bringing mostly favorable reactions from healthcare providers.
Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, told an American Medical Association conference in Washington, DC on Tuesday that the federal government was sympathetic to physicians' concerns about the Oct. 1, 2013 implementation date for the new standard of diagnostic classification.
"I'm committing today to work with you to reexamine the pace at which we implement ICD-10," Tavenner said as a room full of doctors applauded, according to a post from the Massachusetts Medical Society. "I want to work together to ensure that we implement ICD-10 in a way that (meets its) goals while recognizing your concerns."
February 14, 2012 — Although electronic health records (EHRs) are intended to streamline patient care and communication between healthcare professionals, they can lead to information overload, according to results a study published in a letter in the February 13 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
"Strategies to improve efficiency of electronic clinician-to-clinician messaging should be pursued to avoid burdening busy frontline health care providers," recommend Daniel Murphy, MD, from the Veteran's Affairs Health Services Research & Development Center for Excellence in Houston, Texas, and colleagues.
Their study was conducted in the outpatient clinics of a large, tertiary-care Department of Veterans Affairs facility in which the EHR includes an inbox system for "additional signature request" (ASR) alerts, defined as any note requiring an electronic signature.
By Mary Mosquera
Created 2012-02-15 11:26
The National Institute of Standards and Technology needs the help of vendors to supply their existing electronic health records so the agency can conduct research on the systems to develop procedures for measuring and evaluating their usability.
NIST wants to come up with performance-oriented user interface design guidelines for EHRs as a framework for assessing the usability of EHRs, according to the agency.
15 February 2012 Rebecca Todd
A tender notice has been issued for a patient administration system and electronic patient record system for nine London trusts.
The estimated value of the tender, issued in the Official Journal of the European Union, is between £250m and £400m.
EHealth Insider believes this makes it the largest collaborative procurement for healthcare IT outside the National Programme for IT in the NHS.
Posted: February 16, 2012 - 1:00 pm ET
Patients generally see electronic health-record systems as a good thing and want their physicians to use them, but a large percentage also see a dark side to EHRs when it comes to data privacy and security, according to a report from the National Partnership for Women & Families.
The 76-page report, "Making IT Meaningful: How Consumers Value and Trust Health IT," contains results of a survey conducted by Harris Interactive and overseen by veteran privacy researcher Alan Westin. Conducted online last August, the survey had responses from 1,961 adults. More than half (nearly 59%) said their physicians use electronic records.
A high percentage of patients surveyed reported having favorable opinions about EHRs.
When asked how useful EHRs could be in boosting quality in seven different care "elements," between 80% and 97% indicated an EHR would be useful, the report said.
By Tom Sullivan, Government Health IT
WASHINGTON – The case for leapfrogging ICD-10 and holding out for ICD-11 just got a lot more curious. And though it’s not here yet, when ICD-11 is ready, it will be something ICD-10 cannot be: A 21st Century classification system.
Now that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has thrown her department’s hat in the ring, saying late Wednesday that HHS intends to delay ICD-10, the most pertinent question is how long will HHS push back compliance?
“My opinion is that CMS won't be able to announce three months or six months of delay for ICD-10,” says Mike Arrigo, CEO of consultancy No World Borders (pictured above). “They will need to announce a delay from Oct. 1, 2013 to at least Oct. 1, 2014 because of CMS fiscal planning calendars.”
Others in the industry are suggesting that even one year is not enough to lighten the burden on physicians, providers and payers to make the transition smoother.
“I have a gut feeling they’ll go for two years, who knows?” speculates Steve Sisko, an analyst and technology consultant focused on payers and ICD-10. “Maybe January 2015?”
Created Feb 14 2012 - 11:34pm
The lack of a standardized application programming interface (API) for electronic health records is hampering the growth of information networks, according to a recent poll  conducted by health IT strategy and research firm Gantry Group, which recently surveyed health plans and EHR vendors on the topic.
Gantry found that 96 percent of health plans and 88 percent of vendors surveyed said that a standard API is needed to support data exchange among EHR systems. Without a single standard method for EHRs to use to communicate, the industry won't move forward with large-scale data exchange, despite the government's pumping of resources into HIT.
Created Feb 14 2012 - 11:24pm
Requiring only communication from electronic health records to immunization registries, but not from the registries back to the providers, impedes data exchange and renders Meaningful Use requirements "incomplete," researchers from the University of Michigan concluded in a recent article  published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, reported about  in EHR Outlook.
The authors noted that Stage 1 of Meaningful Use requires providers to attest only that their EHR has successfully sent a test message to a state or regional immunization information system (IIS). However, since there is no requirement for a provider's EHR to receive any information in return from the IIS--something not likely to be a requirement under Stage 2 of Meaningful Use--the exchange of data falls short.
Friday, February 17, 2012
As the 2012 Annual HIMSS Conference & Exhibition opens on Feb. 20, attendees will find familiar and new education, exhibition and networking opportunities. This year, the conference comes to Las Vegas, a first for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. The conference will be held at the Venetian Sands Expo Center from Feb. 20 through Feb. 24.
In my 12 years as president and CEO of HIMSS, I've found that attendees have a definite objective when they arrive at the conference -- whether it's identifying a new health IT or management systems solution or attending education sessions on a certain topic, or maybe both. With much to absorb in these five days, here is my checklist of what to watch in the week ahead.
Created Feb 17 2012 - 2:17pm
Nearly all small healthcare organizations and practices responding to a recent survey said they've suffered some sort of data breach in the past year, the Ponemon Institute announced this week. Overall, 91 percent of responding facilities with 250 employees or less said they had suffered at least one data breach, with 23 percent of respondents saying that their organizations experienced at least one patient medical identity theft in that time span.
What's more, three-fourths of respondents said that organizations lacked sufficient funding to prevent such breaches; 48 percent, meanwhile, said that less than 10 percent of their organization's annual budget was used on data security.
Major factors for such breaches included negligent employees and an inability to meet compliance requirements, according to the study's authors. Mobile device use and social media activity were considered to be areas of particular vulnerability.
Created Feb 17 2012 - 12:08pm
Efforts to create a medical imaging mega-cloud are in the works, according to an article  published this week in The Register. Researchers at Peake Healthcare Innovations (a collaborative venture between Johns Hopkins University and Harris Corp.), VMware, and Intel are teaming up on the project, which ultimately could become a nationwide central warehouse.
The Johns Hopkins hospital system essentially will serve as a testing ground for project prior to a nationwide rollout, according to The Register. A full private cloud version of PeakeSecure--Peake's medical records cloud--will be rolled out at Johns Hopkins next month, with a public version set for completion by in the next several months, according to Jim Philbin, Peake's chief technology officer. Philbin also serves as co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Biomedical and Imaging Informatics.
The debate on which qualifications an IT job candidate needs to work in a hospital or medical practice rages.
By Paul Cerrato, InformationWeek
February 16, 2012
If you've kept up with the news in recent months, you're aware of the shortage of qualified IT professionals to fill positions in hospitals and medical practices. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs in health informatics will jump by 18% by 2016 and expects there will be shortage of about 50,000 health IT workers over the next five years.
Few people challenge those statistics, but what's upsetting job candidates is that many health IT managers only want people with a clinical background.
Essentially, the debate revolves around this issue: Is it easier to teach an IT generalist the clinical principles needed to work in a hospital or practice, or teach a clinician the general IT principles?
By Joseph Conn
I'm sure many of you, like me, are in HIMSS mode right now. So, I'm going to interrupt your packing for the Las Vegas meeting of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society for only a minute.
A line jumped out at me from a report by the National Partnership for Women and Families released Wednesday: "Making IT Meaningful: How Consumers Value and Trust Health IT,". It summarized the responses from some 1,900 patients surveyed online by Harris Interactive and was overseen by veteran privacy researcher Alan Westin.
It found that patients are well aware that the current level of privacy and security protections in electronic record-keeping, quite frankly, stinks.
By Ashlee Vance
Say what you will about Microsoft, the company sure has some incredible resolve.
On Monday, Microsoft and General Electric revealed that Caradigm will be the name of their health-care joint venture. The new company should come to life sometime in the first half of this year, employing about 750 people in the Seattle area. Caradigm will take a stab at modernizing health care through applications that help hospitals, doctors, and patients manage health records and the information pouring in from various machines and databases. The general idea is to give health-care providers a way to see tons of information with one log-in and to start gathering huge amounts of information in a way that could illuminate insights about patients.
Posted: February 17, 2012 - 4:15 pm ET
The percentage of hospitals that use electronic health-record systems more than doubled from 2009 to 2011, according to the results of a new American Hospital Association survey that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius touted at an event in Kansas City, Mo.
More than one-third of hospitals (35%) had adopted EHRs as of 2011 versus 16% that had done so in 2009, according to the survey. In addition, about 2,000 hospitals and more than 41,000 physicians have received a share of $3.1 billion in incentives for their meaningful use of EHR systems, according to an HHS news release issued in conjunction with Sebelius' visit to Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley Health Science Institute.
By: Brian Dolan | Feb 14, 2012
Last week MobiHealthNews hosted its first webinar of 2012. During my presentation I shared my 12 trends for 2012. Our co-presenter, Aaron Kaufman from Kony Healthcare Solutions also shared his take on the year ahead. Check out the complimentary, hour-long webinar on demand right here.
1.) The Adoption of Smartphones and Tablets. This is by far the most obvious trend because it has been so steady for the past few years. It is still an important one to consider. By the end of 2011, Nielsen expected half of the US population to own a smartphone. At the end of 2011 62 percent of 25 to 34 year olds had smartphones. About 53 percent of 35 to 44 year olds did. The fastest growing age group for smartphone adoption in the past year was the 55 to 64 year old age group. Adoption among this group went from 17 percent to 30 percent a year later. Similarly the iPad has had the fastest adoption rate of any consumer electronics device in history. We know that now more than 80 percent of physicians in the US have smartphones. Between 30 percent and 50 percent have tablets now depending on who you ask.
By Mary Mosquera
Created 2012-02-14 11:40
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT would receive $66 million, or $5 million more than the current year, under President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal 2013.
ONC’s budget would increase 8.2 percent to advance the progress in creating a nationwide health IT infrastructure, including further accelerating the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and their meaningful use by physicians.
ONC’s spending is part of the president’s request for $76.7 billion, or 0.4 percent more than 2012, for the small part of HHS spending that is discretionary in his budget released Feb. 13.
February 14, 2012 (Toronto, ON) - Toronto-based health technology company Infonaut Inc. today announced it has signed a contract with the University Health Network to test its real-time disease surveillance system to control and stop hospital acquired infections, Hospital Watch Live.
Designed to assist hospitals in controlling and stopping the spread of infectious organisms, Hospital Watch Live has been installed on the multi-organ transplant unit, an area of the hospital where all of the patients are on therapies to prevent organ rejection, which also suppresses their immune systems.
Response from staff on the unit has been enthusiastic because they believe that the data generated by the system will help them increase hand hygiene compliance, track equipment throughout the unit, respond to infectious disease outbreaks, conduct studies on techniques to increase quality and better protect staff from exposure to infections. This work should also reduce overall costs to the hospital.
By Government Health IT Staff
Created 2012-02-13 08:58
A bit slow on the uptake, perhaps, but the business model for Personal Health Records is taking off. And the venture capital seeded in 2011 – an amount ranking second only to the vast health information management category – is set to yield new products and bolster existing ones. But will they really be ready for patients?
Raj Prabhu certainly thinks so. As managing partner of Mercom Capital Group, Prabhu explains that the investment money, some $83 million across a dozen deals, is being injected into fledgling PHR companies thinking of new ways to advance digital healthcare record keeping, taking personal health records in new directions to avoid going the way of Google Health.
By Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
CHICAGO – Open Health Tools, a multi-stakeholder group of open source advocates, has partnered with HIMSS to help spur the development of open source technology in healthcare.
Open Health Tools (OHT), whose chief health informatics officer is Robert M. Kolodner, MD, the former national coordinator for health IT, seeks to build a "ubiquitous ecosystem where members of the health and IT professions can collaborate to build interoperable systems." Its members include government agencies from the U.S., U.K and Canada, as well as vendors large and small.
OHT and HIMSS have agreed to collaborate on several fronts, including the use of open source technology, conferences and resources, such as whitepapers and webinars. This partnership will result in a new effort to deliver healthcare industry-specific guidance and non-proprietary solutions that aid in enabling the national vision of secure and seamless exchange of health information, officials say.
-----By STEVE LOHR | February 13, 2012, 1:16 pm1
Demos, talks and a paper-plate dinner buffet were the fare last Friday evening at the Computer Museum in Mountain View, Calif., and the subject was the high-tech future of health care. The gathering was hosted by FutureMed, a health-care program that is part of Singularity University, a networked organization dedicated to exploring how disruptive technologies can sweep across whole industries and society.
The technologies on display were impressive, often inspiring — like the wearable-robots, or mechanical exoskeletons, made by Ekso Bionics, to enable people with spinal cord injuries to walk again; or I.B.M.’s Watson question-answering computer that is being morphed into a doctors’ smart assistant.
Dr. Daniel Kraft, executive director of the FutureMed program, pointed to a series of fast-changing technologies including biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence and the surge in new data to mine for insights, or Big Data. “Exponential technologies are all around us,” Dr. Kraft said.
Created Feb 11 2012 - 2:02pm
Healthcare system managers know that the hardest part of moving to ICD-10 will be training physicians to document their work in ways that facilitate appropriate coding. Physicians are not necessarily motivated to change their workflow to justify more granular codes. And, with only a year-and-a-half to go before the October 2013 deadline, healthcare organizations have to begin engaging doctors now to spur more complete documentation before the number of diagnosis codes explodes.
The reluctance of doctors to change their documentation habits is a major reason why the American Medical Association  recently asked Congress and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to stop implementation of ICD-10. While the Medical Group Management Association has not gone that far, MGMA continues to cite  a study showing how much ICD-10 will cost practices in terms of lost productivity.
Our fourth annual Industry Survey, comprising the views of over 1,000 healthcare executives from a cross-section of organizations across the country, shows technology as a fairly low priority—sixth out of 12 concerns. Health IT, EMR, clinical technology, and other types and uses of technology are a top priority for only 29% of leaders. Move along, nothing here to see?
Yet when you examine executives' highest priorities, technology isn't far under the surface. The top priority listed in our survey is patient experience and satisfaction. While the actions of physicians and nurses most directly affect patient care, caregivers today rely on technology to get their jobs done.
Obviously, clinical technology such as informatics is important in this instance, but healthcare IT also has a big impact. Electronic health records can play an enormous role in improving patient experience. Is anything more powerful in caring for a patient than comprehensive health information delivered quickly?
Leapfrog Group's 2011 list of 65 top hospitals in U.S. highlights facilities that use health IT to prevent deadly dosing mistakes.
By Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, InformationWeek
February 10, 2012
The Leapfrog Group has named the nation's top hospitals for 2011, and the list shines a spotlight on how health IT can help improve patient care--even preventing medical errors that can lead to adverse drug reactions and deaths.
Leapfrog, a consortium of employers and public and private healthcare purchasers, bases its annual ranking on a survey of hospitals' processes, quality of care, and patient safety. Its evaluation includes "stringent IT requirements," said Leah Binder, Leapfrog CEO in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare.
Approximately 1,200 hospitals--or about one quarter of U.S. hospitals-- participated in the 2011 Leapfrog survey. Sixty-five facilities earned Leapfrog's Top Hospital designation.
DETROIT – Walk into a doctor's office and chances are that some of your most private information -- from your Social Security number to the details of your last cervical exam and your family's cancer history -- is stored electronically.
Your doctor might access the information on a cell phone that could slip into the wrong hands. The staff might take it home on a laptop or a flash drive.
As Detroit-area health care providers take multimillion-dollar steps toward electronic records, they're talking about more than efficiency and better care. They're talking security, too.
By Bernie Monegain, Editor
INDIANAPOLIS – Billed as the nation’s largest health information exchange organization, the Indiana HIE (IHIE) is poised to scale up and to expand its business plans, which includes the launch of a new professional services organization to serve other HIEs.
The HIE counts 10 million patients, more than 19,000 physicians, more than 80 facilities among its stakeholders. IHIE is responsible for what its executives call "an ocean of information.” That means more than four billion pieces of clinical data in the repository. The exchange delivers three million health transactions daily.
IHIE works with hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and physician practices throughout Indiana to ensure health information is where it needs to be, when it needs to be there to help improve care coordination and patient outcomes.
Focus group suggests that CIOs need to get clinicians enthusiastic about the new diagnostic coding system, but they don't know how to make that happen.
By Ken Terry, InformationWeek
February 10, 2012
Healthcare systems preparing for the ICD-10 transition are still not devoting enough attention to preparing physicians for the clinical documentation that will be required when the number of diagnosis codes jumps from 14,000 to 68,000 next year. That's one of the conclusions that Heather Haugen, corporate vice president of the Breakaway Group, a health IT consulting firm, and Breakaway CEO Charles Fred reached after they conducted a CIO focus group.
"The number-one finding was the lack of attention being paid to clinical documentation," Haugen told InformationWeek Healthcare. "The CIOs understood issues related to vendor readiness, their own application readiness, and coder training. But under 5% mentioned provider readiness and clinical documentation improvement."
Why spend all that money on an office-based electronic health record system and not take full advantage of its features?
By Paul Cerrato, InformationWeek
February 10, 2012
Despite the fact that more than 50% of office-based physicians have implemented EHRs, most practices aren't making full use of many of the most useful features, according to Rosemarie Nelson, a principal with the Medical Group Management Association Health Care Consulting Group. Nelson, who was cited in a recent American Medical News report, said neglected features include patient portals, e-prescribing, and electronic appointment scheduling.
Why the hesitation? For some medical practices, it's probably about cost because some EHR vendors require additional fees to take advantage of the plug-ins. For other practices, it might be that their already overworked staffs just don't have time to learn and deploy the features or maybe they don't fully appreciate what these features can bring to a practice.
Created Feb 13 2012 - 2:23pm
Electronic tools that track the details of medical imaging procedures and clinical decision support tools integrated with a computerized physician order entry system can reduce the risk of radiation, according to an article  in the journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
Specifically, electronic records of imaging procedures could help reduce unnecessary repetition in testing, the authors wrote. For example, in a retrospective review of medical records for 459 patients who underwent CT and MRI exams in Washington state, more than a quarter of the tests were deemed inappropriate. What's more, only 24 percent of those inappropriate tests led to positive follow-up care.
Posted by Dr David More MB PhD FACHI at Saturday, February 25, 2012