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Morning Headlines 12/18/14

December 17, 2014 Headlines No Comments

HHS awards more than $665 million to design and test state-led efforts to improve health care quality, accessibility and affordability

HHS announces that it has awarded $665 million in grants to fund 32 state-level initiatives working to implement experimental health care payment models or service delivery models that could improve health care quality and lower costs.

More hospitals moving to improved EHRs, CMS reports

CMS releases the latest MU attestation numbers: 1,681 eligible hospitals have attested for MU Stage 2 as of December 1, up from just 840 that had attested by November 1.

Open Enrollment Week 4: December 6 – December 12, 2014

2.5 million people have used healthcare.gov to enroll in an insurance plan since the start of the 2014 open enrollment period, 52 percent are renewing policies they signed up for last year, while the rest are new customers.

State-Based Marketplaces Using ‘Clearinghouse’ Plan Management Models Are Associated With Lower Premiums

Health Affairs analyzes the premiums for health plans listed on state health insurance exchanges and finds that states that are more selective about which plans they list on the exchange, even if done in an effort to protect consumers, have significantly higher premiums than states that allow any qualifying health plan to be listed.

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December 17, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 12/17/14

December 16, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Sony Pictures Data Breach

Sony writes a letter to its employees to inform them that their names, social security numbers, addresses, and personal health information may have been compromised when hackers breached the company’s security system and stole internal files.

Sharing is caring? Not for medical records

The post-mortem analysis of a failed EHR interoperability project in Oregon finds that interoperability simply isn’t good business when revenue is tied to a fee-for-service reimbursement model. OHSU’s chief health informatics officer explains, “There’s no financial incentive for the providers. In fact, in many cases, the financial incentive is reversed. Better I don’t know that the patient had an MRI a month ago and repeat it because in a fee-for-service world we get paid for the procedures we do, not the ones we avoid.”

Do patients mind if their healthcare data is shared? It depends

According to a new ethics study, patients view having their health data used to support medical research, but without their consent, as morally superior to having their health data used to support marketing efforts, even if their consent was given.

Making the Cut: Which surgeon you get matters – a lot. But how do we know who the good ones are?

Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering have developed a software system that quantifies and compares patient outcomes across all of its surgeon, with the goal of providing detailed feedback to each surgeon about their performance.

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December 16, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 12/16/14

December 15, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Senate confirms Vivek Murthy as surgeon general

The Senate confirms Vivek Murthy, MD as the next US Surgeon General. Murthy previously worked as a Brigham and Women’s internal medicine physician.

The Antidote to Fragmented Health Care

A Harvard Business Review article describes the problems patients experience when receiving care in poorly coordinated health care systems and then calls for payment reform, a shift toward promoting wellness, and a universal EHR as key steps that could help the problem.

Personal Health Record Reach in the Veterans Health Administration: A Cross-Sectional Analysis

Researchers measuring the reach of the VA’s patient portal find that 19 percent of all veterans that receive healthcare from the VA had registered for the portal, 11 percent had refilled prescriptions via the portal, and two percent had sent secure messages to providers. However, the study also found that patients with certain mental disorders, a history of alcohol or drug abuse, or a history of stroke had lower rates of adoption.

Tennessee Governor Moves To Expand Medicaid Coverage

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will expand Medicaid coverage to low-income residents using federal funds made available through the Affordable Care Act. Tennessee is the third state to expand Medicaid coverage since last month’s midterm elections.

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December 15, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 12/12/14

December 11, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

Data Breach Industry Forecast

Experian publishes its annual “Data Breach Industry Forecast,” which lists a “persistent and growing threat of healthcare breaches” as one of the top security trends for 2015.

Data centre outage hits all Queensland hospitals

In Australia, 40 hospitals lose EHR access and are now running on downtime procedures after a routine upgrade caused memory issues that eventually took out the network’s SAN.

VA Hospital Project Grinds to a Halt Amid Budget Overruns

Construction on VA hospital being built in Denver is suspended after federal judges ruled that the VA was in breach of contract and that the project was $400 million over budget.

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December 11, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 12/11/14

December 10, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Congress reaches deal for $1.1 trillion U.S. spending bill

The omnibus spending bill making its way through Congress will not include an ICD-10 delay or Meaningful Use-related language. However, the bill does put stipulations on DoD and VA funding that requires both organizations to submit progress reports on their EHR integration efforts.

CMS reports rising Stage 2 attestations; CHIME says it’s not enough

CMS reports that 11,478 eligible providers and 840 eligible hospitals have attested to Meaningful Use Stage 2 thus far. CHIME quickly responded pointing out that the total stage 2 attestations represent just 35 percent of EHs and four percent of EPs. The deadline for hospitals to attest is December 31, while providers have until February 28.

Patients Increasingly Value Electronic Health Records, Eager for More Access and Features

A new survey measuring consumer interactions with health IT finds that online access to medical records has doubled from 26 percent in 2011 to 50 percent in 2014. 86 percent of the patients with online access to their medical records reported logging in at least once in the last year, while 55 percent report logging in more than three times per year.

Patient Engagement: Digital self-scheduling set to explode in healthcare over the next five years

An Accenture report finds that 77 percent of patients think that being able to book, cancel, and edit appointments online is important. The report predicts that by the end of 2019, 38 percent of appointments will be self-scheduled.

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December 10, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 12/10/14

December 9, 2014 Headlines 2 Comments

Saying Epic is a ‘closed’ health records system is an oversimplification

VentureBeat profiles Legacy Health (OR), an Epic customer, as they work through their interoperability options while trying to share data between a network of community hospitals and the primary care offices that refer patients to them. Epic CEO Judy Faulkner weighs in, “There are multiple standards, and we do most … if not all of the ones that are most frequently used.”

Jonathan Gruber is very, very sorry about Obamacare ‘gaffes’

MIT economist and former healthcare.gov advisor Jonathan Gruber testifies before Congress, apologizing for his disparaging remarks about the Affordable Care Act.

Computer says no: NHS IT was not designed to operate at this level

In England, a physician laments about life as an EHR user as the NHS transitions its hospitals away from paper charts.  

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December 9, 2014 Headlines 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 12/9/14

December 8, 2014 Headlines No Comments

The Federal Strategy For Collecting, Sharing, And Using Electronic Health Information

ONC has updated its Federal Health IT Strategic Plan: 2015-2020, establishing a set of goals that focuses on advancing interoperability, improving care delivery, engaging patients through digital health tools, and supporting medical research efforts through data mining and retrospective studies.

Why So Many New Tech Companies Are Getting into Health Care

Bob Kocher, MD, a former healthcare economics advisor to the Obama administration, publishes a piece in the Harvard Business Review analyzing the digital health innovation boom in the US, and the cost-saving opportunities that the new startups should be targeting.

Walgreens app makes virtual doctor visits a reality

Walgreens partners with telehealth vendor MDLive to provide virtual visits through its mobile app. The new service now available for residents of California and Michigan, with additional states coming online in 2015.

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December 8, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 12/8/14

December 7, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Alberta moves on integrated health records system

In Canada, the province of Alberta has formed a task force to plan the development of a centralized health information system after the College of Physicians and Surgeons complained that the current system was “woefully inadequate.”

A Response to AMA President Dr. Robert Wah

The Coalition for ICD-10 publishes a harsh reply to AMA president Robert Wah, MD’s outspoken objections to the upcoming transition to ICD-10 codes.

The Woolly Mammoths Of Digital Health Care

Forbes reports on the persistent usability issues that are hindering providers, embarrassing EHR vendors, and frustrating policymakers as the ROI on the nation’s HITECH investment continues to loom just out of reach.

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December 7, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 12/5/14

December 4, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

HL7 Launches Joint Argonaut Project to Advance FHIR

HL7 will work with a large consortium of vendors and health systems to develop a standardized data sharing API and a set of common vocabularies that all EHR vendors could adopt to exchange discrete data and improve interoperability.

Computer-Generated Vs. Physician-Documented History of Present Illness (HPI): Results of a Blinded Comparison

Researchers created a computerized questionnaire that collects clinical data from both patients and providers and then produces a narrative history of present illness. A panel of 48 physicians then blindly evaluated them against physician-documented HPIs, concluding that the computer-generated HPIs were more complete, more useful, more succinct, and better organized.

State says it has repaid $1.3M in overpayments

Massachusetts pays back $1.3 million in Meaningful Use incentive payments after a federal audit found that local hospitals received $2.1 million in overpayments. Representatives from the state Medicaid agency report that the remaining balance will be subtracted from future payments to the overpaid hospitals.

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December 4, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 12/4/14

December 4, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Efforts To Improve Patient Safety Result in 1.3 Million Fewer Patient Harms

US hospitals have reduce medical errors by 17 percent since 2010, with a majority of the improvements coming from reduced adverse drug events, according to an AHRQ report. The improvement is credited with saving an estimated 50,000 lives and $12 billion in healthcare spending.

Jon White, MD, Acting Deputy National Coordinator/Acting Chief Medical Officer

The ONC promotes Jon White, MD to the position of Acting Deputy National Coordinator. White has been with the ONC since 2004, and is also the ONC’s current Chief Medical Officer.

DNA-screening test 23andMe launches in UK after US ban

After being shut down by the FDA in 2013, personal genetic testing provider 23andMe will begin marketing its genetic health assessments in the UK and Canada.

Organizations achieve EMRAM Stage 7

Six hospitals are added to the HIMSS Stage 7 list, including Ontario Shores Center for Mental Health Sciences, the first  hospital from Canada, and first behavioral health hospital, to reach Stage 7.

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December 4, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 12/2/14

December 1, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Could Congress delay ICD-10 again next week?

Congress will soon vote to extend a $157 billion HHS spending bill that is scheduled to expire on December 11. Advocates working to delay the looming ICD-10 deadline, including the National Physicians’ Council for Healthcare Policy and the Texas chapter of the American Medical Association, are lobbying for a last minute edit to the “must pass” spending bill to include language that would push out the ICD-10 deadline by two years.

Penn Medicine uses predictive analytics to reduce sepsis mortality

After two years of use, Penn Medicine measures the perceived effectiveness of an early warning system it implemented to identify sepsis in undiagnosed patients. 46 percent of Penn’s nurses said the system alerted them to new information, and 34 percent of its physicians said the system was helpful.

How Do Alternative Payment Models Fit In With State And National Reform Efforts?

Health Affairs profiles the state-wide Medicaid payment reform effort being attempted in Oregon.

Hackers phish for advance word on healthcare mergers

A new report suggests that hackers targeting healthcare organizations are not just looking for PHI. Hackers have started targeting senior-level email accounts, looking for information that they can use on the stock market, specifically as merger and acquisition intelligence.

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December 1, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 12/1/14

November 30, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Cloud solutions firm 8K Miles buys electronic health record co SERJ

8K Miles, a technology company that offers cloud-based software solutions, acquires SERJ Solutions, a consulting firm focused on Epic EHR implementation support. 8K intends to use its newly acquired healthcare IT expertise to build a cloud-based healthcare solutions business.

Vista Equity Partners to Pay $1.1 Billion for British Software Maker

Vista Equity Partners acquires UK-based Advanced Computer Software Group (ACSG) for $1.14 billion. ACSG is a 20-year old EHR vendor with a growing market presence in primary care, home health, and mental health markets.

Google Glass Is Dead; Long Live Smart Glasses

MIT’s Technology Review forecasts the demise of Google Glass, but predicts that the first generation device has created enough interest in a glasses-based form factor that Google and others will continue working on it and eventually develop a glasses-based wearable with consumer appeal.

Electronic Health Records; How Will Students Learn If They Can’t Practice

An article in the Annals of Family Medicine calls on medical schools to incorporate hands-on EHR training into traditional medical education curriculum, despite concerns over the effect medical student contributions would have on billing practices and overall data integrity.

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November 30, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/26/14

November 25, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2015

ECRI publishes its annual list of health technology hazards, with inadequate alarm configuration topping the list, and incorrect or missing data in EHRs coming in second.

Nuance Announces Fiscal 2014 and Fourth Quarter Results

Nuance announces Q4 and FY2014 results: for the quarter, revenue was up 6.4 percent to $502 million, resulting in a net income of $107 million, EPS $0.33 vs $0.30. The company ended the year with $1.9 billion in revenue, up from $1.8 in FY2013.

Addenbrooke’s Hospital paperless system’s ‘significant problems’ reported

Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Epic’s first UK customer, is forced to divert incoming emergency department patients for five hours after the ED module became unstable.

MRMC’s fiscal year starts with a loss

The CIO of Magnolia Regional Medical Center (AR) reports that the hospital will need to return $287,000 in Meaningful Use incentive payments, despite passing what he describes as an “intense” MU audit.

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November 25, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/25/14

November 25, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

EHR Program Announcement

CMS extends the Meaningful Use attestation deadline from November 30 to December 31.

Congress ponders health IT regs and the FDA, again

Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo) are collaborating on a new health IT regulatory bill that would eliminate FDA oversight and remove medical device tax requirements for most EHR and clinical decision support systems.

Validating drug repurposing signals using electronic health records: a case study of metformin associated with reduced cancer mortality

Researchers are turning to EHR data analysis to help them discover potential new uses for existing prescription drugs. Vanderbilt University and Mayo Clinic demonstrated the effectiveness of the approach after correlating metformin, a type-2 diabetes medication, with improved cancer outcomes.

AHA president and CEO to retire at the end of 2015

American Hospital Association president and CEO Rich Umbdenstock announces that he will retire at the end of 2015. AHA has engaged Korn Ferry, a national executive search firm, to find a replacement.

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November 25, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 11/24/14

November 23, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Beth Israel fined $100,000 for patient data breach

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will pay a $100,000 fine after an unencrypted laptop containing personal information of 4,000 patients and employees is stolen. The Massachusetts attorney general’s office says that lax data security practices were to blame for the data being compromised.

Traditional primary care, meet next year’s model

The Advisory Board Company publishes a consumer survey focused on the growing retail clinic (Walgreens, CVS) model of delivering primary care, and what it means for traditional family practice offices.

Electronic health records project has been a failure

In Quebec, a local paper scrutinizes a $563 million government funded project that was scheduled to bring EHRs to all primary and secondary care providers in the province by 2010. The project is now four years behind schedule and looking at revised cost of $1.6 billion.

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November 23, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/21/14

November 21, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Emdeon to Acquire Change Healthcare

Emdeon announces that it will acquire Change Healthcare for $135 million. Change Healthcare markets a benefits management system focused on helping employees make the most of their health benefits,

Fiscal Year 2014 Top Management and Performance Challenges Identified By the Office Of Inspector General

The Inspector General of HHS publishes a list of the top 10 challenges it is facing. The list touches on a number of health IT initiatives, including: validating spending for federal and state health insurance exchange markets, and monitoring the EHR Incentive Program for fraud.

Can we predict the unpredictable?

Researchers at the University of Windsor unveil a forecasting algorithm that can monitor EEG waveforms and predict oncoming seizures in epileptic patients 17 minutes ahead of time.

Merge Healthcare to Introduce Merge One for Ambulatory Radiology at RSNA 2014

Merge unveils a new solution, called Merge One, which is designed to support ambulatory imaging centers. Its provides a RIS, PACS, financial system, universal viewer, cloud archive, document management, and business analytics.

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November 21, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/20/14

November 20, 2014 Headlines No Comments

CMS creates new chief data officer post

CMS names Niall Brennan, former acting director of CMS’ Offices of Enterprise Management, as its first Chief Data Officer. Brennan will oversee the newly created Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics.

Former Obama adviser Zeke Emanuel says digital health coupled with payment reform will vindicate ACA

Zeke Emanuel, a former healthcare advisor to President Obama, refutes the recent “stupidity of American voters” comments of MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, as well as his claim of being central to the drafting of the ACA. Emanuel says that Gruber was an outside consultant with limited influence on the legislation, that the ACA has already slowed healthcare spending, and that as value-based payment reform takes hold, VCs will respond by funding startups focused on expanding at-home and office-based care delivery.

New coalition hopes for no further ICD-10 delays

A group of 15 healthcare organizations that includes providers, insurers, vendors, and professional membership groups like CHIME and AHIMA, sent a letter to congress requesting that the October 1, 2015 ICD-10 implementation date be upheld this year.

Survey Reveals Private Option Impact on Hospitals

The Arkansas Hospital Association publishes a survey measuring the effect of implementing a state-level plan for expanding health insurance to low-income residents. The survey included responses from 80 percent of all Arkansas hospitals, and measured a 56.6 percent decrease in uncompensated care losses associated with uninsured patients. The decrease was attributed to a 46.5 decrease in uninsured inpatient visits, and a 35.5 percent decrease in uninsured emergency department visits.

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November 20, 2014 Headlines No Comments

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