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Morning Headlines 10/24/14

October 23, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

HHS reshuffles amid Ebola crisis

Karen DeSalvo, MD leaves her post leading the ONC to take over as HHS’s acting assistant secretary for health. Interim national coordinator Jacob Reider, MD also announces he will leave ONC in the coming weeks, leaving ONC COO Lisa Lewis to take over as the new acting national coordinator.

HHS Secretary announces $840 million initiative to improve patient care and lower costs

HHS announces $840 million in new grant money that will be used to help provider organizations implement the tools needed to create more coordinated, integrated health systems.

Wikipedia and Facebook for Clinical Documentation

John Halamka MD, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, calls for clinical documentation, which was designed to support billing needs, to be redesigned as an interdisciplinary communication tool.

Cerner Reports Third Quarter 2014 Results

Cerner reports Q3 results: revenue is up 15 percent to $840 million, adjusted EPS $0.42 vs. 0.35.

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October 23, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 10/23/14

October 22, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

U.S. government probes medical devices for possible cyber flaws

Reuters reports that the Department of Homeland Security is quietly investigating cybersecurity flaws found in medical devices that government officials suspect could be exploited by hackers.

The Comparative Value of 3 Electronic Sources of Medication Data

A study measuring the accuracy of home medication list data sources compares the actual home medication lists for 858 patients with the data found in the hospital’s EHR, the local HIE, and a commercial ePrescribing network. Researchers found that the EHR had 80 percent of the patient’s home medications accurately listed, while the commercial ePrescribing network had 45 percent, and the local HIE had 37 percent.

Guidance on Personal Protective Equipment To Be Used by Healthcare Workers During Management of Patients with Ebola Virus Disease in US Hospitals

The CDC updates its Ebola personal protective equipment guidelines to specify that no skin should be exposed, and that repeated training with demonstrated competency on infection control standards should be conducted prior to caring for Ebola patients.

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October 22, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 10/21/14

October 20, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Tech firms vie for $11 billion military healthcare contract as deadline looms

The DoD has extended its EHR RFP deadline by one week, to October 31. The deadline was already extended by two weeks earlier this month. There are currently four EHR vendors known to be competing for the deal: Epic, Cerner, Allscripts, and VistA via Medsphere.

Healthcare IT Leaders Embrace Federal Interoperability Plans

CHIME and HL7 announce that they will partner to lobby for the inclusion of API-based interoperability standards in Meaningful Use Stage 3.

New Affordable Care Act initiative to support care coordination nationwide

CMS announces the ACO Investment Model, a $114 million initiative aimed at providing rural ACOs upfront funding to help them implement advanced health IT systems.

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October 20, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 10/20/14

October 19, 2014 Headlines No Comments

A Letter To Our Community

Texas Health Resources takes out a full page ad in the local paper in part to regain the trust of its community. A separate article mentions that patient volumes have plummeted at THR, with ED wait-times at zero minutes.

athenahealth’s (ATHN) CEO Jonathan Bush on Q3 2014 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

Jonathan Bush leads Athena’s Q3 earnings call, where discussions ranged from improving Epocrates-related earnings to increasing enterprise sales.

Hospital Nurses Forced to Develop Creative Workarounds to Deal with EHR System Flaws; Outdated Technologies and Lack of Interoperability, Reveals Black Book

A new Black Book report surveys 14,000 RNs and finds that 92 percent are dissatisfied with their inpatient EHR systems and that 88 percent blame hospital administrators and CIOs for selecting poor performing EHRs based on price rather than quality of care.

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October 19, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 10/17/14

October 17, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Examining The US Public Health Response To the Ebola Outbreak

Dr. Daniel Varga, the chief clinical officer for Texas Health Resources testifies before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations regarding THR’s handling of Thomas Duncan, the hospital’s initial Ebola patient, and the subsequent spread of the disease to two of the hospital’s nurses.

athenahealth, Inc. Reports Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2014 Results

athenahealth reports Q3 results: revenue was up 26 percent to $190 million, but the company posted an overall net loss of $1.6 million. Adjusted EPS $0.27 vs. $0.29. Epocrates-related sales dropped 27 percent during the quarter, bringing in $9.8 million.

Coalition letter requesting changes to meaningful use for greater systems interoperability

Premier, the American Academy of Family Physicians, AMA, MGMA, and several other organizations and health systems send a letter to CMS urging it to slow the pace of Meaningful Use and refocus it to make gains on interoperability, security, and quality reporting.

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October 17, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 10/16/14

October 15, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Subsidy program for EHRs ineffective, draft report argues

A draft report from the National Bureau of Economic Research analyzes pre-ARRA EHR adoption trends and concludes that ARRA incentive payments only expedited EHR adoption by two-years. The report also says that ARRA incentive payments cost taxpayers an average of $48 million per implementation.

ID System Reduces NICU Errors

Montefiore Medical Center (NY) tests a new positive patient identification step in its CPOE workflow that help neonatologists ensure they are placing orders in the correct chart when caring for babies in the NICU that have not yet been given a name. Adding this step reduced wrong-patient orders by more than 50 percent in the unit.

MIT and MGH form strategic partnership to address major challenges in clinical medicine

A new partnership between MIT and MGH will form research teams focused on improving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a variety of diseases.

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October 15, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 10/15/14

October 15, 2014 Headlines No Comments

AMA Provides Blueprint to Improve the Meaningful Use Program

The AMA publishes a wish list of Meaningful Use Stage 3 criteria as part of a letter to CMS. Within the list, AMA calls for more flexibility on threshold measurements, reduced penalties for those that fail to meet criteria, and improved interoperability standards.

Joint HIT Committee Meeting

The ONC’s HITPC workgroup will present its conclusions after analyzing the 2013 JASON report that was highly critical of the interoperability plan being pursued in the US. The group will propose an API-based interoperability approach as a path forward.

Highmark-UPMC split raises health records concerns

Pennsylvania state representative Dan Frankel questions whether UPMC, which uses Cerner, will be able to send patient records to other health systems once it severs ties with Highmark Insurance and those patients move on to new care providers.

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October 15, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headline 10/14/14

October 14, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Promoting healthy competition in health IT markets

The FTC announces that it will work together with the ONC to ensure that EHR vendors are not restricting interoperability options to gain illegal competitive advantages.

2014 Report to Congress on Health IT Adoption and HIE

The ONC publishes its ARRA-mandated annual progress report on the national rollout of EHRs and HIEs. The report provides an in depth look at ONC’s various initiatives, focusing primarily on the steps that are being taken to overcome interoperability barriers.

Mass. Becomes First State To Require Price Tags For Health Care

A Massachusetts law requiring that insurers publish the prices they pay hospitals and practices for services went into effect last week. To comply, insurers are updating their websites with the once closely guarded pricing data.

NIH Invests Almost $32 Million To Increase Usability Of Biomedical Research Data

The NIH announces a new $32 million grant program called Big Data to Knowledge, or BD2K, that will be used to fund research projects aimed at developing new ways of analyzing large biomedical data sets.

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October 14, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 10/13/14

October 12, 2014 Headlines No Comments

No On Proposition 46

A coalition made up mostly of California medical associations launches a website arguing against proposition 46, which would increase maximum malpractice awards, subject clinicians to random drug testing, and mandate that prescribers check the states drug abuser database before writing narcotics prescriptions.

$77 million investment in new health records technology has Alameda Health System struggling to pay its bills

Alameda Health System announces that it has nearly run out of cash, attributing its problems in large part to a failed $77 million Siemens Sorian roll out. The health system’s CFO David Cox says, “the system makes it difficult to collect the right information that you need to bill a claim and makes it hard to identify what kinds of errors are occurring. …. It’s very disjointed right now. A lot of mistakes are being made."

Second Ebola case confirmed. Texas health worker wore ‘full’ protective gear

A nurse caring for the Ebola patient that was being treated at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has tested positive for Ebola. Meanwhile, in Liberia, public health workers report that the epidemic has shown small but measurable signs of slowing.

Kaiser Permanente and their Journey to Transform their Supply Chain

Kaiser will redesign its supply chain management processes to increase the effectiveness of its unit-level inventory processes, and to streamline procedure setup by digitalizing surgeon preference cards.

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October 12, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 10/10/14

October 9, 2014 Headlines No Comments

RTI International to develop road map for health IT safety center

ONC contracts research firm RTI international to “create a roadmap for the development of a national health IT safety center.”

HIMSS and AVIA Launch HX360 to Improve Health Care Delivery through Emerging Technologies

HIMSS and digital health accelerator AVIA launch a new collaborative service designed to help hospitals adopt next-generation (non-EHR) technologies.

2014 Results from Survey on Health Data Exchange

An eHealth Initiative survey of 125 HIEs finds that achieving financial sustainability and overcoming difficulties interfacing with a multitude of EHRs are the key barriers preventing broader interoperability.

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October 9, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 10/9/14

October 8, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Concerned Groups to Congress: Act Now on FDASIA

58 organizations, including McKesson Corp., athenaHealth, and the US Chamber of Commerce, send a letter to Congress urging them to pass legislation to enact the health IT oversight framework that was proposed by FDASIA in April.

HealthCare.gov Testing to Be Confidential

Healthcare.gov will open for insurer testing this week, but insurers are being told by CMS that the process is confidential and that testing results may not be disclosed.

Robotic Surgery Brings Higher Costs, More Complications, Study Shows

Researchers from Columbia University publish a study exploring the use of robotic surgeries for ovary and ovarian cyst removal, concluding that robotic surgeries are more expensive and lead to more complications than regular minimally invasive surgery.

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October 8, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 10/8/14

October 7, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

Payment Adjustments & Hardship Exceptions

CMS announces that it will reopen the submission period for hardship exception applications for both eligible professionals and eligible hospitals, with a new application deadline set for November 30.

John Flannery to Lead GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare CEO John Dineen  announces his resignation, effective immediately.  He is reportedly leaving the company to pursue leadership opportunities outside GE. Dineen will re replaced by John Flannery, GE’s current head of business development.

Ochsner Health System First Epic Client to Fully Integrate with Apple HealthKit

Ochsner Health System (LA) announces that it has connected its Epic EHR with Apple’s HealthKit to capture daily weight readings from wireless scales that are issued to heart failure patients enrolled in the health system’s remote patient monitoring program.

Health Care Website Fix Cost Mass. Additional $26M, Patrick Says

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announces that the state’s health insurance exchange is fixed, costing $26 million to repair and bringing the total cost of the exchange to $254 million.

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October 7, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 10/7/14

October 6, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

BD to Acquire CareFusion for $12.2 Billion

Becton Dickinson will acquire smartpump manufacturer CareFusion for $12.2 billion in cash and stock. The deal comes out to $58 per share, a 28 percent premium on Friday’s closing price.

NantHealth Completes $320M Series B Equity Investment and Expands Leadership Team with Healthcare Industry Veterans

NantHealth, the health IT startup of healthcare billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, raises a $320 million Series B round to accelerate development of its EHR, which it claims will deliver “integrated, evidence-based, genomically-informed, personalized care.”

Can Telemonitoring Reduce Hospitalization and Cost of Care? A Health Plan’s Experience in Managing Patients with Heart Failure

A Geisinger report set to be published in the December issue of Population Health Magazine finds that telemonitoring programs targeting heart failure patients reduced overall hospitalization rates and led to a savings of $3.30 for each dollar spent.

Progress report: Open Test Method Development Pilot Program

The ONC publishes an update on its Open Test Method Development program, in which EHR certification testing standards for ePrescribing and clinical decision support features are being created through a community-led development process.

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October 6, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 10/6/14

October 5, 2014 Headlines 3 Comments

Facebook plots first steps into healthcare

Reuters reports that Facebook is exploring health care solutions, including disease-specific online support groups, and Facebook connected digital health apps.

Hewlett-Packard Plans to Break in Two

The Wall Street Journal reports that HP will split into two separate companies, with an announcement expected Monday. The company will split its personal-computer and printer business away as one entity, and establish the other with its corporate hardware and services operations. 

Clarification from Texas Health Resources

Texas Health Resources retracts an earlier statement it made blaming its EHR (Epic) for allowing an Ebola patient to be discharged after an ED physician failed to notice that nurses had documented recent West African travel in the system.

Ebola dropped-ball diagnosis linked to hospitals’ IT culture

Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush jumps at the opportunity to mention that if the country ran its health IT platform on the cloud then time sensitive alerts, like warning of recent West African travel in patients with flu-like symptoms, could be built into physician workflows at a national level very quickly, rather than at each individual hospital. He says, “I hope soon that nobody will be on enterprise software and these things will be managed by people across thousands of hospitals."

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October 5, 2014 Headlines 3 Comments

Morning Headlines 10/3/14

October 2, 2014 Headlines 9 Comments

HealthCare.gov Delays Web Host Switch

CMS misses its opportunity to switch web hosts for Healthcare.gov, and will now have to stay with Verizon through the remainder of the 2014/2015 enrollment period. Verizon’s hosting platform was cited as one of the problems that caused outages during last years failed launch.

Update on VA’s scheduling software system

VA CIO Stephen Warren clarifies that a new scheduling system will be installed across the organization’s 163 facilities by 2017, contradicting reports earlier this week that the system may not be live until 2020.

How Much? A Glaxo Goof Remains in the Sunshine Database

CMS’s new Open Payments may be live, but much of the data populating it is reportedly either missing important details, or outright erroneous.

ONC Chief Medical Officer

The ONC posts a job opening for a new Chief Medical Officer to replace Jacob Reider, MD who vacated the position to take over as the deputy national coordinator.

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October 2, 2014 Headlines 9 Comments

Morning Headlines 10/1/14

September 30, 2014 Headlines 2 Comments

Optum To Acquire MedSynergies To Help Physician Groups Enhance Patient Care, Improve Practice Performance

Optum will acquire MedSynergies, a physician practice management, revenue cycle management, and referral management software platform with 9,300 customers across the US.

Doctors Find Barriers to Sharing Digital Medical Records

The New York Times interviews Epic CEO Judy Faulkner in a piece addressing problems with interoperability between EHRs, and the accusations that have been leveled at Epic specifically.

An Interview With George Halvorson: The Kaiser Permanente Renaissance, And Health Reform’s Unfinished Business

Health Affairs interviews Kaiser Permanente ex-CEO George Halvorson, who discusses a variety of topics, including the rise and fall of HMOs, the implementation of its $6 billion health IT infrastructure, and the state of health reform in the US.

Effect of a Postdischarge Virtual Ward on Readmission or Death for High-Risk Patients

A study published in JAMA finds that discharging patients directly home, versus transferring them into a post-discharge “virtual ward,” where elements of acute care are carried out in the community setting, has no effect on readmissions or death rates.

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September 30, 2014 Headlines 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 9/30/14

September 29, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Shellshock bug could threaten millions. Compared to Heartbleed.

An old, but newly discovered command shell vulnerability called Shellshock has left millions of computers and servers vulnerable to hackers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology rates it a 10 out of 10 in terms of severity, compared to the Heartbleed vulnerability which had only been rated a 5 out of 10.

No New VA Patient Schedule System Until 2020

New contract documents published by the VA reveal that the department will not complete the roll out of new scheduling software to its 153 hospitals until 2020, contradicting acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson’s claim that the software would be installed by 2016.

Obama presents public health strategy at summit meeting

During a public health summit in Washington focused on the current Ebola outbreak, President Obama cited syndromic surveillance tools as a critical component of his plan to prepare for future outbreaks.

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September 29, 2014 Headlines No Comments

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  • Glenn Reph: Great thinking! Being in the payment space for 30 years, Healthcare needs to leapfrog into new technology. EMV and NFC ...
  • Just a Nurse Analyst to be demoted: Jeez - look at you, trying to blame, blame, blame. It was an empty chart with one page of data in the EHR. THR did...
  • HIS Junkie: Re: 2009 after pushing the usual date back several weeks to avoid blizzards (which didn’t work Aw common Mr H. ..th...
  • Perspective: Um, not to be a Negative Nancy, but if I were an Epic consultant, the first thing I'd do would be to fill out that surve...
  • Just a Nurse Analyst: Multiple times THR has stated they modified the clinical system as corrective action for this disastrous event. If they...

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