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Electronic Health Records News & Views Archives
January 2007 - April 2007
(in reverse chronological order)
(See menu on left for EHR Notable Quotes and latest News & Views)

April 2007
HIMSS first virtual conference launches May 16
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the professional organization known for staging the biggest conference and exhibition in the healthcare IT industry each year is launching something new this month – an event designed to draw attendees from across the country while eliminating the need to travel or book hotel rooms. The HIMSS Virtual Conference and Expo runs May 16-17 online. Like HIMSS convention hall conferences – the most recent one in New Orleans – the virtual conference offers education sessions, demonstrations, chances to network and to amble through the exhibition hall. HIMSS President and CEO H. Stephen Lieber said the organization’s intent is to present its members with more resources. The virtual conferences are planned for twice a year. The next one is set for Nov. 6-7. They will be in addition to HIMSS annual conference, he said, not replacements.
(April 30, 2007)
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PHR Translates into Other Languages
MyMedicalRecords.com has added multilingual functionality to its Web-based personal health records software to aid users who are traveling. The Los Angeles-based vendor can translate a PHR to Spanish or Japanese and soon will add Korean, French, German and Chinese. Other enhancements include integrating the PHR’s calendar entries--such as scheduled appointments--with a user’s Microsoft Outlook calendar, sending reminders to up to three e-mail addresses and a searchable medical encyclopedia. More information is available at mymedicalrecords.com.
(April 30, 2007)
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CCHIT Certifies More EHRs
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology has certified 30 additional electronic health records systems for ambulatory care. The industry-sponsored commission, now working under a federal government contract, has now certified 81 specific ambulatory EHR products and believes 40% of such products are certified.
(April 30, 2007)
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Security Update Part of Fed Agenda
The federal government is getting ready to tighten the HIPAA security rule in the wake of several incidents of compromised patient data involving laptops and other mobile computing devices. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expects in July to propose a rule “intended to provide a more prescriptive set of remote security requirements designed to reduce the likelihood of unauthorized uses and disclosures of sensitive health information,” according to a notice published April 30 in the Federal Register.
(April 30, 2007)
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AHIC works to expand boundaries of remote care
Government health care policy-makers met last week to discuss ways to expand incentives for health care providers to use telemedicine applications and systems. Members of the American Health Information Community (AHIC)’s chronic care workgroup met to try to remove rules that allow providers of remote health care to be reimbursed by Medicare only if they work in specific geographic areas and clinical settings. Access to remote health care — or telemedicine — has increased with the expanded use of health information technology.
(April 30, 2007)
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CVS/Caremark Charitable Trust Will Award $2.5 million to Rhode Island Quality Institute
The CVS/Caremark Charitable Trust, the private foundation created by CVS/Caremark Corporation, announced today that it plans to award a five-year $2.5 million grant to the Rhode Island Quality Institute to fund its ongoing work to improve the health and health care of Rhode Islanders.
(April 30, 2007)
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Nurses' Involvement With IT Systems Increasing
As hospitals continue to develop and adopt electronic health record systems, the demand for nurse informaticists, who can serve as a link between IT and clinical care, has increased.
(April 30, 2007)
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U.S. Joins International EHR Terminology Standards Effort
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Friday announced that the U.S. will be one of nine member countries in an international organization's effort to encourage the worldwide adoption of terminology standards for electronic health records.
(April 30, 2007)
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New Jersey hospital links to 'sister' facility on Staten Island
Bayonne Medical Center, with Newark Bay on one side and Upper New York Bay on the other, has completed a wireless link to its sister hospital on Staten Island, 2 1/2 miles across the channel. The link to Richmond University Medical Center means the two hospitals can consolidate their help desk functions, said Anthony Antinori, Bayonne’s IT director. “We can share resources, he said. “We currently have a large Citrix environment. We can run everything remotely from Bayonne. ”
(April 30, 2007)
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Modern Healthcare and HIMSS Announce 2007 CEO IT Achievement Award Recipients
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and Modern Healthcare have announced the recipients of this year’s CEO IT Achievement Award. This year’s honorees are: Alan Aviles, President & CEO, New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation; John Ferguson, President & CEO, Hackensack University Medical Center; Michael Murphy, President & CEO, Sharp HealthCare
(April 30, 2007)
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SAP deal could simplify health info management
A new agreement between IT giants SAP AG and Microsoft Corp. could lead to a groundbreaking integrated platform for healthcare information management, SAP executives said last week at the SAPPHIRE '07 conference in Atlanta. The companies announced that their Duet application, which allows information workers to use SAP management systems in Microsoft Office, would be expanded into two new versions, the first of which is to be released at the end of 2008. The new roadmap for Duet could have vital applications for healthcare IT, according to Carlos Chou, senior vice president for SAP America. “One of the major challenges of adopting standardized solutions is user adoption,” said Chou. “The level of the information user in any industry is that they resist change.” He said user adoption rates would increase if users didn't have to use multiple programs to perform business processes. “We bridge the processes to allow the information worker to stay in the same place.”
(April 30, 2007)
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OhioHealth Gets E-Rx
The Columbus-based integrated delivery system OhioHealth has purchased electronic prescribing software from RxNT, Annapolis, Md... The delivery system is offering the vendor's application to more than 2,500 physicians at four of its hospitals.
(April 30, 2007)
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The Digital Divide Between Doctors
When the FDA recalled Zelnorm last month because of findings that patients using the drug risked heart attack and stroke, Dr. Joseph Perkinson dropped his stethoscope and reached for his laptop. From there, it took the family physician seconds - not hours or days - to search thousands of medical records and produce a digital list of his 40 or so patients prescribed the drug. Sally McCoach was on that list of patients telephoned. "It's encouraging," McCoach, 67, said. "You don't have to wait a long time for them to go through all the papers." McCoach is on a short list of U.S. and Victoria patients whose doctors use electronic medical records: paperless charts with vast medical information stored on computers. It's estimated that fewer than 20 Victoria physicians - and less than 10 percent of U.S. doctors - use paperless systems that "store all necessary data, allow electronic ordering of tests and provide clinical reminders," the Washington Post reported Wednesday. Electronic medical records are not new. But recent advances have uploaded them into a new-age health policy debate.
(April 29, 2007)
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Let technology help to reshape our health care
After Neil Armstrong's great leap for mankind, a common lament became, "We can send a man to the moon but we can't cure the common cold." The gripe was that for all of our scientific and technological advances, we couldn't solve simple health problems. Four decades later, we are on the threshold of applying data, information and technology in bold ways that could do far greater things than solving the common cold. Our ability to aggregate, analyze and then distribute vital health information will enable us to tackle the most serious diseases and afflictions that human beings face, and at the same time also help with very common health issues. At the center of this health revolution will be the simple act of sharing information.
(April 29, 2007)
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HHS Wants to Survey EHR Adoption
The Department of Health and Human Services is seeking permission from the Office of Management and Budget to conduct a survey later this year to measure the adoption of electronic health records among physicians and group practices.
(April 27, 2007)
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Katrina Aftermath Drives EHR Adoption in Louisiana
Early adopters of health IT in Louisiana say the technology helped them care for patients during Hurricane Katrina, and many providers who were dependent on paper records since have adopted electronic health record systems.
(April 27, 2007)
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Georgia Telemedicine System Connects With Specialists
Mountain Lakes Medical Center in Rabun County, Ga., this month launched a new telemedicine program that links local patients with specialists at five hospitals via computers and video technology.
(April 27, 2007)
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Wireless Health Care Devices Catching On
Wireless technology has been used in health care for decades, but as microchips become more powerful, devices decrease in size and battery life is prolonged, more and more companies are beginning efforts to expand the use of wireless technology.
(April 27, 2007)
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Healthcare IT big piece of 'Medicare-for-All'
If Medicare is a good thing, then why not expand it? So say Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass. ), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich. ), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The use of healthcare information technology is key to the success of their proposal, they say. In what they called “bold action” to address the ailing U.S. healthcare system, the two staunch Democratic leaders introduced April 25 a bill to make affordable healthcare accessible to all Americans through a single payer – the U.S. government.
(April 27, 2007)
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ONCHIT awards AHIC privatization contracts
Robert Kolodner, the head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, announced Tuesday that his office has issued contracts to three firms to help HHS plan for the transition of the American Health Information Community to the private sector. AHIC was created in 2005 by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. Chaired by Leavitt and co-chaired by David Brailer, the former ONCHIT head, it is a panel with 18 members, 10 of whom serve various federal and state agencies that are providers, purchasers or overseers of healthcare, with the rest of the panel membership drawn from the private sector, including not-for-profit organizations and two for-profit companies, Intel Corp. and Wal-Mart. But from the beginning, it has been Leavitt's stated aim to privatize the organization and Brailer and Kolodner gave a presentation to AHIC members on the government's plans for succession and sustainability. A "key next step," according to Brailer, was coming up with a business plan for the new entity.
(April 26, 2007)
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Effort To Develop ED Systems Standard Moves Forward
Health Level Seven, a standards-development organization, has adopted the Emergency Care Function Profile as the first "registered profile," or subset of an existing standard, to facilitate the development of certification criteria for emergency department information systems.
(April 26, 2007)
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Universal Health Bill Includes Incentives for Health IT Adoption
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) on Wednesday introduced legislation that would provide incentives for adopting electronic health records and clinical decision support systems.
(April 26, 2007)
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Aurora to install TeraMedica's Evercore technology
Citing the need to deliver an independent, lightweight image set to all desktops within the context of its electronic medical records, Aurora Health Care will install the Evercore clinical information management product developed by TeraMedica, a privately held medical software company. The installation, which will occur over the next several months, will enable Aurora to integrate its medical images and distribute them to attending healthcare providers within the Cerner power chart module of Aurora's electronic medical record.
(April 26, 2007)
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News Release: HHS Joins International Partners to Promote Electronic Health Records Standards
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt today announced the United States will participate in an international effort to encourage more rapid development and worldwide adoption of standard clinical terminology for electronic health records. The United States is one of nine charter members of the new International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO), which has acquired Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED) Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT) from the College of American Pathologists (CAP). Other charter members are from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Membership is open to all countries.
(April 26, 2007)
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HIMSS Foundation donates to New Orleans free clinic
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society presented a check for $38,153 this week to the Common Ground Health Clinic in New Orleans. The free clinic in the struggling Algiers section of the city serves needy patients who have little or no health insurance. “All of us at HIMSS wanted to ensure that the work of Common Ground Health Clinic could continue in New Orleans,” said H. Stephen Lieber, HIMSS president/CEO. “We recognize the effort our members made to provide the needed assistance to this clinic will help improve the delivery of healthcare as well as the use of technology in the local community.” ... The HIMSS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Society, managed all monetary and in-kind donations of software and affiliated services. The Foundation also administers the HIMSS Katrina Phoenix project to help rebuild healthcare facilities destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Katrina Phoenix project coordinates donations of electronic medical record software and services from healthcare IT vendors to practices in need of assistance. HIMSS also announced that eight other practice sites to-date in Louisiana have benefited from the HIMSS Katrina-Phoenix Project with three practices in various stages of EHR installation or implementation.
(April 26, 2007)
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Bill would advance use of information technology in health care industry
The following is a news release from Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-42B): Representative Erik Paulsen said his bill to encourage innovative uses for information technology to improve health care was included in the Minnesota House Omnibus Health and Human Services bill. “The skyrocketing costs of health care are in need of solutions. Minnesota is a leader in technology. We should use our expertise and utilize leaders in this area to provide a solution that will improve health care and reduce costs,” said Representative Erik Paulsen. Paulsen’s legislation expands the duties of the Health Information Technology and Infrastructure Advisory Committee. The primary purpose of the committee is to make recommendations for implementing a statewide interoperable health information infrastructure.
(April 25, 2007)
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Wal-Mart CEO Calls on Businesses To Step Up Health IT Efforts
Just who is responsible for transforming the U.S. health care system? The private sector? The public sector? Health care providers? According to one of the nation's top business leaders, transforming health care is a shared responsibility. "The time for politics in our nation's debate on health care has passed," Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart, said on Tuesday at the World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C. According to Scott, it's time to take action, and businesses should be a "catalyst for positive change." Scott said that businesses can further the effort to transform health care through three steps: 1) Empowering consumers; 2) Applying technologies; and 3) Increasing efficiencies.
(April 25, 2007)
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Majority of British Physicians Oppose IT Project, Survey Finds
Sixty-six percent of British general practitioners said they will not allow their own health records to be shared through the National Health Service's Summary Care Record program, according to a survey of general practitioners by Pulse magazine.
(April 25, 2007)
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Children's Hospitals in New Jersey, Tennessee Connect Electronically
St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Paterson, N.J., has connected with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., to consult with physicians through high-definition video conferencing on complex pediatric cases.
(April 25, 2007)
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California Pilot Program Uses Software for Clinic Referrals
The University of California-San Diego Medical Center and three clinics this month began using a new computer program aimed at helping emergency department patients without primary care providers seek follow-up care at a clinic.
(April 25, 2007)
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Public Health Data Network Expected To Triple by 2012
The number of states with the ability to share information on pandemics and other national health threats will triple to about 40 states by 2012, according to a forecast released Tuesday by Government Futures, a government market research firm.
(April 25, 2007)
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Federal Advisory Group To Recommend Rewarding Physicians for EHR Use
The American Health Information Community on Tuesday accepted in principle a pay-for-performance recommendation from its Electronic Health Records Workgroup that called for federal contracts with health plans and insurers to include provisions to reward physicians for quality performance, including the use of certified electronic health records.
(April 25, 2007)
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Information technology could cure U.S. healthcare ills
Information technology may be the best way to reform the ailing U.S. healthcare system, said a number of leading employers at a session of the Fourth Annual World Health Care Congress held April 23-24 in Washington, D.C. Glen Tullman, CEO of Allscripts, repeated a common mantra that the U.S. healthcare system is “broken,” and many employers “are getting their hands dirty and jumping into the fray.
They see healthcare IT as part of the solution.” “We’ve tried everything else,” Tullman said. “Every other major industry has been able to use IT to improve quality and reduce costs.”
(April 25, 2007)
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CIGNA to offer members Intuit's Quicken Health
Intuit Inc. of Mountain View and CIGNA HealthCare said on Tuesday they have teamed up offer an online health tool for the insurance company's more than 9 million members. The program, called Quicken Health, is scheduled to be available at no additional charge in 2008. It will allow members to manage and direct their health care finances, view and organize medical expenses, payments and service histories, and download and organize personal health claims data.
(April 25, 2007)
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Emergis to Provide Electronic Health Record Solution to Hawkesbury General Hospital of Ontario
Emergis Inc. (TSX: EME) today announced that Hawkesbury General Hospital, a 69-bed community hospital in the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) of Ontario, has purchased the Company's Oacis electronic health record (EHR) solution. An EHR solution allows health care professionals to rapidly and securely access a complete record of a patient's health history online and in real time. Hawkesbury General is the second hospital to purchase the Oacis solution in the Champlain LHIN after The Ottawa Hospital and the fourth in Ontario.
(April 25, 2007)
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Medicare NPI Contingency May Be Brief
Medicare could begin as early as July 1 to reject fee-for-service claims that do not contain a national provider identifier for the primary (or rendering) provider, according to a notice recently posted online by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The notice outlines Medicare’s fee-for-service contingency plan for the NPI and follows guidance on April 2 that CMS will not bring enforcement action against entities following the May 23, 2007, compliance date if the entities are acting in good faith to become compliant. But the new notice makes clear that while enforcement may not be aggressive, Medicare’s own contingency plan may be. In May, Medicare will assess the number of fee-for-service claims containing an NPI. “If the analysis shows a sufficient number of submitted claims contain an NPI, Medicare will begin to reject claims on July 1, 2007, that do not contain NPIs,” according to the notice. “If a sufficient number of claims do not contain NPIs in the May analysis, Medicare FFS will assess compliance in June 2007 and determine whether to begin rejecting claims in August 2007. Medicare FFS will provide advanced notification to providers, Medicare contractors and the shared systems of the date they are to begin rejecting claims when a decision has been made to do so.” The notice does not specify what a “sufficient number” of compliant claims would be, which concerns the Medical Group Management Association.
(April 24, 2007)
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New Electronic Medical Records Device Can Save Lives in an Emergency
A recently released computer application called Med Records to Go™, that stores electronic medical records, can help reduce errors in emergency conditions, as well as in hospital or medical clinic admissions. Introduced by the Vital Record Corporation in November, 2006, Med Records to Go™ uses flash drive technology to record and store health information for emergency viewing by medical personnel. In addition, the portable application can transfer electronic medical records from the small storage unit to a standard cell phone for emergency reference.
(April 24, 2007)
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Fed health plans likely to reward docs for using EHRs
A high-level Health and Human Services Department advisory group will recommend that federal contracts with health plans and insurers include provisions to reward physicians for good performance, including the use of certified e-health records. The American Health Information Community today endorsed in principle the recommendation on pay for performance from its Electronic Health Records Workgroup. It sent the recommendation back to the workgroup for refinement of the wording. AHIC is expected to approve the recommendation at its June 12 meeting.
(April 24, 2007)
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Transformative IT: What It Means for Employers, Providers, Government
As employers, the federal government and providers grapple with how they should approach health IT adoption, it has become clear that the technology has different implications for everyone. However, the overall goal remains the same -- improving care through more efficient processes and reducing costs.
(April 24, 2007)
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Western North Carolina Hospitals Get Electronic Link
Western North Carolina's 16 hospitals, which operate a variety of disparate electronic health record systems, have been integrated into a single system so that physicians throughout the area can access patient information.
(April 24, 2007)
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Federal Exemptions Have Not Encouraged IT Donations, Survey Finds
A survey of CIOs found that 62% of respondents said that federal exemptions from the Stark and anti-kickback laws -- which are meant to provide a safe harbor for IT donations from not-for-profit hospitals -- have not prompted their facilities to fund or extend their health IT systems to physicians
(April 24, 2007)
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Insurer Offers Free EHRs to Physicians in Four States
BlueCross and BlueShield plans in four states are entering the health records of more than 11 million patients into a single electronic health record system that physicians can access at no cost.
(April 24, 2007)
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Denmark, U.S. Military Set Sights on Worldwide EHRs
Health IT efforts by both Denmark and the U.S. aim to increase the quality of care while reducing health care costs, Arne Kverneland, head of Denmark's National Board of Health's health informatics department, said on Monday at the World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C.
(April 24, 2007)
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Internal Kaiser E-Mail Spurred CEO To Defend EHR Project
A November 2006 e-mail from a Kaiser Permanente employee describing problems with the company's electronic health record system and the reaction to it shows that "in the digital age, flicking away whistleblowers isn't as easy as it once was.
(April 24, 2007)
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400 Health Clinics to Open in Wal-Mart Stores During Next Three Years
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., (NYSE: WMT) intends to contract with local hospitals and other organizations to open as many as 400 in-store health clinics over the next two to three years, and if current market forces continue, up to 2,000 clinics could be in Wal-Mart stores over the next five to seven years, Wal-Mart president and CEO Lee Scott will say in a speech later today at the World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C. The clinic program's expansion is just the latest in a series of moves by Wal-Mart to help implement customer solutions to America's health care crisis, including the $4 generic drug prescription program, health information technology and participation in a major coalition supporting comprehensive healthcare reform by 2012.
(April 24, 2007)
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Wal-Mart, Walgreens to Participate in Rx History Initiative
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced on Tuesday that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Walgreens are among the nation's pharmacies that will participate in a new initiative allowing faster, safer access to prescription medicines during emergencies and natural disasters. The initiative, "Rx History," is made possible through the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange, operated by SureScripts, an organization founded by NACDS and the National Community Pharmacists Association... Rx History uses technology that will allow licensed prescribers and pharmacists across the country to securely access information containing the prescription history of a patient from the affected area.
(April 24, 2007)
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Lahey Clinic to Provide Physicians with Integrated View of Patient Data Through Orion Health Concerto Medical Applications Portal
Orion Health, a global provider of clinical workflow and integration technology for the health care sector, today announced that Lahey Clinic Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts has selected Orion Health's Concerto™ Medical Applications Portal to provide a unique approach to ensure clinic staff have quick and easy access to patient data from a variety of applications for clinical decision-making. By choosing Orion Health's Concerto Medical Applications Portal, Lahey colleagues will be provided with a solution that moves beyond simple Single Sign-On (SSO) password management capabilities to present a completely unified view of patient data that resides on disparate applications throughout the clinic's facilities.
(April 24, 2007)
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Privacy, trust still the biggest barriers to electronic record sharing
Is America rushing into the adoption of electronic medical records and patient data exchange without enough concern for data security? The question has been raised on many fronts, including the Congress, where some bills seek to provide incentives to encourage the adoption of interactive personal health records, and others that raise privacy concerns are construed as a barrier to the adoption of EMRs. Moreover, headline-grabbing data breaches in both the public and private sector are still fresh in the public's mind.
(April 23, 2007)
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First community-based public health record in the country is being test driven in Tehachapi
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 most of the one million people displaced by the storm were left without a single medical record. Now, nearly 70 percent of doctors in the country still do not have electronic medical records for patients making it nearly impossible for doctors to work if a disaster strikes. Tehachapi residents are being given the opportunity to avoid that fate. The Personal Health Record, known as MyHealthKeeper, is being test driven by a group of about 40 senior citizens, all members of the Tehachapi Diabetes Support Group. MyHealthKeeper is currently tailor-made to fit the needs of diabetes patients, but it is a program created to be used as a chronic disease management tool as well as an electronic medical record.
(April 23, 2007)
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Iowa City Health Systems Taking on EHRs
All three major medical centers in Iowa City, Iowa, have adopted electronic health record systems to varying degrees and many are more advanced than those at the average U.S. hospital.
(April 23, 2007)
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Pilot Furthers CMS Health IT Adoption Effort
CMS last week launched an online application to help physician practices put into place health IT applications after piloting the program in California and three other states.
(April 23, 2007)
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VA Gains EHR Access, Adds Patient Tracking System
The Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday will allow every clinician at all its hospitals and clinics to access in real-time electronic health records of wounded soldiers evacuated from Afghanistan and Iraq through a VA version of the Department of Defense's Joint Patient Tracking Application.
(April 23, 2007)
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Kolodner's 'career appointment': interview
Physician informaticist Robert Kolodner took time out Thursday for a telephone interview to talk about his appointment by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt as the permanent head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS and his bidding adieu to a career serving the nation's veterans. Kolodner has been interim national coordinator since Sept. 20, 2006, following the resignation last spring of David Brailer, the first to hold the top job at ONCHIT. It will mean saying goodbye "with fond memories," he said, to a distinguished career at the Veterans Affairs Department, which was called the Veterans Administration when Kolodner started working there more than 28 years ago. Kolodner was chief health informatics officer for the Veterans Health Administration, the healthcare arm of the VA that operates nearly 1,300 care sites.
(April 20, 2007)
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Electronic health services without borders
EU Member States and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have adopted a common declaration on their commitment to pursue structured cooperation on cross-border electronic health services across Europe. 'By adopting today's Declaration, we seek to ensure that, in the future, electronic health services for Europe's citizens do not stop at national borders,' said the German State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Klaus Theo Schröder. 'We want to give patients access to their medical records and patient summaries from everywhere within the EU. This not only serves the continuity of care but also affords safety in an emergency,' he explained. The declaration was adopted at the 2007 eHealth Conference whose theme 'From strategies to applications' looked at the implementation of electronic health-service applications and infrastructures such as electronic prescriptions and electronic patient files, as well as future services available thanks to the electronic health card.
(April 20, 2007)
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House bill targets cost of healthcare IT
Reps. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) and Phil Gingrey (R-Ga. ) Thursday introduced a bipartisan bill designed to help physicians afford the high cost of adopting healthcare information technology. The bill, called the National Health Information Incentive Act, offers grants, loans and tax incentives to offset the cost of physicians implementing healthcare IT. Gingrey, a physician, said that many physician practices are small businesses with concerns for their bottom line. “By providing financial incentives for doctors to adopt health IT, this bill will get life-saving technology into physician offices and into the lives of American patients,” Gingrey said. According to Gonzalez, chairman of the Small Business Committee's Subcommittee on Regulation, Healthcare, and Trade, widespread healthcare IT adoption will revolutionize the standard and quality of healthcare received in America.
(April 20, 2007)
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IT Could Reap Big Savings in Australia, Report Finds
If Australian physicians shared chronically ill patients' information via the Internet, the country could save up to $1.5 billion Australian, or $1.25 billion, annually, according to a report by the Australian Center for Health Research released on Thursday.
(April 20, 2007)
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Alabama Bill To Jumpstart Trauma Communications
Four Alabama state senators are co-sponsoring a bill that would create a 24-hour trauma dispatch center to help coordinate the flow of patients to hospitals statewide.
(April 20, 2007)
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Study Finds Broad Variation in Readiness To Improve Care Quality
"Vast differences" exist in regional markets' preparedness to improve health care quality for people with chronic illnesses, according to a survey of 14 communities nationwide conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Center for Health Improvement.
(April 20, 2007)
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Survey: More Hospitals Complete EHR Adoption
Thirty-two percent of hospital leaders say their facilities have a fully operational electronic health record system, compared with 24% in 2006.
(April 20, 2007)
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HHS report: Electronic prescribing standards need more work
A series of tests designed to gauge the readiness of standards being developed for electronically prescribing drugs under Medicare have produced mixed results, according to a report on the tests issued yesterday. Three of six tests of new standards were able to convey prescription information in the proper format for use in a Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, according to the report, which was delivered to Congress by Health and Human Services Department Secretary Mike Leavitt. Three other standards need more work before they can be finalized, the report concluded.
(April 19, 2007)
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LifeonKey health database provides the key to crucial information
You've been planning your Great Barrier Reef scuba diving getaway for months. It's day one and you're eager to get below the surface and view the infamous coral reefs you've heard so much about. But shortly after leaping from the dive deck, you discover difficulty in clearing facial pressure - two musts for eardrum and blood vessel preservation. What's going on? Granted it's been a few years since you've donned wetsuit and gear but this was never an issue in the past. Thanks to a new Israeli innovation available in the near future, you won't have to wait until you're back home to troubleshoot. LifeonKey, an 'access anywhere' patient and medical professional retrieval system, allows the Australian doctors on your case to instantly see information regarding that bout of pneumonia and sinusitis suffered last year, which is now affecting your holiday dive expedition plans. "The LifeonKey technology benefits everyone involved," CEO Dr. Linda Harnevo of Global Medical Networks, developers of the technology, told ISRAEL21c. A virtual database of patient information, the idea is based upon quick and easy access of patient records using sign-up information and access codes.
(April 19, 2007)
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Steve Case launches his health revolution
It has ... well, a revolutionary name for a Web site, a founder with a history and deep pockets and recognizable partners - Colin Powell and Carly Fiorina. And, today, amid much hoopla, Steve Case launched Revolution Health’s Web site. Out came announcements from a flock of well known partners in healthcare and elsewhere. The American Association of Family Physicians is on board. The organization has 94,000 members. IVillage, which has its own healthcare Web offering especially for women, announced its partnership with Revolution Health. Columbia University Medical Center is part of the revolution, too, along with several others. “Revolution Health is recognizing the importance of a medical home where a physician practice serves as the focal point through which all patients receive acute, chronic, preventive and end-of-life medical care that is accessible, efficient and of the highest quality,” said Rick Kellerman, MD, president of the AAFP.
(April 19, 2007)
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Guest Opinion: Investments in health IT save lives, money
Health insurance and Medicare are buckling under the weight of rising health care costs. Their future depends on controlling these costs. There is no better single step we can take toward this end than the widespread adoption of electronic health information technology (HIT). It will revolutionize medicine by slashing costs while saving lives.
(April 19, 2007)
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Oregon Telemedicine Project To Connect Pediatricians
Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Ore., on Tuesday announced a pilot project to create a telemedicine link between its pediatric department and specialists at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, Ore., to reduce the number of children transferred to Doernbecher.
(April 19, 2007)
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Gov. Schwarzenegger Touts Benefits of Telemedicine
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Wednesday at the Telehealth and Visiting Specialist Center in Eureka, Calif., promoted telemedicine's ability to increase access to quality medical care.
(April 19, 2007)
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A Virtual Doctors' Lounge
The vast majority of patient care today takes place on an outpatient basis in small physician offices. Physicians in the last 10 to 15 years have become more isolated as they spend less time in hospitals. Conversing with fellow physicians in the cafeteria or doctors' lounge is becoming a thing of the past. Sermo, an online physician community, is tapping into a "desire in the medical community to have a sense of the old community that [physicians] once had," Daniel Palestrant, CEO and founder of Sermo, said.
(April 19, 2007)
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HHS releases report on e-Rx standards
Three electronic prescribing standards tested in an e-prescribing pilot project sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are capable of supporting transactions in Medicare Part D, according to a report released to Congress Tuesday. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt announced the results of the report, which was conducted through an interagency agreement between CMS and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. “The findings in this report, along with previously adopted foundation standards, demonstrate that HHS is effectively advancing electronic prescribing which will continue to help Medicare beneficiaries receive higher quality care,” Secretary Leavitt said. The initial e-prescribing standards that are described in the report as “technically able to convey the information needed to support this function for use in Part D” deal with formulary and benefit information, exchange of medication history, and fill status notification.
(April 18, 2007)
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LSU Healthcare Network Delivers Online Physician-Patient Communication and Personal Health Records to Louisianans
LSU Healthcare Network (LHN) is launching iHealth, the leading online physician-patient communication service that includes a transportable and secure online personal health record for all area residents. iHealth, the first of its kind service launched in the New Orleans area, will directly engage patients with online access to their LHN physician's office and a secure, online health record that empowers patients and protects them in emergencies.
(April 18, 2007)
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Medical records going digital
Paper patient charts will soon be on the way out at Hutchinson Community Hospital. The Hutchinson Area Health Care Governing Board on Tuesday approved a list of purchases for the city-owned hospital’s new electronic medical records system.
(April 18, 2007)
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Interim healthcare IT chief made permanent
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt announced Wednesday that Robert Kolodner will serve in a permanent capacity as the head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). And, with the appointment comes a change in the way the position is structured – ensuring continuity beyond the current administration. Kolodner has been serving as the Interim National Coordinator for Health IT since Sept. 20. During an exclusive interview today with Healthcare IT News, Kolodner said the delay in appointing him had mostly to do with “hammering down the details” of making the position into a permanent career position. “The key message here is I’m in a career position,” Kolodner said. “This isn’t a political appointment. And this is a statement [on the part of HHS] that this is something that needs to transcend the administration and go forward into the next administration as long as such leadership adds value in achieving secure, interoperable health IT.” Kolodner said he does not anticipate making any changes in ONC’s already aggressive agenda to accomplish the advancement of healthcare, and his permanent capacity will not change how he operates in the position. “The [HHS] Secretary has made clear all along that I have had authority,” Kolodner said.
(April 18, 2007)
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Mobile Phones To Help Patients Monitor Health
Researchers at Leeds University in England are developing a mobile phone that can check patients' vital signs and glucose and blood oxygen levels.
(April 18, 2007)
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Confidentiality and privacy of personal health information is critical to acceptance of NHIN
"ACP strongly believes in the goal of widespread adoption and use of health information technology to improve quality of care," Michael H. Zaroukian, MD, PhD, FACP, told the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics subcommittee on Privacy and Confidentiality today at their hearing on "Consumer Controls for Sensitive Health Records." Dr. Zaroukian is a member of ACP’s Medical Informatics Subcommittee and Medical Director of the Michigan State University (MSU) Internal Medicine Clinic and the University’s Chief Medical Information Officer. He spoke with the subcommittee by phone. "Control of content and access by individuals to clinical information are critical issues that will greatly influence acceptance and use of the National Health Information Network (NHIN)," Dr. Zaroukian continued. "The impact of policies adopted and implemented to address these complex concerns could be substantial with respect to the accuracy, reliability and usability of information exchanged electronically."
(April 17, 2007)
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Health Data Exchanges Seek Sustainability
The Indiana Health Information Exchange has thrived monetarily and continues to grow, while the developing California Regional Health Information Organization looks to create an exchange that will be financially stable in the long term.
(April 17, 2007)
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British Columbia Sets Sight on EHRs
British Columbia on Tuesday will announce a multimillion-dollar contract with Sun Microsystems and other partners to create a province-wide electronic health record system aimed at improving patient care and reducing medical errors.
(April 17, 2007)
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Human vs. Technology
Earlier this year, we learned that one of the most anticipated technologies ever to be offered to consumers would soon be available. It would revolutionize our lives, improve our connectivity with others, and manage complex information elegantly and error free. No, we're not talking about the personal health record. We're, of course, talking about the Apple iPhone.
(April 17, 2007)
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CCHIT to expand workgroups, ease pressure on volunteers
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) – an independent, nonprofit organization that has been recognized by the federal government as an official certification body for electronic health record products – announced Tuesday that it plans to increase its staff and restructure volunteer workgroups in order to handle an expanded 2008 agenda. According to Mark Leavitt, MD, CCHIT chairman, volunteer resources responsible for CCHIT’s success are finding their time spread thinner than ever. “I believe we must use those resources even more efficiently this year, making fewer demands on their time while gaining the maximum benefit from their expertise," Leavitt said. Under the new structure, CCHIT will expand from three workgroups to five, adding a workgroup to handle emergency department systems and another to develop certification criteria for health information networks. The current workgroups for electronic health record requirements, office-based and hospital-based settings will remain the same, according a statement released today on behalf of CCHIT.
(April 17, 2007)
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U.K. National Health IT Program Continues To Struggle, Report Finds
A group of United Kingdom members of Parliament in a new report said that the National Health Service's health IT project is two years behind schedule and needs immediate action to protect its long-term interests.
(April 17, 2007)
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AHA Leader Cites Need for I.T.
Providing improved access to information must be a core component of efforts to reform the U.S. health care system, according to the new president and CEO of the American Hospital Association. “We have to make information available at the right place and at the right time,” said Richard Umbdenstock in his presentation at the American Organization of Nurse Executives’ Annual Meeting, April 13 in Washington. “We have to work on standards, on connectivity and on the interoperability of information systems.”
(April 16, 2007)
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Editor's letter: Health care tipping points
The Internet giveth, and the Internet taketh away — especially, it seems, in the health care community. Although it has expanded access to health information for millions of people, the Internet circulates dross and admits pranksters, or worse. This has dramatically raised the demand for precision — in health records, patient identification, technology certification and treatment. That’s all well and good because it is forcing us to seek more sophisticated solutions to problems related to information growth, openness, and abundance. But lately, the Internet scales seem to be tipping us into foreign territory and challenging the notion of what’s possible, what’s scientific and, in some cases, what’s safe.
(April 16, 2007)
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Banking on privacy
As the federal government continues to push for wider adoption of electronic medical records, many organizations are asking how they can efficiently distribute and safeguard all of that electronic medical information once it’s captured. One strategy is to create banks of records from which authorized doctors and nurses can quickly pull patients’ lab tests and medical histories. Proponents contend that care will improve and medication mistakes will decline when specialists and emergency room physicians have immediate access to the same information that a patient’s primary care physician has.
(April 16, 2007)
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Opelka: E-prescribing is safe and private
Medical errors, the bane of physicians and the cause of some 100,000 preventable deaths each year in the United States, may soon be a thing of the past. New technologies already in use in thousands of clinics and hospitals alert providers to therapies that may harm the patient, such as overly high medication dosages and drug interactions. As a practicing surgeon who teaches medicine, I share the sense of urgency of all in my profession who are dedicated to preventing medical errors and ensuring patient safety. So when I was asked recently to co-chair a major national initiative offering free electronic prescribing software — a technology that the Institute of Medicine recommends for every physician — I gladly accepted.
(April 16, 2007)
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Feldman: Twin win: Privacy and e-health
The U.S. health care community is breaking new ground in e-health every day. Yet this transformative system will reach a critical mass of acceptance by health care consumers, providers and facility-operators only when the public feels assured that privacy is priority No. 1.
(April 16, 2007)
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Finding Foreman
George Foreman — boxer, clergyman and entrepreneur — named his five sons after himself. So when the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) is up and running, how will a doctor find the records for the right George Foreman? Accurately matching patients with their electronic records is at the heart of the proposed network. But what if doctors search NHIN and find no records for anyone named George Foreman? If few matches are found, users will soon pronounce the network a waste of time and money, and they’ll abandon it.
(April 16, 2007)
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A RHIO that works and pays
The big challenge facing regional health information organizations is financial sustainability, but the Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE) is not only surviving monetarily, it’s thriving. This RHIO is doing so well, in fact, that it recently graduated from a business incubator run by Indiana University and moved into a large commercial space that will allow it to grow from 18 to 46 employees by the end of the year. “We’re extremely pleased with how things are going,” said Dr. Marc Overhage, president and chief executive officer of IHIE. “Not only are we covering all of our expenses, but we are generating enough to invest in growth.”
(April 16, 2007)
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Perspective: A business model for RHIOs
A lot of splashy new client announcements were made at the HIMSS 2007 Annual Conference & Exhibition in February. One of the more interesting ones involves a collaboration between two competitive laboratories in Nebraska. They deployed a Web-based system to integrate their two businesses. But this system also has the potential to provide the needed business case for providers to participate in a regional health information organization (RHIO).
(April 16, 2007)
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Health care 2.0
New Web tools promise to tear down barriers to health care information sharing, but will they pass the test for privacy and accuracy?
(April 16, 2007)
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Not all agree with privacy week's focus
Who can argue with a week devoted to "raising awareness among healthcare professionals, their employers and the public of the importance of protecting the privacy, confidentiality and security of personal health information?" Deborah Peel, an Austin, Texas, psychiatrist and founder of the Patient Privacy Rights Foundation, that's who. Peel is arguing about the focus on personal health records and other nuances of the privacy debate that the American Health Information Management Association put forth as part of its fourth annual Health Information Privacy and Security Week, which was held last week. In particular, Peel was upset with a statement in AHIMA privacy and security week education materials that declared: "Consumers should establish a personal health record." Specifically, she questioned the privacy of records created by insurance companies and employers, and worried that the information stored in these PHRs could be used against patients.
(April 16, 2007)
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New York City brings EMRs to primary care providers
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced Monday that it will provide electronic medical records and practice management software to 1,300 providers caring for underserved and vulnerable populations in the City. The Department has signed a $19.8 million deal with healthcare IT vendor eClinicalWorks of Westborough, Mass. to provide the software. The deal is part of New York City’s Primary Care Information Project (PCIP), an initiative to improve the quality of healthcare throughout the City. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has often expressed his belief in the importance of electronic records in reforming primary care. “Getting preventive health value from EHRs is by no means automatic,” Bloomberg said at the Academy Health National Health Policy Conference in February. “But if we program and implement them with disease prevention as our goal, they can be crucial to rebuilding primary care in our nation.”
(April 16, 2007)
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Ushering in a New Era of Community Health Care
Lake Hospital System today broke ground on a new digital hospital that will be built in Concord Township. The $150 million state-of-the-art health care facility, named TriPoint Medical Center, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2009 and will introduce a new approach to community health care that revolves entirely around the patient... TriPoint Medical Center will be equipped with computerized systems to speed the flow of decision-making information to medical professionals and improve the quality of care. Electronic medical records and filmless, computerized radiology systems will provide up-to-the- minute information and fully integrate with electronic information at other Lake Hospital System facilities. "Having immediate access to a patient's complete health records, including lists of a patient's prescriptions and allergies, can help prevent medical errors, improve patient safety, and avoid duplicate tests and other procedures," said John Ferron, MD, president of the Lake Hospital System Medical Staff and a general surgeon. "It's all about delivering the highest quality care to our patients."
(April 16, 2007)
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Johns Hopkins to focus on quality with new technology
The Johns Hopkins Health System will implement Microsoft’s Azyxxi platform and applications to better measure performance and improve patient care. Johns Hopkins is the second health organization to announce deployment of the newly commercial Azyxxi technology. NewYork Presbyterian, one of the nation’s largest hospitals, became the first to choose Azyxxi. The hospital announced the project in March. CIO Aurelia Boyer said then NewYork Presbyterian was ready to “push the envelope.” As early adopters, both hospitals will help Microsoft further develop Azyxxi’s features and functionality. Microsoft is working with the two hospitals to tailor the technology to their needs.
(April 16, 2007)
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Wireless technology for doctors demonstrated in La Jolla
Yulun Wang leaned over his laptop computer, grabbed the joystick and directed his robot forward. Nearly 200 miles to the north, the robot moved away from its charging station and rolled to a bed occupied by a mannequin "patient." A camera mounted on the robot focused on the patient's eyes, telescoping into high magnification to examine the pupils for signs of brain injury. "If I was a physician, and I had a call from my emergency department ... I could be sitting here and I could see my patient, and interact with him," said Wang, chairman of Santa Barbara-based InTouch Health. Wireless technology from Qualcomm Inc. made the new device possible.
(April 15, 2007)
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Cook County to tighten up medical referrals
Thousands of poor patients across Chicago may have a harder time getting specialized medical services at Cook County under a new policy that starts Monday. Before, private community clinics could refer needy patients with conditions such as cancer or diabetes to Stroger Hospital's specialty clinics via a sophisticated computer system. Apparently, that system is shutting down.
(April 15, 2007)
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Medical records moving online
In less than a year, patients served by four of the state's largest health networks may see their medical records available online. Officials at MaineInfoNet, a nonprofit corporation, are creating an electronic system they say will save money, avoid duplicate tests and procedures, save lives and improve care. "It's typical to have two or more providers and they're all prescribing and none of them know what the others are prescribing," said HealthInfoNet Executive Director Devore Culver.
(April 15, 2007)
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New technology boosts health care
Lost within the shuffle of the daily news, Zelnorm was recalled by the Food and Drug Administration Friday, March 30... “In 10 minutes I knew all 527 patients who are on Zelnorm or who had been on it … ,” said Dr. Joseph Castelli, a gynocologist at the Murfreesboro Medical Clinic (MMC). “That afternoon a letter was put together and reviewed. Monday morning we sent it out to all our patients to notify them of the recall and to call their doctors. In November 2004, MMC made the switch to Electronic Health Records (EHR).
(April 15, 2007)
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RHIO Finance Survey To Close April 20
The 2007 national Survey of Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) Finance, distributed to health information exchanges across the nation, will close on April 20. The survey focuses on how RHIOs and HIEs fund startup, and how they finance operations through the life of the organization. Persons involved in RHIOs may take the survey at rhiosurvey.hittransition.com/instrument.htm.
(April 15, 2007)
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Hospitals Buying Big Ticket Tech For Big Health
The promise of better health care through innovative medical technology can be a expensive promise to keep. Hospitals and clinics in the Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas areas have invested heavily in new technology and new construction in the past year.
(April 14, 2007)
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Gingrich sees computers improving health care
If former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is right, this is what will happen in the not-so-distant-future of health care: Your doctor will implant in you a wireless pacemaker that continuously monitors your heart waves. The data will be uploaded into a supercomputer that compares your heart rhythm with millions of others. Based on that, the computer will be able to diagnose a heart attack hours before it happens.
(April 14, 2007)
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EHR Network on Docket for Florida Lawmakers
Florida legislators are considering several bills that would create a statewide health care information network and provide physicians with access to an online database of electronic health records.
(April 13, 2007)
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Washington State Legislation Promoting EHR Adoption Moves Forward
The Washington state House on Thursday passed a broad health care measure that would allow online access to a health science library and encourage the adoption of electronic health records.
(April 13, 2007)
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D.C. starts digitizing patient records with $5M grant
D.C. health care leaders are switching on a $5 million, six-clinic electronic network that they expect will eventually stretch across all the city's hospitals, medical practices, clinics and pharmacies. With help from a city grant, the D.C. Primary Care Association (DCPCA) will be signing up a software company before month's end to link the electronic medical records of six community health care clinics for the underinsured.
(April 13, 2007)
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Andy Grove: Your medical history on a chip
The health care industry had no direct relation to Andy Grove's long career at Intel; it caught his interest when he himself was a patient. Grove, co-founder, former CEO and president of Intel, as well as best-selling author and winner of numerous awards, talked about the relationship between technology and health care at the University of California at Berkeley's School of Public Health this week. Although he's not very optimistic, and fears a major war, depression or pandemic would have to strike the nation for U.S. health care to change its ways, he considers information technology a vital solution for lowering costs of medical care (he cited estimates of $130 billion in annual health care spending increases).
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Workgroup may propose extending HIPAA to health info exchanges
A workgroup of the American Health Information Community is likely to recommend in May that the privacy and security rules associated with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 be extended to apply to almost all users of health information exchanges.
(April 13, 2007)
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UnitedHealthcare Launches Online Real-Time Claims System
UnitedHealthcare has begun using a service that allows physicians to file insurance claims in real-time through a new Web site... Physicians enter patients' eligibility data and codes for the care they received, and UnitedHealthcare will confirm the costs in less than 10 seconds. Patients know their claims information before leaving a physician office, and the system reduces paperwork and expedites the process.
(April 12, 2007)
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Florida Group Initiates E-Prescribing Effort
Several Florida health plans and provider companies are collaborating to oversee the widespread adoption of electronic prescriptions to improve patient safety and health.
(April 12, 2007)
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Survey: Recent Development Signals That More RHIOs Will Struggle
More than three-quarters of survey respondents said that the recent cease of operations by the Santa Barbara County Care Data Exchange -- the longest running regional health information organization in the country -- indicates that other RHIOs will struggle in upcoming months.
(April 12, 2007)
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Feds Launch Online I.T. Education
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has introduced Web-based educational sessions for physicians about health information technology. The agency calls the free service DOQ-IT University, short for Doctor’s Office Quality Information Technology University. Initial sessions address physician office workflow redesign, culture change, care management implementation and adding patient self-management to clinical care. The online university was developed and is being managed by quality improvement organizations under contract to CMS. Associations contributing content and expertise include the American College of Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Board of Internal Medicine, American Health Information Management Association, and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. Planned enhancements include offering continuing medical education credits. The online university’s Web site is elearning.qualitynet.org.
(April 12, 2007)
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Group Health co-op sending custom medical messages at birthday time
This is one birthday greeting that's definitely not from Hallmark: medical advice customized for your personal health. In a novel effort to prod patients into better health, Group Health Cooperative on Monday will begin sending most of its 527,000 members in Washington annual "outreach" letters around their big days, urging them to watch their blood pressure, curb their cholesterol, even get stool tests and mammograms. The letters will be based on information automatically culled from their electronic medical records.
(April 12, 2007)
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Most state Medicaid programs use P4P
According to a report released today by the Commonwealth Fund and IPRO, the majority of state Medicaid programs use some form of pay-for-performance model or are considering implementing one. IPRO and the Commonwealth Fund, both non-profit research organizations, found that more than half of all state Medicaid programs offer financial incentives to healthcare providers who deliver better quality of care, and nearly 85 percent of states plan to create pay-for-performance (P4P) programs within five years.
(April 12, 2007)
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Press Release: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Launches DOQ-IT University
New interactive learning tool educates physicians in the adoption and implementation of Electronic Health Records and Care Management Practices.
(April 11, 2007)
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Industry, Government Partner on Health IT Initiatives in California
In an iHealthBeat Special Report, Cathie Markow, manager of the California Cooperative Healthcare Reporting Initiative, discussed her group's recent contract with the federal government to track physician performance.
(April 11, 2007)
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Physician Web Site Hits Milestone
More than 10,000 physicians have registered to use the online communities of Sermo Inc. six months after the Cambridge, Mass.-based company launched its services. The physicians come from more than 30 specialties and use the site to communicate with peers, share observations about the effectiveness of treatments, and get advice on troublesome cases or how certain regulations could affect their practices.
(April 11, 2007)
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Accenture Partner Garret Wu: Health Info Prototype Is One Small Step
"Accenture's prototype introduces both common language and data standards, and integrates information across the entire healthcare system. It enables a single view of a patient's medical information. This helps provide better patient care, more consistent care and supports the secondary use of data," said Garret Wu, a partner at Accenture Health & Life Sciences.
(April 11, 2007)
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NYU completes "big bang" CPOE
Given the suspicion with which the industry has regarded computerized provider order entry implementations in recent years, you might expect hospitals to take a slow and steady approach when bringing up a new system. Not if you work at NYU Medical Center. “Fast and steady” might be the best way to describe its intense, 48-hour go-live effort – one that resulted in bringing up an integrated pharmacy systems-CPOE solution from Eclipsys for about 5,000 physician, nurses and other clinicians at the tertiary care/academic institution between March 24-26.
(April 11, 2007)
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Banks Morph Into Health IT Engines
You're online doing monthly bill paying on your bank's Web site. After making your payments, you take a moment to click on the latest update of your medical record. Does this sound like a pipedream, nightmare or near-term reality? Based on the momentum of the Medical Banking Project, this type of service could be available sooner than you might think.
(April 10, 2007)
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Iowa Docs Get Discounts
The Iowa Medical Society, West Des Moines, will offer its 4,600 physician members preferred pricing on clinical and revenue cycle management services from athenahealth Inc.
(April 10, 2007)
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Report Reveals Evolving Role of Healthcare Privacy Officer
In light of new privacy-related issues including the evolution of health information exchanges, state-level privacy and security standards that are more stringent than the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and numerous high-profile security and privacy breaches, the role of privacy officers in healthcare has evolved over the past four years, according to a report issued by the American Health Information Management Association.
(April 10, 2007)
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VA Takes the Lead in Paperless Care - Computerized Medical Records Promise Lower Costs and Better Treatment
Divya Shroff, a staff physician at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Northwest Washington, stops what she's doing to answer her phone: It's a doctor down the hall who needs help with a man struggling to breathe. She calls up the patient's medical record on the computer at her desk and scrolls through lab reports, doctors' notes, X-rays and EKGs, thinking out loud with the medical resident, who is at the man's bedside.
(April 10, 2007)
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Medsphere’s OpenVista EHR Goes Live at State Hospital in West Virginia
Medsphere Systems Corporation today announced the successful deployment of its OpenVista® electronic health record (EHR) platform at William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital, the first of seven state-operated hospitals in West Virginia that will be equipped with the system under a contract signed last year. More than 280 physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians and other staff at Sharpe Hospital, a 150-bed acute care psychiatric facility in the city of Weston, are now using OpenVista to record and retrieve patient information electronically. The installation of OpenVista at Sharpe was completed in less than a year. Clinicians from the hospital entered 1,962 orders and 2,323 progress notes into the OpenVista EHR in the first three days of live operation, reflecting immediate user acceptance of the technology.
(April 10, 2007)
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18th Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey: Health IT Remains Primary Focus to Reduce Medical Errors and Improve Patient Safety
Improving quality of care and patient (customer) satisfaction have remained at the hub of the evolving healthcare delivery system…and according to the 360 healthcare IT professionals who responded to the 18th Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey…they are also the top business issues impacting healthcare in the next two years.
(April 10, 2007)
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HIMSS Survey: EMR Use Growing
Thirty-two percent of provider organization respondents to a recent survey reported their organization has a fully operational electronic medical records system. That figure compares with 24% reporting full operational status last year in the same survey, and 18% in 2005. Further, 37% of respondent organizations are presently implementing an EMR and another 6% have signed a contract to buy the technology. Only 8% of respondent organizations have no plans to implement an EMR, half the rate of two years ago.
(April 10, 2007)
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Rx for quality
In 2005, hospital-acquired infections in Pennsylvania led to nearly 2,500 deaths and more than $3.5 billion in hospital charges. Since most hospital-acquired infections are preventable, significant cost savings and improved quality of care can be realized by eliminating them. Improving quality of care denotes one health care reform in Gov. Rendell's "Prescription for Pennsylvania" proposal designed to restructure the state's deteriorating health care system.
(April 9, 2007)
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Medical Data May Go Online
Your doctor in Tampa knows you're allergic to penicillin. What about the hospital in Miami, where you're headed for a two-week vacation? Soon, doctors and hospitals throughout the state may obtain such information via the Internet instead of relying on patients and their families to provide it.
(April 9, 2007)
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Wal-Mart to apply its IT expertise to healthcare
Retail giant Wal-Mart not only plans to invest in healthcare IT, but also intends to apply some of what it has learned in the retail marketplace to help lower healthcare costs for its employees - and the nation, a top Wal-Mart executive said Friday. “It occurred to us that there are lessons to be learned from other sectors that could be applied to healthcare,” said Carolyn Walton, vice president of the information systems division for Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. recently announced it would partner with the University of Arkansas and Blue Cross Blue Shield to conduct research on how to advance healthcare IT in the United States.
(April 9, 2007)
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Testing Tomorrow’s Health Care – Today
A rural community builds an advanced broadband infrastructure and becomes a testbed for 21st-century medicine.
(April 8, 2007)
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Telemedicine Adoption: A Long Time Coming?
The concept of telemedicine might seem futuristic to some, but the technology, in fact, has been around for decades. However, aside from early adopters, widespread integration of telemedicine has been delayed in part because of technological, financial and organizational barriers.
(April 6, 2007)
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Retail Clinics Set EHR Standards
The Convenient Care Association has issued mandatory standards of care for its member organizations that operate more than 300 retail clinics in 21 states. Members have committed, for instance, to using electronic health records software in their clinics and to share the records in paper or electronic formats with patients’ primary care physicians and hospitals.
(April 6, 2007)
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Project to Evaluate Web Portal Use
Three dozen physician practices helping to create a new model of care will use various levels of Web portal technology from Medfusion Inc., Raleigh, N.C. The practices are participating in the American Academy of Family Physicians’ TransforMED program launched a year ago. Under the project, offices are being redesigned to be more functional and workflow-friendly, and new processes are being developed to focus on quality, safety and alternative reimbursement models. The care model also calls for adoption of electronic health records, e-prescribing, clinical decision support, secure messaging and Web portal software.
(April 6, 2007)
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Rural areas get $153M for e-health, e-education
The Agriculture Department has made available $153 million for distance learning and telemedicine in rural communities: $62.9 million for distance learning and telemedicine loans, $75 million in loan and grant combinations, and $15 million in grants for rural communities.
(April 6, 2007)
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Study Recommends Ways to Resolve Health Information Security Issues
Establishing a health information exchange policy research and coordinating center for Wyoming is among the recommendations resulting from a year-long study of security issues in health information. Recommendations were discussed during a recent workshop in Casper, sponsored by the Center for Rural Health Research and Education (CRHRE) in the University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences. The workshop culminated the project funded by the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research and managed by the National Governors' Association and RTI International. The project’s goal was to resolve privacy and security policy questions affecting the exchange of electronic health information among the numerous organizations within the health care community, says Rex Gantenbein, CRHRE director.
(April 6, 2007)
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Report: More research needed for Medicaid to use health IT
An expert advisory panel has recommended that the federal government do more research to help Medicaid agencies identify opportunities for incorporating health information technology into the country’s largest health care program. “Medicaid can have an influential role in the adoption” of health IT and health information exchanges, according to the new report from the Center for Health Policy and Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It also states that health IT could increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Medicaid programs, which the states operate with substantial federal support.
(April 6, 2007)
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USDA announces funding for rural telemedicine
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will offer $128 million in loans and grants for telemedicine and distance learning in 2007, a USDA representative announced Thursday. USDA intends to make $62.9 million available for loans, $50 million available for loan and grant combinations, and $15 million available for grants alone, said Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Thomas C. Dorr.
(April 6, 2007)
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CMS announces measures for P4P reporting amid industry concerns
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released information this week on how doctors will be measured for quality performance under the voluntary 2007 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI). The 74 measures include aspects of treatment and screening for Medicare patients with diabetes, heart disease, depression, stroke, glaucoma, cataracts, osteoporosis, melanoma, end stage renal disease, asthma and pneumonia. In a statement Tuesday, CMS said it may expand specifications later to include additional eligible professionals. According to a law passed last December, doctors who measure and report their performance from July 1 to December 31 of this year based on the measures will receive a bonus payment of 1.5 percent of their total allowed charges under Medicare. Medicare officials have made it clear that though physician pay for performance (P4P) is only in the voluntary stages now, CMS may one day make it a permanent aspect of Medicare.
(April 5, 2007)
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Physicians, surgeons urge states to guard patient privacy
At a meeting of the State Alliance for e-Health last week, a representative of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons urged the newly formed organization to use care when it comes to patient privacy. Kathryn Serkes, a public affairs officer for AAPS told the Alliance that healthcare IT should be market driven and patient-centered.
(April 5, 2007)
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ER Card developers attract ‘angel’ investors
Health care investment group Angel Health Strategies LLC of Providence has teamed up with electronic medical records vendor Professional Records Inc., developer of the ER Card, to establish ER Card LLC.
(April 5, 2007)
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Kansas Hospital To Get Technology Upgrade
Hospital District No. 1 in Crawford County, Kan., has initiated a three-year IT upgrade for its facility and local clinics in Cherokee, Kan., and Frontenac, Kan.
(April 4, 2007)
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Ohio Hospital Sets Sights on EHR System, Technology Training Center
Adena Regional Medical Center in Chillicothe, Ohio, will partner with primary care physicians in the area to create an electronic health record system for the community, according to Mark Shuter, president and CEO of the hospital.
(April 4, 2007)
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Two Ohio Practices Get EMR, PM
PriMed Physicians, Dayton, Ohio, and Health First Physicians, Cincinnati, will use integrated electronic medical records and practice management systems from Allscripts LLC.
(April 4, 2007)
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Redirecting health care
Many experts believe consumer-directed health care -- giving patients greater decision making powers through greater transparency in pricing and understanding of possible outcomes -- is the path toward a better medical system. Yet one of the key tools to constructing this new model still lags far behind: the broad deployment of electronic medical records and consumer access to this information.
(April 4, 2007)
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For the Record
A Lafayette entrepreneur helps local doctors go paperless.
(April 4, 2007)
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Study: docs don't get full benefit from e-prescribing software
Physicians who use e-prescribing software often encounter significant barriers to adoption of the most advanced features of such technology and believe that those features don’t add value, according to a recent study in the journal Health Affairs. The results of the study suggest that the ways in which physicians currently use e-prescribing technology differ significantly from the ideal promoted by the advocates of e-prescribing. Researchers at the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) in Washington, D.C. conducted the study, entitled “Physicians’ Experience Using Commercial E-Prescribing Systems.
(April 4, 2007)
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Canada's New Government Announces Patient Wait Times Guarantees With All the Provinces and Territories
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that all ten provinces and three territories have agreed to establish Patient Wait Times Guarantees by 2010... Canadians will be guaranteed timely access to health care in at least one of the following priority areas, either cancer care, hip and knee replacement, cardiac care, diagnostic imaging, cataract surgeries or primary care. These areas have been selected by each province and territory based on their priorities, capacity and different starting points. Today’s announcement will be supported by Budget 2007, which set aside $612 million for the Patient Wait Times Guarantee Trust, $30 million for wait times pilot projects, as well as $400 million for Canada Health Infoway, the independent, non-profit corporation through which Ottawa has been helping advance the use of health information technology across the country. “Our investment in Infoway will help transform paper records into bits and bytes so patients and their doctors have access to this essential data whenever and wherever they need it,” said Prime Minister Harper. “This will have a profound impact on the efficiency of our healthcare system and that, in turn, will help the provinces and territories implement a comprehensive set of Patient Wait Times Guarantees.”
(April 4, 2007)
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Department Of Defense Announces Partnership With The Florida Agency For Health Care Administration
The Department of Defense, together with Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, has partnered to pursue an interoperable network for sharing electronic medical information. This marks the first time that DoD has formed a network with and a non-federal entity to share electronic medical records.
(April 4, 2007)
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New Speakers Added to EHR Summit
Health Data Management has added more speakers to the lineup for its Clinical Automation Summit, to be held Sept. 17-18 in Chicago. The conference will focus on strategies for electronic health records success. Among the speakers added are: ...
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CMS relaxes its insistence on provider ID adoption
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is giving health care providers and health plans as much as a year’s grace in which to begin using the National Provider Identifier (NPI) as their sole identification number. While continuing to insist that May 23 is the final deadline for all those except small health plans to use the NPI, CMS officials said they will focus on obtaining voluntary compliance and will investigate laggards only when a complaint is filed.
(April 3, 2007)
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U.S. Healthcare Market Offers Significant Growth Potential for Healthcare IT Vendors
The US healthcare IT market is currently in its infancy with low adoption rates across many segments, providing key opportunities for healthcare IT (HIT) vendors wishing to enter the market. The federal government is placing heavy emphasis on electronic health records (EHRs) by providing financial investment into demonstration projects and driving the establishment of universal standards. The customer environment is highly heterogeneous, adding to the complexity of the marketplace but understanding the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of such an environment will be essential to achieving success in the US healthcare market. "The US healthcare system is in a difficult position as it tries to deliver quality care to a rapidly ageing population, while reducing the actual cost of healthcare," notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Konstantinos Nikolopoulos in a recent study on the U.S. Healthcare Market and Implications for the Healthcare IT Industry. "Healthcare information technology will have an important role to play in the future of the US healthcare system due to its ability to assist or directly address with these issues."
(April 3, 2007)
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Study: Medical Errors Increase 3%
Medical errors have risen 3% over the years 2003 to 2005, according to a survey of over 40 million Medicare hospitalization records from Golden, Colo.-based HealthGrades Inc., a publisher of online profiles and quality ratings of hospitals, physicians and nursing homes.
(April 2, 2007)
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Perspective: a how-to for RHIOs
Everyone knows the adage, “If you’ve seen one RHIO, you’ve seen one RHIO.” “There is no RHIO in a box,” agrees Christina Thielst, COO of Ventura County Medical Center in Southern California. “Every RHIO is unique – a function of the culture and climate of the community being served.” Despite the general acceptance that every regional health information organization is different, Thielst points out that there are basic issues every RHIO must address. That’s the gist of The Guide to Establishing a RHIO, which was written by the HIMSS RHIO Guidebook Task Force and debuted at the 2007 HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans in late February.
(April 2, 2007)
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e-MDs Connects Physicians and Pharmacies Across the Country
e-MDs, a leading provider of electronic health record and practice management software, announced today that it has completed certification as a SureScripts Certified Solution(TM). Through the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange(TM), operated by SureScripts, e-MDs users will now be able to electronically and securely exchange prescription information with community pharmacies. This includes prescription refill requests, which physicians can receive via their office computer instead of their fax machine. Refill authorizations, or denials, can then be electronically communicated back to the pharmacy with a just a few clicks of a computer mouse, thereby eliminating many of the faxes and phone calls associated with the traditional refill process. New prescriptions can also be sent electronically, directly to pharmacy computers before a patient ever leaves their physician's office.
(April 2, 2007)
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State Alliance for e-Health to study sustainable PHR models
The State Alliance for E-Health will study sustainable models for personal health records over the next year, with a commitment to seriously address the issue in 2008. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, co-chairman of the alliance said the vote last week to study the issue of sustainability is an important one because there is “such an enormous gap in what is actually sustainable and the very high-minded things we’re all talking about.” Among the “high-minded” concepts might be the Dossia project under development through $15 million in seed funding from a coalition of Applied Materials, BP America, Intel Corp. , Pitney Bowes, Wal-Mart and Cardinal Health.
(April 2, 2007)
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Google joins fight for better healthcare info
President Bush is not the only one pressing for more information to be available to healthcare consumers. According to Adam Bosworth, vice president of Google, the search engine giant is trying to make healthcare queries more productive. At the Fourth Health Information Technology Summit in Washington, DC, March 28-30, Bosworth explained that Google administrators have struggled with serious illness in their families and have had difficulty locating information on diseases and healthcare providers. “It bitterly brought home to us that there is not enough information out there,” Bosworth said. That’s when the company decided to improve the information that comes up in a Google search on health information, Bosworth said.
(April 2, 2007)
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Health Information Technology: Are Long Term Care Providers Ready?
This report explores the readiness for health information technology (HIT) from the perspective of California's long term care providers: nursing facilities, residential care facilities, and community-based service providers.
(April 1, 2007)
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Behind the Wires
Andrew Wiesenthal oversees Kaiser Permanente’s massive effort to connect thousands of physicians and millions of patients on a single platform. You could call it the mother of all electronic medical record projects. Touted by Oakland, Calif.-based health plan Kaiser Permanente as “the largest civilian EMR system,” KP HealthConnect is indeed big. Representing more than $3 billion in capital outlay, KP HealthConnect aims to link 13,000 physicians and 8.6 million patients on a common EMR platform. And square in the middle of it all stands Andrew M. Wiesenthal, M.D., the pediatrician turned associate executive director of the Permanente Federation, the health plan’s independently operated but tightly controlled medical group.
(April 1, 2007)
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Avoidable Harm
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s 100,000 Lives campaign was yet another step in the drive to revolutionize patient safety. The next logical extension was to look away from avoidable patient deaths and focus on improving the rates of avoidable patient harm.
(April 1, 2007)
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Standardizing Medication Reconciliation Across Facilities
Devising an effective strategy for reconciling patient medications is difficult enough to do at one facility. The Illinois Hospital Association took the task to another level by coordinating the development of a standard medication reconciliation process at 26 facilities across the state. Becky Steward, who managed the project for the association, said the task imparted valuable lessons about the numerous complexities surrounding medication reconciliation. Steward spoke during the Nursing Informatics Symposium at the 2007 HIMSS Conference.
(April 1, 2007)
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McKesson Ramps Up Group Practice Push
Seeking to capitalize on what it characterizes as a "very active" electronic medical records market among physician group practices, McKesson Corp. has plans to fold its most recent acquisition into a two-prong strategy aimed at cracking open the group practice market.
(April 1, 2007)
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Making Sense of Business Analytics
Organizations seek to gain efficiencies using I.T. to measure clinical and financial performance.
(April 1, 2007)
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Erickson Health Takes Long View with Technology
Health Data Management recognizes the efforts of nurses to drive I.T. adoption at a long-term care organization.
(April 1, 2007)
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Recognizing Nurses for Their Role in I.T. Innovation
More than one CIO has lamented to this magazine about how a failure to get nurses engaged in an I.T. initiative set a course for failure. That kind of feedback from the field is one reason why Health Data Management has consistently stressed the importance of getting nurses deeply involved in, and keeping them well-informed about, technology initiatives. It's also the impetus behind our decision to create The Nursing Information Technology Innovation Award. We wanted to recognize nurses for their I.T. leadership.
(April 1, 2007)
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Tips for Improving CEO/CIO Relations
A solid organizational structure that involves a cross-section of top executives in information technology decisions plays a vital role in building a good relationship between the CEO and the CIO. That's the message the CEO and CIO of The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, shared with the audience at their session at the 2007 HIMSS Conference in New Orleans.
(April 1, 2007)
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Getting CFOs, CIOs on the Same Page
CIOs understand technology; CFOs understand money. But CIOs also need to understand that if they don't get the CFO on board with I.T. initiatives, their plans can die on the vine for lack of funding, said Dennis Sato, CIO at Salem (Ore.) Regional Health Services. Sato and Salem Regional's CFO, Aaron Crane, provided strategies for CIO/CFO teamwork during a presentation at the 2007 HIMSS Conference.
(April 1, 2007)
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CPOE Apps Put to the Test
Just because a hospital deploys computerized physician order entry doesn't mean it has increased patient safety-in fact, sometimes CPOE systems can even lead to more errors, according to David Classen, M.D., vice president at First Consulting Group, Long Beach, Calif. "Can these systems cause harm rather than prevent harm?" Classen asked attendees during a presentation at the 2007 HIMSS Conference. "How do you know if the installed system meets safety standards?" He also cited research that estimates CPOE systems do not alert caregivers about possible harmful drug interactions more than 60% of the time.
(April 1, 2007)
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I.T. Helps Provider Avoid ID Crisis
Four years ago, when the Carolinas HealthCare System first attempted to install an enterprise master person index, the project did not go as planned. But the integrated delivery network didn't give up. It started over. An EMPI system had to meet the needs of Carolinas' 10 hospitals, 80 physician practices and other facilities. And it had to update clinical systems instantaneously when new registration data was entered, says James Burke, director of information technology. Purchasing an EMPI was essential because an electronic medical records system also was being installed, he explains. "With the creation of the EMR, patients were going to have a medical record following them very rapidly around the enterprise. We needed to be able to identify them accurately from the moment they entered the delivery system."
(April 1, 2007)
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Georgia Blues award hospitals teleradiology grants
The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation has awarded $80,000 in grants to 11 rural hospitals to purchase teleradiology systems. Teleradiology allows small rural hospitals to connect with radiologists in larger cities to receive and interpret radiology images. Utilizing state-of- the-art digital technology and specialized computer monitors, remote radiologists in Savannah, Atlanta, Macon and other major markets will be able to receive images and provide faster diagnosis and consultations to attending physicians in rural areas.
(April 1, 2007)
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PHR pilot takes hold
Aetna executives say users of the company’s new personal health record are giving it rave reviews. “Seeing the information in one place causes people to ask questions,” said Meg McCabe, head of Medical & eHealth Products for Aetna. “This is the kind of engagement we’re trying to promote.” Aetna launched the pilot program to three large customers in February. McCabe said the pilot customers comprise progressive companies whose holistic strategy is to promote wellness for their populations and provide information and engage members about their health.
(April 1, 2007)
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EHR vendor reaches out to IPAs
A healthcare IT vendor that serves primarily small and medium-sized physician practices is attempting to grow its business by building relationships with Independent Physician Associations.
(April 1, 2007)
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Hospitals help physicians convert patient paperwork to computerized systems that could improve care
Ask Dr. James Dom Dera for a pen, and he probably won't be able to find one. At the beginning of the year, the Fairlawn doctor and his partners at Ohio Family Practice ditched their prescription pads, paper charts and pens in favor of a totally computerized, electronic medical record system. Summa Health Network, the contracting arm of Summa Health System that negotiates with insurers on behalf of Summa hospitals and participating doctors, provided a $22,500 grant to help the practice buy the $60,000 system. Summa also provided technical assistance, including access to its server to safely store the electronic patient records. About 200 doctors in the Akron area have made similar deals with Summa.
(April 1, 2007)
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New York hospital ready to push the data envelope
NewYork Presbyterian, one of the nation’s largest hospitals, is the first to choose Microsoft’s Azyxxi platform to access and analyze data from disparate systems throughout the hospital. NewYork Presbyterian CIO Aurelia Boyer is counting on Azyxxi to do for clinical data what a number of business intelligence tools have been able to do with financial data on the administrative side. In a word: Analyze. Analysis makes the data more useful and powerful, which translates into better patient care, Boyer said. But before data can be sliced and diced it has to be readily accessible, she said. Her plan for Azyxxi relies on the technology’s capability to look at data across systems.
(April 1, 2007)
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New report: Hospital IT pays for itself
Information technology employed in hospitals across the country makes economic sense, concludes a new PriceWaterhouseCoopers report. More than 60 percent of hospitals in the United States have made significant enough investments in information technology to begin seeing reductions in operating costs, researchers at the New York-based consulting firm report. The report, the culmination of two-years of research, asserts that investment in information technology will improve hospital business performance and that IT capital investment can eventually pay for itself in the healthcare environment.
(April 1, 2007)
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Analysts tout healthcare IT as best bet for future
Analysts see healthcare IT as a good investment choice as the country wrestles with spiraling cost. In a conference call last month, analysts at William Blair & Company, a Chicago-based investment firm, said the change to a Democrat-controlled Congress in the last election worried many investors in the healthcare sector. “Really, not a lot has changed, but it’s causing investors increasing concern,” said analyst Ben Andrew. “The real issue in our view is the ’08 election. The ’08 time frame is really when I think these issues will come to the fore.” The issues are runaway healthcare costs, a Medicare fund that is expected to become insolvent by 2018, and how the government will choose to handle these problems. Electronic health record systems and other healthcare information technology will continue to be safe bets for investors as they look to the stock market, say analysts at William Blair. Analysts at Morningstar Inc. , an investment research firm also based in Chicago, concurred.
(April 1, 2007)
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PHRs - how personal?
Despite all the current focus on interoperability of electronic health records, there is no doubt that personalized health records will become more than an afterthought as time goes on. “There are many parts of the puzzle we are trying to adopt and PHRs will clearly be a major part of it,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, MD, said last month at an American Health Information Community meeting. At the Health Information and Management Systems Society’s annual conference held in February in New Orleans, Robert Kolodner, interim national coordinator for healthcare IT, said he expects the advancement of PHRs to be the precursor that drives President Bush’s goal that most Americans have an electronic medical record by 2014. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I. ) last month introduced the Personalized Health Information Act, which would require the government to create a public-private PHR incentive program and trust fund to pay physicians for enrolling patients in a PHR.
(April 1, 2007)
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Poll: U.S. not close to healthcare IT transformation
Seventy-five percent of the Healthcare IT News readers who responded to the most recent News Monitor poll said the United States is not close to achieving interoperability standards and a system-wide transformation to healthcare IT. These readers disagreed with statements made by Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt at the 2007 HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition. Only 25 percent of respondents agreed with Leavitt that the United States is close to a system-wide transformation.
(April 1, 2007)
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RXHub receives e-prescribing accreditation
The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission has awarded its first e-prescribing network accreditation to RxHub. RxHub electronically routes patient-specific medication history and pharmacy benefit information to caregivers at every point of care.
(April 1, 2007)
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CCHIT approves 2007 ambulatory EHR criteria
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology has unanimously approved its 2007 criteria for ambulatory electronic health records. The criteria will take effect May 1, when CCHIT begins taking applications.
(April 1, 2007)
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March 2007
States collaborate on Medicaid EHRs
About half of the 27 states that received $103.6 million in federal grants for Medicaid information systems this year have agreed to share the results of their projects to develop e-health records and related systems. “Basically, once it’s built, it’s shared” among the 12 collaborating states and Washington, D.C., said Anthony Rodgers, director of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System.
(March 30, 2007)
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Florida Hospital Digitizes Entire New Facility
Homestead Hospital in Florida soon will open a revamped complex that will feature technology upgrades such as online test results and patient tracking systems.
(March 30, 2007)
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Proof of Impact: New Study Sheds Light on Economics of Health IT Investment
While many in the health care industry say that investment in IT leads to better quality and performance, there is a dearth of solid evidence to support that claim. A new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers aims to "retire the question of whether IT has a positive impact on hospital business performance." The report, titled "The Economics of IT and Hospital Performance," used "econometric" techniques to study the relationship between IT adoption and organizational performance at nearly 2,000 U.S. hospitals over a five-year period.
(March 30, 2007)
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CHC takes information technology to new level
Cascade Healthcare Community, parent company to St. Charles Medical Center, announced this week its intention to move forward with the next major phase in its transition to fully deploy electronic records for patients throughout the region. The new initiative, called HealthSync, is unprecedented in scope for the region, and will set the bar for similar technology and healthcare initiatives on a national level. Hospitals across the region are currently using multiple systems (paper and technology), and caregivers, physicians and most importantly, patients, will benefit from the move to an interconnected system which will streamline processes and contain all necessary health information in one place.
(March 30, 2007)
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Errors, Delays Linked to Disuse of Military EHR System
Inconsistent use of a Department of Defense electronic health record system has caused medical errors, redundant testing and delays in treatment, and it has prevented many wounded soldiers from receiving benefits, according to former defense and military medical officials.
(March 30, 2007)
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Free E-Prescribing Program Could Lead to More Health IT Purchases
Glen Tullman, CEO of Allscripts, said that a partnership with Dell and a variety of technology, insurance and other health care firms to provide electronic prescribing systems to physicians at no cost could lead to physicians purchasing more health IT products from Allscripts.
(March 30, 2007)
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Congress should help physicians adopt IT, advocacy groups say
The president of the American College of Physicians told members of a Congressional subcommittee this week that a full-scale adoption of healthcare information technology would significantly improve quality in the U.S. healthcare system. Lynne Kirk, MD, president of ACP, testified before the Subcommittee on Regulations, Healthcare and Trade of the House Committee on Small Business. She urged Congress to act decisively to promote adoption of healthcare IT at the solo and small practice level. “To achieve immediate quality and healthcare savings through HIT (Healthcare IT), Congress must recognize the significant financial barriers for solo and small practices,” Kirk said. “It must offer creative solutions to stimulate adoption of HIT (Healthcare IT) where most Americans receive healthcare – in offices of one to five physicians.”
(March 29, 2007)
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Kolodner says PHRs will advance healthcare IT adoption
Personal health records may be the fastest way to grow healthcare IT, said Interim National Coordinator of Health Information Technology Robert Kolodner at a summit held yesterday in the nation’s capital. At the Fourth Information Technology Summit -- held for the first time in conjunction with the Fourteenth National HIPAA Summit—Kolodner said consumers will push their doctors to use electronic health records, thus bringing the U.S. closer to the tipping point for healthcare IT advancement. “It’s a matter of speculation when the tipping point will take place,” Kolodner said. “We won’t really know when it will take place until we look back.”
(March 29, 2007)
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Bill Clinton Backs Electronic Health Records
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Thursday advocated an electronic medical records (EMR) law and said blogs could aid the U.S. political process... Electronic medical records could cut US$100 billion of administrative costs of the U.S. health-care system, on which Americans spend $800 billion per year, Clinton said, referring to a McKinsey & Co. study. An EMR bill backed in the U.S. Senate by his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, and former Republican Senate leader Bill Frist failed despite three years of bipartisan effort, Clinton said. "That's the number-one thing that can be done right now to make the American health-care system more efficient and cut costs," Clinton said. For one thing, EMR would save the cost of patients recounting their medical history every time they change doctors, which can also introduce errors because they may misremember things, he said.
(March 29, 2007)
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AMIA Announces the Formation of the Academic Forum
The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) today announces the formation of The Academic Forum, to promote the development of biomedical and health informatics as a formal academic discipline.

(March 29, 2007)
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Doctors Community Hospital Selects HealthMatics Emergency Department Information System from Allscripts
Allscripts (Nasdaq: MDRX), the leading provider of clinical software, connectivity and information solutions that physicians use to improve healthcare, today announced that Doctors Community Hospital has selected the HealthMatics(R) ED Emergency Department Information System (EDIS) to automate operations and improve access to patient information for its more than 50,000 annual emergency room visits.
(March 29, 2007)
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Survey: Most U.S. Adults Satisfied With Health Data Privacy, but Concerns Linger
Sixty-three percent of U.S. adults said they agree completely or somewhat that increased use of computers to collect and share patient health data can be accomplished without jeopardizing patient privacy, according to a survey by Harris Interactive.
(March 29, 2007)
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Delaware first with statewide health information exchange
The Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN) will go live this week with initial functionality for a small group of users. The network's builders say the network is the first implementation of a statewide health information exchange. “All indications are that we’re going to be the first,” said Paula Roy, executive director of the Delaware Health Care Commission, which is developing DHIN. At first, the network will deliver lab test results, radiology reports, and admission, discharge and transfer reports to the participants -– three hospital systems, five doctors’ practices with 30 offices and 70 physicians among them, and LabCorp. More users will be added while the next phase -– a record locator system --- is developed. The network will deliver all lab results, regardless of where they originate, in the same standard format, said Gina Perez, the project's director. The reports can be delivered by fax or e-mail or transferred into a provider’s e-health records system. “About 30 percent of Delaware physicians have electronic medical records,” Perez said, an above-average percentage. However, they need only a PC running Microsoft Windows and a high-speed Internet connection to use DHIN services. Two of the medical practices in the initial user group will receive lab results into their EMR systems in April, Perez said. Hospitals and doctors in the state are eager to use the network, she added.
(March 28, 2007)
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CIO Leadership Series: Tanya Townsend, Saint Clare's Hospital
Tanya Townsend didn't have much time to pass the all-digital challenge, but she wasn't dreading it, either. How many other information technology directors have an opportunity to start fresh with a new building, new network architecture, new people, and new processes? Not many, and when the still-to-be completed Saint Clare's Hospital in Weston went shopping for a chief technology executive in 2004, Townsend beat out all comers. Her mission - and, yes, she chose to accept it - was to set the technological foundation for an all-digital hospital that would hit the ground running with electronic medical records, Computerized Physician Order Entry, and the clinical processes needed to support them.
(March 28, 2007)
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Misys' focus is back on doctors
Misys Healthcare Systems' new general manager is charting a new direction for the company -- and that could mean good things for Raleigh. Roger L. "Vern" Davenport arrived at the Raleigh health-care software company a month ago with a mandate from its London parent company to shape up the business. Davenport's strategy focuses on increasing Misys' business with doctors' offices, a sharp contrast to the former CEO's ambitions of competing aggressively for hospital customers.
(March 28, 2007)
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Adoption of Health Information Technology Will Lead to Higher Standard of Quality Care
The benefits of full-scale adoption of health information technology (HIT) will be significant, leading to a higher standard of quality in the U.S. health care system, Lynne M. Kirk, MD, FACP, president of the American College of Physicians (ACP), today told a hearing of the Subcommittee on Regulations, Healthcare and Trade of the House Committee on Small Business. “Congress has an important role in promoting HIT adoption and providing the necessary initial and ongoing funding mechanisms to assist physicians in solo and small practices,” Dr. Kirk emphasized. “Unfortunately, without adequate financial incentives, solo and small physician practices and their patients will be left behind the technological curve.”
(March 28, 2007)
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Wal-Mart, University of Arkansas and Blue Cross Blue Shield Announce Center of Excellence to Boost Use of Information Technology in Health Care Operations
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., (NYSE: WMT announced today it will partner with the University of Arkansas and Blue Cross Blue Shield to create a research center to focus on improving the health care delivery system with the use of information technology. The Center for Innovation in Health Care Logistics will be dedicated to conducting research aimed at identifying and addressing gaps and roadblocks in the application and delivery of health information technology, and highlighting and replicating proven applications that are working to
benefit patients and providers. The goal of the Center's work is to put the right materials in the hands of doctors and nurses where and when they need them; it also aims to eliminate the threat of medical errors arising from wasteful and unreliable practices in health care supply networks.
(March 28, 2007)
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Lipscher: Veterans shouldn't have to wade through tons of paperwork
The recent headlines coming out of Walter Reed Army Medical Center have shocked the conscience of our nation. The health care process failed veterans in every way imaginable, from forcing hospitalized veterans to live in vermin-infested wards to requiring them to fill out reams of paperwork just to be seen by a doctor. I can't suggest much to do about the rats, but I can offer advice for a long-term solution to make the entire military medical experience more streamlined and efficient, avoiding the long delays and the transmissions of inaccurate information, or no information at all, between departments causing vets to receive inadequate care or be denied care completely.
(March 28, 2007)
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Cerner's Role in U.K. Health IT Project Grows
Cerner has been awarded two contracts to help hospitals in northwest and southwest England meet a government goal that patients wait no more than 18 weeks between a physician referral and hospital treatment.
(March 27, 2007)
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Survey: EHRs Can Be Used Securely, but Data Privacy Concerns Remain
Sixty-three percent of respondents said that the transition to electronic health records could be made without compromising their privacy, compared with 25% who disagreed, according a new Harris Interactive survey.
(March 27, 2007)
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Wyoming studies health information sharing
Many people aren't wary of giving out their Social Security number or typing their credit card number into the computer to buy something off of Amazon.com. It is very different when it comes to medical records, though, said Dr. Jerry Calkins, an Cheyenne physician.
(March 27, 2007)
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FirstHealth Helps Develop National Model
FirstHealth of the Carolinas is so far one of only a few health-care organizations around the country that are part of the process to develop a nationwide system for the exchange of electronic health record information.
(March 27, 2007)
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Midland Memorial Goes Live with VistA-based EHR
Midland Memorial Hospital in western Texas has become the first private-sector hospital in the nation to fully adopt a commercialized version of the Veterans Health Administration’s VistA electronic medical record system. VistA, or the Veterans Health Information System and Technology Architecture, is a much-touted open source system developed and currently used in more than 170 Veteran’s Administration (VA) hospitals. VistA is credited with helping turn the VA into a national leader in quality patient care.
(March 27, 2007)
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Texas med school builds on VA EHR software
The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine has begun deploying a public domain version of the Department of Veterans Affairs' electronic health record (EHR) system developed by Document Storage Systems, according to the vendor. The El Paso, Texas-based school is the first medical school in the United States to fully deploy the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA).
(March 27, 2007)
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Health providers slow to sign up for national IDs
Nearly one in five of the health care providers in the United States have failed to obtain a new identification number from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, although the deadline for using the so-called National Provider Identifier (NPI) is less than two months away. Even those who have obtained the new ID numbers are not always giving their new numbers to their business associates and ensuring that the numbers are entered into payment and claims databases, according to experts who testified before the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) earlier this year. The results could include doctors going unpaid and prescriptions going unfilled, the NCVHS chairman, Dr. Simon Cohn, said in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.
(March 27, 2007)
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Physician flies solo - Innovative doctor creates a one-man medical office
Encinitas physician James Ochi usually plays the role of healer on trips to impoverished communities in developing nations, but last November in Uganda, he traded his stethoscope for a camera... Years before President Bush started touting electronic medical records as a way to make the nation's health care system less costly, more efficient and better for patients, Ochi cut the cords to a big office and a barely manageable patient list. “The way most doctors run their practice, they employ a large number of people who just push paper around,” he said. “That gets in the way of the doctor-patient relationship. It didn't make any sense to me.” Using a laptop computer and off-the-shelf software, Ochi created what literally is a one-man medical practice.
(March 27, 2007)
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HHS Launches Personalized Health Care Initiative
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Friday detailed a personalized health care initiative that will combine gene-based medical care with health IT.
(March 26, 2007)
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Connor discusses latest HL7 balloting
A new batch of proposed healthcare information transmission standards aimed at affording patients more privacy controls over the flow of their healthcare information are up for review, revision and possible approval by the healthcare standards development organization Health Level Seven (HL7). The 30-day balloting period opened last week under the HL7 ballot process on what Olympia, Wash.-based consultant Kathleen Connor described as "e-consent standards."
(March 26, 2007)
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Northrop Grumman Wins Department of Defense Clinical Information Systems Engineering Contract
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has been awarded a follow-on contract from the U.S. Department of Defense to provide systems engineering and integration support to AHLTA, the nation's largest electronic health record system. AHLTA is the clinical information system managing electronic health records for the Department of Defense Military Health System. AHLTA supports more than nine million active service members, retirees and their families worldwide.
(March 26, 2007)
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Home Monitoring Device Reduces Hospitalizations
The Home Care Services at Saint Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., provides about 30 patients with home medical monitoring systems to improve care and reduce hospitalizations.
(March 23, 2007)
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New York County To Build Health Information Network
The Genesee Valley Health Partnership in Livingston County, N.Y., has received a $100,000 grant from Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield to develop a countywide electronic health data network.
(March 23, 2007)
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Telemedicine's Benefits Could Extend to Quality of Life
Health IT proponents often tout the technology's ability to improve care and reduce costs. But what about its ability to improve patients' quality of life? A study in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association suggests that telemedicine can have a significant impact on the quality of life of patients with head and neck cancers.
(March 23, 2007)
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Electronic records system assists
The Bush administration announced in 2004 that every American citizen should have an electronic health record by 2014, yet only about 10 percent of hospitals currently utilize such technology. Mercy Health Partners, a seven-hospital health care system that serves Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan, is among the small percentage of health care providers that have implemented EHR systems.
(March 23, 2007)
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HIMSS issues how-to book on setting up a RHIO
“The Guide to Establishing a Regional Health Information Organization,” a 144-page, step-by-step resource for anyone exploring or actively involved in setting up a RHIO, is now available for sale on the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Web site. The book regularly sells for $78.00, but HIMSS members can get it at a discounted price of $65.00. Written collaboratively by a HIMSS task force of RHIO veterans and health IT experts, the book provides practical “how to” advice on such issues as financing; organizational structure; governance models; master patient indexing; privacy and security; common models for data exchange; and barriers to long-term financial sustainability and survival. Readers will learn about real-life case studies and ideas for potential uses for RHIOs.
(March 23, 2007)
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Ga. telemedicine program takes off
About once every hour during the work week, someone in rural Georgia visits a specialist physician without going far from home, thanks to one of the largest integrated telemedicine programs in the country. The program began 18 months ago with an $11.5 million grant from WellPoint, owner of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia. Now in 39 rural counties, patients and their doctors can visit a local presentation center and meet remotely with one of 75 specialists in areas such as dermatology, cardiology and pediatric medicine.
(March 23, 2007)
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Study affirms information technology-productivity link
With the U.S. economy showing alternating signs of strength and weakness, a recent study has given pause to business organizations that might want to slow the pace of information technology investment due to fears of a housing-induced recession. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation's recent report titled “Digital Prosperity: Understanding the Economic Benefits of the Information Technology Revolution,” focused on the role information technology plays in the economy. Among its conclusions is that money spent on computing technology delivers three to five times the gain in worker productivity of other types of investments.
(March 22, 2007)
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California Hospital Converts to Digital Images
Children's Hospital Central California in Madera, Calif., in December 2006 adopted a picture archiving communication system that provides physicians with instant, and even remote, access to digital images of patients.
(March 21, 2007)
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Survey Gauges National Provider Identifier Compliance
The National Provider Identifier compliance deadline is May 23, but just two in five health IT professionals say their billing software and practice management systems are ready, according to a survey by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
(March 21, 2007)
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State leads pack in electronic health records
Arizona appears to be in the forefront of a U.S. drive to have all patients' records available in electronic form. At a summit meeting Tuesday for the newly created non-profit Arizona Health-e Connection board, members were talking about creating a secure Web portal as well as developing a system that would allow physicians to communicate more easily with each other about patient care. The first milestone could be reached in 2009, when all of the state's 1 million Medicaid patients are targeted to have electronic records. Arizona is ahead of the curve in bringing providers, employers and insurers together to talk about electronic medical records, said Janet Marchibroda, CEO of eHealth Initiatives, a non-profit, electronic health care information group. Only 6 percent of the states surveyed by eHealth are as far along as Arizona, she said. President Bush has instructed federal health officials to make electronic records widely used by 2014. Gov. Janet Napolitano told the 400 health care leaders meeting in Phoenix that getting electronic records is an achievable goal "for the whole state."
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HITSP work group provides panel with update
A federally funded committee seeking to harmonize healthcare information technology standards received an update from its new security and privacy work group Monday. In so doing, the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel took stock of the chicken-or-egg situation now faced by the government in its efforts to promote IT: Which comes first, the privacy protection policy or the privacy protection IT standards?
(March 21, 2007)
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Colorado Foundation Steps Up Health IT Help
The Colorado Health Foundation will distribute $2.5 million in grants this year to help safety-net providers in the state adopt health IT.
(March 20, 2007)
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Canada Boosts Health IT Budget by $400M
The Canadian federal government on Monday announced an additional $1.4 billion for health care, including $400 million for the Canadian health information network.
(March 20, 2007)
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E-Prescribing Takes Off in Florida
Transitioning to an electronic prescription system can be expensive, but physician practices, insurers and pharmacies in Florida are embracing the technology.
(March 20, 2007)
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CPOE Adoption Remains Low, Slowly Increasing
The first U.S. hospital to adopt a computerized physician order entry system did so 34 years ago; however, more than half of all health organizations still do not have the technology, according to a survey.
(March 20, 2007)
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Lessons for Health Care Could Be Found Abroad
The U.S. health care system is among the best in the world. It has achieved a 5-year breast cancer survival rate that is at least a few percentage points higher than that in almost all other industrialized countries, the highest rate of screening for cervical cancer, better hypertension control, and a sharply reduced smoking rate. Patients rarely have to wait long for needed procedures and medicines. Physicians receive intensive training and keep current with continuous education. Hospitals are well-equipped and fully staffed to meet health needs. This country also spends more on health care than any other country in the world. But contrary to popular belief, the health care here isn't always the best. Many other industrialized countries provide health care that is just as good and sometimes better.
(March 20, 2007)
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MO HealthNet gets a boost
Restructuring the state’s Medicaid program and getting an oil change seem an unlikely fit. But for Gov. Matt Blunt, the way a company keeps track of a car’s condition could provide insight on how to gauge a person’s health. "You may wonder why we’re at a Jiffy Lube to talk about health care. Well, I think it makes some sense," Blunt said today at a Jiffy Lube station on Sandman Lane in south Columbia. "You know that you can get your oil changed at the Jiffy Lube or a Jiffy Lube in Florida, and they know about your car." Transferring that approach to the health-care arena, Blunt said time, money and patient safety could be enhanced through electronic records, something he said he’d like to enhance through his MO HealthNet initiative. Blunt used the example of a boy who steps on a nail while playing baseball. With access to electronic health records, a doctor would be able to know right away whether the boy has had a tetanus shot - something Blunt said could prevent a second, unnecessary dose. "Electronic health records can help improve and save lives," Blunt said.
(March 20, 2007)
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In the Year 2024
Where will you be in the year 2024? As a health care forecaster, my clients have been asking me to scale my health forecasts back to three to five years, shortening the long-term, 10-year strategic planning trajectories we used to do. However, David Brailer's crystal ball envisions that 2024 is when the "full benefits" of health care IT will be realized.
(March 19, 2007)
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Democrats gain the advantage on health IT issues
In the past year, lawmakers have struggled in their efforts to pass health information technology legislation. The Senate and House each passed a bill that they sent to a conference committee by early fall, but the prospects for creating a framework for a National Health Information Network died without ever being presented for a full vote in either chamber.
(March 19, 2007)
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Eclipsys Sunrise Clinical Manager(TM) Selected by SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
Eclipsys Corporation(R) (Nasdaq: ECLP), The Outcomes Company(R), today announced that SUNY Downstate Medical Center's University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) will implement Sunrise Clinical Manager and its fully integrated modules, including Sunrise Acute Care(TM), Sunrise Ambulatory Care(TM), Sunrise Pharmacy(TM), and Knowledge-Based Medication Administration(TM) as part of an organizational initiative to improve care delivery through a clinical information system. Using Sunrise Clinical Manager's single integrated clinical platform,
SUNY Downstate Medical Center/UHB will connect its acute and ambulatory care providers, enabling patient information to flow seamlessly between the acute and ambulatory care environments while integrating with the Pharmacy to improve medication management. The medical center will also use Sunrise Clinical Manager's Knowledge-Based CPOE(TM) system to establish standard care processes throughout the medical center to help improve patient-care outcomes.
(March 19, 2007)
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One Scan at a Time: Moving Paper to Electronic
For many provider organizations, using document imaging as a bridge to an electronic medical record (EMR) offers the best solution to achieving a more fully digitized record until more effective, enterprisewide solutions to electronic documentation capture can be implemented. Not a plug-and-play component of an EMR system, document imaging requires sound processes and practices for an organization to achieve not only its document imaging goals but also its larger EMR and health data goals. It’s no small task, to say the least.
(March 19, 2007)
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EMR Selection: Checking out the Lineup
With electronic medical records (EMRs), selecting the right system can often be as intimidating as the implementation process. With so many systems touting the same functions and features, it can be difficult to determine which most closely meets a practice’s or facility’s needs. Nor do most providers have the depth of understanding required to make that determination.
(March 19, 2007)
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Hospital EMR use not yet widespread
Only 11% of community hospitals have fully implemented EMR systems, while 57% have "partially" implemented systems and 32% have not started. About 16% of hospitals said they had most or all functions of an EMR in place in 2006, up from 10% in 2005. The rate of EMR use in physician practices is estimated at 20%. Cost is the main barrier to EMR implementation, as cited by 86% of the hospitals responding.
(March 19, 2007)
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Initial investment high, but move to electronics records improving efficiency and care
Meg Warren sat on an exam table at the Westchester Medical Group and her doctor peppered her with questions. Heart palpitations? Dizziness? Medications? As she answered, a discordant sound filled the air - the clicking of computer keys. Dr. Steven Meixler made notes in Warren's chart as doctors have done for generations, but there was not a manila folder in sight. The information was entered in the computer and when Warren, a 41-year-old nurse who lives in Washingtonville, asked for some test results, Meixler pulled them up in seconds. In the old days he'd be as likely to be rifling through papers for a report that may nor may not be there.
(March 18, 2007)
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JRMC Honored for ECLIPSYS Use
Jefferson Regional Medical Center has been honored for its use of an electronic documentation program, and personnel from other hospitals are traveling to Pine Bluff to observe the system. The Eclipsys program creates electronic medical records for patients at the hospital and will eventually eliminate paper processes. The system has improved efficiency in accessing information, according to Michelle Powell, clinical nurse manager. Hospital personnel are just a “click away” from access to the records of patients.
(March 18, 2007)
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Lack of Competition Hinders Technology Innovation, Increases Costs
It seems employers and government leaders constantly are complaining about the lack of transparency and the soaring costs of our health care system, but could they actually be to blame? "A lot of people estimate that one out of every three health care dollars is wasted," John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, said, adding, "This is the kind of waste that doesn't exist in a normal competitive market."
(March 16, 2007)
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EHR still top health IT priority: survey
Moving toward an electronic health record remained the top healthcare information technology systems priority, although other applications gained ground, according to respondents to this year's annual Modern Healthcare Survey of Executive Opinions on Key Information Technology Issues.
(March 16, 2007)
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EHR vendor links with Google for free service
Start-up electronic health record vendor Practice Fusion has struck a deal with Web search giant Google to provide a full-featured EHR for free, the first time such a product has been available to physicians at no cost as an on-demand Web service.
(March 16, 2007)
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Does Santa Barbara RHIO shutdown affect California HIE efforts?
The Santa Barbara Co. Care Data Exchange (SBCCDE) was the oldest regional health information organization (RHIO) in the country until it ended its efforts last week. Depending upon whom you talk to, the shutdown is either major news or a mere blip on the health information exchange (HIE) radar screen. Karen Hunt, director of communications for CalRHIO, sees no impact from SBCCDE’s closure. “CalRHIO and local and regional efforts have been moving forward during all the time that Santa Barbara was stalled and finally closed,” she said. “California healthcare organizations and payers in the state recognize the importance and benefits of HIE.” She pointed out that Governor Schwarzenegger issued an executive order supporting healthcare information technology and HIEs earlier this week. Furthermore, CalRHIO announced a few days later that it had selected its technology partners to connect communities and the entire state with a suite of affordable, secure, privacy-protected services.
(March 16, 2007)
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Analysts see healthcare IT as good investment choice
Electronic health record systems and other healthcare information technology are safe bets for investors as they look to the stock market, say analysts at William Blair & Company, a Chicago-based investment firm. In a conference call last week, the analysts said the change to a Democratic-controlled Congress in the last election worried many investors in the healthcare sector.
(March 16, 2007)
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CCHIT approves 2007 ambulatory EHR testing criteria
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) announced Wednesday that it unanimously approved its new 2007 criteria for ambulatory electronic health records to be published March 19. The criteria will take effect May 1 when CCHIT will begin taking applications for certification, according to a statement released by CCHIT. The Commissioners also approved test scripts for inpatient hospital-based EHRs and are seeking public comment online through April 13, according to CCHIT. Among a number of new requirements this year in the ambulatory EHR certification is that systems must be able to send prescriptions and refills to pharmacies electronically and demonstrate their product’s ability to electronically receive standards-based lab result messages, CCHIT representatives said.
(March 16, 2007)
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EHRs: The Feds get something right
Last summer, FP David S. Zalut of Voorhees, NJ, installed an electronic health record in his practice. What gave him the courage to write the check and take the plunge was a little-known CMS program called Doctor's Office Quality-Information Technology (DOQ-IT). Under this three-year program, which ends in 2008, Medicare's Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) in every state are required to help primary care physicians adopt EHRs. "It's the first government program I've ever been involved with that worked perfectly," says Zalut. "The QIO consultant came out and interviewed me, saw what I needed in my practice, saw the problems I was having, and quickly identified nine systems that she thought would be sufficient for the size of my practice." The consultant from Healthcare Quality Strategies didn't stop there, says Zalut. She gave him in-depth information that the QIO had gathered on all of these products, along with feedback she'd picked up from small practices that used them. She also helped him analyze his office workflow and make changes that would aid EHR implementation. The "go-live" phase still had rough spots, he says; but four months later, he's documenting visits during patient encounters without slowing his workflow.
(March 16, 2007)
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AMIA and AHIMA Announce Support for 10,000 Trained by 2010 Act (H.R. 1467)
The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) announced joint support yesterday for legislation that calls for a trained work force capable of innovating, implementing, and using health communications and information technology (IT). Introduced by Congressman David Wu (D-OR), HR 1467 or the ‘‘10,000 Trained by 2010 Act,’’ would authorize the National Science Foundation to award grants to institutions of higher education that would develop and offer educational and training programs for healthcare workers and professionals in applied health and medical informatics.
(March 16, 2007)
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Facing the Future: New Report Looks at the Next Generation of Health IT
While most hospitals to date have taken a "wait-and-see" approach to adopting health IT, the challenges and pressures the health care system faces in 2007 demand the use and adoption of IT, according to a new report by First Consulting Group. Health care organizations must achieve and maintain a minimum level of IT, including computerized physician order entry and clinical decision support, to counter increasing costs, sicker patients and clinical staff shortages, the report asserts. To be successful, health IT efforts need to be seen as quality projects as opposed to simply IT initiatives and must be usable and provide improvements in the future. For years, health IT has been more in a state of imagination and contemplation than real progress and action. However, now that the business, provider and legislative stars are beginning to align, it's time to take a glimpse at what's to come for health IT.
(March 15, 2007)
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Federal Advisory Committee Recommends PHR Certification
The American Health Information Community, an HHS advisory committee, on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of recommending personal health record certification despite minority opposition from its Consumer Empowerment Workgroup.
(March 15, 2007)
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New Jersey To Develop Patient Identifier Despite Failure Nationally
New Jersey plans to develop a patient identifier that will match patients to their health records through state and regional patient indexes, a state insurance regulator on Tuesday told the American Health Information Community... William O'Byrne -- manager of the enforcement unit, division of consumer protection services at the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance -- said New Jersey's unique ID would be "cross walked" with other identifiers and could be assigned at birth, a hospital, an emergency department or a patient's request. Patients also will be able to opt out of the program. "The goal will be to reliably link a patient to their health information," O'Byrne said. "We are also looking at bar coding on health care identification cards," he added.
(March 15, 2007)
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West Virginia Likely To Pass E-Prescription Bill
West Virginia lawmakers in a special session on the state budget this week could vote on legislation to allow providers to send electronic prescriptions, according to Gov. John Manchin (D).
(March 15, 2007)
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Certification Group OKs New Ambulatory EHR Criteria
The Certification Commission for Healthcare IT has approved final 2007 criteria for the certification of ambulatory electronic health records.
(March 15, 2007)
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Schwarzenegger Signs Health IT Mandate
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Wednesday signed an executive order mandating health IT adoption, increased transparency of health care cost and quality information and improved accountability of public and private health systems.
(March 15, 2007)
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Capital BlueCross initiative promotes e-prescribing
Dauphin County-based Capital BlueCross is teaming up with a Maryland firm to help doctors adopt electronic prescribing. Up to 1,500 doctors in the local health insurer’s provider network will receive free handheld wireless devices and free access to Prematics’ e-prescribing service. The equipment and service will allow doctors instant access to information about such things as the formulary used by the patient’s insurer, the patient’s medication history and lower-cost alternatives to brand-name drugs. A doctor also will be able to send a prescription to a pharmacy electronically.
(March 15, 2007)
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Not-for-profits still skittish on impact of IT subsidies
When David Brailer first stepped onto the national stage in the spring of 2004, he laid out an ambitious program for promoting healthcare information technology that included leveraging hospitals' investments in IT systems to benefit their affiliated physicians.
(March 15, 2007)
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Are your medical records safe?
In light of the multiple breaches of personal information held by state agencies in recent months, should Vermonters be concerned about the privacy and security of their medical records as the state moves forward with pilot programs in electronic medical records (EMRs) and health care information exchange?
(March 15, 2007)
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EHR Certification Levels Playing Field, Survey Finds
The cost of certifying electronic health records has not been an obstacle for smaller EHR vendors, Certification Commission for Healthcare IT Chair Mark Leavitt said Tuesday at an American Health Information Community HHS advisory panel meeting.
(March 14, 2007)
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California, Pennsylvania Join Federal Health Care Transparency Efforts
A unit of the Pacific Business Group on Health will compile information on physician performance from Medicare and three California health plans as part of a federal pilot project intended to help people make informed health care decisions.
(March 14, 2007)
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Outlook Dim for Passing Health IT Bill, Rep. Says
Health IT remains a top priority in Washington, D.C., but few lawmakers expect legislation to pass in the near future, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, said on Tuesday.
(March 14, 2007)
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Survey: Staff Support Biggest Challenge for Health Care CIOs
The biggest challenge cited by health care CIOs and other IT leaders is getting clinical and administrative staff to regularly use installed IT.
(March 14, 2007)
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Governor signs order on health information
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an executive order Wednesday to stiffen state mandates to adopt health information technology, make information on prices and care quality more available and increase accountability for public and private healthcare systems. The order is consistent with a federal initiative promoted by the Bush administration and a reform plan released by the California governor in January. Schwarzenegger met with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt in San Diego Wednesday and signed the executive order there. The goal is to reduce medical errors, improve patient care and keep medical costs in check by providing accurate, updated information to patients where they are treated.
(March 14, 2007)
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Dispute surfaces over certification for personal health records
In a rare instance of public dissent, an American Health Information Community AHIC) workgroup has split over whether to recommend that product certification be available for personal health record software. AHIC, a high-level advisory committee to the Department of Health and Human Services, sided with the majority on its Consumer Empowerment Workgroup and voted unanimously in favor of the certification recommendation. A minority -- five members of the 23-person workgroup -- took the position that certification would be premature and the top priority should be privacy and security policies for PHRs. “The risks [of certification now] outweigh any potential benefits,” the dissenters said in a letter to AHIC.
(March 14, 2007)
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CalRHIO selects team to build health info exchange
The California Regional Health Information Organization (CalRHIO) has selected the team of Medicity and Perot Systems to build a statewide health information exchange service. The nonprofit organization’s leaders announced that the contractor team’s first step will be to help CalRHIO find $300 million in private financing for the start-up of the exchange, including a backbone network, marketing and CalRHIO's operations. The exchange will operate as a utility, offering services to health care providers, patients, government agencies and RHIOs in California. The network can be used for local data exchanges or to link existing exchanges with one another. User fees will support the exchange.
(March 14, 2007)
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HHS panel recommends certification of PHRs despite dissent
The American Health Information Community (AHIC), an advisory panel to the Department of Health and Human Services, yesterday voted unanimously in favor of recommending certification for personal health records, against the dissenting opinion of some of its workgroup members. At an AHIC meeting simultaneously webcast from Washington, D.C. and California, five AHIC Consumer Empowerment Workgroup members said it is too early for government involvement in PHRs. According to David Lansky, senior director of health programs and executive director of the Personal Health Technology Initiative at the Markle Foundation, the workgroup’s recommendation for HHS to “encourage the certification process” for PHRs outweighs any potential benefits.
(March 14, 2007)
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Clinic Combines Oncology, EMR Apps
Great Falls (Mont.) Clinic has implemented electronic medical records software embedded with a chemotherapy management application. The clinic, with more than 100 physicians, is using the IC-Chart electronic records software of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based InteGreat Concepts Inc. with IntelliDose from IntrinsiQ Research Inc., Waltham, Mass.
(March 13, 2007)
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Linking EHRs to Practice Management S/W
Electronic health records (EHRs) are gaining ground in the health-IT community, yet many of these programs are still young and the funding waters still murky. While healthcare providers can and do take their time transitioning to an EHR, they can’t afford to miss a beat in the billing and administration and have been relying on practice management software for years.
(March 13, 2007)
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Fulfilling the PHR Vision: Analytical Interactivity Empowering Doctors and Patients
COMMENTARY: In today’s fragmented healthcare system, patient data is scattered among physicians, hospitals, lab companies, and pharmacies. This can lead to medical errors, adverse patient outcomes, costly hospitalizations and disabilities. Efforts are now underway by leading health plans and employers to aggregate patient information into personal health records (PHRs). This aggregation of data into a patient-centered and patient-controlled record can empower consumers of healthcare and enhance care optimization among physicians, other caregivers and patients.
(March 13, 2007)
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California Health Plans Tout Success of Pay-for-Performance Program
The Integrated Healthcare Association says it is demonstrating a business case for its pay-for-performance program, as participating physician groups are reporting more IT capabilities.
(March 13, 2007)
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EHR Privacy Report Author Says U.S. Trailing Other Countries
Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are far ahead of the United States in creating and adopting privacy policies that allow patients to have more control over their health information, according to a new report commissioned by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
(March 13, 2007)
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Gingrey: Tech upgrade needed for military medical records
U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, a physician and member of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following comments regarding Walter Reed Medical Center after touring the facility last week and participating in congressional oversight hearings: “Walter Reed is an impressive medical facility, but it is failing some of our wounded soldiers. After touring the seven rooms in Building 18 that have fallen into disrepair, I agree they are unacceptable for a military health facility. “But mice and mold are not the root of Walter Reed’s problems. I am very concerned that overcrowding at the facility has forced the military to use Building 18 at all. This overflow unit is only operational because it takes the military too long to process soldiers stationed at Walter Reed - and this needs to change. “Simply put, the military healthcare system is in need of a technology upgrade.
(March 13, 2007)
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Opinion: Privacy Could Trump IT Standards Development
If the federal government does not react to the recent fury over medical privacy, "all of their mysterious work to create a national electronic [health] record system will [flounder] on the shoals of public and congressional opposition," according to an opinion piece by Health IT Strategist staff writer Todd Sloane.
(March 12, 2007)
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Pennsylvania Health Systems Look To Reduce Errors, Improve Safety With IT
Health care systems in Pennsylvania have invested millions of dollars on electronic systems to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors.
(March 12, 2007)
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Massachusetts Health System First in State With Electronic Disease Reporting
The Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts last week announced that it is the first hospital system in Massachusetts to electronically report communicable diseases to the state public health department.
(March 12, 2007)
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Rhode Island Links All Medical Facilities for Disaster Preparedness
The Rhode Island Department of Health and the state's hospital association on Wednesday launched a Web-based program that can track hospitals' patient capacity and inform officials if they need to transfer patients.
(March 12, 2007)
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UC-Davis EHR Project Behind Schedule, Over Budget
The University of California-Davis has spent more and taken longer than expected to set up its electronic health record system, according to an audit of the program released last month.
(March 12, 2007)
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What Killed the Santa Barbara County Care Data Exchange?
The Santa Barbara County Care Data Exchange is no more. There was hardly an obituary to note its passing. A fitting tribute might have included phrases like: "ahead of its time" or "potential never realized" or "it was harder than it looked." What might be more valuable than an obit is a post mortem. The challenges that SBCCDE confronted -- many of which were overcome and some of which led to its demise -- are challenges that every care data exchange and regional health information organization should study and address directly. There are many lessons to be learned from SBCCDE's fate.
(March 12, 2007)
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California docs bullish on performance
The seven health plan members of the Integrated Healthcare Association together awarded $55 million in 2006 to California physician groups participating in the association’s pay-for-performance program. With physician groups reporting greater IT capabilities, IHA said it is demonstrating a business case for its program.
(March 12, 2007)
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California looks into Kaiser's EMR troubles
A California regulator is investigating purported problems with the installation of Kaiser Permanente's $4 billion electronic medical record system. But a leader of the HealthConnect project says progress is "spectacular." Kaiser Permanente has been publicly vouching for its EMR ever since last fall, when a mass e-mail sent by a Southern California Permanente Medical Group employee claimed tests showed the system suffered frequent outages, claims backed up by an internal Kaiser document leaked to the media.
(March 12, 2007)
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Baton Rouge hospital begins $15M rollout
Baton Rouge General Medical Center has launched a $15 million IT upgrade that includes the implementation of clinical systems and the automation of its pharmacy. The new technologies will support the hospital in developing an electronic health record for both inpatient and outpatient settings.
(March 12, 2007)
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Innovative Solution at The Scarborough Hospital Facilitates Triage of ER Patients
The Scarborough Hospital (TSH) and Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) today announced a new initiative to improve emergency room service. Through kiosks in the emergency waiting room at both hospital campuses, patients will be able to enter information in seven different languages, helping to facilitate more effective triage. Called "Enhancing Emergency Services: A Patient-Centred Approach" (EES), the initiative aims to better support nurses and physicians with smart tools so they can work more efficiently and effectively to enhance patient flow and
improve patient care.
(March 12, 2007)
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Using technology to cure paperwork
The days of bulky patient files are numbered. And in the not-too-distant future, patients may be able to access their medical records by logging onto their home computer. Arnett HealthSystem and Greater Lafayette Health Systems have joined the crowd of medical facilities across the country implementing comprehensive electronic medical records and an internal messaging system -- which are designed to streamline patient care while providing better oversight. "It's a huge change for the health care industry, but banking went through this years ago. We're way behind," said Dr. James P. Bien, chief medical officer at Arnett Clinic. "It's a big cost for groups to do this, but the return is in the ease of communication, patient safety and quality and decision support. (You) have information available literally at your fingertips that you might not have had before."
(March 12, 2007)
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Physician groups say IT is critical to new care model
Information technology should play a central role in the coordination and integration of patient care across all elements of the healthcare system, according to a statement released last week by four major physician membership organizations. The statement defined the essential principles that would characterize a practice-based care model for providing comprehensive primary care for patients in the United States. Called a “patient-centered medical home,” the proposed model would require changes at multiple levels in the healthcare system but would ultimately lead to improved outcomes, representatives from the physician groups said. “We’re talking about significant change at the practice level, a real transformation of primary care practice,” said Michael Barr, MD, vice president of practice advocacy and improvement at the American College of Physicians. “We think that information technology will introduce a new structure of – and process for – care to physician practices.”
(March 12, 2007)
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HHS to launch e-health networks
Two new initiatives by the Department of Health and Human Services will give people a first opportunity to gain electronic access to their health records. HHS has announced it will launch a nationwide network of local and regional collaboratives. At the same time, the department will release a request for proposals for a new version of a health care network of networks that would be able to give consumers unprecedented control over the dissemination of their personal health care information. The department’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will administer the network of health care collaboratives that will offer people information about the quality and cost of health care where they live. Concerning that program, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said information is best gathered locally where “providers and purchasers can meet eye to eye.”
(March 12, 2007)
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Local hospitals make upgrades to reduce errors
Area hospitals have spent millions of dollars expanding patient safety initiatives to reduce the likelihood of medical errors. Since January 2005, Wyoming Valley Health Care System has invested about $5 million in electronic systems to improve patient safety, said spokesman Kevin McDonald. More than 70 percent of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital’s beds are covered by a computerized medication administration system, which ensures that the right medication in the right dose is delivered to the right patients at the right time. By the end of 2007, all hospital beds will be covered by this system, which automates bedside medication administration using bar code technology.
(March 11, 2007)
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Report Assesses Hospital-Doctor Links
Recent changes in the Stark Act and anti-kickback laws are increasing incentives for hospitals to electronically connect with community physicians, according to a new report from First Consulting Group Inc. The earlier hospitals move to connect with physicians, the easier it will be to achieve true community interoperability, according to the Long Beach, Calif.-based firm.
(March 9, 2007)
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CCHIT to provide certification across settings, populations and specialties
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology is developing a concept that will allow certification across settings, populations and specialties over and above basic EHR certification. CCHIT Chair Mark Leavitt, MD, made the announcement at a session of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society annual conference in New Orleans last week.
(March 9, 2007)
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Statewide health data system is group's goal
On Monday, Mississippi will move one step closer to possibly creating a statewide health-information system that would improve health care and perhaps make it more affordable. Gov. Haley Barbour issued an executive order, based on President Bush's recommendation, creating the Mississippi Health Information Task Force. According to the order, the health-care goals of the task force are to increase transparency in pricing and quality, to find potential health-care information-technology standards and to promote quality and efficiency in health care.
(March 9, 2007)
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'Malaria TV' Enables Remote, Collaborative Diagnoses
Three researchers at the University of Toronto have developed Malaria TV, a low-cost technology system that can be used to remotely identify malaria parasites in digital images of blood tests.
(March 9, 2007)
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Report: Fragmentation Exacerbates Drug Error Risks
Fragmented systems and a lack of oversight raises the risk of medication errors, according to a report released this week by the U.S. Pharmacopeia Center for the Advancement of Patient Safety.
(March 9, 2007)
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Cleveland Clinic To Monitor Chronically Ill Patients Remotely
The Cleveland Clinic is building a system physicians could use to remotely monitor chronically ill patients.
(March 9, 2007)
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AMIA Receives Grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Foster the Development of Applied Clinical Informatics as a Medical Specialty
The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to establish the foundation for a system that will certify competency of physicians as a subspecialty of applied clinical informatics.
(March 8, 2007)
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Policy group focuses on health care
In the end, there will be a report lined with recommendations: This is what can be done to improve access to health care in Marion County.
(March 8, 2007)
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VA Two Years Ago Shelved Plan for Sharing Service Members' EHRs
A Department of Veterans Affairs task force in 2004 recommended the creation of a "computerized contingency tracking system" that would allow the VA to download EHRs from the Department of Defense, ABC's "World News" reports.
(March 8, 2007)
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Ontario Health Network Links Region's Hospitals
A health network in Eastern Ontario, Canada, recently has begun sharing electronic health records among 18 of the region's 20 hospitals, according to Wilmer Matthews, chair of the health network.
(March 8, 2007)
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Leavitt Praises Wisconsin's Efforts While Stumping Federal Health Plan
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Wednesday said that Wisconsin is "literally without peer" in following through on the Bush administration's health care goals.
(March 8, 2007)
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Virginia City's Ambulances Go Wireless
The Richmond, Va., Ambulance Authority several months ago installed a wireless communications system that paramedics can use to access and transmit patient information while picking up a patient or en route to the hospital.
(March 8, 2007)
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Texas Health Center's Biosurveillance System Gets Tech Boost
The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston is using Semantic Web technology to improve its biosurveillance efforts, data sharing and domain-specific search engine capabilities.
(March 8, 2007)
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New York Telemedicine Project Looks To Extend its Reach
State-funded telemedicine projects can help alleviate shortages of medical professionals and ensure that patients living in remote areas can access specialty care. However, once state funds are spent on the initial costs, these telemedicine projects face a new challenge: survival. "A lot of the [state] grants are typically startup[s] ... that have been up until now projects demonstrating value, technical feasibility and medical benefits. What has been a drawback is a lack of sustainment," Richard Bakalar, president of the American Telemedicine Association, said. Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown, N.Y., is just one example of telemedicine initiatives that must consider how to sustain themselves once start-up funding runs out.
(March 8, 2007)
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Privacy, funding doubts shutter Calif. RHIO
The Santa Barbara County (Calif.) Care Data Exchange, the longest-running effort to launch a major U.S. regional health information organization, recently folded because of privacy concerns and doubts about ongoing costs, exchange officials confirmed. Those issues had dogged the project since it began in 1998, during the first dot-com bubble, as an attempt to establish a medical data-sharing initiative linking competing health care organizations. Technological problems with how to share information securely while allowing organizations to retain local control of their data had largely been solved, however.
(March 8, 2007)
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E-reporting from labs gets under way in Massachusetts
A Boston-area hospital system announced today it is the first in Massachusetts to implement electronic reporting of communicable diseases to the state public health department. The Cambridge Health Alliance, which operates three hospitals and 20 physicians’ offices on the north side of Boston, is using the Internet for secure transmissions of reports drawn from the laboratory information system. The new system delivers the information to state epidemiologists within a day. The automated reporting system also improves the completeness of required reports while reducing the labor required to prepare the reports and send them to state officials.
(March 8, 2007)
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AMIA Receives Grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Foster the Development of Applied Clinical Informatics as a Medical Specialty
The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to establish the foundation for a system that will certify competency of physicians as a subspecialty of applied clinical informatics. The growing role of information technology within health care delivery organizations has created the need to deepen the pool of physician informaticians who are able to help organizations maximize the effectiveness of their investment in information technology and in so doing maximize impact on safety, quality, effectiveness and efficiency of care.
(March 8, 2007)
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EMR Vendor Adds Education Content
Physician software vendor e-MDs Inc., Austin, Texas, will integrate into its electronic medical records application the patient education materials of Krames, Yardley, Pa.
(March 7, 2007)
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Comments from the HIMSS Show Floor
Given the variety and apparent robustness and sheer number of health-IT products being displayed at HIMSS last week, it’s hard to believe the healthcare industry isn’t further along the adoption curve. Here are snapshots from a few conversations with vendors on the HIMSS floor.
(March 7, 2007)
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Next Round of HHS Contracts Will Go to Users
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will solicit bids starting in April for trial state, regional, and local user consortia to demonstrate health information exchange, the next round of contracts toward building a proposed National Health Information Network (NHIN), top health-IT officials say.
(March 7, 2007)
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Critics, Advocates Question Patient-Controlled EHR Data
Robert Kolodner, interim national coordinator for health IT, recently said that trials of the Nationwide Health Information Network should give patients control of their own electronic health records, although HHS has received a variety of responses to the decision.
(March 7, 2007)
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Report Recommends Ways To Curb Medication Errors in California
A California panel on Tuesday released a report calling for physicians to use electronic prescribing technology and for legislators to adopt other strategies to reduce medication errors.
(March 7, 2007)
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Kennedy bill aims to give PHRs a boost
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I. ) plans to jumpstart the use of personal health records through a trust fund that pays doctors, in a new version of his bill introduced March 1. The Personalized Health Information Act would require the Department of Health and Human Services to create a public-private PHR incentive program and trust fund to pay physicians up to three years at least $3 per eligible patient enrolled to use a PHR. Private partners would donate funds to the Incentive Trust Fund. According to Kennedy, PHRs can give patients control over their personal health data while ensuring that providers have all the information they need at the point of care, if the patient consents.
(March 7, 2007)
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Telemedicine Project To Link Rwanda Hospitals
Rwanda's Ministry of Health has launched a telemedicine project that is intended to expand access to medical services to areas with limited health resources.
(March 6, 2007)
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Prescriptions in Australia Set To Go Electronic
The Australian federal government last week introduced changes to legislation that would allow all physicians in the country to have access to an electronic prescription system to reduce medication errors.
(March 6, 2007)
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Six Washington State Health Facilities Pool Resources To Adopt EHRs
Kittitas Valley Community Hospital and five other health facilities in Ellensburg, Wash., have partnered to adopt a uniform electronic health record system in an effort to improve the tracking of patients' histories, symptoms and treatments.
(March 6, 2007)
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Personal Health Web Sites Pose Privacy Risks for Patients
Companies that offer consumers no-cost or low-cost Web sites for storing personal health records could compromise patient privacy by allowing marketers to access users' personal information.
(March 6, 2007)
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California Investigates Kaiser EHR Project
Despite alleged problems associated with the implementation of Kaiser Permanente's $4 billion electronic health record system, a leader of the project said the progress is "spectacular".
(March 6, 2007)
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Indiana Hospital Errors To Be Aired on Public Database
Representatives from five northwest Indiana hospitals on Monday discussed their 2006 procedural mistakes, one day before the state's online Medical Errors Reporting System goes live.
(March 6, 2007)
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Consumers Can Click for Quality on California Web Site
CalHospitalCompare, which launched on Tuesday, is designed to serve as a tool for consumers to compare the quality ratings of more than 200 hospitals in the state. The no-cost, voluntary service rates hospitals on more than 50 performance indicators from the participating hospitals, which represent about 70% of hospital admissions in the state. The site is the result of a two-year collaboration between the California Hospital Assessment and Reporting Taskforce and the California HealthCare Foundation, and it was developed with input from consumer focus groups to ensure that individuals would be able to easily navigate the site and understand the data.
(March 6, 2007)
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Survey: Physicians wary of pay-for-performance risks
More than three in four primary care physicians favor pay-for-performance programs if quality measures are accurate, according to a survey by researchers at the University of Chicago. But most physicians believe that neither health payers nor the government would “try hard to make such measures accurate” and there is little confidence this will change, researchers found. Researchers also found that only 32 percent of physicians support public reporting of the individual physician's quality scores, while only 45 percent support public reporting of quality scores on the medical group level, even if the measures involved are accurate.
(March 6, 2007)
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Patient control of EHR data on network gets mixed reaction
The Health and Human Services Department has received mixed reviews for its decision to insist that the next iteration of the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) allow patients to control who sees their electronic health records on the network. Dr. Robert Kolodner, interim national coordinator of health information technology, said March 1 that trial networks funded by his office should give “people the capability to decide how they view, store and control access to their own information. A person could say how that information flows to specific entities or completely block the flow of information.”
(March 6, 2007)
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EHR disconnect exacerbates Walter Reed woes
Despite more than five years of work, the Defense and the Veterans Affairs departments still have problems sharing electronic health records (EHRs), said Cynthia Bascetta, director for health care at the Government Accountability Office, testifying last week to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The committee, chaired by Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), focused its hearings on the unsanitary living conditions and poor treatment of patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. But Waxman also asked GAO to report on a number of challenges service members wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq face during their recovery process.
(March 6, 2007)
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Perspective: Toward the larger vision
Mid-Rogue IPA of Grants Pass, Oregon, comprises 80 physicians and serves a rural, older population of 85,000. Health Choice is a managed care contracting entity for the MetroCare Physicians and Methodist Healthcare serving Memphis and the Mid-south region. It has a network of 1,350 physicians and six hospitals and one children’s medical center.
(March 5, 2007)
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Massachusetts Trial To Track Blood Pressure Wirelessly
Partners HealthCare in Massachusetts next month will begin electronically monitoring the blood pressure of employees from EMC, an information management company and one of the state's largest employers, to test if increased monitoring and online feedback improve blood pressure levels.
(March 5, 2007)
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Many Washington, D.C., Hospitals Slow to Adopt Technology
Most hospitals in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area are not integrating electronic health records because of the high costs and "an unwillingness to adapt to" the new technology.
(March 5, 2007)
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Washable Handheld Device Enables EHR Access
A new wireless handheld device developed by health IT startup Emano Tec enables full, mobile access to electronic health records, and it can be disinfected thousands of times.
(March 5, 2007)
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SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT FROM HIMSS: At Close of Conference, Health IT Leaders Poised To Turn Strategy into Action
Leavitt said the next step is connecting the current momentum at the state and federal level with key local-level players "to make it real." "Now the strategy is rolling, and the main question is, 'How does this link up to what's happening here in my hospital, in my doctor's office?'" he said. Donovan, who attended an extensive symposium on RHIOs, said the focus of that session "was really an urgency to move forward into data exchange, get off the dime about planning, get off the dime about applying for grants.
(March 5, 2007)
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FDA Panel Rejects Wireless Heart-Monitoring Device
An FDA panel comprised of outside medical advisers rejected a first-of-its-kind wireless device for monitoring heart-failure patients, arguing that the possible benefits of the device did not outweigh the risk of surgery to implant it.
(March 2, 2007)
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HHS Secretary, National Health IT Leader Tout Progress
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and interim National Coordinator for Health IT Robert Kolodner on Thursday discussed health IT progress, President Bush's commitment to interoperable electronic health records and the importance of privacy protections at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's annual conference.
(March 2, 2007)
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Nurse Informaticists Work on a Variety of Applications
Nurse informaticists are most likely to be involved in the development and adoption of nursing clinical documentation and clinical information systems, with 77% reporting participating in each, according to a new survey by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
(March 2, 2007)
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Telehealth myths are commonplace, speaker contends
Using a David Letterman-style Top 10 list, seminar presenter Joe Tracy counted down some of the most common myths surrounding the telehealth concept for HIMSS07 attendees Wednesday. From number 10 through number one, the vice president of telehealth services for Lehigh Valley (Pa. ) Hospital and Health Network rattled off the most popular misperceptions and misquotes about telehealth as follows: 1) “Build it and they will come”; 2) All practitioners like it; 3) Training one person is all you need to do; 4) Broadband is everywhere; 5) One size fits all and it’s plug and play; 6) If something goes wrong with a group of physicians, you will get another chance; 7) The government is here to help; 8) New equipment is always backward compatible; 9) Networks never fail; 10) “It’s just wires and doctors”. In addressing each item, Tracy said telehealth can’t exist in a vacuum – it takes a dedicated team to run it.
(March 2, 2007)
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Majority of market now adopting value-driven healthcare, Leavitt says
Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt and healthcare IT czar Robert Kolodner reiterated Thursday the Bush Administration's strong commitment to interoperable health records in speeches at the 2007 HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition. "There are four cornerstones that have to be in place to get to a value-driven healthcare system," Leavitt said. "The first is healthcare IT, and that enables the other three, which are quality measures, building episodes of care, and aligning incentives to choose high-quality, low-cost providers."
(March 2, 2007)
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A Growing Divide in Healthcare I.T.
Electronic medical records and other I.T. upgrades are seen as a "silver bullet" in the health industry's struggle against rising costs and quality problems, but high startup expenses are creating a growing divide between big industry players and small practices, said the keynote speaker of a healthcare I.T. conference hosted by the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium. Fewer than one in four doctors nationwide have begun using electronic health records (EHR), and most who are using electronic records have done only a partial implementation, said John Glaser, vice president and CIO of the Massachusetts hospital chain Partners HealthCare System. Meanwhile, the Mayo Clinic is taking a lead role in electronic medical records and large corporations such as Wal-Mart are providing their employees with personal health records (PHR), which let patients log onto the Web and view medical information such as test results and instructions for taking medication. Promoters of personal health records say they let patients make better decisions related to their care, but people who go to small medical practices may be left out. "We've got a divide now and it's going to get worse in the years ahead," Glaser said. Many people believe that I.T. is the answer to problems ailing the health industry, and Glaser counts himself among them. But he said people have unrealistic expectations for I.T. because all previous approaches to containing cost and maintaining quality have failed. "We ought to be real about this," he said. The transition "will not be orderly. It will be chaotic."
(March 2, 2007)
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IT adoption grows -- for large, urban hospitals
More hospitals across the country are implanting information technology aimed at improving patient safety and boosting efficiency, according to a survey the American Hospital Association released last month. Nearly half of all responding community hospitals reported moderate or high use of health IT in 2006. In 2006, 46 percent of community hospitals reported moderate or high use of healthcare IT, compared to 37 percent in 2005. The median capital spending per bed for system implementation was $5,556 in 2006. The median operating costs, which cover ongoing expenses, were $12,060 per bed, a 4.5 percent increase over 2005. Healthcare IT use was determined by the number of clinical IT functions – such as medication order-entry, test results review or clinical alerts – a hospital had fully implemented. Hospitals also reported dramatic increases in the use of computerized alerts to prevent negative drug interactions. In 2006, 51 percent of hospitals were using real-time drug interaction alerts, up from 23 percent in 2005.
(March 1, 2007)
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Baton Rouge hospital begins $15M rollout
Baton Rouge General Medical Center has launched a $15 million IT upgrade that includes the implementation of clinical systems and the automation of its pharmacy. The new technologies will support the hospital in developing an electronic health record for both inpatient and outpatient settings. “Because we’re a community hospital, we are aggressively creating an environment that enables physicians to work more collaboratively to the ultimate benefit of our patients and the community we serve,” said Bill Holman, president and chief executive officer, General Health System. “By providing physicians with access to a connected clinical solution, we are making it much easier . . . to make more informed decisions that can lead to safer, faster and more effective treatment decisions.”
(March 1, 2007)
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Lehigh Hospital to automate outpatient settings
Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, one of the nation’s first digital hospitals and the largest academic community hospital system in Pennsylvania, is rolling out GE’s Centricity Electronic Medical Record to up to 1,000 local primary care physicians and specialists. “Today, 20 percent of a patient’s care is provided in the inpatient setting, while 80 percent is provided by a patient’s primary care physician and specialists in an ambulatory setting,” said Harry Lukens, Lehigh’s senior vice president and chief information officer. “The information within each of these settings exists in silos, not easily accessible to multiple healthcare providers. In addition to being costly and inefficient, these silos can have a negative impact on patient safety.” Lehigh has reported that the combination of full hospital-wide implementation of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and barcode medication charting has helped achieve a 44 percent reduction in medication errors.
(March 1, 2007)
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Denver Health gets help with CPOE
Denver Health Medical Center launched a computerized provider order entry system, and selected The Breakaway Group to help its residents quickly adopt the technology through simulations and coaching. “To successfully deploy CPOE, Denver Health needed a partner that would help our residents quickly adopt the technology,” said Andy Steele, MD, director of medical informatics for Denver Health Medical Center. “Working with The Breakaway Group will help us educate the next generation of health care professionals in CPOE.” One of the fastest-growing healthcare consulting firms in the country, The Breakaway Group helps healthcare professionals quickly adopt new technology and equipment.
(March 1, 2007)
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Texas clinic learns lessons from Katrina
It’s not enough to preserve data to secure the safety of electronic patient records, says James Holly, MD. “It’s critical to preserve systems integration and continuous access to patient health information with longitudinal portraits of their health – that is the safety and security thinking of electronic patient management,” Holly said during an education session at the 2007 HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition here last month. In his presentation, “Safety of Medical Records: Lessons Learned from Katrina and Rita,” Holly, the head of the Southeast Texas Medical Associates in Beaumont, Texas, discussed what the multi-specialty clinic did in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
(March 1, 2007)
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S.C. med school expands EHR's reach
In early April, the Medical University of South Carolina will extend its electronic medical record system to the MUSC student healthcare center. The implementation expands MUSC’s IT Strategic Plan to a new care setting. The MUSC student health center provides care to students in the medical school and allied health profession programs, said Frank Clark, CIO and vice president of the Hospital Authority and Medical Center of South Carolina. The student center serves about 3,000 students. “We’re a fairly typical academic medical center with about 600 faculty physicians,” said Clark. “We rolled out our EMR to the faculty practice last December, and when student health expressed an interest, we realized that this was an opportunity to continue to improve the product and use it more efficiently.”

(March 1, 2007)
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HIMSS helping to rebuild New Orleans area clinics
While many attendees at HIMSS07 came to New Orleans in late February looking to upgrade the IT systems at their own institutions, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society also encouraged its members to contribute to the revival of medical practices in the Gulf Region damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The HIMSS Foundation created the Katrina Phoenix Project to help rebuild healthcare facilities ruined by the 2005 hurricane. The project coordinates donations of electronic medical record software and services from healthcare IT vendors to practices in need of assistance.

(March 1, 2007)
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Readers think NEPSI will lead docs to adopt EHRs
Seventy-five percent of the Healthcare IT News readers who responded to the most recent News Monitor poll said they believed the National E-Prescribing Patient Safety Initiative (NEPSI) would provide an ‘on-ramp’ to adoption of electronic health records by physicians. Twenty-five percent said that NEPSI would not prompt physicians to adopt EHRs. Eighty-eight people responded to the question.

(March 1, 2007)
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Iowa clinic to implement EHR
The Alegent Health Clinic is beginning a multi-year transition to electronic medical records with an implementation of the NextGen EMR at one of its 44 locations. Once the pilot site is up and running, Alegent will roll out the NextGen product across all of its sites.

(March 1, 2007)
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Michigan docs invest in EMR
Michigan Medical PC will spend $35 million in the coming years to fully implement electronic medical records. “This system can really change how we practice,” MMPC CEO Ted Inman said. MMPC, the state’s largest physician-owned group medical practice, with 200 doctors and 90 other practitioners, recently signed a contract to buy the new EMR system from EPIC Systems.

(March 1, 2007)
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Consumers would pay more for docs with IT
The majority of consumers place some importance on whether a physician has electronic health records when choosing a physician and would be willing to pay for the service, according to research released by Accenture. The goal of the research, a survey of 600 U.S. consumers and interviews with more than 100 physicians, was to gauge consumer and physician attitudes toward electronic health records. Among the key findings: Two-thirds (67 percent) of consumers said that electronic health records are at least slightly important in their selection of a physician, and half (51 percent) said they would be willing to pay for the service, if the price were reasonable. At the same time, just one in ten physicians interviewed (11 percent) uses electronic records. Consumer respondents identified a number of potential benefits from electronic health records. More than three-quarters (77 percent) said that the benefits would include greater access to and control over their own records.
(March 1, 2007)
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Kaiser names new CIO amid EHR questions
Philip Fasano takes over as CIO at Kaiser Permanente, charged with overseeing Kaiser’s $4 billion electronic health record project. Fasano, a former CIO at Deutsche Bank Group and JP Morgan Chase, was named senior vice president and chief information officer at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. Fasano succeeds Bruce Turkstra, who served as CIO for four months. Turkstra, who had helped develop Kaiser’s electronic health record, called HealthConnect, replaced J. Clifford Dodd shortly after an employee sent an organization-wide e-mail raising questions about the up-time of Kaiser’s Epic Corp. EHR.
(March 1, 2007)
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Massachusetts named top e-prescribing state
Massachusetts has been named the Second Annual Safe-Rx Award’s Top e-Prescribing State. The commonwealth was recognized for ranking first in the nation in electronic prescribing by the nation’s community pharmacies. Richard Moore, Massachusetts state senator and chair of the committee on healthcare financing, said the success has been cultivated through years of collaboration and facilitation done by individuals and organizations such as eRx Collaborative, MA-SHARE, Massachusetts Health Data Consortium and the Massachusetts e-Health Collaborative.
(March 1, 2007)
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Integration in the OR
Three years ago, Baltimore Washington Medical Center adopted wireless technology in its 14 operating rooms. The goal, recalls Vice President and Chief Information Officer Dave Peterson, was to give the circulating OR nurses who document procedures more flexibility in their workspace. Using mobile workstations, the nurses now work facing the patient, rather than having their backs to the action as they did before the 220-staffed-bed hospital upgraded its legacy information system. The change has been a real plus to the nurses, says Joyce Myers, director of perioperative nursing at the Glen Burnie, Md.-based hospital.
(March 1, 2007)
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Cambridge Health Alliance First in Massachusetts to Implement Electronic Laboratory Reporting
Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) announced today that it is the first hospital system to implement electronic laboratory reporting (ELR) of communicable diseases to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH).
(March 1, 2007)
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Virginia Awards Grants To Advance Electronic Records
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) on Wednesday awarded three grants totaling $750,000 to expand the use of electronic health records throughout Virginia.
(March 1, 2007)
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What Can Docs Take Away from I.T. Giveaways?
The two lead stories in this month's Newsline section, opening on page 10, report on the growing trend of health care technology giveaways. A group comprising health care I.T. vendors, payer and provider organizations, large employers and a sprinkling of other stakeholders have announced a huge initiative to provide any physician with free e-prescribing software. Meanwhile, WebMD made a news splash by itself by announcing that it would offer free online personal health records to every U.S. citizen. It seems like everyone in the industry is trying to load up physicians and consumers with armfuls of free I.T. A number of payer organizations have footed the bill for programs to give high-prescribing doctors free e-prescribing software and handheld devices. In a few states, stakeholders are banding together to give physician practices free or below-cost electronic records software.
(March 1, 2007)
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Who's Ready For Provider IDs?
Payer and provider organizations just now starting efforts to comply with the National Provider Identifier rule likely won't be ready by the May 23 deadline, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. CMS estimates it takes an average of 120 days for a provider organization to complete all the necessary steps for compliance. The NPI is the second of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act standard identifier rules to go into effect. It was issued by the Department of Health and Human Services in January 2004. The effective date of the rule was May 23, 2005, with compliance required within two years. CMS, an HHS department, enforces most the HIPAA administrative simplification rules.
(March 1, 2007)
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The No. 1 CIO Challenge
Being a health care CIO or information technology leader is challenging on multiple fronts. Implementing cranky software on a shoestring budget is a challenge numerous CIOs have had to face during their careers. Dealing with staffing issues and inflated boardroom egos also creates a great deal of angst on a regular basis. But when asked about the greatest challenge they face at the office, many CIOs don't mention technology as the stickiest wicket in their I.T. initiatives. The No. 1 challenge to being a CIO, they say, is getting clinical and administrative staff to actually use, on a regular basis, the I.T. that CIOs and their staff have installed.
(March 1, 2007)
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Rising From the Ruins: HIMSS Katrina Phoenix Project Aids EHR Adoption
"This is solidarity, not charity." These words, painted on a weather-beaten board leaning outside the Common Ground Health Clinic in New Orleans, communicate the mission of the free clinic. The decidedly low-tech facility stood in sharp contrast to the glossy booths of health IT companies on the HIMSS07 exhibition floor offering free lattes, fancy pens and, most importantly, a vision of a state-of-the-art health care system that could enhance care, reduce costs and boost efficiency. Started by a group of volunteers about a week after Hurricane Katrina hit, Common Ground is funded solely by grants and donations, so it is not averse to accepting help. However, Common Ground and other health care facilities in hurricane-ravaged areas are focusing on building partnerships -- not pocketing one-time donations -- as part of the HIMSS Katrina Phoenix Project. Launched in September 2005, the project was prompted by Dr. Alice Loveys -- a pediatrician that had been involved with HIMSS -- who contacted Pat Wise, vice president of health information systems for HIMSS, and asked what HIMSS could do to help. The HIMSS Katrina Phoenix Advisory Board then was formed, and it convened a group of vendors, providers and professional associations aimed at helping practices assess their technology needs and adopt electronic health records.
(March 1, 2007)
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National health network plan empowers consumers
The Health and Human Services Department will ask for proposals next month for a new version of a health care “network of networks” capable of giving consumers unprecedented control over the dissemination of their personal health care information. Robert Kolodner, interim director of the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT), said the government will seek proposals for a state- or regionally hosted network that could enable consumers to direct their personal health information toward -- or away from -- specific health care organizations.
(March 1, 2007)
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Maine selects health info exchange vendor
Maine’s HealthInfoNet has selected a supplier for its health information exchange software and is preparing to begin deployment of a statewide network. The organization, a nonprofit collaborative of physicians, health care executives, insurers, consumers, employers, and government and public health officials, chose a team headed by 3M Health Information Systems. The team will provide a data repository, master patient index and data dictionary for the exchange. Thirty-two other vendors also responded to the solicitation issued last year.
(March 1, 2007)
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Federal health IT office extends study of state information sharing
The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology has signed a contract to extend a project to identify the best practices for successful state-level health information exchanges. The $800,000 contract would fund for an additional year the work of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the eHealth Initiative, and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society to determine effective ways health information can be shared between providers at the state level. Robert Kolodner, interim director of ONC, said the project by the three organizations comes “at a critical time for engaging the states in a variety of activities for advancing the health IT agenda.” He called the new contract “a vehicle for making that happen.”
(March 1, 2007)
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DOD, Microsoft sign deal to data mine health records
The Defense Department has signed an agreement with Microsoft under which the software vendor will help develop tools and methods for analyzing the department's 9.1 million electronic patient records to find better ways to manage the health of DOD beneficiaries. Under the cooperative research and development agreement, Microsoft will work with the Army's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center to extract, store and analyze data stored in DOD’s Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA) electronic health record system.
(March 1, 2007)
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Bringing Home the Desktop
People expect to be able to work from anywhere with an Internet connection. And Mississippi Baptist Health Systems has found that one of the easiest ways to give employees remote access to their e-mail accounts, online files, and work-related software is simply to create an online link to the desktop PCs in their offices. Employees who are traveling or at home on maternity leave, for example, can log onto the Internet using a laptop or a home computer, visit a Web site called GoToMyPC.com, enter an e-mail address and password, and within minutes be looking at the desktop of their work computer.
(March 1, 2007)
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WebMD Hopes Revamped Site, Free PHRs Boost Traffic
The Internet portal of WebMD Health Corp. has long been a major online site of medical and wellness information for consumers and clinicians alike. The New York-based vendor recently unveiled substantial enhancements to the site and is offering its personal health records software for free to all Americans.
(March 1, 2007)
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National health network plan empowers consumers
The Health and Human Services Department will ask for proposals next month for a new version of a health care “network of networks” capable of giving consumers unprecedented control over the dissemination of their personal health care information. Robert Kolodner, interim director of the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT), said the government will seek proposals for a state- or regionally hosted network that could enable consumers to direct their personal health information toward -- or away from -- specific health care organizations.
(March 1, 2007)
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February 2007
News Release: HHS Secretary Leavitt Unveils Plan for "Value Exchanges" to Report on Health Care Quality and Cost at Local level
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today unveiled a plan for chartering local collaborative organizations that are working to improve quality and value in health care by assessing the performance of local health care providers and reporting these findings publicly. The plan would bring the local collaboratives into a nation-wide system, and the collaboratives would use nationally-recognized standards to measure and improve quality of care in their local areas.
(February 28, 2007)
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Electronic Medical Data Network May Cost $51 Million
It's going to cost Florida about $51 million to build a secure superhighway for electronic medical information, according to an estimate released Tuesday. But the money doesn't have to be spent all at once, author Paul Gionfriddo says. Besides, he wrote, the resulting Florida Health Information Network will pay for itself many times over. Exchange of health care information gives citizens better, safer medical treatment and saves money for hospitals and others, from insurers and employers to state and local governments, wrote Gionfriddo, director of the Palm Beach County Community Health Alliance. "This investment … will harness the power of technology to bring the state's health communication into the 21st century," he wrote.
(February 28, 2007)
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HHS Contracts with AHIMA, EHI and HIMSS to Develop and Disseminate Successful Practices for State Health Information Exchange Organizations
HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today announced a contract award to foster collaboration among state leaders in health information exchange (HIE) to identify and share emerging best practices. The one-year, $800,000 contract with the American Health Information Management Association's (AHIMA) Foundation of Research and Education (FORE) will start in March 2007. "Rising health care costs amplify our need to identify successful practices that enable sustainable and secure health information exchange at a state level," ONC Interim National Coordinator Robert Kolodner, M.D., said. "We are excited about this new collaboration with key organizations, which brings together state and regional health information exchange leaders from across the country." The project will work to identify successful governance models that include defined operations, resources and finances to generate, support and amplify health information exchange.
(February 28, 2007)
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Moving From Ideas to Action at HIMSS07
In contrast to the emphasis on the future of health IT at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference on Monday, Tuesday's sessions focused on the here and now, including practical options for overcoming implementation barriers and recognition of progress in putting technology in the hands of providers.
(February 28, 2007)
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EHRs in the foxhole
The U.S. military is processing approximately 21,000 medical encounters per month from the battlefield using its version of the electronic health record, Col. Claude Hines Jr. told HIMSS07 attendees on Tuesday. Hines related that fact during a presentation about the U.S. Army’s Theater Medical Information Program, an automated patient record system similar to EHRs. The program was developed to provide automated support for theater medical practices.
(February 28, 2007)
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CCHIT leaders say credibility is important
The vision behind the certification of electronic health record products is that it will help to advance the adoption of healthcare IT by building confidence in the providers who would purchase it. But according to Alisa Ray, executive director of the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT), the non-profit, independent Commission also works hard to build vendor confidence in the certification process.
(February 28, 2007)
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Simplify and focus, says Tennessee Governor Bredesen
Relying on his legacy of “getting things done” and “getting the right things done,” Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen challenged the healthcare information technology sector and the healthcare industry overall to simplify the focus of advancing e-health information exchange. The industry must establish simple standards, reduce the scope of e-health into a manageable project and find ways to get physician practices to adopt e-health, he told his keynote-address audience.
(February 28, 2007)
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ONC fields tough questions at Town Hall meeting
Leaders from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Healthcare Information Technology faced some staunch questioning on privacy and other issues related to healthcare IT adoption in a Town Hall held Tuesday evening at HIMSS07. Following a lengthy presentation on ONC accomplishments, the floor opened to heated questions from the large audience, including a request for a response on the recent resignation of Paul Feldman, co-chair of the federal advisory panel on privacy, the American Health Information Community’s Confidentiality, Privacy, and Security Workgroup.
(February 28, 2007)
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Dell plans big health care IT push
Dell plans to make a big push into the health care sector and has hired James Coffin, former vice president of health care and life sciences at IBM to lead the effort. Coffin, interviewed here at the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference, said Dell intends to provide full-scale solutions to the health care industry, not just hardware as in the past. Coffin said the company wants to provide a complete health information technology ecosystem to the entire health care community, including providers, payers and the pharmaceutical industry. Dell is a technology partner in the National ePrescribing Patient Safety Initiative, launched in January, which will provide free e-prescription software to every doctor in the country.
(February 28, 2007)
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SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT FROM HIMSS: Medical Device Interoperability Necessary for Ideal 'OR of the Future'
A team from the Massachusetts General Hospital's "Operating Room of the Future" is pushing for medical device interoperability, as it displays a system that automatically synchronizes the activity of an anesthesia ventilator with an X-Ray machine at this year's Health Information Management Systems Society conference in New Orleans.
(February 28, 2007)
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Hospitals adopt new technology
A growing number of community hospitals are managing patients' records electronically in an effort to improve care and save money, a trade group said Tuesday, though rural facilities are lagging, in part because of high up-front technology costs. With medical costs expected to grow faster than the overall economy, public health officials are promoting electronic record-keeping as a way to speed up patient visits and decrease errors. President Bush has set a goal of using electronic medical records for all Americans by 2014. More than 45 percent of hospitals surveyed by the American Hospital Association last year had medium to high levels of health information technology use, up from 37 percent in 2005, the group said Tuesday.
(February 27, 2007)
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HIMSS07: A Health IT Odyssey
On a spaceship-like set with the theme to Star Trek humming in the background, HIMSS07 on Monday opened its festivities with a cast of unlikely characters -- including a rapping Capt. Kirk impersonator and a gospel choir -- to look into the future of health IT. Below, iHealthBeat navigates crowded exhibit room floors and deciphers endless acronyms to check out some of the highlights of HIMSS07.
(February 27, 2007)
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Physician-Dependent Future for EMRs
Physician IT leaders must have a plan to introduce clinical decision support and engage clinicians throughout their institutions if electronic medical records (EMRs) are to fulfill the promise of higher-quality, more efficient care, some of America’s top medical informaticists say.
(February 27, 2007)
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Trends in Medical PCs, PDAs, and Portable Workstations
Do healthcare professionals in your organization want laptop computers? Tablet PCs? Plain old desktop machines? Personal digital assistants? Sure. All can work just fine in clinical environments. "We want to be as device-independent as possible to give physicians a range of options," says Mary Kay Payne, president and chief information officer of Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, a 511-bed, not-for-profit facility in Newport Beach, Calif.
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Delta Health Alliance Selects Allscripts Electronic Health Record for 500 Physicians
From the floor of the 2007 HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition, Allscripts , the leading provider of clinical software, connectivity and information solutions that physicians use to improve healthcare, announced today that Delta Health Alliance has selected the TouchWorks(TM) Electronic Health Record (EHR) to automate, inform and connect more than 500 physicians. The Mississippi Delta region served by Delta Health was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and is among the poorest and most disadvantaged areas in the nation. Delta Health, an alliance of six state-funded universities and three primary healthcare organizations including the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, will deploy the Electronic Health Record to improve health outcomes for the Delta's patients and aid in the region's recovery. The implementation is being funded by a $25 million grant awarded to Delta Health in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
(February 27, 2007)
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Massachusetts Tops in Key Indicator for Patient Safety: Ranked #1 State in the Nation for Electronic Prescribing
The community pharmacy industry today cited the commonwealth of Massachusetts and three physicians for their outstanding efforts to improve patient safety and practice efficiency through the use of electronic prescribing technology. Representatives from the nation's community pharmacies presented the Safe-Rx(TM) Award to Massachusetts for ranking first in the nation for electronic prescribing.
(February 27, 2007)
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Consumers See Electronic Health Records as Important Factor When Choosing a Physician and Are Willing to Pay for the Service, Accenture Research Finds
The majority of consumers place some importance on whether a physician has electronic health records when choosing a physician and would be willing to pay for the service, according to research results released today by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).
(February 26, 2007)
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Report: Overcoming the Psychological Barriers to Telemedicine
Psychological barriers may limit older Americans' adoption of telemedicine services but opportunities abound for patient education.
(February 26, 2007)
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Health Level Seven Appoints Charles Jaffe, MD, PhD, to Role of CEO
Health Level Seven (HL7) today announced the appointment of Charles Jaffe, MD, PhD, FACMI, as CEO effective immediately. In his new role, Dr. Jaffe will help to define and develop the evolving organizational structure of HL7 to advance it as the leading healthcare IT standards development organization worldwide. He will drive the vision of global healthcare information interoperability among the more than two dozen countries that support HL7.
SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT: HIMSS Conference Matures With Health IT Industry
The overall focus of the annual Health Information Management Systems Society conference remains the same each year, but the conference matures along with the industry, HIMSS CEO Steve Lieber said in an interview for an iHealthBeat special audio report.
(February 26, 2007)
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Health IT in Flux as HIMSS07 Kicks Off
Right now, IT in the U.S. health care system is very much in a state of regrouping and rebuilding. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has been without a permanent leader since David Brailer resigned from the position in May 2006. Two leaders of a subcommittee of the American Health Information Community resigned last week because of a lack of progress in developing privacy issues related to electronic health data. Congress last session did not pass any health IT legislation. So, it is fitting that Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's annual conference and exhibition is taking place in New Orleans, a city that knows a thing or two about rebuilding.
(February 26, 2007)
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HITS @ HIMSS: Good news for not-for-profits
The Internal Revenue Service may soon rule that not-for-profit hospitals can subsidize the cost of e-prescribing and electronic medical records systems for their affiliated physicians without jeopardizing the hospitals' tax-exempt status, an HHS official told several hundred physician informaticists Sunday during a pre-conference session at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society trade show in New Orleans. Back in 2004, David Brailer, then the national coordinator for health information technology at HHS, began calling for Stark exemptions and anti-kickback safe harbors for hospitals willing to extend IT systems and services to their local physicians. Brailer saw it as a way to boost EMR adoption by physicians in solo and small group practices where EMR adoption has remained low because of their high cost and technical challenges. Last August, HHS and the CMS came through with rules granting relief from Stark and anti-kickback laws for IT subsidies, but a number of not-for-profit hospitals are still holding back over the IRS issue.
(February 26, 2007)
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Wyoming Hospital Selects Medsphere OpenVista® Electronic Health Record
Medsphere Systems Corporation, the leading provider of professional open source-based electronic health record (EHR) systems and services, today announced a five-year agreement to deploy its OpenVista® EHR platform at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County (MHSC) in Rock Springs, Wyoming. The 99-bed not-for-profit facility is the third community hospital to adopt OpenVista’s paperless system in the last month.
(February 26, 2007)
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Psychiatric center reaps IT benefits
The University of Texas-Harris County Psychiatric Center, is reaping the benefits and savings of automating its medical records. The gains are coming after three years of implementation and tweaking to get it to work just right. Psychiatric facilities present a unique set of challenges for turning paper-based records to digital ones, said Richard Montanye, director of medical information systems at the center. Now that the electronic health record system is up and running, Montanye and his 14-member IT team are ready to tackle other work: Improving registration with photo capability, automating more forms on the Web and making it possible to capture patient electronic signatures on consent forms. They will also upgrade the electronic health record system – Eclipsys Sunrise – to include progress notes and more alerts for clinicians. The center also is streamlining IT desktop support by centralizing all nursing unit computers in the server room using blade technology.
(February 26, 2007)
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Venture capital event brings healthcare IT firms and investors together
On the day prior to the official start of HIMSS 2007, a new conference-related event brought together leaders of emerging healthcare IT companies and venture capitalists looking to invest in the industry. The HIMSS07 Health IT Venture Fair was created to expose potential investors to “young companies” seeking a $500,000 to $10 million investment, said Elizabeth West, vice president of Business Development and Marketing at HIMSS.
(February 26, 2007)
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HIMSS conference opens in New Orleans
Necessity is the mother of invention, Buddy Hickman, chairman of the board of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, told attendees in his opening remarks Monday morning. The group’s annual conference and exhibition is under way here in the Big Easy. About 25,000 people are expected to attend the event. Hickman entreats conference goers to take a good look at New Orleans and the HIMSS07 Exhibition Hall. “The rebuilding of this great city and the progress made by our HIT industry over the past several years are proof positive that innovation happens in response to critical challenges,” he said.
(February 26, 2007)
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State Official to CIOs: Get Involved
Health care information technology leaders should be paying attention to the activities of state governments to facilitate health data exchange and foster relationships with government-appointed CIOs, according to the CIO of the state of Michigan. During the past two years, 24 states have passed a total of 36 bills related to health I.T., and 11 governors have issued executive orders covering health I.T., said Teresa Takai, director at the Michigan Department of Information Technology. "Nearly every state has addressed health information technology to some degree."
(February 25, 2007)
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Standard Charts EHR Functions
The American National Standards Institute has approved as a new national standard functional requirements for an electronic health record developed by Health Level Seven. The EHR-S Functional Model from Ann Arbor, Mich.-based HL7 contains about 1,000 criteria covering more than 150 functions in such areas as medication history, problem lists, orders, clinical decision support, and privacy and security. The standard is a model providing guidance to software developers and purchasers, says Donald Mon, vice president of practice leadership at the American Health Information Management Association in Chicago. He also serves as Health Level Seven’s EHR Technical Committee co-chair.
(February 22, 2007)
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Health Data Management's CIO Survey Reveals Factors Driving I.T. Spending
Health care CIOs and other senior executives plan to sink more money into applications that improve access to information for clinicians and help reduce medical errors, according to the 2007 Health Data Management CIO Survey. Of those respondents who expect their I.T. budgets to increase in fiscal 2007, 51% said the primary factor for those budget increases is to improve clinician access to information. Another 27% cited reducing medical errors/improving quality as the primary factor for spending hikes.
(February 22, 2007)
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Massachusetts RHIO Makes Progress
After four years and a $50-million commitment, many of the building blocks for Massachusetts' regional health information organization (RHIO), MA-SHARE (Simplifying Healthcare Among Regional Entities), are being stacked into place. That's good given this is a critical year for MA-SHARE as grant money starts running out. "If RHIOs do not have a business model by the end of 2007, they will likely not survive until 2008," says John Halamka, CIO of CareGroup Healthcare System and CIO of the Harvard Medical School.
(February 22, 2007) <Back to top>
IBM, Duke launch all-in-one health portal
U.S. technology giant IBM and Duke University have created a Web portal that will manage all doctor-patient communication. Currently, doctors frequently use different sites for different functions such as patient billing and electronic health records. The new Web site will allow patients to access data and services including personal health profiles, clinical content, account billing and insurance information. Patients will also be able to save time by filling out forms online in advance of their office visit.
(February 22, 2007)
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One by One, City Health Clinics Are Joining the Digital Age
Doctors at a Brooklyn health clinic will officially swap paper files in favor of electronic health records today amid a citywide effort to digitize community health centers. Of the 29 participants in the Primary Care Information Project, a multimillion-dollar Department of Health and Mental Hygiene initiative that is bringing health information technology to clinics in the city's poorest communities, the Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Center is the sixth community health center to switch over. City officials said they hope to convert the other centers to electronic systems by 2008, when computer terminals will be in each exam room. Officials who support the initiative said it will improve the quality and efficiency of doctor visits, and will prompt clinicians with point-of-care reminders that can be advantageous in treating chronically ill patients. In the public health sphere, it will be possible to track epidemics like diabetes and obesity with an emphasis on prevention.
(February 22, 2007)
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Will Canada click its way to better health? Switch to e-records lags behind other countries
After more than 20 years as a family physician, Michelle Greiver questions why Canadians can access their bank accounts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but when they go to the hospital after hours, their medical records are unavailable. She is among the minority of the nation's doctors who are trying to do something about the health care system's archaic processes, which by one estimate are causing as many as 24,000 unnecessary deaths each year. Last year, she began collecting and storing patient data on computers. This year she sold her filing cabinets and expects to discard the last paper chart in her Toronto office.
(February 22, 2007)
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Federal privacy panel leader resigns, raps standards
The leader of a federal panel charged with providing privacy recommendations for the national health information network resigned Wednesday, thwarted, he said, in efforts to develop adequate standards. The resignation comes amid complaints from others about the speed with which standards are being written. Paul Feldman, deputy director of the nonprofit Health Privacy Project, stepped down from his position as co-chair of the American Health Information Community’s Confidentiality, Privacy, and Security Workgroup, created in May 2006. In a letter sent Wednesday to 15 members of Congress, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt and HHS Interim National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Robert Kolodner, Feldman said the workgroup's efforts to establish standards for the nation’s developing healthcare IT network, are “a far cry from a comprehensive and timely approach that would give privacy policy equal and necessary footing with interoperability and systems development efforts.”
(February 22, 2007)
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Physician-Based EMRs Improve Efficiency, Thus Boosting Widespread Uptake
The healthcare market continues to witness the installation of multiples technologies across various organizations, such as (or ranging from) inpatient organizations to outpatient ancillary centers. As part of this occurrence, electronic medical record exists as a platform technology for documenting and integrating full patient information. Physician-based practices of all sizes are rapidly adopting EMR technology, as they seek the digital benefits of discrete data and look to a possible cost savings. Therefore, as the integration of physician-based practices and inpatient organizations continues to tighten, the physician- based EMR market will continue to grow at a significant pace.
(February 21, 2007)
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Israeli HMO to provide healthcare IT to Bulgarian national healthcare system
Maccabi Healthcare Services, a leading Israeli HMO, announced Tuesday that it has been selected to help build a new national healthcare information technology system for Bulgaria, expected to serve eight million people when fully implemented. Maccabi won the opportunity to be a key player in a consortium to build the €3.5 million Bulgarian healthcare system over such well-known global IT firms as HP, IBM and Oracle, said Wendy Simmons, Maccabi spokesperson. The World Bank will fund the project, she said. “We are a healthcare supplier, not a technology company, which gives us profound insight into the needs of HMOs,” said Ofer Carmel, CEO of Maccabi Group Holdings. “The system we created is the healthcare delivery backbone for almost two million people in Israel, whose healthcare expenditure, according to the World Health Organization, is only two-thirds as much per capita as countries like Sweden and France, and one-third that of the United States. ”
(February 21, 2007)
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HL7 Announces Industry’s First Electronic Health Record System (EHR-S) Functional Requirements Standard
Health Level Seven (HL7), a preeminent healthcare IT standards development organization with broad international representation, today announced it has passed the healthcare industry’s first ANSI-approved standard that specifies the functional requirements for an electronic health record system (EHR-S).
(February 21, 2007)
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Survey: Patients Unsure About EHRs
Nearly half of patients are unsure how they feel about electronic health records, according to a survey by Time Warner Cable Business Class. Thirty-eight percent of those surveyed said they thought EHRs were a great idea, while 17% said they were a bad idea.
(February 20, 2007)
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MEDecision and Medem Collaborate to Deliver Robust Electronic Health Record to Improve Patient Care
MEDecision, Inc., a provider of software, services and clinical content to healthcare payers, and Medem, Inc., a leading provider of online physician-patient communications services, today announced a unique collaboration to combine health plan information with the physician-patient relationship to deliver a transportable personal health record through a payer-provider partnership. Through this collaboration, MEDecision will deliver its Patient Clinical Summary, a payer-based, clinically-validated, electronic health record, to patients and their providers through iHealth, Medem's secure, interactive and fully transportable online personal health record.
(February 20, 2007)
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US Healthcare Quality Movement Stalls at a Critical Juncture, Finds PricewaterhouseCoopers Report
In a study of more than 60 of the nation's most influential healthcare leaders released today, PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the quality of the US healthcare system is not what it should be and is not likely to change within the next three to five years. A landmark report on healthcare quality by the PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute concludes that after two decades of efforts to improve the quality of healthcare, momentum has stalled at a critical juncture. The analysis finds healthcare organizations are confused by multiple quality mandates and frustrated by mounting requirements for quality performance reporting in the absence of government standards or industry consensus. Citing its report, PricewaterhouseCoopers called on the healthcare industry to come together to develop common standards and procedures around quality. It warned that failure to act now puts the sustainability of the US healthcare system and the nation's economic competitiveness at risk.
(February 20, 2007)
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Medical mishaps
Conventional wisdom holds that electronic medical records will reduce medical errors in the United States, but there’s surprisingly little evidence to back that up.
(February 19, 2007)
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Quality comparisons
Few agree on how to measure health care performance. But experts say any answer will depend on using electronic health records to compare apples to apples.
(February 19, 2007)
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The diabetes data war
Public health care programs are using IT tools, from population registries to remote monitoring systems, to get to the high ground in the fight against diabetes.
(February 19, 2007)
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Editor's note: Does health IT matter?
Is information technology essential to the goals of health care service providers and policy-makers — improving the quality and reducing the cost of health care? There are several schools of thought on that. One is summarized by Dr. John Halamka, Harvard Medical School’s chief information officer, whom we interviewed in our cover story about medical errors. He’s from what might be called the Intuitive School. “How could it be bad to have an accurate prescription of the right med to the right patient?” he told Nancy Ferris, Government Health IT’s associate editor. “It seems pretty obvious that you don’t need a controlled trial on the efficacy of parachutes against gravity.”
(February 19, 2007)
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In pay for performance, all eyes are on California
A statewide project in California is now one of the largest and most successful pay-for-performance programs in the country. But if you had taken bets on that success a few years ago, you wouldn’t have found many takers.
(February 19, 2007)
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Peel: Electronic prescribing is no panacea
When a coalition of technology companies, insurers and health care providers launched a $100 million project last month to provide free electronic prescribing software to every physician in the United States, it was greeted with cheers. The presence of brand name vendors was supposed to ensure that sensitive prescription records would be private and secure. But those who believe there is anything private about e-prescribing under the National ePrescribing Patient Safety Initiative (NEPSI) — or any other e-prescription system — are simply incorrect.
(February 19, 2007)
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Survey: States lag behind private sector in EMR adoption
Public-sector health care organizations participate in regional health information organizations (RHIOs) at twice the rate of private-sector organizations, but lag significantly when it comes to using electronic medical records (EMRs), according to a recent survey from Citrix Systems. The survey, which involved 99 state health care executives and 347 private-sector health care information technology executives, was designed to determine the levels of current and planned EMR adoption and RHIO participation by private and public-sector organizations.
(February 19, 2007)
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OMB: Health IT services are accountable
The Office of Management and Budget plans to evaluate the four main agencies involved with health IT on how well they provide information on quality and cost to consumers. In addition to the increased accountability, government agencies will have to add to their contracts with service providers standards developed by the American Health Information Community, a public-private advisory group led by the Health and Human Services Department.
(February 19, 2007)
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Advantage: Dems - Health IT remains a bipartisan issue, but with Democrats now in charge on Capitol Hill, the rush for national health IT legislation is on
In the past year, lawmakers have struggled in their efforts to pass health information technology legislation. The Senate and House each passed a bill that they sent to conference committee by early fall, but the prospects for creating a framework for a National Health Information Network died without ever being presented for a full vote in either chamber.
(February 19, 2007)
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CMS announces plans to publicly report physician performance
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced plans on Thursday for reporting physician performance to Medicare beneficiaries. CMS intends to make the public reports by combining Medicare data with data from private insurers. The reports will be part of the CMS Better Quality Information to Improve Care for Medicare Beneficiaries (BQI) Project, designed to provide the public and providers with “reliable and consistent measures of quality care,” CMS said.
(February 19, 2007)
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Patient Safety Through Technology
At least 1.5 million preventable drug-related injuries occurred in 2006 in American hospitals, long-term care institutions and outpatient clinics, according to the Institute of Medicine. And, the institute said, 98,000 deaths occurred both because of mistakes in administering drugs and because of infections contracted in hospitals. Kerry Clark, 54, chief executive of Cardinal Health, a maker of health care products with $81 billion in annual sales, said hospitals should correct these problems with the help of new technologies. Mr. Clark, who arrived at Cardinal in April 2006 after 32 years at Procter & Gamble, discussed both drug mistakes and infections in a recent conversation. Following are excerpts ...
(February 17, 2007) <Back to top>
Perspective: Northrop Grumman's service provider model for NHIN
When Northrop Grumman was developing its prototype for a nationwide health information exchange, its goal was to make it easy for organizations and physicians to connect to regional health information organizations or health information exchanges. “We adopted a service provider model with a flexible architecture to lower the bar for organizations to join a network,” said Robert Cothren, PhD, chief scientist for health solutions and project manager for Northrop Grumman’s NHIN project. “We thought it was very important to do this in our approach.” Every architectural decision supported this approach.
(February 16, 2007)
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URAC calls for comments on changes to standards for clinical and health information technology accreditation programs
Today URAC called for comments on minor revisions to its accreditation standards for clinical and health information technology programs. URAC is seeking input from any interested parties, including health care management organizations and health plans. The deadline for public comment is March 19, 2007.
(February 16, 2007)
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Coleman proposes legislation aimed at helping rural health care
Sen. Norm Coleman on Thursday proposed a package of bills aimed at improving rural health care, such as increasing money for critical access hospitals and mental health services in rural areas. "The quality of your health care should not be a reflection of your ZIP code, and my rural health care agenda seeks to efficiently enhance the quality, affordability, and accessibility of health care in rural Minnesota," said Coleman, a Minnesota Republican.
(February 15, 2007)
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Clinton to reintroduce EMR legislation
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) this week pledged to reintroduce legislation she previously sponsored to promote the use of electronic medical records, but further details were lacking about when this would happen, who possible co-sponsors might be, or what will be done differently this time to get the bill passed. Clinton and former Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) sponsored the Health Technology to Enhance Quality Act of 2005 with 15 co-sponsors. Despite a long list of supporters that included the AFL-CIO, the American College of Physicians, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the bill did not make it out of committee.
(February 15, 2007)
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Brailer says IT could cut healthcare costs in half
Healthcare information technology could help to reduce healthcare spending up to 50 percent, but not until a decade after widespread adoption, said former U.S. national health IT coordinator David Brailer in an interview announced Thursday in Health Affairs. In the Health Affairs interview, Brailer said that even if President Bush’s goal of acquiring EHRs for every American by 2014 were achieved, it would not increase productivity in healthcare immediately. “We’ll have a decade of HIT implementation before a decade of major yield. It’s not until the second decade that users say, ‘Now that we have the tools in place, let’s use them to redesign our fundamental processes’.”
(February 15, 2007)
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Hospital EHR certification criteria open for public comment
Proposed certification criteria for hospital electronic health record systems opened for public review Thursday. The comment period extends through March 16. Materials are posted on the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology Web site. Comments can be submitted on the Web site.
(February 15, 2007)
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State Department to test DOD EHR system
The State and Defense departments plan a pilot project to determine whether the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA) electronic health record system can meet future State EHR requirements. Last month DOD and the Department of Veterans Affairs agreed to work together on the development of a common in-patient EHR. Last year DOD and the Indian Health Service (IHS) said they planned to adopt the VA’s Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture Imaging system. The IHS' outpatient EHR is also based on the VistA EHR.
(February 15, 2007)
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Kaiser EHR Project Hits Some Bumps
Kaiser Permanente's $4 billion initiative to provide its 8.6 million members with electronic health records continues to encounter technical problems that put patients in potentially dangerous situations, according to Kaiser documents and employees.
(February 15, 2007)
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The Big Bang
Technology may promise lowered costs, improved safety and streamlined operations, but it usually comes wrapped in new standardized workflows that upend well-worn clinician and administrator routines. That’s why healthcare organizations usually avoid moving too rapidly in implementing new systems; the so-called “big bang” approach—converting hundreds of users to new technology in one quick turnover—can be a recipe for disaster.
(February 14, 2007)
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Survey: U.S. Residents Concerned About Privacy Risks of EHRs
Forty-two percent of U.S. adults said that the privacy risks associated with electronic health records outweigh the expected benefits, according to a survey by Harris Interactive. Twenty-nine percent of adults said the expected benefits of EHRs outweigh the potential risks, and another 29% said they were unsure. However, the survey also found that 62% of adults have not read or heard about the federal government's plan to create a nationwide EHR system over the next few years.
(February 14, 2007)
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Continuity of Care Document is approved by HL7, endorsed by HITSP
The healthcare industry reached a milestone Monday in its goal to exchange clinical records electronically. Health Level Seven announced that the Continuity of Care Document was approved by ballot and that it received the endorsement of the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel. HL7 said the final Continuity of Care Document (CCD) would be published next month. It will describe how to implement the Continuity of Care Record dataset with the standard architecture for clinical records developed by HL7, an Ann Arbor, Mich. -based standard setting body. Development of the CCD represents the joint efforts of HL7 and the E31 Healthcare Informatics Committee of ASTM International, which had led efforts to develop a standardized continuity of care record.
(February 14, 2007)
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New York Businesses Commit to National Initiative for Improving Quality and Value in Health Care
In a meeting today in New York City with HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, executives from New York businesses signed statements of support for a national initiative aimed at improving health care quality, information and cost-effectiveness for employees and their families. Employers signing on include Aetna, New York Life Insurance Company, Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation,  American International Group, Inc., KeySpan, IPRO, STV Inc., Group Health Inc., CIGNA Health Plan of New York, Verizon Communications, Inc., AmeriChoice of New York, New York Health Plan Association, Siemens Corporation, New York Business Group on Health, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, Business Council of New York State, Alcoa Inc., Loews Corporation,  Partnership for New York City and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
(February 14, 2007)
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Yasnoff: Wisconsin should invest in health record bank
Dr. William Yasnoff agreed that $30 million is a relatively small sum for state government to invest in the adoption of electronic health records, but not too small to make some headway on what he considers a better idea. Yasnoff, founder of the eHealth Trust Initiative, continues to advocate that states or regions create a central repository, or bank, for all electronic health records. He views a bank, which would be financed with small monthly fees charged to consumers, as the best way to get healthcare organizations to share information, get more doctors to invest in electronic health records, and get around interoperability issues.
(February 14, 2007)
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Physicians find cost a barrier to digitizing records
Sooner rather than later, doctors will have to switch completely from paperwork to computers if they want to treat patients and make a living in the 21st century. "To do business with the federal government in the future, everything will have to be electronic," Michael O. Leavitt, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, told members of the Medical Society of New Jersey. Electronic medical records and digital drug prescriptions will eventually be a must for all physicians, Leavitt said during a stop-off in Lawrenceville late last year.
(February 14, 2007)
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EHR Data Could Enhance Post-Market Drug Surveillance
Electronic health records could improve post-market drug safety surveillance by automatically extracting data on adverse reactions and side effects of drugs on the market, according to some experts.
(February 13, 2007)
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SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT: California Dedicates State Office to Health IT
California is "significantly farther ahead" than other states in addressing health care information technology, Ann Boynton, undersecretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, said in an interview for an iHealthBeat special audio report.
(February 13, 2007)
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Senators question HHS chief about health IT issues
The head of the Health and Human Services Department was grilled Tuesday about the swelling medical costs to citizens. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a proponent of health information technology, pressed HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt for explanations on health IT spending in the president's fiscal 2008 budget request during Leavitt's appearance before the Senate Budget Committee. Whitehouse argued that the proposed $118 million for the office of the national health IT coordinator is too small of an investment to significantly cut the cost of treatment, preventive care and prescriptions. He also noted that David Brailer left the job as health IT coordinator months ago and has not been replaced.
(February 13, 2007)
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NYC mayor sees health IT as key to better health care
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has called for restructuring the way health care is paid for in the United States and using health IT as the foundation of a better health care system. “Five years from today, every doctor's office, clinic and hospital in America that accepts Medicaid and Medicare must be using prevention-oriented electronic health records,” Bloomberg said in a major address this week in Washington, D.C. EHRs are the key to having a health care system that works better and holds costs down, the mayor said. He said the current system places too much emphasis on curing the sick and gives too little emphasis to preventive care.
(February 13, 2007)
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Canadian e-health sector could use a booster shot
There's a host of opportunities for Canadian companies looking to serve the burgeoning electronic health record market, but insiders say serving the market is not going to be easy. A number of hospitals have already set up electronic record systems with patient information, and a national agency, Canada Health Infoway, has a mandate to create a unified e-health record by 2009. Despite this momentum, as well as the handful of programs to help fund the automation of doctors' offices in Canada, however, resistance to the idea still runs high.
(February 13, 2007)
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Medical chart might follow you to hospitals
Ideally, patients could go to any central Ohio hospital and, with a few taps on a keyboard, staff members could read their medical histories. Doctors and nurses could quickly find past surgeries, medications, recent X-rays, tests and any drug allergies the patients suffer — records kept in doctors’ offices, clinics and other hospitals. Having this information allows medical staff members to make better decisions about care and be more efficient by not repeating expensive tests. Systems that allow this access are called "regional health information organizations," and they are popping up nationwide. Officials from central Ohio’s four hospital systems are discussing how to create one here.
(February 12, 2007)
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Health System Starts Linking Patient Data
Baylor Health Care System has completed the initial phase of an effort to link fragmented data from its disparate systems to establish a 360-degree view of its patients. The Baylor project, started about a year and a half ago, is aimed at creating an enterprise view of data for patients treated at the Dallas-based health care provider’s 12 hospitals, said Scott Schoenvogel, assistant vice president of the revenue cycle. Baylor expects that the system will eventually be used as the foundation of a patient’s comprehensive electronic medical record.
(February 12, 2007)
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Clinical IT Solutions
Do healthcare professionals in your organization want laptop computers? Tablet PCs? Plain old desktop machines? Personal digital assistants? Sure. All can work just fine in clinical environments. "We want to be as device-independent as possible to give physicians a range of options," says Mary Kay Payne, president and chief information officer of Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, a 511-bed, not-for-profit facility in Newport Beach, Calif.
(February 12, 2007)
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Health Care's IT Revolution
In 2004, President Bush called for all Americans to have electronic health records (EHRs) by 2014. Since then, he has emphasized health-care information technology in some high-profile speeches, including the 2007 State of the Union address, as critical to making the U.S. health-care system more efficient, affordable, and safe. Other politicians and health care policy experts are also urging faster adoption of health-care IT, including EHRs. EHRs are electronic accounts of individuals' health history and treatments, which can be transmitted digitally among doctors, patients, and facilities. While not a new concept, EHRs are at the core of a growing push to adopt a national strategy for implementing health-care IT. The urgency is escalating as an aging population threatens to overburden the enormous U.S. health care budget.
(February 12, 2007)
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Henry Ford Health System Selects ROI Online from Medical Records Online
Medical Records Online (MRO), the market leader of in-house, Release of Information (ROI) solutions for healthcare providers, announced an agreement to provide ROI processing services to Henry Ford Health System. Under this agreement, the Detroit-based health system will incorporate MRO’s ROI technology with its existing electronic medical record system. The new workflow enables the organization to bring its ROI process in-house and partner with MRO to provide the back-office fulfillment functions.
(February 12, 2007)
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Health IT Will Drive Productivity, Save Money, Business Roundtable President Says
John Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable, in a discussion on PBS' "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," said that "the medical delivery system is the only part of our economy that hasn't benefited from the productivity improvements of information technology."
(February 9, 2007)
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Quality Work Group Readies IT Recommendations for HHS
An American Health Information Community quality work group is preparing to release recommendations to HHS and AHIC on how certified health IT should support the capture, compilation and reporting of data for a core set of ambulatory and inpatient quality measures.
(February 9, 2007)
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Perspective: On the heels of a successfully demonstrated NHIN prototype
An IBM-led consortium successfully demonstrated the exchange of healthcare information at the Third Nationwide Health Information Network Forum held Jan. 25-26, in Washington, D.C. Accenture, Northrop Grumman, and Computer Sciences Corp. led the other consortia in delivering a health information exchange (HIE) prototype. As the four consortia illustrated, there are multiple ways to implement an HIE architecture.
(February 9, 2007)
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I.T. Tracks Pay for Performance
Patient care at 260 hospitals participating in a pay-for-performance project is improving and those facilities are receiving additional compensation as a result, according to survey results from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CMS announced that it would award incentive payments of $8.7 million to 115 of the top-performing hospitals.
(February 9, 2007)
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Survey: Half of European Physicians Prefer Online Rx Info
Half of European physicians would prefer to receive drug information online, according to a survey by Manhattan Research. The survey found that 57% of physicians place primary importance on drug representatives as the major information source.
(February 9, 2007)
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Canadian City Launches First-of-its-Kind Health IT System
Calgary Health Region officials on Thursday announced that they have electronically connected patient information between the city's three major hospitals.
(February 8, 2007)
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Wyoming Hospital Aims for Seamless Care With Technology Transition
Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie, Wyo., is transitioning to an electronic health record system that will allow remote and seamless access to patient data for hospital staff and physicians.
(February 8, 2007)
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The Benefits of Electronic Medical Records Sound Good, but Privacy Could Become a Difficult Issue
The potential benefits of electronic medical records (EMRs) sounds appealing to most people, but when the issue of privacy is raised, many people become concerned about the potential for privacy abuses in EMR systems. However, most have read or heard nothing about EMRs, so public opinion is waiting to be formed. These are some of the findings of three different surveys, each of which contained some relevant questions on EMRs, which were conducted by Harris Interactive(R) in 2006 and 2005.
(February 8, 2007)
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Group Practice Automates Exam Rooms
HealthCare Partners Medical Group in Los Angeles has implemented hundreds of wall-mounted computer systems in examination rooms at 39 clinics. The group practice is using technology from EnovateIT LLC, Troy, Mich.
(February 8, 2007)
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Henry Schein Gets Superior Contract
Superior Medical Care Inc., a 19-clinican, four location group practice, will implement electronic medical records software from Henry Schein Medical Systems, Melville, N.Y.
(February 8, 2007)
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EMR Runs on Tablet PCs
Anesthesiology group practice Pinnacle Partners in Medicine will implement an electronic medical records system running on wireless Tablet PCs. The Dallas-based vendor has contracted for the Catalis Accelerator software of Catalis Inc., Austin, Texas. Contract terms were not disclosed. The practice includes more than 200 anesthesiologists and 140 nurse anesthetists working at more than 80 facilities.
(February 8, 2007)
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MMPC puts $35M toward electronic medical records
In committing to spend $35 million in the coming years to fully implement electronic medical records, Michigan Medical PC aims to make patient data readily accessible when needed. The new system MMPC is buying from Madison, Wisc.-based Epic Systems Inc. will significantly elevate the medical group's use of electronic medical records. It's the kind of major investment that MMPC and other health care providers, even after years of integrating information technology into their operations, are increasingly making to improve the management and flow of patient medical data as well as quality, safety and operating efficiency.
(February 8, 2007)
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Institute for Healthcare Improvement CEO Touts Benefits of IT
Dr. Donald Berwick, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, in an "Eye to Eye" segment on the CBS' "Evening News" Web site said hospitals are "19th century animals in the 21st century." He added that physicians and nurses work hard to provide quality care but that the "systems aren't there to support them."
(February 7, 2007)
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Retail-Based Clinics: Passing Fad or Here to Stay?
Retail-based clinics have been heralded by some as a must-have strategy to address the new healthcare consumerism movement, which demands fast and convenient service for minor medical care. Others wonder if this will be a passing fad like the urgent care centers of the 1980s and the primary care offices in shopping malls of the 1990s.
(February 7, 2007)
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Michigan physicians test benefits of Web-based visits
Seeking efficiency, cost-effectiveness and improved communication with patients, physicians in a Michigan health system have been testing a Web portal for virtual office visits. Henry Ford Health System, currently in the pilot phase of its use of MEDSEEK's eVisit tool, has launched the tool in the Henry Ford Medical Group practices in Harbortown, Novi, Southland, Lakeside and Troy.
(February 7, 2007)
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McKesson: Wiring the medical world
Fortune's Geoff Colvin sits down with the CEO and CIO of the health-care giant, who explain how information technology is finally ready to revolutionize the way we manage medicine.
(February 7, 2007)
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Only one-third of healthcare execs ready for P4P reporting
Results of a survey released Monday reveal that though most healthcare organizations are aware of the need to collect quality and performance measures, only 30 percent are ready for pay for performance reporting.
(February 7, 2007)
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Iowa Health Adopts Decision Support
Iowa Health System will implement clinical decision support software in its 22 hospitals. The delivery system will use the ZynxOrder software of Zynx Health, integrated with information systems from GE Healthcare.
(February 7, 2007)
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McKesson Closes $15 Million Deal
Baton Rouge (La.) General Medical Center will implement a range of software from San Francisco-based McKesson Corp. under a $15 million contract. The 448-bed community hospital will use the vendor’s Medication Safety Advantage bedside bar coding software, Meds Manager pharmacy information system, ROBOT-Rx dispensing system and Expert Orders decision support module. The hospital also will become McKesson’s largest user of its Care-Point mobile nursing cart, which holds a wireless PC, supplies, and medications and bar code scanner.
(February 7, 2007)
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A growing divide in healthcare IT
Electronic medical records and other IT upgrades are seen as a “silver bullet” in the health industry’s struggle against rising costs and quality problems, but high startup expenses are creating a growing divide between big industry players and small practices, said the keynote speaker of a healthcare IT conference hosted by the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium last week. Fewer than one in four doctors nationwide have begun using electronic health records (EHR), and most who are using electronic records have done only a partial implementation, said John Glaser, vice president and CIO of the Massachusetts hospital chain Partners HealthCare System.
(February 6, 2007)
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2008 budget would give booster shot to health IT
The Bush administration's budget calls for nearly doubling the budget of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and increasing health IT-related funding at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). ONCHIT’s budget would grow from $61 million this year to $118 million in fiscal 2008, according to budget documents released by the Department of Health and Human Services.
(February 6, 2007)
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Bush FY08 budget proposes $118 million to advance healthcare IT
President Bush yesterday requested that Congress approve $118 million for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The request came as part of the president’s $2.9 trillion fiscal year 2008 budget proposal, which calls for $700 billion for HHS and plans to balance the federal budget by 2012.
(February 6, 2007)
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Innovative technology will help improve health care for Toronto's homeless
Health professionals serving the homeless community in Toronto will be enabled to provide better health care thanks to innovative technology which gives them accurate, up-to-date information on their patients. An approximately $900,000 investment from Canada Health Infoway will make it possible to electronically link three care settings at the Sherbourne Health Centre: the Health Centre itself - a downtown Toronto clinic; the Health Centre's two mobile health buses that provide outreach medical services mostly to the homeless; and a 20-bed infirmary for people released from acute care who may not have adequate accommodations for a proper recovery (to be opened in early 2007). Through this investment, Sherbourne's existing Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system will be made available within the mobile health buses to allow nurses and caseworkers on the buses to use a notebook computer and wireless connections linked to the Health Centre's main server to create, update and access patient records.
(February 6, 2007)
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Few doctors are Web M.D.s
In a world where most people routinely e-mail friends, family and colleagues, and many exchange e-mail with teachers, newspaper columnists and even the pizza delivery guy, it's a weird fact: Most of us still don't have e-mail relationships with our doctors. For a decade, experts in medicine and technology have been saying that patient/doctor e-mailing was an obvious trend just waiting to explode. But studies show a very slow adoption of the practice: Just 8% of adults said they had received e-mail from their doctors in an online survey in 2005 by Harris Interactive for The Wall Street Journal Online.
(February 6, 2007)
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HIMSS Submits Comments to HHS RFI on Accelerating Health Care through HIT
HIMSS submitted comments regarding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Request for Information “Improving Health and Accelerating Personalized Health Care Through Health Information Technology and Genomic Information in Population- and Community-based Health Care Delivery Systems” posted in the Federal Register on November 1, 2006 [FR Doc. Vol 71, No. 211, pages 64282-64284]).
(February 6, 2007)
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The Magic Ingredient for E-Prescribing?
With its announcement that all U.S. physicians can access electronic prescribing technology for free, the National E-Prescribing Patient Safety Initiative has entered an ever-growing roster of e-prescribing projects. The pace of change in this space is gaining speed, though this initiative is particularly remarkable both for its list of health IT rock star sponsors and its $100 million price tag. Will this huge effort move the market that's been stuck at around 10% of prescribers on a slow-growth adoption curve?
(February 6, 2007)
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U.S. EHR market to approach $5 billion by 2015
The market for electronic health records in the United States is poised to grow at a rate of 13.5 percent over the next four years, and by 2015 it will top $4.85 billion, according to a new study from Kalorama Information. “The best type of market is one with a guaranteed pool of new customers, and that describes the EMR market in the U.S. ” said Bruce Carlson, associate publisher at Kalorama Information. “Budgeted IT spending by healthcare organizations in 2007 and 2008 will create a robust marketplace for both existing players in EMR and new entrants.”
(February 5, 2007)
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McKesson: Wiring the medical world
Fortune's Geoff Colvin sits down with the CEO and CIO of the health-care giant, and explain how information technology is finally ready to revolutionize the way we manage medicine.
(February 5, 2007)
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Grant to boost Medicaid information system
Kentucky will get nearly $5 million in federal money to help develop an electronic health network for people in the Medicaid system, the government health plan for those who are disabled or have low –incomes. State officials today announced Kentucky has been awarded a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services to help create the electronic or “E-Health” system for Medicaid.
(February 5, 2007)
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AAFP: Retail Clinics Need EMRs
Retail clinics popping up in drug and grocery stores, malls, and elsewhere should have an electronic medical records system that can gather and communicate patient information with a family physician’s office, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Ideally, the EMR would be compatible with the Continuity of Care Record standard for exchanging basic patient information.
(February 5, 2007)
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IT security crucial to site selection for healthcare services industry
Data security has emerged as a critical factor in the site selection process for information technology facilities in the healthcare industry, according to a recent report by an independent corporate location consultant. “Information security is the growth avenue of the corporate site selection field, particularly in the healthcare sector,” said John H. Boyd, president of The Boyd Company, the consulting firm in Princeton, N.J. , that produced the report, entitled Healthcare Services Industry: A Comparative Cost Analysis for Information Assurance Operations.
(February 2, 2007)
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Consumers critical to success of 2007 healthcare IT legislation
It seems a common theme in legislative activity surrounding healthcare information technology this year is the role of the consumer. If consumers buy into healthcare IT, there might be some hope of getting it off the ground, experts say. Michael Zamore, policy advisor for Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D – RI), said Kennedy plans to introduce by March a “slightly tweaked” version of H.R. 6289, the Personalized Health Information Act, introduced last year. According to Zamore, this bill focuses on providing incentives for building consumer interest and demand for PHRs as a launching point for overall interest in healthcare IT.
(February 2, 2007)
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GAO says HHS lacks strategy for ensuring HIT privacy
The Government Accountability Office warned in a report released Thursday that the Department of Health and Human Services may need a better plan to integrate its efforts to protect patient privacy when it comes to electronic health records. In the report, titled “2007 Health Information Technology: Early efforts initiated but comprehensive privacy approach needed for national strategy,” GAO acknowledged federal efforts to explore privacy issues, such as through the American Health Information Community, but said these efforts have yet to be coordinated under a definitive plan.
(February 2, 2007)
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Health Plans Join To Move Doctors To E-Prescriptions
Five of Florida's largest health plans have launched a joint effort to move the state's doctors from paper to electronic prescriptions. They say e-prescribing will reduce the risk of medication errors caused by undecipherable scribbling and will raise a red flag when a prescribed medicine would be harmful to the patient who has allergies or is taking conflicting medicine. It also will reduce costs for pharmacists, the plans say, because they waste a lot of time calling clinics to double-check written prescriptions. Physicians save time, too, they say, once they become proficient with the new technology.
(February 2, 2007)
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AvMed to offer PHRs in Florida
An electronic personal health record system aimed at helping patients better manage their healthcare needs will be unveiled in the spring to all AvMed Health Plans’ members throughout Florida. AvMed will offer the personal health record system, known as iHealth, to members this spring.

(February 1, 2007)
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Making molehills out of mountains
Regional health information organization that are fighting an uphill battle in their formation might do well to look toward the Appalachian Mountains for guidance. While concerns over funding, leadership, standardization and data sharing are tough obstacles for many RHIOs, participants from Pennsylvania’s Allegheny country to Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains and North and South Carolina’s Blue Ridge range all report having scaled the steepest part of the organizational process, though they have taken different trails to climb there. Specifics aside, frustrated coordinators should first consider the underlying principles that support a RHIO’s existence, said Robert “Rim” Cothren, Ph. D. , chief scientist for Northrop Grumman. The Los Angeles-based aerospace and information technology corporation has been integral in developing electronic health records for the U.S. Department of Defense as well as offering architecture prototypes for the Nationwide Health Information Network. “There isn’t a formula for organizing RHIOs at this point, but what gets overlooked is really understanding the long-term business model,” Cothren said. “A lot of failed projects will get money to build it, but then don’t have a sustainable business model in place. RHIOs aren’t just an academic exercise in information exchange – it is a business. Grant money is good for exploration, but without a good business model, it will live only until the grant money is gone.”

(February 1, 2007)
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Independence expands e-prescribing initiative
Independence Blue Cross has decided to expand its e-prescribing pilot project, adding another 350 physicians to the year-old program. “Since our e-prescribing pilot program, we have seen improvement in generic and formulary prescribing by the participating pioneer physicians,” said Dr. Steven Udvarhelyi, chief medical officer for Independence Blue Cross. IBC is the leading health insurer in Philadelphia, covering more than 2.6 million lives in the region and 3.4 million nationwide. According to Udvarhelyi, some 265 physicians have begun writing prescriptions electronically since the insurer instituted the pilot program. IBC chose Zix Corp. ’s Pocket-Script platform for the pilot project. The project enables participating IBC physicians, through a wireless handheld PDA, to write prescriptions and then send them immediately and electronically.
(February 1, 2007)
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Horizon sets sights on 'whole view' of patients
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey members have a new program to manage certain chronic medical conditions through a partnership between the health plan and Health Integrated. The personal health management program recognizes both behavior issues and emotional health, and integrates these areas with patients’ medical conditions to improve their quality of life.

(February 1, 2007)
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Researcher urges hospitals to couple IT with culture change
Information technology could prevent many medical errors that occur in hospitals today, says Linda H. Aiken, but without an accompanying change in staffing, training and culture changes, the promise of IT will not be fully realized. Aiken, a nurse with a Doctorate’s degree, is a professor of nursing and sociology and the director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania. “Introducing an expensive and sophisticated IT system into a poor care environment with inadequate nurse staffing will undermine the potential of information technology for quality improvement,” Aiken said in a Webcast last month presented by Siemens Medical Solutions.
(February 1, 2007)
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Davies Award winner is 'industry model'
When Daniel Griffin, MD, established his internal medicine practice in Fort Collins, Colo. , in 1999, he believed that electronic health records were the key to quality and efficiency in medical practice. Now, almost eight years later, Griffin’s practice – Alpenglow Medical – has been recognized for that early commitment with a 2006 Davies Award in the ambulatory care category from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. Griffin will receive his award on Feb. 27 at the HIMSS07 Annual Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans. “I think it’s nice that there is a program like the Davies Awards that encourages the adoption of EHRs,” said Griffin. “This kind of public recognition will promote information technology in the physician’s office and help to improve the quality of care.”
(February 1, 2007)
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Indiana University gives med students jump on mobile technology
Indiana University is bringing the “real world” into its medical classrooms through a new program that promotes the use of personal digital assistants for care-giving procedures. By taking advantage of discount pricing from the Vernon Hills, Ill.-based Computer Discount Warehouse, the Indiana University School of Medicine is enabling students to obtain and use mobile electronic tools that are increasingly becoming standard procedure in the healthcare profession. Indiana’s PDA program initially got a boost in 2003 from a new accreditation standard called ED2, which requires third year medical students to methodically track their clinical experiences, said Amy Hatfield, digital initiative librarian.
“During their rotation, students have to capture the types of patients seen, diagnoses, clinical procedures observed and all the different aspects of their clinical experiences,” she said. “It is a very difficult process to capture all this data using paper logs.”
(February 1, 2007)
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Calif. area begins RHIO work
East Kern County Integrated Technology Association, which calls itself EKCITA, announced earlier this month that it would move ahead with building a regional health information exchange. EKCITA is a public-private partnership formed by the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District, two rural health clinics and 14 private medical practices. The exchange is a federally funded project. EKCITA officials said they had selected Mendocino Informatics to help build the exchange. The goal of the EKCITA community-wide electronic medical records system is to improve quality of patient care and chronic disease management in the rural region of East Kern County.
(February 1, 2007)
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Hope Rides EHR Wave
It’s not often the words “information technology” and “hope” are uttered in the same breath. But “hope” is the word Frank G. Opelka, MD, summons to describe the rollout of electronic health record technology under way in New Orleans.
(February 1, 2007) <Back to top>
IT muscle at work in Harlem, Bronx
When Generations+ CIO Maricar Barrameda heads home after a long shift these days, it is with a sense of a job well done. Gone for the most part is the feeling of her “stomach bursting” – that ever-present tension over what could go wrong. Barrameda is part of the leadership, along with the clinicians and staff at Generations+, who are determined to excel at patient care, and information technology is integral to that effort. “Our goal is to be rated as the best,” she said. “We have reached that goal.” A team from Generations+ is ready to pick up a Davies Award of Excellence from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society on Feb. 27 in New Orleans.
(February 1, 2007)
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Wisconsin docs to get EHR grants
Gov. Jim Doyle will ask the Wisconsin state legislature to approve a $30 million program to encourage health care providers to install electronic health records systems. Doyle proposed a $20 million grant program to help nonprofit organizations transition from paper records to EHRs, which he said would reduce medical errors and improve quality. For-profit hospitals and physicians would be eligible for an additional $10 million in tax credits to help cover their costs. Doyle said the program is part of a five-year strategy to make Wisconsin the first state where patients’ medical histories are readily available at all hospitals and physician’s offices. He said a fully automated system would increase efficiency and allow physicians to make more informed decisions about treatment.
(February 1, 2007)
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Healthcare IT key to docs' reform tenets
Ten U.S. physician associations have joined together to release a list of principles intended to guide reform of the U.S. healthcare system. The physician groups say that they hope to provide guidance to national and state officials as healthcare reforms gather steam across the country. “The American people want the new Congress to be a healthcare-focused Congress,” said Douglas Henley, MD, executive vice president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “We hope that these principles help to push lawmakers in the direction of reform.” One of the 11 reform principles calls, in part, for sufficient funds to support a “comprehensive health information technology infrastructure and implementation.” Henley said that although the physician groups did not include concrete proposals in the list of principles, widespread adoption of healthcare IT is critical to the reform of the U.S. healthcare system and must be addressed.
(February 1, 2007)
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AAFP pilot shows e-visits gain favor with patients
Family physicians taking part in an e-visit demonstration program say they are seeing e-visits gaining favor with their patients. These are the first indications, and they are anecdotal, said James Martin, MD, board chairman for TransforMED, the umbrella program that includes the e-visit component. Martin, a family physician in San Antonio, said he had observed a growing interest in online visits in his own practice. The American Academy of Family Physicians’ e-visit pilot program that enables doctors to confer with their patients online has been under way in 36 practices for eight months. Physicians who are noticing its increasing popularity with their patients say it is mainly due to the convenience it offers. Though e-visits are not a big part of Family Practice Partners in Murfreesboro, Tenn. , Susan Andrews, MD, said she expects “continued growth” and has noticed that more patients have started to use it since the practice dropped the price of the consultation from $30 a visit to $25 a visit.
(February 1, 2007)
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Tennessee Network Shares Patient Data via PHRs
Information exchanges and personal health records are two recent health care I.T. developments that are generating a lot of buzz. In the state of Tennessee, a state-based payer is combining those technologies and offering them statewide to clinicians and residents. Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Shared Health recently hit a significant milestone when the public/private health information exchange announced it had a total of 2 million state residents enrolled in the initiative. The exchange is the brainchild of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, which developed a clinical health record-similar to a personal health record-and deployed the exchange via a Web portal.
(February 1, 2007)
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Payers Get Personal With Online Records
Many of the nation's biggest managed care companies, including United-Health Group, Wellpoint Inc. and large Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans, are pushing their members to use personal health records. Aetna Inc. has taken the extra step of purchasing a company that offers PHRs to its members and others. Meanwhile, some of the nation's largest self-insured employers, including Wal-Mart, Intel Corp., Pitney Bowes and BP America are pushing PHRs too. Why are these major players taking this step? Because they believe that giving consumers access to more information about their health care will help them stay healthier, ultimately reducing costs.
(February 1, 2007)
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Hospitals Giving the Gift of Technology
There's usually a huge disparity between the use of I.T. in hospitals and physician practices. But the Bush administration is betting that recent revisions to federal law will help change that. Last August, the Department of Health and Human Services published two final rules designed to ease restrictions on hospitals and other entities donating information technology to physicians and group practices. Hospitals and other organizations have long been loath to make I.T. donations, fearing such activity would violate federal anti-kickback statutes and the Stark Act governing physician referrals. The final rules published in August made specific and conditional exceptions to those laws to permit I.T. donations, while continuing to restrict the referring of patients to facilities in which the referring physician has a financial interest.
(February 1, 2007)
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UMass Adopts Ambulatory EMRs
UMass Memorial Healthcare will implement electronic medical records software for 800 employed physicians. The Worcester, Mass.-based delivery system also plans to offer the software to another 200 independent physicians who have privileges at its hospitals. The delivery system will use the TouchWorks software of Chicago-based Allscripts Inc.
(February 1, 2007)
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New York Hospitals To Boost Health IT Investment
Health Quest, the not-for-profit parent corporation for three New York hospitals, will receive a $5 million grant from the Dyson Foundation to expand and upgrade the IT at all three facilities.
(February 1, 2007)
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Intel Developing Health IT Tools To Help the Elderly Remain Independent
Intel and the Industrial Development Agency of Ireland are collaborating to develop devices to help elderly people remain independent.
(February 1, 2007)
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Economists Question Savings From Health IT
The widespread adoption of electronic prescriptions and electronic health records may actually increase costs for health providers, according to economists Robert Reischauer, president of the Urban Institute, and Eugene Steuerle, a senior fellow from the institute.
(February 1, 2007)
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Grant promotes use of electronic records
The state Department of Human Services has received a $3.18 million federal grant to develop an electronic health-care records system for rural clinics across the state. The two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be used to train community health clinics and independent doctors on how to use electronic health records, DHS announced Thursday. The grant specifically targets clinics that serve Native Hawaiians and those on Medicaid.
(February 1, 2007)
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Perspective: On the heels of a successfully demonstrated NHIN prototype
An IBM-led consortium successfully demonstrated the exchange of healthcare information at the Third Nationwide Health Information Network Forum held Jan. 25-26, in Washington, D.C. Accenture, Northrop Grumman, and Computer Sciences Corp. led the other consortia in delivering a health information exchange (HIE) prototype.
(February 1, 2007)
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Virginia RHIO Taking Baby Steps
William Moore, M.D., doesn't consider himself a techie. "I've dabbled with computers here and there, mostly while in hospitals to assist in making rounds," he says. But the 54-year-old family practice physician now is wired up through a subscription to MedVirginia, a regional health information organization based in Richmond. The network enables doctors to use a Web portal to check laboratory results, transmit referrals and share patient histories for free. For additional fees, practices can have the network integrated with their practice management systems. They also can pay to use online electronic prescribing software and an electronic charting application. "This system is 90% of an EMR to me," says Moore, a partner in Chickahominy Family Practice, a five-doctor group in Richmond. "It has great potential and I'm really excited about it."
(February 1, 2007)
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EHRs a costly choice for CHCs
Community health centers can gain significant quality benefits from the use of electronic health records, but these benefits do not cover the costs of going paperless, reports a study in the January/February issue of Health Affairs.
(February 1, 2007) <Back to top>
Health information technology improves patient care
Dr. Eugene Turner has his patients' information in the palm of his hands. Literally. Everyday, after he wakes up, he turns on his Palm Treo cell phone, logs into Ocala Regional Medical Center's electronic patient information system, and checks his patients' records. "More than once I've been contacted about a patient and through [the software] I can order tests before seeing the patient," said Turner, an anesthesiologist. "That to me, has the greatest advantage. I can start processing stuff before I see the patient."
(February 1, 2007)
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January 2007
Report Finds Problems with New Health IT Donation Rules
A new report released by First Consulting Group details recent exemptions to the Stark Act and anti-kickback regulations that allow hospitals and others to donate IT to physicians, and it also highlights remaining barriers and nine implications potential donors could face.
(January 31, 2007)
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National health net will need service providers
The concept of a health information service provider is emerging as a core element of a future Nationwide Health Information Network. The term kept coming up at last week’s NHIN Forum in Washington, D.C., and at the American Health Information Community session on the NHIN development work to date. Dr. John Loonsk, director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONCHIT) Office of Interoperability and Standards, said the new providers would supply infrastructure and technical services for NHIN operation. They would allow doctors, clinics and hospitals more time to concentrate on the information they are sending and receiving via the network, he said.
(January 31, 2007)
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Health care targets paper trail
Kaiser Permanente has spent more than $3 billion to create a national medical records database, making it one of the first health care providers in the region to go paperless. Dr. John Mattison, chief medical information officer, said all of Kaiser's 84 Southern California clinics will be able to check medical histories, lab results, progress notes and order prescriptions for 2 million patients with the push of a button by the end of the year. "This is the kind of investment that is going to transform how we deliver health care," Mattison said.
(January 31, 2007)
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Tennessee Extends E-Prescribing System To Rural Doctors
TennCare, Tennessee's Medicaid program, soon will provide rural physicians with access to an electronic prescription system that aims to reduce pharmacy costs, increase efficiency and improve patient safety.
(January 31, 2007)
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Survey: Consumers Have Concerns About Insurer-Provided PHRs
Just 7% of insured consumers use online personal health records being offered by an increasing number of health plans, according to a survey of insured U.S. consumers by Forrester Research. Twenty-two percent of respondents said that their insurer offers a PHR but that they have not used it, while 19% report that their insurer does not yet offer a PHR. However, 53% of respondents have never accessed their health plan's site, according to the survey.
(January 31, 2007)
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Tehachapi Selects Mendocino Informatics to Build Health Information Exchange
East Kern County Integrated
Technology Association (EKCITA), a federally funded technology project in
Tehachapi, California, has selected Mendocino Informatics to build a rural
health information exchange.
(January 31, 2007)
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PatientKeeper Replaces Incumbent Mobile Application Vendor at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center
PatientKeeper, Inc. today announced that Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), a community hospital in Bennington, Vt., has replaced its incumbent mobile application vendor with PatientKeeper. SVMC, a member of VHA -- a healthcare provider alliance of more than 2,400 not-for-profit health care organizations -- benefits from enhanced patient safety, better physician affinity, and significant time savings for its physicians through use of PatientKeepers physician information system. The PatientKeeper Mobile Clinical Results application enables providers to access patient information anytime, anywhere with PDAs and Smartphones.
(January 31, 2007)
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First Citywide EHR Network To Debut in Massachusetts
North Adams, Mass., in February plans to launch a citywide computer health network and become the first city in the U.S. where any physician and many nurses in the city can access the electronic health records from their offices, North Adams Regional Hospital or the visiting nurses association.
(January 30, 2007)
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Disruptive Innovation: The Acceptance and Adoption of New Technologies
Healthcare is in a crisis. Too many people are being injured or killed by medical errors and preventable adverse drug events. The Institute of Medicine reports that medical errors are the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, contributing to more than 98,000 deaths and one million injuries annually. The resulting toll on hospitals is also alarming: Liability costs for adverse events are estimated to be in the billions and are compounded by the loss of patient trust in the healthcare system and diminished staff satisfaction and low morale. That trust is extended beyond hospitals to physicians. Physicians, hospitals and health system chief executives believe that technology can help solve this problem. It is time for the U.S. healthcare industry to embrace 21st century technology to streamline operations, improve patient care and build a safer health system. However, there are two primary issues--funding and adoption--that must be addressed before advanced technologies such as electronic medical records, personal health records, electronic prescribing and telemedicine can enable physicians to deliver the enhanced care that will improve patient safety, patient compliance and deliver optimal outcomes. Due to razor-thin profit margins and ongoing budget constraints, only a few of today's healthcare providers can afford to make extensive investments in health information technology.
(January 30, 2007)
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Hope, challenges in computerizing medical records
This old textile city is about to become the first in the United States where residents have electronic medical records that in an instant can be viewed by any physician and many nurses in the community, from their offices, the local hospital, or the visiting nurses association. North Adams, a city of about 14,000 residents in the northern Berkshires, plans to turn on its computer health network next month. Similar networks of shared patient information are scheduled to go live in Brockton and Newburyport this summer, and doctors are working on a system for Boston as well as ways to link doctors and hospitals across the state.
(January 30, 2007)
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CCHIT certifies 18 additional EHR products; total now 55
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) announced Monday the certification of 18 additional electronic health record products for office-based physicians, bringing the total number of certified products to 55. CCHIT, the independent, nonprofit organization recognized by the federal government as an official certification body for electronic health record products, has so far certified a total of 55 ambulatory EHR products and estimates that 25 percent of the companies in the ambulatory EHR market are now certified, a statement from the organization said.
(January 30, 2007)
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Camden center gets records system grant
The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is scheduled to present a check for $270,000 today to the CamCare Health Corporation to help buy and implement an electronic health records system and to train staff in its use.
(January 30, 2007)
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Partnership Between State and Federal Efforts Needed to Transform Value-Driven Healthcare System
Effective partnerships between state and federal efforts in the years ahead will be critical to the success of national efforts for transformation to a value-driven healthcare system, according to a report released today by the Foundation of Research and Education (FORE) of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The report is an extension on the 2006 study on development of state-level health information exchange (HIE) initiatives, under contract to the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC).
(January 29, 2007)
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State switching to electronic med records
Connecticut will use a $5 million federal grant to start the long, complex and challenging task of converting paper medical records into electronic forms. The competitive grant was drawn from the $150 million Medicaid Transformation Act, intended to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of care rendered under Medicaid. In the initial round of grants, totaling $103 million, Connecticut received the sixth-largest sum from among the 27 states that applied. The funds are being used for a variety of projects. Connecticut plans to launch an electronic medical record system for 35,000 Medicaid recipients, whose medical expenses are already covered by the state. Eventually, all types of patients could be entered into the system.
(January 29, 2007)
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Wyoming Health Data Organization Takes on Regional Role
The Wyoming Health Information Organization is attempting to promote the use of electronic health record systems and connect them to a regional health data exchange network.
(January 29, 2007)
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Rapid learning through EHRs advances evidence-based medicine
Studies appearing last week in a special edition of Health Affairs show that electronic health records advance medical progress and aid doctors’ decision-making in real time. At a Jan. 26 briefing sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, experts and federal officials promoted the potential of a national deidentified patient database for advancing evidence-based medicine.
(January 29, 2007)
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Doctors, nurses warming up to digital devices
In many doctors' offices, and even in patients' homes, health care is stepping into the Information Age. Laptop and handheld computers are making it easier to record and retrieve information about patients' conditions. The Internet is putting up-to-the-minute data in the hands of health care providers. And high-tech devices are making it faster and simpler to order laboratory tests and have prescriptions filled. Nationwide, about one in four doctors is making some use of electronic health records, according to a study published in October by the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. But Julie Shroyer, a registered nurse with Excela Health Home Care and Hospice, has used a laptop computer with a special home health software package for about eight years.
(January 29, 2007)
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Hospitals get bonuses for quality of care
A demonstration project that Medicare officials describe as groundbreaking has improved the quality of patient care at participating hospitals, and according to hospital officials, saved the lives of 1,284 heart attack patients. The program, which gives hospitals incentives for complying with quality-of-care guidelines, will provide bonus Medicare payments totaling nearly $8.7 million to 115 of the 260 participating hospitals. It was the second year of the program and the bonuses.
(January 29, 2007)
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Eight companies compete for California HIE contract
The California Regional Health Information Organization (CalRHIO) will announce by mid-March which of eight would-be contractors it will hire to build and finance a statewide health information exchange service. The nonprofit, statewide organization issued a request for proposals in December 2006. CalRHIO announced today that the bidders are Accenture; Covisint; Computer Sciences Corp.; IBM, partnering with Axolotl; McKesson; Medicity; Sun Microsystems, and Wellogic.
(January 29, 2007)
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Big Three leaders sign on to federal health care standards
For the domestic automakers, supporting a set of national health care standards that aims to lower costs and improve the quality of health care won't solve all of their problems. But they say it represents several small steps in the right direction... By supporting the plan, the automakers pledged to provide quality and price information about doctors, hospitals and other medical providers for all employees in their health care insurance programs. The plan also calls on them to encourage the use of electronic medical records and develop incentives for those who buy or provide high-quality, competitively priced care.
(January 29, 2007)
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AHCCCS gets $12M grant to go electronic
Arizona's innovative Medicaid program based on a managed care model was awarded a $12 million federal grant to launch a Web-based electronic health records system. The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, which oversees more than 1 million Medicaid beneficiaries, will use the new electronic health records system to exchange health information between Medicaid physicians, hospitals and other health care providers. The $12 million grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which estimates that electronic health information sharing could save $140 billion nationwide by reducing duplicative care, administrative costs and errors.
(January 29, 2007)
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Vendor Notebook: Allscripts to deliver Wolters Kluwer Health content
Allscripts, a Chicago-based provider of clinical software, connectivity and information solutions to physicians, has announced a multi-year agreement with Wolters Kluwer Health. The Philadelphia-based provider of medical and drug information services will soon see its clinical content delivered to users of Allscripts Electronic Health Record solutions.
(January 29, 2007)
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Just e-prescribe it
With her 9-month-old daughter diagnosed with pneumonia, the last thing Michelle Bagley wanted to do was take her daughters to the pharmacy. But doctors throughout southeast Michigan are making prescriptions safer and easier to fill with a new program called e-prescribing. Backed by insurance companies and major employers in the area, physicians are now able to send their prescriptions electronically to the pharmacy.
(January 28, 2007)
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Doctors puzzled over Katrina patients - New system would share medical histories
Dr. Jay Brooks had to do an unusual kind of sleuthing before he could diagnose and treat the patients from New Orleans who washed into his Baton Rouge office after Hurricane Katrina. Their doctors back home had done the usual tests and blood work, but Brooks had to reconstruct what they found from the bag of prescription drugs the patients handed him... For Brooks, the chief of hematology-oncology at Ochsner Baton Rouge, the bewilderment that many Katrina evacuees showed about their medical conditions underscores the need to create a permanent, electronic medical record that doctors can view if patients find themselves displaced by a hurricane or otherwise in need of medical care far from home.
(January 28, 2007)
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HHS showcases electronic health exchange prototypes and business models
The Department of Health and Human Services came one step closer this week to developing a nationwide health information exchange network. At the Third Nationwide Health Information Network Forum held Jan. 25-26, in Washington, D.C. , four consortia of healthcare stakeholders provided demonstrations of health information exchange prototypes, developed through HHS funding over the past year.
(January 26, 2007)
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Governors roll up their sleeves to work on healthcare data exchange
Robert M. Kolodner, MD, the nation’s interim healthcare IT chief this morning told governors from across the country they would play a critical role in building a healthcare system for the nation. “At present time we have a healthcare sector, but it would be a real stretch to call it a healthcare system,” Kolodner said. There are pieces that don’t really work together, he said. The governors and other state and national leaders assembled here this morning for the inaugural meeting of the State Alliance for eHealth.
(January 26, 2007)
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Doyle Wants Conversion To Electronic Medical Records
Gov. Jim Doyle said on Thursday that he'll ask lawmakers to approve $30 million in funding to help health care providers convert to electronic medical record systems. He said he wants Wisconsin to be the first state in which a patient's medical history is electronically available at all hospitals and doctors' offices.
(January 26, 2007)
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Experts see need for federal financing of NHIN
At the close of a meeting today that brought together some of the nation’s most experienced and knowledgeable people to discuss financing of health information technology, the experts had more questions than answers on how to pay for the National Health Information Network. Representatives of the four contractor teams that have worked on NHIN development for the past year presented their analyses of how the network should be financed. Three said that within two to eight years, it could generate enough revenues to pay its own operating costs. But those forecasts were based on some assumptions and did not include the initial capital costs of building the network. A fourth contractor team, that Computer Sciences Corp. led, did not forecast a breakeven point because use of the network it advocates is free at the national level. Dr. Marc Overhage, president and chief executive officer of the Indiana Health Information Exchange, spoke for the CSC team.
(January 26, 2007)
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Researchers want comments on anti-fraud features for EHRs
Researchers working under contract for the Department of Health and Human Services are soliciting comments on ways to build anti-fraud and billing-error prevention features into electronic health records (EHRs) systems.
(January 26, 2007)
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JAMIA Study: EHR Adoption Requires Multi-Pronged Strategy
Health IT has been proven to improve efficiency, reduce medical errors and raise quality of care. So why is it, that even in a progressive state like Massachusetts, most small office practices still have not adopted electronic health records (EHRs)? "We have still a long way to go," admits Dr. Steven R. Simon, lead author of a statewide study published in the current Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA). The survey of 1,345 physicians, conducted last spring, showed that almost half of Massachusetts physicians use EHRs but only about one in four office practices have adopted the technology. Respondents identified start-up financial costs as barriers (84 percent), as well as concerns about loss of productivity (81 percent). Physicians also had concerns about technical factors, such as lack of computer skills and technical support.
(January 25, 2007) <Back to top>
21st-century health care in Pa.
You won't find a paper file there.
There's little chance of doctors' losing patient files. Records -- from X-rays to medication -- are electronic. Nor will it take several visits for diagnosis and treatment recommendation. Not there, not at Orthopedic & Spine Specialists in York Township. Instead, patients schedule one appointment where within a matter of hours, within one facility, they'll know what's wrong and how doctors might fix it, or not. "The electronic system is a tremendous cost savings and efficiency savings," said Sandra Eckard, chief operating officer of the York Township facility. "You never lose a chart." Electronic medical records and tele-radiology are high-tech medical stuff. Both are efficient, cost-effective and the wave of the future.
(January 25, 2007)
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NEWS RELEASE: States Get Federal Backing to Build More Efficient, High Quality Medicaid Systems
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today awarded $103 million to 27 states across the nation to fund implementation of new ways to improve Medicaid efficiency, economy and quality of care. ...the funds will support more widespread use of electronic health care records that can be accessed by whole treatment teams, a move within the medical community to improve quality of care and reduce the potential for medical errors.
(January 25, 2007)
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'Global Lifeguard' to be the first nationwide provider of personal health record access in Canada
Aristex Health Solutions Inc. announces the
launch of its flagship product, Global Lifeguard - an innovative new service that allows Canadians to conveniently access their secure medical records over the Internet. Global Lifeguard will be the first nationwide provider of personal health record access in Canada, offering members 24/7 access to their medical information from the comfort of their own home.
(January 25, 2007)
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State of the Union: Bush pushes IT to reduce healthcare costs
President Bush in his State of the Union address Tuesday night told Congress that healthcare information technology should be advanced to reduce costly medical errors, and he urged the use of healthcare IT to promote healthcare price transparency.
(January 24, 2007)
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President’s State of the Union Address is a Home Run for Harnessing Information Technology to Transform Healthcare
For the fourth year in a row, health information technology was specifically mentioned by President George W. Bush during his annual State of the Union Address.
(January 24, 2007)
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HHS releases progress report on federal healthcare IT goals
Since 2004, the United States has made strides toward automating its healthcare system, according to a report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services. The report details HHS accomplishments toward the goal of healthcare automation that President Bush first called for in his 2004 State of the Union Address, reiterated in his 2005 speech and again in the State of the Union Address Tuesday night.
(January 24, 2007)
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Central Florida RHIO Names InterSystems Vendor of Choice To Provide HealthShare Health Information Exchange Platform
InterSystems Corporation today announced that the Central Florida Regional Health Information Organization (CFRHIO) has selected InterSystems as vendor of choice (VOC) to enable its health information exchange initiative. InterSystems’ HealthShare will be the health information exchange platform for cross-organization exchange of clinical data throughout the RHIO.
(January 24, 2007)
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Vets can see EMR data
The Department of Veterans Affairs has begun populating veterans’ personal health records with live information from the electronic medical records (EMRs) that the department maintains in its Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture. Beginning with medications last month, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) will introduce new portions of the medical records every few weeks. By December, “most of the key portions of this information will be available to them electronically” in their MyHealtheVet records, said Ginger Price, director of the MyHealtheVet program.
(January 24, 2007)
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VA and DoD to launch integrated healthcare IT system
Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Nicholson today said the VA and the Department of Defense plan to launch an integrated healthcare information system capable of seamlessly transferring patient information between their two departments. “The new system will become a model for others to emulate and probably will have an immeasurable effect on the HIT community, both large and small,” Nicholson said at today’s meeting of the federal American Health Information Community.
(January 23, 2007)
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Survey: Most Texans Predict Positive Impact from E-Prescriptions
Nearly three out of four Texas residents believe that electronic prescriptions will have a positive impact on the health care they receive.
(January 23, 2007)
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Newt Gingrich on (Nearly) Everything
Newt Gingrich waited patiently for attendees to be seated and was, perhaps, forgetful of the large internet audience already listening in. He turned to a session organizer and said, "I think I want to do a totally different talk. They already get the big picture and vision stuff."... He championed the push for electronic health records (EHRs). Retaining paper means "you're willing to kill people," he said. Consider the Katrina aftermath.
(January 23, 2007)
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The National Medical Banking Institute: March 5 – 7, 2007
The 5th National Medical Banking Institute in Marietta, GA, March 5-7, 2007. This will offer a compelling view of the future of healthcare by inviting the banking industry into the national dialogue focused on improving healthcare.
(January 23, 2007)
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White Paper Executive Summary on EHR Implementation Across the Globe Now Available
Members of the HIMSS Global Enterprise Task Force, under the direction of Steve Arnold, MD, MBA, FHIMSS, have conducted extensive research to identify and describe significant healthcare information enterprise solution efforts being pursued in 19 countries.
(January 22, 2007)
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Dell-Zogby Poll Shows Texans Optimistic Information Technology Can Improve Health Care
Texans are optimistic about the potential of information technology to improve patient care, reduce costs and help transform the state’s overall health-care system, according to a statewide survey released today by Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and independent polling firm Zogby International.
(January 19, 2007)
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The Payoff: Online Tool Calculates ROI From Pay-for-Performance Program
Pay for performance has been a buzz topic in the health care industry, but so far there hasn't been a standard method of measuring the benefits of these programs. This week the Leapfrog Group, in partnership with HSM Group and Discern Consulting, took the first step toward measuring these outcomes by launching the ROI Estimator. The Web-based tool allows health care purchasers and health plans gauge potential financial and clinical benefits of a Leapfrog pay-for-performance program.
(January 19, 2007)
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Interoperability is health IT conference's focus
An average, midsize U.S. hospital operates about 200 interfaces between clinical systems. Every time a vendor significantly tweaks one of those systems, it can cost a hospital $20,000 per change or as much as $50,000 to adapt and manage that interface over the system’s lifetime. Eliminating such costs is the goal of the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) project, which held its annual Connectathon here last week. A technical jamboree of 350 engineers from 77 companies, the event featured teams feverishly debugging the workflow of their products between one or more of 150 clinical health applications.
(January 18, 2007)
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ONCHIT executive cautions against 'stifling' new players
Progress on developing a national health care “network of networks” is being hampered by exclusively regional network solutions, John Loonsk, a physician and director of interoperability at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT), said here recently. “Most efforts to achieve significant data sharing have not been successful,” said Loonsk, who spoke before the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise Connectathon meeting here last week. Although there has been “lots of progress in terms of commonality of architectures, unique regional solutions have impeded this market,” he said.
(January 18, 2007)
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More companies committed to Bush transparency plan
Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt announced Wednesday that 175 companies – up from 100 in December – have now pledged to abide by the president’s transparency plan for advancing value-driven healthcare in the U.S. The announcement came at a luncheon sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Partnership for Prevention, where Leavitt said that among the 175 companies are some of the largest firms in the country, representing purchasers of healthcare for 72 million Americans.
(January 18, 2007)
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Post Katrina Proposal is Rich in Health IT; Awaits HHS Approval
In the year since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, health IT has emerged as a key element in ambitious plans to rebuild and improve Louisiana's healthcare infrastructure. Although "we were hoping for Santa to give us an electronic health record, we looked under the tree and it wasn't there," quips Dr. Allan Miller, a physician stakeholder in the Louisiana Healthcare Redesign Collaborative, a 40-member state-appointed board. Health IT is a crucial component of a proposal drafted by the Collaborative that seeks to redesign healthcare delivery and financing in Katrina-affected parishes as well as the entire state.
(January 18, 2007) <Back to top>
Perspective: Helping communities organize one community at a time
Six months ago, Misys Healthcare Systems launched The Center for Community Health Leadership to drive development of health information exchanges by technologically connecting one community at a time. Yesterday, January 16, it awarded its first recipient−New Haven, Connecticut−with a $3 million grant to create a community-wide electronic health record network.
(January 17, 2007)
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ONC contractor seeks comments on EHR anti-fraud measures
A contractor to the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), will seek public comment until Jan. 22 on 60 proposed requirements for preventing fraud in electronic health records.
(January 17, 2007)
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Giving it Away: E-Prescribing Initiative Boasts Free Web-Based Technology
Paper prescriptions could soon be an antiquated memory, an obsolete reminder of less efficient, more error-ridden days of health care yore. At least that's the hope of the National ePrescribing Patient Safety Initiative, which on Tuesday launched a program that will provide electronic prescribing to every physician in the U.S. at no cost. E-prescribing for some time has been touted as a solution to errors from physicians' sloppy handwriting and adverse drug interactions. However, despite the potential of e-prescribing, adoption rates have remained low due to concerns ranging from cost to interoperability.
(January 17, 2007)
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Healthcare IT companies may be on GE's shopping list
GE Healthcare and Allscripts declined to comment on recent published reports that proceeds from the impending sale of Fairfield, Conn. -based General Electric’s plastics division might be used to buy healthcare technology companies.
(January 16, 2007)
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Survey: Increasing Health IT Should Be a Congressional Priority
Increasing the use of IT to improve the quality and safety of health care ranked as the third highest health care priority for Congress to address in the next five years, according to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund/Harris Interactive.
(January 16, 2007)
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Google Co-op for Health Gets Boost from PHR Expert Kibbe
A leading advocate of electronic medical records, personal health records, and other health-IT measures in ambulatory care has joined a small number of contributors to the experimental Google Co-op for Health online community who are working to refine the quality of Web searches for healthcare information. Last month, David C. Kibbe, senior advisor to and former director of the American Academy of Family Physicians'(AAFP) Center for Health Information Technology, became just the third individual to start tagging Web sites turned up in Google searches on health and medical topics.
(January 16, 2007) <Back to top>
Technology to put patient info all together
In the grand scheme of medical care, making sure that the people who most need flu shots actually get them may seem like a small thing... Right now the Vermont Department of Health has no way of knowing whether the people at the highest risk of succumbing to the flu – including those with chronic diseases – are getting immunized, Commissioner Sharon Moffatt said Wednesday as she unveiled the state's new Chronic Care Information System... If patients were aware of their vulnerability to influenza, they could get immunized early instead of waiting until January when the flu season is already under way, Moffatt said. The technology introduced last week to an audience of legislators and health professionals will allow doctors to keep track of such information, Moffatt said.
(January 14, 2007)
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What's Next: Trends Driving the Health IT Market in 2007
As 2007 approached, it became clear that some obvious factors would affect the health IT landscape over the next few years, most notably the new Congress and the shift to new Democratic majority leadership. Regardless of the recent political changes, some IT issues have slowly been gaining momentum in recent years, such as growing adoption rates of electronic health records and other technology, and they are poised to make an impact on the health IT market this year. James Brennan -- a managing director of health care and technology mergers and acquisitions with MidMarket Capital, an investment banking and business brokerage firm -- talked with iHealthBeat about trends in the health IT market and what factors are driving technology.
(January 12, 2007)
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Healthcare IT a key aspect of physicians' reform principles
Ten U.S. physician associations have joined together to release a list of principles intended to guide reform of the U.S. healthcare system. The physician groups say they hope to provide guidance to national and state officials as healthcare reforms gather steam across the country. “The American people want the new Congress to be a healthcare-focused Congress,” said Douglas Henley, MD, executive vice president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “We hope that these principles help to push lawmakers in the direction of reform.” One of the 11 reform principles calls, in part, for sufficient funds to support a “comprehensive health information technology infrastructure and implementation.”
(January 12, 2007)
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PHR certification a focus of AHIC workgroup meeting
Members of an advisory panel to the American Health Information Community engaged in a vigorous debate Wednesday over the timeliness of developing certification criteria for personal health records. “Certification of PHRs is premature,” Steve Shihadeh of Microsoft told his colleagues on AHIC’s Consumer Empowerment Workgroup. “The policy issues haven’t been hammered out sufficiently and certification is likely to stifle innovation.” Shihadeh was criticizing a draft recommendation that the committee was debating during its afternoon meeting in the nation’s capital.
(January 11, 2007)
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Coalition to offer free e-prescribing
A coalition of five technology vendors and three major insurers has formed an alliance to provide free electronic prescribing services for every physician in America. The National E-Prescribing Safety Initiative coalition includes Microsoft, Google, and Dell Computer. Other partners include SureScripts, the major e-prescribing company in the United States, and Allscripts, an electronic health records company.
(January 10, 2007)
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Quality movement gets boost from Congress
When the 110th Congress led by Democrats gets to work this week, it won't be starting from scratch on health information technology issues. Late last year, lame-duck lawmakers managed to squeeze a quality measurement incentive provision into a year-end package of tax, trade and healthcare legislation. Among other things, the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, signed by President Bush last December 20, requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to establish a physician quality reporting system and authorizes it to pay Medicare providers a 1.5 percent bonus if they report certain quality measures beginning on July 1, 2007. The legislation also enables CMS to develop quality reporting for Medicare hospital outpatient and ambulatory surgical center services.
(January 9, 2007)
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CDC awards $3.7 million to improve public health and healthcare information sharing for disease detection
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced $3.7 million in new grants designed to enhance healthcare information in an effort to improve the detection and response to emerging public health threats. The new grants will fund studies at three new Centers of Excellence in Public Health Informatics located at New York City Department of Health and Hygiene; the University of Utah, Salt Lake City; and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. “The goal of this funding will be identifying new tools and methods to enhance health information sharing and ultimately lead to the adoption of a nationwide, technology-based, integrated healthcare surveillance system. We hope we’ll be able to detect emerging public health threats earlier and more efficiently,” said Dr. Steve Solomon, director of the Coordinating Center for Health Information and Service at CDC.
(January 8, 2007)
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EHR Adoption Efforts Should Focus on Small Practices
Nearly half of all physicians in Massachusetts use electronic health records, but the majority of EHR adopters are concentrated in large, financially stable, multispecialty groups, according to a study published in the current Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. The statewide survey of 1,345 physicians, which was conducted in spring 2005, sought to assess where Massachusetts stands in terms of EHR adoption and to measure the factors that influence adoption. While the survey found that 45% of physicians use an EHR, only 23% of practices have adopted the technology. Practice size and EHR adoption were strongly related, as 52% of practices with seven or more physicians reported using an EHR, compared with just 14% of solo practices. Hospital-based practices and teaching practices also were more likely to use EHRs, the survey found.
(January 8, 2007)
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ID theft reaches medical realm - Stolen health care creates headaches, incorrect medical charts, empty wallets
Identity theft can be a nightmare. If somebody steals your credit card and makes purchases in your name, you may spend hours on the phone with banks and credit agencies trying to restore your financial reputation. But medical identity theft can be even worse. Victims lose more than just money; their very lives may be at stake.
(January 7, 2007)
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CCHIT releases proposed test scripts for 2007 certifications
Earlier this week, the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) released proposed test scripts and data test files for use in certifications for 2007. Sue Reber, spokeswoman for CCHIT, said the proposed ambulatory electronic health record test scripts will first be used during a pilot in January and when finalized should help vendors prepare for certification in 2007.
(January 5, 2007)
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MedLink Announces Agreement With Doshi Diagnostic of New Jersey to Supply MedLink EHR to Over 5,000 New Jersey Clinician Offices as PACS Delivery Method
MedLink International, Inc. (OTCBB: MLKNA) (FRANKFURT: WM6B) has entered into an Electronic Health Services Agreement with Doshi Diagnostic Imaging Services of New Jersey, LLC. Under the terms of the agreement, Doshi will utilize the MedLink VPN to deliver radiology reports and related DICOM images from its 6 radiology centers in the state of New Jersey to its more than 5,000 referring physician offices. The referring physicians will utilize the MedLink EHR to view current and past reports on their patients enabling them to generate a more accurate electronic health record of their patients.
(January 4, 2007)
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Computer theft may have exposed patient data across five states - Tens of thousands of people could be affected
The theft of a computer from the office of an Ohio-based health care contractor on Nov. 23 has exposed sensitive data belonging to tens of thousands of patients in five health care firms across five states. The compromised data includes the names, addresses, medical record numbers, diagnoses, treatment information and Social Security numbers of the patients.
(January 4, 2007)
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Greater Rochester RHIO Selects Axolotl For Health Information Exchange Solutions and Services
Greater Rochester Regional Health Information Organization (gRrhio), in New York, has selected Axolotl's e2 technology and professional services to realize their vision of a federated, patient-centric health information exchange. Using Axolotl's integrated Record Locator Service (RLS) and its community-wide Master Patient Index (MPI), providers throughout the community will have the ability to access medication history, laboratory reports, and radiology reports/eImaging via a secure web portal. Physicians in gRrhio's service area will also use Axolotl's integrated e-prescribing solution and secure clinical messaging to receive patient data from multiple hospitals, reference laboratories, and imaging centers. Data will be delivered to physicians' in a way that aligns with their needs and fits with their current workflow - directly to EMR's, to Axolotl's Elysium EMR or by fax.
(January 3, 2007) <Back to top>
Orthopedic Practice Signs Seven-Year Contract
Columbia Orthopaedic Group, a 24-physician orthopedic practice in Columbia, Mo., has selected InteGreat's IC-Chart® as its electronic health records (EHR) system and IC-MyHealthRecord® for its patient portal to enhance patient care and reduce overall costs.
(January 3, 2007) <Back to top>
Industry leaders identify movers and shakers to watch in 2007
Since President Bush mentioned the electronic medical record in his 2004 State of the Union Address, the concept of automating healthcare has become part of everyday talk. A concept that may have seemed abstract to many just three years ago seems complex, but doable today. It won’t be that simple or quick, of course, to transform a behemoth into a smart, new machine, industry insiders say. But, there are plenty of movers and shakers doing their part. Healthcare IT News asked a few of these leaders to identify who – besides themselves – would likely influence healthcare IT initiatives in 2007. Who is worth watching?
(January 3, 2007)
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Lockheed Martin Canada Selects InterSystems Ensemble For Integration Backbone Of Canadian Forces Health Information Systems Project
InterSystems Corporation today announced that Lockheed Martin Canada has selected InterSystems’ Ensemble integration software for the Canadian Forces Health Information System (CFHIS). The CFHIS program, awarded to Lockheed Martin in 2002, is a 10-year $54.5M CDN effort designed to enable more than 2,500 Canadian Forces (CF) healthcare providers located in clinics across Canada to share information securely and coordinate care for approximately 85,000 regular and reserve force personnel worldwide.
(January 2, 2007)
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VA To Link Genetic Data with EHRs
The Department of Veterans Affairs has begun a pilot project to collect genetic information from patients and link the data to patients' electronic health records to determine connections between certain diseases and genes.
(January 2, 2007)
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Ohio Pilot Program To Encourage E-Prescriptions
An Ohio employer group this month is launching a pilot program to encourage more physicians in the Akron-Canton area to adopt electronic prescriptions in an effort to reduce medication transcription errors.
(January 2, 2007)
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Secretary Leavitt inaugurates value-drive healthcare plan
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt launched yet another part of the Bush administration’s value-driven healthcare plan to expand transparency in cost and quality of care to consumers. At a meeting of Pacific Northwest business and healthcare leaders, Leavitt announced that the non-profit Puget Sound Health Alliance will be the first in a national network of local organizations to have access to Medicare data for reporting care and cost outcomes to the public.
(January 1, 2007)
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IT seen as critical to patient-centered care
The federal government and other healthcare stakeholders are increasingly interested in “patient-centered care” as a measure of quality of care. The two go hand-in-hand, industry and government leaders say. At a recent Washington D.C. briefing by the Commonwealth Fund and the Alliance for Health Reform, Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis said healthcare information technology is at the top of the list for driving patient-centered care.
(January 1, 2007)
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Readers expect boost in IT adoption over next five years
The results of the Commonwealth Fund 2006 International Health Policy Survey released recently revealed that the United States is well behind the rest of the industrial world in IT implementation. More than 75 percent of readers who responded to last month’s Healthcare IT News poll said they expected U.S. hospitals would increase their use of healthcare IT technology and surpass some of the countries that are ahead of the United States in healthcare IT technology adoption.
(January 1, 2007)
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New Congress, fresh IT start?
All over Washington, the buzz is healthcare. It didn’t have much to do with the November toppling of the Republicans in Congress—those votes were derived from disillusionment in other areas... “Value-driven healthcare” is the bottom line for the administration’s plans, and it rests firmly on the back of healthcare IT advancement. If you can’t have doctors wired up, you can’t measure their performance and you can’t give them incentives and get this ball rolling. The problem is, who is going to pay for doctors to have the needed technology? That’s the crux of most of the disputes in Washington over healthcare IT.
(January 1, 2007)
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Search is on for national deputy healthcare IT chief
The Department of Health and Human Services has begun searching for a deputy national coordinator to fill the interim position held by Col. Victor Eilenfield. According to inside sources, the search has no real bearing on how long Interim National Coordinator Robert Kolodner, MD, will hold his position as the federal healthcare IT czar.
(January 1, 2007)
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Third NHIN forum to feature demonstrations
The four consortia charged with developing prototypes for a national health information network will offer demonstrations at the third government-sponsored NHIN forum. Jan 25-26 at the Grand Hyatt Washington.
(January 1, 2007)
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Personal Health Records: Employers Proceed with Caution
With health care spending on the rise, employers are increasingly at the forefront of shaping solutions to promote employee wellness. Some are beginning to offer personal health records (PHRs) as a tool to improve health and manage costs.
(January 1, 2007)
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Physicians gear up for quality reporting program
Physicians who originally had feared a fee cut from the nation’s Medicare program can now look forward to a 1.5 percent raise – if they agree to report on the quality of care given some of their patients... What is known is that doctors will qualify for a 1.5 percent bonus, beginning in July, if they report on a list of 16 “evidence-based” measures, such as drugs prescribed to patients with cholesterol, treatment of high blood pressure issues in diabetic patients or treatment of elderly patients after falls. The boost would only apply to Medicare payments between July and December of this year.
(January 1, 2007)
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