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Electronic Health Records News & Views Archives
July 2006 - December 2006
(in reverse chronological order)
(See menu on left for EHR Notable Quotes and latest News & Views)

December 2006
Healthcare IT chief post remains uncertain as search begins for deputy
The Department of Health and Human Services announced last week its search for a deputy national coordinator to fill the existing interim position held by Col. Victor Eilenfield. Meanwhile, how long the nation’s interim healthcare IT czar will remain on the job remains uncertain. According to inside sources, the search for this position has no real bearing on how long Interim National Coordinator Robert Kolodner, MD, will hold his position as the federal healthcare IT czar.
(December 28, 2006)
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New Push for PHRs by AHIP and BCBSA Seeks to Spur Developer and Clinician Communities
At a time when Nike's new Air Zoom shoes send fitness data to a runner's iPod Nano, the announcement last week that health insurers would create a portable, Web-based personal health record (PHR) seems hardly revolutionary. In fact, speakers from the America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) at a press conference in Washington, D.C. used a great variety of terms whose meaning boiled down to "first step." Still, the real significance of the announcement was to spur the software industry to begin cranking out applications which could be used by consumers to maximize the value of these PHRs, and to convince physicians and hospitals to make a long-delayed start at ramping up the office-based electronic health records systems which will be the prime beneficiary of PHRs in the era of real-time medicine.
(December 28, 2006)
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Manhattan Medical Group Opts to Outsource IT... for Now
Healthcare providers have traditionally been cautious adopters of IT outsourcing, but the practice is accelerating, with many hospitals today looking to outsource all or a significant portion of their IT operations, says Mark Voytek, an industry analyst with TPI, a Houston-based sourcing advisory company. TPI's quarterly report on the state of the global outsourcing industry, released this fall, showed the momentum of healthcare outsourcing activity accelerating this year, with " huge growth expected in 2007," says Voytek. As many medical groups suffer the growing pains of mergers, acquisitions or divestitures, the ability of outsourcers to deliver services rapidly on a flexible scale is particularly valuable.
(December 28, 2006)
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Sun’s Healthcare Mantra: Reduce Cost and Complexity
Sun Microsystems director of Healthcare and Life Sciences, Joerg Schwarz, talks about the need to change financial incentives to spur Health IT adoption, describes mistakes made by the giant U.K. health-IT initiative, outlines Sun's healthcare strategy, and provides an assessment of Sun's performance in the race by global IT giants to help improve healthcare and create new markets for themselves.
(December 27, 2006)
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Realizing the Vision for IT in Healthcare
"There's a very fundamental and serious flaw in the infrastructure of medicine," Lawrence L. Weed, M.D., said to close the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's 18th annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care. "You couldn't design a better system to create errors in medicine."
(December 27, 2006)
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Health systems stride away from paper records
The region's two largest health systems are headed into a paperless future, one they vow holds remarkable convenience for patients and new efficiencies for doctors and nurses. Avera Health and Sioux Valley Health System have had elements of electronic record-keeping in place for years, but both organizations are driving major initiatives to better connect their systems of hospitals, clinics and offices through fully electronic patient records. "I feel like we've gone from one century to another ... just with this first phase," said Jan Burnette, director of Sioux Valley Hospital's cardiovascular unit. Electronic medical records mean convenience for patients, such as computers in exam rooms so you don't have to fill out paper forms; having a doctor send your prescription electronically to the drug store of your choice so it's ready to pick up after you leave the clinic; or spending less time waiting before surgery because the doctor already has your vital information.
(December 26, 2006)
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Hospitals to implement health information exchange system
Anyone who has had an encounter with a hospital knows the drill. You register. You fill out a questionnaire attached to a clipboard asking you to list all the medications you are taking. A nurse then asks the same questions. Later, two or three nurses in other departments take down the information and then a doctor reviews it with you. By the end of February, Vermonters who use the Rutland or St. Johnsbury hospitals will be able to eliminate that drill by taking advantage of new information-sharing capabilities between distant computers. A health information exchange system being implemented by Vermont Information Technology Leaders will allow emergency room doctors at Rutland Regional Medical Center and Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital to access patients' prescription records – with their permission – and within seconds get an accurate printout of their patients' medication history. Eventually, the medication history service will be available in emergency departments statewide.
(December 24, 2006)
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Guest Opinion: Secure, paperless medical records needed
We have all been through this scenario: A new doctor's visit means you also get new patient forms to detail your entire health history. A trip to a specialist has you responsible for your records and X-rays being sent in time. It is frustrating, and it is outdated. Imagine instead an electronic and secure way for doctors to better care for you - a secure paperless system that saves time, money and even lives. Electronic health records can provide your entire medical profile to any doctor you visit, drastically speed the process to receive lab and radiology results and help doctors treat you more with more timeliness and accuracy. The good news is that Arizona is moving in that direction.
(December 21, 2006)
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Bush plan to advance healthcare IT makes progress
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt announced today that more than 100 companies have signed up to participate in the Administration’s plan to advance healthcare through the use of information technology.
(December 20, 2006)
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Massachusetts Blues Enhances Its E-Prescribing Program
Boston-based Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) has decided to use Premium Payor Services from Zix Corp. (ZixCorp). ZixCorp's Premium Payor Services provide access to future value-added services and deliver enhanced reporting for both payors and providers, aiding in analysis for incentive program initiatives... BCBSMA, Tufts Health Plan and Neighborhood Health Plan are members of the eRx Collaborative. The plans formed the Collaborative in 2003 to jumpstart the use of comprehensive e-prescribing technology in Massachusetts.
(December 20, 2006)
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CMS to entice more doctors to volunteer for P4P plan
The federal government continues to seek an ideal incentive that will prompt doctors to voluntarily participate in its pay-for-performance programs.
(December 20, 2006)
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Leavitt: Companies endorse health IT goal for employees
Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt is declaring an initial victory in his campaign to enlist large employers in a push for health IT and other elements of what he calls value-driven health care.
(December 20, 2006)
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U.K.: Sharing e-health info requires patient consent
Sharing medical information in electronic health records in England will require explicit patient consent, the United Kingdom Department of Health (DOH) said earlier this week.
(December 20, 2006)
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Government to fund nearly $26 million in ambulatory IT projects
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has launched the Ambulatory Safety and Quality Grant Initiative, with a potential for granting as much as $25.8 million for healthcare IT projects. Deadline for providing the agency with letters of intent is Jan. 19. The opportunity to turn the potential of healthcare IT towards improving safety and quality in the ambulatory care setting, especially within care transitions, will form the cornerstone of the new program, AHRQ officials said. The initiative will provide up to 104 grants in four program areas: ...
(December 19, 2006)
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SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT: Brailer Reflects on Health IT in 2007
States in 2007 will work to "create a more fertile environment" for health IT, former National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. David Brailer said in an interview for an iHealthBeat special audio report. In addition, Brailer said he hopes that Congress will take "a fresh look" at health IT legislation, which failed to pass in 2006, because new bills would "be fundamentally different than something from two years ago." It also would be "much more specific, much more anticipating the real issues, which are mostly policy barriers." Specifically, Brailer anticipates policy changes in the areas of incentives for health IT adoption and privacy and security of health records.
(December 19, 2006)
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IHI Issues Challenge: Prevent 5 Million Harmful Events in Next 24 Months
IT likely can play a central role in delivering evidence-based medicine for congestive heart failure (CHF) and reducing incorrect dosing of medications with high rates of side effects, two of the six recommended interventions in a new program aimed at preventing millions of in-hospital errors. Additionally, some believe that technology will be important in measuring and sustaining progress in all facets of the campaign. Internationally known patient-safety advocate Donald M. Berwick, M.D., president and chief executive of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Cambridge, Mass., on Tuesday issued a daunting challenge to U.S. hospitals: prevent 5 million harmful events over the next 24 months with six specific courses of action: ...
(December 19, 2006) <Back to top>
HL7 to Adopt and Maintain ELINCS Lab Standard
In a step forward for broader adoption of electronic health records, Health Level Seven (HL7) will begin a process to adopt and maintain the EHR-Lab Interoperability and Connectivity Specification (ELINCS), according to the California HealthCare Foundation, which funded ELINCS development. ELINCS is a data format that enables standardized lab results reporting between clinical laboratories and clinician office EHR systems. In addition to having a permanent home within HL7, ELINCS will be part of the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise's (IHE) Connectathon in Chicago (January 15-19, 2007).
(December 19, 2006)
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It's about people, not just technology
There are many reasons the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) in the NHS matters. One is that, at £12.4bn, it is costing about £2bn more than the total build cost for the Channel Tunnel. Another is that it could improve the treatment of patients. If it works, the NPfIT will, for example, replace paper medical records that can only be in one place at a time, with an electronic file that can be accessed by hospital doctors across England. And an electronic medical record is less likely to go missing than a paper record. But the national program also matters because it has the potential to undermine patient care.
(December 19, 2006)
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NJHA and Horizon Team Up to Study RHIO Feasibility
NJHA and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield have launched an exploratory effort to study the feasibility of creating a regional health information organization – or RHIO – in New Jersey. A RHIO is a central repository of electronic health and medical records, a cornerstone of a region’s effort to move toward electronic records. Since the Bush Administration first announced its plan to connect healthcare information throughout the continuum of care, many states across the nation have already formed RHIOs. But to date, no such efforts have emerged in New Jersey. To fully understand the potential and associated requirements of a Garden State RHIO, NJHA and Horizon have teamed up to commission a comprehensive business plan and feasibility study. Over the next two to three months Kurt Salmon Associates, a nationally known health information technology consulting firm, will meet with major New Jersey healthcare stakeholders to study the benefits and viability of a New Jersey RHIO.
(December 18, 2006)
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National Changing Diabetes(SM)Program Introduces DiabetesXChange.org
On the heels of National Diabetes Month, the National Changing Diabetes(SM) Program unveiled DiabetesXChange.org, a promising new Web site that will serve as a central online national clearinghouse for groundbreaking initiatives in diabetes care, prevention and management in the United States. The Web site is the premier site for the diabetes community to share information and learn about the growing number of successful diabetes programs -- from small community-based initiatives to large government projects and corporate wellness programs.
(December 18, 2006)
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Washington State unveils health data exchange map
In developing a statewide health information infrastructure, Washington State Health Care Authority didn’t have to start from scratch or rely on other state health information exchange models. “We have a lot of infrastructure already in place,” said HCA’s Richard Onizuka, the lead author of “Washington State Health Care Authority Health Information Infrastructure: Final Report and Roadmap for State Action.” Washington has two well-regarded and established HIEs: Whatcom County Health Information Network in Bellingham connects community health services, payers, hospitals and physician offices via an Intranet, and Inland Northwest Health Services connects Spokane-area hospitals and regional medical services.
(December 18, 2006)
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Electronic records should have industry standard
We have all been through this scenario: a new doctor's visit means you also get new patient forms to fill out to detail your entire health history. A trip to a new specialist means that you are responsible for tracking down your records and sending them in on time. With the current outdated paper-based health care records system, millions of Floridians are receiving treatment from multiple doctors without efficient coordination of care. As a rapidly growing state prone to natural disasters, it is critical that our health care systems are heading in the right direction using the right technology. Currently, the South Florida Health Initiative is one way local hospitals are learning to connect. The goal is to have electronic health records that securely show your entire medical profile to any doctor you visit, drastically speed-up the process to receive lab and radiology results and help doctors treat you more promptly and accurately.
(December 18, 2006)
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Paperless records system more efficient
A paperless medical records system, one that can be shared among hospitals and health care providers locally and nationwide, will save lives and dollars while reducing medical errors and bureaucratic inefficiencies, local and state health care leaders say. Premier Health Partners' new $50 million medical records system, launched at Miami Valley Hospital in October, promises to do just that, said Mikki Clancy, Premier's chief information officer
(December 16, 2006)
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Securing Patient Information Starts with the Information Itself
In 2005, 23 million Americans were notified that their personal information had been compromised in a data security breach of a corporate, non-profit, or government database. According to a Ponemon Institute study, personal details including their birth dates, Social Security numbers, or credit card information had been leaked, stolen, or lost. That figure represents almost one in every 10 Americans, and it continues to grow with additional data records losses reported throughout 2006. Successful healthcare organizations need to execute simultaneously on sustained revenue growth, continuous cost control, and comprehensive risk management. Driven by a significant rise in public awareness of information security breaches, the discipline of risk management is under increased pressure to better protect patient information assets. Healthcare organizations realize that they must take steps to better ensure the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of electronic health information.
(December 15, 2006) <Back to top>
Healthcare IT legislation possible in 2007, lawmakers say
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that healthcare IT is near the top of the long list of healthcare agenda items for the 110th Congress, which began work on Jan. 4. Passing a healthcare IT bill is possible in 2007, according to Rep. Phil Gingrey (R–Ga.). “It’s something that has the potential for consensus, with give and take on both sides, in the 110th Congress,” Gingrey said. “I think this is something we can get done – we’re not that far apart.”
(December 14, 2006)
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Projects selected for PHR pilot
Nine research groups have been selected to roll out personal health records projects under a $4.4 million effort spearheaded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
(December 14, 2006)
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Prognosis good for health IT law in 2007, Hill staffers say
Health information technology legislation is high on the list of legislative priorities for the new Democratic leaders of Congress, according to three veteran Capitol Hill staff members. Rapid action on health IT is unlikely because new hearings will be necessary, at least in the House, said Bridgett Taylor, a health specialist for the Democratic staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “There was not a lot of open process on the health IT legislation this year,” she said.
(December 14, 2006)
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States, health IT belong together, health association says
State governments should be more involved in health information exchanges in their states and in federal programs to foster health information technology, leaders of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) told a Department of Health and Human Services advisory commission.
(December 13, 2006)
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Insurance industry reps reveal PHR plan
Health insurance industry representatives announced Wednesday a web-based model for personal health records (PHRs) that they claim would incorporate core health data elements, maintain privacy, and enable patients to view and manage their health information.
(December 13, 2006)
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Coalition will work to digitize medical records
A new planning group hopes to build an electronic information highway that will link Central New York doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and insurers. The Health Advancement Collaborative of Central New York sees the proposed community-wide electronic medical records system as a tool with potential to improve health-care quality and simultaneously control costs, according to Nancy Smith, executive director of the group.
(December 13, 2006)
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Discord on standards harmonization
A bit of discord remains a part of the federal effort to harmonize health information technology standards, while a previously announced government effort to adapt the proposed national health record system to use a patient's genetic test results came into sharper focus during a government IT advisory panel heard Tuesday. The American Health Information Community received a formal report on state health information exchanges during an online and telephone-linked meeting, including an observation that "standards harmonized today (are) not always the ones most urgently needed," according to a presentation by Donald Mon, vice president of practice leadership at the Chicago-based American Health Information Management Association, a professional organization for health information workers.
(December 13, 2006)
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Study: practice structure, not EMR, prompts quality improvement
A recent study showing integrated medical groups (IMGs) provide better quality of care than independent practice associations (IPAs) also suggested that the use of electronic medical records and quality improvement strategies by IMGs did not explain the difference in quality. The study, published last week in Annals of Internal Medicine, attributed the difference in health care quality to structural differences between the two types of provider organization.
(December 12, 2006)
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Q&A: U.S. health IT exec details 'trial' nationwide networks
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that it will support trial projects that could lead to an operating nationwide health information network (NHIN). John Loonsk, director for interoperability and standards in HHS's Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, recently talked about how the trials will work and how HHS will, for the first time, work directly with local and state health information exchange groups to build an NHIN. Excerpts from the conversation follow: ...
(December 12, 2006)
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80% Bronx Providers To Share Patients' E-Medical Records
To help improve the quality and efficiency of care for the 1.4 million people in the Bronx, healthcare providers throughout the borough have agreed to work together to create a system for electronic patient records and clinical information that will have built-in safeguards to protect individual patient information. The new Bronx Regional Health Information Organization (Bronx RHIO) is being established through a $4.1 -million New York State grant, and its members include institutions with some of the nation’s most highly advanced electronic clinical information systems. The Bronx RHIO already encompasses 80 percent of the Bronx’s healthcare providers, 50 percent of the borough’s practicing physicians and two-thirds of all Bronx inpatient care. The Bronx RHIO differs from other RHIOs nationwide, because its members represent the entire spectrum of healthcare institutions in a single geographic area. Most RHIOs are forming exclusively among hospitals or physician groups or other like-institutions, without broad-based integration. Barbara Radin, formerly the executive director of Metro Plus Health Plan, will serve as executive director of the Bronx RHIO.
(December 11, 2006)
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New state health board takes shape
Gov. Rick Perry has appointed 15 people to create a health partnership between the public and private sectors that will work on medical records and health insurance. The Texas Health Care System Integrity Authority, which Perry announced in October, aims to create an electronic medical records system, help consumers comparison shop for health care and give small employers more health insurance choices. The Texas Health Care System Integrity Partnership will serve as an advisory group for that authority.
(December 11, 2006)
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Industry survey will begin expansion of CCHIT certification process
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology has announced the release of a survey to help determine what specialties, populations or settings will be included in its expanded criteria within the next two years.
(December 11, 2007)
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RHIOs will lead next phase of NHIN program
The Department of Health and Human Services expects state and regional health information exchanges (RHIOs) to play a larger role in the next phase of the development of a Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN), an official said today. Dr. John Loonsk, director of the Office of Interoperability and Standards in HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONCHIT), said RHIOs and state-level exchanges will play leadership roles in what his office has labeled the trial implementation phase of the NHIN program.
(December 11, 2006)
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Life-or-death data
Your medical records can save your life, or they can almost kill you. So the prospect of making them more easily accessible is at once comforting and scary — and a new effort to convert them into digital form will raise the stakes on both counts. It's not hard to understand why. Suppose you're on vacation and become so ill you have to go to the hospital. Without your medical records, you could be given a drug that interacts badly with one you're already taking. Now imagine the same scenario, only this time you have access to all your medical and insurance records electronically. The physician examines them and gives you an appropriate drug. You recover nicely.
(December 11, 2006)
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Why The Wait For Electronic Medical Records
I spoke this week to the articulate and knowledgeable Dr. Lynn Harold Vogel, CIO of the University of Texas' MD Anderson Cancer Center, about all the reasons why Americans don't have electronic medical records today, what the best e-health record initiatives out there today are, and how his hospital is building its own electronic records system and working to improve the way it treats cancer.
(December 9, 2006)
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HHS to fund trial NHINs in 2007
Interim National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Dr. Robert Kolodner has announced his office will support trial implementations for the Nationwide Health Information Network in the coming year. “The trial implementations are a critical next step to move America closer to realizing an interoperable Nationwide Health Information Network,” Kolodner said in a press release issued Friday. “By bringing together the significant expertise and work achieved this year by the current efforts with state and local health information exchanges, we can begin to construct the ‘network of networks’ that will form the basis of the Nationwide Health Information Network. ”
(December 8, 2006)
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Five major employers announce personal health record initiative
Citing runaway healthcare costs and its negative impact on the ability to compete globally, five major companies have banded together to offer their employees a portable, private, life-long personal health record. “It’s time for a systemic transformation, and U.S. employers must lead,” said Craig Barrett, chairman of Intel Corp. , of the initiative. Intel, Wal-Mart, Pitney Bowes, British Petroleum America Inc. and Applied Materials will finance and roll out portable, private, lifetime personal health records to approximately 2.5 million employees, their families and retirees by mid next year.
(December 8, 2006)
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Health care technology summit set for January
Kentucky's efforts to develop e-Health, a computerized medical information network, will be the subject of a summit in Louisville on Jan. 19. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Kentucky e-Health Network Board will sponsor the event, which aims to draw stakeholders in the state's health care, business, technology, policy and academic communities. It will be held at the Louisville Marriott Downtown. The goal of the summit is to discuss Kentucky's progress, opportunities and challenges in developing and implementing e-Health, a technology that state leaders say will improve patient privacy, reduce medical errors and lower administrative costs.
(December 8, 2006)
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Dr. Clifton Lacy to Leave as President of RWJUH to Direct Institute for Disaster and Terror Medicine
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Health System President and CEO Clifton R. Lacy, M.D., today announced that he will leave the hospital and health system leadership to focus full time on developing and directing a new Institute for Disaster and Terror Medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
(December 7, 2006) <Back to top>
Study claims Americans believe PHRs will improve healthcare
Americans believe that electronic personal health records are likely to increase the quality of healthcare, according to a study released today by the Markle Foundation. The study, conducted by the Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint, surveyed 1,003 Americans nationwide, November 11–15, on their opinions of healthcare information technology, privacy issues, and the role government should play in healthcare IT advancement.
(December 7, 2006)
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New Information Standards to Help Eliminate Doctor’s Office Clipboard
CAQH announced today that U.S. healthcare providers are now one step closer to eliminating their office insurance clipboards. According to the nonprofit healthcare alliance, administrative data communication rules created by its Committee on Operating Rules for Information Exchange (CORE) have been included in the Health Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) Consumer Empowerment specifications recommendation to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.
(December 7, 2006)
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Public views EHRs as mixed blessing, survey finds
Americans are welcoming the introduction of e-health records while continuing to worry that their privacy could be compromised by unauthorized access to records systems, according to a new national survey commissioned by the Markle Foundation.
(December 7, 2006)
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VA awards $1B BPA to eight companies
The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded blanket purchase agreement contracts potentially worth $1 billion over 10 years to eight companies that will support the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture e-medical records system and other information technology tasks.
(December 7, 2006)
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Improving health care: SIH launches plan for computerized uninsured, underinsured patient registry
Southern Illinois Healthcare launched a project Wednesday that could lead to a regional electronic medical records system for those with chronic health conditions. At a press conference, the nonprofit healthcare organization introduced a plan to create a new computerized registry for such patients who are underinsured or without insurance.
(December 7, 2006)
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Study: Electronic records up bone scans
 Adoption of electronic health records tripled the rate of osteoporosis screenings among women at risk in a recent U.S. study. A study by researchers at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania found a greatly increased rate of screening among women who were identified as needing a bone-density scan via a search through the system's electronic health records.
(December 7, 2006)
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Nurses Play Strong Role in MSHA Health-IT Project
Nurses are assuming greater roles in defining and implementing electronic medical record (EMR) systems, such as an ongoing project at Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA), an integrated healthcare delivery system composed of 11 hospitals with 1,462 beds, including 21 primary/preventive care centers and 13 outpatient care sites. When the decision was made to move from paper to EMR in 2001, "caregivers were involved in working to optimize complete and effective communication by hardwiring safety and service excellence into the system functionality to allow us to constantly improve our patient care-giving ability," says Kathryn Wilhoit, vice president and chief nursing executive of MSHA.
(December 7, 2006)
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Use of Mobile and Wireless Technology Jumps in Hospitals
Even though adoption of electronic health records (EHR) and other clinical IT remains fairly anemic, at least one aspect of health-IT has taken giant steps forward in the last few years: the use of mobile and wireless technology where choices are proliferating.
(December 7, 2006)
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Forecast: HHS to Spend $5 Billion on Technology in 2007
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will probably spend more than $5 billion on 670 technology initiatives in 2007, according to forecasts from a company that helps businesses find federal contracts.
(December 6, 2006)
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Minnesota Department of Health Awards Grants to Expand Development of Electronic Health Records
Electronic health records have become an important strategy for improving health care quality and safety and reducing costs. In response to Governor Pawlenty’s e-Health initiative, the 2006 Minnesota Legislature appropriated $1.5 million to support the adoption of electronic health records in rural and underserved areas of the state. Today, the Minnesota Department of Health announced the communities that will be receiving e-Health grants. “The governor and Legislature wanted to make sure every person and community in Minnesota benefit from the health information technology that is available to improve health care,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dianne Mandernach. “These grants will provide underserved communities with some of the resources they need to adopt or expand e-health technology.”
(December 6, 2006)
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Industry leaders say HIT symbiotic with patient-centered care
The federal government and other healthcare stakeholders are increasingly interested in what is called “patient-centered care” as a measure of quality of care. The two go hand-in-hand, industry and government leaders say.
(December 6, 2006)
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A remedy for healthcare
In the wake of the midterm elections, lawmakers have returned to Washington to complete the work of the 109th session. We hope that this “lame-duck” session defies convention and advances effective and necessary legislation. A key priority of this session, as well as that of the 110th Congress, should undoubtedly be healthcare... Health information technology, such as electronic health records, also helps us move toward a greater focus on wellness and prevention, which undoubtedly saves lives and saves money.
(December 5, 2006)
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Vendor to offer web-based EHRs to docs in exchange for data
Soon there will be a way for physician practices to have electronic health records at no cost, according to Ryan Howard, CEO of Practice Fusion, Inc. , a San Francisco-based company launched last August. Practice Fusion is poised to announce that it will offer a free, “completely hosted, community-based model” of online access to EHRs, to be subsidized by the selling of de-identified data to insurance groups, clinical researchers and pharmaceutical companies, Howard said.
(December 5, 2006)
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Better Medicine Through Technology
Physician, heal thyself! much easier said, apparently, than done. The U.S. health care industry has been slow to transform itself, largely because doctors and hospital administrators have been laggards in adopting new information technology. Researchers, including those at the Institute of Medicine, estimate that the use of health care IT, such as electronic prescription systems and digitized medical records, could prevent tens of thousands of deaths and more than a million medical mistakes each year, and save billions of dollars in costs related to inefficient and redundant processes and medical complications. But for most health care organizations, where paper still rules, these changes aren't cheap or easy. Researchers estimate that fewer than a quarter of the nation's hospitals have deployed electronic medical record systems. President Bush has set 2014 as the deadline for the digitization of most Americans' health records. Fortunately, there are exceptions. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, under CIO Dan Drawbaugh, is among the most aggressive, having deployed e-medical record systems in 18 of its 19 hospitals. In addition, computerized physician order-entry systems and clinical support tools are used in several of UPMC's hospitals, and it plans to extend that technology to most of the others within three years.
(December 4, 2006)
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Schoen sees electronic medical records as good for country, industry
The goal is for all Americans to have an electronic health record by the year 2014, and Don Schoen, CEO of West Des Moines-based MediNotes Corp., is excited to be at the forefront of the effort. Schoen was recently elected chairman of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Electronic Health Record Vendors Association, a trade association of electric hospital records vendors that joined together to push for accelerated adoption of electronic health records in hospitals and ambulatory care centers in the United States.
(December 3, 2006)
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Consumers don't believe EHRs will improve care, report says
There is no public mandate for electronic health records systems in the United States because most consumers aren’t convinced that the technology will improve healthcare, claims a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute. The report, “The Top Seven Health Industry Trends of ’07,” is based on an October 2006 survey of 1,000 U.S. residents. The results reveal a significant gap between consumer attitudes on major healthcare topics and the perspectives of health industry insiders and policymakers.
(December 1, 2006)
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HHS telehealth grantee initiates home monitoring study
Citizens Memorial Healthcare system in Bolivar, Mo. , announced Tuesday it will launch an informal study on patient home telehealth monitoring to be funded by a three-year $680,000 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services. According to Denni McColm, chief information officer at Citizen’s Memorial, the health system will use the grant money to lease 40 “well@home” telehealth monitoring devices from Patient Care Technologies Inc. , of Atlanta. Patients will use the devices to daily check their own pulse, blood sugar, electrocardiogram, respiration, oxygen intake and weight. The information will be directly monitored by doctors on Citizen’s “seamless” EHR system, McColm said.
(December 1, 2006)
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RP firm fears digitization of US medical records
The move to use more electronic medical record (EMR) systems in the United States is threatening to affect outsourced medical transcription jobs in the Philippines, an executive of a local medical transcription firm said. "EMR can threaten the outsourced medical transcription business since it is becoming integrated in hospital systems in the US," MS Global Outsourcing Inc. president and chief executive officer Malu Simeon-Florendo said in an interview. Because of this trend, the local firm is also developing its own EMR software, which it intends to sell abroad.
(December 1, 2006)
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HIE lessons of two states
Healthcare IT leaders from Florida and Tennessee are sharing what they’ve learned about developing health information exchanges with other states and regions. Representatives from both states talked recently at a San Francisco forum about the problems they have encountered and how they solved them.
(December 1, 2006)
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U.S. lags behind in primary care IT, survey finds
The United States is well behind the rest of the industrial world in IT implementation and other areas of primary care, according to a Commonwealth Fund 2006 International Health Policy Survey released last month. The findings of the survey, which evaluated primary care systems in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the Netherlands, were presented at the Commonwealth Fund’s International Symposium on Healthcare Policy in Washington.
(December 1, 2006)
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RHIOs Burdened by Nontechnical Barriers
Regional health information organizations are cropping up nationwide, and these burgeoning data exchange networks face a variety of challenges as they establish themselves. Beyond the obvious technical challenges such as systems interoperability, RHIOs are dealing with a host of nontechnical issues that threaten to hamper their progress. First Consulting Group recently released a paper, called "Overcoming 10 Non-Technical Challenges of RHIOs," in response to these issues.
(December 1, 2006)
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Campaign Launches Against UK Health Records Database
A national campaign on Wednesday was launched to persuade people to refuse to have their medical information entered into the United Kingdom's National Health Service electronic health record database.
(December 1, 2006)
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Opinion: Telemedicine in Indiana Could Improve Care
The implementation of existing telemedicine technology could improve patient care in rural areas of Indiana.
(December 1, 2006)
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State, Federal Health IT Efforts Are Connected
Jodi Daniel, director of the Office of Policy and Research at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, on Wednesday said that three HHS projects will work to advance health IT privacy and that information will be shared across all three groups.
(December 1, 2006)
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Computers Containing Patient Data Stolen in Colorado, Indiana
The health information of more than 45,000 patients in Colorado and Indiana has been compromised in two separate security breaches that were disclosed this week... The data do not appear to have been misused.
(December 1, 2006)
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Virginia Gov. Kaine Announces Health Care Initiative
Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today signed an Executive Order that will improve and promote transparency and accountability in health care. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt participated in the governor's news conference through a video link from Washington. Executive Order Number 43 promotes the continued shift toward electronic health records, and encourages greater transparency in the quality and quantity of information available to consumers and others on health-care quality and pricing issues. Quality measurements will be developed in collaboration with similar initiatives in the private and public sectors.
(December 1, 2006)
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Kentucky Health Data Exchange Expands
An electronic health record network in Louisville, Ky., will expand to enroll between 300,000 and 500,000 patients, which should reduce the cost for each patient and make the system more useful for researchers.
(December 1, 2006)
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November 2006
Federal and state HIT privacy efforts connected, says ONC
The various state and federal groups working on healthcare IT privacy are “very linked and very complementary,” according to Jodi Daniel, director of the Office of Policy and Research, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information. At a Wednesday meeting of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, a public advisory board to the Department of Health and Human Services, Daniel outlined how the work underway by three HHS efforts will aid in advancing HIT privacy.
(November 30, 2006)
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CCHIT to certify specialty-specific EHRs
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology announced Tuesday it will expand certification to include electronic health record products specific to medical specialties.
(November 29, 2006)
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It's business as usual for nation's interim healthcare IT chief
The man in charge of coordinating efforts to convert the nation’s paper-based healthcare system to a digital one officially has until the end of January on the job. In a recent interview with Healthcare IT News, Robert M. Kolodner, MD, said his stint could be extended, but he declined to elaborate.
(November 27, 2006)
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State Alliance for e-Health names taskforces
The State Alliance for e-Health has determined the names and focus areas of its first three taskforces that will meet next February, according to Kathleen Nolan, health director for the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices and project head of the State Alliance. The selection of the taskforces and their areas of focus follows from a sense of urgency the State Alliance has to get the entire project up and running, Nolan said. “We want to move pretty quickly so we can kick this off strong and get this thing moving,” Nolan said. “These taskforces will add a strong foundation to address the topics identified by states as important to healthcare IT.”
(November 27, 2006)
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Proponents of HIT legislation find hope in Democrats
Many industry experts and legislative analysts expect a healthcare IT bill to pass under the newly elected 110th Congress, according to an informal survey conducted by Healthcare IT News. With a slim-to-none chance of lame duck Congressional reconciliation on the current House and Senate HIT bills by the close of 2006, HIT proponents are turning their hopes to the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) and what can be done in 2007 and beyond. The NDC is a moderate, pro-growth congressional group co-chaired by Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) promoting economic growth through technology, science, and research and development. According to Rep. Adam Smith, the NDC leader on HIT issues, the NDC has built a reputation as the “go-to” group in Congress on critical issues like HIT.
(November 21, 2006)
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CCHIT names trustees, moves toward nonprofit status
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) announced Monday the establishment of a new board of trustees, bringing it one step closer to becoming a fully independent, nonprofit organization... “CCHIT is under a contract with HHS and is required to become a self-sustaining organization with a fiduciary board at the end of its three year HHS funding period,” Reber said. “Establishing a new trustee board is part of that compliance.”
(November 21, 2006)
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National Library of Medicine Awards $75 Million for Informatics Research Training
Donald A. B. Lindberg, MD, Director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced that the NLM is awarding 18 five-year grants, totaling more than $75million, for research training in biomedical informatics, the discipline that seeks to apply computer and communications technology to the field of health... “NLM’s informatics training programs produce investigators trained in applying biomedical computing to improve clinical medicine, basic biomedical research, clinical and translational research, public health, and other health-related areas,” said Dr. Lindberg. “Such specialists are vital for research in such key areas as the human genome, application of genomics to treatment and diagnosis, and the use of electronic health records to improve care and reduce error.”
(November 20, 2006)
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American College of Physicians to Offer Health Information Technology Training Course
The American College of Physicians (ACP), announced today that it will offer a health information technology (HIT) training course in conjunction with the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). The 15-week online curriculum includes a day of in-person training to be held as a pre-session course at ACP’s Internal Medicine 2007 meeting. The course will be part of AMIA’s 10X10 program, which has the goal of training 10,000 health care professionals in applied health and medical informatics by 2010.
(November 16, 2006)
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Deloitte Finds State Leadership And Sustainable Business Models Are Vital For The Future Success Of Health Information Exchanges
The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions (the “Center”), a part of Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, released two point-of-view reports that provide insight into Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) – multi-stakeholder organizations that enable the secure exchange and use of electronic health information.
(November 15, 2006)
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Epic responds to critics of electronic record installation
Following weeks of blistering criticism of its electronic medical record system and its ongoing installation at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Madison's Epic Systems Corp. has joined the subsidiary of Kaiser Permanente in defending its product. Epic Systems, a medical software developer, says it is very proud of the Kaiser installation and its electronic records system, which Kaiser has re-branded with the name KP HealthConnect.
(November 15, 2006)
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SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT: Prospects for Health IT Legislation in 2007 'Look Pretty Good,' Rep. Kennedy Policy Adviser Says
"Prospects look pretty good" for the 110th Congress to pass health IT legislation in 2007, Michael Zamore, a policy adviser for Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), said in an interview for an iHealthBeat special audio report.
(November 15, 2006)
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New eRx certification promotes pharmacy interoperability
SureScripts, the largest network provider of electronic prescribing services in the United States, has announced that it will grant a new certification status to electronic medical record and e-prescribing products that meet or exceed benchmarks for “live” customer deployments. The new certification, called GoldRx, guarantees that an EMR or e-prescribing product not only meets basic technical capability standards, but also has a “proven track record” of pharmacy interoperability.
(November 14, 2006)
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Problems abound for Kaiser e-health records management system
An electronic health records management system being rolled out by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan/Hospitals has been nothing short of an IT project gone awry, according to sources at the company and an internal report detailing problems with the HealthConnect system. Questions about the project arose last week at about the same time Cliff Dodd, the company's CIO, resigned. Dodd stepped down last Monday after another Kaiser employee, Justen Deal, sent a memo to every company worker warning of technological and financial repercussions related to the rollout of the nearly $4 billion system from Epic Systems Corp.
(November 13, 2006)
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Giving health care the business
Pittsburgh center uses principles of case teams, data measures and business process management to enhance complex disease treatments.
(November 13, 2006)
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A new scheme for data sharing
Semantic interoperability isn’t a phrase that rolls off the tongue, but health informatics experts believe the concept has the potential to significantly improve communication among health information systems. The task of harmonizing disparate applications has been around for years, but semantic interoperability aims to make the job easier. The goal is to eliminate the language bottlenecks that arise when systems that were never intended to talk to each other attempt to do so.
(November 13, 2006)
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NGA chooses two governors to lead State Alliance for e-Health
On Monday, the National Governors Association named the two governors who will head up the newly formed State Alliance for e-Health. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas have been chosen to run the State Alliance because of their proven initiative on e-Health issues within their states, said Kathleen Nolan, head of the project and health director at NGA’s Center for Best Practices.
(November 9, 2006)
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Head of Kaiser's digital project quits
The executive overseeing Kaiser Permanente's ambitious $3-billion push toward computerizing the medical records of its 8.6 million members resigned Tuesday, a sign of the challenges facing the project. The resignation of J. Clifford Dodd, a senior vice president and chief information officer for Kaiser, came four days after another Kaiser employee sent a scathing e-mail to most of the company's 140,000 employees about his concerns over the high-profile technology project, known as HealthConnect.
(November 8, 2006)
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Study reveals clinicians' tangled web of communications
A new study out today shows that paper-based workflows and the lack of standardized tools and processes hinders physicians and nurses from having effective communication with patients and colleagues. Clinicians are experimenting with a wide variety of mobile devices including pagers, cell phones, smartphones and VoIP phones, the study found.

(November 7, 2006)
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HHS seeks info on genomic testing and healthcare IT
The Department of Health and Human Services today released a request for information from the private and public sectors on how healthcare IT can advance the use of genomic testing information to improve and personalize healthcare... HHS is specifically interested in any plans organizations have under way to use healthcare IT for storing or sharing genetic information and how this information can be used to make evidence-based care decisions.
(November 7, 2006)
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Health information management celebrates week, looks for workers
The switch from paper to electronic health records will help doctors, nurses and other medical staff make important health care decisions on a real-time basis. But who ensures the information is complete, accurate and kept confidential? This is the role of the health information management professional... "HIM is dedicated to the effective management of patient information and healthcare data needed to deliver quality treatment and care to the public," said Kim Wells-Ball, Director of HIM/Privacy Officer for Barton HealthCare System. "As the healthcare industry moves further into the information age, the role of the health information management professional is becoming even more critical. On top of that, we have a severe shortage of personnel in this part of the health care field," she said.
(November 6, 2006)
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Study shows slow progress toward Bush's 2014 goal
Findings released last month from a first-ever comprehensive study on the use of electronic health records in the United States revealed that 24.9 percent of physicians use some form of loosely defined electronic health record systems. However, fewer than 10 percent employ what researchers define as “a system most likely to benefit patient care.” The 81-page report, “Health Information Technology in the United States: The Information Base for Progress,” also showed that only 5 percent of hospitals use computerized physician order entry systems.
(November 1, 2006)
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IT among top topics at AHIMA, MGMA
Information technology was top of mind at two conferences held by major industry organizations last month. The American Health Information Management Association met in Denver for its convention and exhibition Oct. 7-12. The Medical Group Management Association met in Las Vegas for its annual conference Oct. 22-25.
(November 1, 2006)
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AHIC begins setting goals for 2007
The American Health Information Community on Tuesday began the work of establishing goals for 2007 aimed at helping the healthcare industry adopt information technology. At the top of the list were funding and privacy issues.
(November 1, 2006)
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California Hospital Wins Grant for Technology, Nurse Training
The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in California on Monday received a $4.3 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for bar coding and nurse training.
(November 1, 2006)
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Groups Raise Concerns Over Privacy of NHS Database
Civil liberty groups on Wednesday urged patients in the United Kingdom to boycott a new national health database, which will provide police and security services with access to patients' personal health data, the Evening Standard reports. Patients' records automatically will be collected from physicians and hospitals and uploaded to the new central database. The records could include information about mental illnesses, abortions, pregnancy, HIV status, drug history or alcoholism.
(November 1, 2006)
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Report Checks Progress on Network Recommendations
A progress report examines action taken on the 14 recommendations set last year by the Commission on Systemic Interoperability to establish a national health information network.
(November 1, 2006)
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October 2006
Federal panel issues NHIN guidelines
A federal advisory panel to the Department of Health and Human Services unanimously approved today a draft of minimum requirements for participation in the Nationwide Health Information Network. According to Simon Cohn, MD, chair of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics’ Workgroup on National Information Infrastructure, the 37-page draft should help HHS address healthcare IT policy issues.
(October 30, 2006)
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MGMA recap: IT a major concern
While healthcare IT was not the sole focus of the 2006 Medical Group Management Association annual conference, held here October 22-25, numerous sessions featured IT-related topics, and MGMA President and CEO William F. Jessee, MD, addressed multiple IT issues at a conference press luncheon.
(October 27, 2006)
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NEWS RELEASE: HHS Officially Recognizes Certification Body to Evaluate Electronic Health Records
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) is the first group to be designated a Recognized Certification Body (RCB), HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt announced today. An RCB’s impartial seal of approval will accelerate adoption of health IT products by removing uncertainty about the technical capabilities of the products, and thereby limiting the risk associated with investing in health IT for health care providers. “Broad adoption of health information technology that is interoperable is absolutely crucial to providing patients with better care, at lower cost, and with less hassle,” Secretary Leavitt said. “I applaud the CCHIT for meeting the requirements to become a Recognized Certification Body and for their efforts to help bring the benefits of health IT within reach of consumers.”
(October 26, 2006)
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After Kolodner, then what?
With Robert Kolodner himself stating he has roughly two months left of his interim tenure as leader of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Washington insiders are abuzz about who might be in line to succeed him.
(October 26, 2006)
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ONC to help state and federal advisory panels collaborate
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in its role as overseer plans to ensure crossover issues are discussed and recommendations are shared between the newly formed State Alliance for e-Health and the federal advisory group, the American Healthcare Information Community. Jodi Daniel, director of the Office of Policy and Research at ONC, anticipates that issues of importance to both the federal and state advisory groups will arise... The State Alliance is designed to be a consensus body to address state-level challenges, state licensure and privacy laws and other state issues related to electronic health record data exchange. It will particularly focus on issues outside the federal government’s jurisdiction, Daniel said.
(October 25, 2006)
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SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT: CalRHIO Summit Examines IT Efforts
Stakeholders at the California Regional Health Information Organization summit on Oct. 20 - the last scheduled meeting with the organization's initial grant - discussed recommendations for advancing health IT in California, including the possibility of designating a health IT "czar" for the state and the search for sustainable funding for projects.
(October 25, 2006)
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Second round of CCHIT certifications revs industry
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology’s second batch of certified ambulatory electronic health records products announced Oct. 23 was met with accolades, questions – and also some warnings by vendors... Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, at an Oct. 18 national summit hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, called CCHIT certification one of the “cornerstones” for propelling HIT transformation in this country. “Doctors all over the U.S. are prepared to adopt EHR systems, but they can only afford to adopt it one time, so they are looking for certified systems.”
(October 24, 2006)
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Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative Selects Wellogic to Build Health Information Exchange Infrastructure
The Massachusetts eHealth
Collaborative (MAeHC) has selected Wellogic as its technology vendor to build a health information exchange connecting three hospitals and more than 100 physician practices, as well as reference labs, imaging centers, pharmacies, and other healthcare service providers and trading partners. Development of this exchange utility marks the second phase of MAeHC's charter to bring together the state's major healthcare stakeholders for the purpose of establishing an interoperable electronic health record (EHR) system that will enhance the quality, efficiency and safety of care in Massachusetts.
(October 18, 2006)
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World of Health IT Conference Is Huge Hit with EMEA Region
The conference brought together the health IT industry in the EMEA region to focus on and discuss the benefits and value of technology in healthcare. Close to 2,000 people attended the first World of Health IT Conference and Exhibition held in Geneva, Switzerland, from Oct. 10-13. The event drew speakers, attendees and exhibitors from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) including places as diverse as Andorra and Azerbaijan, Iceland and Israel and Saudi Arabia and Serbia-Montenegro. The main organizers of this event include the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the European Commission (EC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
(October 17, 2006)
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Man pleads guilty to hacking organization's Web site
A North Carolina man pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to charges that he hacked into membership information on the American College of Physicians' Web site. William Bailey Jr. of Charlotte illegally downloaded information on 80,000 members of the Philadelphia-based professional society from its Web site, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia said.
(October 16, 2006)
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ABCNews Begins 'Prescription for Change' Series, Including Reports on Health IT
ABCNews' "World News Tonight" on Sunday in the first segment of its weeklong "Prescription for Change" series examined some shortcomings in the U.S. health care system.
(October 16, 2006)
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2006 HIMSS Davies Awards Recognize Excellence in EMR-EHR Implementation
As the benefits of digital versus paper records dominate the focus of improving the delivery of healthcare, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) announced the recipients of the 2006 Nicholas E. Davies Awards of Excellence in the Organizational, Ambulatory and Public Health categories. The Davies Awards recognize excellence in the implementation and use of health information technology (IT) for healthcare organizations, private practices and public health systems.
(October 13, 2006)
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Geisinger and IBM collaborate on new IT infrastructure
Geisinger Health System and IBM will collaborate on the development of a data-mining project that will draw on information gleaned from Geisinger's electronic health record system to identify clinical trends and best practices in order to improve patient outcomes.
(October 13, 2006)
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Telehealth positioned to advance in Canada
Patients in remote and rural communities could have better access to healthcare thanks to Telehealth development -- a primary focus for Canada's electronic health record catalyst and Canada's premier Telehealth organization. Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) and the Canadian Society of Telehealth (CST) are announcing plans to work together to advance Telehealth -- defined as healthcare practiced at a distance.
(October 13, 2006)
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HRSA contracts with SAIC for IT support
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has been awarded a 5-year contract to provide IT support to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The contract is estimated at $33.9 million and will continue a working relationship with HRSA that began in 1998. Under the contract, SAIC will lead a team that will develop web and database applications for HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau, HIV/AIDS Bureau, and Bureau of Health Professions. The support is intended to provide a framework for grantees to report to HRSA on their performance. Additionally, the database will be used to gather and analyze outcomes and data accumulated under the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resource Emergency (CARE) Act. The CARE Act addresses the unmet health needs of persons living with HIV.
(October 12, 2006)
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Electronic Network to Pool Information About H.I.V.
To help determine the best therapies for patients with H.I.V., seven medical centers around the country will create the first electronic network to pool information about such care through a federal grant being announced today.
(October 10, 2006)
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Brailer urges AHIMA members to safeguard data that matters
The nation’s former healthcare IT chief urged healthcare information professionals gathered here for their annual meeting to “continue to lead” and to make their efforts “larger, louder and faster.” “You are at a flexion point,” David J. Brailer, MD, told an audience of hundreds of American Health Information Management Association members, who often refer to themselves as coders. About 4,000 of them were registered for this year’s conference and exhibition. Brailer recognized the group’s unique position as the healthcare industry moves toward adopting more information technology. Some see the turn towards technology as “perhaps the end of health information management as we see it,” Brailer said. He acknowledged that it “could go many ways.” He also noted that technology alone could not promise an improved healthcare system. “It’s not that our efforts in technology are wrong or misplaced,” he said. But we need more than electronics.” What is important is that clinicians have information provided to them that will enable them to make the right decisions. There is no technology that can automatically guarantee that, he said.
(October 9, 2006)
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AHIMA kicks off go-getter agenda
The American Health Information Management Association’s 78th annual convention kicked off Monday with an address from AHIMA President Jill Callahan Dennis, who outlined an ambitious to-do list for the 50,0000-member organization... Just prior to the convention, the organization released a survey that showed health information management professionals have a positive impact on the implementation of electronic health records. “This study confirms the benefits that HIM professionals bring to EHR implementations,” said AHIMA CEO Linda Kloss. “It also points to areas where HIM professionals have the opportunity for greater impact.”
(October 9, 2006)
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Hamot Medical Center Selects Allscripts Electronic Health Record for Pennsylvania Physician Network
Allscripts (Nasdaq: MDRX), the leading provider of clinical software, connectivity and information solutions that physicians use to improve healthcare, today announced that Hamot Medical Center has selected the TouchWorks(TM) Electronic Health Record from Allscripts to connect and automate 50
physicians in 16 practices across the Erie region. "The Electronic Health Record is a powerful tool to improve the quality of care and practice efficiency while enhancing patient satisfaction," said Jim Reichert, M.D., Ph.D., Physician Leader of the Clinical Information Systems Department at Hamot Medical Center. "With Allscripts, our patients
will receive better care and we're confident that they'll recognize and appreciate the difference." Hamot Medical Center, a 343-bed acute care facility that is part of the Hamot Health Foundation, purchased TouchWorks for its fully-owned physician group, the Hamot Primary Care Network. Together, the groups serve more than 1 million patients in northwestern Pennsylvania, western New York and
eastern Ohio.
(October 5, 2006)
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Memphis health information exchange set to expand
The MidSouth eHealth Alliance will add a third local emergency department to its list of healthcare data users in mid November. The not-for-profit healthcare information exchange demonstration project will expand thanks to a combination of Vanderbilt University-developed technology and policies modeled after the Markle Foundation's Connecting for Health Common Framework. “Policy and technology go hand in hand,” said Mark Frisse, MD, Accenture Professor of biomedical informatics and director of regional informatics programs at Vanderbilt University. “You can’t think through technology until you understand policy.” “The Connecting for Health’s policy framework is an actionable set of documents for better patient care,” said Frisse. “This work is essential reading for any groups desiring to exchange personal health information across traditional boundaries.”
(October 4, 2006)
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Mississippi Hospitals Use IT To Improve Care
Medical facilities in Mississippi are adopting computerized systems to fill prescriptions, schedule tests, view electronic health records and complete other time-consuming tasks.
(October 3, 2006)
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Physicians Reluctant To Provide Care Via E-Mail
Physicians are reluctant to communicate with patients via e-mail because they are not paid for their time, and they are concerned about increasing their workload.
(October 3, 2006)
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Health IT Legislation Fails To Pass Before Congressional Recess
Congress failed to pass compromise health IT legislation before adjourning last week for recess.
(October 3, 2006)
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Pitt, CMU, RAND to partner on grant
The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and the Urban League of Pittsburgh will collaborate on a transformation of clinical research to enhance patient care, it was announced Tuesday. CMU and the Urban League, as well as the RAND Corp., and the Intel Research Pittsburgh Lab, are partners to the University of Pittsburgh's grant of $83.5 million over five years from the National Institutes of Health, to establish the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). CTSI is aimed at transforming how clinical and translational research is conducted so that promising treatments can be more readily available to patients.
(October 3, 2006)
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N.Y. health care reform to get $1.5B in federal funding
New York state's plan to restructure its health care system has gotten a $1.5 billion shot in the arm. Gov. George Pataki announced that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the state's request for a waiver, which will provide up to $1.5 billion in federal funding to be invested in the State's health care reform initiatives... Included in the state's program will be the increased use of e-prescribing, electronic medical records and regional health information organizations like The Health Information Exchange of New York, a network formed by Iroquois Healthcare Alliance, a Clifton Park group of 59 upstate hospitals, and the New York Health Plan Association, the Albany group representing the state's health insurers. The state's plan also calls for the expanded use of ambulatory and primary care services.
(October 3, 2006)
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Future of Misys in doubt
The future of Misys is up in the air this week following reports that the British-based healthcare and financial software firm has ended its search for a buyer and reached agreement with Chief Executive Kevin Lomax to allow him to resign immediately. The company’s stock dropped 18 percent Monday following the announcement of Lomax’s resignation.
(October 3, 2006)
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NJHA Electronic Record Task Force Starts Fall Agenda
The NJHA Electronic Medical Record – Electronic Health Record Task Force returned from a summer break last week to start working on its fall agenda. The task force reviewed and discussed the EMR-EHR survey information that was collected in July. According to Joseph Sullivan, task force co-chair and senior vice president/chief information officer of Saint Barnabas Health Care System, “It’s encouraging to see the number of clinical systems currently being implemented or planned for implementation at New Jersey hospitals over the next 12-18 months, and the overwhelming interest in sharing electronic medical record information among New Jersey providers.”
(October 2, 2006)
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VA official takes IT lead
Veterans Administration executive Robert M. Kolodner, MD, is stepping up as the nation’s interim healthcare IT chief. Industry leaders are hailing the appointment of Kolodner, and expect the now-former chief health informatics officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs to pick up where David J. Brailer, MD, ended when he resigned the post of National Coordinator of Health Information Technology last May after two years on the job.
(October 1, 2006)
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HIMSS opens Brussels office
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society has opened a new office in Brussels, Belgium, as part of its initiative to expand its global reach. According to HIMSS officials, the new HIMSS branch is focused on bringing together healthcare professionals in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, or EMEA, who share the common goal of improving the delivery of healthcare through information technology and management systems.
(October 1, 2006)
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ELINCS Specification
The EHR-Lab Interoperability and Connectivity Specification (ELINCS) project published ELINCS version 1.0 in July 2005... ELINCS v1.1 was published in October 2006 as a minor update to v1.0... A draft of ELINCS version 2.0, issued in February 2006, is provided below for review.
(October 1, 2006)
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September 2006
HIT bill passage this year seen as unlikely
Congress went home last week before agreeing on language that would reconcile House bill 4157, the Health Information Technology Promotion Act, and Senate bill 1418, the Wired for Healthcare Quality Act. The bill still could pass during a lame duck session before the end of the year, say sources close to the issue. This would be good news to Justin T. Barnes, vice president of marketing and government affairs at Greenway Medical Technology, who would like to see the bill pass. “The underpinning of such a law is that it could save lives and contain costs by eliminating duplication of medical testing,” Barnes said. Barnes has testified before Congress on healthcare IT three times and has helped to craft the language for the proposed legislation.
(September 29, 2006)
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CCHIT updates status of EHR certification criteria
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology, or CCHIT, is finalizing its 2007 ambulatory electronic health records (EHRs) certification criteria and is preparing to publish its proposed inpatient EHR certification criteria, said CCHIT Executive Director Alicia Ray during a Town Call teleconference Wednesday.
(September 28, 2006)
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Intel unveils plans to take technology to the bedside
Intel unveiled plans Wednesday for a new mobile technology platform designed to improve patient safety and make work easier for nurses and doctors. The computer chip maker is teaming up with Austin, Texas-based Motion Computing to offer slates that clinicians can use at the bedside to record vital signs, medication and progress notes. The slates, called mobile clinical assistants, will be available during the first half of 2007, according to Intel.
(September 28, 2006)
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Interoperable health records key to drug safety
The Institute of Medicine's Future of Drug Safety report, released earlier this month called for a broad range of recommendations spanning the monitoring, evaluation, improvement and insurance of drug safety. In his praise of the IOM report, Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt called on Congress to ensure that health information technology legislation support and emphasize the importance of interoperable health records.
(September 27, 2006)
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SureScripts Announces First Collaborations With Payer Community
SureScripts today announced a series of collaborations with members of the payer community as part of its rollout of new services in 2006. MemberHealth, National Medical Health Card Systems (NMHC) and RxAmerica have signed agreements that will allow physicians using a SureScripts Certified Solution™ to access information from each regarding their patient's formulary, eligibility and medication history -- in real time, during a patient's visit.
(September 27, 2006)
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IOM report presses Medicare, Medicaid to adopt P4P
The Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should gradually implement pay for performance to help improve healthcare quality for the 42 million Medicare beneficiaries in this country, according to an Institute of Medicine report released last week. The healthcare industry praised the recommendation and IOM report, “Rewarding Provider Performance: Aligning Incentives in Medicare,” which looked at the pros and cons of implementing a pay-for-performance program within Medicare.
(September 26, 2006)
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Survey shows increase in health information exchanges
The number of health information exchanges in the United States has increased over the past year, and more of the organizations are exchanging clinical data, according to survey results released Monday at the Health Information Technology Summit. Janet Marchibroda, executive director of the eHealth Initiative, said the “Third Annual Survey of Health Information Exchange at the State, Regional and Community Levels” presents an optimistic assessment of progress.
(September 26, 2006)
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Kolodner, McClellan stress quality
The federal government isn’t interested in paying more for healthcare information technology for its own sake, warned two of the administration’s highest-ranking healthcare officials on Monday. However, both outgoing Medicare administrator Mark McClellan and newly named interim healthcare IT director Robert Kolodner said HIT is central to what the government will pay for – improved outcomes and better overall healthcare quality. “My main focus is how do we improve quality and reduce costs for our beneficiaries,” McClellan told attendees at the Third Health Information Technology Summit. “Effective healthcare IT is an essential part of that.”
(September 25, 2006)
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Kennedy bill calls for PHR 'incentive fund'
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D – R.I. ) plans to introduce legislation that would create incentives for physicians to encourage patients to use personal health records, or PHRs. Michael Zamore, a policy adviser for Rep. Kennedy, will speak about the proposed legislation on Tuesday at the Third Health Information Technology Summit in Washington. “We’re trying to come up with a way to jumpstart the use of personal health records,” said Zamore. “PHRs are a great tool for communication between patients and physicians, and they cost relatively little to implement. But not enough people use them, and the Congressman wants to do something to change that.”
(September 25, 2006)
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What's Really Propping Up The Economy
If you really want to understand what makes the U.S. economy tick these days, don't go to Silicon Valley, Wall Street, or Washington. Just take a short trip to your local hospital. Park where you don't block the ambulances, and watch the unending flow of doctors, nurses, technicians, and support personnel. You'll have a front-row seat at the health-care economy.
(September 25, 2006)
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Few Patients Use or Have Access to Online Services for Communicating with their Doctors, but Most Would Like To
The latest Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll reveals that the medical profession is lagging behind other service sectors and professions in its use of Internet-based solutions to communicate with and manage customer information -- in this case, patients and their medical information. Patients would like to see medicine move in this direction, and most adults say that they would like to have access to electronic medical records and other electronic means of communicating and transferring medical information.
(September 22, 2006)
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Health record banking coalition in the works, Yasnoff says
When William Yasnoff, MD, PhD, convened a stakeholders meeting in earlier this month, he was hoping to found a Health Record Banking Association. Instead, attendees, comprising community and consumer groups and healthcare IT vendors, wanted to bring more stakeholders to the table to develop a larger group. The Health Record Banking Coalition was formed “to assist stakeholders in the promotion of community repositories of health records to improve the safety and efficiency of patient care.”
(September 21, 2006)
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U.S. Health-Care System Scores a D for Quality
The American health-care system falls short of what's available in other developed countries, a new report claims. After measuring 37 areas of quality, the United States only garnered a score of 66 out of 100, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Commonwealth Fund. The report was also published online Wednesday in the journal Health Affairs. Despite spending the most on health care of any of the countries examined, the United States often ranked below Iceland, France, Japan, Italy, Sweden and many others, according to the report. Moreover, health care varied dramatically from state to state, and from hospital to hospital. "The U.S. spends 16 percent of its gross domestic product on health care," Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis said during a press conference announcing the results. "That's more than twice the average of industrialized nations."
(September 20, 2006)
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Conferences mark growing interest in European healthcare IT efforts
The European Union is poised to accelerate national e-health initiatives and lay the groundwork for a pan-European network. That's the headline Renata Bushko, a healthcare futurist and director for the Future of Health Technology Institute, will deliver at the two-day 11th Annual Future of Health Technology Summit which kicks off Monday, Sept. 25.
(September 18, 2006)
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CliniComp's Essentris System Implemented at UCLA's Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital
CliniComp, Intl., a recognized leader of advanced, hospital-wide clinical information systems, has completed a three-part installation of its Essentris™ clinical information system at Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital (NPH) at UCLA. The system has gone live in three units -- Pediatric, Adult and Partial Hospitalization -- supporting clinicians and nurses with electronic documentation, which has replaced paper charting.
(September 14, 2006)
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Canadian Standards Association and Canada Health Infoway team up for the advancement of international health information technology standards
Canada Health Infoway and Canadian Standards Association (CSA) today officially announced a Memorandum of Understanding to work together for the advancement of health information technology standards. These health information standards are critical to helping ensure that authorized healthcare providers can electronically share a patient's medical information in order to provide better healthcare services.
(September 14, 2006)
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ACS Expands Healthcare Contract With State of Missouri
Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. (NYSE: ACS), a premier provider of business process outsourcing and information technology solutions, announced today that it has expanded its agreement with the State of Missouri to provide electronic health records. The value of the contract will be based upon the number of providers enrolled in the program. Under terms of the agreement, ACS will provide an innovative electronic health record program, in addition to other projects, throughout the course of the year. Over 700 Missouri physicians have enrolled in the program to date, which features cutting edge technology that will allow the Medicaid program and its participating providers to communicate critical information to improve and expedite service to at-risk patients.
(September 13, 2006)
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Report praises state-level health information exchange initiatives
State-level health information exchange, or HIE, initiatives are a critical component to advancing a nationwide health information network, according to a report released Tuesday. The report, conducted by the Foundation of Research and Education, or FORE, of the American Health Information Management Association, or AHIMA, provides a framework and resources for communities in the early stages of HIE development.
(September 13, 2006)
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Health IT at the Crossroads
The roaring momentum of health IT that so captivated all of us two years ago has all but come to a crawl. It is increasingly clear that the nation is at a crossroads in achieving functioning health IT, despite regional health information organizations and the national health information network; despite HHS' publication of final rules creating fraud and abuse exceptions and safe harbors to permit the provision of HIT to physicians by hospitals and medical groups; despite a recent executive order directing federal health care agencies to promote HIT; despite efforts by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. The vacuum of national leadership, miserly funding and uncertain direction has permitted a growing degree of local and regional infighting and the politicization of an issue that has been historically nonpartisan.
(September 13, 2006)
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Recognizing the Synergy and Strength of Collaboration, HIMSS and eHealth Initiative Align on Health Information Exchange (HIE) and RHIO Initiatives
As the movement of health information exchange (HIE) initiatives and regional health information organizations (RHIOs) continues to grow in states and communities across the country in support of the Administration's focus on a "Nationwide Health Information Network" or "NHIN", the eHealth Initiative (eHI) and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) announced today a collaborative agreement that will strengthen this movement, offering complimentary education programs, tools and resources to state, regional and community leaders engaged in health information exchange and building RHIOs.
(September 13, 2006)
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House, Senate Have Yet To Reconcile IT Bills
Negotiations to reconcile House and Senate versions of legislation that would promote the implementation of health care IT have not progressed, and prospects for passage of a final bill prior to the midterm elections are uncertain, according to congressional aides.
(September 12, 2006)
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State reports on tap for AHIC meeting Tuesday
Reports from three members of the State Health Information Exchange Panel and an update on the Health IT Adoption Initiative top the agenda for Tuesday’s American Health Information Community meeting. The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. in Room 800 of the U.S. Department of Human Services’ Hubert H. Humphrey Building with remarks from AHIC chairman Michael O. Leavitt and David J. Brailer, former National Health Information Technology Coordinator.
(September 11, 2006)
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Group representing health insurers to form Albany area organization
The Health Information Exchange of New York has selected a California company to provide the foundation for an Albany, N.Y.-area regional health information organization, or RHIO. Health Information Exchange of New York, known as HIXNY, and First Consulting Group (Nasdaq: FCGI) of Long Beach signed a letter of intent Sept. 7 calling for the non-profit enterprise to use First Consulting's FirstGateways(TM) platform as the basis for the network. The proposed RHIO would link area hospitals, physician groups and insurers, allowing them to share electronic patient records. The goal is to reduce errors, prevent duplication of tests and procedures, and improve overall efficiency, thus trimming costs and improving the quality of care.
(September 7, 2006)
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Industry experts credit Medicare chief McClellan for advancing healthcare IT
As Mark McClellan, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, prepares to leave his post, healthcare IT experts give him high marks for championing information technology. McClellan "has been a leading voice on the important role that health information technology and management systems can have in transforming the delivery of healthcare in the United States," said Tom Leary, director of federal affairs for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
(September 7, 2006)
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Personal health records pull patient's history into one file
The PHR is the latest addition to the alphabet soup that is health care, and it may actually do a body good. EHRs — electronic health records — were the focus in the health information-technology industry when President Bush began pushing for standards to facilitate the sharing of health records across the nation. But that was two years ago. Now, personal health records are the order of the day. "The PHR movement is beginning to take solid root," said Donald Mon, a vice president at the American Health Information Management Association. A personal health record helps solve a big problem: Even if medical facilities create electronic health records, "a consumer's health information is still going to be distributed across many health records," Mon said. "The PHR is the one place where you can accumulate all your health information in a consistent way to reflect your lifetime of care."
(September 6, 2006)
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Healthcare IT leaders: GAO criticism of NHIN efforts 'on target'
Industry leaders agree with the Sept. 1 Government Accountability Office report critical of efforts to create a nationwide healthcare information network. “The GAO is on target with its comments,” said Tom Leary, director of federal affairs for the Health Information Management Systems Society.
(September 6, 2006)
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Lawmakers Must Combine Health IT Bills
Congress has introduced more than 50 bills related to health IT and personal health records, but health IT advocates say that only one bill could possibly become law.
(September 5, 2006)
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Study: Medical Technology Extends Life Expectancy
A study published in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine finds that investments in medical technologies, including health IT, over the last 40 years have extended the life expectancy of U.S. residents by nearly seven years.
(September 5, 2006)
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VA Health System Has Become a Health IT Leader
The Department of Veterans Affairs Health System for six straight years has scored higher than private facilities on the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index, based on patient surveys regarding the quality of care received.
(September 5, 2006)
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Report Calls for NHIN Plans, Goals
A Government Accountability Office report finds that efforts to develop a nationwide health care information network lack clear objectives and coordination.
(September 5, 2006)
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Experts: Technology study will strengthen healthcare debate
A study that appears in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine concludes that 40 years of investments in medical technologies, including healthcare information technology, has paid off for Americans in extending life expectancy by nearly 7 years. But each extra year of life Americans have gained over the last four decades costs an average of nearly $20,000.
(September 1, 2006)
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RHIOs target security issues
Privacy and security issues remain in the spotlight throughout healthcare. Just recently data breaches from a hospital system and a medical practice were reported in the media, sparking fears that this turn of events might slow down the passage of health information technology bills in Congress and progress made by regional health information organizations and health information exchanges.
(September 1, 2006)
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Report: Poor data stymies quality care
New research concludes that the inability to gather the right information thwarts pay-for-performance initiatives, limiting their ability to contribute to creating a better healthcare system. Some of the pay-for-performance efforts, which the study also refers to as “value-based purchasing,” leave many employers – and other health plan purchasers – cold, the report suggests. The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions teamed up with The ERISA Industry Committee to conduct the research.
(September 1, 2006)
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Frist predicts HIT passage in September
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn. ) predicted last month that Congress will pass healthcare IT legislation when members return from the August recess. “I’m confident we’ll use the limited time remaining after the August recess efficiently and productively. With continued hard work and determination, we will keep the ball moving forward,” he said. Last month, the House passed the Health Information Technology Promotion Act of 2006 (H.R. 4157), which codifies the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology within the Department of Health and Human Services. It establishes a committee to make recommendations on national standards for medical data storage and develop a permanent structure to govern national interoperability standards.
(September 1, 2006)
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AHIC to put IT power behind performance measures
Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt has called on a federal panel to find the best way to accurately – and electronically – measure patient care quality.
Healthcare leaders all seem to favor measuring the quality of patient care, but there is no good way to do so, Leavitt said at the American Health Information Community meeting last month. “We’re all talking a good game, but we don’t have the capacity to actually measure (quality),” Leavitt said.
(September 1, 2006)
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Health IT Bill: Boon or Boondoggle?
A bill pending in Congress would create a framework for a national interoperable network for storage and transmission of individual health care records. The measure has sparked debate as to whether it could significantly cut the industry’s enormous administrative costs. The Health Information Technology Promotion Act of 2006 (H.R. 4157) passed the House at the end of July. At press time, the U.S. Senate was considering the bill.
(September 1, 2006)
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CMS proposes new oversight, enhancements to QIO program
Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt has issued a report to Congress outlining plans to boost the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization program. Leavitt’s report responds to criticisms and recommendations leveled in a series of studies from the Institute of Medicine, and reiterates the role he believes healthcare information technology can play in improving care for Medicare beneficiaries.
(September 1, 2006)
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August 2006
Home Healthcare Leader Selects McKesson to Create Paperless Environment
Addus HealthCare, one of the largest home healthcare agencies in the United States, has selected McKesson's Horizon Homecare™ solution in a two-phase initiative to automate and standardize clinical processes across 90 services branches in 12 states. Once complete, the initiative is expected to fully support Addus' goal to create a paperless environment to drive enhanced operational efficiency, standardized care processes, and improved patient outcomes.
(August 29, 2006)
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Defense objects to adopting VA health records system
Some members of Congress have increased their efforts to persuade the Defense Department to adopt the Department of Veterans Affairs’ electronic health records system — or develop a DOD version using the same software — after a top Pentagon official said the department doesn’t believe the VA’s system would meet DOD’s needs.
(August 28, 2006)
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Federal, State Officials Prescribing Digital Health Care Records
From the San Diego County Medical Society to the president of the United States, a flurry of steps are being taken by officials toward data sharing systems for the health care industry. Last week, information officers from local hospitals and officials from the San Diego County Medical Society met with Cindy Ehnes, director of the California Department of Managed Care, which oversees the state’s HMOs, to tell her of local efforts to create an electronic Regional Health Information Organization. The system would link health records among medical professionals. Medical Society President Tom Gehring said his group did not make any official requests to Ehnes and called the meeting a “fact-finding session.” “We want to let her know how one county has grappled with this problem,” Gehring said. “So she can go back to Sacramento and use this as she formulates policy.”
(August 28, 2006)
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Military Health System Uses Technology To Boost Quality
In concert with a presidential order to improve federal agency-managed or -sponsored health care, the Defense Department has embraced technology to boost the quality of military health care, improve medical information flow and monitor costs, a senior Defense Department official said here Aug. 24.
(August 26, 2006)
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Health Data Bottleneck
William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, took time during an Aug. 23 teleconference with journalists to tout his department’s ability to transfer electronically the medical records of separating service members to the Department of Veterans Affairs. In doing so, Winkenwerder ignored a rising chorus of critics who say AHLTA, the Department of Defense’s digitalized medical record system, is a problem for the VA and for veterans because, in fact, it doesn’t allow electronic record transfers outside the military network.
(August 25, 2006)
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Chaos and Creation in the Health IT Market
A spate of new analyst reports from respected research houses such as Datamonitor, Forrester and IDC's Health Industry Insights all point to double-digit growth for health care IT. While each firm's forecast is based on varying assumptions, one major factor appears in each report: President Bush's federal mandate to create electronic health records for all Americans by 2014.
(August 25, 2006)
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Louisville health info exchange adjusts its game plan
The Louisville, Ky., Health Information Exchange (LouHIE) is modifying its plans for a regional electronic health records repository and has postponed its launch. The board of directors overseeing the project wants to take a more ambitious approach than the plan the University of Louisville originally created.
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Executive Order: Promoting Quality and Efficient Health Care in Federal Government Administered or Sponsored Health Care Programs
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and in order to promote federally led efforts to implement more transparent and high-quality health care, it is hereby ordered as follows: ...
(August 22, 2006)
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Smart Care Via a Mouse, but What Will It Cost?
The electronic medical record seems an example of pure progress, a technology that yields only winners. So it has been cast as a geeky hero in health care policy circles. Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, recently said the rollout of electronic health records was “the most important thing happening in health care.”... The technology itself is simply a software storehouse of a person’s medical history, including chronic conditions, medical tests, drug prescriptions, diagnoses and doctors’ comments. Yet bringing pen-and-ink patient records and prescriptions into the computer age is seen as a vital step toward modernizing the nation’s inefficient, paper-clogged health system. Various studies say that it should reduce medical errors and costs, saving lives and saving dollars — about $80 billion a year, according to the RAND Corporation.
(August 20, 2006)
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State Policy Makers Taking Action To Drive Improvements in Healthcare Quality and Safety Through Information Technology
A majority of states are taking critical steps to drive improvements in the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare through information technology. An issue brief released today by the independent, non-profit eHealth Initiative (eHI) notes that 38 state legislatures have introduced 121 bills during 2005 and 2006 that specifically call for the use of health information technology (HIT) to improve patient care -- over half of which were introduced in the first seven months of 2006.
(August 16, 2006)
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Report: P-4-P programs and tools in need of major sharpening
New research concludes that the inability to gather the right information thwarts pay-for-performance initiatives that could contribute to creating a better healthcare system. Some of the pay-for-performance efforts, which the study also refers to as “value-based purchasing,” leave many employers – and other health plan purchasers – cold, the report suggests.
(August 10, 2006)
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Study Says Only One in 10 Physicians Using Electronic Medical Records
Recent data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey indicates that 25 percent of office-based physicians reported using electronic medical record systems in 2005. The data marks a 31 percent increase from the 18.2 percent reported in the 2001 survey. However, only one in 10 physicians actually met the minimal requirements of an electronic medical record, such as computerized orders for prescriptions, computerized orders for tests, reporting of test results and physician notes. Although progress has been made toward the goal of universal electronic records, there is still a long way to go. NJHA’s Electronic Medical Record-Electronic Health Record Task Force is studying ways to expand the use of electronic medical and health records here in New Jersey.
(August 7, 2006)
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Big Blue’s Healthcare Moves
To help make it more difficult for counterfeit drugs to reach the market, IBM launched its RFID pharmaceutical tracking system on Tuesday. The moved came as Big Blue also announced it will contribute open-source software technology aimed at building a U.S. national system of electronic health records.
(August 7, 2006)
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Improving Healthcare Delivery Through Technology
Technology has made a positive impact on the lives of Missourians providing convenience and access to information but in many ways Missouri's healthcare system has not provided the same positive benefit to those who rely on the state for health services. One of my top priorities as governor is to create a new healthcare delivery system in our state that improves patient access to critical information and reduces burdensome red tape and paper work for providers and state agencies involved in the process. I commend the state legislature for realizing the potential benefits of technology to our healthcare sector by authorizing $25 million to the Healthcare Technology Fund. I called for this fund in the State of the State in order to ensure that basic technology will become part of the improved delivery of healthcare services for all Missourians.
(August 6, 2006)
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Indiana RHIO to provide docs access to more data
The Indiana Health Information Exchange aims to improve patient care and increase connectivity with its newest program, Quality Health First. “This confluence of improving patient care and addressing problems in the healthcare system is exciting,’ said J. Marc Overhage, MD, PhD, president and CEO of IHIE. “We are emphasizing the value of healthcare systems and supporting interoperability.”
(August 4, 2006)
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Commonwealth Fund Commission Says the U.S. Health Care System Needs Thorough Transformation to Deliver Real Value
A panel of prominent leaders from all sectors of the health care system today issued its Framework for a High Performance Health System for the United States. The report says that, although some of the best medical care in the world is delivered in the United States, when examined as a whole our country falls far short of providing high-quality, safe, well-coordinated, and efficient care, accessible to all Americans—and that we are failing to deliver adequate value for the very high proportion of resources we devote to health care in this country. The report from the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System states that there are concrete steps that could be taken to improve value.
(August 2, 2006)
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New government regulations aim to boost healthcare IT adoption
Even as he announced new government rules that would make it easier for physicians to convert to electronic health records, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt focused on overcoming the next barrier – interoperability. Leavitt, on Tuesday, announced exceptions and safe harbors to two existing laws – a physician self-referral law and a federal anti-kickback statute. The exceptions will make it possible for hospitals to donate healthcare information technology to physicians. The regulations become effective in 60 days. With the exceptions in place, Leavitt said, he is confident that hospitals would jump at the opportunity to provide better, more efficient care.
(August 1, 2006)
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Summertime snooze fest for health IT
Don’t look to the halls of Congress for the real action on healthcare IT this month. By the time you read this column, lawmakers in Washington either will have done the historic – passed a healthcare IT bill in the House of Representatives. Or they will have come close to letting the clock run down on H.R. 4157, the healthcare IT bill from Reps. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) and Nathan Deal (R-Ga.). Last month was a general snooze-fest for healthcare IT prospects on Capitol Hill.
(August 1, 2006)
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Nursing Home Upgrades Technology
Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation in Orange County, N.Y., last year implemented an electronic health record system linked by a wireless network, which has reduced medical errors and improved care.
(August 1, 2006)
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Indiana Exchange Launches Quality Program
The Indiana Health Information Exchange has launched a new program, called Quality Health First of Indiana, that combines medical and drug-claims data from participating health plans with patients' prescription drug data, and lab and test results already stored in the Indiana Network for Patient care database.
(August 1, 2006)
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Company Offers Free EHRs During Hurricane Season
MyMedicalRecords.com is offering its electronic health records service to Florida residents at no cost during the hurricane season.
(August 1, 2006)
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VA Secretary Calls for Fewer Prescription Errors
The Department of Veterans Affairs - which "remains a world leader in patient safety and the use of technology in preventing" prescription drug errors - "prescribes medication to patients with an accuracy rate of 99.993%, a standard that simply does not exist anywhere else in American health care," VA Secretary Jim Nicholson writes in a USA Today letter to the editor.
(August 1, 2006)
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Cerner Wins NHS Contract
Cerner will replace GE Healthcare on the London region of a National Health Service project to computerize English health records, according to a Monday announcement by BT Group, an IT and telecommunications company in England.
(August 1, 2006)
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July 2006
Minnesota Receives Grant for EHRs
The Minnesota Health Department has received a $1.3 million grant to implement and develop electronic health records in rural areas of the state.
(July 31, 2006)
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Physician Practice Adopts EHR System
Dickson Medical Associates in Tennessee last year implemented Misys' electronic health record system, which has provided faster access to patient information and improved efficiency.
(July 31, 2006)
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American Health Information Community to discuss emergency responder EHR
The Electronic Health Records Workgroup will deliver its recommendation on an emergency responder EHR to The American Health Information Community at a meeting Tuesday. The meeting, at the Hubert Humphrey Building in Washington D.C., begins at 8:30 a.m. It is set to adjourn at 1 p.m. Jonathan Perlin, MD, recently named senior vice president of quality and chief medical officer at HCA, is slated to give the recommendation to the full panel, immediately following introductory comments by Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt.
(July 31, 2006)
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CCHIT announces new EHR certifications
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology announced today two additional ambulatory electronic health record products that achieved certified status. The panel also announced a new certification cycle that begins Tuesday. iMedica Patient Relationship Manager 2005, version 5.1, by iMedica Corporation and Praxis Electronic Medical Records, version 3.4, by Infor-Med Corporation underwent inspections that demonstrated compliance with CCHIT’s published criteria and received CCHIT CertifiedSM status for 2006.
(July 31, 2006)
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IHIE Program to Help Improve Quality, Reduce Healthcare Costs
Quality Health First of Indiana will combine medical and drug claims data from participating health plans with prescription drug data and lab and test results to create comprehensive reports that doctors can use to better monitor their patients and improve their health. Participating health plans will then reward doctors on specific patient improvement measurements rather than on the number of patients they see each day. Officials say the program should reduce health care costs by reducing hospitalizations and complications.
(July 31, 2006)
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NPR Discusses IOM Report on Medication Errors, E-prescribing
NPR's "Talk of the Nation/Science Friday" in the second hour of the program included a discussion of a recent Institute of Medicine report finding that all prescriptions should be written electronically by 2010 in an effort to reduce prescription drug errors.
(July 31, 2006)
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Quality Care Pilot Posts Improvements
A "pay-for-quality" incentive program conducted by Nashville, Tenn-based insurer HealthSpring reported improved outcomes in several areas of patient care.
(July 31, 2006)
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Opinion: Telemedicine Can Improve Care, But Obstacles Remain
The expansion of Indiana Medicaid coverage to include reimbursement for telemedicine costs is "a major step forward," but other obstacles must be overcome to fully utilize the technology, Gerard Voland -- dean of the School of Engineering, Technology and Computer Science at Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne -- writes in an opinion piece in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.
(July 31, 2006)
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Tommy Thomson briefs Congressional caucus on healthcare IT
Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson told a congressional caucus last week that the decision physicians face today about implementing healthcare information technology is not about whether to go electronic, but how soon. Thompson and other panelists called for federal incentives to boost healthcare IT adoption by physicians.
(July 31, 2006)
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Illinois Medicaid rolls out DM
Now that its new Medicaid disease management program is live, the Illinois Department of Health Care and Family Services is focused on finding the best approach to caring for chronically ill patients. As part of the state’s All Kids Program, which was developed to improve quality and care for the uninsured, the disease management program and the Private Care Case Management Program will target more than 160,000 beneficiaries. The state is seeking to address its significant healthcare issues – the care of chronically ill people and those with co-morbidities in a more coordinated manner, said Anne Marie Murphy, Medicaid director for the department. “We are looking to maximize benefits to treat patients holistically,” she said.
(July 31, 2006)
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Army taps 3M to locate medical files using RFID
The Army awarded 3M a $3.8 million contract to use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to help locate paper medical records at Ft. Hood, Texas.
(July 31, 2006)
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Microsoft gets to work on Azyxxi project
As the hoopla over Microsoft’s announcement last week that it would step into the healthcare market subsides and media demands lessen, Peter Neupert, Microsoft’s vice president of health strategy is getting down to business. The business, as he sees it, is to spread clinical healthcare technology designed by doctors at a hospital in the nation’s capital to hospitals all across the country.
(July 31, 2006)
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Attachment problems thwart GP2GP transfers
Practices involved in the pilot sites for GP2GP record transfer are unable to send attachments electronically because of problems with third party document management systems, it has emerged. The NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) project, which is currently being piloted in Gateshead and the Isle of Wight, has discovered that most third party document management systems cannot extract and pass on scanned documents in electronic format.
(July 31, 2006)
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NHS officially told of London Cerner switch
NHS trusts across the capital today received official confirmation that BT is to replace GE Healthcare – previously IDX Systems – for Cerner as its supplier of electronic patient record software in London.
(July 31, 2006)
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Bed Tracking Software Goes Mobile
Pittsburgh-based TeleTracking Technologies has released a mobile version of its software designed to automate hospital bed management. The vendor's BedTracking Mobile application enables housekeeping supervisors to use PDAs to enter data on bed status, such as occupied, dirty, in progress, clean or clean next. It also enables them to use the mobile hardware to enter pending discharge or transfer status for hospital beds.
(July 31, 2006)
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Lawmakers Introduce Health IT Legislation
Several lawmakers last week introduced new health IT bills.
(July 31, 2006)
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Analysis: National IT 'conversation' urged
There are currently more than 4,000 health IT standards in use, with hundreds of bodies responsible for them -- no wonder then, that doctors and other healthcare providers -- who are being asked to invest tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars -- feel a little like they are putting their money on the roulette wheel. The answer, advocates say, is a "national conversation" so that the waiting game can end and adoption of life- and money-saving health IT can proceed.
(July 28, 2006)
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Nova Scotia Health Network Links Hospitals
A health care imaging network in Nova Scotia, Canada, allows the province's 34 hospitals to electronically share images in an effort to improve care.
(July 28, 2006)
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Pennsylvania Group Considers RHIO
Health care leaders on Wednesday at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania discussed the formation of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Regional Health Information Organization, or NEPA RHIO, which they say would eliminate unnecessary tests and services and reduce costs.
(July 28, 2006)
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Australia Health Officials Endorse E-prescribing
Federal and state health officials in Australia on Thursday "cleared the way for the introduction of electronic prescribing," which they say will reduce errors caused by illegible prescriptions.
(July 28, 2006)
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HIMSS Commends House Leadership on Passage of HIT Legislation
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) sent letters to the Speaker of the House and the Chairmen of the House Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce Committees commending their leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Health Information Technology Promotion Act of 2006 (H.R. 4157) by a vote of 270-148 to help improve healthcare quality for all Americans.
(July 28, 2006)
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NYU Medical Center Receives NIH Grant to Plan Potentially Life-saving IT System for Emergency Departments
NYU Medical Center was recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to begin the planning phase of a regional health information network in the New York City area. The grant is part of a National Library of Medicine sponsored program called Integrated Advanced Information Systems (IAIMS). Known as NYCLIX (for "New York Clinical Information Exchange"), the network will allow Emergency Department (ED) physicians access to clinical background information on patients who may have previously been treated in other participating hospitals. The project encompasses 14 local hospitals.
(July 27, 2006)
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More Providers Surmount Barriers to EHRs
EHR implementation by office-based physicians has increased 31% from 2001 to 2005, despite obstacles to adoption, according to a new report from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. The survey finds that 23.9% of physicians in 2005 used a full or partial EHR system in their office, up from 18.2% in 2001. Adoption dipped slightly to 17.3% of physicians in 2002 and 2003 before increasing to 20.8% in 2004.
(July 27, 2006)
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Long Island Hospitals Invest in Health IT
Hospitals in Long Island, N.Y., are investing millions of dollars in computer software aimed at reducing medical errors.
(July 27, 2006)
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Senators Urge Congress To Act on Health IT Legislation
Sens. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in separate opinion pieces in The Hill on Wednesday urged Congress to move forward with health IT legislation.
(July 27, 2006)
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Study: EHR Adoption Rates Vary By Definition
The rate of electronic health record adoption varies depending on how "adoption" is defined, according to a study of adoption surveys.
(July 27, 2006)
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House Removes 'Price Transparency' Provision From Health IT Bill
House leaders on Wednesday removed from a health care IT bill (HR 4157) a provision that would have required hospitals to make public some price information.
(July 27, 2006)
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Two bills hang in the balance as House prepares for recess
Unexpected opposition from within the Republican Conference yesterday nearly forced GOP leaders in the House to pull two bills expected on the floor today... A measure from Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) to establish initial federal standards for online medical records also ran into opposition when hospital groups rejected language, eventually stripped from the bill, that would have required them to disclose what they charge for medical procedures.
(July 27, 2006)
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MedStar selling its data system
Columbia-based MedStar Health, a seven-hospital system, announced yesterday that Microsoft is buying its system to organize patient data from a variety of sources and make it available to doctors and nurses in a fraction of a second. For MedStar, it means a chance to see a system created by two of its emergency room doctors at Washington Hospital Center, then expanded over the past decade, get developed more fully by the world's biggest software company, with its vast capabilities and marketing prowess.
(July 27, 2006)
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House passes healthcare IT bill
The House approved Thursday the Health Information Technology Promotion Act of 2006 (H.R. 4157). It passed after a motion to send the bill back to committee was defeated in a vote. The final vote was 270-148, despite reports of significant bi-partisan opposition. The bill codifies the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology within the Department of Health and Human Services. It establishes a committee to make recommendations on national standards for medical data storage and develop a permanent structure to govern national interoperability standards.
(July 27, 2006)
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Implantable Chip Called into Action
Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center was able to access the medical records for an injured New Jersey police officer after scanning his implanted radio frequency identification-based chip. This is the first time that a patient implanted with the device, from Delray Beach, Calif.-based VeriChip Corp., was treated at a hospital that could read it, according to the vendor.
(July 27, 2006)
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Senate cuts ONCHIT funding by $52.6M
For the second year in a row, Congress may not grant the funding that President Bush requested for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT). Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee approved an ONCHIT budget for fiscal 2007 of $63.2 million, $52.6 million less than the Bush administration’s request of $115.8 million. The Senate also approved a $50 million health IT funding line in the budget of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
(July 27, 2006)
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Web-based pharmacy first at Tameside
Tameside General Hospital in Lancashire has become the first to implement a new web-based pharmacy solution from Ascribe. The new solution enables users to raise requests for prescriptions to the hospital pharmacy through authorized web-access points. Ascribe says the main benefits are considerable time-savings and further reductions in errors, also that solution also marks a major step towards further integration with other clinical systems within hospitals.
(July 27, 2006)
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Knoxville Pediatric Associates selects Noteworthy Medical Systems Electronic Health Records (EHR)
Noteworthy Medical Systems, Inc., producer of the most user-friendly electronic health records (EHR) system, announced today that Knoxville Pediatric Associates, of Knoxville, TN, has selected the NoteworthyEHR to streamline its office procedures and digitize the records of more than 40,000 patients. Established in 1996, Knoxville Pediatric Associates (KPA) is a large, single specialty pediatric practice in Knoxville. Noteworthy Medical Systems, Inc., produces the market’s only EHR with zero failures and 100% user adoption.
(July 27, 2006)
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YOUR VIEWS: EHRs are not ready for prime time
I could not agree more that EHRs are unlikely to bring even 10% of the expected benefits and at probably at least double the largest cost estimate. This is especially true of the small or solo physician groups.
(July 26, 2006)
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Physician EHR Use Up, Report Finds
Electronic health record system adoption among office-based physicians has increased from 18.2% in 2001 to 23.9% in 2005, a report by the National Center for Health Statistics finds.
(July 26, 2006)
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Canadian Health IT Vendors Urge Support for Standard
Canada's health industry is debating whether to adopt the latest version of an electronic messaging standard for patient records or to keep one that several organizations already have adopted.
(July 26, 2006)
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Alabama Hospital Invests $20M in Health IT System
Jackson Hospital in Alabama is investing $20 million in a computer system that aims to improve efficiency and reduce medical errors.
(July 26, 2006)
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Military Physicians Test Telemedicine System
Military physicians and nurses tested a telemedicine system that aims to ease the shortage of on-site trauma surgeons during an exercise at Air National Guard base Volk Field in Wisconsin on Tuesday.
(July 26, 2006)
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AHIC is told EHR adoption rates are a matter of definition
The rate of electronic health-record adoption for physicians and hospitals depends upon how you define "adoption," according to a study of adoption surveys presented to the American Health Information Community's EHR work group Tuesday. Director of the Harvard Medical School's Institute for Health Policy David Blumenthal and Chair of the George Washington University Medical Center's Department of Health Policy Sara Rosenbaum presented their findings that showed adoption rates ranged from 23.9% to 9.3% depending on the definition of "full or partial use."
(July 26, 2006)
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HIMSS and eHI Present Joint Testimony Before NCVHS Hearing
Former HIMSS Board Chair Blackford Middleton, MD, MPH, MSc, FACMI, FACP, FHIMSS presented joint testimony on behalf of HIMSS and eHealth Initiative (eHI) before the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) Ad-Hoc Workgroup on the Nationwide Health Information Network on Functional Requirements for the Nationwide Health Information Network on July 26. “Innovative programs designed to facilitate public and private sector seed funding of emerging health information exchange efforts must be developed and implemented if goals related to widespread interoperability are to be achieved,” said Dr. Middleton. “While federal efforts can play a critical role in addressing this challenge, they should be designed to stimulate investment by the private sector as well as state and local government agencies to facilitate widespread interoperability.”
(July 26, 2006)
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HIMSS Urges Congress to Improve Healthcare Quality with Passage of HIT Legislation
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) today urged the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Health Information Technology Promotion Act of 2006 (H.R. 4157) to improve healthcare quality for all Americans. “We urge members of the House to expeditiously pass this legislation now as a critical step toward realizing the President’s goal of electronic health records for most Americans,” said HIMSS President/CEO H. Stephen Lieber. “We believe that H.R. 4157 contains provisions such as grants funding and Stark Reform that will help the industry to fulfill President Bush’s goal of most Americans having an electronic health record by the year 2014. The passage of this legislation is critical to moving us towards these benefits.”
(July 26, 2006)
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Emerging technologies make best possible medical care more accessible
In my home state of Washington, we know that technology can revolutionize businesses and communities. We’ve seen it with Microsoft, with biofuels and at our research universities. And those of us whose communities it has touched know that it is far past time that we use that same innovation to transform our nation’s healthcare system. By expanding health information technology everywhere from bustling urban centers to rural America, we will see fewer medical errors, increased efficiency and healthier patients. Health IT makes the best possible medical care much more accessible.
(July 26, 2006)
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`Telehealth' systems slowly gaining
For the past month, 82-year-old Salvatore Fischer has been getting a daily check-up in his North End apartment. But instead of a visiting nurse, his healthcare provider is a compact touch-screen monitor that would look right at home in the Jetsons' kitchen.
(July 26, 2006)
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Experts: E-Script Goal Unrealistic
The Institute of Medicine's call for all prescribers and pharmacies to be using electronic prescription software by 2010 isn't likely to happen, observers say.
(July 26, 2006)
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States to get $150M for Medicaid upgrades
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will distribute $150 million to states in the next two years for Medicaid program improvements, with an emphasis on using information technology to cut costs and improve quality.
(July 26, 2006)
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Senate directs DOD to use VA EHR architecture
The Senate directed the Defense Department to adopt the Department of Veterans Affairs’ electronic health record (EHR) architecture in its version of the VA 2007 Appropriations bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on July 21.
(July 26, 2006)
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Insurer Adopts PHRs
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia beginning in late August will offer its 3.1 million members an Internet-based personal health record
(July 25, 2006)
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Author says EHR gospel 'Ain't Necessarily So'
Healthcare information technology has drawn a crowd of advocates who think electronic health records will help cut healthcare costs, but they will get an argument from the author of a provocatively titled article, It Ain't Necessarily So: The Electronic Health Record and the Unlikely Prospect of Reducing Healthcare Costs, in the current issue of the policy journal Health Affairs.
(July 25, 2006)
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athenahealth Introduces Healthcare Industry's First Economically Sustainable, Service-Based EMR Offering for Medical Practices
athenahealth, Inc., the premier provider of web-based software, knowledge, and services for medical practices, has unveiled the industry's first economically sustainable, web-based electronic medical record (EMR) service designed to provide physicians with proven return on investment (ROI).
(July 25, 2006)
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Triad Hospitals, Inc. Selects Electronic Medical Record Technology From McKesson to Connect Its Physicians Across U.S.
McKesson today announced an agreement with Triad Hospitals, Inc., to deploy McKesson's Horizon Ambulatory Care™ electronic medical record (EMR) solution to nearly 775 employed physicians practicing out of 195 clinics across the country.
(July 25, 2006)
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Survey: More doctors use EMRs
Physicians’ use of electronic medical records (EMRs) systems increased by nearly a third between 2001 and 2005, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics. The center, an agency of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported that one-fourth of physicians who see patients in their offices used either partial or complete EMR systems last year, based on data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.
(July 25, 2006)
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House set to vote on health IT bill
The House is expected to vote July 27 on a health information technology bill, keeping advocates’ hopes alive for enactment this year. After more than a month of negotiations, the two committees that had approved similar bills agreed on a single, 67-page version called the Health Information Technology Promotion Act of 2006. It would create a permanent Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.
(July 25, 2006)
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$330,000 to develop new network
A local health-care alliance was awarded $330,338 to create an electronic information network that connects hospitals, clinics and physicians serving low-income and uninsured patients.
(July 25, 2006)
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Schwarzenegger Calls for Expanding EHR Use
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Monday announced that he has signed an executive order asking state agency leaders to develop plans for spending at least $240 million to expand the use of electronic health record technology in rural communities and by health providers who serve low-income residents.
(July 25, 2006)
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Governor Wants More I.T. in California
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has signed an executive order outlining a series of steps to accelerate the adoption of health care information technology in the state. Executive Order S-12-06 calls on the leaders of several state agencies to devise financing strategies to assist providers in rapidly adopting I.T.
(July 25, 2006)
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Universal e-prescribing recommended for US
All prescribers and pharmacies should be using e-prescriptions by 2010, US experts on drug error prevention have recommended. A report from the Institute of Medicine’s committee on identifying and preventing medication errors says that greater use of information technology in prescribing and dispensing medicines is one of the main steps that should be taken to reduce errors.
(July 25, 2006)
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Athenahealth Goes Clinical
Watertown, Mass.-based athenahealth Inc. for several years has offered to physician practices remotely hosted practice management software bundled with outsourced billing and collections services. Now, the vendor has made commercially available athenaClinicals, combining hosted electronic medical records software with outsourced medical records department services... The vendor will enroll physicians in pay-for-performance programs and the EMR includes coding and workflow software to remind physicians to perform and document certain tasks to meet P4P requirements.
(July 25, 2006)
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With new software, medical histories can be kept at home
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital's free software makes maintaining records easier. This could be vital in an emergency.
(July 24, 2006)
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JAMIA: Customization Aids Clinical Decision Support
Automated clinical decision support tools embedded in clinical information systems can improve patient care, but few organizations are creating rules and benefiting from clinical decision support, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
(July 24, 2006)
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California health facility pilots PHRs
Eskaton Senior Residences and Services, a California nonprofit consortium of senior housing and health facilities, launched last week a personal health record (PHR) pilot program for its residents. “There is a need for repository for records. Paper gets lost so easily,” said Marilyn Kennedy, executive director at one of Eskaton’s more than 25 facilities in northern California. “All of us keep our medical information in some place – a file, a box. This enables residents to take their medical information and put in into an electronic health record.”
(July 24, 2006)
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ViPS and WebMD, Units of Emdeon, Awarded Contract by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Emdeon Corporation's (Nasdaq: HLTH) subsidiaries ViPS and WebMD Health Corp. (Nasdaq: WBMD) today announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) has awarded the companies a six-month contract to conduct a personal health record (PHR) feasibility test to determine how claims data can be used to populate a PHR.
(July 24, 2006)
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Certification: Good Step or Fluff?
Reaction to the first certifications of electronic medical records software varies among consultants specializing in helping clients pick an information technology vendor. The industry-sponsored Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology, now working under a federal contract, recently certified 20 vendors of ambulatory EMRs as meeting specific criteria for functionality, interoperability and security/reliability.
(July 24, 2006)
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Survey: Physician EMR Use Grows
An annual survey of physician use of electronic medical records shows 23.9% of office-based physicians used full or partial EMRs in 2005. That compares with 20.8% in 2004 and 17.3% in 2003.
(July 24, 2006)
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Bill would give HHS 2 years to build disease-detecting network
A Senate committee bill passed this month would give the Department of Health and Human Services two years to build a network that would detect catastrophic disease outbreaks. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved the bill, S. 3678, which would shift the responsibility for public health and emergency medical programs to HHS. The Homeland Security Department is currently in charge of those programs, including the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS). Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), sponsored the bill, which won support from Democrats and Republicans. It calls for HHS to “establish a near real-time electronic nationwide public health situational awareness capability,” linking existing state systems. It would collect data from sources volunteering to supply it, including public health departments, federal health agencies, biosurveillance systems, health care providers and laboratories.
(July 24, 2006)
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Health-care IT vendors urge Infoway to reconsider standard stance
Canada’s health sector is debating whether to move ahead with the latest version of an electronic messaging standard for patient records or to stick with the one that several organizations have already adopted.
(July 24, 2006)
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CMO highlights e-health initiatives
A new programme using e-mail alerts, chat rooms and on-line notice boards has been developed to fight “consistently high” levels of obesity in the East Midlands.
(July 24, 2006)
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Frist praises push to create e-medical records network
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Saturday praised efforts of three Tennessee health information organizations to put patients' medical records instantly in the hands of doctors — regardless of where the patients go for treatment. "There is no question in my mind what we are talking about today is transformative," said Frist, a Tennessee Republican and the only surgeon in the Senate. Frist has sponsored the Wired for Health Care Quality Act to promote electronic medical record exchanges nationally — something he says could be a medical breakthrough that not only improves quality of care but also reduces costs and waste. "The ideal system would be where you as a patient and your physician can within seconds access your medical records, your past medical history, your current treatment and what diagnoses you might have had," Frist said. "Secondly, you would want a system that has every medicine that you are on, plus an explanation of the potential complications of those medications. That is the gold standard."
(July 23, 2006)
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MinuteClinic Uses EHRs
MinuteClinic non-urgent care facilities utilize an electronic health records system developed in-house with clinical decision support to quickly provide care.
(July 21, 2006)
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Electronic prescribing seen as a key in preventing medication errors
Widespread use of electronic prescribing systems by all physicians is a key proposal in a national plan to significantly reduce medication errors proposed by an Institute of Medicine committee. The report estimates that medication errors affect 1.5 million people and costs the nation at least $3.5 billion annually, not including expenses for lost wages and productivity. Among its action steps for consumers, physicians, healthcare organizations and the government, the committee called for all prescriptions to be written electronically by 2010.
(July 21, 2006)
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Feds May Add Claims Data to PHRs
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service is studying the feasibility of populating personal health records with Medicare claims data. The program is part of an effort to boost online tools for Medicare beneficiaries. CMS recently awarded two contracts totaling about $500,000 to test the transfer of claims data into PHRs.
(July 21, 2006)
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IOM: E-Prescribing for All by 2010
All prescribers and pharmacies in the United States should be using electronic prescription technology by 2010, a new report from the Institute of Medicine recommends. The report, "Preventing Medication Errors," concludes errors are "surprisingly common" and costly to the nation. "When all types of errors are taken into account, a hospital patient can expect on average to be subjected to more than one medication error each day," according to the report.
(July 21, 2006)
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RFID records to be implanted in 280 patients
RFID implant manufacturers VeriChip have announced that 280 patients from the New Jersey area are have health records chips inserted under their skin as part of a trial into the use of the technology to manage long-term conditions.
(July 21, 2006)
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Bush Mandate Helps Boost U.S. Healthcare IT Spending on EHRs, Says Health Industry Insights
Information Technology (IT) spending for the electronic health record (EHR) market in the U.S. will increase from 1.1 billion in 2005 to $4.8 billion in 2015, a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.8 percent, according to market research by Health Industry Insights, an IDC company. The analysts have also released reports putting EHR and EMR terminologies into context, and the role of payers in promoting EHR adoption.
(July 20, 2006)
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Vendors pleased with certification process
Like graduate students having completed their oral exams, vendors of electronic medical-records systems that passed muster with the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology are happy that it's over and are preparing to reap the rewards of their achievement. CCHIT announced Tuesday that 20 products had met its criteria and received certification in the first round of a voluntary, private-sector testing program induced and supported by David Brailer, former head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS. CCHIT has a three-year contract with ONCHIT to establish a healthcare IT systems testing and certification procedure.
(July 20, 2006)
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Henry Ford's e-prescriptions surpass 1 million
Henry Ford Medical Group has filled more than 1 million prescriptions electronically since it launched a program last year at the request of American automakers to cut costs by boosting the use of generic drugs. The 17-month-old e-prescribe system also flags potential errors, and the medical group reports that it has saved lives and money by helping doctors avoid dangerous drug complications and increasing the use of generic and low-cost prescriptions. Henry Ford expects e-prescribing to save the Detroit-based health system $1 million this year.
(July 20, 2006)
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Clinical Information System Tailored for Long-Term Care
The Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation in Goshen, N.Y., is reaping benefits from a clinical information system -- including physician order entry -- that's tailored specifically for the underserved long-term-care market. Its experiment could signal a new direction for the industry, where pent-up demand for adequate information technology might finally be satisfied for a reasonable cost through an application-service-provider model combined with relatively economical wireless networks and devices.
(July 20, 2006)
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Q&A: Glen Tullman, CEO, Allscripts
Allscripts, already a major force in large-practice EHRs, recently acquired A4 Health Systems, bolstering its strength in the small-practice market. Health-IT World asked CEO Glen Tullman about the merger and the market.
(July 20, 2006)
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West Virginia To Begin EHR Project
The West Virginia Health Information Network with two grants and a recently named board of directors is set to begin work on electronic health record implementation across the state.
(July 20, 2006)
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Health Industry Insights' Study Reveals $3.7 Billion Increase in IT Spending for Electronic Health Record Market; IDC Research Firm Releases Series of Reports on EHR Market, Definitions and Trends
In a report published today by IDC's Health Industry Insights, the research and advisory firm forecasts total information technology (IT) spending for the electronic health record (EHR) market in the United States to increase to $4.8 billion in 2015. The study reveals a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.8% in the EHR market over the next ten years, with current spending in that market estimated at $1.1 billion in 2005. "We're seeing a renewed interest and investment in healthcare IT, sparked by President Bush's federal mandate to create electronic medical records for Americans by 2014 and re-ignited earlier this week by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology's (CCHIT) product certification announcement," says Lynne Dunbrack, Program Director of Payer Research at Health Industry Insights, and lead author of the report. "All of this is helping to create a new tipping point for EHRs and lots of opportunity in this space."
(July 20, 2006)
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HHS Advisors Explore PHR Issues
The consumer empowerment workgroup of the American Health Information Community will hold a public hearing on July 27 to hear testimony on issues pertaining to personal health records.
(July 20, 2006)
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Carle Clinic Live on E-Records
Carle Clinic Association has implemented electronic medical records software used by 2,900 clinicians and staff at its main campus in Urbana, Ill., and at 10 regional clinics. Carle Clinic's 300 physicians practice in more than 50 specialties or subspecialties.
(July 20, 2006)
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Report calls for universal e-prescribing by 2010
The Institute of Medicine recommended today that physicians electronically write all prescriptions by 2010. In a new report, “Preventing Medication Errors,” the institute also called for the adoption of other forms of health information technology, including electronic medical records and personal health records, to reduce the high rate of medication errors in the United States.
(July 20, 2006)
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Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Approves Increase in HIT Funding
The Fiscal Year 2007 Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations bill was approved by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS and Education on July 18, 2006. The $605.6 billion spending bill includes $142.8 billion in discretionary funding for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Social Security Administration.
(July 19, 2006)
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Blue Cross of Louisiana Plans Outlines Health Care Strategy
With Louisiana healthcare being revamped and being considered as a template nationally, one of the major participants in Louisiana, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana says that it will use unexpectedly strong 2005 net income to further moderate premium rate increases even as overall health care costs continue to rise. The company also plans to invest in rebuilding health care in Louisiana in the aftermath of the hurricanes... One of the company’s key corporate goals for 2006 is to play a pivotal role in rebuilding Louisiana’s health care system, including the development of state-of-the-art health information technology to support it.
(July 19, 2006)
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New England Docs to Get eRx
An initial group of 100 physicians in the New England Quality Care Alliance will receive electronic prescription technology from DrFirst Inc., Rockville, Md.
(July 19, 2006)
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Commission certifies first 20 EHRs
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) announced July 18 that it has certified 20 electronic health record (EHR) products for use in clinics and doctor’s offices. The Department of Health and Human Services awarded CCHIT a $2.7 million contract in September 2005 to develop a process for certifying EHRs that can eventually interoperate with other EHRs, have functions health care practitioners need and include security features that can protect personal health information. HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said CCHIT certification “removes a significant barrier to widespread adoption of EHRs. It gives health care providers peace of mind to know they are purchasing a product that is functional and interoperable and will bring higher-quality, safer care to patients.” The CCHIT Certified seal indicates that the electronic health systems comply with a consensus-based benchmark. That reduces the risk for health care practitioners looking to adopt EHRs, the commission said.
(July 19, 2006)
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Online clinical incident reporting cuts admin
A primary care trust has deployed a web-based reporting tool to log clinical incidents in real time. Last month 64% of incidents were logged online and the trust says deployment of the system is already significantly reducing the administrative and managerial burden of reporting clinical incidents and has led to closer working between the clinical governance team and specialist staff.
(July 19, 2006)
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WellPoint to package records online
WellPoint Inc. wants you to have your own medical record. A "personal health record," made up of the insurance claims, lab tests and similar information, is at the heart of an initiative the Indianapolis insurer is rolling out nationwide. The 360 Health program, announced Monday, also is designed to give people ready access to advice and information on wellness, diseases and conditions, as well as online tools to help them manage their own health care, according to WellPoint.
(July 18, 2006)
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New HIMSS chairman looks forward to global initiatives
Keep the organization membership-driven and focused on the needs of its members, review its governance structure including board composition, and work on a successful launch of global initiatives, that's what Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer George Hickman said will be the priorities during his one-year term, which began July 1, as Health Information and Management Systems Society chairman. Or more simply, Hickman said his goals can be summarized as delivering everything HIMSS has on its table the best it can and to do well the things that it's doing. To further this goal, he said HIMSS has just started working on an assessment of its board and its strategic plan.
(July 18, 2006)
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Leavitt: Deny Contracts to Companies That Resist Federal Standards
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Monday told four governors attending the annual Southern Governors Association conference that denying state contracts to health care companies that do not use federally approved software standards would aid the effort to adopt electronic health records.
(July 18, 2006)
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Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey to Sponsor Two-Year Pilot With Hackensack University Medical Center to Implant Medical Microchips in Chronically Ill Patients
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state's oldest and largest health insurer, announced today a two-year collaboration with Hackensack University Medical Center, its physicians, and the VeriChip Corporation (VeriChip) to implant FDA-approved microchips in chronically ill patients enabling emergency room physicians to access those patients' medical record electronically. The microchips provide immediate access to family contact information and information about the patients' medical histories that could mean the difference between life and death in an emergency.
(July 18, 2006)
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Baylor downtown to start $53M ER expansion
The expansion will increase the department's size to 78,000 square feet from 20,681 square feet and add a physician referral center and electronic medical record system. The $53 million expansion will add another CT room, increase the number of emergency bays to 12 and double the number of trauma rooms to four.
(July 18, 2006)
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CCHIT Announces First Certified Electronic Health Record Products
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt announced today that the first ambulatory electronic health record (EHR) products have been certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHITSM). Twenty EHR products achieved CCHIT CertifiedSM status after undergoing inspections that demonstrated their compliance with CCHIT’s published criteria. Inspections are continuing, with additional results to be announced at the end of July and quarterly thereafter.
(July 18, 2006)
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States Ramping Up Data Exchange Work
States are becoming more involved in regional health information organizations and other health data exchanges, according to preliminary results of a survey of 165 programs.
(July 18, 2006)
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Hospital Buys Palm Devices
The University Hospital Cincinnati has purchased 500 mobile devices from Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Palm Inc. and is offering physicians mobile access to clinical data.
(July 18, 2006)
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State-level health info exchanges increasing
In the past two years, most states have begun to plan, operate or support health information exchanges, according to initial results of a survey by the eHealth Initiative. Only seven states have completed their planning and begun implementing state-level regional health information organizations (RHIOs), but 28 more are planning theirs now, the organization reported. Nearly a third of the states have little or no coordinated state-level activity, however, the report states.
(July 18, 2006)
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Public awareness low on e-health services
A picture of low public awareness of electronic health services emerges from a new survey of users with NHS Direct, the 24 hour online and telephone advice service, proving to be the exception to the rule. The ntl:Telewest Digital NHS 2006 Study found that, while 72% of respondents had heard of NHS Direct, recognition rates were much lower for newer services such as Choose and Book (5%) and HealthSpace (1%). Over a quarter (28%) had never heard of any of the services and 92% said that their GP had not told them about the new options, including NHS Direct.
(July 18, 2006)
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Warning on good practice in data sharing
The Information Commissioner (IC) has issued a warning to the government and other public bodies to share data properly or risk losing public confidence.
(July 18, 2006)
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Report: Health IT Spending Up
Health care IT spending is increasing, according to a report from the American Hospital Association.
(July 17, 2006)
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Governor: Make E-Prescribing Real
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich wants all physicians in the state to be using electronic prescribing technology by 2011. The governor has signed an executive order creating a new patient safety division in the Department of Public Health. The division is charged, in part, with formulating a plan to bring universal e-prescribing in the state to fruition.
(July 17, 2006)
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Perspective: Cracking the RHIO sustainability code
Can regional health information organizations (RHIOs) be self-sustaining? Some industry experts say it’s going to take a few more years of maturity in the market before that question can be adequately answered.
(July 17, 2006)
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Rethinking Potential of Personal Health Records is Goal of New RWJF Program
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today issued a call for proposals for a new program to stimulate innovations in personal health information technology. The national initiative, called Project HealthDesign: Rethinking the Power and Potential of Personal Health Records, encourages technology pioneers to design the next generation of personal health record (PHR) systems in ways that empower patients to better manage their health and health care. The $3.5 million program will support up to 10 multidisciplinary teams in a collaborative effort to design and test innovative PHR applications that can be built upon a common technology platform.
(July 17, 2006)
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New program to advance personal health care through technology
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today issued a call for proposals for a new program to stimulate innovations in personal health information technology.
(July 17, 2006)
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Chronically Ill to Get RFID Implants
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Newark, will pay for a select group of its chronically ill members to be implanted with a radio frequency identification chip from Delray Beach, Calif.-based VeriChip Corp. The technology is part of the vendor's VeriChip system, which is designed to provide emergency physicians with secure access to patients' electronic records.
(July 17, 2006)
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HIMSS Electronic Health Record Vendors Association (EHRVA) Supports EHR Product Certification and Calls for Stakeholders to Accelerate EHR Adoption
With this week’s expected announcement of the first group of Electronic Health Record (EHR) products to pass the CCHIT certification process, EHRVA recognizes this achievement and calls on industry stakeholders to do more to accelerate EHR adoption.
(July 17, 2006)
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HIMSS Reports: Louisiana Kicks Off Redesign of Healthcare Delivery System
Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and the Louisiana Health Care Redesign Collaborative hosted a charter-signing ceremony with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt to officially kick off the process of changing health care delivery in Louisiana.
(July 17, 2006)
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Eclipsys Aligns with athenahealth
Eclipsys Corp. will offer its Sunrise Ambulatory Clinicals electronic medical records software for physician practices combined with practice management software and outsourced billing/collections services from athenahealth Inc.
(July 17, 2006)
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Wirral rolls out electronic ordering to GPs
GP practices across Wirral and surrounding areas in North-west England are due to rollout a new electronic ordering system for laboratory tests.
(July 17, 2006)
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Managing Change in the Context of a Community Health Information Infrastructure
Building health information infrastructure in communities is very challenging. One important reason is that it requires fundamental changes in how nearly everyone in health care does their job every day. Such massive change is never easy — and is never easy to manage.
(July 16, 2006)
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Grant to fund formation of rural health network
Some rural health care providers in Orange, Crawford, Dubois, Spencer and Perry counties have received a $540,000 grant from the Health Resources Services Administration. The grant will help form the South Central Indiana Regional Health Care Network. “The South Central Indiana Regional Health Care Network is an integrated health network that brings together Bloomington Hospital; Bloomington Hospital of Orange County; the Bloomington E-Health Collaborative; Southern Indiana Community Health Care, a rural primary health care organization; and Southern Hills Counseling Center, a community mental health center,” said Dr. Todd Rowland, director of medical informatics at Bloomington Hospital.
(July 15, 2006)
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IT Tools Can Aid Local Health Efforts
The collection of local health information has great potential to help communities identify problems and develop solutions, but barriers such as the development of proper IT systems to collect and disseminate the information and privacy concerns are holding back officials and community organizations from being able to capitalize on the information, according to a paper in the current issue of Health Affairs.
(July 14, 2006)
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WellPoint To Use Surgeon Group's Database
WellPoint will use performance data from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons' National Adult Cardiac Surgery Database to update its quality improvement and pay-for-performance programs.
(July 14, 2006)
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Cardiologists take EMRs to heart
Wake Heart and Vascular Associates, the largest cardiology group in eastern North Carolina, has completed installation of electronic medical record technology. Cardiologists at Wake Heart and Vascular see between 25 to 30 patients per day, and usually spend a couple hours each day on paperwork. An EMR cuts down on the time spent on patient charts so that the physician can focus more on patient care.
(July 14, 2006)
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Group to announce certified EHR vendors
A group that certifies healthcare information technology products on Tuesday will announce the first set of vendors to achieve certification for electronic health records used in doctors’ offices and other ambulatory care settings.
(July 14, 2006)
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Four new areas for IT policy named by DH
Four significant new areas for NHS information and IT policy are identified in the Department of Health’s new plans for commissioning services in England. The newly-published plan for the NHS commissioning framework says consultations with 150 stakeholders indicate that the patient-centered approach of the current information strategy is right - but four new areas for attention are identified.
(July 14, 2006)
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Clinicians warn CRS will damage confidentiality
Concerns about the negative impact that the planned national database of patient records, the NHS Care Record Service national record, will have on patient confidentiality have been voiced by frontline doctors.
(July 14, 2006)
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A different EMR pricing structure: guaranteed ROI
Frank Rhie has been selling information-technology systems targeting the tough-to-penetrate, small physician-office market for nearly a decade and, in a recent candid interview, said he has the mistakes to prove it. Alteer Corp., which Rhie co-founded in 1996, started as an application service provider, hit the same wall as other ASP electronic medical-records system vendors with early buyer resistance to that approach and followed the market to a site-license sales model. Alteer is now refocusing on selling ASP services for its suite of electronic medical-records and practice-management systems, but with a kicker, reducing physician's fear of risk in investing in IT by offering the software free upfront, while guaranteeing them a return on investment within the first 12 months.
(July 13, 2006)
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Mississippi To Provide Health Info Via E-mail, Internet
The Mississippi Department of Health on Wednesday announced that this fall it will begin delivering disease information to health professionals via e-mail, the Internet or mail.
(July 13, 2006)
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Louisiana Looks Toward Healthcare Redesign
Information technology will be a centerpiece of an ambitious plan to rebuild the crippled healthcare infrastructure in Louisiana to a higher standard than what existed before Hurricane Katrina, according to a top state health official. "We're trying to build a better mousetrap," says Roxanne Townsend, M.D., Medicaid medical director at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
(July 13, 2006)
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Case Study: Clinical Lab Uses Print Server to Send Secure Diagnostics to Doctors
The average turnaround time for the results of a blood test can be anywhere between three and five business days. For patients waiting for results to yield treatments such as diabetes, Lou Gehrig's disease, or sickle-cell anemia, waiting that long can seem like an eternity. Doctors and lab technicians are constantly working together to both provide specimen samples and test samples to properly diagnose various ailments for the patients they treat. In a patient-sensitive environment, not only are quick results ideal for an immediate diagnosis, but doctors also need the confidential information in a format that is conducive to their work environment. Health Line Clinical Laboratories, the largest and fastest-growing privately held clinical laboratory in California, needed to increase the turnaround time of test results for doctors; however, Health Line knew that they needed the results presented in hard copy, since doctors prefer a method that allows them to maintain a file of all client activity. Health Line looked for an online reporting system that automatically pushes pending and final lab results directly to secure printers in hundreds of doctor's offices.
(July 13, 2006)
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Online Scheduling Benefits Patients and Physicians
Outpatient medical practices looking for a way to streamline appointment scheduling might consider installing a scheduling system from Nexsched, in Marcellus, N.Y.
(July 13, 2006)
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House wrangles with HIT bill
House lawmakers are still working to hammer out differences between two versions of a healthcare information technology bill before Congress. The Health Information Technology Promotion Act (H.R. 4157) has two competing versions – one in the House Energy and Commerce Committee and one in the House Ways and Means Committee.
(July 13, 2006)
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Digital Hospital Uses Tablet PCs
An article in the current issue of Health Management Technology looks at how Saint Clare Hospital in Wisconsin has implemented Tablet PCs to streamline access to clinical information and improve care quality.
(July 13, 2006)
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Massachusetts Medical Society Compares EHR Vendors
The group is negotiating prices with electronic health record vendors to help its members implement the technology in their practices.
(July 13, 2006)
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Report finds healthcare IT spending increasing
Citing industry analysts Sheldon I Dorenfest & Associates, the American Hospital Association (AHA) says healthcare IT expenditure is on the increase, with nearly $31 billion spent in 2006 compared with $19 billion in 2000. Furthermore, this growth is set to continue, fueled by purchases of picture archiving and communications systems, as well as computerized provider order entry systems.
(July 13, 2006)
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Pilot To Evaluate Usefulness of Online PHRs for Seniors
Intel and Eskaton, a senior care not-for-profit organization in California, are launching a pilot program to determine whether Internet-based personal health records help seniors manage their health care and medical information online.
(July 13, 2006)
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GM Leader: Enact I.T. Law This Year
G. Richard Wagoner Jr., chair and CEO at General Motors Corp., pushed Congress on July 13 to pass legislation to encourage accelerated adoption of health care information technology.
(July 13, 2006)
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Troubled child health system to be replaced
NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) looks set to replace an interim child health information system deployed in London last year and has already halted plans to extend it to include a community module.
(July 13, 2006)
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The future with electronic medical records: Effective, flexible, affordable
Private practice physicians within a hospital are in an odd position. They don't work for the hospital, but without them the hospital would find it difficult to remain open. Because physicians rarely are tied to any one hospital, they might visit several hospitals during the course of a day or week. And at each hospital, physicians have to work within that hospital's clinical information system (CIS).
(July 12, 2006)
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Tracking Computer-Based Error Reports Improves Patient Safety
To err is human, but asking nurses, physicians and other hospital staff to report medication errors and log them into a computer database can help improve patient safety systems as well as human error rates, according to a study from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. Voluntary error-reporting systems are not new, but few studies have looked at the accuracy of the reporting and its impact, the Hopkins investigators say.
(July 12, 2006)
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Personal and (maybe) confidential
Personal health records are probably the hottest thing in healthcare information technology right now, with the potential of becoming a key information-sharing vehicle for hundreds of millions of Americans in the next several years. In May, officials at America's Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association said they were working on a data-sharing program that could provide the basics of a portable PHR for their respective members. AHIP claims its member plans, which include most but not all Blues plans, cover more than 200 million Americans.
(July 12, 2006)
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Medical society does the shopping for Massachusetts docs
The Massachusetts Medical Society is doing its part to help its members implement electronic medical records in their practices. Figuring that cost and finding the right technology are the major barriers to adoption, the society decided to do the shopping and negotiate a good price for its members, said B Dale Magee, MD, president-elect of the medical society and head of the committee that selected software for the members to consider. “Electronic medical records can benefit all of our members, whether they care for patients in large or small practices,” said Kenneth R. Peelle, MD, president of the medical society. The society narrowed the number of vendors to four: e-MDs in Austin, Texas; eClinicalWorks in Westborough, Mass; Chicago-based Allscripts; and NextGen in Horsham, Pa.
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Pennsylvania Hospital To Expand Telemedicine Program
Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Pennsylvania has received a $500,000 grant from the Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust to help expand its tele-intensivist program.
(July 12, 2006)
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2007 National Patient Safety Goals
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has announced the 2007 National Patient Safety Goals and related Requirements for each of its accreditation programs and its Disease-Specific Care certification program. The Goals and Requirements, recently approved by the Joint Commission's Board of Commissioners, apply to the nearly 15,000 Joint Commission-accredited and certified health care organizations and programs.
(July 12, 2006)
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IHI 100,000 Lives Campaign Exceeds Goal
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has announced that U.S. hospitals taking part in an unprecedented 18-month effort to prevent 100,000 unnecessary deaths by dramatically improving patient care have exceeded that goal. Hospitals enrolled in the 100,000 Lives Campaign have collectively prevented an estimated 122,300 avoidable deaths and, as importantly, have begun to institutionalize new standards of care that will continue to save lives and improve health outcomes into the future.
(July 12, 2006)
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SPECIAL REPORT: HIT Legislation on the Horizon
According to David W. Roberts, MPA, FHIMSS, vice president for government relations for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), "President Bush may become only the second U.S. president in history to sign major health information technology (HIT) legislation; the first being President Clinton, who signed the HIPAA legislation in 1996.
(July 12, 2006)
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Intel Brings Medical Records to Seniors
Intel and Eskaton, an elder care non-profit based in California, recently announced that they will begin investigating the best way to bring Internet-based personal health records to the elderly residents of Eskaton facilities. To evaluate the usefulness of Internet-based health files, Eskaton is starting a pilot program with some of its residents who volunteered to participate to help them manage their own health and medical information online.
(July 12, 2006)
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Survey: Web-based Tools Favored for PHR Devices
Forty percent of health care IT professionals said personal health record devices have the best chance of widespread adoption if they are in a Web-based tool format, according to a survey by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
(July 12, 2006)
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Wyoming Hospital Adopts EHRs
United Medical Center in Cheyenne, Wyo., has implemented an electronic health record system to improve safety and efficiency.
(July 11, 2006)
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Health Affairs paper: EHR savings, benefits questionable
It’s unclear whether electronic health records will reduce healthcare costs or improve care, according to a new paper in the journal Health Affairs. The author argues that a literature review of studies on EHRs show that the technology can lead to increased billing, make doctors less productive and does not change provider-to-patient ratios. “Absent other fundamental interventions that alter medical practice, it is unlikely that the U.S. health care bill will decline as a result of the EHR alone,” writes Jaan Sidorov, MD, an associate in the department of general internal medicine at Geisinger Medical Center, in Danville, Pa. The paper, published in the July/August issue of Health Affairs, examined EHRs in ambulatory care. However, the study’s author says the research could also apply to hospitals and other inpatient settings. Sidorov said the paper was not intended to examine all of the arguments in favor of EHRs.
(July 11, 2006)
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Indy ERs Get Access to Drug History
In recent months, 16 hospital emergency departments in the Indianapolis region have implemented an information system to access patient medication history, regardless of where the patient is from.
(July 11, 2006)
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VA Honored As Innovator For Medical Records
When Hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs medical center there was lost -- but medical records for 40,000 veterans were not. That is because since 1998, VA medical records have been computerized, stored and tracked electronically, rather than on paper. That allowed VA doctors in far-flung locations such as Houston, Jackson, Miss., and the District to immediately access records for New Orleans area VA patients who relocated, ensuring that they continued to receive the care and prescriptions they needed.
(July 11, 2006)
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Cost of House health IT bill could jeopardize it
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated the cost of the House health information technology bill reported out by the Energy and Commerce Committee at $38 million over five years, a sum that could be large enough to prevent the bill’s passage.
(July 11, 2006)
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Doctors test out RFID system for handovers
Doctors at the Birmingham's Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust are testing the use of RFID technology for patient handovers... Surgeons scan the tags and verify identity using details in the record and the digital photograph. The tag is also used to record pre-operative checking and making sure that a risk assessment has been done before the patient enters theatre.
(July 11, 2006)
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OHSU Hands Helped Shape National Information Technology Roadmap
Adam T. Wright, Oregon Health & Science University Ph.D. candidate and fellow in medical informatics, and Dean F. Sittig, Ph.D., adjunct professor of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology, played significant roles in developing a “roadmap” commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) aimed at making health information technology an integral part of clinical decision making in the practice of medicine. The plan was presented to HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt.
(July 10, 2006)
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Health info network hires director
The Greater Rochester Health Information Organization has hired a former insurance industry information technology specialist as its first executive director. Ted Kremer is to be responsible for assembling a Rochester area network that ultimately would link local hospitals, physician offices and other medical providers in a secure computer network. If plans go as federal officials hope, such regional health information networks, or RHIOs, eventually will link in a nationwide system that provides instant patient histories to providers anywhere in the country.
(July 10, 2006)
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'Most Wired' Hospitals More Likely to Reach Patients at Home
Online health management "will become the new house call," said Alden Solovy, executive editor of Hospitals & Health Networks, which just published its eighth annual list of the nation's "most wired" hospitals. Four-fifths of the "most wired" hospitals offer patients personal health records into which they can enter and manage their health information, said Solovy. "Consumers are doing everything from booking travel to managing their finances from their living rooms. The 'most wired' hospitals provide the same opportunities with health care."
(July 10, 2006)
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VistA users from Mexico steal show at conference
The biggest stars of the WorldVistA community meeting this year were from Mexico.
(July 10, 2006)
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VA Gets Award for Health Records System
The government's system of maintaining electronic health records for millions of veterans was honored Monday for innovation by Harvard University. The Veterans Affairs Department, which in recent weeks has been riddled with security problems, was one of seven recipients of the annual Innovations in American Government Award. The VA maintains computerized patient records for more than 5 million veterans who use its health care system. That permits health care providers at each of the VA's 1,400 clinics to save time and money by getting full information without the need to run duplicative medical tests, organizers said.
(July 10, 2006)
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Hong Kong EHR Project Grows
An electronic health record project launched in Hong Kong will allow the Hong Kong Hospital Authority and the private sector to share patient information.
(July 10, 2006)
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Slowly, Oh So Slowly, the House Moves on HIT
In between its long recesses, district work days, and other periods of being away from the office, the House has been moving slowly, oh so slowly, toward enacting health care IT legislation.
(July 10, 2006)
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Amendments to HIT Legislation Targets Underserved Communities
HIMSS recently sent thank you letters to Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX) and John D. Dingell (D-MI) for their support in the passing of the Ferguson-Towns Amendment and the Towns-Rush-Wynn Amendment to the Health Information Technology Promotion Act, H.R. 4157.
(July 10, 2006)
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HIMSS Reports: FY07 Federal Appropriations Update
With only 44 legislative days left in the U.S. Senate and even fewer days remaining for the U.S. House before this October's scheduled adjournment for members of congress to return home to campaign for the November 2 election, it appears that the annual appropriations process is slowing down to a halt.
(July 10, 2006)
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I.T. Security Group Starts to Jell
The industry-sponsored eHealth Vulnerability Reporting Program has named chairs for its four working groups. In June, a group of provider and payer organizations started the program to develop ways to bring uniformity to how health information technology security vulnerabilities are identified, communicated and mitigated.
(July 10, 2006)
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Federal health services choose VA imaging standard
Two major federal health services expect to standardize on a medical imaging system that the Department of Veterans Affairs developed and already uses. The Indian Health Service will test the VA’s medical imaging system this summer in its Portland, Ore., area office before deploying it nationwide, top IHS officials said.
(July 10, 2006)
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North Staffs announces 'big bang' implementation
University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust has successfully completed the first phase of a trust-wide ‘big bang’ implementation of a new iSoft patient administration system, together with specialist clinical systems as part of its move towards an electronic patient record.
(July 10, 2006)
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Computers sought to cut waiting times at hospitals
Provincial health ministers who were disappointed to find no money for computer systems in the recent federal budget say they hope that a new report recommending that billions be devoted to that purpose will spur Ottawa to act. The provinces say increased computer technology will help them compare health-care data across jurisdictions, store patient records, create electronic registries and provide diagnostic tools to remote communities. All of those advances are needed, they say, to reduce the waiting times for crucial medical procedures. So it was with some measure of delight that they read the advice of Brian Postl, the federal waiting-times adviser appointed by the previous Liberal government, who urged an expenditure of $2.4-billion over five years on new health-related computer technology.
(July 8, 2006)
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Perspective: Good news for RHIOs
Recent reports on the state of health information exchanges have been cautious at best and dismal at worst. Frost & Sullivan’s study U.S. Regional Health Information Organizations and Exchanges (RHIOs and HIEs) notes that the trend for RHIO looks good. The study, which was released in late May, highlights the latest concepts and topics that address and shape the regional health information organization and exchange market. Steve Tobin, industry analyst for healthcare information technologies, said that while he doesn’t expect an explosion of RHIOs any time soon, the future is bright.
(July 7, 2006)
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Minnesota Clinics Adopt Pay-for-Performance Programs
Minnesota primary care clinics are participating in a new public reporting system and a pay-for-performance system that rewards clinics that help diabetics reach optimal health.
(July 7, 2006)
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Reports Suggest Cerner Might Expand Role in NHS IT Project
An English Web site has "boosted speculation" that Cerner might replace GE Healthcare as the major software subcontractor for the London segment of the National Health Service's electronic health record project.
(July 7, 2006)
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Alzheimer's Patients Receive Microchips
Five Alzheimer's patients in Puerto Rico on Thursday voluntarily had microchips implanted in their forearms to provide data about their medical condition and contact information for their physicians and caregivers.
(July 7, 2006)
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HIMSS Reports: 2006 National Infrastructure Protection Plan Released
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today the completion of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), a comprehensive risk management framework that clearly defines critical infrastructure protection roles and responsibilities for all levels of government, private industry, nongovernmental agencies and tribal partners.
(July 7, 2006)
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Health-information exchange gets 1st funding
Georgia health-care leaders are inching closer to the goal of creating an information exchange system. The Georgia Health Information Exchange, which is composed of local health-care leaders, has taken another step toward its goal of creating a system that would let health-care providers, insurers, pharmacies, laboratories and other professionals share patient health information securely.
(July 7, 2006)
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Rhode Island Assembly Approves $20 Million Health Information Exchange
Rhode Island Governor Donald L. Carcieri in a release posted yesterday, outlined a series of health-related reforms ranging from healthy snacks in schools to tobacco cessation programs. The release also announced an "Anywhere, Anytime Health Info: Health Care IT" agenda.
(July 7, 2006)
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Government awards PHR contracts
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has awarded contracts to healthcare insurers to test personal health records for Medicare recipients.
(July 7, 2006)
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Patients, not the state, own medical records, says GP
The world's largest IT project is building an electronic health record for every NHS patient in England. No one seems to know who will own it. An historic fudge that served in the days of paper records seems unlikely to hold when patients view their own records on the world wide web - and government and business seek to tap the unprecedented knowledge base created.
(July 6, 2006)
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Report Examines the RHIO Business Model
It is commonly believed that operational self-sufficiency is an integral component of a sustainable business model. But is this the case with regional health information organizations? A recent report, "Funding RHIO Startup and Financing for Life: The Survey of Regional Health Information Finance," published by the Healthcare IT Transition Group, surveys RHIOs nationwide and examines the sustainable business model for the data exchange organizations. The report states that "a thoughtful analysis of the survey results demands a challenge to conventional wisdom."
(July 6, 2006)
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Device tracks heart problems, informs doctor over Internet
A pager-sized, implantable device being tested at Saint Thomas Hospital and dozens of other sites around the country can correct irregular heartbeats and transmit information over the Internet to a patient's physician about possible problems.
(July 6, 2006)
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UK health service "harms 10 percent of patients"
One in 10 patients admitted to National Health Service hospitals in Britain is unintentionally harmed and almost a million safety incidents, more than 2,000 of which were fatal, were recorded last year, according to a report on Thursday.
(July 6, 2006)
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Patient safety becomes priority for NHS IT
The NHS National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) has worked with Connecting for Health to build a rigorous system of safety checks which may, if necessary, delay product release, a conference has heard.
(July 6, 2006)
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iSoft begins EPR roll-out at Derby
iSoft has announced that the initial roll-out of its iCM electronic patient record (EPR) system at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is nearing completion on the trust’s surgical and urology departments.
(July 6, 2006)
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Wireless Devices Can Improve Care of Heart Patients
Heart specialists at Allegheny General Hospital's Cardiovascular Institute in Pittsburgh are using wireless devices in heart failure patients, which can help physicians detect symptoms earlier and reduce the time patients spend in the hospital.
(July 5, 2006)
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Funding falls short of healthcare IT request
Funding for the healthcare IT activities fell short of the White House’s budget request in a recent House Appropriations Committee bill. However, the appropriation is an increase over fiscal year 2006 HIT funding.
(July 5, 2006)
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University of Calgary deploys e-records software to 10 divisions
The University of Calgary's Department of Medicine has chosen a technology first developed in the U.K. to house patient records for 10 specialist divisions. Initially, 400 users in outpatient clinics affiliated with the university will deploy EMIS Inc. electronic medical record technology in a four-year deal worth $2 million.
(July 5, 2006)
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Barron Medical Center goes live with Electronic Medical Record
By having a common software system for patient records, the EMR will help to further eliminate information technology and documentation errors, as well as integrate clinical information systems throughout the entire Luther Midelfort system of hospitals and clinics. When the project is complete, electronic records will replace the current paper records that Barron Medical Center and Luther Midelfort use for patient information.
(July 5, 2006)
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MEDSEEK to Build Kingman Regional Medical Center's Physician Portal, Providing Access to Clinical Data in One Unified View
MEDSEEK, a leading provider of enterprise e-health solutions, with 500-plus hospital clients around the country, announced today that it will develop a physician portal for the 213-bed Kingman Regional Medical Center (KRMC) in Kingman, Arizona. The physician portal pilot go-live is planned for June 26th, with full roll-out scheduled for mid-September.
(July 5, 2006)
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CfH aims to install at 22 acute trusts by October
NHS Connecting for Health and its prime contractors have told a member of the Commons Public Accounts Committee that they will deliver at least 22 new patient administration system (PAS) replacements to NHS acute trusts by the end of October this year. The figure does not include any London trusts.
(July 5, 2006)
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KLAS releases midyear listings
Unibased Systems Architecture's Resource Management System enterprise-scheduling product was the highest-rated product in the "Top 20: KLAS Mid-Year Report Card" customer evaluation of healthcare IT offerings. The Chesterfield, Mo.-based company's Resource Management System solution finished first in the "Best in KLAS" 2005 annual review, just ahead of Madison, Wis.-based Epic Systems Corp.'s EpicCare Ambulatory electronic medical record, which also finished second in last year's annual review.
(July 5, 2006)
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Hospital PACS Improves Efficiency
St. Luc Hospital in Montreal, Canada, has been using digital imaging technology to increase productivity and reduce operating costs.
(July 3, 2006)
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Japan To Create EHR System
Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to create a computer system that lets hospitals throughout the country share patient information in an effort to reduce health care costs.
(July 3, 2006)
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Survey: Most RHIOs are Startups
Forty-eight percent of regional health information organizations said they are in the start-up phase of development, according to a survey by the Healthcare IT Transition Group. Twenty-two percent of respondents said they are transitioning from start-up to production mode, and 30% said they are in the production phase.
(July 3, 2006)
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Local doctors embrace electronic records
Fort Wayne doctors are ahead of the curve in adopting electronic medical records, according to a local software company. But some physicians have limited their use to basic scan and print digitization, which heavily incorporates paper records, while shying away from the more sophisticated interactive data entry systems meshed with “decision-support” software that help guide – and may improve – doctors’ decision-making. Medical officials say electronic health record system capabilities go far beyond just digitizing paper records and can actually help doctors diagnose and treat patients. But much depends upon software capabilities, implementation and management.
(July 2, 2006)
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Nurses Automate Referral Process
Nurses at Boston-based Hebrew Senior Life had a pretty paper-intensive job.
(July 2, 2006)
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BlackBerry Improves Communication
While not using any specialized health care application with the BlackBerry handheld messaging device from Waterloo, Ontario-based Research in Motion, officials at Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, believe the device has improved communication amongst its ICU clinicians.
(July 2, 2006)
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Software Sometimes Requires Tweaks
After deploying a mobile charge capture system at Reno Orthopaedic Clinic in Nevada its 16-physicians went from an average of 45 days to transmit bills to two days, says Lisa Davis, CEO at the practice. Physicians use smart phones from various vendors to capture and transmit charges to the practice's billing system.
(July 2, 2006)
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IT Tools for Chronic Disease Management: How Do They Measure Up?
Chronic disease management systems (CDMS) focus specifically on managing chronic disease and preventive care, while the more comprehensive electronic medical record (EMR) documents the entire patient encounter and provides real-time patient information.
(July 1, 2006)
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Phone-free Virtual Visits
Aetna covers online doctor-patient communication for insured members in Florida and California.
(July 1, 2006)
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Leaders From Industry, Academia, Medicine and Government Team Up To Tackle Issues Surrounding Personal Health Records
To tackle the privacy, business, societal, and technical issues surrounding personal health records—an integral part of the national debate on healthcare reform—100 key leaders from industry, academia, medicine and government will team up October 10-11 for the first meeting on Personally Controlled Health Records Infrastructure (PCHRI 2006), hosted by the Harvard Medical School (HMS) Center for Biomedical Informatics. "The work done at this meeting will further the development of the right kind of healthcare information infrastructure," said keynote speaker Mitch Kapor, widely known as the founder of Lotus Development Corporation.
(July 1, 2006)
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AMIA draws decision map
The American Medical Informatics Association aims to make clinical decision support a routine part of patient care. With the release Tuesday of its report “A Roadmap for National Action on Clinical Decision Support,” the group has begun the journey. Information technology is a critical component of the plan, which was developed at the request of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
(July 1, 2006)
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Northwest docs to focus on chronic illness
Northwest Physicians Network plans to focus on better managing chronic illness. The physicians are set to deploy Soarian Disease Management information technology from Siemens Medical Solutions to support the management of chronic heart failure patients. The physician network will also become the beta site for new modules Siemens is developing for diabetes and asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
(July 1, 2006)
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National network improves care
Thanks to access to prescription data from across the country, the emergency department at Wishard Hospital can treat patients faster than ever – even if they’ve never been treated at Wishard before. “It’s like night and day,” said emergency physician J.T. Finnell, MD, of the new system that provides filled-prescription histories to the docs. “When a patient arrives, his or her medical chart is processed and we receive one or two pages of history and lab results in 30 to 60 seconds.”
(July 1, 2006)
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Healthcare IT bill on-again, off-again
Just in time for the humid Washington summer, the momentum in the House to pass healthcare IT legislation is heating up – or maybe not. One bill, which was expected to be up for a House vote during what had been dubbed “Health IT Week,” June 19-23, stalled in its tracks as House Republicans expressed concern that it might increase expenditures.
(July 1, 2006)
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Two Systems, One Device
St. Clair Hospital’s barcode journey began in 1992, when the Pittsburgh-based community hospital served as a development site for a pharmacy robot. The robot used barcodes to identify medications it picked off a supply rack. By scanning the barcode, the robot knew which medication it had chosen before putting it into the hospital’s distribution chain. The high-tech system, later acquired by San Francisco-based McKesson Corp., is still used today.
(July 1, 2006)
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Two years, and counting
Two years after President Bush called for a personal health record for every American in 10 years, industry leaders agree on two scores: Progress has been made. It’s not likely the president’s goal will be achieved in 10 years.
(July 1, 2006)
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Clinics Offer Fast Care and Copy of Records
Patients showing up at a MinuteClinic Inc. non-urgent care facility can quickly get treated for a standard fee and take their medical records with them.
(July 1, 2006)
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With Shortage of Nurses, I.T. Becomes More Essential
In light of the current severe shortage of nurses, more hospitals and group practices are looking for ways to use information technology to help nurses improve their efficiency. Clearly, computers can help nurses streamline many routine administrative tasks. But more important, I.T. can give nurses better access to the right clinical information at the right time to support them in the delivery of care.
(July 1, 2006)
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State Project Pushes EMRs; Some Docs Fret About Future
The Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative envisions building a statewide health information network that's anchored by electronic medical records systems. The collaborative is testing its proof of concept by spearheading EMR implementations at physician offices and hospitals in three communities.
(July 1, 2006)
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Nursing I.T.: From Stations to Bedside
Sometimes short answers say the most. When famed mountaineer George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, he replied "because it is there." Similarly, ask many nurses and hospital executives why I.T. is increasingly needed at the bedside and they'll say "because that's where the patient is."
(July 1, 2006)
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Mobile Apps: Plenty of Choices, Challenges
Neil Martin, M.D., chief of neurosurgery at the UCLA Medical Center, was 200 miles away in San Diego attending meetings when he received a call about a patient who didn't wake up after surgery. In such cases, Martin typically would get into his car and drive back to the hospital to review the most recent clinical data and visually check the patient. But new mobile software has changed the way he operates, so to speak.
(July 1, 2006)
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A Partner to Go With the Flow
A planned two-year migration to an electronic medical records system will challenge all departments within Heartland Health, a delivery system based in St. Joseph, Mo.
(July 1, 2006)
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