About a third of 101 accountable care organizations use a single EHR platform, while 59% reported facing difficulties streamlining multiple systems, according to a survey by the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute. Among ACOs that use point-of-care decision software and quality reporting technology, only 34% said the tools were easy to use. Almost all of the survey participants expect to increase their focus on population health in the coming three to five years.
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The Innovation Institute of Texas Medical Center has tapped 13 startups to join the digital health program of its TMCx accelerator that will be held from January to June. Among the participants are Aprenda Systems, which has created a tool for gathering and managing health data, and CareSet Systems, which is focused on establishing physician networks. A program for medical device firms will also be held by the accelerator from July to December.
Virginia Beach, Va.-based health care consulting company Divurgent and Asbury Park, N.J.-based cybersecurity firm Sensato are teaming up to create the Medical Device Cybersecurity Task Force. The unit will be composed of cybersecurity researchers, medical device-makers, IT leaders and hospitals.
Based on an HIMSS survey of hospitals with sophisticated EHRs, researchers concluded that the systems' benefits outweighed their shortcomings. While 88% of the hospitals reported at least one positive outcome related to EHR use, only a minority reported that EHR use had resulted in increased nurse or physician satisfaction. Overall, hospitals are struggling to realize a return on their investments in EHRs, critics say. Lorren Pettit, vice president of research with HIMSS, said the experience of EHR "pioneers" paints an encouraging picture of "what the land ahead looks like."
The National Dental Practice-Based Research Network, a program of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, awarded $1.2 million to researchers at the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Dentistry to study how electronic dental records can be used to improve oral health. Researchers will use electronic records to assess outcomes of posterior composite restoration and root canal procedures, and will investigate how data from disparate systems can be combined.
A Zion Research report predicted the value of the global telehealth market to reach $35 billion in 2020, with a 14% compound annual growth rate from 2014 to 2020. The market was led by North America in 2014, but significant growth is projected in some regions, especially the Asia-Pacific, which might dominate the sector in 2020, the report said.
HealthLinc Chief Information Officer Melissa Mitchell says the health center uses population health management software from the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association and has two staff members dedicated to data analysis related to patient needs. While more people have gained access to health care under the Affordable Care Act, many of them have heightened needs due to a lack of previous care. "Population health for us is identifying not just individual gaps in care, but also identifying those patients that have multiple comorbidities that are just getting insurance and need to navigate the landscape of health care right now," Mitchell said.
Hospital-employed doctors met more quality improvement goals than community doctors or pediatricians, a comparative study found. Community physicians who were offered a small incentive saw more gains on five quality measures than community physicians who were offered no incentive. Physicians employed by hospitals might have greater access to EHRs and decision-support tools, the researchers reported in JAMA Pediatrics.