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October 11, 2012
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News for healthcare CIOs

  Top Story 
  • Nonprofit group takes stance against federal EHR effort
    The Citizens' Council for Health Freedom has expressed its stance against the federal push to spur meaningful use of EHRs, saying the government should let the private market lead the way. "[The] HITECH [Act] could go away as far as we’re concerned," CCHF President Twila Brase said. This criticism comes after four House Republicans last week urged HHS to defer the MU payments until interoperability standards have been set up. Healthcare IT News (10/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Bill Spooner comments on continuing federal EHR incentives
    Did Dr. Mostashari call this the “silly season”? Two weeks ago, Secretary Sebelius and Attorney General Holder threatened the industry with fraud indictments should improved documentation support higher reimbursement levels. Last week, four congressional leaders requested that Secretary Sebelius suspend HITECH payments until interoperability and meaningful use requirements in general are toughened. This week, the until-now-unknown Citizens' Council for Health Reform suggested that HITECH should go away entirely (the feds should get out of EHRs), the states should individually promulgate privacy laws, and the private market is doing fine in advancing interoperability.

    While one can question whether the HITECH dollars have returned a positive ROI in terms of EHR adoption, health cost control, and improved quality and access, there can be little doubt that adoption has gained remarkably in the past 2-3 years. One can argue that taxpayer money should not be used at all to subsidize electronic records or HIE, and I suppose there might have been similar arguments opposing the interstate highway system. I would submit that any HITECH dollars that may have been “wasted” to date would cause even greater waste if the program were ended midway.

    On the privacy topic, we providers know that we can never do too much to ensure the confidentiality of the patient’s most sensitive information. We also know that inconsistent laws among the states increase the cost of development for multiple privacy models and increase the compliance costs for providers operating across state lines.

    It is also clear that the private market has not advanced interoperability absent the HITECH push. Some vendors are notorious in their resistance to interoperability. We have been slow to develop standards and slower to adopt them.

    Our advocacy and education mission began shortly following Dr. Brailer’s appointment as the first National Coordinator. It is important. It is not going away. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

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  Strategy & Leadership 
  • How natural language understanding can help transform care
    Natural language understanding, which involves the use of a computerized tool to convert spoken or written words into structured data, has the potential to revolutionize care. Juergen Fritsch of M*Modal has identified five benefits of NLU in health care, including making conversational documentation more efficient and improving computer-assisted coding. Healthcare IT News (10/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Technology Spotlight  
  • Industry stakeholders collaborate to create health care superhighway
    Billionaire entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong, a former surgeon and drug-company executive, is joining forces with health insurer Blue Shield of California, St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica and communications firms Verizon and Intel to improve and speed diagnoses and expand personalized medicine. The collaborators will create a nationwide system for doctors to share genomics and other patient data. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (10/2), Reuters (10/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Management & Operation 
  • AHA asks CMS to help educate providers on e-transaction rules
    The American Hospital Association has called on the CMS to lead efforts to educate health groups on how they can leverage the operating standards for electronic funds transfer and remittance advice transactions. The group also urged HHS to provide guidance on the use of protected health information in financial transactions and emerging mobile health applications. Health Data Management (10/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • IOM proposes central clearinghouse of EHR user feedback
    The Institute of Medicine has recommended establishing a central, publicly available database where users of EHRs can share their experiences. Organizations "will benefit from lessons learned by similar health care organizations about how to improve the performance and safety of their existing systems," wrote the authors of a report published by the IOM. American Medical News (free content) (10/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Regulatory & Legislative 
  • Comments are sought on best practices for verifying patient IDs
    The HIT Policy and Standards Committees are asking for input on how best to verify patient identities, especially since the stage 2 meaningful use criteria require more than 5% of patients to access their health data and perform secure messaging with doctors. Questions being considered include how to ensure only authorized individuals have access to patient records, and how digital certificates can be reliably issued without burdening patients. Health Data Management (10/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • GAO lauds CMS for upgrading Medicare eligibility IT system
    A Government Accountability Office report commends the CMS for improving the IT system it uses to confirm Medicare eligibility. The health agency has implemented steps to be sure that users are satisfied with the performance of the system, such as offering help desk support and overseeing contractors' performance, according to the GAO. Healthcare IT News (10/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  CHIME News 
  • CHIME commemorates 20th anniversary
    This year, CHIME commemorates its 20th anniversary as the health care industry’s leading professional organization for chief information officers and other senior IT leaders. To watch videos from current and past CHIME members and keep up with the latest CHIME events, “like” the CHIME Facebook page at LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • CHIME member discount for National eHealth Collaborative Conference
    The National eHealth Collaborative, in partnership with InfoComm International, is proud to host the inaugural Technology Crossroads Conference: Where HIT and AV Meet, which will take place in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 27 and 28. This conference will explore the intersection between audiovisual (AV) and health information technologies. CHIME members are eligible to receive a $100 discount off registration by entering code TECHXPRTNR. Register today. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action."
--Benjamin Disraeli,
British politician

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