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News for professionals interested in health care information technology

Health IT SmartBrief Special Report:
The new face of health IT
The recent Supreme Court ruling has solidified the health care landscape, and now providers are moving ahead on a variety of programs and initiatives, including some that involve health IT. At the same time, continued advances in technology have created new ways for information, including EHRs, to be accessed. This special report looks at how health care is changing and how organizations are updating their systems to ensure their health IT processes run smoothly and securely.
  Federal Regulations 
  • House bill would eliminate funding for AHRQ
    A House subcommittee approved a bill on July 18 that would eliminate funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, among other measures that would trim $1.3 billion from the HHS budget. Subcommittee Chairman Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., said the decision was based solely on budgetary concerns, but Dr. Bruce Siegel, president and CEO of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, said defunding AHRQ "would badly undermine important research on health care quality, disparities in care and patient safety -- research that benefits our nation's most vulnerable people." Healthcare IT News (7/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Health care expert argues for value of AHRQ: In this article, Healthcare Informatics Associate Editor Gabriel Perna contends that, as health care is transforming into "an efficient, evidence-based, fee-for-service model, which eliminates waste, saves costs, and improves outcomes," health care providers need the very type of research and standards that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality provides. Healthcare Informatics online (7/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • CMS: States can hold on to funds for some IT programs
    States don't need to repay the funds provided by the federal government for deploying a state-run health insurance exchange and Medicaid-related IT advancements even if they decide not to implement these initiatives, CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner confirmed in a letter sent to Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell. "We hope that states will not turn down the resources and flexibility offered in the Affordable Care Act and will put aside old political battles to move forward with implementation," Tavenner wrote. Modern Healthcare (subscription required) (7/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  The future of mHealth 
  • FDA guidance on mHealth apps could be available this year
    Guidelines for how the FDA intends to regulate mobile health applications could be issued by the end of the year, after the recent enactment of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act, which authorizes the agency to regulate mHealth apps. Dr. Jeffrey Shuren of the FDA's device center said the agency is only interested in apps that aid in clinical decision-making processes or act as medical devices, and does not intend to regulate all mHealth apps. Healthcare IT News (7/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Scrutiny of medical apps by FDA might stunt development
    There are many health-advising applications that help consumers make medical decisions, writes Rob Stein, but who's monitoring their accuracy? The FDA is claiming that some apps are in fact medical devices and should have to undergo regulatory scrutiny before they are released. But the FDA's ambiguous definition of which apps will require their sign-off has developers worried. Regulation will likely "create so much uncertainty for product developers," says Dr. Scott Gottlieb of the American Enterprise Institute. National Public Radio (text and audio)/Shots blog (7/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How to integrate privacy into mobile health technologies
    A best practices guide released by the Future of Privacy Forum and the Center for Democracy & Technology that was written for mobile application developers includes seven basic ways to build user privacy into health apps without compromising innovation. The list includes embedding privacy protocols into the product's design and providing easy access to privacy policies. Government Health IT online (7/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Privacy & Security 
  • President presses Congress on cybersecurity
    President Barack Obama argues that the time has come for lawmakers to put aside their differences and pass a comprehensive cybersecurity bill for the good of the nation. In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Obama paints a bleak picture of U.S. cybersecurity readiness, writing that "The American people deserve to know that companies running our critical infrastructure meet basic, commonsense cybersecurity standards." Meanwhile, Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced a compromise bill last week that addresses privacy concerns of earlier legislation and that would create a National Cybersecurity Council to monitor infrastructure risks. The Hill/Hillicon Valley blog (7/19), The Wall Street Journal (7/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Alliance work group to oversee data de-identification
    The Health Information Trust Alliance has formed a work group that will recommend requirements for providers who can certify standards and methodologies used in de-identifying health data and for correctly handling re-identification risk. Representatives from data analysis company IMS Health, insurer WellPoint and drugmaker Merck & Co. will be part of the HITrust work group. Modern Healthcare (subscription required) (7/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News

Product announcements appearing in SmartBrief are paid advertisements and do not reflect actual eHealth endorsements. The news reported in SmartBrief does not necessarily reflect the official position of eHealth.
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