January 25, 2022
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COVID-19 boosters protective against Omicron variant
(Carl Court/Getty Images)
Two studies in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and one in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggest that a third dose of Pfizer/BioNTech's or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, or a second dose of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, prevent severe disease and death and improve resistance to the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2. Other CDC data show that unvaccinated people are 17 times more likely to be hospitalized than people who completed an initial vaccination regimen, and unvaccinated 50- to 64-year-olds are 44 times more apt to be hospitalized than people of the same age group who were fully vaccinated and had a booster.
Full Story: HealthDay News (1/21) 
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Information Management at its Most Human
Graduates of Northwestern's online MS in Health Informatics learn to leverage technology tools and data to offer patient-centered solutions to persistent challenges in the delivery of services as well as more systematic approaches to population health. Learn more.
Broader adoption of computer-assisted provider documentation has the potential to ease health care providers' administrative burdens, streamline the query process and strengthen partnerships between clinical documentation integrity professionals and health care providers, writes Shirlivia Parker, an AHIMA-approved ICD-10-CM/PCS trainer and vice president of compliance and education at Medovent Solutions. "As we look to the exciting opportunities ahead, we should always remain open minded and continue to evolve and change," Parker writes.
Full Story: Journal of AHIMA online (1/24) 
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The CMS added two more procedure codes to the ICD-10-PCS set and V39.1, Medicare Severity Diagnosis Related Groups: XW023X7 for intramuscular introduction of tixagevimab and cilgavimab monoclonal antibody, and XW023Y7 for intramuscular introduction of other new antibodies. The next Coordination and Maintenance Committee meeting is scheduled for March 8 and 9, but neither the CDC nor the CMS has posted an agenda on their websites yet, writes AHIMA Fellow Laurie Johnson, an AHIMA-approved ICD-10-CM/PCS trainer.
Full Story: ICD10Monitor (1/24) 
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Blockchain may be the next big thing in health IT
Blockchain is used at present primarily for cryptocurrency, but some experts, including analysts at Deloitte, say blockchain's distributed nature and encryption make it appropriate for storing and exchanging clinical and research data. "Clinicians should monitor this technology as it develops, since it has the potential to transform daily practice," writes Dr. Naveed Saleh.
Full Story: MDLinx (1/24) 
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Four imperatives for healthcare leaders
To better leverage the new healthcare ecosystem, leaders must take on four distinct imperatives. To do so, they must consider outside partners who can deliver more: data, access, and improved patient experience.
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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is seeking input on electronic prior authorization standards, implementation specifications and certification criteria. Responses to the request for information might guide future rules covering the automated, electronic completion of prior authorization tasks, according to an ONC announcement.
Full Story: Becker's Hospital Review (1/24) 
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The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is accepting public comment on its proposed research priorities and is seeking applicants for comparative effectiveness research projects centered on four priorities: health disparities; options for diagnosis, treatment and prevention; communication and dissemination of research; and improving health care systems. PCORI will also fund three studies comparing brief interventions for adolescent alcohol use; prevention, early identification and treatment of delirium in older adults; and mental health interventions for people intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Full Story: HealthLeaders Media (1/24) 
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Senators: Medicare should cover home COVID-19 tests
A coalition of 19 Senate Democrats wrote a letter to CMS and HHS leaders calling for Medicare to cover the cost of home COVID-19 tests for older people and those with disabilities, just as commercial health insurers are doing for their members. The lawmakers argued that those "enrolled in Medicare are at the highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19," and "the current policy leaves them on the hook for potentially significant out-of-pocket costs."
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (1/24) 
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Marketing technology firms have been using artificial intelligence to help makers of drugs for rare diseases reach doctors when they are seeing patients with the targeted disease and reach patients directly. DeepIntent CEO Chris Paquette says his company's technology analyzes physicians' appointment schedules and clinical data for timely outreach to physicians and identifies patient groups whose data suggest they have the target condition to inform them about available therapies.
Full Story: FiercePharma (1/19) 
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News from AHIMA
The three-part Mark Dietz Leadership Webinar Series kicks off Feb. 15 with The Inclusive Healthcare Leader, presented by Colleen Stuart, Ph.D., faculty member at Johns Hopkins University. Gain the tools you need to build an agile, inclusive and innovative team so that your organization can take on health care's evolving challenges.
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Join us for a live, sponsored webinar on Feb. 9 with Protiviti to get actionable tactics on how to marry claims and payment data into your audit plans, methodology, and sample sets. As the Public Health Emergency continues and clinical documentation and coding audit functions face an evolving list of compliance risks and the need to do more with less, the importance of using data analytics to create smarter, more effective audits is crucial. Earn 1 AHIMA CEU. Learn more.
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