HealthLeaders Media IT - March 9, 2010 | More to HIMSS than EHRs: Four Technologies for Patients and Providers
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More to HIMSS than EHRs: Four Technologies for Patients and Providers
Gienna Shaw, Technology Editor

Amidst all the talk about clinical data sharing and the accompanying alphabet soup of acronyms (EHRs, EMRs, PHRs, RHIOs and HIEs, not to mention ARRA and HITECH), it's easy to forget that the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference is also a showcase for technology of the hardware variety—physical products and gadgets you can see, feel, and, in some cases, hold in one hand. So with apologies to the other 896 vendors at the show, here are four products that impressed me. [Read More]
March 9, 2010
Editor's Picks
HHS Releases Proposed Rule for EHR Certification
An HHS announcement that coincided with the HIMSS conference caused quite a buzz. The release of the proposed rule for establishing certification programs for health information technology describes the creation of a testing and certification program for EHRs, as mandated by the HITECH Act. This article describes the proposed rule. The follow-up stories, highlighted below, included reaction from healthcare IT leaders and from David Blumenthal, MD, the national coordinator for health information technology. [Read More]

HIT Leaders React to Proposed EHR Testing and Compliance Rule
Early reactions to the proposed rule from healthcare IT leaders were positive, with praise for the decision to eventually turn the certification process over to the private sector, a fast-track certification timeline, and the ability for organizations to eventually certify EHRs from multiple vendors. "They got it exactly right," says Simeon Schwartz, MD, president and CEO of WestMed Medical Group, headquartered in Purchase, NY. A stimulus, by its very definition, is meant to get people to adopt as early as possible, and the first phase of the rules will help his group be ready by January 1, 2011, the deadline for eligible professionals to qualify for meaningful use incentives. And it's not just about getting the money, he added. The timeline will improve patient care more quickly too. [Read More]

Proposed EHR Certification Program Won't Inhibit Innovation, Says Blumenthal
When writing the interim final rule on standards and certification criteria for EHRs, the ONC strived to balance competing agendas, David Blumenthal, MD, the national coordinator for health information technology, said at the conference. For example, it tries to balance the need for uniform standards against the need for interoperability and innovation and the need for an efficient way to exchange information versus patients' rights to privacy. The agency tried to allow for flexibility, to meet providers "where they are," and not inhibit "critical innovation," he said. [Read More]

Blumenthal: ONC Shifting From HIT Policy to Implementation
In the near future, electronic health records and other health information technology will be as accessible and important as the stethoscope, the operating room, or the exam table. And there's no question that the federal government will be required to support the acquisition of health technology, said National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal, MD, during a keynote presentation at the HIMSS convention. "It will be assumed as a professional attribute," he said. Blumenthal also said that while the past year has been focused on policy, the office will "now begin the process of implementation." [Read More]

Five Ways Health IT Leaders Can Fight Medicare Fraud
Fair warning to health IT professionals: Harry Markopolos, the man who infamously warned the government that Bernie Madoff was up to something fishy, is setting his sights on Medicare fraud. And the first place he'll look for evidence is in your system's e-mails, documentation, and databases. He'll be looking for bills submitted by dead doctors, up-coding or billing for procedures that were not performed, and other fraudulent billing practices. He'll check your books for evidence of kickbacks, slush funds, and sudden inexplicable increases in revenue. But no worries—you can help him ferret out fraud and, hopefully, avoid wearing an orange jumpsuit. [Read More]

Physicians Worried Proposed Meaningful Use Will Decrease Productivity
An overwhelming number of physicians say changes that may be necessary to meet more than two dozen "meaningful use" criteria proposed in a Medicare electronic health record incentive rule would lead to decreased provider productivity, according to the Medical Group Management Association. In responses to an MGMA questionnaire, physicians expressed confusion about the proposed rule, and its potential impact. Some said the program is unworkable. [Read More]

Get Moving to Catch Early EHR Meaningful Use Incentives
Hospitals with electronic health records may be eligible for meaningful use incentives as early as October 2010, and physicians follow soon after, writes Andrea Kraynak for HealthLeaders Media. What if a provider is hoping to take advantage of the incentives, but is still fully paper-based? Waiting for the release of final rules on the incentive program and EHR certification before moving forward may not be wise. [Read More]

Health IT Design That Keeps End-Users in Mind
Human Factors Engineering principles are often being applied to the design of healthcare information technology. As HIT increasingly becomes a part of clinicians' everyday jobs, it's important to consider their design. If HIT is not designed with the end-user or end-facility in mind, it may fail at facilitating patient safety. [Read More]

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Audio Features

CIO's Changing Role (Part I): DawnLynn Kacer, the public sector healthcare practice lead for Keane Inc., a global IT services firm, discusses how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is changing the role of the CIO. For example, the meaningful use criteria outlined by CMS will require CIOs to be more engaged beyond the four wall of their facilities, thanks to many of the health information exchange requirements, she says. [Listen Now]
From HIMSS: The Evolution of Information: Reporting from the annual HIMSS conference in Atlanta, Rick Johnson, editorial director for HealthLeaders Media, talks to Brian A. Yeaman, MD, chief medical informatics officer at Norman (OK) Regional Health System about combining evidence-based medicine and decision support in EMRs. [Listen Now]
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