HealthLeaders Media IT - May 18, 2010 | Domo Arigato, Doctor Roboto
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Domo Arigato, Doctor Roboto
Gienna Shaw, Technology Editor

Telehealth and remote medicine are hot topics these days, widely regarded as fields that are about to explodefrom remote radiology readings to ICU monitoring by off-site intensivists, to e-visits during which the patient and physician consult via video. But perhaps the most futuristic use of these technologies is the doctor robot: a device that allows the doctor to "walk" (or, perhaps more accurately, roll) into a room and examine his or her patient. [Read More]
May 18, 2010  
Editor's Picks
HHS Seeks Patient Feedback About HIT
In a recent column, I questioned whether or not your average patient wants a personal health record—especially those that require a lot of work on the patient's part (Not Enough Time on My Hands for an Online PHR). Now the Department of Health and Human Services will seek the answer in two surveys about patients' preferences and satisfaction with electronic health records and PHRs in an effort to improve nationwide HIT adoption efforts and learn more about the value of PHR adoption. HHS will survey about 500 Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in the Medicare PHR Choice Pilot, which launched in January 2009 in Arizona and Utah. The program encouraged fee-for-service beneficiaries to enroll in one of several available PHR services to track their own health and healthcare services. "We know very little about why consumers, and specifically Medicare beneficiaries, elect to use PHRs and what functionality they want from a PHR," HHS wrote in the Federal Register. "Understanding these needs will be critical if HHS and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are to pursue PHRs as a tool to empower consumers to manage their health and have the capability to link to their provider's EHR." [Read More]

Main Culprit In Large Patient Information Breaches: Unencrypted Laptops
Cumbersome laptops painted an ugly mustard yellow could be the key to preventing patient information breaches. Well, not really—HIPAA privacy and security officers and consultants have more serious ideas about securing laptops, which often walk away, along with the patient data they store. Most agree—encryption is the safest way to ensure your patients' protected health information (PHI) is secure. In its interim final rule on breach notification, the Office for Civil Rights, the enforcer of HIPAA's privacy and security rules, lists several methods of encryption that create a "safe harbor" in case of a breach of PHI. [Read More]

CMS: Medical Necessity Reviews Are Coming, and Soon
There has been much speculation as to when providers would see the first wave of medical necessity reviews by Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors (RAC). The May 5 nationwide RAC 101 call helped to dispel some of that uncertainty. In the second nationwide RAC 101 conference call for DMEPOS (Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies), CMS addressed the imminent arrival of medical necessity reviews for the permanent RAC program, stating that providers might see medical necessity reviews "within the next month or so," according to Scott Wakefield, project officer, CMS, who added, "We don't have a specific time frame for it but it will begin soon." [Read More]

OCR's First HITECH Guidance: Risk Analysis
The Office for Civil Rights on Friday issued its first in a series of HITECH-required guidance documents to educate covered entities and business associates on the best methods to secure electronic protected health information. The first guidance document focuses on risk analysis, a HIPAA Security Rule-required measure for covered entities and now BAs. "The guidance is an effective primer in that it summarizes basic information about the required risk analysis within the security rule that has existed since the early days of HIPAA," says Frank Ruelas, director of compliance and risk management at Maryvale Hospital and principal of HIPAA Boot Camp in Casa Grande, AZ. [Read More]
Tech Headlines
Hospitals criticized over offers to earn or save money by sharing electronic patient data
Dallas Morning News - May 18, 2010

Wireless health institute gets $20 million injection
San Diego Union-Tribune - May 14, 2010

Walgreen will not sell genetic test until maker works out issues with FDA
Wall Street Journal - May 13, 2009

New defibrillator avoids wires in heart
Wall Street Journal - May 13, 2010
Sponsored Headlines
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Audio Features

Tech to Boost Satisfaction and Patient Flow: Are long wait times in the ER hurting the patient experience at your organization? Denice Soyring Higman, RN, president and founder of Soyring Consulting in St. Petersburg, FL, discusses how hospitals can dramatically boost patient satisfaction scores with simple patient flow changes and by using clinical data to improve efficiency and productivity in the ER. [Listen Now]
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