Friday, January 25, 2013

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 26th January, 2013.

Note: Each link is followed by a title and few paragraphs. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or subscription payment.

3 ways to keep communications secure

By Benjamin Harris, New Media Producer, Healthcare IT News
Created 01/16/2013
In 2012, the Massachusetts Ear and Eye Infirmary was hit with a $1.5 million fine when they lost control of a mobile device containing sensitive medical records of its patients. By no means was the other side of the nation immune: Alaska's public health network was ordered to pay up for a similar data breach.
Instances of healthcare organizations being dinged for failing to keep a tight enough of a lid on patient records have been racking up over the past few years. Combine that with the increasing prevalence of mobile devices in healthcare and the large sector of the industry clamoring for BYOD, and many organizations are seemingly faced with a lose-lose situation where either staff are happy and enabled to work more efficiently, but prone to costly and dangerous data leaks. So it would seem, at least.

Pediatric EHR redesign in the works

By Molly Merrill, Associate Editor
Created 01/18/2013
Meaningful use has unintentionally shifted the market's attention away from child health electronic health records (EHRs), according to Feliciano "Pele" Yu, Jr., MD, chief medical information officer at St. Louis Children's Hospital. However, this has not stopped advocates from working to get pediatric functionality into EHRs through innovative projects – some soon to be announced and others in the works – that could improve the technology for pediatricians and child heath.
“Meaningful use is by no means perfect for pediatrics, but the trajectory that we have seen is amazing. [CMS and ONC] have worked hard and well for the last few years,” said Christoph Lehmann, MD, medical director of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Child Health Informatics Center. “In Stage 1 we were very concerned because we were afraid that pediatricians would be left behind,” he added.

Hospital leaders: New HIPAA rule will be a challenge

January 18, 2013 | By Dan Bowman
While the newly unveiled HIPAA omnibus rule, announced Thursday afternoon by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services represents a win for patient privacy protection, executing the new rules will present a multitude of challenges, according to several FierceHealthIT Editorial Advisory Board members.
Todd Richardson (right), vice president and CIO of Wausau, Wis.-based non-profit health system Aspirus, Inc., told FierceHealthIT that providers and vendors that use and create electronic health record systems already walk a tight balance between complying with HIPAA and meeting the requirements of the HITECH Act and Meaningful Use regulations.

HHS unveils final HIPAA omnibus rule

January 17, 2013 | By Dan Bowman
The long-awaited expansion of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, unveiled Thursday afternoon by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, comprises four final rules, according to HHS "which have been combined to reduce the impact and number of times certain compliance activities need to be undertaken by regulated entities."
The four rules that combine to create the omnibus final rule include:
  • Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Enforcement Rules mandated by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, and certain other modifications to improve the rules, which were issued as a proposed rule on July 14, 2010.
  • Changes to the HIPAA Enforcement Rule to incorporate the increased and tiered civil money penalty structure provided by the HITECH Act, originally published as an interim final rule on Oct. 30, 2009.
  • A final rule on Breach Notification for Unsecured Protected Health Information under the HITECH Act, which replaces the breach notification rule's "harm" threshold with a more objective standard and supplants an interim final rule published on Aug. 24, 2009.
  • A final rule modifying the HIPAA Privacy Rule as required by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) to prohibit most health plans from using or disclosing genetic information for underwriting purposes, which was published as a proposed rule on Oct. 7, 2009.
"Much has changed in healthcare since HIPAA was enacted over 15 years ago," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. "The new rule will help protect patient privacy and safeguard patients' health information in an ever expanding digital age."
Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Health Online 2013

From the report: "81% of U.S. adults use the internet and 59% say they have looked online for health information in the past year. 35% of U.S. adults say they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they or someone else might have. 
Online resources join the stream of information flowing in from people's interactions with clinicians, family, and fellow patients.

A Road Runs Through These Order Sets

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , January 17, 2013

This article appears in the December 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
Can a wiki share and standardize order sets? R. Dirk Stanley, MD, MPH, aims to find out.
"The fact that they're not standardized across the country leads to enormous costs and inefficiencies in healthcare," says Stanley, chief medical informatics officer at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Mass. "For example, if you have a doctor who's moonlighting, you know if you have a doctor from hospital A that you need to fill a shift in hospital B, if the doctor doesn't know what order set, kind of how the clinical functions operate, then it means you basically have to retrain the doctor on your clinical functions, but that's a lot of time and a lot of money."
Informally, order sets are finding their way from provider to provider through several routes today. Incoming residents are a source. Another is occasional informal exchange of order sets on the online forum run by the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems.

Hunt wants paperless NHS in five years

16 January 2013   Lyn Whitfield
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has set out a tight timetable for making all records and communications in the NHS paperless.
In a speech to the right-wing think-tank Policy Exchange on Wednesday, he said that all records and communications in health and social care would be electronic by 2018.
There is no central funding for the plans, but a report commissioned from consultants PriceWaterHouseCoopers has estimated that more ambitious use of IT would save the NHS £4 billion.

M-health: 2.8 million patients remotely monitored worldwide in 2012

About 2.8 million patients were remotely monitored worldwide at the end of 2012, using a home monitoring service based on equipment with integrated connectivity, according to a new research report from the analyst firm Berg Insight. The number of monitored patients is higher than nearly 2.2 million monitored patients at the end of 2011.
Some of the most common conditions currently being monitored are chronic diseases including cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension, ischemic diseases, sleep apnea, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Survey gauges consensus on docs' online behavior

Posted: January 15, 2013 - 12:30 pm ET
While the Federation of State Medical Boards and the American Medical Association have developed policies for physicians and social media professionalism, the consequences for violating these standards are still undefined, according to a report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
A team of researchers, including FSMB President and CEO Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, distributed a set of 10 hypothetical vignettes depicting various violations of online professionalism to the executive directors of the 70 medical and osteopathic boards for the 50 states, Washington and the U.S. territories, and they were asked in a survey whether the violations warranted further investigation. (Two states have the same director for their medical and osteopathic boards, so 68 surveys were sent. Though invited, directors of the four territories with medical boards did not participate.)
Thursday, January 17, 2013

What the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show Means for Health Care IT

Digital health was the fastest growing industry segment at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, which featured more than 200 exhibitors hawking the newest wristband activity trackers, digital weight scales, mobile phones for seniors and personal emergency response systems to help us when we've fallen and can't get up.
But the biggest health story at the CES was that United Healthcare had the largest single piece of real estate on the floor of the digital health area of the exhibit hall, about the same size as Whirlpool's space in the connected home area.
What does it mean that the nation's largest health insurance plan made such a big bet at a convention that features the latest in smartphones, flat screen TVs and self-driving automobiles?

ONC names EHR design contest winners

By Mary Mosquera, Senior Editor
Created 01/16/2013
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has selected the winning designs of printed health records to help patients better understand and use their electronic health records (EHRs).
The designs and formats were a response to an ONC challenge contest to make EHRs valuable to patients and their families. Patients who are engaged in their healthcare treatments have better outcomes, according to Farzad Mostashari, MD, the national health IT coordinator.

ONC Finds Ways to Make EHRs More Readable

JAN 15, 2013 5:19pm ET
The Office of the National Coordinator for HIT has announced winners of a contest to convert printed text-based electronic health records into far more consumer-friendly versions. The goal is to make it easier for consumers to find and understand information in a printed record, whether downloaded via the government-funded Blue Button technology or through proprietary vendor technology.

UnitedHealth, Mayo combine data to research medical treatments

January 16, 2013 | By Dina Overland
UnitedHealth and Mayo Clinic have agreed under a new partnership to combine their data for more than 110 million patients to help research methods to improve healthcare while lowering costs.
Under the new initiative, called Optum Labs, researchers will mine UnitedHealth's insurance claims for more than 109 million people, as well as Mayo Clinic's five million patient records, to determine best treatments and procedures for various health conditions, according to MedCity News.

Hull and East Yorkshire takes Lorenzo

15 January 2013   Lis Evenstad
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is the second trust to commit to take CSC’s Lorenzo electronic patient record system under a new agreement between the company and the Department of Health.
The trust, which currently uses the iSoft PatientCentre system, hopes Lorenzo will help eliminate paper records, facilitate agile working, support collaborative working and share information more effectively between clinical staff.
Martyn Smith, director of IT and innovation at Hull and East Yorkshire, said: “The Lorenzo deployment model allows us to be bold and to deploy a full like-for-like service at the earliest opportunity, including electronic ordering, electronic reporting and emergency care”.

From the frontline

Andrew Carr is the clinical lead for IT at the emergency department of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, where a major IT project is underway. He wonders why so few of his fellow nurses are involved in something as critical as healthcare IT.
14 January 2013
The procurement of electronic health records by a variety of large trusts was a feature of news articles in eHealth Insider last year.
For the past 18 months, I have taken part in such procurement – eHospital - for Cambridge University Hospitals and Papworth Hospital NHS foundation trusts.
I believe that eHospital will bring about significant, positive, change in the way that healthcare staff provide care and the way that our patients and their families are cared for.
As a nurse working as an emergency nurse practitioner, and as IT lead for the emergency department, I want to make sure that the system we choose not only places patients and clinicians at the centre of all that we do, but also recognises the unique role that nurses contribute to patient care.

Incentives spur high-level IT adoption, HIMSS Analytics finds

Posted: January 15, 2013 - 1:30 pm ET
Federal electronic health-record incentive payment programs appear to be accelerating the adoption and use of higher-level health information technology functions at U.S. hospitals, according to the latest data from HIMSS Analytics, the market-analysis arm of the Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
HIMSS Analytics measures the sophistication of hospital EHR systems in use through surveys, applying reported data against its own, eight-stage—Stage 0 through Stage 7—Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model.

Incentives help boost hospitals' EHR sophistication

January 16, 2013 | By Susan D. Hall
Fueled by federal incentives, U.S. hospitals are growing more sophisticated in their use of electronic health record technology, according to HIMSS Analytics, the market-analysis arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
Its report looks at five quarters, beginning with the third quarter of 2011--when the first incentive payments from the Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Programs were paid out--through the third quarter of 2012.

Are providers ripe for a massive medical records heist?

By Tom Sullivan, Editor
Every lost laptop, stolen smartphone and missing thumb drive containing health information confirms the dark reality of an industry disconcertingly tone deaf when it comes to data encryption and protection.
Many healthcare organizations have yet to institute security practices that financial services companies, for instance, put in place two decades ago — a fact that leaves them increasingly vulnerable to the large-scale data thievery that organized crime has perpetrated in other realms.
Take TJX, for instance. Criminals in South Florida drove around to the retail subsidiaries in 2005, located and cracked into poorly-protected Wi-Fi networks, burrowed deeper into the corporate IT systems to vacuum out some 46 million credit and debit card records and then, ultimately, sold those to Ukrainian organized criminals.

EHR adoption could exceed 80 percent by end of 2013, new study finds

By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
Created 01/15/2013
Family physicians are adopting electronic health records (EHRs) at a much faster rate than previous data suggested, reaching a nearly 70 percent adoption rate nationwide, new study findings reveal. 
The study, published in the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine, shows EHR adoption by family physicians has doubled since 2005, with researchers estimating that the adoption rate will exceed 80 percent by the end of 2013.
Findings also reveal a higher percentage of EHR adoption among physicians in comparison to a July 2012 study conducted by the CDC's Center for National Health Statistics, which reported that 55 percent of office-based physicians had adopted EHRs.

Violating patient privacy: A social media 'never event'

January 15, 2013 | By Ashley Gold
What professionals should post on social media is always tricky, and physicians should be especially careful with what they tweet and post to Facebook, according to a survey of state medical boards--not only for their reputations, but also because it can violate patient privacy.
The biggest problem with physicians using social media was misrepresenting credentials or treatment outcomes, with 81 percent of those surveyed saying they believe that type of behavior would be cause for an investigation, MedPage Today reported. Seventy-nine percent were concerned about physicians inappropriately contacting patients or using their photos, a group at the University of California-San Francisco found.

Most 'online diagnosers' also want doctor advice

January 15, 2013 | By Dan Bowman
Out of roughly 81 percent of U.S. adults who say they use the Internet, 72 percent claim they have looked up health information online in the past year, according to new research published this week by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. Of those, 59 percent say they have looked online specifically to figure out a medical condition for themselves or someone else; to that end, Pew labeled those patients--who make up 35 percent of all U.S. adults--"online diagnosers."

CHIME: Proposed Meaningful Use Stage 3 thresholds 'unrealistic'

January 14, 2013 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
Industry stakeholders submitting comments on proposed measures for Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use program from ONC's Health IT Policy Committee have expressed concern that the program is moving too quickly and needs additional evaluation before proceeding.
Both the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association, in comments submitted to ONC Jan. 14, called for a thorough evaluation of the program, especially considering many providers have yet to even achieve Stage 1 of the program. They also recommended that regulators resolve current problems with the program, such as the usability of certified EHRs.

CES Makes a Healthcare Splash

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , January 15, 2013

The data is out there. We only have to decide to use it.
Everywhere we go, we leave "data exhaust." It starts when you wake up and check your phone. Now there's a record that this guy's no longer asleep. Like little bread crumbs, we are our own life recorders. Our phones know where we go and how long it takes to get there.
On the Internet, our intentions are exquisitely captured by a series of privacy-bending technologies that watch our surfing and searching history and tailor ads personally to us. I can't tell you how ads for vendor-neutral archives find me even when I'm checking ESPN, but given what I do for a living, I can hazard a guess.
There is one and only one place each year where the tech-minded assemble to swap stories and gawk at the latest manifestations of the digital fishbowl that is our total lives today. So I too found my way to Las Vegas for last week's Consumer Electronics Show, which also featured conferences-within-conferences on digital health, fitness technology, and technologies for seniors.

NIH makes big deal of big data

By Anthony Brino, Associate Editor, Healthcare Payer News and Government Health IT
Created 01/14/2013
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is putting a fresh emphasis on health informatics, with Director Francis Collins, MD, creating a new advisory position and recruiting an associate director for Data Science.
Collins, a physician and geneticist, said there’s recently been an “exponential growth of biomedical research data” from genomics, imaging and electronic health records, with the new position being focused on building the NIH’s related research projects.
"There is an urgent need and increased opportunities for advanced collaboration and coordination of access to, and analysis of, the rapidly expanding collections of biomedical data," Collins said. "NIH aims to play a catalytic lead role in addressing these complex issues — not only internally, but also with stakeholders in the research community, other government agencies, and private organizations involved in scientific data generation, management and analysis."

Study: mHealth productivity gains to reap $305 billion in savings over 10 years

January 11, 2013 | By Greg Slabodkin
Mobile technology will transform the healthcare industry with increased productivity gains saving $305 billion over the next 10 years, according to a new report by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. The savings will come from reduced travel time, better logistics, faster decision-making and improved communications, among other improvements, says Deloitte.
The report cites a 2012 Brookings Institution study predicting that remote monitoring technologies will save nearly $200 billion by managing chronic diseases in the U.S. over the next 25 years. Deloitte points out other estimates that suggest remote monitoring can reduce the costs for caring for the elderly in rural areas by allowing seniors to live independently and spend more time at home, while reducing the need for face to-face medical consultations, by 25 percent.

Healthcare IT M&A deals increased in 2012

January 14, 2013 | By Ashley Gold
Over the past year, mergers and acquisitions have increased considerably in the healthcare IT sector, with smaller deals yielding big returns on investment, according to report from New York-based investment bank Berkery Noyes released Jan. 11.
The report, which analyzes M&A activity in 2012--comparing the data since 2010--shows that healthcare IT M&A transaction volume increased 21 percent annually, with private equity firms accounting for four of the industry's top-value deals last year.

Proposal says IT could trim $2 trillion from national health spending

January 14, 2013 | By Ashley Gold
The Commonwealth Fund's Commission on a High Performance Health System last week proposed reform that could trim $2 trillion from national health spending over the next 10 years. The proposal, according to an article in InformationWeek Healthcare, has a central focus on the Meaningful Use of healthcare IT by healthcare organizations.
Monday, January 14, 2013

Technology-Enabled Medication Tracking: A Tough Nut To Crack

A patient who comes into the hospital for a complex cardiovascular procedure, at one end of the spectrum, or a straightforward pneumonia case, at the other, both face a safety risk in what may appear relatively simple to do: Getting, and maintaining, an accurate medication list.
Even with health IT advances and the march toward computerized provider order entry, health care facilities still struggle with the process of medication reconciliation, which is woven throughout the care continuum.
January 14, 2013

Mining Electronic Records for Revealing Health Data

Over the past decade, nudged by new federal regulations, hospitals and medical offices around the country have been converting scribbled doctors’ notes to electronic records. Although the chief goal has been to improve efficiency and cut costs, a disappointing report published last week by the RAND Corp. found that electronic health records actually may be raising the nation’s medical bills.
But the report neglected one powerful incentive for the switch to electronic records: the resulting databases of clinical information are gold mines for medical research. The monitoring and analysis of electronic medical records, some scientists say, have the potential to make every patient a participant in a vast, ongoing clinical trial, pinpointing treatments and side effects that would be hard to discern from anecdotal case reports or expensive clinical trials.
“Medical discoveries have always been based on hunches,” said Dr. Russ B. Altman, a physician and professor of bioengineering and genetics at Stanford. “Unfortunately, we have been missing discoveries all along because we didn’t have the ability to see if a hunch has statistical merit. This infrastructure makes it possible to follow up those hunches.”
January 10, 2013

In Second Look, Few Savings From Digital Health Records

The conversion to electronic health records has failed so far to produce the hoped-for savings in health care costs and has had mixed results, at best, in improving efficiency and patient care, according to a new analysis by the influential RAND Corporation.
Optimistic predictions by RAND in 2005 helped drive explosive growth in the electronic records industry and encouraged the federal government to give billions of dollars in financial incentives to hospitals and doctors that put the systems in place.
“We’ve not achieved the productivity and quality benefits that are unquestionably there for the taking,” said Dr. Arthur L. Kellermann, one of the authors of a reassessment by RAND that was published in this month’s edition of Health Affairs, an academic journal.

RAND Walks Back HIT Savings Estimates

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , January 14, 2013

RAND researchers are walking back a report that the nonprofit public policy think tank issued in 2005 estimating that the widespread adoption of healthcare information technology could trim more than $81 billion each year from the nation's healthcare tab through improved efficiencies.

Instead, a new RAND analysis by a new team of researchers, published this month in
Health Affairs, notes that seven years later, expectations about the safety and efficiency of HIT mostly have not been met, and annual healthcare spending has increased by $800 billion. 

"The failure of health information technology to quickly deliver on its promise is not caused by its lack of potential, but rather because of the shortcomings in the design of the IT systems that are currently in place," said
Dr. Art Kellermann, the study's senior author said in a media release.