Senate Seeks Ways to Improve EHRS

The Senate health committee is continuing its effort to find ways to help users of healthcare technology realize the promise of electronic health records to increase quality of care. Late last month, committee chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced a bipartisan, full committee working group to identify additional ways to improve EHRs.

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HIMSS Report Shows Priorities for Health Leaders

Key trends impacting the business of healthcare currently include patient considerations, security concerns, insurance models and policy mandates, according to the results of the annual HIMSS Leadership Survey. The survey, in its 26th year, once again provides those of us working in healthcare plenty to think about, to work toward and to strive for over the coming year.

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CMS Issues Proposed Rule to Modify Meaningful Use

On April 10, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a new proposed rule for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs that it claims will better align Stage 1 and Stage 2 objectives and tie them to measures with the long-term objectives of Stage 3. Thus, the organizations claim, the proposed rule will “build progress toward program milestones, to reduce complexity and to simplify providers’ reporting.”

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EHR inaccuracies threaten patient safety

Patient safety may be on the line if electronic health records are employed across a health system, according to a new article in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA). According to the magazine, the EHRs are not doing a good job of creating accurate and clear graphs of patient information, which may adversely impact patient safety.
This is a major claim against EHR technology, and its ability to better care through a health environment. Though not the first claim against the technology, this is still a major blow to the proposed “indestructability” of the technology.

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Private HIEs More Popular Than Public

Black Book Rankings, one of healthcare’s most prolific and insightful research companies, has compiled a new report that suggests that providers are frequently choosing private health information exchange vendors over public providers of HIE. The Black Book Rankings report suggests that healthcare’s providers are seeking these vendors over their publically owned counterparts because they are more confident in their ability to “ensure interoperability.” According to EHR Intelligence’s article on the report, responses from more than 4,000 HIE clients and a survey of 1,290 health payers were used to compile the report.

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Implementation Plans: Best Practices Approaches

HIMSS, the conference and trade show, is coming upon us in a few weeks. The event, this year, will be held in Chicago from April 12 through 16, 2015. Alego will be present at the show, in Meeting Place Room MP31. As a corporate partner of HIMSS, some of our resources will be featured at the show, including a white paper we produced recently, featuring the Cleveland Clinic and our partnership with the organization to implement CPOE (computerized physician order entry).

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Patient EMR Entries: Engagement vs. Interoperability

Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center recently received a $450,000 grant from The Commonwealth Fund to develop a program called “OurNotes” that will allow patients the ability to contribute to their medical records. The program is an extension of the OpenNotes initiative and will include collaboration with a handful of other providers across the country.

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The Time for Telehealth is Now

Because of the importance of the topic, we thought it worthwhile to return to the conversation of telehealth. In all likelihood, this will not be the only time in the coming months that we touch on the subject. Given it emergence as a likely power topic for the coming year and shifts in the industry, we’re beginning to see that telehealth may, in the near term, have a very profound effect on every area of healthcare.

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Meaningful Use Penalties on the Way

Nearly a quarter of a million Medicare eligible physicians are on the verge of receiving the short end of the stick as they’ll begin receiving 1 percent penalties to their Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, which began to take effect on Jan. 5, 2015, according to CMS. The reason: More than 257,000 physicians failed to meet meaningful use by Oct. 1, 2014, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, FierceEMR reported earlier this month.

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MEDTECH Act Vital to Healthcare Innovation

A new bill, the Medical Electronic Data Technology Enhancement for Consumers’ Health (MEDTECH) Act, has been introduced by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), with the aim to exempt low-risk medical software and mobile medical apps from regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It was officially was introduced to Congress Dec. 4, 2014.

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The Rise of Telemedicine

Telemedicine is making a number of headlines as providers, health systems and insurers may be beginning to embrace the technology. For example, as a technology telemedicine is proving to be an effective means for providing psychotherapy care to veterans in rural areas suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. According to research published in JAMA Psychiatry, this finding further supports the benefits of the technology, especially for patients in rural and outlying areas of the country.

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ONC sets 10 year Quality Improvement goal

The ONC has developed a 10-year vision to ensure health information technology is deployed across the US’ health system in a manner that also offers continuous quality improvement for providers and patients. The newly announced effort backs the ONC’s focus on bringing about advancement in the space and capitalizing on advancements made because of the digitizing of care delivery and the progress made in the last decade. ONC said in a statement announcing the plan that it does not overlook or exclude the fact that more than half of the country’s hospitals can electronically exchange health information with outside providers.

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