CHIME: Nation’s Providers Recommend More Time, Flexibility for Meaningful Use in 2014

In a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and 47 other of the nation’s largest healthcare provider organizations issued a joint call for additional time and flexibility in the meaningful use program to ensure its continued success.

While underscoring the meaningful use program’s invaluable role in advancing technology adoption among hospitals and physicians, the letter states that strict adherence to current program requirements endangers overall success of the EHR program, disrupts providers’ healthcare operations and potentially jeopardizes patient safety.

“Given that we have just celebrated the anniversary of HITECH, we can look back at the last five years with great pride and take stock of how far we’ve come – as an industry and as a nation,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell FCHIME, CHCIO. “But we must look ahead and recognize the immense work in front of us. Now is the time to make much-needed course corrections to ensure that we continue this success well past HITECH’s 10th anniversary.”

The letter reiterates many points made by several organizations dating back to May 2013, including letters from CHIME; the American Hospital Association (AHA); the American Medical Association (AMA); the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA); the American College of Physicians (ACP); the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP); and the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).

The latest letter, the first to be issued jointly by more than 40 organizations, comes in response to concerns that the nation’s 5,000 hospitals and 550,000 eligible professionals must adopt the latest certified versions of EHR technology and meet more difficult program requirements to remain in compliance with the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Program. Hospitals only have until July to adopt, implement, test and train staff to meet either Stage 1 or Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements in 2014. Eligible professionals have until October to begin collecting data to attest to meeting program requirements.

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2014 HIMSS Nursing Workforce Survey Results Show Growth in Informatics Specialty

At the HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, HIMSS released the results of the 2014 HIMSS Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey, which examines the roles, responsibilities and outlook for nursing informatics professionals. The 2014 Survey captures current professional status and practice trends, while identifying changes that have occurred over the last nine years in the nursing informatics workforce.

The survey, supported by the HIMSS Nursing Informatics Community, continues to suggest that nurse informaticists play a crucial role in the development, implementation and optimization of information systems and applications including clinical documentation, computerized practitioner order entry (CPOE) and electronic medical/health records.

Another key finding of the survey is the overall growth in the nursing informatics field. Based on the responses of more than 1,000 nursing informatics specialists, 70 percent have titles that specified an informatics position, which is double the amount from the last HIMSS Nursing Workforce Survey conducted in 2011. The survey results also showed that professionals in the nursing informatics field experienced an increase in salaries and interest in pursuing additional training within the field.

“The industry demands for more robust clinical documentation and analytics – such as those associated with meaningful use – have increased the need for informaticists across the entire care spectrum. This year’s Survey showed a marked growth across the field of nursing informatics, as well as a deeper understanding and recognition of informatics as a nursing specialty,” said Joyce Sensmeier, vice president of informatics for HIMSS. “Nearly two thirds of respondents have a post-graduate degree and 28 percent have a Master’s degree or PhD in informatics which points to the fact that the field is rapidly maturing. System optimization/utilization was a new option in the 2014 Survey and selected by 39 percent of respondents, suggesting that we may be moving beyond simply implementing systems towards leveraging their value.”

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Thoughts and Images from HIMSS14 Day 2

Day 2 at HIMSS14 was much the same as day 1: Lots of walking, talking and great meetings with great organizations. I can’t thank enough vendors like Verisk Health, Omnicell, Amazing Charts and SAS for the great information they’ve shared, and for the perspectives about the market, trends and what’s ahead (and what’s behind).

Electronic health records are now foundational, and in many cases, they’ve lost their sex appeal. Though there’s an obvious and huge presence by them here, this year’s HIMSS doesn’t seem to have the same energy around the technology, from my point-of-view, that they did two or three years ago, for obvious reasons. Though their importance is still great, as we all know, other issues are taking center stage. ICD-10 is the obvious elephant in the room.

“Risk” is the biggest buzz word I’ve heard here in Orlando. I’ve heard it dozens of times. “Patient engagement” seems overcooked, according to those I’ve spoken to; an aspirational concept, yes, but actionable in an an entirely different story. Lofty goals and strategy, fewer practical best practices approaches for proceeding.

Patient engagement has only just begun, or at least is just developing past its infancy, and I look forward to seeing how it matures as a concept. Remember, just a couple years ago, those with vested interest claim patient portals would solve the ever elusive patient engagement issue. Portals clearly have not done so. Why would they? I remain skeptical that the actual patient is at the heart of this conversation rather how a systems can implement “best practices.” We’ll see, I suppose.

That said, HIMSS14 remains a wonderful experience and I’m glad to be here and meeting some wonderful people. I look forward to what today brings. Likely, more walking!

Here are some images I captured from Day 2.

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Images from the HIMSS14 Trade Show Floor

HIMSS by the numbersTravelers through the trade show floor at HIMSS14 continue to find themselves in the city of senses that is the HIMSS conference. From flashy devices, bright lights, loud music, champagne by the glass and interesting architecture, in many ways this show reminds me of the last time the show was in Orlando. Same energy and excitement, and much the same feel from the show floor. Though it seems like little has changed from the exhibitor perspective, it’s still a nearly overwhelming experience here.

This year, more than 35,500 are here in Orlando, up from 32,500 last year.

The following are some images of the more than 1,200 vendors at the show.

Alere has one of the most visually interesting booths at the show:

Alere
Alere
Alere
Alere

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Results of the 25th Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey

Today I attended a press briefing by HIMSS at the annual conference and exhibition in Orlando, high lighting the results of the 25th Annual 2014 HIMSS Leadership Survey. The survey examines a wide array of topics including IT priorities, issues driving and challenging technology adoption and IT security.

According to the results of the HIMSS survey, some of the most notable findings from this year’s survey concerns the perceived impact financial resources are having on IT implementations. A majority of the survey participants (65 percent) reported IT budget increases – which is likely a contributing factor to the transition to a paperless environment—a lack of adequate financial resources now tops the list of barriers to successful IT implementation. This is a shift from the past two years when the primary IT challenge was insufficient and untrained staffing resources.

As with previous years, this year’s survey continues to explore the progression of healthcare organizations from paper-based systems to a near paperless environment where medical data is fluidly and securely shared between providers. This year’s respondents suggest that government efforts to encourage providers to adopt health IT initiatives across the country – such as Meaningful Use (MU) – have been successful. For example:

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Accenture: Global Market for Electronic Health Records Expected to Reach $22.3 Billion by the End of 2015

According to new research from Accenture, despite slower-than-expected growth, the global market for electronic health records (EHR) is estimated to reach $22.3 billion by the end of 2015, with the North American market projected to account for $10.1 billion or 47 percent, released today at the annual HIMSS Conference in Orlando.

According to Accenture, although the worldwide EHR market is projected to grow at 5.5 percent annually through 2015, Accenture’s previous research shows that would represent a slowdown from roughly 9 percent growth during 2010. Despite the slower pace of growth globally, the combined EHR market in North and South America (The Americas) is expected to reach $11.1 billion by the end of 2015, compared to an estimated $4 billion in the Asia Pacific region and $7.1 billion in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

“Although the market is growing, the ability of healthcare leaders to achieve sustained outcomes and proven returns on their investments poses a significant challenge to the adoption of electronic health records,” said Kaveh Safavi, global managing director of Accenture Health. “However, as market needs continue to change, we’re beginning to see innovative solutions emerge that can better adapt and scale electronic health records to meet the needs of specific patient populations as well as the business needs of health systems.”

Driven by consolidation and the federal Meaningful Use guidelines, the United States is expected to remain the largest EHR market in the Americas and globally, with a projected annual growth rate of 7.1 percent and will total $9.3 billion by the end of 2015. Along with increasing U.S. market demand, Brazil, projected at $0.4 billion, may represent the greatest relative growth opportunity as a country-wide federal initiative, the Unified Health System, is expected to drive 9.7 percent annual growth over the next several years.

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Vendors I’ll Be Checking Out At HIMSS14

The following is a list of organizations I’ll personally be visiting with at HIMSS14, along with several others. Each has a compelling story and I’m looking forward to learning more about them.

Any thoughts on who you think I might be missing, or have overlooked?

AirStrip

AirStrip provides a complete, vendor and data source agnostic enterprise-wide clinical mobility solution, which enables clinicians to improve the health of individuals and populations. With deep clinical expertise and strong roots in mobile technology and data integration, AirStrip is empowering the nation’s leading health systems as the industry continues to evolve to new business models, accountable care and shared risk. Based in San Antonio, Texas, AirStrip allows health systems to unlock the full potential of their existing technology investments with a complete mobility solution that provides access to critical patient data across the care continuum. AirStrip is backed by investments from Sequoia Capital, Qualcomm, Inc., Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) and the Wellcome Trust. AirStrip’s customers includes HCA, Texas Health Resources, Vanguard Health Systems (part of Tenet Healthcare Corporation), Dignity Health and Ardent Health Services.

@AirStripmHealth

Allscripts

Allscripts delivers the insights that healthcare providers require to generate world-class outcomes. The company’s Electronic Health Record, practice management and other clinical, revenue cycle, connectivity and information solutions create a Connected Community of Health for physicians, hospitals and post-acute organizations.

@Allscripts

Axial

Axial’s products improve the quality of patient care, and reduce the cost of providing it, by credentialing the most qualified providers, delivering point of care decision support tools, and utilizing a 360-degree cloud-based predictive model to stratify risk and quantify outcomes. Axial furthers the IHI Triple Aim of driving healthcare value by developing cost-effective, quality-based treatment pathways combined with seamless IT and workflow integration.

@AxialHealthcare

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TEKsystems: More Than Half of Healthcare Organizations Have Yet to Implement Business Intelligence Systems

TEKsystems, a provider of IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services, releases the results of a survey that explored the current state of business intelligence (BI) system deployments among healthcare organizations. The research, released in advance of HIMSS14, explores many of the concepts serving as central themes to the annual event, including clinical analytics and BI, as well as data interoperability.  Despite the acknowledged benefits that healthcare organizations would realize, the study finds that the vast majority have yet to implement a BI system.

The survey, conducted on behalf of TEKsystems’ Healthcare Services division, represents views of more than 250 healthcare professionals, including senior-level health IT executives and medical staff such as CIOs, directors of information systems and clinical informatics, physicians, and chief nursing officers. Respondents represent a wide cross section of healthcare organizations including hospitals, medical clinics, ambulatory care centers and integrated delivery systems.

Key highlights from the survey include:

Business Intelligence System Implementation Lags

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Verisk Health to Host Food Packing Event for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida at HIMSS

Verisk-logoHere’s a worthy event I plan to attend, and cover, while at HIMSS next week. Verisk Health and volunteers will prepare 4,000 food packs for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida at HIMSS. This program provides nutritious meals, with kid-friendly, shelf-stable items, to children who do not have access to school cafeterias during the weekend.

Verisk invites all HIMSS conference attendees to help with the packing. Complete details follow:

WHAT: To support the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Verisk Health is hosting an event to prepare 4,000 food packs for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s Hi-Five Kids Pack Program during the HIMSS Conference. This program provides nutritious meals, with kid-friendly, shelf-stable items, to children who do not have access to school cafeterias during the weekend. HIMSS attendees are invited to volunteer an hour of their time to help assemble the food packs

WHERE: Rosen Centre Hotel, a two-minute walk from the Orange County Convention Center, accessible via the sky bridge

WHEN: 6 p.m. on Tuesday, February 25, 2014

WHO: Verisk Health, a subsidiary of Verisk Analytics, provides data services, analytics, and advanced technologies for the healthcare industry. The company’s solutions help health plans, employers, providers, and other risk-bearing entities improve the quality of healthcare delivery, reduce costs, optimize risk-adjusted revenue, ensure payment accuracy, and support compliance.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is a private, nonprofit organization that collects, stores and distributes donated food throughout Central Florida. They initiated the Hi-Five Kids Pack Program when educators came to the Food Bank looking for a solution to provide a weekend-supply of food to needy students who would arrive at school on Monday ill and unable to learn because they had not eaten since their school lunch the previous Friday. The program provides nutritious meals to children in-need who do not have access to school cafeterias during the weekend.

For more information, contact Ashley DePaolo at 617-763-3861 or ashleyd@commcreative.com.

HIMSS Security Survey: Breaches Remain Primary Concern Despite Increased Use of Security Technologies and Analytics

Results of the 2013 HIMSS Security Survey show that, despite progress toward hardened security and use of analytics, more work must be done to mitigate insider threat, such as the inappropriate access of data by employees. Although federal initiatives such as OCR audits, meaningful use and the HIPAA Omnibus Rule continue to encourage healthcare organizations to increase the budgets and resources dedicated to securing patient health data, in the previous 12 months, 19 percent of respondents reported a security breach and 12 percent of organizations have had at least one known case of medical identity theft reported by a patient.

The 2013 HIMSS Security Survey, supported by the Medical Group Management Association and underwritten by Experian Data Breach Resolution, profiles the data security experiences of 283 information technology (IT) and security professionals employed by U.S. hospitals and physician practices. The data from respondents suggests that the greatest perceived “threat motivator” is that of healthcare workers potentially snooping into the electronic health information of friends, neighbors, spouses or co-workers (i.e., inappropriate data access).

Recognizing inappropriate data access by insiders as an area for which organizations are at risk of a security breach, there has been increased use of several key technologies related to employee access to patient data, including user access control and audit logs of each access to patient health records. On a related note, although more than half of the survey’s respondents (51 percent) have increased their security budgets in the past year, 49 percent of these organizations are still spending 3 percent or less of their overall IT budget on security initiatives that will secure patient data. Continue Reading