Health IT Spending Will Surpass $34 Billion in 2014

Health IT spending will surpass $34 billion in 2014, according to new reports. Healthcare mandates and a need to modernize infrastructure will result in $34.5 billion in IT spending by payers and providers in 2014, according to a new study from Technology Business Research.

The report claims that payers and providers’ average annual IT budget is $18 million and $12 million, respectively. The funds will be spent on electronic health records (EHR), claims processing and management, and customer call center support, among other workloads.

“Regulatory compliance funds take the priority, absolutely, for the healthcare industry,” said one survey respondent quoted in TBR’s report. “For example, ICD-10 is not a project; it’s a program with an estimated end-to-end budget of $2.5 million. A large part of that is based on consultants’ contributions, because we’re not relying on people who are unfamiliar with this.”

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For Santa Rosa Community Health Center, Collaboration Key For Upgrading To a MU Certified EHR

Collaboration has proven to be key when moving to a meaningful use certified electronic health record, time and time again. The same can be said about upgrading to a MU certified EHR.

From a single site opened in 1996, Santa Rosa Community Health Centers (SRCHC) has become a major provider of healthcare services in Sonoma County with more than 102 participating providers serving a patient population of 40,000 through eight facilities.

Services include family planning and reproductive health, HIV, mental health, obstetrics, outreach and education, pediatrics, primary care, senior and older care and teen services. SRCHC is a federally qualified health center, and provides more than 183,000 medical visits each year.

SRCHC went live on eClinicalWorks in May 2009.

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ACO Cost Reduction: First Year a Pipe Dream?

ACO Cost Reduction: First Year a Pipe Dream?
Perez

Guest post by Ken Perez, healthcare policy and IT consultant.

When he was leaving his post as the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Dr. Donald M. Berwick famously said that 20 percent to 30 percent of healthcare spending is waste that yields no benefit to patients.

Given that large amount of waste, surely then, one would have thought that almost all of the original 32 Pioneer ACOs—many of which are generally considered the most sophisticated healthcare organizations in the nation—should have been able to shave a few percentage points off their costs during their first year in the program and therefore, meet or beat their expenditure benchmarks.

As we know from a July 16 press release from CMS, that was not what happened. While all of the Pioneer ACOs successfully reported the required quality measures, a majority—60 percent failed to produce shared savings, missing their cost-reduction (or more accurately, cost curve bending) targets. Moreover, two of the pioneers incurred sufficiently large losses requiring penalty payments to CMS.

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How Rural Health Center in Northern California Successfully Made the Journey to MU Attestation

Hill Country Health and Wellness Center
Hill Country Health and Wellness Center

The Hill Country Health and Wellness Center is a small clinic located in the rural community of Round Mountain in Northern California. The Center, which opened in a trailer in the 1980s, continues to reflect its founder’s passion for helping the area’s rural, largely underserved population. From that humble beginning, with one doctor and one nurse working without pay, the clinic today is housed in a modern building, with 90 employees.

The Center’s provider staff, consisting of two MDs, three mid-levels and three dentists sees about 3,700 patients per year — most of whom drive 30 miles or more for care.

All of the Center’s providers are in different stages of earning meaningful use incentive payments. The physician and nurse practitioners have each attested to Medi-Cal’s Adopt, Implement, Upgrade (AIU) incentive program.

The Center, which has been live on its EHR since June 2012, uses GE Centricity.

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SecureState HIPAA Compliance Seal: The Pros and Cons

SecureState HIPAA Compliance Seal
The new SecureState HIPAA Compliance seal

The new SecureState HIPAA Compliance seal is leading to an interesting conversation taking place on the consulting firm’s site. The company is a global management consulting firm focused on information security.

The pros and cons of such a program are offered and both of the following questions are being asked: Is a HIPAA-compliant seal is worth the effort and would it be relevant?

For business associates of healthcare entities, becoming HIPAA compliant can be a daunting task, and proving compliance to a possible partner can be even harder, which is SecureState developed one.

As such, the SecureState’s Qualified Security Assessors have developed a seal, providing a means for businesses to convey that their programs comply with applicable regulations based on its independent third-party attestation.

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Early Adopters of Dose Management Tools See Big Benefit from Data, Analytics and Education

As more and more hospitals look to manage dose levels, this emphasizes a growing acceptance the radiation management solution in an optimum means to reduce patient exposure to radiation doses during imaging procedures.

Despite recent advancements in medical technology, patients continue to develop illnesses in the same hospitals where they seek treatment. Diagnostic imaging tests like X-rays and CT scans can expose people to as much as six times more radiation than 35 years ago — a dangerous amount that can lead to increased risk of cancer. With more than 72 million DITs performed each year, it’s more important than ever that patients are measured and monitored using an accurate dose management program.

The following infographic from GE Healthcare paints the picture a bit more clearly.

This entry is not meant to be a commercial for the product (though I wish it were because then I might be able to charge for it), it simply points to some information that was forwarded to me that I think is neat.

A recent post on the GE Healthcare blog points out the following that is interesting: As early adopters of GE’s Dosewatch dose management capabilities, Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall, Michigan, and Cullman Regional Medical Center in Alabama join more than 180 providers in the U.S. and Europe working to ensure patient welfare is optimized as they undergo medical imaging procedures as part of their treatment.

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What HIPAA Means for Care Providers and EHR vendors?

What HIPAA means for care providers and EHR vendors?
Parker

Guest post by Scott Parker, Cure MD

The HIPAA Privacy Rule regulates the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) held by “covered entities.”These entities generally include healthcare clearinghouses, employer sponsored health plans, health insurers, and healthcare providers.

PHI is any information held by a covered entity concerning the health status, provision of healthcare, or payment for healthcare that can be linked to an individual.

Covered entities must disclose PHI to the individual within 30 days upon request. They also must disclose PHI when required to do so by law, such as reporting suspected child abuse to state child welfare agencies.

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Epocrates’ Annual Mobile Trends Survey: More Tools to Meet their Clinical Needs

According to Epocrates’ annual mobile trends survey physicians and other providers have an urgent need for tools and resources that can assist them in meeting more stringent and complex requirements around administrative tracking, economic trajectories of different therapies, and ultimately, patient outcomes. Clinicians clearly endorse the viability of mobile technology to enable rapid access to clinical information and communication among a growing roster of caregivers.

Industry stakeholders, such as EHR providers, pharmaceutical companies, technology firms and content owners, must now determine how best to leverage this groundswell of behavioral input to inform product development and marketing programs that support providers in successfully embracing these rapidly evolving models of healthcare.

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Transitioning to ICD-10: How Neutrality Analytics Can Help

Guest post by Vijay Gaware, associate practice manager, MphasiS.

For the healthcare industry, one of the most hard-hitting changes in recent years is ICD-10. One of the most complex regulatory mandates, transitioning to ICD-10 encompasses providers, payers and claims clearing houses. As a result, the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 has a far-reaching impact on any organization’s structure, affecting people, processes and technologies.

With October 2014 fast-approaching, healthcare organizations are switching gears and racing to achieve ICD-10 compliance.

Organizations across the board are adopting various measures, such as analyzing the impact, redesigning the architecture, developing the systems, and, finally, testing to ensure ICD-10 compliance.

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HIT Thought Leader Highlight: Andrew Gelman, PDR Network

HIT Thought Leader Highlight: Andrew Gelman, PDR Network
Gelman

Andrew Gelman, senior vice president, corporate development and EHR vendor relations and general counsel of PDR Network discusses the organization, patient adherence and how EHRs may enhance patient care.

What is your role at PDR Network in terms of working with the company’s EHR vendor partnership network?

As senior vice president–EHR Vendor Relations at PDR Network, I work directly with EHR vendors to understand their systems, identify opportunities where PDR solutions can enhance their systems for providers, and developing strategic partnerships. I am the primary point of contact for members of our growing PDR Certified EHR Network,that now includes 28 industry leading partners, delivering valuable PDR services via 225 EHR platforms and reaching more than 160,000 EHR-based prescribers.

Tell me more about the PDR Network and its value proposition? What elements make it a long-lasting viable option?

As the industry leader in drug information, PDR has been a trusted partner to healthcare providers for generations. With the adoption of EHR systems the provider workflow has changed, but their need for up-to-date, FDA-approved prescribing information has not.  We have developed solutions that can be easily integrated into partner EHR systems to deliver PDR’s prescribing and patient support information to their end users:

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