Guest post by John Moynihan, healthcare segment manager, Global Industry Marketing, Siemens Enterprise Communications and Randy Roberts, vice president, mobility portfolio, Siemens Enterprise Communications.
Technology in business today can seem like a zero-sum game. When the employees win, they are able to do whatever it takes to be productive. But doing that tends to tie the hands of IT, keeping them from locking down devices and services well enough to make sure their information is secure. This situation is becoming more common in the medical industry, with clinicians and computing staff often at odds over convenience versus security. Doctors, traditionally reluctant to adopt new technology or take any risks with tried-and-true methods for caring for their patients, have taken to mobility as a duck to water.
Because access to patient information allows them to better do their jobs, doctors in particular are quickly adopting tablets and smartphones. And while they’re not ignorant of the security risks of these devices, particularly the potential for patient information to be lost or stolen, their focus is on caring for their patients. In fact, even if their business doesn’t provide or specifically allow for mobility, they are bringing their own devices into the office.
Using electronic health records to automate reporting of quality measures reduces reporting time required for one measure set alone by about 50 percent, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
According the a release issued by Kaiser Permanent, for the six measures studied in this paper, we were able to extract between 43 percent and 100 percent of the elements needed for the measures.
“With an increased focus on transparency in the healthcare industry, we are seeing significant growth in the number of public reporting initiatives, and automated quality reporting allows us to keep up with these initiatives without adding to high overhead costs.” said Jed Weissberg, MD, senior vice president of Hospitals, Quality and Care Delivery Excellence, Kaiser Permanente. “An added benefit of automated reporting of quality measures is that some data become available real-time, further enabling us to improve care in an expedited manner.”
Say it isn’t so: Farzad Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, is going the way of David Blumenthal and is exiting the position he has held for more than two years.
He announced today that will leave this fall, according to a letter by U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Mostashari has served as National Coordinator since April 2011. Mostashari served as deputy national coordinator prior to his current post.
“During this time of great accomplishment, Farzad has been an important advisor to me and many of us across the Department. His expertise, enthusiasm and commitment to innovation and health IT will surely be missed. In the short term, he will continue to serve in this role while a search is underway for a replacement,” Sebelius said in the letter.
Mostashari spent four years with ONC.
“During his tenure, ONC has been at the forefront of designing and implementing a number of initiatives to promote the adoption of health IT among health care providers,” Sebelius wrote in the memo. “Farzad has seen through the successful design and implementation of ONC’s HITECH programs, which provide health IT training and guidance to communities and providers; linked the meaningful use of electronic health records to population health goals; and laid a strong foundation for increasing the interoperability of health records — all while ensuring the ultimate focus remains on patients and their families.”
Guest post by Ken Perez, healthcare policy and IT consultant.
Don’t say we had no warning. In late February of this year, 30 of the 32 Pioneer ACOs sent a letter to CMS that expressed concern about the program’s quality benchmarks and requested reporting-based, as opposed to performance-based, payments for performance year 2013.
On July 16, CMS shared the results of the first year of the Pioneer ACO program, which were rather checkered. On the positive side, all 32 Pioneer ACOs successfully reported the required quality measures, and costs for the more than 669,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Pioneer ACOs grew by 0.3 percent in 2012 versus 0.8 percent for similar beneficiaries in the same year.
Guest post by Richard Cramer is Informatica‘s Chief Healthcare Strategist.
The widespread adoption of electronic health records has been a key objective of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. With the pervasive use of these electronic health records, an enormous volume of clinical data is now becoming readily accessible that has previously been locked away in paper charts.
The potential value of this data to yield insights into what works in healthcare, and what doesn’t work, dwarfs the benefits of simply replacing a paper chart with an electronic system. There’s appropriate enthusiasm that this data is going to be a veritable goldmine for enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence, and comparative effectiveness research. However, there are other, equally valuable, uses for this data to enhance clinical decision-making and improve the value of healthcare spending. Simply having instant access to large volumes of data that span thousands or tens-of-thousands of physicians, hundreds-of-thousands of patients and millions of encounters, offers an unparalleled opportunity to increase the quality and lower the cost of healthcare.
Introducing an electronic medical records system into the practice helps the physicians and staff provide more efficient health care by making medical records more accessible to all health care team members. It also brings some risks. In this two-part article, CAP Risk Management and Patient Safety identifies 10 areas of risk exposure and provides some brief recommendations in each area.
Tracking of laboratory and diagnostic orders and results is more efficient and timely when all orders are processed through the EMR with a bi-directional interface. If possible, also set up to receive all results back through the system. If fax or paper reports are received, scan and index reports into the system the same day. The EHR system may also be used as a “tickler file” for verification of orders and paper reports. Physicians should see all diagnostic testing whether normal or abnormal.
Introducing an electronic medical records system into the practice helps the physicians and staff provide more efficient healthcare by making medical records more accessible to all health care team members. It also brings some risks. In this two-part article, CAP Risk Management and Patient Safety identifies 10 areas of risk exposure and provides some brief recommendations in each area.
EMR or EHR
Know your system. Electronic Medical Record is the term most often used for the electronic system now holding the medical records of the physician’s patients. If patients’ medical data is shared electronically with other facilities, locations, caregivers, and/or billers, the term Electronic Health Record is more accurate. The terms are often used interchangeably. Most articles are using the words “Electronic Health Record.”
Provide updated/additional training periodically, especially after software updates and enhancements.
Guest post by Glen Stettin, M.D., senior vice president, clinical, research and new solutions, Express Scripts.
In the United States, we spent $325 billion on prescription drugs last year. However, more than $500 billion in additional related spending was wasted on two problematic (and essentially opposite) patient behaviors:
1) People who should take their medications but don’t. Patients who failed to adhere to their prescribed medication therapy cost the country $317.4 billion in avoidable hospitalizations and other medical costs last year.
2) People who shouldn’t take medications but do. Prescription drug abuse is deadlier than cocaine and heroin combined. Each year, the U.S. loses between 3 percent and 10 percent of every healthcare dollar spent – as much as $224 billion last year – to fraudulent prescriptions. More importantly, prescription drug overdoses kill more than 15,000 people and result in 1.2 million emergency room visits each year.
Guest post Chris Shaw, senior vice president and general manager, OneSign Products Group at Imprivata.
The aging population and skyrocketing cost of care are driving healthcare organizations around the world to rethink their business and delivery models, and to develop more efficient ways to keep their populations healthy. In the United States, meaningful use objectives defined by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act have propelled hospitals to lead the way in the adoption of electronic health records (EHR) in order to optimize care delivery and improve patient outcomes.
At Chilton Hospital, an award-winning, nonprofit hospital in northwestern New Jersey, the benefits of digitization were clear, and the IT department was committed to making the shift to EHR, regardless of meaningful use and its incentives. Yet they anticipated resistance from their care providers, who were accustomed to finding all the patient information they needed in one paper chart. When Mark Lederman, Chilton CIO, joined the hospital in 2011, he knew that his team was going to have to find a way to implement the EHR system without forcing clinicians to log in and out of multiple applications dozens of times a day.
Fortuneteller Farzad Mostashari said recently that a lull in adoption of EHRs is expected, by him, and that 2014 will be a huge – banner – year for the adoption of the technology to participate in the meaningful use program, since 2014 is the last year to participate and still be eligible for federal incentives.
The penalty phase begins in 2015.
The incentive program is having a clear impact on adoption of the technology, as we all know. Without the “free” federal money and the threat of cuts in reimbursements, motivation to implement the oft described as burdensome technology was lagging.