California Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal in Data Breach Lawsuit Ruling

Data BreachBy Gabriel Perna, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 21, 2014

The year 2014 continues to be a kind year to healthcare provider organizations in California that have been sued for a data breach.

 Earlier this year, courts in California have ruled that both Eisenhower Medical Center, a 524-bed community hospital in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and Sutter Health, a Sacramento nonprofit health system, were not liable for their respective data breaches. This week, the California Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal against two lower court decisions that went in favor of Sutter.
In June, the California Court of Appeal ruled that Eisenhower wasn’t liable due to the fact healthcare providers are not violating the state’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA) for the release of patients’ personal information if it does not include information about medical histories, conditions or treatments.
Interested in learning more about privacy and security? Join Stanford Hospital & Clinics, Stanford University Medical Center and St. Luke’s Health System on their  ”Privacy & Security: Strategies to Secure Patient Data” panel, taking place on January 20-21 2015 at the Health IT Summit in San Diego.

Report: Growth in Health Wearables Could be Stunted by Cost, Privacy Concerns

wearable_technology-imageBy Gabriel Perna, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 21, 2014

While the adoption of wearable devices is expected to rise, health consumers are still concerned over privacy and cost issues, according to a report.

 The report, from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Health Research Institute (HRI), examines consumer interest and attitude toward wearable health devices. Currently, performance of the devices is not up to consumer expectations. While 20 percent of consumers own a wearable device, 33 percent who bought one more than a year ago say they don’t use it any more.
Further, more than 80 percent of consumers are concerned that wearable technology would invade their privacy. Few consumers, PwC HRI reports, are interested in using wearables to share health data with friends and family because of these privacy concerns. Authors of the report advise manufacturers of these devices to be up front and clear on privacy policies.
Interested in learning more about  IT Risk and Compliance? Join Nova Southeastern University and University of Miami on their  ”IT Risk & Compliance: Securing ePHI” panel, taking place on February 10-11 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Miami.

Research: Mobile App Can Help Detect Early Signs of Glaucoma

mobile appBy Gabriel Perna,  first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 20, 2014

A mobile health (mHealth) app can help clinicians detect early signs of glaucoma, according to new research.

A team of researchers, from the University of Iowa, the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan and the Tilganga Eye Institute in Nepal, used a peripheral vision assessment app to screen approximately 200 patients in Nepal for glaucoma using an iPad. They say that the results show promise for screening populations that have limited or no access to traditional eye care and certain ethnic groups that have a high risk of developing the disease.

The app, Visual Fields Easy, simulates a visual field test on an iPad. These kinds of tests can help early diagnosis of glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness worldwide.

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Interested in learning more about payer-provider strategies? Join Houston Methodist and Village Family Practice on their “Payer-Provider Alignment Strategies for Quality Improvement” panel, taking place on December 10- 11 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Houston.

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Striving Forward, Atrius Health Focuses on ACO-Driven Learning

Striving Forward, Atrius Health Focuses on ACO-Driven LearningBy Mark Hagland,  first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 15, 2014

At Atrius Health, a non-profit alliance of six community-based medical groups in Massachusetts, mastering the ins and outs of the Pioneer ACO Program is part of a long-term plan

Atrius Health, a non-profit alliance of six community-based medical groups in Massachusetts, encompasses more than 1,000 physicians and more than 2,100 other staffers, in six separate medical groups, based in Newton, Massachusetts, that are taking care of 35,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the Pioneer ACO program, sponsored by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Like all those involved in the Pioneer ACO Program, the leaders of Atrius Health have been slogging through a broad range of issues, from working through patient attribution issues to achieving patient/plan member engagement, and from achieving outcomes goals to meeting financial savings targets set by CMS.

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Interested in learning more about meaningful use? Join Sharp HealthCare and Sharp Community Medical Group on their  ”Stage 2 Meaningful Use: Driving EHR Adoption for Quality Improvement” panel, taking place on January 20-21 2014 at the Health IT Summit in  San Diego. 

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Nurses Dissatisfied with EHRs, Report Finds

nurses dissatisfiedBy Gabriel Perna,  first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 15, 2014

69 Percent Say “IT Department is Incompetent”

Much has been made of doctors’ dissatisfaction with electronic health records (EHRs) but a new report details that nurses are as equally disenchanted with the software systems.

Authors of the report, from the New York-based Black Book Research, polled nearly 14,000 licensed registered nurses from forty states, all utilizing implemented hospital EHRs over the last six months. A whopping 92 percent of them are dissatisfied with their inpatient EHR system. Eighty-four percent of those polled said that EHR’s causing disruptions in productivity and workflow have negatively influenced their job satisfaction.

Most telling, 88 percent blame nonclinical administrators and CIOs for selecting inferior systems based on EHR pricing and government EHR incentives only. Most say that the EHR selection did not account nursing workflow into account. An astoundingly high 69 percent of nurses in for-profit inpatient settings say their IT department is incompetent.

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Interested in learning more about data security in the cloud? Join  Cook Children’s Health Care System, Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics and UMC Health System on their ”Data Security in the Cloud: Leveraging Accessibility while Managing Risk” panel, taking place on December 10-11 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Houston.

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Amid a Building Crisis, Could Clinical Decision Support Tools Make a Difference in Managing the Ebola Outbreak?

clincal  decision supportBy Mark Haland,  first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 15, 2014

As developments move forward rapidly in the growing Ebola crisis in the U.S., could the leveraging of strong clinical decision support tools make a difference in patient care organizations?

The White House announced Friday morning that President Barack Obama had asked Ron Klain, who had served as chief of staff to both Vice President Joe Biden and former Vice President Al Gore, to be his Ebola response coordinator, in the wake of recent developments. “He will report directly to the president’s homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, and the President’s national security adviser, Susan Rice as he ensures that efforts to protect the American people by detecting, isolating and treating Ebola patients in this country are properly integrated but don’t distract from the aggressive commitment to stopping Ebola at the source in West Africa,” a White House official wrote in an e-mail, as reported by the Washington PostLeaders in Congress had been calling on President Obama to appoint a so-called “Ebola czar.”

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Interested in learning more about transition to value based  system? Join  Flagler Hospital and  WellStar Health System on their  ”Transitioning to a Value Based System: Accountable Care and Population Health in 2015″ panel, taking place on February 10-11 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Miami.
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Federal HIT Committees OK Public API Recommendations to ONC

Health IT By David Raths,  first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 15, 2014

Language about changes to MU Stage 3 dropped

An Oct. 15 joint Health IT Policy/Standards Committee meeting approved a set of task force recommendations that the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services focus effort on a public API (application programming interface) specification. But committee members asked to remove language suggesting that CMS and ONC should consider delaying or staggering meaningful use Stage 3 to accommodate an accelerated development process for an initial public API.“Meaningful use Stage 2 experience shows that overly broad and complex requirements slow progress on all fronts,” Micky Tripathi, CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative and co-chair of the JASON Task Force, told the joint committee meeting. A focus on interoperability will send a strong signal to the market and allow providers and vendors to focus their resources, he said. “On the task force, there was consensus that this narrow focus is the way to go.”
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Interested in learning more about integrating data and analytics? Join UT Southwestern Medical Center, University of Texas at Dallas, UT System, Medical Center Health System and UTMB Health on their “Integrating Data and Analytics to Meet The Triple Aim” panel, taking place on December 10-11 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Houston.  

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Feds Looking to Standardize Decision Support for Ebola Screening in the EHR

ebola screeningBy Gabriel Perna,  first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 16, 2014

Representatives from both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) co-hosted a special webinar this week on the use of clinical decision support (CDS) tools in the electronic medical record (EMR) to screen potential Ebola patients.

The webinar comes as the Ebola virus has become an international topic of discussion, amid a full-on breakout in Libera, Sierra Leone, and Guinea and a smattering of cases elsewhere. In Texas, where the first case of Ebola in the U.S. was treated, representatives from the treating hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, a Texas Health Resources facility, initially blamed workflow issues in its EMR as to why the patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, was prematurely released from the hospital. However, the hospital later recanted that statement and said the travel history workflow was available in both doctor and nurse workflows.

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Interested in learning more about analytics? Join Scripps Health, University of Mississippi Medical Center, University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers at University of Michigan Health System and GNS Healthcare on their ”The Journey to an Analytics-Driven Organization” panel, taking place on January 20- 21 2014 at the Health IT Summit in San Diego. 

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CMS Launches New ACO Model Targeting Underserved Areas

CMSBy Rajev Leventhal,  first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 15, 2014

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched a new accountable care organization (ACO) initiative that is designed to encourage new ACOs to form in rural and underserved areas, and current Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs to transition to arrangements with greater financial risk.

The new initiative—the ACO Investment Model—will build on the experience with the Advance Payment Model and will provide up to $114 million in upfront investments to up to 75 ACOs across the country. The model was developed in response to stakeholder concerns and available research suggesting that some providers lack adequate access to the capital needed to invest in infrastructure necessary to successfully implement population care management. CMS says it will provide financial support to these ACOs to make infrastructure investments and develop new ways to improve care for Medicare beneficiaries. The agency adds that it will recover these payments through an offset of an ACO’s earned shared savings.

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Interested in learning more about driving value with clinical data?  Join Cleveland Clinic Health System, Georgia Regents Health System  and Henderson Behavioral Health on their ”Driving Value with Clinical Data” panel , taking place on Febuary 10- 11 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Miami. 

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Aetna’s Dr. Kennedy Opens the Health Plan ACO-Strategy Kimono

Health PlanBy Mark Hagland,  first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 14, 2014

What does it mean when a prominent health insurer picks sole integrated health systems to partner with in individual healthcare markets?

In the business world, one often hears the phrase “opening the kimono,” in the context of any businessperson or entity openly sharing their strategy with another businessperson or entity. Well, that’s pretty much what Charles Kennedy, M.D., did last week when he delivered a keynote address at the Health IT Summit in Washington, sponsored by the Institute for Health Technology Transformation (iHT2), a sister organization of Healthcare Informatics.

Dr. Kennedy, the CEO of the rapidly growing and evolving Aetna Accountable Care Solutions organization, a division of the Hartford, Conn.-based mega-insurer Aetna, delivered a keynote presentation entitled “Building a Sustainable ACO: Strategies for Success,” on Oct. 8, at the Westin Arlington Gateway.

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Interested in learning more about privacy and security strategies?  Join Stanford Hospital & Clinics, Stanford University Medical Center and St. Luke’s Health System on their ”Privacy & Security: Strategies to Secure Patient Data” panel, taking place on January 20-21 2014 at the Health IT Summit int San Diego. 

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Study: Less Than 10 Percent of Patient Data Needs to be Structured to Meet MU

dataBy Rajiv Leventhal,  first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 14, 2014

Less than 10 percent of the data collected in a typical patient note is actually required to be structured in order to meet meaningful use, according to a study by WebChartMD, a software development company specializing in clinical documentation workflow applications.

The study analyzed 100 de-identified orthopedic and cardiovascular patient notes obtained from, a collection of transcribed medical transcription sample reports. While a larger body of documents needs to be analyzed to confirm study findings, the key take-away is that as much as 91-93 percent of data typically captured within electronic health records (EHRs) in a structured format (e.g. point-and-click templates and drop-down boxes) could instead be captured as unstructured data (e.g. dictation and transcription, or free-text entry) and still meet meaningful use requirements.  More, specifically, according to the study, only 7 percent of data (9 percent if lab data is present) in a patient note needs to be structured to meet meaningful use requirements.

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Interested in learning more about empowering the engaged patient? Join University of Mississippi Medical Center, Sharp Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente Orange County and Methodist Hospital Southern California on their ”Empowering the Engaged Patient” panel, taking place on January 20-21 2015 at the Health IT Summit in San Diego.

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Interview with Jeff Allport, CHCIO, CPHIMS, Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Valley Presbyterian Hospital

Jeff Allport, CHCIO CPHIMS, Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Valley Presbyterian Hospital

Jeffrey Allport, CHCIO, CPHIMS, has been Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Valley Presbyterian Hospital since September 2013.  Engaged in healthcare information technology since 1996, Mr. Allport previously worked as a consultant through his company JLA Insight.  Before that he served as Vice President of IT Solutions Delivery at St. Joseph Health System, Senior Manager in the Healthcare Industry Group of Perot Systems, and CIO of St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming.

As Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Mr. Allport is responsible for developing, coordinating and facilitating strategic information services projects, as well as improving and maintaining the operation of the hospital’s computing environment.  He holds the CHCIO certification from CHIME as well as CPHIMS from HIMSS.  Mr. Allport is a graduate of Stanford University.

Institute: Can you please start by giving us a brief overview of Valley Presbyterian Hospital and your role as VP and Chief Information Officer?

A) The mission of Valley Presbyterian Hospital is to improve the quality of health in the San Fernando Valley.  The focus of everything the hospital does is its diverse community.  Founded in 1958, it is a full service 350 bed acute care hospital employing approximately 1300 full time employees.   Key services delivered to the community are:  Obstetrical, Neonatal, and Pediatric Medicine, Emergency Room Services, Cardiac Care, and Rehab.   With just under 20,000 yearly inpatient discharges, the hospital annually services approximately 60,000 emergency visits, provides over 3000 deliveries, and over 7000 surgeries.

B) As CIO I am a member of the Executive Team and represent the awareness of the hospital leadership that information technology is a major strategic component of virtually every initiative undertaken.  The overall technology vision and the strategic and tactical leadership to achieve it is the responsibility of the CIO.  In addition, my role ensures ongoing information technology service delivery to the organization.

Institute: What are some of your top priorities going into 2015?

A) Meaningful Use Stage 2.  The challenge of meeting these objectives over a full year in specific areas:

  1. Increased patient portal usage
  2. Increased exchange of care summaries to pre and post acute partners
  3. Optimized clinical processes such as medication reconciliation, CPOE, and problem list management
  4. Providing ongoing, necessary data submission for public health

B) Extending the EHR clinical transformation:

  1.  Expand CPOE into specific procedural areas
  2. Expand electronic physician documentation in the EHR
  • Roll out Dragon speech recognition to support this effort
  • Unify clinical documentation onto our single EHR platform by migrating from niche systems
  •  Introduce electronic document management into the EHR to get closer to “paperless”

C) Refresh and harden IT infrastructure to provide high availability, disaster recovery, and increased security

  1. Network refreshment
  2. WAN capacity upgrades
  3. Cloud recovery services
  4. Increased security protections through appliances and procurement of monitoring services

D) Resume ICD 10 readiness

  1. System remediation
  2. Clinical documentation improvements
  3. Training and awareness
  4. Dual coding

Institute: What are the greatest challenges and opportunities facing the healthcare system, and how will technology help in meeting them?

A) The transition from a fee for service to a value based payment system presents a huge challenge to healthcare.  Service volume is still the primary revenue source while new goals are to keep a population healthy and requiring less services.  Technology can help prepare for the new system by providing the capability to measure and discover improvement opportunities for outcomes and help us be much smarter about how we keep a population healthy.  But the resources for implementation come from the very payment system we are trying to outgrow.  It’s hard to do what you’re not yet being rewarded to do.

B) The other challenge is moving from the meaningful use culture of compliance to a meaningful use culture of quality outcomes.  Getting technology implemented has been and continues to be aggressive and dominant.  Realizing the value of the technology seems to have been only secondary and derivative.  At some point our processes and outcomes need to show that the breakneck pace of technology deployment has contributed to better health and lowered the cost of its achievement.   The motivation for using the technology needs to be a profound and committed desire for excellence instead of meeting either mandated or incented measures.   We have been simply laying down an infrastructure and the real value of that infrastructure still seems a long way off.

Institute: What are your top security concerns with interoperability and sharing data?

A top security concern related to interoperability is the variety of methods that currently exist to share data and which are reinforced by the inertia of common practice.  Faxing, manual report distribution, secure FTP server downloads, portals with individualized access provisioning processes, or read-only EHR viewing agreements between organizations are all methodologies in use today.  When a healthcare organization wants to push any of these arrangements into a standardized exchange methodology, such as Direct Messaging, the required shift in workflow and process is often an obstacle to organizational cooperation.    These barriers are not technological but they are very real and can retard advancement of better, standardized, and more secure technologies to achieve interoperability.  The concern is how long we end up keeping the current state simply because of resistance to change.

Institute: Can you share a piece of advice with your fellow leaders?

My advice to colleagues:  As the mix of technology and workflow solutions begin to look and sound more complex, pause and ask “why?”  When your sense of logic is telling you something is not quite right, listen to it.  Use “Ockham’s Razor” principle to select among competing ideas those which require the fewest assumptions.  Simplify expectations and clarify objectives.

About  iHT² 

Institute for Health Technology Transformation (iHT²) is the leading organization promoting the collection of private sector executives and public growth and effective use of technology in the health sector. Through the joint efforts of the Institute provides programs that stimulate innovation, education and a critical understanding of how to improve the technological applications, solutions and equipment quality, safety and efficacy of health care. The Institute is working in partnership withHealthcare Informatics and was acquired by the Vendome Group, LLC, Healthcare Informatics’ parent company, in December 2013. Vendome produces high-quality information for professionals in the healthcare industry and serves their needs through online, print, mobile, webinars and face-to-face engagement.  For more information, visit

KLAS Report: Providers’ Interoperability Success Due To Own Efforts, Not Their EMR Vendors

InteroperabilityBy Rajiv Leventhal,  first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 14, 2014

Report author Colin Buckley discusses the significance of the report and the overall state of interoperability

Less than half of healthcare providers say their electronic medical record (EMR) vendor cooperates well with other vendors, and only one-fifth are optimistic about multi-vendor industry initiatives such as CommonWell, according to a recent report on interoperability from the Orem, Utah-based KLAS research.
Additionally, 82 percent of the 220 interviewed providers reported feeling at least moderately successful achieving interoperability, but a mere 6 percent of those providers reported having achieved an advanced state. Specifically, Cerner, Allscripts, and Siemens customers mentioned complex, multifaceted connections but did not always rate overall success as high. In contrast, athenahealth, MEDITECH, and NextGen customers feel successful but described common interfaces and less sophisticated capabilities
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Interested in learning more about data security in the aloud? Join Texas e-Health Alliance, Cook Children’s Health Care System, Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics and UMC Health System  on their ”Data Security in the Cloud: Leveraging Accessibility while Managing Risk” panel, taking place on December 10-11 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Houston. 

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Another Lawsuit Filed Against Community Health for Data Breach

data breachBy Gabriel Perna,  first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 8, 2014

Another lawsuit was filed against the Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems (CHS), which owns and operates 206 hospitals in 29 states, for the massive August hack of its computer network.

This is the second major lawsuit against Community for the hack, which affected 4.5 million patients when a group from China used sophisticated malware and technology to breach the company’s systems. A week after the hack was announced by Community, a lawsuit emerged in Alabama against CHS and CHS-based hospitals, Riverview Regional Medical Center and Gadsden Regional Medical Center.

The latest lawsuit may be even larger in scope. Two national firms, Austin-based, Slack & Davis and Albuquerque-based The Branch Law firm, are teaming up to file a class action against CHS. It alleges that CHS failed to follow basic security procedures to make patients protected health information (PHI) hidden.

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Interested in learning more about thriving new reimbursement? Join North Texas Regional Extension Center, Seton Ministry- Ascension Health Information Services and Baylor Scott & White Health on their ”Thriving in a New Reimbursement Model: Why Data is Key to Population Health Management” panel, taking place one December 10-11 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Houston.

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Google Piloting Telemedicine Service

googleBy Gabriel Perna,  first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 13, 2014

Google is piloting a telemedicine program that connects web searchers of medical information to doctors, the tech giant confirmed to Engadget this week.

The service will allow people who search for symptoms to connect with a doctor via video chat. For now, the service is in a pilot phase and the company is covering the costs. Other details on the service have not been released.

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Interested in learning more about data analytics? Join St. Joseph Health System, California Department of Health Care Services  and California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development  on their ”Data Analytics:  Improved Visibility and Better Outcomes” panel, taking place on November 4-5 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Beverly Hills.

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