BREAKING: Karen DeSalvo Steps Away from ONC, Tapped by Burwell to Lead Ebola Response Team

Karen-DeSalvo-Headshot_1By Gabriel Perna, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 23, 2014

Karen DeSalvo, M.D., the National Coordinator for Health IT has been tapped to serve as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health as part of the Ebola response team by Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

DeSalvo will be replaced by Lisa Lewis, the chief operating officer at ONC, in the interim. It’s unclear if DeSalvo will return to ONC in the future. She will be Acting Assistant Secretary for Health until a new one is named at HHS. A source at ONC says the acting positions are not usually permanent, so there is a chance that she will eventually return. She is still expected to still work with ONC in her new role but will spend the majority of her time on other duties.

Here’s the full comment from an ONC spokesperson, who confirmed the news to Healthcare Informatics:

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HHS Announces $840 Million Initiative for Value-Based Medical Reform

medical-malpractice-reformBy Gabriel Perna, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 21, 2014

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced the agency is making a $840 million investment into value-based coordinated care initiatives in an effort to further healthcare reform.

The Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative will be a four-year investment by HHS to support, incentivize and inform 150,000 clinicians. The agency is planning on taking applications for those who have “demonstrated ability to achieve progress toward measurable goals, such as improving clinical outcomes, reducing unnecessary testing, achieving cost savings and avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations.” The clinicians who take part will receive the technical assistance and peer-level support they need to deliver care in a patient-centric and efficient manner, HHS says.

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

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Medication Preparation Improved with a Web-Based Tool

drug-scanningBy Rajiv Leventhal, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 21, 2014

University of Kentucky study shows the tool’s ability to reduce medication dosing errors in children

Recent research has demonstrated that medication errors pose the greatest risks and consequences in critical care settings, where patients are sicker and lack the resilience to respond adequately to adverse events, and clinicians are under stress. What’s more, critical care patients typically receive twice as many medications as patients on general floors.
Studies also have shown that at least 25 percent of all harmful adverse drug events (ADEs) are preventable, and each preventable ADE adds a significant amount to the cost of a hospital stay. As such, the need for accurate and quick medication dosing is essential, particularly in the emergency setting, and even more particularly in the presence of children, when doses usually are not pre-drawn like they would be for adults. Specifically, one study that reviewed the charts of more than 1,500 children seen in the emergency department of a children’s hospital found that prescribing errors occurred in 10 percent of those charts. Another study revealed that during mock pediatric emergencies, 17 percent of medication orders were incomplete, and 16 percent of prepared doses were incorrect by at least 20 percent. Seven percent of those doses were incorrect by at least 50 percent.

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rested in learning more about patient engagement? Join Cleveland Clinic and University of Mississippi Medical Center on their ”Patient Engagement: Maximizing the Patient/Consumer Experience” panel, taking place on February 10-11 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Miami.

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NIH Announces $11M in Funds to Study Social Media’s Impact on Substance Abuse

social mediaBy Rajiv Leventhal, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 22, 2014

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced more than $11 million over three years to support research exploring the use of social media to advance the scientific understanding, prevention, and treatment of substance use and addiction.

The awards are funded through the Collaborative Research on Addiction at NIH (CRAN), an NIH consortium involving the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The consortium was established to integrate resources and expertise to advance research and improve public health outcomes related to the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other addictive substances. NIAAA, NIDA, and NCI are components of the National Institutes of Health.

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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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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 MTSamples.com, 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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