ONC’s First Health IT Safety Year: Progress Made and Challenges Ahead

health itBy Amy Helwig M.D M.S and Judy Murphy R.N, First posted on Health IT Buzz, on September 18, 2014

We published the Health IT Safety and Surveillance Plan in July 2013 with the charge to learn, lead, and improve on health IT safety.

Since then, we have been busy implementing our Health IT Safety Program, which promotes the use of Health IT to improve the safety of health care and make sure that the health IT technology is used safely.  We also established our Office of Clinical Quality and Safety.

Over the past year we have learned more about electronic health records’ (EHRs) positive impact on the quality and safety of patient care. We also have a better understanding of the types of safety events related to health IT and, more importantly, the interventions available to prevent unintended consequences of the use of health IT tools.

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Interested in learning more about evolving models for data exchange?  Join North Cypress Medical Center, Greater Houston Healthconnect  and Texas Health Services Authority on their “Evolving Models for Data Exchange: Driving Value and Innovation” panel, taking place on December 10-11 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Houston.

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Population Health Resource Company Receives $400 Million in Funding

funding By Gabriel Perna, first posted in Healthcare Informatics, September 18, 2014

Privia Health, an Arlington, Va.-based physician practice management and population health resource provider for independent physicians, received $400 million funding for expansion this week.

The funding came from Brighton Health’s investor group, led by an affiliate of Goldman Sachs & Co. Privia is planning to use the funds to expand in Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., New York, Atlanta, Florida, Texas, and other markets.

Privia runs high-performance physician practice, accountable care organization, and population health management programs for independent physicians. These programs include access to software—analytics, electronic health records, clinician decision support tools—that aim to help these physicians manage care and create relationships with payers.

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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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Congresswoman’s Bill Would Provide 90-Day Reporting for Stage 2

bill congressBy Gabriel Perna, first posted in Healthcare Informatics, September 17, 2014

In the thick of “National Health IT Week,” Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC) won a lot of friends in the health IT industry with a proposed bill that would allow providers to attest to Stage 2 of meaningful use using any 90-day reporting period in fiscal year 2015.

Currently, providers attesting to Stage 2 of meaningful use in 2015 are required to report for a full-year. Because the fiscal year starts in October, this means that providers and their certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) vendorshave to be ready in a few weeks for attestation.
Many industry associations, including the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS), have come out strongly against this timeline. Recently, these associations wrote a letter to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell asking for flexibility.
Interested in learning more about improving data sharing and interoperability? Join HealthCare Partners, LLC, SacValley MedShare (SVMS) and Valley Presbyterian Hospital on their ”Improving Data Sharing with Interoperability” panel, taking place on November 4-5 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Beverly Hills.

Medicare ACO Savings, Quality of Care Improve in Year Two, CMS Reports

savingsBy Rajiv Leventhal, first posted in Healthcare Informatics, September 17, 2014

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) in the Pioneer ACO model and Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) have generated more than $372 million in total program savings for Medicare ACOs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have announced.

At the same time, ACOs qualified for shared savings payments of $445 million. The news comes from preliminary quality and financial results from the second year of performance for 23 Pioneer ACOs, and final results from the first year of performance for 220 MSSP ACOs, CMS reports. Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, more than 360 Medicare ACOs have been established in 47 states, serving over 5.6 million Americans with Medicare.

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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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ONC Announces New Blue Button Toolkit

blue button By Rajiv Leventhal, first posted in Healthcare Informatics, September 16, 2014

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has launched a new toolkitdesigned for organizations that want to use Blue Button technology to help consumers get access to their digital health information.

The Blue Button Toolkit—which was unveiled at the 2014 Consumer Health IT Summit in Washington D.C. to kick off National Health IT Week—includes the recommended technical standards for sharing data with patients in a structured way, and marketing materials to help organizations communicate the value of online access to health records. Organizations can follow these guidelines and use these materials to show their support for the Blue Button initiative, ONC officials said in a Sept. 15 blog post.

The Blue Button Toolkit updates and replaces the Blue Button Implementation Guide. ONC expects that it will continue to evolve as new standards emerge over the next few years such as RESTful approaches and Fast Health Interoperable Resources (FHIR).

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Interested in learning more about improving data sharing? Join SacValley MedShare (SVMS) and Valley Presbyterian Hospital on their ”Improving Data Sharing with Interoperability” panel taking place on November 405 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Beverly Hills.

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Washington Debrief: Burwell Confirms HHS Commitment to Innovation

ehrBy Jeff Smith,, Vice President of Public Policy at CHIME, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, September 15, 2014

ONC Publishes Final Rule for Next Version of Certified EHRs

Key Takeaway:  The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) released a final rule last week, defining the certification criteria for a voluntary update to 2014 Edition Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT).

Why it Matters: ONC’s 2014 Edition Release 2 remains a voluntary upgrade for providers and is narrower in scope than the proposed rule.  The agency also heeded industry advice, shelving proposals to create new “certification packages,” a new “non-MU certification track” and other ancillary provisions. The update maintained a provision to separate content and transport certification criteria for “Transitions of Care” – a move many believe will enhance information exchange.

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Interested in learning more about mhealth and telehealth? Join U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Bon Secours Medical Group, University of Kansas Medical Center and State of Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals on their “mHealth & Telehealth: Reducing Readmissions through Innovative Care Models” panel, taking place on December 10 – 11 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Houston.

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[Photos] iHT2 Health IT Summit in New York

 

An Evolving Organization in an Evolving Environment Turns to Analytics

Michael Hunt, MD, FACOP, FAAP, MMI, CMO/CMIO, St. Vincent's Health Partners, Inc.By Gabriel Perna, first posted in Healthcare Informatics, September 16, 2014

In April 2013, Dr. Hunt was appointed CMO/CMIO of St. Vincent’s Health Partners, Inc., a Physician Hospital Organization with more than 350 providers, and St. Vincent’s Medical Center. Dr. Hunt provides physician leadership and direction for the planning, design and implementation of clinical information systems at St. Vincent’s Health Partners, Inc. and oversees quality and utilization for its provider network. Under the leadership of Dr. Hunt, St. Vincent’s Health Partners, Inc. was the first organization in the country to become accredited by URAC as a Clinically Integrated Network and is leading the charge in changing the face of healthcare in CT.

Evolution isn’t just a concept taught to uninterested high school science students. It’s a living, breathing way of life at St. Vincent’s Health Partners Inc. in Bridgeport, Conn.

The organization, the first clinically integrated network to be accredited by the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) in the nation, is constantly adapting, explains Michael Hunt, D.O., CIO and CMIO at St. Vincent’s Health Partners.

It started as a physician hospital organization (PHO) with the intent of managing patients through the continuum of care and eventually expanded to include skilled nursing facilities and home health organizations as well. Next up, St. Vincent’s will add pharmacies and durable medical equipment providers to the network. The evolution is also visible in its dealings as an accountable care organization (ACO).

“We started with a commercial ACO product,” says Dr. Hunt. “We then entered into the Medicare Shared Savings program. We are continuing to enhance our capabilities to do medical management under population health.”

The physician-based organization is making these evolutionary changes and achieving its population health management goals through the use of quality-driven analytics tools.

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Cognizant Acquires TriZetto for $2.7 billion

cognizant imageBy Gabriel Perna, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, September 15, 2014

TriZetto Corp., the Englewood, Colo.-based care management, administration, and billing software vendor, is being bought by Cognizant, the Teaneck, N.J.-based consulting and business process outsourcing services company, for $2.7 billion in cash.

Leaders at the publicly-held Cognizant say that the privately-held TriZetto will boost its healthcare business. The company’s healthcare revenues accounted for 26 percent of total revenue in 2013.

“Healthcare is undergoing structural shifts due to reform, cost pressure and shifting responsibilities between payers and providers. This creates a significant growth opportunity, which TriZetto will help us capture,”Francisco D’Souza, CEO of Cognizant, said in a statement. “We are excited that the integrated portfolio of capabilities across technology and operations will uniquely position us to help clients drive higher levels of operational efficiency, while re-imagining care for the future. We look forward to welcoming the TriZetto team into the Cognizant family and creating a truly differentiated and sustainable foundation for healthcare.”

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Interested in learning more about improving data sharing? Join SacValley MedShare (SVMS) and Valley Presbyterian Hospital on their  ”Improving Data Sharing with Interoperability” panel, taking place on November 4-5 at the Health IT Summit in Beverly Hills.

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How Apple Shames the Healthcare IT Market

healthcare itBy Pete Rivera, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, September 15, 2014

If the mobile phone market was like healthcare information technology, we would all still be using a flip phone. It would have touch tone buttons, but it would really have an interface to mimic rotary dial because our infrastructure would still require it. That’s how I feel every time I watch a keynote announcement from Apple introducing new technology.

We tend to move along our technology advancement in healthcare as if we are really making great strides. But the reality is that so far, the government has had to incentivize the market into adopting technology or embracing change. Just recently I saw someone using a character screen terminal; this year someone was still using a dot matrix printer. Of course, we are allstill using HL7 and ICD-09. HL7 has been around since the ’80s and ICD-09 was first published in 1979.

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Interested in learning more about triple aim? 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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Two Large Health Systems in Chicago Metro Area to Combine to Become Area’s Largest

chicagoBy Mark Hagland, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, September 13, 2014

Advocate Health Care and NorthShore University Health System combine to create a mega-system in the Chicago area and northeastern Illinois

On September 12, Advocate Health Care and NorthShore University HealthSystem announced that they are merging to form a new health system called Advocate NorthShore Health Partners (ANHP). When complete, ANHP will be the largest health system in Illinois, and the eleventh-largest not-for-profit health system in the U.S., serving 3 million patients annually, with 16 hospitals, over 350 care sites, and $6.8 billion in revenues.

Both the Advocate and NorthShore health systems have grown considerably in past years through consolidation and acquisition, and both are already among the several dominant integrated health systems in the Chicago area. The Downers Grove-based Advocate Health Care brings 11 acute-care hospitals, one children’s hospital, and 250 care sites to the merger, while the Evanston-based NorthShore University Health System brings four hospitals and 100-plus medical care sites to the combination.
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Interested in learning more  about  innovations in healthcare?  Join Adventist Health, UC San Diego Health Sciences, UC San Diego Telemedicine Learning Center, California Telehealth Network  and Telemedicine Clinical Programs and  Dignity Health on their ”Innovations in Healthcare: Leveraging Telehealth and Mobile Solutions to Reduce Readmissions panel, taking place on November 4-5 at the Health IT Summit in Beverly Hills.

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[Photos] #LEAD14 New York – Health Information Executive’s Guide to Cyber Security! A CHIME LEAD Forum event in collaboration with iHT²

Epic Looks to Improve Image on Capitol Hill

capitol hillBy Gabriel Perna, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, September 11, 2014

Epic Systems (Verona, Wisc.) is hiring a lobbyist firm, Card & Associates, in an attempt to improve its image to members of Congress, Modern Healthcare first reported.

The CEO of the firm, Bradford Card, told Modern Healthcare that Epic has been the subject of misinformation and they will set the record straight. Card is referring to charges made by Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-GA), who in a recent hearing said that Epic Systems has collected millions in federal incentives but still operates on closed systems and doesn’t allow information to flow from its systems.

“It may be time for us to look closer at the activities of vendors in the space, given the possibility that fraud is being perpetrated on the American people,” Gingrey said at the time.

According to Modern Healthcare, this is the first time Epic has hired a lobbyist firm to support them. Along with interoperability, Epic’s CEO Judy Faulkner has been lambasted in the past for her ties to President Barack Obama by many political observers. Faulkner was a donor to Obama’s Presidential campaigns.

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Interested in learning more about data security in the cloud? 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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Clearing the Air on the ICD-10 Transition: AHIMA’s Policy and Coding Leader Speaks Out

changeBy Mark Hagland, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, September 12, 2014

AHIMA’s Sue Bowman shares her perspectives on the current moment in the journey towards the ICD-10 transition

When, this March, the U.S. Congress inserted a year-long delay in the mandate for the transition from the ICD-9 coding system to the ICD-10 coding system from Oct. 1, 2014, to at least Oct. 1, 2015, as part of a broader bill creating a temporary “SGR fix” (a delay in Medicare physician payment cuts under the program’s sustainable growth formula), it threw ICD-10 planning into disarray across the U.S. healthcare system.
Interested in learning more about population health? 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 on December 10- 11 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Houston.
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New Director of Consumer e-Health Named at ONC

ONCBy Gabriel Perna, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, September 11, 2014

Lana Moriarty has been named by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) as the newest head of the Consumer e-Health program.

Moriatry’s official title is Acting Director for Consumer e-Health in the ONC’s Office of Programs & Engagement. She replaces Lygeia Ricciardi, who departed the ONC a few months ago.

In the past year, the ONC has done some restructuring as a result of funding from the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) drying up. With Moriarty’s hire, the office’s commitment to patient engagement.

Moriarty comes to ONC on detail from the Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), where she managed part of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and the NURSE Corps programs. She supported participants of the NHSC and NURSE Corps, which delivered care to underserved communities. Before the HRSA, she worked with the World Bank Group, ensuring the needs of women and girls were included in the Bank’s many overseas development operations.

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Interested in learning more about ACOs and Population Health Management? Join St. Joseph Health System, St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare, Cedars-Sinai Health System  and Heritage Medical Systems on their ACOs and Population Health Management: An IT Enabled Health System panel, taking place November 4-5 at the Health IT Summit in Beverly Hills.

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