CCHIT is Shutting Down

cchitBy Gabriel Perna, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 29, 2014

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT), a Chicago-based nonprofit, is shutting down operations after 10 years in service.

In the past, the health IT certification and education-focused nonprofit has offered electronic health record (EHR) testing and certification services and independently developed certification programs. Earlier this year, it announced it was switching from certification to offering direct counseling on the requirements for certified EHR technology. It’s told customers and business colleagues that it’s shutting down completely by mid-November.

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Interested in learning more about reducing readmission’s? Join University of Mississippi Medical Center and UF HEALTH University of Florida Healthcare on their  ”Reducing Readmissions with Analytics and Business Intelligence” panel, taking place on February 10-11 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Miami.

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Interview with Kevin Mackey, Practice Director, Business Technology Services, Point B

Kevin Mackey, Practice Director, Business Technology Services, Point BFor more than 15 years, Kevin has helped clients turn their strategies into reality by leveraging data as a strategic asset. Kevin is Point B’s primary executive for the Business Technology Services Practice. He is a recognized expert in business intelligence, analytics and enterprise information management strategy, design, implementation and operations.

His clients include prominent healthcare providers and health plans, as well as clients in other industries. Kevin is on the leading edge of business intelligence, analytics, and big data and he has been a speaker in the US and Europe on these topics. Kevin has a B.A. in Economics from Pacific Lutheran University and was recently recognized as one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s “40 under 40.”

As a distinguished member of the Institute’s upcoming Health IT Summit in Beverly Hills, taking place, November 4-5, 2014. Mackey shares  insight into his role at Point B, along with his experiences and expertise in business intelligence, analytics, enterprise information management strategy, and more!

Institute: Can you start by giving our audience a background of your organization and your role as “Practice Director, Business Technology Services”?

Mackey: Point B, Inc. helps organizations form, execute, and thrive. With capabilities including Management Consulting and Venture Investment and Advisory, our integrated businesses provide value to the organizations and communities we serve. Our Business Technology Practice serves as a trusted guide for clients in areas such as Analytics, IT Strategy, Software Advisory Services and IT Infrastructure… helping drive innovation through technology to create meaningful business impact. Our Business Intelligence and Analytics capabilities include data analytics assessment, strategy and road-mapping, new capability design, build and implementation, and business analytics.

We work closely with Healthcare providers to extract consequential insight from existing data, identify patterns, and predict future outcomes.  We help Healthcare payors enhance plan effectiveness and improve performance.

Institute: Can you please describe some of the innovative initiatives being worked on at Point B?

Mackey: Point B clients continue to turn to us for strategic guidance on their most innovative projects.  Recent initiatives have taken us into complex Healthcare challenges, including leading the redesign of an analytics organization for a top regional cancer care alliance, working closely with a regional oncology provider using analytics to optimize long-term facility capacity in an effort to minimize mid-term capital investment, assessing the need for a new Healthcare facility vs. more effectively managing capacity at a client’s existing facility, forecasting the impact of commercial ACO contract performance, development of a five-year strategic data and analytics plan, and developing a Business Intelligence solution to reduce hospital remittance rates.

Often, we’ve found that our clients are able to get the data they need, but can sometimes fail at delivering business value. We’ve found that, understanding how to turn data into business value, is really at the heart of Analytics innovation.

Institute: What are some of the top challenges and opportunities providers are facing with Analytics?

Mackey: There is definitely no shortage of Analytics challenges and opportunities  for Healthcare providers today.  We’ve seen that the rapidly evolving Healthcare industry is creating a perfect storm of increasingly complex decisions fraught with risk and uncertainty.  There are questions as to how payers/providers will manage influx of newly covered individuals, industry consolidation leading to the growth of new system access points, and cost containment pressures that are shrinking provider reimbursement avenues.

Healthcare solutions are also still very product vendor driven.  And, as a tool alone does not usually solve a problem, an effective solution is often slow to come to fruition, or is not recognized.  We’ve found that there is an opportunity in the existence of an ecosystem of data, technology, architecture, process, people and culture to enable end-to-end success. The relative value of answering different types of strategic business questions should be a key driver in prioritizing what feeds the data ecosystem.  In a rush to populate an array of datamarts, there can sometimes be a lack of understanding of the relative value of the types of business insights that data can provide.

Additionally, there is often insufficient leadership in place to make meaningful progress on Analytics, as organizations can underestimate the business and clinical investment in Analytics initiatives, and culture and legacy behaviors can be a barrier to effective change.

Finally, we’ve found there is often a tendency to defer real analyses until all parts of a complete ecosystem of data are fully realized.  This can lead to a long period of investment in process and technology before ever achieving actual business value.  Organizations have an opportunity to understand the balance between bootstrapping analytics and running work in parallel while a data ecosystem evolves and improves.

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 www.ihealthtran.com.

UPMC CMIO Dan Martich, M.D. on Hospital Obsolescence and Other Hot-Button Thoughts

hospitalBy Mark Hagland,  first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 28, 2014

G. Daniel Martich, M.D. CMIO and associate CMO of the UPMC Health System, offers his perspectives on the transformation of U.S. healthcare that he believes is set to become turbocharged

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Health System co-presented, along with a number of allied organizations, the European Telemedicine Conference 2014, held October 7-8 in Rome. In late September, before flying to Rome to give a keynote speech at that conference on the topic, “Extinct Species: Why Hospitals Will Be Obsolete and Medicine Will Be Digital,” G. Daniel Martich, CMIO and associate CMO of the UPMC Health System, spoke with HCI Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland regarding the subjects he was planning to address in his keynote speech.
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Interested in learning more about patient engagement? 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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AMA Launches Interactive Tool Aimed at Helping Healthcare Providers Pinpoint Underserved Patient Care Areas

inactive toolBy John DeGaspari, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 25, 2014

Geospatial mapping tool identifies workforce trends to assist providers in closing the gaps in patient access to care

The American Medical Association (AMA) today has introduced what it maintains is a first-of-its-kind resource aimed at helping physicians and other health care providers improve patient access to care.The AMA says the Health Workforce Mapper is an interactive tool that illustrates the geographic locations of the health care work force in each state, including health professional shortage areas, hospital locations, as well as other related workforce trends. The tool is designed to highlight areas where the number of health care professionals could be expanded to enhance patient access to timely, quality care close to home. It says the tool can be used to demonstrate to law- or policy-makers the geographic distribution of the healthcare workforce in a given state or nationally, to assist them in making appropriate, evidence-based decisions.

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Interested in learning more about optimizing critical care?  Join Baptist Health Care and Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida on their ”Optimizing Clinical Care through Data Exchange and Interoperable Systems” panel, taking place on February 10- 11 2015 at the Health IT Summit in Miami.

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Optum to Buy Alere Health for $600 Million

optum healthBy Gabriel Perna, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 28, 2014

Optum has made a big move into population health management, with the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based clinical analytics firm announcing a $600 million acquisition of the Waltham, Mass.-based Alere Health.

Alere Health, a division of the larger Alere company, provides care management software, primarily to payers. The deal allows Optum to provide more comprehensive population health managements software for both the payer and provider side.

“Alere Health’s expert team and proven health management solutions are a strong fit with our focus on empowering consumers to make more informed decisions, achieve healthier lifestyles and take greater ownership of their health,” Larry Renfro, CEO of Optum, said in a statement. “Adding Alere Health’s solutions and expertise allow us to be an even more valuable partner to payers, employers, federal and state governments and consumers in achieving their long-term population health and cost management goals.”

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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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MGMA Research: Medicare Physician Quality Reporting Programs Detract From Patient Care

patient careBy Rajiv Leventhal, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 25, 2014

Although physician group practices are actively engaged in internal processes to improve clinical quality for their patients, they are heavily critical of Medicare’s physician quality reporting programs and their impact on patients and practices, according to new research from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

More than 82 percent of physician group practices responding to the research reported they actively engage in internal processes to improve clinical quality for the patients they serve. But while these programs are intended to improve the quality of care physicians provide to their patients, the majority of respondents reported that these programs actually detract from patient care. Specifically, more than 83 percent of physician practices stated they did not believe current Medicare physician quality reporting programs enhanced their physicians’ ability to provide high-quality patient care.

The report — MGMA Physician Practice Assessment: Medicare Quality Reporting Programsincluded responses from more than 1,000 medical groups in which more than 48,000 physicians practice nationwide

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Interested in learning more about payer-provider alignment 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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The Good News- Bad News Scenario on U.S. Healthcare Spending: Big Numbers, Big Impacts

us spendingBy Mark Hagland, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 25, 2014

CMS’s new projections on overall U.S. healthcare spending from 2014 through 2023 are alarming—and they should be

As seems always to be the case in such situations, we as a society are facing a “good news-bad news” scenario around U.S. healthcare spending—in this case, with an intense load of both types of news. So, hold on tight while I throw a bunch of (very important) numbers at you.The October issue of Health Affairs carries a very significant article, “National Health Expenditure Projections, 2013-23: Faster Growth Expected With Expanded Coverage and Improving Economy,” written by a large group of actuaries in the Office of the Actuary at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS): Andrea M. Sisko, Sean P. Keehan, Gig A. Cuckler, Andrew J. Madison, Sheila D. Smith, Christian J. Wolfe, Devin A. Stone, Joseph M. Lizonitz, and John A. Poisal

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Interested 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 2015 at the Health IT Summit in Miami.

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Interview with James Brady, PhD, FHIMSS, Area Chief Information Officer, Kaiser Permanente Orange County

James Brady, PhD, FHIMSS, CISSP, CISM, CRISC, CHP, PMP,  Area CIO Kaiser Permanente Orange County

James Brady is the Area CIO at Kaiser Permanente Orange County, where he is responsible for the strategic leadership and direction for all information technology and security initiatives, as well as the delivery of quality health care in the Kaiser Permanente Orange County service area.  This service area consists of the 262-bed Kaiser Permanente Anaheim Medical Center,  the 150-bed Irvine Medical Center, 23 medical office buildings for primary and specialty care, three urgent care clinics,  approximately 10,000 staff and physicians, more than  484,000 health plan members, and has an annual operating budget of $2 billion.

As a distinguished member of the Institute’s upcoming Health IT Summit in Beverly Hills, taking place, November 4-5, 2014. Brady shares insight into his role as CIO and his experiences with health IT as the strategic leader for all information technology and security initiatives at Kaiser Permanente Orange County.

Institute: Tell me about your role at Kaiser Permanente Orange County?

Brady: In my current role at Kaiser Permanente, I am responsible for the strategic leadership and direction for all information technology and security initiatives, as well as the delivery of quality health care in the Kaiser Permanente Orange County service area.  This service area consists of the 262-bed Kaiser Permanente Anaheim Medical Center,  the 150-bed Irvine Medical Center, 23 medical office buildings for primary and specialty care, three urgent care clinics,  approximately 10,000 staff and physicians, more than  484,000 health plan members, and has an annual operating budget of $2 billion. I also partner closely with Kaiser Permanente Southern California regional and national technology staff to help deliver outstanding and relevant solutions to the organization.  It’s an exciting role that allows me to closely collaborate as a peer executive to the local Kaiser Permanente Orange County administrative and clinical leadership team, as well as help translate business requirements to the various internal technology groups.  I also have an important role is guiding innovation and transformation initiatives within the organization.

Institute: What is the most significant challenge in providing a secure environment that protects the technical and data assets of the organization and how are you addressing it?

Brady: We are living in a time where the health care environment is changing at a very rapid pace.  Health care organizations are now leveraging technology and information systems to reduce costs, improve the quality of care and make it easier for patients to engage in their health. This has opened the door to new capabilities that help our staff do their jobs better and more efficiently.  With these advancements comes the challenge of ensuring that technology is easy to use, but also secure.  It is now required that technology solutions be very user-focused, intuitive, and delivered quickly.  Consumers are requiring this of their health care providers and from their health plans.  Those of us that are helping deliver health care solutions need to emphasize security and privacy requirements early on, as well as on an ongoing basis.

Institute: With your significant experience in health IT, what are your top 3 security concerns that CIOs should be aware of?

Brady: First, keeping up with the evolving threat landscape is a big concern for all CIOs.  We are seeing increased numbers of data breaches, nation states, advanced persistent threats, and insider threats.  Interestingly, this is very closely correlated to the pace that technology is advancing, and can be seen with increasing mobile device and application usage, wireless network deployments, and cloud computing adoption.  A second concern is that patients and members are now expecting health care providers to provide increased convenience and high levels of service and quality through the use of technology. How we are able to work with our technology solution providers and other business associates to ensure appropriate levels of privacy and security is critical.  Finally, managing risk is without a doubt top of mind.  Addressing data leakage prevention, access control, identity management, identify theft and loss of patient information, and regulatory requirements are several of our country’s top security challenges we must continue to focus on.

Institute: What are 3 initiatives Kaiser Permanente is focused on to engage their patient population?

Brady: At Kaiser Permanente, we are focused on leveraging innovation and technology to improve quality outcomes, lower costs and increase patient satisfaction.  In the past, health care delivery focused on providing care predominately within the “four walls” of a health care facility, with the care experience centered around the doctor and his or her schedule.  Today, we are looking to offer even higher quality care, but in a more convenient fashion, and one that centers around the member.  One of the ways we are accomplishing this is by offering our members the opportunity to see their doctor sooner by scheduling a video visit.  We are also making it more convenient for our members to access care when they are out and about in the retail environments.  In addition, we are looking to significantly reduce wait times for members that visit a Kaiser Permanente facility.

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

Brady:  One piece of advice that comes to mind is that health care leaders, if they haven’t done so already, should begin to lay a foundation of trust with their users and fellow leaders.  We need technology to make a difference in the market place.  Focusing on trust is one way to build that foundation.  In some ways, this is a new way to think about addressing risk management, but it looks to have excellent results.  Five simple steps to build trusted technology at your organization are: (1) Identify all the risks; (2) Categorize them; (3) Rank them; (4) Decide which ones to fix; and (5) Execute.

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 www.ihealthtran.com.

Financial Performance Analysis: One Health System’s Journey So Far

analysisBy Mark Hagland, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 26, 2014

At CentraCare Health in Minnesota, CFO Greg Klugherz is helping to lead an organization-wide financial performance initiative

Greg Klugherz joined CentraCare Health in 2008 as vice president and CFO of CentraCare Health and St. Cloud Hospital. Klugherz, a certified public accountant, is responsible for the finance and treasury functions, as well as the revenue cycle and admitting functions at St. Cloud. CentraCare Health encompasses a 489-bed community hospital in St. Cloud, located 65 miles northwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul, as well as five critical-access hospitals. The health system employs 250 doctors and mid-level professionals.CentraCare has been a beta site partner with Strata Decision Technology, a Chicago-based company focused on analytics, especially in the financial arena. HCI Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland spoke with Klugherz on Oct. 21, as he was participating as a presenter in the Executive Leadership Symposium, a daylong conference sponsored by Strata Decision Technology and held at the Swissotel in downtown Chicago. Below are excerpts from the interview with Klugherz.
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Interested in learning more about 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 February 10-11 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Miami. 
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Cerner Expects Siemens Deal to Close in 2015

deal closeBy Gabriel Perna, first posted on Healthcare Informatics, October 24, 2014

On an earnings call this week, Kansas City-based electronic health record (EHR) vendor, Cerner said it expects its deal with Siemens to close in early 2015.

 Cerner’s chief financial officer, Marc Naughton said that the company received regulatory clearance from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that continued its integration and transition preparation since theannouncement of the merger in August. He said that the company is on target to close the Siemens deal by February of next year. Later on the call, Naughton said the company projects a combined revenue of close to $5 billion once the deal finalizes.
In the question and answer session, Naughton and Cerner President Zane Burke said that the company has plans to offer support, and not just replace, the Sorian product line for the next few years. He did say he saw significant opportunities for cross-sell between those on the differing Cerner and Siemens product lines.
Interested in learning more about Stage 2 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. 

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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Interested in learning more about ACO with IT? Join Holston Medical Group and Sharp HealthCare on their ”Realizing the Outcome and Financial Benefits of an ACO with IT” panel, taking place on January 20-21 2014 at the Health IT Summit in Houston.

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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.

Click Here to Learn More

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.
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