Health IT Issues that Deserve a Second Read – February 2016

Top10-200One of the ways that HITECH Answers is different from other media sites is the sense of community. The thought leaders in our community are good about sharing their thought on the issues of today. We publish at least eleven guest posts a week now, on our three sites. In case you missed some, here are the top ten read and shared guest posts of the month. You can also read previous month’s Top Ten Lists. Thank you for contributing and reading.

The Senate HELP Committee Draft Legislation
By John Halamka, MD
Twitter: @jhalamka

On January 20, Senators Alexander and Murray released the Bipartisan Senate Health Committee Staff Draft of Bill to Help Improve Health Information Technology for Doctors & Their Patients. Here’s a summary. This is a really important bill. Why? It includes legislative changes that will help reshape/evolve Meaningful Use. You may have seen the recent confusing press about Meaningful Use Stage 3. CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt tweeted from JP Morgan that Meaningful Use as we know it will end since we’ve lost the hearts and minds of clinicians. Continue reading on…

Meaningful Use Lives On
By Brian Ahier, Director of Standards and Government Affairs at Medicity
Twitter: @ahier

On Oct. 6, 2015, CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT released the final rules for Stage 3 of the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program and the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria. Through this rulemaking, the agencies hoped to simplify requirements and add some new flexibilities for providers. They moved from fiscal year to calendar year reporting for all providers beginning in 2015, and they offered a 90-day reporting period for all providers in 2015, for new participants in 2016 and 2017, and for any provider moving to Stage 3 in 2017. They reduced the number of Stage 2 meaningful use objectives from 18 to 10 in 2015-2017, with no change in clinical quality measures. For Stage 3, there will be eight meaningful use objectives (with about 60% of them requiring interoperability). Continue reading on…

HIMSS 2016: Healthcare Security For Tomorrow
By Mac McMillan, CEO, CynergisTek
Twitter: @mmcmillan07

At HIMSS16 I will have the pleasure of taking the stage with two healthcare CISOs who are passionate about their craft and working to make a difference in their organizations, Chuck Kesler of Duke Medicine and Jay Adams of Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. We’ll be talking about two different, but related topics that are front and center with every healthcare organization today: HIPAA compliance and cybersecurity. Continue reading on…

Can Electronic Health Records Prevent Harm to Patients?
By Amy Helwig, M.D., M.S. & Edwin Lomotan, M.D.
Twitter: @AHRQNews

Health information technology (HIT) has been shown to improve patient safety, especially with processes and applications that improve clinicians’ decisionmaking, documentation, and communication. But research has often looked at these applications in single institutions. A question that remains unanswered is the impact of fully installed electronic health records (EHR) systems used in multiple organizations. Another big question: can EHRs go beyond improving safety-related processes to actually preventing adverse events, such as potentially deadly hospital-acquired infections, from reaching patients? Continue reading on…

Interoperability: The Buzzword For HIMSS16
By Allen Abshire, HIE Operations Director, Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum
Twitter: @LHCQF1

Tens of thousands of health IT professionals and industry leaders are making their final preparations for the trek to Las Vegas for the 2016 HIMSS Annual Conference in a few weeks, and I am one of them. I look forward each year to the HIMSS conference because it’s a virtual breeding ground for innovative ideas and technology that serve as inspiration to an HIE Operations Director like me. Not only does the conference provide me with a front row seat to some great educational sessions, it also gives me a chance to visit with some outstanding HIE and health IT leaders from across the country. That said, as a veteran HIMSS-goer, I’ve already begun developing my schedule for the week, and at the top of my list are these three items: Continue reading on…

Cyber-awareness: New Education from OCR
By Matt Fisher, Esq
Twitter: @matt_r_fisher

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services sent out an email on February 2, 2016 to announce the launch of a cyber-awareness for the healthcare industry. OCR recognizes the danger faced by healthcare from an array of bad actors and the need to spread information. As set forth in the email, OCR will highlight different threats and tools that may be available through monthly or periodic messages. Continue reading on…

Looking for an innovative way to protect healthcare data? Go old school.
By Steve Matheson, Vice President Product Management and NA Sales, BridgeHead Software
Twitter: @BridgeHeadHDM

Cyber threats to healthcare data are a growing concern, as evidenced by the number of leading hospital C-level executives I met with recently during a closed-door session of hospital CIOs. Many were old acquaintances, but several of the new folks I’ve met had titles of CSO, Chief Security Officer. A number of them had broad experience identifying vulnerabilities in IT systems, networks and their users in industries other than healthcare. Although experiences in other industries may differ, I picked up several points that apply to my colleagues in healthcare IT. Continue reading on…

Process Matters as Much as Technology, Especially When Treading New Ground
By Nick van Terheyden, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Dell Healthcare and Life Sciences
Twitter: @DrNic1

It’s an exciting time to be a chief medical information officer (CMIO), especially at a hospital or health system with forward-thinking leadership. New technologies are emerging that will help us make huge strides toward truly effective, precise and personalized medicine. That said, it’s also a very complex time. New technology comes with a host of challenges, and the biggest lie not so much with the technology but with the people involved. New clinical technology inevitably disrupts established workflows, and while it can be a big improvement, it has to be handled carefully if you want the project to succeed. Continue reading on…

The Real HIPAA: Permitted Uses and Disclosures
By Lucia Savage, J.D./Chief Privacy Officer, and
Aja Brooks, J.D./Privacy Analyst

Welcome to the second blog in our series on how HIPAA supports exchange of electronic health information for patient care and health. This blog post summarizes the new ONC fact sheets on HIPAA Permitted Uses and Disclosures for exchange (Treatment and Health Care Operations), developed in conjunction with the Office for Civil Rights. This installment answers the questions: What are HIPAA Permitted Uses and Disclosures? And how they support the national priority of interoperability? Continue reading on…

Time For a Patient Driven Health Information Economy?
By Robert Rowley, MD, co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Flow Health
Twitter: @RRowleyMD

The recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, “Time for a Patient-Driven Health Information Economy?” presents a good overview of the need for, and hurdles in achieving, a unified patient-centered data platform that can be accessed from everyone taking care of the patient. We all know that clinical health data, created by providers, resides in fragmented silos within each institution that takes care of a patient. The main approach to “interoperability” has been to create queries that enable a given EHR to search for and import data in connected external systems. This, of course, creates out-of-sync dilemmas for copies of records in different systems, and requires query refreshing in order to pull updated data, or even to push updated data out to all those who have connected previously, whenever there is an update to the record. Continue reading on…

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