Health IT Issues that Deserve a Second Read – June 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 thoughts 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.

How Much Is That Medical Record In The Window?
By Matt Fisher, Attorney and chair of the Health Law Group at Mirick, O’Connell, DeMallie & Lougee, LLP.
Twitter: @matt_r_fisher

A patient contacts their physician’s office and asks for a copy of their medical record. The expected response would seem to be obvious. Sure, we will copy the record and send it to your shortly. Not only will the record be sent, but it will be sent in an easily accessible format and exactly as requested. The reality is a bit more complicated. When a patient asks for their record, the outcome is not so straightforward with factors such as actually timing, cost, and others influencing the response. The variability occurs despite the right under HIPAA for an individual to request access to their medical record. Continue reading on…

Ponemon Study: Healthcare Aware of Security Threats, But Not Really Ready for Them
By D’Arcy Gue, Director of Industry Relations, Phoenix Health Systems – a division of Medsphere Systems
Twitter: @DarcyGue

You may be suffering from IT security fatigue at this point, for which I offer a half-hearted apology. Yes, only half-hearted, because the numbers say healthcare is aware of various security threats but still remains vulnerable, making it imperative that the subject stay top of mind until patient data is reliably protected. For example, the Sixth Annual Benchmark Study on Privacy and Security of Healthcare Data, published earlier this month, offers interesting perspectives on both healthcare organizations and business associates. Continue reading on…

HIPAA Compliance Audits Prioritized in 2017 Fiscal Budget
By Bob Grant, Chief Strategy Officer, Compliancy Group
Twitter: @compliancygroup

Earlier this year, the Obama administration submitted its budget proposal for fiscal-year 2017. The OCR Budget in Brief details the increased budget–$1.15 trillion of which is allotted for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). $43 million of these funds will go to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), and $82 million will go to the Office of National Coordination for Health IT (ONC). Continue reading on…

We Need B2B Innovation to Contain Rising Healthcare Costs
By Morris Panner, CEO, DICOM Grid
Twitter: @mpanner
Twitter: @dicomgrid

Love it or hate it, Obamacare didn’t address the cost side of healthcare. Expanded coverage won’t accomplish much if we Americans can’t afford it. Today, nothing is more important than figuring out how our healthcare system can provide quality care at a competitive price. But healthcare is a rotary phone in the iPhone age. If “universal coverage” is to mean anything, we must create an environment where innovation can drive quality and price improvements. Continue reading on…

Legislative Proposals to Better Foster the Flow of Health Information
By Dr. Karen B. DeSalvo and Lisa Lewis, ONC
Twitter: @ONC_HealthIT and @KBDeSalvo

We have witnessed dramatic changes in the adoption and use of health information technology (health IT) over the past decade. The nation has transformed from paper-based record keeping into an environment where nearly all of the nation’s hospitals and three-quarters of the nation’s eligible providers are using certified health IT. And from accessible electronic health records to wearable fitness devices and health trackers on smart phones, health IT gives each individual the tools to actively manage their health like never before. Continue reading on…

Do Small Physician Practices Have a Future?
By David Squires and David Blumenthal, M.D., The Commonwealth Fund
Twitter: @commonwealthfnd

There’s a lot to absorb in the proposed rule for implementing “MACRA”—the sprawling, bipartisan law passed in 2015 aimed at moving Medicare physician payment from rewarding volume to rewarding value. One question attracting scrutiny is whether the reforms will favor larger practices at the expense of smaller ones. This debate was partly prompted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s own projections that the law would reduce payments for most solo practices. Continue reading on…

Why I Disagree with the Snake Oil Analogy
By John Halamka, MD
Twitter: @jhalamka

Earlier this week, the American Medical Association CEO called digital healthcare products modern-day “snake oil”. As a provider and a technologist, I think we need a deeper dive to understand the issues, avoiding the kind of hyperbole that’s so common in politics today. Paul B. Batalden, MD, Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), once said “Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets”. Continue reading on…

Pitching Medicaid IT in Silicon Valley
By Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Twitter: @ASlavitt
Twitter: @CMSgov

Earlier this year, I announced a new effort to connect new, innovative companies and their investors to the state Medicaid program IT space. Since this announcement, I have been encouraged by the initial interest from companies that may not have otherwise ever thought about participating in this important health insurance program that covers more than 72 million Americans. Continue reading on…

Moving Forward With Interoperability
By Marlowe Greenberg, CEO, Foothold Technology
Twitter: @CEOatFoothold
Twitter: @footholdtech

For the last several years, Foothold Technology has participated in the InterSystems Global Summit. It’s an invitation-only event where leaders convene to discuss and learn how to tackle healthcare IT challenges. Like previous years, we participated in two tracks at the conference. Our developers were on the technical track while I was on the Healthcare Leadership track. This year’s conference was in Phoenix and it was jarring to be surrounded by the natural beauty of Camelback Mountain, while delving into the details of HL7 and CCDA exchanges. Continue reading on…

Making Transparency Work: Why We Need New Efforts to Make Data Usable
By Ashish Jha
Twitter: @ashishkjha

Get a group of health policy experts together and you’ll find one area of near universal agreement: we need more transparency in healthcare. The notion behind transparency is straightforward; greater availability of data on provider performance helps consumers make better choices and motivates providers to improve. And there is some evidence to suggest it works. In New York State, after cardiac surgery reporting went into effect, some of the worst performing surgeons stopped practicing or moved out of state and overall outcomes improved. But when it comes to hospital care, the impact of transparency has been less clear-cut. Continue reading on…

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