Health IT Issues that Deserve a Second Read – May 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.

Holy MACRA! – Being HIPAA Compliant is Part of How Physicians get Paid
By Jonathan Krasner, Director of Business Development, HIPAA Secure Now!
Twitter: @HIPAASecureNow

On April 27, CMS came out with a proposed rule on how physicians will get paid under MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act). If you want to read the whole 962 page snoozefest, you can find it here (PDF). But sleep or not, this regulation changes the fundamental Fee-For-Service (FFS) system that CMS has used since Medicare’s enactment in 1966. The new system is premised on tying physician payments to quality and value, and is directly related to the Triple Aim of providing better care, lower costs, and improved health. Continue reading on…

A Deep Dive on the MACRA NPRM
By John Halamka, MD
Twitter: @jhalamka

As promised last week, I’ve read and taken detailed notes on the entire 962 page MACRA NPRM so that you will not have to. Although this post is long, it is better than the 20 hours of reading I had to do! Here is everything you need to know from an IT perspective about the MACRA NPRM. Continue reading on…

OCR Releases New HIPAA Audit Protocol and Business Associate Listing Template
By Bob Grant, Chief Strategy Officer, Compliancy Group
Twitter: @compliancygroup

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released an updated Audit Protocol that it plans to use while investigating health care entities for HIPAA compliance. The biggest change to the audit protocol is the distinction that OCR has made between what’s required of Business Associates (BAs) versus what’s required of Covered Entities (CEs). The guidance is extensive and covers each type of audit along with precisely what action needs to be taken and by whom. Continue reading on…

By the Numbers: The Secure Text Messaging Market
By Jason Stanaland, Mobility Solutions Expert, Spok
Twitter: @spoktweets

Last year was the worst year in history for healthcare data breaches. According to the National Cybersecurity Institute, healthcare breaches surpassed 112 million records during 2015—100 times more than the previous year. Additionally, eight out of 10 of the largest hacks in 2015 were aimed directly at healthcare, and the three biggest breaches in history were recorded in 2015. IDC’s Health Insights group recently reported that one in three healthcare organizations will likely have their data compromised within the next 12 months. Continue reading on…

Usability Still Key to Future of EHR Designs
By Bennett Lauber, Chief Experience Officer, The Usability People
Twitter: @UsabilityPeople

The efficient and effective use of Electronic Health Records are essential, as these systems are increasingly becoming a central tool for patient care. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act provided providers with a significant financial incentive to increase the adoption and use of EHRs. EHR vendors were required to conduct and report on a summative usability evaluation of their system as part of the Stage 2 Meaningful Use program (The ONC 2014 Edition Certification). However, a recent report funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), identified several “issues” with the certified EHR vendors in the processes, practices and use of standards and best practices with regard to usability and human factors. Continue reading on…

Mobile Health Apps: Much to Consider
By Matt Fisher, Attorney and chair of the Health Law Group at Mirick, O’Connell, DeMallie & Lougee, LLP.
Twitter: @matt_r_fisher

Mobile apps are a topic of frequent discussion in the healthcare field these days. Questions include what regulatory requirements apply, are the apps trustworthy, is information kept safe and secure, and others. The question of what regulations apply in particular leaves many confused and uncertain as to what needs to be done. The government, through efforts of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is trying to provide guidance and resources. Continue reading on…

CMS Finalizes its Quality Measure Development Plan
By Kate Goodrich, M.D., M.H.S., Director, Center for Clinical Standards & Quality, CMS
Twitter: @CMSgov

On December 18, 2015, we posted our draft Quality Measure Development Plan, a strategic framework for clinician quality measurement development to support the new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and advanced alternative payment models (APMs). Through March 1, 2016, we asked for stakeholder feedback and received responses from 60 individuals and 150 organizations. Continue reading on…

You Think Your Systems are Secure. Should You Still Get Cybercrime Insurance?
By Irv H. Lichtenwald, Chief Executive Officer, Medsphere

Naturally, most of what you hear from healthcare IT companies about their products is going to be upbeat, designed to create a sense of potential and promise. I mean, I can easily extol the virtues of the company I lead and the products and services we sell. But if I’m responsible and realistic, I also need to call attention to the challenges healthcare IT can create on the path to improved care. Without doubt, any information technology that creates, maintains, or transmits electronic patient data is a source of risk, as evidenced by the numerous security issues that are top of mind right now for just about everyone working in healthcare and healthcare IT. Continue reading on…

CDS Moves Compliance from Dismal to Dismal
By William A. Hyman, Professor Emeritus, Biomedical Engineering, Texas A&M University

One use of a Clinical Decision Support system (CDS) is to remind doctors of what the “established” standardized methodology is. One key issue here is established by whom? Another is, depending on complexity, why the clinical staff doesn’t follow the established procedure whether or not it is supported by a CDS. Possible reasons are lack of knowledge of the standardized procedure, not believing in it, or thinking (rightly or wrongly) that the current situation, or many situations, is an exception. High non-compliance rates indicate a lack of seriousness about the standard or a lack of oversight and/or consequences for doing things in a different way. Lack of oversight might mean no one is looking at compliance, or they are looking but not acting on disparities. Continue reading on…

PCMH – What’s In It For Me?
By Lisa Gouin, PCMH Services Manager, eHealthcare Consulting, Inc.
Twitter: @ehealthcareorg

The number of recognized Patient Centered Medical Home practices has grown significantly over the past few years, which is an exciting and promising trend for the healthcare system in our country. However, surprisingly, there are a number of practices that are still undecided about pursuing PCMH recognition, practices that have no intention of making the transformation, and practices still unaware of what Patient Centered Medical Home actually entails. Continue reading on…

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