Health IT Issues that Deserve a Second Read – September 2015

One 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.

Don’t Ignore Inaccurate Data From Your EHR Extraction Process
By Paul J. Rosenbluth, MBA, CPHQ, Principal, Solutions Strategy and Consulting, Dell Global Healthcare Services
Twitter: @paulrosenbluth

Automating extraction of data from electronic health records (EHRs) is an excellent idea. Done right, it can provide a complete data set, something not possible with the sampling methods used in the current labor-intensive hand extraction used for reporting many hospital quality measures. A complete data set, if accurate, is far more useful than a sample set in population analytics and in efforts to bring greater precision to medical treatment protocols. Continue reading on…

Are physicians really dissatisfied with EHRs?
By Irv H. Lichtenwald, Chief Executive Officer, Medsphere

Microsoft Office was first introduced by Bill Gates at COMDEX, Las Vegas, in August, 1988. Here we are almost exactly 27 years later, and if you plug the words ‘hate,’ ‘Microsoft’ and ‘Office’ into Google, you’ll get more than 4 million results. Remove ‘Office’ and Google returns more than 33 million results. Clearly, some people don’t feel like Microsoft has perfected products to their satisfaction. Continue reading on…

$750,000 HIPAA Fine Offers Valuable Lessons
By Art Gross
Twitter: @HIPAASecureNow

On September 2, 2015 The HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued a press release announcing a $750,000 HIPAA settlement with Cancer Care Group, P.C. This large fine offers some very important lessons. Let’s take a closer look: Continue reading on…

HIPAA Q&A on Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Scanning
By Steve Spearman, Founder and Chief Security Consultant for Health Security Solutions
Twitter: @HIPAASolutions

Although there is no regulation that explicitly requires vulnerability scanning and penetration testing, assessing the vulnerabilities of your network and IT assets is essential for understanding the risks posed to your organization. In this week’s Q&A, HIPAA Chat host Steve Spearman spoke with Mike Pearson, information security expert, about the differences between penetration testing and vulnerability scanning and how these techniques can facilitate HIPAA compliance. Continue reading on…

How Will Meaningful Use Affect RCM?
By Alex Tate, Health IT Consultant, CureMD
Twitter: @alextate07

Meaningful Use is the incentive program with the intention of helping physicians provide better care to their patients through financial rewards and punishments. Those Eligible professionals (EPs) who choose not to demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs) are about to face a 1% penalty in their Medicare reimbursements. These penalties will increase by 1% each year until 2019 when they finally cap-off at 5%. And just to make it that much more aggravating, EPs won’t get away with a one-time demonstration, they must continue to demonstrate meaningful use each and every year through 2019 to avoid these penalties. Continue reading on…

Changing Minds to Change Outcomes
By Morris Panner, CEO, DICOM Grid
Twitter: @mpanner

The Internet of Things (IoT) has massive potential to change the way healthcare organizations operate and how clinicians treat patients, primarily because it simplifies the collection and transmission of data. Like businesses in other sectors, healthcare organizations can use IoT technology to manage equipment more efficiently. They can attach sensors to medical devices to track items, monitor usage and make more informed purchasing decisions. Continue reading on…

Breaches, Breaches, Everywhere
By Matt Fisher, Attorney and chair of the Health Law Group at Mirick, O’Connell, DeMallie & Lougee, LLP.
Twitter: @matt_r_fisher

It often seems as though a day does not go by without the report of a new breach of healthcare data. Examples of breaches include loss of unencrypted devices (whether laptops, flash drives or other devices), usage of non-secure services, inattention to paper records, employee snooping, and more. Each new report raises questions as to why lessons were not learned from prior breaches, how much information was exposed, what the cost will be, in addition to other issues. Continue reading on…

The New Peter Principle
By John Halamka, MD
Twitter: @jhalamka

I grew up in the Southern California town of Palos Verdes Estates, where a nearby neighbor, Laurence J. Peter became famous by stating “In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence … in time every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties … Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.” Dr. Peter served on the faculty of the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, where my mother also served as faculty. You could say I had one degree of separation from Dr. Peter. Continue reading on…

Population Health Basics: The Charlson Comorbidity Index
By Sarianne Gruber
Twitter: @subtleimpact

Before we had patient panels and electronic health records, there were patient study logs and regulatory binders. Yet, the same questions are asked today when analyzing study outcomes as yesteryear. How do you assess a treatment, procedure or process for a specific disease in your population sample with the presence of confounding diseases? The answer is a Comorbidity Index. It is a method of categorizing comorbidities of patients. Continue reading on…

Patient Portals: Wrong Target or Broken Arrows?
By Frank Fortner, President of Iatric Systems
Twitter: @iatricFJF

Two weeks ago I was out running with my 4-legged BFF (George) a large, muscular 2-year-old Lab mix. Just as we were getting back to the house, I decided to show him I had another even faster gear he wasn’t aware of. He got very excited about that! So excited, in fact, he cut right in front of me at a full sprint on the pavement, and well… my feet didn’t downshift. At full speed, my entire body weight crashed shoulder-first onto the pavement. Ouch! My night would be spent in an E.D., which confirmed I had a profoundly separated shoulder (AC). Continue reading on…

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